Located: Sydney, Australia

Postal: PO BOX 5121, West Chatswood, NSW 1515

©2017 by The Archer's Workshop. Proudly created with Wix.com

Deciding on what archery gear to get can be intimidating especially with such a wide selection available. While sometimes certain gear is clearly better than another the most important thing to remember that 99% of the time, we'd recommend to purchase gear that you like the look & feel of (regardless of performance). The reason for this is archery is not only a physical but a mental one as well. You will shoot better with a bow in your favourite colour than one in a colour you don't like. You will shoot better with a bow that you think is of better quality, therefore you will trust your equipment more. A $300 bow in your favourite colour will always shoot better than a $3000 bow that you don't like the look of. Your bow should motivate you to shoot and practice.

On to selecting actual gear, this guide is broken down to several sections:

1. Bow selection: Recurve bows or Compound bows? Which do I pick?

2. Recurve Bow & shooting accessories selection.

3. Compound Bow & shooting accessories selection.

4. Arrow Selection

1. Recurve bows or Compound bows? Which bow type do I pick?

Recurve Bows are the most common entry into the world of archery. They are much cheaper to start off with compared to a compound bow. Certain skills learned from recurve bows can be transferred over to compound bows. Recurve bows can be shot as "barebow" (void of accessories) or they can be outfitted with accessories and be shot as an "olympic recurve". Only olympic recurve bows are shot in the Olympics.

Compound Bows are technical in terms of setup but they more accurate and easier to operate.They have higher standards of accuracy so a good compound shooter will be expected to shoot higher scores than a recurve shooter. In a tournament environment, it would be a much higher pressure situation as you would be expected to stay in the center of the target all the time whereas a recurve archers would accept a few strays. Due to it being easier to shoot a compound bow, it is the go-to choice for hunting as it provides higher arrow speeds & operational accuracy. However, this is not to say that you could pick up a compound bow and expect to be good in no time. Practice is still required. An elite recurve archer can out-shoot a new compound archer. Elite level compound archers still train as much as olympic-level archers.

Longbows/Traditional Bows are the foundations of archery. It is archery in its most primitive form: a stick and a string. Their simpleness makes it relaxing to shoot. However, it takes much more skill to master shooting these but they will never match the level accuracy of a modern recurve or compound bow.

2. Selecting Recurve Bows & Gear

 

Depending on whether you decide to shoot barebow or olympic recurve will determine what gear you will need. Most people start with a simple barebow with some who transfer over to olympic recurve by adding accessories. However, you can decide that you want to shoot an olympic recurve from the start.

The basics parts of a recurve bow is:

Riser - Main central part of the bow where

            you grip it as well as attaching all

            your accessores to it

Limbs - Provides and stores the energy

             for the bow.

String - Loads energy into the limbs as

              you draw the bow back.

Arrow rest - As the name suggests, a place

                     to rest your arrow as you draw

                     the bow back.

Plunger - Reduces errors produced by

                 the arrow flexing as well as

                 setting your centre-shot.

The other accessories such as the sight, stabilisers,and clicker are not

required but are used in olympic style archery.

Deciding what size bow you require is determined by your draw length.

This is measured from the nock of the arrow to the deepest part of your

grip, then adding 1.75 inches. This is your AMO draw length.

Recommended standard bow lengths for the average person:

<27" Draw Length - 66" Short

27-29" Draw Length - 68" Medium

>29" Draw Length - 70" Long

Less common bow lengths:

<26" Draw Length - 64" Extra Short (23" Riser + 66" Short Limbs)

>30" Draw Length - 72" Extra Long (27" Riser + 70" Long Limbs)

The formula to calculate your bow length is:

Bow Length = Limb Length + Riser Length - 25

Do keep in mind that shorter risers produce different draw weights with the same limb. The general rule is 1# more per inch shorter than 25".

(eg. 23" riser = 2" shorter, therefore a limb listed as 20# is actually 22# on a 23" riser).

Same goes in the opposite direction with a 27" riser. 2" longer = 2# less.

While risers come most commonly in 25", they do come in shorter or longer lengths allowing you to customize how you want to reach your bow length. 21" and 23" are popular for small/short kids and often cost the same or less than a 25" riser.

27" risers are also available for really tall people (often more than 6ft) however they are quite expensive due to their niche market.

Recommendations for bow lengths are just that, "recommendations". There is nothing stopping you from shooting a different bow length, though you may find it less comfortable than what is recommended.

The Basic Parts

Riser: 
This is the most critical part of the bow as it is one of the two places you hold it.

