Back in the old days, archery was pretty straightforward. Using a bendable piece of wood and a taut, springy line, anyone could create a bow from which to fire an arrow. While most bows back then were wooden and the string was made of animal hide, today’s modern bows are made of composite materials and the lines are high-strength synthetics. There are three basic types of the bow: recurve, compound, and traditional (or straight). A straight bow is made similar to the ones in the past. A compound bow is a bit more complex, using different shapes and materials to launch the arrow farther, and more accurately. Today, however, we’ll be discussing recurve bows; specifically, How To Store Your Recurve Bow?
- Mechanics of a Recurve Bow
- Recurve Bow Structure
- Safety Procedures
- Do not rest your bow on its tips
- Do not dry fire your bow
- String your bow correctly, not backward
- Don’t let anyone bigger than you shoot your bow
- Recurve Bow Storage
Mechanics of a Recurve Bow
The recurve bow is so named because of its shape. While traditional bows are wood bent into an arc shape, a recurve bow turns back at the tips. The reason for the curvature is that it can make the bow much more efficient, both regarding distance and accuracy. While recurve bows are not quite as elaborate as a compound bow, they are more advanced than a traditional bow. What also distinguishes recurve bows from the rest is the fact that they are the only type of bows allowed in the Olympic games. Thus, if you’re looking to pursue archery as a full-time sport, practicing with a recurve bow means you can eventually compete internationally.
Recurve Bow Structure
Unlike traditional straight bows, the recurve puts far more pressure on the bow itself due to the mechanics of how it fires. Because of this, many recurve bows are made of modern metals and materials, such as fiberglass. Beginner recurves, however, may be made of wood or plastic. Additionally, some recurve bows may be made in sections for easier transport and storage. The bow is separated into three parts: two tips and the middle section, or riser. The other reason to build a bow in sections is to allow for interchangeability when shooting. Some tips are shorter than others, some are made of different materials, etc. However, the majority of recurve bows are built in one-piece.
When it comes to stringing, using, and storing your bow, there are several things you have to consider to protect not only the bow but yourself as well. Here are some of the most common things you need to consider when taking care of your recurve bow.
Do not rest your bow on its tips
Because of the way the recurve bow works, the tips are crucial in making sure that everything works correctly. Thus, you never want to put excess pressure on the tips either by using the bow as a walking stick or by resting it on the tip. Storing it that way will affect how it fires and could damage the structure.
Do not dry fire your bow
While it is tempting for many people to pick up a bow and test it without an arrow nocked, this can adversely affect the bow and the string. Because both are designed to work with an arrow, dry firing could send excess shock into the bow. In extreme cases, the shock may cause the bow to break or shatter.
String your bow correctly, not backward
While this procedure seems pretty straightforward, some people accidentally (or on purpose) string their bows backward. This mistake can have devastating effects, and could break the bow if fired. Always follow the proper procedure when stringing your bow. To that end, I also advise that you use a stringer to line your bow, as this will help eliminate damage. If you are an experienced archer, you may be able to string your bow without a stringer, but for any beginners, a stringer is a must.
Don’t let anyone bigger than you shoot your bow
The reason for this tip is that most bows are designed for people of a certain height and gait. Allowing someone taller than you to shoot your bow may damage it as they will pull the string back farther than you, causing stress to the tips.
Recurve Bow Storage
When not using your bow, you may think that storing it would be easy. However, it is not that simple. Because of the mechanics of the bow and string, storing your bow correctly will ensure that it works perfectly every time and does not get damaged. Many beginners think that they can just toss their bow into the closet when they’re not using it, but this is a mistake.
String or Unstring When Storing?
If you ask three archers whether they leave their bows unstringed or stringed when storing them, you’re likely to get three different answers. The reason for this is that different materials, coupled with each archer’s personal experience, dictates a different response from each shooter. However, there is a worthwhile rule to consider when storing your bow. If you use the bow regularly, like every day or every couple of days, leaving the string on shouldn’t hurt it. This is especially true if your bow is made of fiberglass, as that material isn’t affected very much by the line in general.
If, however, you go long periods without firing your bow, the best thing to do is unstring it and cover it with a bow sock. Over time, the string will cause added pressure on the tips, which can either warp the bow or break it. If you’re putting your bow away for at least a week or more at a time, unstringing it will be the safest option to ensure that your bow is in top condition every time. If you go months or years between uses, I would advise using a bow sock to keep it relatively clean, as well as protect it from dings and scratches that could occur if it gets shuffled around.
When it comes to physically storing your bow, how should it rest? Some archers lay the bow flat on its side while others hang it horizontally by the string, or upside down with the tips resting on two pegs. Which method is best? Again, it comes to the frequency with which you use your bow. Ideally, however, the safest way is to store your bow horizontally and upside down. The tips of the recurve bow are designed to bend backward, so resting them on two pegs keeps the bow in top shape. If you leave your bow stringed, however, and want to hang it by the string, it’s best to use two wide pegs to even the amount of pressure. If you leave it on a single hook or nail, the line could break over time, or cause damage to the tips.
If you aren’t able to store your bow upside down on a rack or the wall, setting it sideways should suffice. Again, unstring it if you will not be using it for a while, but that method should be okay for short-term storage. Never store your bow vertically, however, as this will damage the tips and could break the bow.
Now that I’ve covered proper storage of your bow when you’re at home, how do you transport it when travelling? The answer will depend on the exact type of bow you have (take-down versus one-piece), how often you travel with your bow, how far, and what you take with it. One thing to keep in mind, however, is never to leave your bow in hot and humid conditions, such as a hot car. The heat could warp the bow and damage it, so always leave it in mild, dry places.
Before we look at the different types of transportation materials, first you must understand that you are never just taking a bow. Obviously, you will need space for your arrows, and, depending on how sharp they are, the containment for the arrows needs to be as carefully padded at the bag for your bow. In addition to arrows, you will be taking along arm guards, sights, and repair equipment such as glue, nocks, stringing threads, stringer, etc. Thus, whatever method you choose, you must keep in mind that you will be storing all of these accessories too. In my experience, keeping everything together makes it easier to remember everything. It’s too easy to forget something if it’s in another box or bag.
For many casual archers, a soft storage bag should suffice for transporting your recurve bow. These bags usually resemble duffle bags and have extra pockets for arrows and accessories. Soft storage bags are great for taking your bow in the car but are not recommended for air travel, as they don’t protect against damage very well.
If your recurve bow is a take-down model, then having a backpack is probably ideal, as it is more compact and has plenty of room for storing everything. Usually, you will need a separate container for your arrows, but those can be found relatively cheap, or you can make one yourself with a little elbow grease.
If you are a competitive archer or travel often with your bow on an airplane, then a hard case is ideal for you. The case comes with protective padding inside to keep everything safe and protected. Some hard cases even have space for a backup bow, which is essential for any competition. If you’re a casual archer, however, a hard case may not be worth the investment, as they are usually much pricier than soft storage.
When it comes to taking care of your bow, remember these safety tips and the bow should last for years to come. Whether you’re just starting out in archery or have been shooting for a while, proper care and storage of your recurve bow will ensure that it shoots correctly every time.
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