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The Flight of an Arrow
Part 3 of 3

Remarks: It is quite probable that the curves of maximum range in the two cases would represent only roughly the trajectory of a flight arrow with a range between 400 and 500 yards. The initial velocity of such an arrow is probably not in excess of 250 feet per second. This means that its range is gained by virtue of much smaller drag than is experienced by the ordinary target arrow for which the curves in the plates were computed.

A study of the data emphasizes the fact of common knowledge, namely, the advantage in target shooting, of a heavy arrow shot with high velocity. For example, in the two cases illustrated, at the 100-yard range, the arrow of higher velocity is in flight a half second less than the slower arrow, i.e., 1.8 seconds as against 2.3 seconds. Suppose there is a side wind which, since the dimensions of the two arrows are the same, exerts the same force on each. Suppose further, that the lighter arrow is deflected 2 yards while it is traveling the hundred yards. How much would the heavier one be deflected, at the higher velocity? The answer to this problem is .99 yard, or about half the deflection of the lighter arrow. The smaller the allowance that must be made, the greater is the probability of doing it correctly; a small error is more readily corrected than a large one. Another, less obvious, advantage of the heavy arrow is that it takes over more energy from the bow than does a lighter arrow, which fact denotes higher efficiency. Finally, the heavier arrow at higher velocity has more energy to begin with and, as seen by inspection of the curves, is less affected by air drag. This fact also contributes to greater probable accuracy, especially at the longer ranges.

This comparison is made with due recognition of the fact that many archers shoot too heavy a bow. They should shoot a heavy bow and a heavy arrow only if the bow is under perfect control. If the archer can succeed in training himself to use a heavy bow, and then adopts a bow which is highly effi-cient, it will give him the advantages enumerated above. But if he cannot master a heavy bow, he should by all means use a light one, but one which, other things being equal, will give him the highest velocity for its weight.