My Bow Blew Up!!

My Bow Blew Up!!

Yeah right! It just discombobulated and fruited itself all on it’s lonesome did it?

The modern compound is an engineering marvel – they don’t just blow up – it’s operator error every time. No truer words have been said on this topic than these… “String derailments account for many of the incidents where bow owner’s mistakenly claim their bows “blew up.” Novice archers are often unable to differentiate between a string derailment (user error) and a bow which has actually failed (broken limb, broken cam, etc.). Many new archers are simply unaware that poor shooting form and improper handling of a compound bow can lead to dangerous string derailments.” And yes, you’re right, dry fires account for all the remaining ‘exploding’ bow incidents.

Derailments don’t just happen to the newby archer either. Derailments can catch out archers upgrading to today’s high energy, high let-off compounds after years of ‘finger shooting’ their old school gear successfully. Derailing your bow will cost you. A derail will cut bowstring strands, snap bowstrings, split limbs and fold cams as good as any dryfire of a bow can. The risk of a dry fire or derail is the reason why all archery pro-shops mention to their customers when buying a new bow to NEVER LET ANYONE ELSE USE IT – and that includes letting someone pick it up and draw it too!

Poor shooting form and bow handling skills cause derails. If you don’t have poor shooting form or bow handling skills you won’t derail your bow – ever. Bow grip and drawing with fingers and torquing the bowstring at full draw are the culprits and are what we need to square away.

Bow Grip – if you grip your bow handle – you’re doing it wrong. Sorry, but it’s rubbish habit and you need to junk it right now. Gripping your bow introduces all the forearm muscles and they will torque your bow riser sideways all over the place. And, hey, in the quest of archery consistency and repeatability – what’s the point of that anyway! It’s effect is even worse when letting the bow down because we condition up physically to draw a bow but not so much to let one down. Gripping is often called the Kung Fu or broom handle grip. An open grip is the only way to fly. Fact – you will not find one decent archer who grips his or her bow. Yes, they will all have their own loose grip variation – but they’ll all be a variation of the open ‘grip’.

Drawing with fingers/bow string torque – today’s modern compound bow is engineered to be shot with a release aid. Even drawing a high energy, high let-off compound with your fingers is risky. Shooting one with fingers – you risk a derail. Only archers with good form can do it. Todays short axle to axle compounds ‘pinch’ the finger shooter as they come to full draw, but are perfect for the release shooter. Pinching the arrow coming to full draw can roll the string out of the nock too. So you might even get a dry fire thrown in for free. Release aids and the D-loop we team them up with makes it impossible to torque and deform the bow string out of it’s straight and true line. And don’t we shoot so much more accurately with one?

The irony, I guess, about blowing a bow up is that it should be the sole preserve, pleasure and right, to be enjoyed, if that’s the right word, only by the expert archer. The top competitive archers all but redline their bows with arrows weighing a fraction above minimum grains per inch. Their bowstrings are the best custom jobs available and archery puns aside, the only thing ‘creepy’ about them will be their price. In other words – they stress their bows to just a feather over manufacturer recommendations and get heat haze inducing flat trajectories as a result. They know they’ll kill their bow eventually, but while that’s happening they’re shooting near perfect or perfect scores. More power to them. They know exactly what they are doing. A friend of mine (also my coach when I was a kid) treated himself to a low brace height Mathews warhorse not long ago. He got straight to work wringing it’s neck. He came in a couple of days later saying he loves it “…shoots bullet hole groups even with his first rough ‘eye ball’ set-up. For a laugh I asked him if he’s derailed or dry fired it yet. The knowing chuckle, head shake and “Not a chance”…

So for your viewing pleasure, and with the hope of preventing a derail or two, enjoy…

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