Evolving a New Meta (DX)

meta dxOutside of the mad scientists of archery like Border Bows or Jörg Sprave, the evolution of archery kit is mostly iterative. Minor changes here and there are a staple of each years new catalogue from the big companies … but this year things are happening!

Win&Win released their 2021 catalogue with a few surprises. It comes with a statement from them that due to there being no competitions this year, they spent more time in R&D and their latest riser – the META DX – shows there’s been some out of the box thinking going on.

The basic shape of the DX is very similar to what has become the Wiawi standard. The length is 25″, weight 1340g, made of graphene/nano carbon – all very standard for top end risers these days. So where does the riser start to differ dramatically? Well, interestingly theres a “Special Steel” stiffener in the leading edge of the riser stretching from limb bolt to limb bolt. This has been inserted to aid in the transfer of vibration from the bow limbs to the stabilizer set up. W&W have also included two innovations made by different companies. One fairly sensible .. and the other a bit on the radical side.

Firstly there is a removable plate where the button holes are and the rest would be stuck. Created by Hoyt where its called the verta-tune rest plate, this can be removed and flipped to adjust the button holes to a higher or lower position allowing more variation in tillering and nock point placement. Hoyt made an innovation worthy of copying! … who knew that was possible!?

More radically, Win&Win worked with Mathews (the compound folks) to license and modify the dampening systems from their compounds to improve stability and reduce vibration. These are the Mathews harmonic damper and the EHS™ harmonic damper. If you look at the riser above, the dampeners are those circular things situated near to the limb bolts (EHS) and above the button holes (Mathews harmonic damper). In its simplest explanation, these are holes through the riser containing circular vibration dampeners which absorb vibration and reduce hand shock on release of an arrow. According to W&W’s graph below, shock and vibration are reduced as is the length of time vibration is sustained in the riser. This, coupled with the stabilizers, results in there being significantly less activity post shot in the riser. So in theory, the shot is more stable and the archer less affected by left over energy transitioning through the riser and into their hand.

vibration

Graphical representation of vibration in the Meta DX verses normal carbon risers

Coming in at an eye watering £800-ish, this is not an intermediate or even expert riser … this is god tier. I doubt that any mere mortal archer would get any benefit from the improved suppression in the riser … but the elite? Who knows! I for one will be watching the world cup closely when it restarts to see if anyone is using this puppy and are they shooting any more perfectly than before. The slo-mo option on youtube will be getting a work out that day focusing on the post shot friskiness of the riser.

Honestly, if pushed I’d say that there will never be another significant improvement in the recurve riser as the last 12 years have seen the concept refined to the nth degree. Improvements are very much on a downward trend of diminishing returns even with increased effort and seem more aimed at “this years model” enthusiasts. At least this is something different from run of the mill annual ‘improvements’. However, even if it doesn’t make archers shoot any better, it does give Win&Win fanbois like our editor something to dribble over. How much does he dribble over pictures of kit? He still misses the paper copy of the Quicks catalogue! (the last issue of which 2015-16 can be viewed here)
(In truth, our editor frequently talks admiringly about kit but only ever has eyes for his CXT!)

Rumour: We heard this story very recently (just before xmas 2020) told first hand by an American archer who said he found one of the harmonic dampers lying on the ground at his range. Seems they can pop out quite easily so something to watch out for should anyone in your club have one. They might be around £30 to replace.

References:
Bow porn … Win&Win 2021 catalogue
Win&Win introduce their new bow
Lancaster Archery review the Meta DX
Jake Kaminski unboxes a Meta DX
Jake Kaminski shoots and tunes a Meta DX

2021

moff hamster2A year ago I wrote “So as this Annus Horribilis finally winds down … Good Shooting in 2020“.
Writing the above, I was looking back sadly over the old and (like Janus) expectantly towards the new. Its kind of funny to think just how blissfully unaware of the impending future we were.

To make matters worse on top of the normal COVID 2020 misery, Glasgow Archers now find themselves homeless after the closure and sale of Craigholme School. Many Scottish clubs haven’t reopened. Some of them may never recover and archery membership numbers in general are falling. Still its a bit better than our English cousins have at present as they can’t shoot at all under some bizarre “fairness” criteria which lumps archery/tennis/golf in with sports with a high “nearness” factor like rugby!
Of course we all live in fear of waking up one morning with a cough, a temperature and nothing (alcoholic) in the fridge. “Hi, is that Morrisons? When can you do me a home delivery? ……….. MARCH!?!”