It is often suggested to invest much more into the riser as it is commonly kept as you

upgrade or switch out your gear. The higher level the riser, the better in the long run as

it often means you're less likely to need a new one down the track. Risers can range form $100 to $1000 and it is determined by size, material and finish.

 

The standard size of riser is 25". However they do also come in 21", 23" for people with shorter draw lengths such as children, and also in 27" for adults with long draw lengths. Your riser length combined with your limb length will determine your bow length. (See formula above)

Risers are made of either aluminium or carbon. Aluminium risers are the most common but they do come in different standards:

Die-cast aluminium risers are the cheapest to make and have been shot for decades. The only downside to cast risers are that they cannot handle high draw weights (often more than 30#) due to the material structure. Casting aluminium can produce small bubbles or defects which can compromise the structural integrity. However, for new archers who are unsure or for juniors shooting low draw weights, they are the most cost effective way to start archery.

Machined aluminium risers are the most common way to manufacture risers nowadays. A big fat block of aluminium is forged together, removing any structural defects then a riser is cut out of them. This makes them structurally superior over cast risers. It is considered that there is no draw weight limit on machined risers.

Forged aluminium risers are blocks of aluminium pounded into a series of dies/molds to form it's shape. The differ slightly from machined risers in that their structural grain runs along with the curve of the riser making it stronger but it is considered negligible as the common draw weight range (10 #to 60#) does not even come near to a machined riser's maximum load of hundreds of pounds.

Finishes usually come in anodized or painted. Anodized finishes are more durable than painted finishes but some colour combinations are not possible to anodize.

Limbs: 
Limbs differ in material and sizes. The length of limb you need is determined by using the formula mentioned previously. We would suggest cheap limbs to start off with. The reason for this is that you will increase your draw weight as you train and may go through several sets of limbs. As a beginner, material performance won't mean much to you. Once you approach 30# or more, only then would we suggest to consider limb material.

In terms of material, limbs are usually comprised of a combination of laminates:

Laminate / Core Material

Fibreglass / Wood Core (or Bamboo)

Fibreglass / Foam Core

Carbon / Wood Core (or Bamboo)

Carbon / Foam Core

Carbon / Carbon Core

These material combinations allows an archer to select how they want the limb to perform. It will also determine the cost of the limbs.

- Fibreglass laminate is the most common laminate material as it is the cheapest to produce and is able to withstand the forces.

- Carbon laminate is more expensive to produce but since it weighs less than fibreglass, it will produce more speed over a fibreglass laminate limb

- Core material: Foam (being-synthetic) is less susceptible to warping than wood core. It is also considered to have a smoother draw over a wood core. However if treated equally well, the differences are not noticeable for most people.

String:
For beginners, very simple: Fast Flight string. Nothing fancy.

Later down the track you can experiment with material and strand count.

     Dacron - One of the oldest synthetic string material. Cheap but doesn't have the                       performance of a newer materials as it likes to stretch a lot. Often used                         on traditional bows as it is softer on the limbs.

         Fastflight - Most common modern string material. Has less stretch & creep which                                  produces more speed.

High-Performance Materials - 8125G, 8190, D97, BCY-X, Angel are similar to fastflight but with even                                                         less stretch and creep. However, sometimes less forgiving.

Arrow Rest:
There is only 2 options we'd recommend for target shooters. Either go with a Hoyt Super Rest which costs 50 cents, or a magnetic flipper rest (which ranges from ($10 to $60). We usually don't recommend anything else. Don't underestimate the cheapness of the Hoyt Super Rest. It's simplicity means it does its one job very well and very cheap to replace. If you want reassurances, several olympic level archers shoot with Hoyt Super Rests. In fact, an individual title was won at 2019's World Championships with a Hoyt Super Rest.

For barebow archers looking to string-walk, we'd recommend a wrap-around wire rest due to the extra downward forces caused by drawing the bow asymmetrically.

Plunger:
Nothing too fancy here. More expensive plungers have easier micro-adjustability. They will have fine clicks to make it easier to adjust without the need of tools. Plungers can be as cheap as $10 all the way to top of the line like Beiter Plungers for $120. Shibuya DX Plunger is the best middle ground, being top of the line at half the cost (sacrificing micro-click adjustability).

*If you do get a plunger and use it with a Hoyt Super Rest, slice off the pseudo-plunger (ie. the flappy bit above the actual arrow rest).


Sights (For Olympic Recurve):
Our recommendations for beginners is WNS SJA-50 as it is simple with not a lot of parts. Avoid mid-range sights. They tend to be over complicated which equates to more parts which leads to rattling and losing bits. The Avalon Tec-One is also great for people wanting micro-click adjustments on their sights though we'd recommend using Loctite on the set screws.

