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Discussion Starter #1
hey guys, just picked up a PSE Mustang a few weeks back, kind of having a hard time gettin the hang of it. ive been shooting compounds for a while, and decided i need to go traditional. im OK at about 10yds, but everything farther than that is pretty much a crapshoot. im doing my best at making sure i shoot the same every time but im just not getting any better. any pointers?
 

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The best pointer I can think of is find someone maybe at ah archery club or somewhere that shoots tradition stuff.
Most that do are more than willing ta help ah brother trad guy out. Its all about form. Dont fret about aimin styles and accuracy till you get ah good solid form. Talk to us about your bow weight draw length and the arras your usin.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
its a PSE mustang, 60" long, 55#, 28" draw. right now im using some beman 400 spine carbons that i stripped the vanes off of and replaced with feathers. (i want to get cedars as soon as i can find some) ive got my nock point set 1/2" above the shelf, which seems to give me the best arrow flight.
 

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I think your on the right track as far as arrow spine. Thats ah givin if your gettin good arrow flight. Most folks would feel that 55# is ah bit much ta learn good solid form on but if thats what ya got then thats what ya got. We will galdly help in any way we can but nothin beats one on one with another who knows the ropes.
 

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Most folks would feel that 55# is ah bit much ta learn good solid form on
+1 on that!

Now, just in case you are a hoss of a fella and feel that's not true in your case I'll elaborate a bit.

There is a big difference in weight you can shoot and weight you can shoot properly with total control. I my self started out with a bow that was 59lbs at 28" draw and stupid me, my draw is actually about 32" and my bow was stacking short of my own full draw length. It caused me all sorts of problems and bad habits before I figured it out. I was simply having way too much fun and wouldn't admit I was overbowed. It wasn't until I started to wonder why I was struggling with decent accuracy that I asked for help. I wish I'd started out 20 pounds lighter. Oh, if you don't know, stacking refers to the point where the bow string angle approaches 90 degrees to the limb and you loose all mechanical advantage and feel the full weight. On heavy bows you REALLY feel it.

Anyway, 55# is certainly a learnable weight but you need to be honest with yourself. Can you go out and shoot for an hour and shoot the last arrow as well as the first? If not, you might be over bowed. You can work around this by knowing when to quit. Starting out it's all about proper form and getting the basics drilled into your hair covered computer until you don't think about them most of the time.

What weight was your compound and how much letoff did it have? Most likely you weren't holding more than 20 pounds at full draw so even a 40# recurve would be a 100% increase in held weight at full draw. Forty pounds isn't much and should be easily handled by most guys. I'd say 40 to 50 lbs is the ideal range for starting out. If you look on fleabay, there are literally hundreds of recurves for sale. The ones in the 40 to 50# range commonly sell for under $100. Many for half that. It might be a cheap investment to pick one up and use it for a while. You will build strength quickly and within a couple weeks your 55 pounder will feel easy. You can also use your 55# bow as a workout aid and practice tool in the house. Simply draw, anchor, aim and hold then let down. Concentrate on solid bow arm and anchor and focus your aim on something like a light switch on the wall. It's like dry fire practice with a rifle only you NEVER dry fire the bow. Work on getting good alignment from your string arm elbow all the way through your bow hand. If you have a mirror you can use that.

Once you start shooting more and more, you will fall into your own style and change little things here and there. Just strive for repeatability and learning to "feel" the shot. Do NOT fall into the trap of getting sloppy or what I call the "grip it and rip it" method. Stay in control of the shot at all times but stay relaxed and fluid or loose. It might take a while because it is a learned skill and you are not used to it. There are no "on target" reference points like a string peep or sight but if you shoot, pay attention to what happens and focus on the target it will come. Using very bright fletching also helps develop your "eye" and learn to see the path of the arrow in your mind before the shot. When you can do that, your most of the way there.
 

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Do NOT fall into the trap of getting sloppy or what I call the "grip it and rip it" method.


All good advice.

