New sight time

The sight on my Bowtech Fuel compound bow is decent, and the fiber optic pins are pretty bright.  It isn’t a high end sight – it works fine, but is missing a few upgrades that a higher-end sight will have.  Where this sight falls down is in the adjustments.  You loosen a allen-head cap screw and move the scope right or left, up or down for windage and elevation, respectively.  The sight pins adjust in the same way.  There aren’t any markings to indicate how far you’ve actually moved it, so getting it sighted in is a bit of a guessing game.

I decided to see what other sights were available on the used market.  Good quality new sights are upwards of $200, so going used seemed the best choice.  I found a good deal on a Sword Maximus Pro sight on the archerytalk classified section, which has micro click adjustments for windage and elevation.  The price was fair so I picked it up.  When it got here, I was impressed with the construction quality – it’s just a solid and well thought out sight with a nice light for the fibers.  What was missing were instructions for adjusting the 3 axes.  Not really a surprise for a used sight – most folks don’t keep the instructions once a part is installed – some folks never read the instructions at all (Pot, this is the kettle.  You’re black.).

So I emailed the company and they don’t have a manual available.  Odd.  I would have thought a manual would be a common thing to include with any bow sight, but apparently not.  I was able to get some advice from folks that have the same sight, and once I had a point in the right direction the adjustments made sense.

The sight is mounted and leveled, next is to get it sighted in.  The sight is a 5 pin sight, but one pin is not installed.  so I’ll sight it in for 10-20-30-40 yards.  10 and 20 yards can be adjusted at the indoor range at the archery shop, 30 and 40 yards will need to be done outside.

Restoring a classic Hoyt recurve

I decided to treat the Hoyt as a restoration project.  The history of this bow and the success archers had with it were the driving influence.

The limbs need nothing, but the riser needs some attention.  Since it’s a target bow, a brightly colored riser is the norm, and this originally came in black, white, blue, and red.  I think a metallic red would look great with the ivory colored limbs.  I reached out to Duane, a magician with paint who has painted and touched up several bikes for me.  I sent him a photo of the riser and told him what I had in mind.  He agreed to do the painting, and he already had some very nice red paint, a dark Mercedes red metallic.  Perfect.  I packed and shipped the riser to him.  It will probably take 3-4 weeks before I have it back and that’s fine.  I trust him to work his magic and I have no doubt of the quality of the result.

We’ve emailed back and forth about what can be painted and what needs to be masked off, so I think we’ve got that sorted out.  I have an arrow rest and a plunger ready to go on, and that’s enough to get started.  I’ll get the nocking points set up and then see how well I can shoot it.  I’m not expecting miracles here, I’m just learning.  Given that constraint, I’ll go slowly and make adjustments as needed.  Eventually I’ll (hopefully) be able to shoot it reasonably well.

Once I have the riser back from Duane, I’ll take some photos of it and of the assembled and strung bow.  Stay tuned.  If the shooting sessions go reasonably well, there might even be some photos of arrows in the target.  If they’re missing, well, then you’ll know how much work I have to do.

Branching out

The compound bow kind-of equates to a modern bicycle in my mind, while recurve and longbows seem to be the bow version of classic bicycles.  If you’ve followed my bike builds, you know that I like classic steel bikes.  So it shouldn’t be a complete surprise that I would look for a recurve bow.

And I found one, a Hoyt Pro Medalist takedown bow, a TD/2 model.  This bow was made between 1976 and 1980 so it definitely qualifies as a classic.  In it’s day, this bow won literally everything there was to win in archery – from Olympic gold medals to World championships.  The asking price was reasonable, so I picked it up.

The grip was cracked, which is not unusual for these older bows.  The riser is cast magnesium and the grip slips onto the riser from the belly side of the bow (the side of the bow that is closest to your belly while shooting).  Finding a grip proved difficult (as in a complete lack of success) and then a post on archerytalk suggested that I look for a riser that had a grip on it that would fit the Hoyt.  I’ve been known to buy a complete bicycle to obtain some parts that are not available separately, so this seemed like a reasonable thing to do.  I found one and despite some shipping delays, it arrived in fine shape.  The grip is a tight fit on the Hoyt riser so I didn’t force it – I certainly don’t want to crack this grip knowing how difficult they are to find.

The rest and plunger that came with it were ok, but not great.  I figured out which rest and plunger would be good replacements and ordered them.

The limbs are 30# (30 pound pull) on a 24″ riser, so they’re a good weight to start with on a recurve journey.  They’re in excellent condition, no nicks or obvious wear.  Because this is an older bow, the recommended string material is Dacron.  The modern string materials are too harsh for these older limb without tip reinforcements so I ordered a new string made from Dacron.

Once the string arrived, I strung the bow and shot a few arrows into my target.  This is a completely different game to the compound bow.  Definitely a challenge to shoot well, but I like challenges.

Rekindling an old interest

I was over at my friend Greg’s house and he was shooting a new crossbow.  It’s a very nice one – fast, accurate and fun to shoot.  Greg is a very good shot with it. and I acquitted myself pretty well.  I’ve been wanting to learn to shoot a bow for a long time, and I’ve never actually taken a step towards learning.  Those few minutes shooting a crossbow at Greg’s brought back my interest in learning to shoot a bow.

I registered at and started looking at used bows in the classified forum.  I found a couple that looked decent, and read some reviews to see if there were any problems with the bows.  I decided to make an offer on a Bowtech Fuel package that included a sight, rest, stabilizer, soft case, and some arrows with field points.  We agreed on a price and I sent a check.  He received the check, and a few days later shipped everything to me.  I got it and it was just as nice as he had described.

Being a complete noob at archery, I decided the smart thing to do was to get the bow checked out at a local shop and have it set up for me.  Greg and I went to Herndon Archery in Herndon, KY.  He looked it over and said the strings looked almost new, and the brace height was right at the spec.  He put it on the drawboard and said the cam timing was perfect, and the draw weight was between 38 and 39 pounds.  He gave me a release and an arrow and had me draw the bow.  He said the draw length needed to be lengthened to be a better fit for me.  On this bow the draw length can be set by moving a module.  He lengthened the draw length by an inch, and had me draw the bow again.  It felt better to me and he said it looked better to him as well.

He gave me some hints about foot position, bow hand position, and some suggestions about finding my own anchor position.  Now to see if I can actually hit the target with a bow.

The first few shots

Greg has a target at his house, with a nice backstop behind it.  Not knowing what to expect with the first few shots, a backstop seemed like a pretty good thing to have.

I started at 10 yards.  The first few shots all hit the target.  Not too bad if I’m honest, and I was a little surprised.  Tried a few more shots at 10 yards and the group looked halfway decent.

I moved back to 20 yards and tried a few more shots.  These were a little low, but the left-right alignment was pretty good.  Wound up shooting about 20 shots at the 20 yard distance and the grouping was decent.

Moved back to 30 yards, and the group is definitely low.  Greg thought the bottom pin might be set for 25 yards, so I moved up 5 yards.  Now the arrows are grouping all around the center.  Not the best group, but not scar-me-for-life ugly.

It was fun.  I think it will take practice to become a good shot, but if I pay attention to the little details I can become a better shot.  I need to pick up some new arrows.  The wrist release I bought from Herndon Archery is working well for me, and the target is fine for practicing.