The Beginner’s course is over…..What now?




On the assumption you wish to continue archery, the first decision is whether to join the club or not. While you were taking the course you were covered by insurance through Archery Ireland, our National Governing Body. As a newly fledged archer that’s no longer the case and personal insurance is now needed. This is the reason club members must join Archery Ireland and also the reason guest archers must also be Archery Ireland members. Archery Ireland membership is reduced for first time members and also reduced if you join in the second half of the year. Your club membership to the end of the calendar year is already included in your course fees. So joining the club is made a little easier.

Continuing as a club member gives you a safe place to shoot and continued help as you progress. The Archery Ireland membership is also your key to going to shoots in other clubs. These allow you to test your skill against others of similar experience and can offer you a fun day out on a field course. Over time we will be adding an outdoor long distance range and a field range to the facilities we can offer as a club. These will be at your disposal.

Initially the equipment you were given as part of the Beginner’s Course will be sufficient if you rent a club bow for your nights shooting. You may wish to purchase a few extra arrows though. We would anticipate that after a while you will know what type of bow, and at what poundage, you would wish to buy for yourself. A bow that is set up to your own requirements is going to shoot better for you than a bow that isn’t. Even though initially your focus should be on getting your form correct we’d still like you to be shooting your arrows as best as possible.

Buying your own bow may seem daunting at first. The bow length needs to be determined by your draw length, which needs to be measured when you are in good alignment. The bow length is determined by riser length plus limb length. Limb length is also influenced by draw length. The poundage you can comfortably hold can be gauged by comparison to club bows of known poundage.

Once you have decided on riser length, limb length and poundage, the next consideration is which riser do you buy. How much you are willing to spend comes into play now. To a degree this is partially determined by your reasons for doing archery. It will be some time yet before any of the equipment you might buy will limit your accuracy.

The first option would be a riser similar to what you’ve been using but a little nicer. These risers use bolt on limbs of a moderate standard. They are only made up to moderate poundages (about 34#) but that’s still not a limiting factor yet. A step up from the wooden riser is the metal version. It allows a plunger to be used properly. The added riser weight also steadies the aim a little.

These risers and limbs are known as ULF (Universal Limb Fitting). The next upgrade is to ILF (International Limb Fitting).




ILF risers come in 23″, 25″ and occasionally 27″. Not all risers will be offered in more than one length especially the entry level risers but there are specific 23″ risers in this category. Basically you do get what you pay for. General functionality is always going to be there but more expensive risers offer features missing on the cheaper.

As a riser will likely be with you through several changes of limbs it’s often a good idea to buy a medium quality riser to begin with especially if you’re sure you’re going to stay in the sport. The grip is probably the most important feature of a riser as it’s the last part of the equipment to be in contact with you as the arrow is loosed. It’s important that the grip is comfortable for you. Grips of some risers can be swapped but for most if you need to alter it then grip putty is used- even by the experts. A simple functional limb alignment system is nice feature of a riser, as is a second plunger hole. Do compare several risers of a similar price point against each other as some include more features at the same price. After that, pick a colour you like. :)

Limbs are your next consideration. As you are starting off you must get them in a poundage you can already, or will soon be able to, control completely. You are learning technique not fighting to hold poundage you can’t control! You can’t do both together.  This is a good reason to buy from a shop with experienced staff and not from the internet. As you will be moving through limbs you should buy cheap to start with and improve limb quality as you improve strength and move up. You will be better able to appreciate the qualities of a more expensive limb with time and experience. There are few poor limbs available but individual limbs should be looked over once they are bought.

With these decisions made the next question is about arrows. The arrows you have already may well suit fine for a while yet but eventually you will need new arrows matched to your own characteristics. Basically not just arrow stiffness, known as ‘spine’, but it’s length need to be taken into consideration in that choice. The material the shaft is made from needs consideration with a view to what type of archery you will be doing and the cost of arrows.

Strings come in Dacron or a Fastflight material. The difference is the amount of elasticity in the string material. The cheaper limbs for the ULF bows will generally not be made to resist the forces that Fastflight strings will subject them to. They should be used with Dacron strings. Modern ILF will be reinforced to take Fastflight strings.

Nock Locators. Brass nocksets can be bought and are easy to use but they rob performance from the bow. Tied nocksets are easy to learn to use and your arrow gets the full benefit of the poundage you’ve pulled.

Plunger. A plunger is a great accessory for an ILF bow and maximises its’ tuning ability. You can buy cheap or for a bit more, but without breaking the bank, buy a plunger of World Class, the Shibuya DX.

Sights. Cheap sights work okay. Initially. The cheapest of all is a match-stick and a piece of tape. If you buy too cheap a sight you’ll end up going back to the match-stick. The problem is vibration. All those shots and the vibrations they cause take their toll on the sights and cheaper sights soon have bits fall off them or just loosen and you lose your sight settings. Maybe initially a moderately priced sight and some of the correct variety of Loc-tite is what you should buy. Later, or if you’re sure initially you’ll be staying with sights, it might be wise to spend more. Like a riser the sights are a piece of kit that will stay with you. Ask advice of an experienced archer as to which to buy before spending money.

Stabilisers. Another piece of kit that can be expensive and needs to be personalised. Best advice, start with a cheap long rod and take it from there. Also it is very important to ask an experienced archer to help you set up your stabalisers. Risers are generally designed with the idea that stabilisers will be added on to them so their balance is set so it’s at its best with stabilisers. If you shoot barebow you don’t use stabilisers but you can get cheap screw in weights to put on instead. These improve the balance and shot reaction of the bow and make it easier to hold the bow steady to aim.

Arrow rest. A cheap Hoyt Super Rest is hard to beat. Low tech and Olympic tested. Just have a few spares to hand. For barebow archers it also works fine but later a hard wire rest may be preferred.

Quivers. Once you start travelling to shoots a bigger quiver to carry more than just your arrows will be needed. Initially it’s not a problem but it’s really a matter of taste and purse once you go to buy. A hook for binoculars is handy. Somewhere safe to enclose your tab is also a good feature especially on a field course. A pocket for pens for scoring should be present. Target quivers have the arrows sloping one direction and field quivers the opposite.




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