If you see someone doing what appears ta be ah rip and grip and shooting well. Theres ah whole lot more going on than meets the eye.
Take your time and dont rush the form pratice shots.
Theres no quick way to this, but the reward is great.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thank you to everyone for all the input! ok so i took a couple short videos of myself slingin some arrows. as far as drawing and anchoring everything looks smooth. when i release though, i notice i drop my bow arm almost immediately after the arrow clears the shelf. also, im "holding" the bow as i would a compound, with an open grip. by the way, my compound is set at 70lbs, im not sure what the letoff is, probably about 80%. i can shoot the recurve for about 45min comfortably
 

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As you draw use the back muscles. Keep the draw hand straight and relaxed with all the pull feelin comin from your back.
When ya hit anchor that CAN NOT be ah restin point. You have ta keep ah push pull feeling. You can do that with your back while still holding anchor.
To shoot simply decide not ta hold the string and let er rip.
You can not stop the push pull with your back at any time during the release or your draw hand will not come straight back and your bow arm will drop causing the whole thing to collapse. Pick one or two things to work on at ah time and watch your videos. Your on the right track.
 

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I think you're on the right track. Consistency is the key. Consistent practice with consistent (proper) form will give you consistent accuracy.

Concentrate on good form and follow through. Shoot at short distances until you are comfortable and accurate, then move back to longer distances.

When you have your form down and can hit at known distances, start shooting at unknown distances at different targets. Cedar shafts with judo points and a lot of stump shooting (the old folks called it "rovers") will make a traditional archer out of you in no time. The biggest bonus is that it's a lot more fun than standing in one spot hammering a target over and over.
 

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Okay, sounds like you're picking up some ideas.

As for the dropping of the bow arm, I may be able to help you. Usually this is caused by one or more things. One, you may not be aligned from your drawing elbow through bow hand. This requires muscle force to hold the bow in place. Two, you are trying to point or aim with your bow hand rather than your entire body and again requires muscle to hold in place. When you release the string, that force causes you to move your bow arm. Years ago, I figured something out on my own that has helped me a lot. Really I just transferred a principle from rifle shooting that says you should not be fighting to hold on target but that you should be aligned naturally with the target and all major support of the weapon should be from bone, not muscle.

What I found, was that if I closed my eyes and pulled my bow to anchor, natural tendencies were to align everything in such a way as to hold with the least effort. How does that help you shoot better? Well, try this. Do some practice draws with your eyes closed and strive to do as Gurn said and pull with your back muscles. There is a definite "push pull" effect. When you hit anchor you should feel rock solid. Bow arm is extended under pressure, (usually with just a slightly relaxed elbow) your other elbow and back are pulling string tension. Draw arm elbow through bow hand is a straight line. Do that several times to get a good feel for it.

Now, go out to your target and take your usual stance, close your eyes and with no thought of where the target is, draw to anchor and feel the "sweet spot". Now open your eyes and see where you are pointed. Probably won't be at the target. The trick is this. Your upper body learns to draw and hold to the "sweet spot" then you aim from the hips down. A good trad archer can turn in all sorts of ways and have his feet pointing the wrong place and still align his UPPER body with the target and get off a clean, accurate shot. What ends up happening (for me anyway) is that you learn to align your upper body with the target before and during the draw. If shooting down, you might bend your forward knee and bend at the hips a bit but YOUR BOW ARM THROUGH DRAW ELBOW STAYS ALIGNED. You don't just stand there and aim your bow arm lower. I'm sure you've heard it said to bend from the waist when shooting down out of a tree stand? Same principle but in this case you aim from the waist regardless of shooting down, up, left or right.

To verify, stand in front of your target and look at it. Now FEEL your upper body alignment and rotate your shoulders and torso left or right as needed, tilt forward or back for elevation, close your eyes and draw. Feel for that sweet spot and open your eyes. If you are dead on target you did it right but if you have to correct a little, your imagined alignment was pointing you in a different place than your natural alignment. When you find your sweet spot, open your eyes and are on target and release cleanly, you should find that your arrow flies true to the mark and NOTHING moves at the shot. Your bow arm will be solid because you were not pushing it around with muscles to get it on target. It was "just there" because your entire body was aligned. If you watch a good shooter their upper body and shoulders are like a compass that zero's in on the target just before they draw. It can be done amazingly fast and with little thought.