I think the best you can wish an archer right now is they get inoculated asap, their club and range reopens soon to a busy (yet distanced) line and the fridge is comfortably full of alcohol just in case. Not exactly a traditional new year toast! 

I’d like to close with “Good shooting in 202x” to you all … but I think I jinxed it last year. So here’s a traditional Scottish toast hopefully to a better year for us all**Lang may yer lum reek! Cheers.

** (unless you’re in a head to head with me where I hope your sight block falls off! ;o)

Oh … Deer!

deer3

Who you lookin at pal?

For those of you not familiar with Glasgow, we have had, for quite a while, a minor problem with urban deer. Glasgow Archers shoot at the edge of Pollock Park which for many years has been considered one of the deer hot spots with numerous alerts of “beware deer” being issued for the nearby M77 motorway.

Occasionally FAST has to be called during shooting when some deer have a derp moment, their racial memory slips their mind and they wander onto the archery field to investigate those big foam things that the fast moving feathery things are hitting.

antlerRecently, with Glasgow city centre deserted much of the time during periods of lockdown they have been getting a little bolder than just jaywalking on the motorway … deer doing a little window shopping.

Now normally down the field there’s no real evidence that the deer are about apart from the odd guest appearance but recently physical evidence was found … an antler (see left) from a comparatively young roe deer that looks to have broken off from an impact. The antler was about 16.5cm long (6.5″ in old money) and still had some of the deer attached (yuk!). 

Wonder if the deer was trying to get us into trouble with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981“Yes officer, I want to report trophy hunting archers. Their badge fixation is just a cover for something darker!!!!”

Weather Prediction …

balls

You will meet a tall, dark, handsome stranger who will tell you its going to rain.

Right now we are suffering from another ramping up of lock-down. Shops, cinema, travel, gym and indoor shooting are closed or increasingly restricted. Adding insult to injury, the outdoor things that we can do normally like hill walking or outdoor shooting are literally being washed off the face of the earth. Its raining like there’s an Ark in need of floating! We can’t change the weather … but we can at least have an idea of whats coming on shootie days. Welcome to the wonderful world of weather prediction.

We are all aware of the Met Office and the BBC’s websites/Apps where little icons inform the masses with a “back of a postage stamp” summary of the weather. You also get a vague percentage chance of rain. I don’t know about you but if I’m standing in the middle of a field, unprotected from the elements … I WANT MORE DETAIL!

So let me introduce VENTUSKY. (click here to See Glasgow rain right now)

ventuskyThis software gives an insane amount of weather information. Click or touch your place of interest and it will summarise the weather if that’s what you want. Here, Met Office style icon predictions for up to a week in advance are available but where this application wins hands down is in rapid updating and detail the day of, or the day before your interest broken down in 3 or 1 hour increments.. 

Temperature (both actual and perceived), precipitation, wind (constant and gusts), satellite imaging, even radar images for showing those pesky rain showers. That’s just some of the information shown through the medium of interpretive dance … ok, not interpretive dance! :o)

The display is pictured above were all the information is shown via colour graduated overlays of the weather onto a scalable map allowing you to evaluate just how bad the weather is going to be on your specific location. Mouse over for specific numbers and moving the time slider will give you a good idea how the weather will develop at your place of interest. Are you are about to suffer or is it going to happen to some other poor smuck.

radar

Sir, radar shows inclement unpleasantness approaching!

We’ve been using it to judge weather for GA shooting the last few weeks and have found it to be accurate and extremely useful in decision making i.e. will we delay opening the range or should shooting be cancelled? … when is that heavy rain going to hit or will it bypass us? The weekend of  26/27th November was particularly good for a case study. 

On Saturday 26th at 8am looking at appalling conditions outside, shooting was cancelled. However Ventusky graphics showed a lessening of the rain after 9 and the band of rain having passed by 10. Their map overlays were giving us confidence that the weather would improve. Arriving at 8:30, conditions were indeed horrible but by 9:15 we saw the promised improvement and by 9:30 conditions were pretty fair. This was repeated the following day with again miserable conditions early but the app urging optimism. So we set up and well before 10am we had a perfect shooting day. We continued to monitor the weather to ensure there were no damp surprises – none were predicted til after shootie, none arrived til after shootie.

