One of the major problems with compound (other than it being a compound) is the cost. Of all the archery journeys you can take, this one gets brutally expensive the quickest. This is a major obstacle to entry as there isn’t really an option to dabble in compounding as not everyone can drop a couple of K’s on a new hobby. So, with this in mind we’ve tried to create a shopping list that will get you a compound. One that will be a solid performer for your early years in archery without breaking the bank. We’ve gone with new kit rather than 2nd hand which is a can of worms for another day.
All items listed have had nice things said about them online but it’s very much a buyer beware situation. Always do your own research even if it’s just speaking to one of the bigger archery shops. We aren’t omnipotent in archery matters .. no matter what our Editor claims.
The compound riser consists of the central handle, limbs, the pulleys(cams) and the cable/strings. This is an integrated unit that can only be disassembled using a bow press. It’s also the most expensive and important single piece in a compound. The core of your bow. The riser we’ve selected here is the Kinetic Static. Priced somewhere around £215-£235, its insanely reasonable. This is not any dearer than a lower end intermediate recurve riser. It has fully adjustable draw lengths, 15lbs range in draw weight over 3 weight setups allowing your bow to grow with you. It’s let off is set at 70% meaning your 50lbs bow holds at 15lbs when at full draw. Unfortunately, only available right-handed (we’ll keep looking for a suitable riser for a leftie). Not a large bow at 36″ axel to axel (ATA), it’s 4.1lbs in weight and quite quick. On the downside, no leftie option as we said, and colours are a little limited, but the primary ones are available. This riser would seem perfectly capable of taking you from noob to solid performer as you grow your archery.
At varying prices and availability, stockists are Bowsports, Merlin Archery and Chiltern Archery. Actually visiting the shops when buying a compound isnt a bad idea asthey will set up the bow for you. Quite a few GA members have gone to Merlin at Bishops Auckland for their kit.
The sight for a compound is similar to a recurve sight but a little smaller and chunkier. Smaller as you don’t need a lot of vertical movement and chunkier to handle the higher levels of vibration. Here we have gone with the Decut Honor sight. Decut is always solidly built kit, and this sight is no different. Its comparatively small, light for aluminium and will take a full-sized scope. Can be used left or right-handed although the stickers will be upside down for lefties. At £45 it’s good value and while it’s never going to be as good as a £300 sight, it will let you get your arch on for an extremely reasonable sum. Merlin Archery carry this sight.
We pondered a bit about this but decided to go with the Decut Rainbow scope at x4 magnification (0.5 Dioptre). This will give the sight it’s magnification but without the need for a clarifier (focusing lens) on the peep sight (see later). x4 will not be too great a magnification for a beginner … more magnification means you can see the target in more detail but every tremor in your bow will cause the sight to shake like a builder’s butt when operating a pneumatic drill! The scope has a nice lens, a fibre optic and a spirit level all in a compact and light package. The cost is around £20ish with Clickers Archery having it available for £19 and Merlin Archery having it for £21.
The launcher proved a little bit of a problem as well. Did we go for something mid-tier or something more budget. They are important as it’s what your arrow rests on before launch! A lack of consistency or it not being secure could be a disaster. So, we plumped for the Fusion EX PRO rest from Epic Archery. A solid rest available in left and right-handed models that includes 3 launcher blades (for thin or chunky arrows). Where it does fall down a little is because it’s limited in colour (black only) but significantly does have micro adjustment. While, as a newer archer, you do not want to be fiddling with your settings all the time, having the ability to do it is helpful when tuning. However, in the main, set up the rest, leave it alone! The rest is approximately £36-£39 and is brand new on the market. Alternative stock it as does Merlin Archery.
Ok, time to get trigger-ed cause that’s what release aids are. There are 4 possible types of release aid, we’ve decided to go with the simplest – the thumb trigger. The Topoint release aid is a thumb trigger style release aid where its pressure from your thumb that causes the shot to go. Pressure required for the shot can be changed from lighter to heavier and it can be three or a four-finger release using a pinkie hook included. Pretty solidly made and anodised … seems like a bit of a bargain at around £60 when release aids can get stupidly pricey. Merlin Archery stock this at £60 as do Custom Built Archery a little dearer at £65.
Here you need a chunky long rod, a side rod and sidemount. Let’s start with the easy bit. The sidemount allows the longrod and shortrod to be combined into a single unit and screwed into the bushing on the front of the bow. We went for the Avalon Tec X Maxx Mono Adjustable Sidemount which looks to be a solid piece of kit and fully adjustable. At around £27 not a budget piece of kit but having your stabs fall off is pretty frustrating. It even comes with a quick release!
Now it gets harder. Most budget long/shortrods are really for recurve being quite light with a narrow diameter. The Avalon Tec X Olympic 22mm Recurve longrod is pretty chunky at 22mm diameter (17mm standard for recurves) and won’t break the bank at £27. This should be able to carry more weight on the end and a 30″ or 32″ length will probably be best. Following on from this, a single Avalon Tec X Olympic 22mm shortrod also in 22mm surprisingly enough should balance out the stabs at 12″ or 15″. Extra weights can be added as you find your feet to balance your bow. £17 for the short rod brings your stabilization set up in for around £72. Merlin Archery stock the sidemount, the longrod and the shortrod.
Just a ps .. you could get by with just the longrod initially although the bow will feel a little unbalanced.
As a beginner, till you have found your feet shooting, we always recommend the XX75 Platinum plus shaft from Easton. They are aluminium, good performers, robust, inexpensive if you wreck one and can be purchased singly if you need a replacement. At around £9 an arrow if premade, you’ll need at least 8 bringing in the cost at around £72. Everyone stocks these puppies!
Here it’s just the small things like the D loop (just cord), serving thread and the peep (your back sight) which are small, cheap and relatively generic that you can get with a quick chat with the shop you are dealing with. These prices we’ve added in when rounding up.
We’re not going to recommend a stand or a case, but these are things you need to get. The stand is quite important for propping up your bow when you aren’t shooting it. The case will protect it when it’s at home or in transit but these things we’ll leave with you to consider what suits you best.
So, what’s the damage to your bank account for a compound? Well, if you follow the above and everything is in stock .. membership of the dark side will set you back about £500. Thats not an insubstantial amount of cash but even inexpensive compound risers can cost way more than that. The above should see you through from noob to experienced darksider after which you’ll have your own ideas about what makes good kit and what constitutes a bargain! ;o)
What we would recommend, unless you have a friendly neighbourhood compounder who is extremely experienced and owns a bowpress (things unfortunately GA hasn’t got), is get the bow set up in the shop by the staff there. This will necessitate a visit to buy your kit, but you do not want to be trying to put a compound together on your own. Stores like Merlin in Bishops Auckland will do this for you … just remember to book (assuming that’s STILL a thing). Also call well in advance (at least a week/10days) to see if they can get the bits in you fancy before you visit. This would mean buying at least most of the big bits from that one supplier. And remember to jump over and grab the compound pdf’s on our books & guides page, they’re free and might help.
Finally, just to reiterate. We are looking at kit from what archers have said in online forums and in comments on shop websites plus known reputations of companies and item specifications. All of the above should be good but always take a careful attitude when buying kit and do your own research.
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All kit images are used for review purposes and suggesting good buys.