Another thing, never try to force your aim. Think of shooting your bow as almost a passive thing. All you do is line things up and observe the arrow on the way to the target. If you are trying to force your aim you will find yourself jerking at release or anticipating and releasing early. Just relax, line things up and calmly let the string slip away. It's a very fluid thing and should not feel like there is a strain or tenseness. That's partly what goes back to the need to learn with a lighter bow than you'd think you might need. If you are fighting the bow, it's difficult to learn the relaxed style of shooting. You can always build up strength and ability then shoot heavier bows but ya gotta be honest about what you can handle.

It's hard to explain so everyone "gets it" so I hope I didn't confuse you. Let me know if it helps.

By the way, if your equipment is not properly tuned and your arrows flying true, you will still have trouble but unless really mismatched, you should still see improvement in accuracy once your form and follow through get better.
 

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Dave can you explain what you mean about aligned with the target i want at make sure I understand . I know that some bow hunters ? target shooters point the shoulder directly at the target and some dont like like IBO champ Rod Jenkins or archery hall of famer G Fred but doing this dose not work well for me in many hunting situations cause of face and body clearence with heavy clothing. Help me with this. I fully understand using the upper body ta move into a good shooting position. Even hunting from ah tree, stand, stool, or still hunting I'd say that most folks coulnt even remember where their feet were placed when the critter got his due. I almost find it funny when you read ah book on so and sos form and they start with how imoportant stance feet position is to have the proper shooting form. But the fact is I aint no expert and most folks would do good to ignore my ramblins ;D

H bomb this is ah side conversation please dont think I am conterdicting what Mr, Dave says. Juast tryin ta understand. You can go to many other boards and see all the bickerin and cuttin hairs ya want but we dont fool with that much here. Keep it simple for now and your gonna do alright. Some of this here stuff is like shootin skeet or pool. Someone can give ah real good way that works for him but theres almost ah little black magic in jut learning how ta ingrain the feelings of those things in your mind. At least it gives ya ah good start. Keepin constant push pull works for me as far as the bowhand dropin.

Take your bow and hold it out in front of ya not drawn. Then squeez hard on the grip. If you see the bow torque to one side then try moving your grip position around till ya can squeez like heck and the bow dont torque. That would ba ah good start on how ta grip your bow. Now draw the bow with ah to anchor. At that point make sure your keepin lots of back tension. With out releasing add back tension (Shoulder blades commin together fellin) .and watch what happens to your bow arm.
In my case the bow arm dose not drop but accually has ah slight straight foward movement. Remember the push pull thing. Again thats just me. Try it .
Remember if me an dave give ya tips we aint out at make ah stament were out ta help. Dont know about Dave but it's ah constant learnin process for this simple mind. ;D
 

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Well H Bomb are any of the pointers helpin.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
i went out and braved the texas sun today...after my usual warm up ritual, i tried out a few of the pointers you fellas were so kind to give, and all in all they are helping out considerably. i did notice though that when i use a firm grip on the bow, even without torque, i get slapped by the string almost every shot. i think i may be rolling the string on the release rather than "letting go." easy enough fix, just gotta be careful how im holdin. i got down to about a 3 1/2in group at 10yds. and around 9in at 15.
thanks again for the help, if ya have any more suggestions, dont hold back..like my grandad told me, the day you stop learnin is the day they lay ya down.
 

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Yer gran daddy was right. ;D I'm ah longbow shooter so I'm just pokin at this one but here goes.Try ah unbroken wrist. Meanin the top of your hand is flat with your arm.. Just take your bow arm with out the bow in it and extend it in front of you. You will notice your wrist is not broken. You will also notice you hand in in kind ah 45 degree position. Now pick your bow up and hold it with the hand in the same position. It will look like the lower part of the hand is rolled away from the bow. The main contact area will be at the base of the thumb. It might feel funny at first but you will have less contact area to affect torque and move the inner arm away from the string path. Also check your brace height you should be at least around 8".
Dont know if I'm good at splain stuff. If ya dont understand or it dont work let me know.
I'm sure Dave or others have some input on this to.
Oh I forgot are you shooting with ah open or more of ah target stance? Thats ah personal choice but when first learnin may affect you as far as body face or arm contact.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
tried out your technique today, it did help with the string slap, but my hand got tired after about 20 shots. i need to wrap the handle with leather or something, the bare wood is kinda iffy in a sweaty hand.. mfg brace height suggestion is 7-7 1/2" and it seems like my sweetspot is at 7 3/8. i try to keep a more open stance, feel more stable that way.
 

