Maintenance - trad vs compound - Mobile
Maintenance - trad vs compound

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15 Responses
09/19----by: Woodman@work
The pull on me to start shooting trad is growing stronger by the day. I understand that I will likely need to log more hours at the range. What about tuning and maintenance? Is a recurve or longbow easier to tune and keep in tune than a compound if both have top quality strings?

09/19----by: C.G.
I've never shot a compound, let alone tune one. But, after you get arrows tuned and built, the only maintenance is keeping up your ability to hit what you shoot at. I can stop shooting my trad bows for a few weeks and it takes me a bit to get back into form again with my accuracy. It guess its mental maintenance that has to be upkept. Maybe wax your string every now and then.

09/19----by: Hunting555
Actually, tuning CAN be a little more complicated. Except for moving the nocking point up and down and changing brace height, the rest of the tuning is done with the actual arrows and can vary depending on the arrows you are shooting.

Aluminum and carbon will probably make it easier. You still have to make your bow to arrow size.

When shooting wood shafts you still have to match the shaft to the bow, but you basically have to tune each and every arrow. You can change everything by simply rotating the arrow 180 on the string.

You will get quicker at it the more you do it. My dad can match up a dozen shafts fairly quickly anymore.

09/19----by: oldgoat (mobile)Sent from Mobile Phone
I screwed up stumping while elk hunting the other day & broke my string, I had a spare at home on my other set of limbs, had I had it with me instead, I would of been shooting again within 5 minutes, instead I got to play guide & caller for my gal the rest of the day, stopped by shop on way home, bought 2 strings, set one up, shot some arrows & I'm ready to hunt again. I was in shop day before it happened too and almost bought another string, but thought, Bah, I'll be ok! Now flash back to weekend before and my buddy makes a downhill shot at a bull while sitting on ground and hits ground with bottom cam and derails his bow, loses some parts in process, and has a elk hunt out of state the Thursday coming up, talk about having to jump through hoops to get bow back together and tuned, sighted in again etc.. He got it done, but just barely in time.

09/19----by: oldgoat (mobile)Sent from Mobile Phone
And on a sidenote to my string, I told my gal I could just use the string off her bow, I think her words were "Yeah Right, Start Calling" or something to that effect, talk about ungrateful:)

09/19----by: hntn4elk
As far a maintenance for the two bows, the trad is going to be much easier as there is less to get out of whack.

The Zen like mindset is another matter all together...

If you are thinking of going to trad...just do it....if it suits you it will stick, if not...


09/19----by: GF
A tradbow is as close to zero maintenance as it gets. If you have a spare string (all set up and ready to go, if you're clever) and a little spare rug rest material, maybe a piece o' moleskin... Really not much can happen to ruin your hunt short of snapping a limb...

So you just ask yourself - would I rather spend all that 'extra' time shooting, or fiddling with equipment?

A lot of people say "oh, you've gotta practice and practice and practice....", but I've never looked at it that way. IMO, I GET to shoot a lot more, because I have a good excuse to do so.

Start light and give it a go. You'll get addicted quickly or not at all. So wait - better idea. Start off with a nice, slim R/D longbow of 62"-64" and about as many pounds, and which has a pretty well-defined locator grip to it. If the trad thing doesn't work out, I'll help you get back out of the deal without losing any more than half your money ;)

09/19----by: acadianarcher
I used to shoot a compound years ago before I switched to a recurve.

A recurve/longbow is virtually maintenance free- check your brace height is usually the main item and keep the string waxed. As others have said basically maintenance free. As with all bows do a quick inspection of the bow and your arrows before shooting and you're good to go.

As GF said you're either going to get hooked or not. I shoot an average of 4 times a week. Sometimes it 100 arrows sometimes it just ten or so. It's not practice to me it's fun. The trick to starting out is to start shooting up close and not too heavy a bow.

Once hooked everything becomes a target- stumps, grass, cans etc.

09/19----by: Woodman@work
Thanks for the input. I would much rather work on form than equipment.