Both days, the BBC and the Met office continued to show poor weather all morning with high rain percentages. Both days rather than simply calling shooting off as we might have done in the past, we relied on Ventusky’s visual representation.  As a result, we were rewarded with 2 full mornings shooting in reasonable conditions. Had we just looked at the more vaguer predictions of more general forecasts, we would have called off and returned home.

So as we head into what will, no doubt, be yet another typical soggy and wind blasted winter, why not try Ventusky. If you are going to risk getting out of that warm and comfy bed to go to the field, you need information to decide is that sacrifice going to be worthwhile and this is the place to get it.

Available on both android and iOS (if a little expensive) as well as free if you bookmark its website at https://www.ventusky.com/.

Archery v Lockdown Tiers 0 – 4

30m

At tier “5” they have to have their own separate field and club.

Straight up, don’t panic … Scottish archery is still a going concern no matter what tier of lockdown is imposed north of the border. The biggest issue we have is that on Tier 3-4, there is a hard cap of 1 archer per boss. This removes what little flexibility we had for those busy mornings where archers > bosses. Tiers 0-2 allow us to have 2 non- bubbled archers sharing as boss which was a nice piece of wiggle room especially if you ain’t got nobody to share a boss with. Not affecting shooting directly but arguably much more impactful and annoying was the “don’t leave your local authority” clause which affected archers traveling more than a couple of miles. This has been clarified (yet again) to allow “local outdoor informal exercise … (in groups of up to 6 people from no more than 2 households) that starts and finishes at the same place (which could be up to 5 miles from the boundary of your local authority area)”. Half the population of central Scotland is now within ‘legal’ striking distance of Glasgow Archers! :o)

This is not the case south of the border where our English cousins are now under full lockdown of sport with archery, golf and tennis … you know, those sports where you have to stand really close together … no longer allowed!!! As you can imagine this has pee’d people off because it appears arbitrary and not based on anything other than a broad brush stroke pretending to be ‘fair’. 

Archery GB has started a campaign including letters to MPs which will, no doubt, be mirrored in tennis and golf. For all archers across the UK, AGB would like you to sign this petition from UK Active demanding emergency support to help grassroots sports survive: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/553619 … your sport has never needed you as much as it does now. Please go sign. Why is it important? .. the below is from a recent AGB survey of archers. Lets get our southern cousins back where they belong … on the line!

Mental and physical wellbeing of archery:
44% said that not being able to shoot has had negative effect on their mental health
47% said that not being able to shoot has had negative effect on their physical health
96% felt safe at their clubs when they were able to re-open
Club Finances:
87% of clubs have reported a loss in income
13% of clubs aren’t sure if they can survive financially until April 2021

FYI

Here are how the 5 levels of Scottish lockdown affect archery in easy to look at pictorial form … click this link postcode checker to see which level your local authority is at.

Key points for Level 0 here
Key points for Level 1 here
Key points for Level 2 here
Key points for Level 3 here
Key points for Level 4 here

AGB cards arrive

So this morning GA members started to see their physical AGB cards arrive, and very nice they are too.
In these days of E-cards is there any point to the physical plasticard we carry in our wallets/bags/kit? Well, here’s a story I heard of a couple of years ago that might raise, in your eyes, the reputation of the humble AGB card. (story may be apocryphal but worth telling) 

A few years ago a British archer was traveling (iirc) to Italy for a competition. They were stopped at customs and ushered into a rather foreboding interview room. In the room was their archery kit. The customs officer via translator asked to see the archers license for this deadly weapon.

Security-Checkpoint-Bin

Could you x-ray my X10’s … I think no 3’s core is cracked

The archer took a breath to start to explain there was no license required for a bow in the UK and that they were there for a competition which had not requested they have “a license”. Instead they took out their AGB card plus competition details and handed them to the officer. The card was inspected, details were noted, the card was handed back and the archer was wished luck in the competition.

So lets all remember to keep our archery “licenses” about us … it might get you out of a tighter jam than a tense discussion with a tournament organizer! ;o)

GA AGM (Covid compatible)

It’s been a little bit of an outstanding issue for us recently, wondering how to hold the 2020 AGM. Had indoors been possible (sorry, still no word), we would have had our hands full setting up procedures/buying screens. However, now the due date is fast approaching, priorities have changed and the AGM now vitally important.

tmnt

fancy dress agm … or going out crimefighting later?