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Sorry my bad on the brace height, as I said before I'm ah longbow shooter. I was thinkin most recurves uesd ah higher height than that.
Maybe ah better grip would help. If it makes ya feel any better many shooters when they first start get the arm slap including me.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
no worries Gurn, everybody cant be perfect. ;) i wrapped the grip with some 550 cord for the time being, seems to have helped out unless im doing something different and didnt notice. i was havin a good run today so i backed up to 20yds and took a shot I was only about an inch and a half left of where I was aimin so hopefully it wasnt a fluke and i'm onto something. BTW how heavy tips are you slingin?
 

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Well I sling 200 field tip right now cause thats what I think I'm gonna be usin for hunting this year. Since I dont do target competition I keep the same weight arrow pratice head. All my pratice is directed to huntin and keeping that arc the same is ah good thing for this old worn out hair covered cannputer.
Ah couple months before season I use nothing but the head I'm gonna hunt with.
 

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Howdy again H-bomb.

The thing that works best for me to avoid string slap is to rotate my bow arm from the shoulder so that my elbow is pointing sideways rather than at the ground. Makes a considerable difference in string clearance in general and is a big help when wearing bulky clothes.

Gurn,

As for the alignment with the target thing.... I pretty much ignore my feet and just put 'em where I don't have to think about 'em. The point I was trying to make about alignment is that with your eyes closed if you pull to anchor and hold, your body tends to align itself in such a way as to use the least amount of effort to hold the bow at anchor. The "sweet spot". If you do this then open your eyes without moving anything you will be pointing "somewhere" but maybe not at the target. The alignment I'm talking about is when you look at the spot on the target and position your upper body so that when you hit anchor and the "sweet spot" you are also aligned with the bullseye. It's probably just a matter of putting something into words that should come naturally but I myself was guilty of trying to aim with my bow arm instead of my entire upper body for quite some time. Picture coming to a full draw with a solid anchor. Your legs are somewhat bent and feet a comfortable distance apart. You should be able to maintain that upper body form and swivel with your hips and legs, pivot up and down and danged near turn around backwards to point the bow where at the target of your choice.

I've seen your pictures here and it looks to me like you probably already do this. Seeing your critter pictures I'm sure you must be a pretty good shot so not much of anything I say is likely to help ya.

Do you ever get in a situation and feel like all your aiming is done almost before you pull the string back? You know, you see a bunny in the brush, you crouch a bit in anticipation, your shoulders and upper body align themselves without you even thinking about it. Maybe you rotate a little, holding the bow at the ready, lean forward a tad (downward shot on a bunny most times) and at some point your mind says "now" and you draw, anchor and release with no real thought and when you hit anchor things just felt "right". That's because you aligned your body with the target before you ever drew back. I'd even go so far as to say that this is my idea of instinctive shooting but there is not much instinctive about it. Most people have to learn it through lots of shooting and practice.

All that the eyes closed then open practice really does is reinforce your instinctive ability. It lets you feel that solid form with your eyes closed and when you open them and adjust your aim, you kinda calibrate your natural ability to get lined up with the target AND hit that solid form sweet spot. Ideally, after a little practice, a shooter learns to align so well that he's always on target when he opens his eyes. Then you just do it once in a while as reinforcement training and bunnies and critters beware!

I'm having a hard time explaining and certainly I'm no great shot so probably shouldn't be giving this advice but I've had a heck of a bout with target panic for years and have been working to overcome that, which is totally a different cause (or excuse) of my sometimes poor accuracy. When I can overcome the target panic AND shoot like I'm trying to describe it's pretty amazing how easy it seems to shoot. I just get that little glitch sometimes at release that really messes me up. I call it "the spaz" and it's getting less common but still happens. Usually at the worst possible time. It's one of the reasons I mentioned earlier trying to relax through the shot and not force your aim.
 

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Sounds like we shoot bout close the sams as two fellers could. When I was readin your post it sounded like me talkin but with alot better skill at explainin than I have.. :)
 
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