By: Bears Butt
My mentor and friend, Lynn Hayes, graciously leant me a book titled “Guide to the Longbow” by Brian Sorrells to read and glean what I could from its pages. A very good book dedicated to shooting the longbow. From my reading Brian Sorrells shoots a LOT! A couple of times through the book he mentions having 3 bows near the door and ready for him to shoot should he get an inkling to do so, which is all the time. If you are into longbow or any traditional bow shooting, do yourself a favor and pick up this book and read it….lots of good stuff in those pages.
So, what did I get from it? A bunch of tips on how to actually shoot the bow and hit what is desired. The very bottom line of all bottom lines comes back to the basics of proper form and lots of practice!
I found the arrow section the most interesting as that is where my biggest confusion is at this point in time. I’ve been struggling with arrows and have finally found some I “believe in”. Sure they are light and small, but they seem to fly pretty straight and hit the target without looking like the two arrows to the right in the picture above. But from the book, he says that a proper arrow needs to weigh 8 grains per pound of draw weight of the shooter. Not necessarily the draw weight of the bow itself. With a few differences in manufacturers, draw weights are pretty much rated at 28 inches of draw distance and any difference plus or minus from that makes the draw weight different. I draw at 26 inches and I lose about 2 1/2 pounds of draw weight per inch, so with my 30 pound rated bow, I am only drawing about 25 pounds. So, under Mr. Sorrells guideline, my arrows should weigh 8 grains per inch of my 25 pound draw weight or 200 grains….this is his MINIMUM standard and makes a good starting point.
Next he talks about “spine” of the arrow. Spine is the amount of flex the arrow has. He (and others) says if the arrow has too stiff a spine it can’t flex around the handle (riser) of the bow and will hit the target with the back of the arrow to the right of the point end of the arrow. The opposite is true if the back of the arrow hits to the left of the point, the spine is too light. If you have little or no choice in your arrows spine you can alter the way the spine works, but adding weight to the point end of the arrow shaft if it’s too heavily spined. There are arrow manufacturers that sell little weight discs that can be put on just in front of the arrow shaft and behind the point of the arrow, if they are screw on tips. If your tips are glued on I have no idea what you would do in those cases. Maybe try and pry the tip off and put on a heavier tip????
If your arrows are too lightly spined, you remove the tip and the insert and cut a fraction of the end off the arrow and replace the tip. This shortens the arrow a bit, making the spine stiffer. You can imagine if your arrow is say 5 feet long and it flexes pretty easily in the middle, you cut it down to one foot in length, it wouldn’t flex as much. Remember, when cutting off your arrow at the tip end, don’t cut too much off because once it’s cut off, you can’t add it back. A little goes a long way in effecting the spine flex.
Mr. Sorrells’ doesn’t say this, but I heard it from my mentor friend, you could add weight to the nock end of the arrow instead of cutting off the shaft to accomplish the same thing if your arrow spine is too light. I suppose if your arrow shaft is too stiff, you could cut off the nock end of it instead of adding weight to the front….I’m guessing here, but it sort of makes sense to me. If you try either of these to change your arrow and it blows up in your face, don’t blame me…remember, I’m guessing here! Please read the fine print….(change font size to 2)….I ain’t responsible…..
He mentions something else that supposedly has just gotten into the Compound bow shooters vocabulary, but has been in the fore front of long bow and recurve shooters repertoire for a very long time and that is “Front of Center” (FOC). I’m still trying to figure this one out, but it makes sense that it would figure into the whole arrow of choice scene. An arrow with a FOC closer to the point would fly differently than one with its FOC closer to the nock. My question to you at this time, without further explanation….Do you give a FOC?
Let’s look at this a little closer. Your arrow is SOOOO long (outstretched arms). If measured from just back of the tip, to the point of the nock where the string fits (inside part), the center of the arrow is in the middle of that measurement. That is the Center of the arrow. But, the tip weighs something and the nock weighs something, even it just a little and so the center of the arrow is not necessarily where the arrow will balance, if placed on the edge of a sturdy knife blade of something like that. The balance point of the arrow is that FOC point, front of center. If however your arrow balances behind the center point, more toward the nock end, you have a BOC…..Back of center is NOT a good thing. I’m sure if you have a BOC arrow, it would tend to come back towards you should you shoot it. Let’s say, for now, no arrows are made with BOC and that all arrows are FOCed.
As I study FOC more in depth I’ll report to you here what I find. It makes sense (again) that adding a heavier tip to your arrow will force the FOC to move closer to the tip of the arrow. Let’s think about what we just read about the spine of the arrow….adding weight to the front makes the spine weight go down….So, FOC and Spine weight are playing together here. An arrow with a FOC closer to the tip has a less spine weight than one with a FOC closer to the nock. It also makes sense to me that at some point between the center of the arrow and the point of FOC, your bow will like that arrow a whole lot better than one where the FOC is closer to the tip or closer to the nock. That arrow needs to be FOC (spot) ON. My goal now is to find out where the FOC my current “best” arrows is. (Grammatically that does not sound proper….where my FOC is on my current best arrows, sounds better). When I find that out I’ll report here.
March 22, 2015
I just ran the test on my 10 “best” arrows and calculated the percent FOC for each:
1 = 8.95 %
2 = 8.14 %
3 = 8.29 %
4 = 8.49 %
5 = 8.47 %
6 = 8.14 %
7 = 8.70 %
8 = 8.47 %
9 = 8.47 %
10 = 8.84 %
So, as you can see, all my arrows are FOCed.