Frequently Asked Questions
We will be happy to help you to
choose the best equipment for your needs when you phone us at (781)
447-4520 or email
No, we do not have a printed catalogue at this time.
Our on-line inventory here at oldbow.com shows our current bow
stock. Please email
or phone (781-447-4520) for unpublished updates or unlisted
We have many fine quality used Longbows and Recurves that may be seen here on
our site. Our stock changes frequently, and so a printed catalogue is
impractical at this time.
Stock arrows, custom arrows, custom Flemish bowstrings, pro shop services,
and leather goods can be seen on the Accessories page.
We also carry a full line of equipment for the Traditional bow hunter and
target sportsman and sportswoman in our shop and through internet email order.
Please see our "How
to Order" page for ordering info and questions.
Ah! One of my favorite things
to do is outfit compound guys with traditional gear when the bug hits
them! I used to shoot Compound myself.
Think of the times you may
have had a shot but couldn't take it because the time needed for
"target acquisition" allowed the critter to walk away? Those are
some of the traditional shots we enjoy.
I certainly don't fault anyone
for their choice of hunting weapon - the bottom line, in my opinion,
being: do you have the time to practice and become proficient with a
traditional bow? If not, then a well-tuned compound is the way to go. If
you shoot fingers, you're halfway there anyway. I just can't compare the
reward of hitting the mark by my own unassisted skill.
I hang with a bunch of good
Traditional shooters and we often leave the Compound guys scratching their
heads as we stack arrow after arrow in the 10-ring at unknown distances.
That's archery to me, and we welcome you aboard with open arms!
Figure that the muscle energy
spent in a traditional shot equals about three times the energy used in a
compound shot (because of let-off), AND that you can get three shots off
in the same time it takes to execute one good compound shot. This equates
to NINE times the energy spent with a traditional bow to a compound for a
given time at the firing line. My 51# longbow shoots a heavy arrow at
190fps. Some of the recurves we offer exceed 200fps with a good hunting
weight shaft. Some of us shoot carbons and graphites off recurves to the
tune of 210 - 219fps.
Depending on your budget and
degree of commitment, there are, of course, many choices. If spending a
little dough is no problem - and you're the kind of guy or gal like me who
likes to have "nice stuff" - I'd recommend one of the Navajo
takedown bows. You can interchange recurve and longbow limbs on the same
riser. Translation: enjoy comfortable lower poundage practice with the
benefits of a longbow (smoothness and stability), and, throw on the
higher poundage recurve limbs to go in the woods with. Using the same
riser for both keeps things consistent. Very cool setup. Please see our Longbows and Recurves pages for many more
If you want to try it out in a
more "affordable" price range, a good bow can be had for between
$200 - $500. If "one bow" is the way for you to go, I'd boil it
all down to a recurve that will give you your desired poundage @ 29".
A longbow will run typically a little more for a good one.
I hunt with wooden arrows
because they are quieter to shoot, and if you get clumsy in the
woods, they sound like a stick instead of a pipe! Tends to not scare off
game as quickly. The choice of arrow materials also gives a level of
personal satisfaction, whether it's wood, aluminum, carbon, or graphite.
So, in a nutshell..."Why
Traditional?"...It's personal to each archer, but to me it's the
reward of my own accomplishment!
Advantages of REAL Feather arrows
Real feathers should be used on arrows with traditional bows because
they compress out of the way when they hit the shelf allowing clean
& proper arrow flight. Plastic, or vinyl, vanes hit the shelf hard
and upset the arrow flight. This can be overcome by raising the nock
point on the string, or using an elevated arrow rest. These are not,
however, the preferred methods with traditional archery in general.
The ONLY reason to use synthetic vanes is for wet weather hunting, but
there are other ways to keep your feathers dry and functional in the wet
by either treating them with one of the waterproofing applications
available, or simply keeping them covered until time for use.
As far as shaft material goes, wood, aluminum, and carbon are all viable
options with traditional bows. Most carbon shafting is either too light
for traditional bows - causing a "dry-fire" effect on the
limbs that is detrimental to them - or they are generally way too stiff
for usual draw weights. Lightweight carbons with soft enough spine must
often be loaded with extra weight to eliminate the dry-fire effect. Or,
simply seek out carbons that are purpose-built for traditional bows that
have sufficient weight & flex for correct arrow flight. The best
carbon shafts for traditional bows are unquestionably the Arrow Dynamics
Traditional & Traditional Lite shafts. I use them myself.
do I figure my "Draw-weight" and "Draw-length"?
What does __"@__# mean?
"#" means pounds of draw weight. Draw weight refers
to how many pounds of pressure that you can comfortably pull the bow
string back. The inches thing (") refers to how many inches you
actually pull the string away from the bow. This is generally a
reflection of the arm length of the shooter. So, a 5'4" female
of not much athletic ability, can pull about 25# to 30# @26" or
27", where a big, strong guy of 6'3" feet tall might pull
55# or even 60# at 28" or if he has long arms, might pull to
30" or 31".
Draw weight will increase with time, as muscle strength
builds, but draw length will stay fairly constant,
because the physical size does not grow in adults. Children's
measurements will grow proportionally to their physical growth.
How do I figure my "Draw-weight" and
Just let me know how tall you are, what your build is in terms of
"average", "heavy", or "slight", and
what other sports you routinely participate in. We can surmise a
good draw weight for you from that information. An other way to get
a good idea of your strength is to test your lateral pull on gym
weight pulleys. The most obvious way is to find an archery shop and
try different strength bows. If hunting is in the picture at all,
then you will need a minimum of a 40# bow for that.
