Marshall Irving – What was Wrong?

Contribution from Marshall Irving…

Have you ever wondered what is wrong? Maybe my bow is not paper tested, or maybe a new expensive arrow rest would help close my shot grouping?  I am a little ashamed to admit that I bought the arrow rest and it improved my accuracy only a negligibly.

While living in the wilderness of Montana I had no internet access and went to town but once or twice a year, so when I decided to try making my own bow I bought the usual book. My neighbor Tom (who is now a somewhat famous mountain man) loaned me his old editions of Primitive Archer magazine and a couple of Osage staves to make bows. I have been slightly obsessed with the bow and arrow for perhaps fifteen years now and the one thing I would like to say is “Look to the arrows, any bent stick is a bow”.

People of different tribes in diverse regions of the world have for thousands of years have used their intellect to craft archery tackle displaying similar features. Often bows have been designed for durability over speed and often tool marks remained on functional limbs. Arrows on the other hand showed the highest degree of craftsmanship. Light arrow shafts were often fitted with heavy foreshafts of hardwood, antler or bone. Foreshafts  served several purposes including making arrows with high  F.O.C. and increasing inertia for better penetration of large game.

There is a branch of archery in which the goal is speed, It’s called flight shooting. Flight bows are optimized to a minimal limb mass to maximum stress ratio and are therefore retired from competition quickly. Flight arrows are designed as light and aerodynamic as possible in order to travel the longest distance. The accuracy of flight arrows is nearly irrelevant. I believe it is unfortunate that the emphasis on speed or F.P.S. is so prevalent in modern archery tackle.

My favorite broadhead is the Toughhead 300 grain single bevel, with a 120 grain insert. When fired from my modern recurve crossbow my nearly 1 ounce broadheads mounted on carbon bolts with 20 grain aluminum footers can achieve a group the size of a silver dollar at sixty yards consistently, this is nearly twice as accurate as my 150 grain broadheads can achieve. There is some loss of speed with heavy broadheads but to me this is more than compensated for by better accuracy and increased kinetic energy.


I hope this helps

Marshall Irving

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