So, details …. The Glasgow Archers Annual General Meeting will take place on Wednesday, the 18th of November at 19:30pm. This will be our first ever attempt at an online AGM so you may need to bear with us** a little as there are bound to be teething issues. Obviously the big selling point of an online agm is you can attend from the comfort of your own desk, couch, recliner chair or while tucked up in bed fortified with your drinkie of choice. Should make for lively debate but expect to be laughed at if you are wearing your teenage mutant ninja turtles onesie and you have a live camera.

Details of exactly how we will do this will follow as soon as we’ve tested our chosen platform out. Probably by a spirited “full and frank exchange of views” committee meeting and shout at the Vice-chair session (He’ll have done something stooopid by then).

Look out for details on how to join our online AGM sometime in the next couple of weeks and hope to see you there.

** please don’t “bare with us” … that’s probably a breach of the Telecommunications Act 2003!

Check that Kit

As archers we obsess about our form and our scores. Every detail is filmed, analysed, picked over, prodded and worried about until our all our deficiencies are displayed under the harshest of spotlights, laid bare and quivering for all to see!
(bare archer references? <shudder>)
Frequently taken for granted is our kit. We may love our bows but how often is simple maintenance forgotten in the rush to get to the field and get those arrows flying?

x7 damageThis article was inspired by our editor spotting a crack in one of his Easton X7 – 2114 spined aluminum arrows (see pic right). The X7 is about as resilient an arrow as you’ll find. Our editor is fanatical about maintaining his kit but this has been sneaking past him for some time. If it got past him, whats getting past more casual archers and is this something for you to be concerned about?
Well yes, yes it should!

Things to check

Most obvious of all is your string. It takes a brutal beating every single shot. It should be regularly waxed to waterproof it and to bind the strands together. If the string is hairy or feels dry, its time to wax. Never waxed a string before … Grizzly Jim has a guide for you. If any of the strands look worn or have actually snapped, its time to replace the string. Wear on the top/bottom loops should be investigated and if the serving is loose/worn/frayed … you need to be looking at a new string. Central serving wear is less of a problem as this can easily be replaced with a serving jig while the string is on your bow. (see Archery Workshop)

broken nockArrows are also in need of checking on a regular basis. Fletches are obvious when they detach but they should be replaced if damaged or becoming elderly (ie warped/deformed). Nocks need to be examined for damage – cracks or an actual furrow from impacts. These can weaken or spread the nock arms making dry fires more likely and a dry fire could kill your bow stone dead. Cracks in the shaft, as discovered above, is another major concern. Arrows breaking as they are shot OR losing the point and then being shot again are rare but possible. Neither arrow will be predictable in their flight and rogue arrows are not something we want. Damaged carbon arrows are hazardous to your health due to possible carbon splinters and require to be binned if found to be damaged. So check those arrows.

Finally the bow itself. Unless its a traditional bow, there are going to be a myriad of screws that could come loose. Odd rattles on your bow or sounding “not right” on a release are good indications something is loose. Sights are notorious for things vibrating loose even on well suppressed bows. Check things are tight. DO NOT crank them tight with all the force at your disposal as trying to get them out later might result in you stripping the screw head and then that puppy is NEVER coming out. Instead, they should be finger tight. If something needs to go in and stay in for a long time, then a threadlocking liquid can be used to make sure it doesn’t come loose any time soon.

delamination

Not catastrophic but a de-lamination never the less.

Limbs should be checked for cracks. Longbows/selfbows are extremely susceptible to simply failing (watch the first 10 seconds of this video for 3 spectacular examples) and early signs like cracks needs to be checked for. Modern laminate limbs are very unlikely to let go but it does happen. To my knowledge in the last 12 years only one set of limbs at Glasgow Archers has been sent back to the supplier due to cracks. Yet unpleasantness does happen. At the Scottish Championships a number of years ago, a top limb explosively de-laminated so catastrophically that the field party 100+yards away got a fright from the bang. People on the line were dodging the flying debris! That was on an extremely top end set of limbs so there are no exceptions!

So to sum up … everything related to the act of shooting an arrow is under a lot of stress. Bow, string, arrow and archer. Ideally we don’t want things dropping off, exploding, snapping, breaking, going rogue or losing their temper (well, no more than usual!) so check that kit and do it often.