To measure "Draw Length", you should take a
yardstick and place it in the middle of the chest bone. Reach out on
it in front equally with the fingertips of BOTH hands. Note the
inches mark where the fingers touch.
That will be your ultimate potential draw length. You will likely
pull a little less than that with the tension of the bow
across your shoulders. See
here for an illustration.
- Nock Point Adjustment
I generally find that most archers do well with the brass point (or
tied-on, where preferred) is best set so that when the arrow is
loaded on the string under the point, the under side of the nock is
about 5/16" above square.
This will vary from bow-to-bow as well as with archer-to-archer and
the quality of your individual release. The more rock-steady and
quick your release, the lower it may be. The rule of thumb is to
start with the nock point set high (5/8" above square) and go
down 1/16th at a time until problems in arrow flight are apparent,
and then back it up to where flight is good and consistent.
A proper nock REMOVAL tool is best for doing this. Otherwise, if the
serving is solid, it's possible to set it for a snug, but moveable
fit and adjust it as you test arrow flight. It can also be done with
a piece of masking tape on the string covering the inch up from
square to the shelf, and simply mark it when you have it figured
out. Then, put the arrow on the mark on the tape and remove excess
tape above the nock. Install the nock point and then remove the rest
of the tape.
- Sighting your bow
First and foremost, make sure you are "anchoring". The
most common anchor point is the tip of the middle finger firmly
tucked in the corner of the mouth, using the
"split-finger" draw (one over/two under the arrow). Now
you're sure the arrow is at least LEAVING from the same point every
shot. And, KEEP BOTH EYES OPEN!
The quick answer to your problem is to start closer than you are
already shooting. Called the "step-back" method, start at
about 5 yards. First just be concerned with "grouping"
your shots. They don't have to be in the bullseye to start. If you
can hit within a 4" - 6" group consistently, Then
concentrate on MOVING THE GROUP into the bullseye. Once your groups
are consistently to center, move back a yard. Repeat this process
all the way out to 30 yards - which is beyond the 20 yard
"ethical" traditional shot. This yard-by-yard step-back
approach is the best method to learn true instinctive shooting.
If you just can't do that, then you must try the "reference
point" method. You need a big target for this. Start at about 7
yards and put a sticker about 18" below the bullseye. At full
draw, close your left eye (if you're a righty), and - properly
anchored - sight the tip of the arrow on the sticker. Shoot a volley
of 4 - 6 arrows. They should all hit the same place on the target -
bullseye does not matter. (Obviously, if you miss the target
totally, then you must place the sticker at another starting spot.)
If your shots do not hit the same spot, then you are NOT steady with
your aim. With good luck you'll smash an arrow when you get the hang
Now, measure the distance & angle of your "group" to
the bullseye and move the sticker the same distance and angle to
bring your shots to center. Once you have the hang of this, you
should be able to use this method at any distance. The idea of this
is to give your mind the picture of where the "sweet spot"
is in relation to your bow hand. Once that "picture" is in
your mind, you must STOP this method immediately and start shooting
with both eyes open again. DO NOT rely on this as a method to be
used in the field. It is only an exercise to bring your hand/eye
coordination to center.
Last and least is "gap shooting". Many archers use this
method whether or not they realize it. It is a variation of
reference shooting, but requires a long outdoor range. Remembering
the importance of anchoring, simply start at about 40 yards and
again, sight the tip of the arrow this time RIGHT ON THE BULLSEYE.
Be prepared to totally miss the target until you find the range at
which this works. The distance it works at is totally up to the draw
weight of your bow. Once you find the distance at which your arrows
hit the bullseye consistently when you sight the point on the
center, then open the other eye to bring in your depth perception.
Your dominant eye (hopefully your right eye if you're a righty) will
still do the aiming, but it's important to use your full depth
perception granted by the use of both eyes.
Practice long and hard at this distance, whatever it is, until you
are steady in the center (key word-->) CONSISTENTLY. This method
inherently forces you to get your dominant eye right over the arrow,
eliminating windage deviance.
Once you "have it down", move 5 yards closer and adjust
the point of the arrow respectively lower to compensate. 5-yard
increments are perfect for this method. More creates difficulty, and
less is not enough to see variation in aim point effectively. To
practice longer shots, obviously place your arrow tip above the
bullseye. Stay at each change in distance until you are (you guessed
These are the best methods to experiment with. I like to push for
"true instinctive" shooting with the "step-back"
method. One of the above methods WILL work for you. My wife bitches
that I give too many lengthy answers to emails and should charge for
my time. A private lesson with me is $25/half hour (about what it
took to write all this out!), so please feel free to send a check
for that amount. She'll get a kick out of that! Otherwise, enjoy the
advice and happy shooting. We carry EVERYTHING to do with
traditional archery in stock, even though it's not all shown on the
web site, so let us know if we can be of assistance with anything
- Arrow making supplies
We carry all the colors of the rainbow in solid color full length
feathers. In barred colors we have two shades of gray (light &
dark), red, brown, orange, yellow, green, purple, and sometimes
blue. We have about 12 different feather cuts to choose from for the
"personal" touch, and feather splicing is available.
Likewise we carry all colors of nocks in 5/16" &
11/32" Bohning classic nocks, and black or white in snap nocks.
We may not stock all arrow building supplies, but we have our own
tools for arrow building and we can order anything you like in that
Please contact us at (781) 447-4520 or email
with your needs.
- Custom Bow Strings
We offer stock AMO bowstrings for quick & simple replacements,
and 5 different models of English and Flemish twisted strings:
single loop English, traditional continuous Flemish, modern double
loop Flemish in Dacron or fast flight, and those two models in
loop-reinforced extra life strings.
Please see Custom
Strings for details, choices and prices.