09/19----by: ChrisK1977
I shoot both. This what I like about my longbow. strings last me around 2 years and cost anywhere from $8-$25. If they break I usually already have one handy that I can just slip on. My rest is a piece of velcro. If it falls off or wears away I am out $0.05. My sights are as good as my eyesight. As long as I mentally picture the middle of something that I am shooting at I will either hit it or come darn close. I can put a shot together faster with my longbow. Here are a few things that I like about shooting a compound. I cannot shoot #72 all day but I can with my compound. I can drill the wings off of a gnat at a known distance of 20-50 yards. Here are the things I don't like about my longbow. I get pains in my hand if I shoot all day long. There is no letoff(not to big of a deal). It is 62 inches long where as my compound is 28 inches long. Here is my biggest complaints about my compound. There are screws,cables,strings,cams, idler wheels, things I cannot pronounce or simpley do not know what they are called and they all can go bad and make your shots go all over the place. Longbow I have a bow,rest,string and arrow. Though if you really wanted to(been argued on other sites) I like using wooden arrows and nothing is prettier than a set of wooden arrows blazing 170fps through the air as compaired to my near 300fps carbon blah arrows. I have less shooting light even when there is legal shooting light is coming or going. I never needed fiber optics on my longbow. Good recurves and longbows will last a lifetime. Most compounds will last a longtime as well. You are more likely going to get tired of your compound and by a new one to replace the one that you currently use. You might buy an "extra" longbow or recurve to supplment your collection or how ever you can rationalize it with yourself or your wife!

09/19----by: playin' hookey
I would say that the initial tuning for traditional tackle is comparable, in terms of time and effort, to that for a compound. Perhaps more involved for trad. For trad, it is about bareshaft tuning to get your arrows' spine correct for your bow and form, as opposed to getting the gizmos properly aligned on a compound. And since your form needs to be consistent for initial tuning to yield consistent results, it is best to get a "ballpark" set of arrows and practice for a while (months for me) to develop some consistency of form before really getting serious about tuning. After your gear is tuned, there isn't much that can go wrong equipment-wise, apart from a bent arrow or cut string. I guess it is good to check your brace height once in a while. As others have said, once you have your equipment tuned, what you have to concentrate on is your form, and I think that is more enjoyable to work on than mechanical gizmos. Check out the leatherwall as it is a great place for advice on stickbow shooting.

09/19----by: Two Feathers
Woodman - A stickbow is way easier to tune than a wheel bow. With a stickbow all you need to worry about when tuning is nock set, brace height, and arrow spine.

"Really not much can happen to ruin your hunt short of snapping a limb..." I did that on an elk hunt. Was I glad I had an extra set of limbs along.

09/21----by: jostov7
No way is a stickbow easier to tune than a compound. As a former Pro shop guy, I can honestly say that I can tune most any compound in a matter of minutes and be shooting good groups right away. I traditional several years back, thinking it would be easy. I soon found out what playin' hookey said to be true. You must develop good consistent form before you really start to tune a trad bow. For me, being honest, this took over a year before I had my bow/arrow/consistent draw length and anchor point combination truly tuned. Others may be able to get there much quicker, but tuning a trad bow is a long process for a newbie. I def suggest going on the leatherwall. Without those guys, I'd have never figured any of it out. Good luck and I hope your 1st traditional harvest does for you what it did for me.

09/21----by: fuzzy

fuzzy's Mobile Photo
I'm with GF. I have waxed my string twice, and twisted it to raise the brace height, once in the past three seasons. That's it.

btw, this June 2011 Oklahoma hog was a 23 yard shot, on a 90 pound animal hit about an inch high and a fuzz back for a center heart-shot....

once you "get it down" it's not a tough skill to keep honed

09/21----by: GF
Another helpful hint...

Once you have your brace height dialed, mark all of your arrows at the point where they contact your rest/shelf/rug/whatever. A very clever man might go so far as to crown dip and crest to the exact fistmele - that way, you're checking it every time you nock an arrow. Set your nocking point on the spare string in some immovable fashion, and it will be exactly where it belongs when the brace height is right. No bow square required.

Gets not much simpler than that....

But yes, it's hard to get tuned well if your release is so rough or your draw length so variable that you're never shooting the same arrow twice. Funny thing, though. Even when they're not perfectly spined for your bow, well-matched arrows tend to group as reliably as the shooter's form will allow, and some 5" helicals will control a broadhead surprisingly well. No, you can't be completely outside the ballpark, but the fanatical approach to tuning is not strictly necessary, so long as your broadheads will hit where you're looking at ranges where the arrow has had a chance to straighten up. At closer ranges, they'll hit close enough, but penetration suffers when the arrow is flying sideways.... You think the archers of 100-10,000 years ago were sweating the results of their paper-tune? Perfection is a worthy pursuit, but hardly necessary for a clean kill at normal tradbow ranges.

