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NAP Killzone Broadhead Review

by Justin Zarr 9. May 2012 01:54
Justin Zarr

The last gear review I wrote was about a quiver which, as I pointed out, is probably one of the least glamorous pieces of equipment you can carry into the field with you. This month we're doing a complete 180 and covering one of the most heatedly debated products in the bowhunting world; the broadhead. The business end of an archer's arrow is often held in high praise when things go well, and damned when they don't. In many eyes it can mean the difference between another taxidermy bill or more than a few sleepless nights. Ah yes, the broadhead is bowhunting's biggest scapegoat.

When it comes to picking a broadhead, there seem to be two general trains of thought. Either the compact, fixed-blade heads that are strong and durable, or the large expandable heads that are accurate and open up giant wounds in their intended target. Both will get the job done if put in the right spot, but many archers tend to pick one side of the fence or the other. For those who like big holes and a no-fail design, the new Killzone broadhead from New Archery Products may just be the next "big" thing. (pun intended)


The new Killzone broadhead from New Archery Products.  A rear-deploying mechanical broadhead with a 2 inch cut that uses no o-rings or rubberbands to keep the blades closed in flight.  

The Killzone is a rear-deploying 2 blade mechanical broadhead that opens to a full 2 inches as it enters the target. That is nearly twice the diameter as your average fixed-blade head. What that means for you mechanical broadhead shooters is giant entry wounds, and hopefully shorter and easier recoveries of game animals.


As you can see, the Killzone left a MASSIVE entry hole on this Kansas buck last November.   Bigger holes usually means better blood trails and quicker recoveries.


NAP Marketing & Sales Manager Brady Arview with his 2011 Kansas whitetail - one of the first to fall victim to the new Killzone.

A 2 inch cut mechanical broadhead isn't exactly a new idea, we all know that. So what makes the Killzone special? That little gem of innovation lays inside the ferrule of the broadhead, and is the mechanism that holds the blades closed in flight. NAP's patented spring-clip design has been around for years in the venerable Spitfire broadhead, and has helped bowhunters kill countless animals. Those who frequent Internet Forums or the local bow shop can atest that they've never heard anyone complain about a Spitfire blade opening in flight, which bodes well for the Killzone. The same can't be said for some of the other mechanical broadheads on the market.

With the patented spring-clip design the Killzone's blades will not deploy prematurely, which means you don't have to worry about your arrow running off course on accident. For the bowhunters who have always been leary of mechanical heads due to the possibility of failure this should bring a big sigh of relief.


The Killzone's blades won't open in flight, but they had no trouble opening up on my backyard target.  The top left arrow shows just how big the Killzone's entry hole is.  The other two arrows were tipped with a field point, and a Killzone practice head.  All shot from a distance of 25 yards, I'd say that's good enough to fill my tags this fall.

The Killzone comes in three different configurations - a chisel-style Trophy Tip, a cut-on-contact Razor Tip, or the red Deep Six model that is compatible with the new Easton Deep Six components. All three designs are available in 100 grains and feature the same 2 inch cutting diameter. Practice heads are available as well, which means you can save your sharp blades for when you really need them.


The razor-tipped cut-on-contact Killzone, in the closed position, shown next to the Killzone practice head.

As an admitted fixed-blade fanatic, I was a bit skeptical of these large mechanical broadheads. I'm a big proponent of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". However, curiousity has gotten the best of me and I truly want to see what the talk is all about.  With the new design of this broadhead eliminating any worry about blades opening in flight or in my quiver, I have a lot more confidence in this design than I did in before.   So when I take to the woods this fall, my Apex quiver will be full of Killzone broadheads with a Trophy Tip. And when the business end of my arrow makes the acquaintance of a wary whitetail, I'm sure you'll hear all about it right here.


Citibank asks "What's in your wallet?"  I ask "What's in your quiver?"

Watch this video to learn more about the new NAP Killzone.

Apex Gear Game Changer Quiver Review

by Justin Zarr 26. April 2012 13:15
Justin Zarr

When it comes to archery accessories, it's hard to think of one less glamorous than the quiver.  Unlike arrows and broadheads you don’t get to watch them impact your target with the telltale “thud” all bowhunters love to hear.  Unlike sights they don’t have any fancy micro adjustments or fiber optics to play with.  No, the quiver is a relatively simple device with one purpose – to hold your arrows until they are ready to be shot.   Let’s face it, nobody has ever killed an animal and stopped to thank their quiver.