Top of the line sights like Shibuya or Axcel can cost upwards of $400 to $600+. The reason they are quite costly is that every bit is precision manufactured and fitted together with almost zero tolerances. Add special coatings and this means almost no chance of screws rattling loose. Reliability at it's finest.

Stabilizers (For Olympic Recurve):
For beginners, any cheap stabliser will do. (Brands: Cartel, SF, Decut, Avalon, etc.) 

More expensive stabilisers are stiffer (and sometimes lighter) providing a different shot feedback. Stiffer stabilisers allow you to add a lot more weights but it isn't a priority for beginners. The decision of adding a v-bar , extender and side rods is up to you. While it may not make a difference at the start, it does mean you will adapt to the weight much sooner. Just remember that more stabilisers = more weight. A new archer may or may not be capable of holding all that weight with an extended arm for prolong periods of time.

Clicker (For Olympic Recurve):
For beginners I suggest not using one yet until the archer has developed some consistency. Your local club coach or more experienced archers at your club would be the best person to judge this. Clickers are fairly simple as they are just a flat stick of steel or carbon. We do locally produce carbon clickers. Beiter also make steel clickers. There are also sight mounted clickers for archers who have arrows that are too long or who are still growing (ie. kids).

Finger Tab:
This is the 2nd most important equipment in your archery kit as it is the 2nd point of contact to the bow.
A good tab needs to be comfortable. While this is a trial and error process, there are general recommendations. Good starting places is Avalon (budget copy of Fivics) to find a fit and feel of how you want your fingertab to sit in your hand. Well known brands for finger tabs are Fivics, AAE KSL, W&W.

Armguard:

If you've done archery before, you have probably been string slapped. If you haven't, you will get string slapped. Regardless of skill level, it is always recommended to wear an armguard. Even top level archers still wear their armguards at World Cup and Olympics.

Bowstand:

You just dished out a few hundred dollars on some nice gear. Why would you rest it in the dirt/mud? 

Quiver:

Something to hold your arrows in. They come in two types: hip quiver or field quiver. Hip quiver faces your arrows forward so you can see your arrows as you load them. Field quiver faces the arrows backwards which is useful for walking around the bush so they don't get caught on bushes or tree branches.

Carrying Case:

Bows can be carried in all kinds of bags/cases ranging from roll-up bags to backpacks, soft roller cases and hard roller cases. If you have minimal gear, a roll-up bag would be suffice. For those who have a bit more gear and accessories, they may opt for a backpack that they can transport easily (especially on public transportation). For the ultimate protection, some people choose to use roller cases for carrying their gear through rough transportation such as road-trips and flights.

3. Selecting Compound Bows & Gear

 

Compound Bow:

Selecting a compound bow is a lot like selecting a car. You will need to decide on what you want to do with the bow: target shooting or hunting. Compound bows are measured in ATA (Axle-to-Axle) which describes the length of a bow. A taller bow (or higher ATA) is prefered by target shooters as it is more forgiving. They are overall heavier as well which helps with stability. Shorter ATA bows are preferred by hunters as they are smaller and lighter. For target shooters we recommend anything between 34" to 40" ATA with emphasis towards the higher ATA range. For hunting, we suggest anything under 35" ATA. You can hunt with higher ATA bows but they will be heavier to carry around. Shorter bows are less likely to catch on tree branches and bushes as well.

You will need to check the bow's specifications to determine if the bow will suit your draw length. The best way to measure your draw length (if you haven't already) is to stand sideways to a wall at an arms length away. Turn your head so it now faces the wall without turning your body. Put out your bow arm (left arm for right-handed shooter) and make a fist. Start shuffling towards the wall until your fist makes contact to the wall. Measure the distance between where your fist makes contact (top edge) and the corner of your mouth (right side for right-handed shooter). That measured distance is your draw length. You may make fine adjustments to your draw length as you develop your shooting skills.

In terms of draw weight, start lower than you think. 30# for juniors, 40# for teenagers & adults would be a good place to start. Struggling with high draw weights can result in serious injuries. As you train and develop the correct archery muscles, you can then increase your draw weight.

 

Arrow Rest:
Compound arrow rests differ in function and results. They are:

         Blade Rest - Used by most target shooters as it provides minimal contact. Simple in design in                                        that it is just a thin spring steel plate but super effective. May be hard for beginners                                  to keep the arrow on the rest as it is quite narrow.

