Saturday, August 6, 2011

Off Season Adjustments

Saying it's busy is kind of an understatement. It's been down right hectic around the homestead the past few months, and I haven't had much time to sit down and keep up with things outdoor related. Not that I haven't been working on some projects here or there, it's just that time is in very high demand, yet there seems to be a dwindling supply of it.

One of the tasks that was on my "to do" list for the summer was to make some adjustments to my bow set up. Over the past few months I've been slowly doing just that, and maintaining a routine of shooting somewhat regularly. Although I still feel like I haven't shot as much this summer as I have in the past few years.

The objective of this project was to make some simple changes in my equipment to help improve the overall efficiency of the bow. Basically try to spend some time with my bow, really getting to know it better, and understand what it can do. My thought process leading up to this was centered around speed & penetration, with developing a solid balance of the two. Speed is great when you're shooting competitively, and it most definitely has it's place in hunting as well, but too much speed without regard to penetration could cause more harm than good in the whitetail woods. I'm by no means anything close to being expert in any of this stuff, but I try like crazy to understand it all to the best of my limited capabilities.

So, with that being  my thought process, I began by looking at (over analyzing according to my wife) arrows as my first change. At the end of the day, I was again focused on finding the right arrow for my current bow. I'm shooting a Parker Hornet that is now set up at 65 pounds, I had the draw weight cranked up from the previous draw of 60 pounds in order to gain additional power. At the same time, I was careful not to go too heavy and cause it to effect my shooting in a negative way by pulling more wight than I could comfortably hold back for an extended period of time. The arrows that I eventually decided that I'll be shooting this season are the Easton ST Epic 400s, cut to 27.5 inches, weighing in at 8.6 grains per inch. The total arrow weight with a 100 grain tip and 2" Blazer Vanes comes in at around 393 grains. My FOC calculation was right at 12, so no issues with an arrow out of balance. Shooting through the chronograph at 267 fps, my total Kinetic Energy works out to be just a hair over 62 foot pounds.

Now, I ask myself, what the hell does all that mean? Well, for deer hunting, my bow & arrow set up will work together to create enough force to more or less kill a deer, as long as the arrow goes where it's supposed to when it's released. It's my job to make that happen. According to several of the KE charts available online, archers should have an arrow producing between 25 - 41 foot pounds of KE for medium game (antelope, deer) and 41 - 65 foot pounds of KE to kill large game (bear, elk, moose). My current set up is now producing 62 foot pounds of KE, so I'm feeling good about my speed & penetration adjustments. Maybe if I'm lucky in the next few years this set up with be out west on an Elk hunt!

But wait there's more... while we're making changes, let's take a look at some of the other accessories too. My previous drop away rest was replaced by a more reliable model, the Quality Archery Designs Ultra-Rest Hunter. I've been looking at these for a while now, and after talking to other bow hunters, and researching various models (again, over analyzing) made the decision to go with the QAD (although the Limb Driver was also very much in consideration). Installation was easy to follow, and after making some slight adjustments to the positioning of the rest and my nocking point on the string, I eliminated any fletching contact that initially occurred. Then a few more subtle adjustments during the paper tuning process and I was seeing those nice, clean bullet hole tears in the roll of paper. A few very minor moves at the range while back tuning, and I'm more than happy with the new QAD rest too!

Lastly, I moved up to a 1/4" peep sight to allow a larger field of view when looking at my pins in lower light conditions. The larger opening also helps me to better center my sight pin ring with the internal edge of the peep sight when I'm at full draw. My former quiver of the past 10 years was moved to my back up bow, and replaced by a new 5 arrow quiver from Treelimb Products. Then to cut down on the noise produced by my bow at the shot, a string suppressor from STS Archery was installed. I've got to say, that adding that string suppressor was one of the best improvements that I've made to this bow. Being that the Parker Hornet is a few years old now, it did not come equipped with a string suppressor that many of the newer models have. The vibration reduction was felt immediately on the first shot I took with it on. Combine that with a noticable amount of noise reduction, and I'm very happy with the way my bow feels & sounds when I release the string.

Add onto the bow my new Greg Flemming Custom Wrist Sling being done up in neon green & black to match my Easton Arrows, and that brings this summer's adjustments to a conclusion. I thought that by improving & upgrading all of my accessories this season, I would start looking for a newer model bow for the the following archery season. I have to say though, that it almost feels like I'm shooting a new bow already. So, perhaps only a new sight and release might be in play for the summer of 2012... time will tell I guess.

Having my daughter come along as a shooting partner is just an added bonus!

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