On the Choice of Weapons for Shooting in the York round
IF you were going to shoot in a match at glass balls, pigeons or rooks you would be sure to procure the very best double-barreled breach-loader and the finest brand of powder, and the exact size of shot suited to the purpose. You would load your shells with the greatest care, and see that not a speck of rust marred the choked bores of your barrels.
The same care is required in the matter of archery. Even more. A rifle does not require nicer discernment in selecting it than does a bow for the York Round.
Italian and Spanish yew make the best self bows. No wood can compare with yew for perfect elasticity and evenness of spring. But yew bows are very costly. A good one is valued at $100, and extra fine ones sell for as high as $250 each.
Backed bows, that is, bows made of two pieces glued together, are very quick and springy, but have a heavier recoil than the self yew bows.
Self lancewood or lemonwood, if of the best perfectly seasoned wood, makes a fine and reasonably cheap bow; the best, perhaps, for ordinary use.
Snakewood backed with hickory, and lancewood backed with hickory, are beautiful and excellent weapons, sold by dealers at from eight to twenty dollars, according to grade.
Self snakewood bows are good, but their recoil is fearfully wearing on the left hand and arm of the archer.
Beefwood backed with finest lancewood, makes a really smooth shooting and reliable weapon though inclined to follow the string.
Except for the hard training of those who on account of their much shooting, may be termed professional archers, the backed bows and self lancewood bows above mentioned are quite as good as any, besides being very cheap and durable, if well made.
Bows are not to be chosen simply by the kind of wood they are made of. Some lemonwood or lancewood self bows are better than some yew bows.
The qualities most desirable in a bow are, first: Perfect elasticity, which means that it shall go back to its first shape when unstrung. Secondly: standing power, that is, that it shall not grow weaker with shooting. Thirdly: sweetness of draw and recoil, which means that it shall have no harshness or stubbornness in its bending, but shall curve evenly with smooth action in drawing, and recoil without any jar or jump after the loose.
For the York Round, arrows must be absolutely perfect. The stele must be straight, even and smooth, tapering slightly from the feather to the nock. The pile must be parallel-sided, perfectly round and ground to a short pointer Snakewood makes the best footing. The shape of the feathers of English arrows is either triangular or curved. Peacock feathers are best.
We pronounce the method of feathering, invented by Maurice Thompson, Esq., the best possible for arrows to be used in the York Round. These feathers are cut to a certain length and breadth, corresponding to the weight of the arrow and the outline is a parabolic curve. These arrows are now manufactured to weight, according to Mr. Thompson's formula, by E. I. Horsman, Nos. 80 and 82 William Street, corner of Maiden Lane, New York.
Arrows should be made of the very hardest and best seasoned pine. Their weight should correspond to that of the bow; but nothing heavier than 4.9. should be used with any bow. If made of very stiff deal we prefer 4.6. for the York Round, but the wood of the stele must be extra stiff indeed.
The "characteristic," so to speak, which best determines an arrow's value is a perfectly smooth, even flight, without any vertical or lateral shaking. The feathered end should follow the point so smoothly that, when shooting point-blanc, you can see nothing but the feather during the arrow's flight.