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School Me - Starter Compound Bows

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by heavydluxe, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. heavydluxe

    heavydluxe Well-Known Member

    Hi, all...

    There aren't a ton of bow threads on here (I know because I searched), and what ones there are usually contain a redirect to a site like ArcheryTalk. That's a great site with tons of information, but I have really appreciated the tone here on THR and I've always felt like I've gotten good advice.

    So, here's my sitchie-ashun.

    I have a daughter who will be turning 10 in March. She's been shooting for a while, and is a pretty decent shot. But, a couple months ago, she confided in my wife that she really, really wants to try archery. Starting in January, I'm going to have attend a junior archery program at our home shooting range. Depending on how she likes it, I was thinking of aiming to buy her a bow package of her own for her birthday. It was around this age that my son got his own .22lr, so it's fair.

    I'm a bit of a nerd (understatement) and I've honestly never handled a bow. So, I've been reading as much as I can on compound starter bows for the past few days trying to learn whatever I can. Plus, we're a single-income, multi-kid family - meaning that I need to have a good idea what to budget for if I'm going to be able to make the purchase. :)

    So, here are the questions/assumptions I have... I'm interested in hearing some of you sound off on them.

    1) It looks like there are a number of packages in the $300-400 range that allow for adjustments in draw weight (15ish-60ish pounds) and length. There are less expensive packages, too. But, it seems like you get more years of use out of one of these bows than the cheaper ones. Does that sound reasonable?

    2) Between all the major manufacturers (Bear, Mission, Diamond, etc), it seems like there are clear differences in marketing style... However, all the roughly comparable bows (Bear Apprentice 2, Mission Craze, Diamond Infinite Edge) seem to have slight, but mostly insignificant, differences in specs. One might be a little quieter, the other generates a little more speed at its peak settings.

    3) Setting aside the desire for the latest and greatest, it seems like almost all these bows should be able to grow with an average-sized archer (especially a female) all the way into adulthood. This includes being able to generate enough power/speed to take medium-sized game like deer.

    Does that all sound right? I really don't want to get caught up in a lot of brand-loyalty hype, and I see a lot of what appears to be that out there. However, if there are substantive differences that I'm not picking up, I'd like to know.

    Thanks, everyone. I'm so glad for THR and all of your brains.
  2. LSMS

    LSMS Well-Known Member

    It's about like guns. If she could try some before buying that'd be ideal.

    Like guns the specs might tell a similar story. Then you get them in your hands and you can see the real world differences to help make a decision. Like a gun can have a rough gritty trigger. 2 bows can be set to the same poundage and feel totally different while pulling them back. Both could have 80% let off and one be noticeably easier to hold steady.

    If it has to be a surprise maybe do some research and narrow it down and surprise her one morning with a shopping trip. Def don't want to ruin her enthusiasm by getting a bow that doesn't feel comfortable and giving it up before she really gets started.

    There is a ton of brand loyalty and snobbery that goes on with archery and I don't blame you for asking here. The guys over at Archery Talk certainly don't always take THR. Good Luck
  3. heavydluxe

    heavydluxe Well-Known Member

    Here's the trick... I'm not set on it being a surprise in the traditional sense. My plan, perhaps, was to have her open a present with some arrows in it and then say, "Well, I guess you have to get a bow now, right?"

    Or something like that.

    I get that having her try things is important... But I have a couple concerns that I'm trying to shore up here before proceeding with that:

    1) I live in a rural area, and so getting to places where she can test things out can be a bit of a production. It's an hour to a shop that stocks one brand, and over 45 mins more to a shop that stocks another. So, it'd be a production. If there's some way to narrow the field (or at least feel at least relatively confident that I don't need to test *every* option), that'd be great.

    2) While there is merit to having her test things, I also recognize what I've always called "The Princess and Pea" syndrome. That is, there may be things that don't feel immediately comfortable or 'good' to her that, if she was talking with a more discerning archer, she'd find out are actually worth learning to deal with because they are important/helpful (and she'll eventually wish she had them). Part of being a novice is not knowing what's truly better, or better for you, all the time.

    [edit: And that, in my mind, is the reason for buying good, quality equipment to start without breaking the bank. Once you've become more seasoned, you're in a better position to judge what works (or doesn't) and make a more informed choice on upgrades.]

    So, just trying to get a little context to help me, as the dad, guide and budget appropriately.
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Could you possibly contact one of the instructors now, and see what the preference is for the junior Archery Program??

    I know here in our town, the equipment specs are pretty specific if they want to compete in a Jr. league later on.

  5. LSMS

    LSMS Well-Known Member

  6. heavydluxe

    heavydluxe Well-Known Member

    RC: Sorry, let me clarify. It's just a archery marksmanship program. The range has some bows (older model training bows) that the kids can use, or they can bring their own. Most of them bring the compounds they use - or are planning to use - for hunting.

    So, it's not a competitive league. Just coaching on the fundamentals.
  7. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    Heavy, I think RC is still on the right track. I'd call those instructors and pick their brains on what other kids have brought to the classes recently and get ideas based on what they've seen to work best or what they'd get that might work better.
  8. danez71

    danez71 Well-Known Member

    I don't know jack about archery but I'm interested.

    If the archery marksmanship program folks cant help much (it possible they only have experience with the older stuff).....

    Is their any local clubs that you can ask? And that she may join?

    Just trying to help you get the info you're looking for.
  9. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

    I can tell you that watching the ever - growing number of kids I see shooting at the indoor range I go to, the most popular compound by far is the Bear apprentice, and Samick Sages rule the roost recurve-wise.
  10. heavydluxe

    heavydluxe Well-Known Member

    Thanks, TimboKhan... That's helpful.
  11. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    I have an 8 y/o boy shooting a Bear Apprentice 2. He loves it. Adjustment are easy (no press required).

    I have a 13 y/o girl shooting a PSE Razorback (62", 20# recurve).

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