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Part 1 of 7
THE standard length for arrows is 28 inches, regardless of the weight of the bow. And of course a full draw is usually taken, in order to obtain regularity of trajectory. Thus the length of the shot is regulated by the aim, not by the amount of draw. I am referring to target shooting; flight shooting and hunting are different matters.
To the beginner the weight to select for the bow is a matter of careful consideration. If the bow is to be used for practice at the American round, where 60 yards is the set limit a weight, or draw, or 45 pounds at the most may be said to be about the correct thing. If the York round, which takes in 100 yards as a part of the round, a bow of approximately 50 pounds draw will be required. The correct weight in arrows will be found in the chapter on arrow making.
It is easy to understand that a shooter should not attempt to use a bow of such weight, or power as will be found to be beyond his com-plete control. The old saying, "under rather than over the weight," which was applied to the selection of a bow centuries ago, is just as ap-plicable today. But with arrows it is different, the weight of the latter being determined by the power of the bow and the purpose of the shooter.
After the beginner reads with envy of the wonderful shooting done by archers of the old school of fiction, and of some of the modern archers, whose records if less imposing are authentic, he aspires to do great things too. And reading that Mr. A. has a bow drawing 65 pounds with which he shot an arrow 280 yards, he likely enough decides to help out his inex-perience by going in for abundant weight in his bow. For instance, he may infer that if a 65-pound bow can throw an arrow 280 yards, then by adding 25 per cent more drawing strength in his bow it should have the power to shoot 25 per cent farther, or an additional 70 yards. But this by no means works out. Because, after a certain weight has been reached any additional weight will act as a hindrance to casting power rather than a help.
There is a definite limit to the possible amount of cast in each individual stave, and beyond that limit the more weight added the less will be the cast. Then again, it must be remembered that in bending, the fibre of the wood will compress up to a certain degree but no more. Let me cite a case in point.
During the flight shooting at Rome, N. Y., in August, 1925, I was captain of the green. When Dr. Crouch stepped up to take his turn, I inquired the weight of his bow, which appeared very heavy. Upon being informed that it was over 90 pounds, I ordered the spectators to retire to a safe distance, explaining that a break might occur. And the bow did break, on the very first pull. Naturally, I was thought to be something of a pooh bah, as the saying goes. But it was not guesswork on my part; I had ample experience to guide my judgment.
On the other hand, a bow of 150 pounds draw, with the archer permitted to lie on his back and use both hands for the draw and loose, has only produced a flight of 311 yards. This is little better than the distance shot by the 55-pound bow used by Bryant in winning the flight at Jersey City, N. J., in 1926.