It’s well known that bow and arrows are amongst the earliest forms of weapons. They are the “guns” of that era. What’s most interesting is that people throughout the world discover them as a means of hunting or war. This proves that they are indeed useful for these two purposes and have served men well.
Since firearms have replaced the role of bows and arrows in war, archery is now conformed to only sports and hunting. Hunting using bows and arrows against deer, sheep or other animals are vastly popular in some countries, including America. There is a market for archery-related items, such as the sophisticated compound bows. In fact, it is a multi-billion industry with research being done and activities featured in magazines.
Fans of the Olympics will also remember that archery is also an event. Archery events and tournaments are also held in places like Japan and England, whose ancestors themselves were very familiar with bows and arrows.
Bows are categorized according to their shape. There are simple bows, re-curve bows and compound bows. Simple bows look like straight limbs with a line. Re-curves have thicker handles and ends curved-out. A compound bow has long cable-bowstring combination strung from one limb-end to the other, but also through two wheels located at the limb-ends. It also has a piece of metal protruding from the riser into the strings, to place the forward part of the bowstring away from the arrow.
The performances of bows are different due to the way they are made. The re-curved-ends of the re-curve bows add velocity to the arrow when the ends bend back to their original forms together with the normal limbs. As a result, arrows shot out are faster, go further, have a rather straight trajectory, and ends in a more powerful hit. Bow materials for re-curves range from simple aged wood to fiberglass and synthetic materials. Each material performs differently from the others and thus the range of prices. Laminated bamboo or laminated plywood is very popular.
Compound bows are the most sophisticated of all. The double-stringing of this type of bow works on the principle that a small movement of the bow limb is multiplied by the twice-strung line. Eccentric limb wheels can add to the speed of the arrow.
For ease of transport, a lot of hunters prefer compound bows over more conventional ones. This is not unexpected because much more development efforts have been dedicated to making compound bows better and better. Thus, the aspiring hunter is presented today with thousands of choices in magnificent combination of materials, styles, draw weights, lengths, colors etc. Selecting a new bow is tedious and long, because of the impressive range of choices.
Meanwhile, another type of bow, a more mechanical one, a crossbow is basically a small strong bow placed across a gun stock. The stock has anchors the bowstring to cock the bow, and trigger mechanism to release it and fire the shot. Crossbows are handy, good to use, and do not tire the shooter too much when the shooting is delayed. Crossbows have also been used in warfare.
Modern crossbows usually use steel bows, fiberglass stocks and synthetic bowstrings. What you choose depends on the nature of intended use, so seek out a specialist and start loading him/her with questions.
Hunting crossbows are often fitted with rifle scopes. They can fire bolts that faster than the conventional bows. Still, many consider hunting with a crossbow less fun and professional compared to the bow and arrow. Archery training never end and you get better with more experience and mentoring.