By Scott Einsmann
Warm spring weather means archers can once again enjoy their sport in the great outdoors. Besides the change of scenery, outdoor target archery lets archers practice farther distances than they can indoors.
If you shoot a low draw weight or short draw length, you might struggle at longer distances, especially at 70 meters. A common problem is arrows falling short even after you adjust your sight to its lowest setting. If you encounter that problem, we have some tricks to help you hit the mark.
Have you switched to outdoor arrows? Indoor arrows are typically heavier, with a fatter diameter and larger fletching than outdoor arrows. Those features make indoor arrows the king at 18 meters, but for farther distances you’ll want lighter arrows with smaller vanes. If you need help selecting outdoor arrows, consult an archery shop’s technicians. These experts will help you choose your arrows and components, and then tune your bow for the setup.
Higher draw weights boost arrow speeds and flatten trajectories. If you decide to raise yours, increase it incrementally as you build strength to avoid injury. One of the best exercises for increasing draw weight is “specific physical training,” or SPT, which was developed by KiSik Lee, USA Archery’s head coach. SPT exercises usually require a bow, but resistance bands or other training devices that mimic drawing a bow also work.
The exercise is simple. Draw your bow and hold it at full draw with good form for at least 15 seconds but no more than 30 seconds. Then rest and repeat the process for 30 minutes to an hour. An hour of this exercise equates to shooting 200 to 250 arrows.
To ensure safe SPT with a bow, stand in front of a target with an arrow loaded. If you accidentally fire, you won’t damage your bow. Resistance bands let you do SPT workouts at home while watching TV or enjoying some fresh air and sunshine.
Don’t forget that increasing draw weight affects your arrow tuning. You might need to adjust your equipment when reaching your goal weight.
Simple solutions are sometimes all you need. If you can’t lower your scope or sight pin, try lowering the entire sight bracket. The brackets on most target sights can be removed, lowered and reinstalled so archers can lower their sight pin.
Lowering the pin lets you shoot targets farther away, but it can cause clearance problems if you move it into the arrow’s path. To test for clearance, put your arrow on the rest with its fletching forward. Hold the arrow level, as if you could shoot it, to see if the fletching touches the sights or scope.
Most target sights have an adjustable extension piece to move the sight in and out. Move your sight in to make your arrows hit higher. If you bring the sight all the way in, and you still can’t reach your desired distance, try flipping the bracket around, which brings the sight even closer. Watch the video above to see this method demonstrated.
With these tips and a little help from an archery pro, you’ll enjoy shooting farther distances.