Target archery rounds are a preformatted competition. Effectively a template allowing competition organizers to select their event off the shelf which every archer will instantly recognize whats involved. There are many different rounds each with its own name and format. The total number of arrows, the distances, the face size and number of arrows at each distance are all defined for you. This even allows a standardised method for archers to compare scores via the classification and handicapping system.
There are two basic types of rounds Imperial and Metric. Imperial rounds were also known as GNAS (AGB used to be called the Grand National Archery Society) or English rounds (if you dont live in the UK). Whilst metric were known as FITA (World Archery used to be called Fédération Internationale de Tir à l’Arc) or, more commonly these days, WA (World Archery) rounds.
Most rounds use four main face sizes. These have a diameter of 122cm, 80cm, 60cm and 40cm assuming the faces are full sized. The 122cm face fills a full size boss, one 80cm face fits on the boss, two 60cm faces fit on the boss side by side, and finally four 40cm faces can be fitted on the boss in a 2×2 layout. However, as with everything in archery, there are a few exceptions.
Imperial Outdoor Rounds
All Imperial outdoor rounds are measured in yards and use a 122cm diagram face (which fills the entire boss) at all distances. The following table lists all the recognised Imperial outdoor rounds. These names are traditional and were in use back in the earliest days of GNAS (founded 1861). They were often named after the place they were created or where they were popular. Archery was quite regional and insular back then due to travel not being cheap or as easy as today.
The below table shows the number of dozen arrows at each distance and the total for the entire round. For example a York, which used to be the gold standard for archery, has 6 dozen arrows at 100yrds, 4 dozen at 80yds and 2 dozen at 60yds. That’s 144 arrows and a long day in the field. In addition due to tradition, these rounds are shot with 5 zone scoring with 9 for a gold, 7 for a red, 5 for a blue, 3 for a black and finally 1 for a white.
Metric Outdoor Rounds
FITA (Fédération Internationale de Tir à l’Arc) was founded in 1931 with the aim of creating regular archery championships and to return archery to the Olympic Games. FITA standardizing the rather chaotic GNAS rounds with distances measured in meters and introduced a more logical naming system for their rounds. These are recognized as Metric rounds and were originally called FITA rounds. As a nod to our archery forbears, they kept the use of dozens for arrows to be shot. At longer distances, the 122cm face is used but once the range drops to 50m, 80cm faces become standard. 10 zone scoring is used ie 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2 and 1. This was brought in either because euros are obsessed with base 10 ;o) OR most likely because 5 zone scoring did not differentiate the skill level of archers well enough. Each scoring band on 5 zone face is quite large and as accuracy has improved, a finer graded scoring system was required. Those improvements coming about due to sights, stabilizers and Koreans ;o). These rounds are now called WA rounds after FITA changed its name in 2011 to World Archery.
When shooting indoors there are Metric and Imperial rounds but there are far fewer rounds when compared to outdoors given we only have sports hall sizes to play with. The variation in rounds tends to be in face size and number of arrows to be shot. Full size faces are usually 60cm and 40cm. All are shot with 10 zone scoring with the exception of the Worcester which is shot with a 16 inch, 5 zone target (actually a field face – white dot for 5 points and rest of the target is black with 4,3,2 and 1point bands separated with faint white lines. Five arrow ends are shot rather than the usual 3 in this competition.
For extremely good archers/compounders or for the Vegas round, triple faces (3 target faces per archer with only 6-10 scoring zones) can be used to prevent damage to arrows as its one arrow per face to reduce the arrows clashing.
Shooting a Round
For all rounds, imperial or metric, you usually shoot the longest distance first and then move down the distances finishing with the shortest distance. You generally get six arrows of “sighters” or “practice” at the first distance shot. After that you are on your own and don’t get more sighters/practice when you change distances. This means it’s important to have sight marks for all the distances in a round you intend to shoot. At longer distance, 6 arrow ends are standard but as the range drops, it will reduce to 3 to prevent arrows clashing in the target.
Junior and beginners are not expected to shoot distances they are not capable of. In the rework of the handicap/classification system January 2023, six categories for juniors were created overhauling the “appropriate” rounds for juniors. Please see our page on the new classification and handicap tables for details.