Stacking on the Pounds

The English Longbow was what first drew me to archery as it’s relatively accessible and has a tangible link to the past. For me, at least, my interest in the historical side of the longbow is as important as the shooting side so this one object encapsulates two of my great interests, history and archery.

When I first picked up the Longbow I was extremely fortunate to have as my first instructor – albeit for only two hours – a man named Kevin Hicks who is the embodiment of history and archery. Kevin does some amazing work by bringing history to life for both children and adults and he’s also a fantastic story teller and a great archer. His knowledge of both the history of the bow, his skill as an instructor and as an archer really energised me to get out there and bring archery into my life.
My aim, after joining a club, was to shoot a bow as close to a modern equivalent of a medieval longbow, especially those we’ve now labelled as ‘warbows’, as I could. However, as things tend to happen in life complacency settled and I’ve been happily shooting at 55# for nearly three years now.

This isn’t a bad thing as I can easily manage the weight which means my form and aiming have had the chance to develop. Recently, however, I’ve felt the need to increase my draw weight to go a little heavier and try to creep closer to the 100# mark.

If I’m honest, I have a few obstacles in my way that although won’t stop me outright I know they will slow me down. The first of these obstacles is the lack of a group of similar minded people. I shoot at a club where longbow archers are a small minority and on top of that, I’m already shooting a bow, at #55, that others consider to be heavy. So learning the technique of drawing a heavy bow will have to be one of constant self-evaluation and research, which is fine as that’s pretty much how I’ve developed so far. The biggest hindrance, I feel, is that I can’t just try another archers bow to get a feel for the draw weight so that means I’m pretty much guessing at what I can handle.

This then leads to the next issue in that I don’t want to keep forking out for new bows in 10lbs increments as that will get really expensive, really quick. So my solution is to save my pennies and then buy a bow at 80# @30. Whilst the coffers are being filled I’ve been working on strengthening my back muscles with daily weight exercises as well as practice my draw using several tension bands. Once I’ve got my bow then it will be a case of taking it slowly by shooting a few dozen arrows with the 80# and then dropping back to the 55#. After a while, I should be shooting the bow without issues apart from moving my knocking point to behind my ear.

That’s the plan anyway. Does anyone have any bowyers they can recommend that won’t cost the earth?

10 thoughts on “Stacking on the Pounds

  1. I know you’re already on Instagram, but that was my first thought when you mentioned wanting to find other warbow shooters and bowyers. I see a lot of heavy ELB shooters on there and although I don’t personally have a historical link to ELBs they still make me want to go pull a 1/4″ ash shaft to 100#!
    Just curious – I assume you’ve rejected the idea of making your own bows? The cost of tools and wood would probably be much less than buying even one good warbow, and you’d be able to make them mant of them at whatever poundage you like.

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  2. Hi, i know it’s been 4 years since you’ve posted this but i just got into archery myself. This post describes my fears and worries perfectly. As I am fascinated by the english longbow, I am also scared that i will never properly shoot it, especially because I am from Poland and longbows are not popular at all. I would love to chat with you about this.

    Greetings from Poland
    Kuba

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      1. I am worried about a different technic used in Shooting longbow. Is it okey to practice more standard way of Shooting lighter bows and then try to adapt to heavier longbows or try to practice right technic from the begging. It is very important to me to do it as historicaly correct as possible. Thank you answering so quickly.

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      2. Is it okey to practice more standard way of Shooting lighter bows and then try to adapt to heavier longbows or try to practice right technic from the begging? It is very important to me to do it as historicaly correct as possible. Thank you answering so quickly.

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      3. Depends on the draw weight of your bow. For a lighter longbow you can use the standard T draw. If you’re wanting to do heavy then it’s a totally different technique and you draw with all your body and step into the bow – plenty of vids on YouTube showing the technique. If you’re new to archery I would recommend getting the basics sorted with a lighter bow and then move the heavy weights if you wish. Just take it slowly

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      4. Okey great, Thank you for advice. I am shooting with a bow of 26 pounds right now. I’ll take it slow as you said. Step by step and some day i hope i will get to enjoy shooting proper english longbow. Best wishes from Poland :). I will surely have a lot of questions in the future.

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  3. If it helps rarely shoot anything over 55# as there’s no need for the type of archery I do and where I shoot. I tend to shoot in a wood with the furthest target being 60yrs away. Heavy bows are fantastic if you’re in a big open field and you can watch those arrows fly

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    1. I have that kind of place to shoot, so in the future i can use that . I will have in Mind what you said, and definitely will just upgrade my bows step by step up to #55.

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