The long bow seems a lot harder to aim than the compound bows most of us are used to. This particular bow is a Bear 50 pound that I inherited from an uncle. I recently bought a new string for it and brought it out of retirement. We like to take our archery equipment out when we are camping in Western Alberta, its a good way to spend the time in the wilderness. Bow and arrow is one of our must bring outdoor equipment. The added bonus is, its usually easy to find a safe direction for shooting in the great outdoors.
What throws it off a bit is the lack of sights. Getting back to the basics, just like it used to be done.
The sighting method for longbow versus a compound bow is quite different. With the longbow you can focus on the target while keeping the bow and arrow in your lower right. You have to keep the bow angle canted so that the arrow doesn’t slip off the top of your hand or your arrow rest. When using a compound bow, you will have a sight that you line up with the target. And, the bow can be held vertically because the arrow is trapped by the rest.
Another big difference is the let off that a compound bow has. This allows you to hold the arrow drawn for a while. Handy for using while hunting. A longbow is more likely to be drawn and released in a smooth and relatively quick fashion.
We used this bow quite a bit for target practice so far this summer. In between Alberta rain storms, that is. My daughter prefers the longbow, even though she’s a lot more accurate with the compound. It seems a lot more natural and instinctual. My feeling is that a lot of practice with the longbow would make a person almost as accurate, and definitely faster.
What it boils down to is is simplicity versus technology, instinct versus plain sights, and brute muscles versus mechanical advantage. The longbow is great for target, and used by hunters to finish off a lot of wildlife. I think that my personal choice is going to be compound, because I don’t need to practice so long to get the accuracy I want. I’m going to keep shooting both, and decide later.