Drop-Away Rest - Common for hunters but also used by target shooters. As the name suggests, the                                      rest drops out of the way as the arrow passes. Usually contained so there i no way for                                the arrow to fall off the rest. Requires some setup to get the timing right.

         Prong Rest - Similar to blade rests but comprises of two prongs instead where the arrow sits on                                   top. More forgiving when it comes to arrows falling off the rest due to it being wider.

Whisker Biscuits -  Full containment rest with synthetic bristles and a hole in the centre, to completely                                    encircle and hold the arrow shaft in perfect alignment and allows feathers or vanes                                    to pass easily through. However due to all the contact with the arrow, they are not                                    preferable for target shooting.

Peep Sight:

Considered the rear sight of your bow. Size would depend on your applications and/or scope size. It mostly comes down to trial and error. The scope should fill the field of view when looking down the peep.

Sights:
For target shooting, our recommendations for beginners is the Avalon Tec-X as it simple and has micro-click adjustments. ​Top of the line sights like Sureloc, Shibuya or Axcel are also available for compounds.

 

For hunting​, there is a wide variety of sights available. Most commonly seen are multi-pin sights as they are cheap and cost effective. Single pin sights similar to target sights are also available. It comes down to personal preference

Scopes:

Scopes for target shooters can be difficult to determine. There is a wide misconception that scopes are measured in magnifications (ie. 4x, 6x, 8x, etc). Shops that advertise scopes in magnifications are incorrect. They assume every archer has a same distance between the archer's eye and the scope, meaning everyone's arms are the same length?? Of course not. The correct way of measuring magnification is calculated by the diopter of the lens and the distance from your eye to the scope/lens. Scopes are sold from dealers and manufacturers are measured in diopters (not magnification) and yet some stores still sort their scopes by magnification.

Click here for the Diopter-Magnification Calculation Chart

Stabilizers:
For beginners, any cheap stabliser will do. (Brands: Cartel, SF, Decut, Avalon, etc.) 

More expensive stabilisers are stiffer (and sometimes lighter) providing a different shot feedback. Stiffer stabilisers allow you to add a lot more weights but it isn't a priority for beginners. You will need a long rod, a side rod and a side-bar mount. Do not attempt to add too much weight at once as the archer may not be conditioned to hold that weight for prolong periods of time.

Single short stabilisers are available for hunters as well. Carrying a compound with a 30" long rod isn't practical when walking around the bush. That is not to say that you can't. Just imagine a long rod sticking out of your blind stand.

Release Aids:

Release aids come in all shapes and sizes. It comes down to personal preference. The different types of release aids are:

                Wrist Strap - Most common for beginners as it is the cheapest to acquire. As the name                                                   suggests, the release aid is a trigger system attached to a wrist strap.

         Thumb Trigger - Most common for higher level target shooters as it provides great control. Used                                       by hunters as well.

Hinge/Back-Tension - Also common in high level target shooting. Activated by rotation as a result of                                           back-tension. Not recommended for beginners.

                Resistance - Similar to a thumb-trigger release but activated through drawing beyond the                                              peak poundage. Definitely not recommended for beginners.

Bowstand:

You just dished out a few hundred dollars on some nice gear. Why would you rest it in the dirt/mud? 

Quiver:

Something to hold your arrows in. They come in two types: hip quiver or field quiver. Hip quiver faces your arrows forward so you can see your arrows as you load them. Field quiver faces the arrows backwards which is useful for walking around the bush so they don't get caught on bushes or tree branches.

Carrying Case:

Bows can be carried in all kinds of bags/cases ranging from carry bags to soft roller cases and hard roller cases. If you have minimal gear, carry bag would be suffice. For those who have a bit more gear and accessories, they may opt for roller cases to roll around. roller cases are a must-have for road-trips and flights.

4. Selecting Arrows

Selecting arrows can be confusing as there are a lot of factors to consider. Arrows need to match the archer and their bow.

 

For recurve shooters, it is determined by:

- Length of the arrow, (not your draw length). Measured from the nock groove to the end of shaft (not       including the point).

- Draw weight of the bow off-your-fingers, (not draw weight of the limbs).

For compound shooters, it is determined by:

- Length of the arrow, (not your draw length). Measured from the nock groove to the end of shaft (not       including the point).

- Peak draw weight of the bow as well as the IBO speed (listed in FPS by the bow manufacturer).

Smaller factors that will affect arrows are (but shouldn't be considered by beginners as they are negligible):

- Point Weight

- Point Shank Length  ***Many archers do not know about this.

- Fletching Weight

- Nock Weight