And as far as spare parts go... It's best to carry a few extras of exactly what's on your bow, but if your first aid/survival kit includes a piece of moleskin and a book of matches, that and a string (set up at home) will cover you.

09/21----by: fuzzy
again, "ditto" GF. Will add, make suer your spare string is "set up" with nock point served on (or clamped if brass) pre stretched or "shot in" and tie the loops so it stays twisted to length

09/21----by: fuzzy
again, "ditto" GF. Will add, make suer your spare string is "set up" with nock point served on (or clamped if brass) pre stretched or "shot in" and tie the loops so it stays twisted to length

09/21----by: DaveN
I've shot both...mostly recurve, but in my opinion the initial tuning of a stickbow takes a bit, but after that it is nothing more than checking brace-height from time to time and maybe twisting your string to adjust. Now compounds on the other hand it seems like you have to adjust cam timing, brace height, arrow rest tension, sight pins adjustments, peep sight adjustments, quiver bolts, and all the noise, rattles, and other crap hanging off the things almost continually. The biggest reason for my switch was I hated the nagging thought that I overlooked or forgot to check something, that some attachment was going to let me down in the moment of truth!

Having said all that, if you do make the switch you gotta be sure your ego can handle atleast a 20# reduction in bow poundage and that your effective shot range is going to drop by about HALF! If you can manage that I'd say make the switch and don't look fact sell, give, or throw your compound away because otherwise it will always be a "crutch" hanging there on the peg just begging you to pick it up.

09/21----by: Snag
Less is more. A stick bow and a string. Not a big deal to set up. You can do it all yourself. No running to the pro shop to have something done. If a string breaks you replace it and set your nocking point. Easy. It's a beautiful thing!

09/21----by: GF
DaveN - funny you should say that about the Contraption...

I actually broke down and bought a used rig a couple of years ago, thinking that I could get by with a lot less practice time (TRUE, for me). And the very small area that I have for practicing just works better for peep-and-pin shooting.

Funny thing is that the first pin only shoots flat to about my usual 'max' for the recurves (hunting shots, anyway), after which point I would have to have a rangefinder to feel confident anyway. So as a crutch, it's something of a failure ;) I have a lot more fun practicing short, variable ranges with the 'curves, and from the same ranges, I actually do better on a 3D course with the tradbows. With them, I use most of the kill area, to be sure, but with the contraption I lose more arrows to high/low outright misses

OTOH, I'm trying to get into some of the private land deer reduction programs, and it does help to be able to drill five gnats square up the tailpipe on five successive shots when the program has a proficiency requirement.

But for hunting outside of the 'burbs? Hmmmmmm, lessee... am I going to carry 1-lb longbow, a 2-pound recurve, or a 7-pound monstrosity up that ridge today?

09/22----by: blg
I have been shooting recurves for 45 years or so, I have now and have had in the past different compounds. They are both excellent hunting weapons. I went back and forth when I bought my first compound (an Allen) and after several years decided the best thing to do was become proficient with both. Now when I travel I either have two takedown recurves or one compound and one take down. It does mean more arrows for me but that is not to big of an inconvenience. I have never really worried about the compounds reliability in the field, and the maintenance is minor compared to the time I spend getting ready for hunting.

09/22----by: fuzzy

fuzzy's Mobile Photo
another example

09/22----by: fuzzy

fuzzy's Mobile Photo
girls can do it too

09/22----by: fuzzy

fuzzy's Mobile Photo
and kids

09/22----by: fuzzy

fuzzy's Mobile Photo
another (bad copy, sorry :-(

09/23----by: NJWoodsman
If you get an ILF-style bow, it's easier to fine tune like a compound. The draw weight can be adjusted with the limb bolts,and you can adjust centershot with an elevated rest and plunger. Shooting off the shelf, with fixed limbs, requires you to adjust the arrows more to the bow, and since you don't have allen screws to adjust, it's slower and you have to know what you're doing.

Maintenance wise, it's a toss-up, depending on your particular bow. I find older compounds easy to work on, but I wouldn't try to restring a new one. With recurves the maintenance is typically a worn serving or string loop, or a worn rest.

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