However with all of that said, I feel quivers are one of the accessories that have benefited the most in recent years from new innovations.  The new Game Changer quiver is no exception to that.

When I was first introduced to the Game Changer by Apex Gear at this year’s Mathews Retailer show in the Wisconsin Dells, I immediately took a shine to it.  Anyone who has read my Blogs for any length of time (all 12 of you) knows I’m a fan of archery gear that is rugged and durable.  When I drop my bow or hit it up against a tree as I’m fighting my way through a briar patch in the dark (I get lost a lot) I don’t want to worry about breaking things or items falling off my bow.   The Game Changer seems to have been built with guys like me in mind.


The new Game Changer arrow quiver from Apex Gear.  It even comes in Lost Camo to match my new Heli-m, which is important.  What will the deer think if they're killed by a guy whose accessories don't even match??

First off let’s cover the basics.  The body of the Game Changer quiver is made from CNC machined aluminum.  That means its metal, and I like metal.   Metal is strong and aluminum is light weight; both qualities that I look for in a quiver. 

Next, the Game Changer features dual arrow grippers.  Grippers keep my arrows in place and make sure they’re still there when I get to my treestand.  I like that.  One area I can’t comment on that has been brought up by more than a few bowhunters over the years is how do the grippers work with thin arrow shafts, like the Easton Axis or Injexion.  Well, I’m shooting Carbon Express Maximas so I don’t know.  Sorry guys.

The hood of the Game Changer features what’s called a “Tru Touch” soft feel coating, which gives it an almost velvet-like feeling.  While it feels cool when I rub my fingers on it, I’m not sure how it really helps make the quiver any better.

In addition to the Tru Touch coating, the quiver’s hood does feature several rubberized inserts that help dampen vibration for those hunters who still shoot with their quiver on.  I’m not one of those guys, so they don’t do much for me.


The built-in vibration dampeners are nice, but not very useful for those of us who prefer to shoot quiver-off.

Inside the hood you’ll find a “technical” rubber lining with little cups to hold your broadheads in place.  I prefer this type of liner versus the traditional foam that can dull broadheads over time as they are taken in and out.  Although getting your arrow into the cup every time is a bit of a chore, especially when it’s dark.  If Apex could somehow color those circles in bright orange we’d be in business.


Sure, they're easy to see now when I use the camera flash.  But in the dim light of an autum eve, I'll never be able to see these without some help.

Now we come to the good stuff, and probably the biggest selling point of the Game Changer – the mounting system.   The mounting bracket that screws onto your bow sight is extremely small and light weight, which means it’s not obtrusive unlike some mounts.  The quiver itself features a cam-lock type latching system that locks the quiver in place.  You can very easily take the quiver off with one hand, although putting it back on can be a bit of a chore sometimes.  I’m hoping once I wear the connection in a little more, it will slide on easier.  Of course the big test will be how easily I can get it back on in the darkness after an afternoon hunt this fall.


When it comes to quiver mounting brackets, less is definitely more.


The Game Changer is now attached and ready to roll.

The quiver mount that screws into the aluminum body is adjustable vertically, which is another great feature.  Being able to slide your quiver up and down on your bow based on your arrow length and axle to axle length can help keep your nocks out of the mud, which we all know can be a royal pain.  I’m sure we can find more constructive things to do while on stand than picking mud out of our arrows with tiny little twigs.

Thanks to the in-line mounting system, the Game Changer mounts very close to your bow, which is supposed to help reduce torque and produce better balance.   Of course I don’t shoot with my quiver on so this isn’t a huge benefit for me.


Without mounting it directly to the riser, I'm not sure the Game changer could get much closer.

The final feature I want to point out is the machined aluminum bracket that allows you to easily hang the quiver on a hook or branch after you take it off.  Why every quiver manufacturer doesn’t do this is beyond me.  It’s so simple and so easy, yet such a great feature.  A big Thank You to Apex for including it.


The hood-mounted quiver hook.  An ingenious invention and a simple benefit that can make or break your buying decision.

Well, that about sums up the Game Changer quiver from Apex Gear.  No, I don’t think it will help anyone kill a 200 inch buck this fall, but it will certainly help you get your arrows in and out of the woods securely and quietly.  Which, come to think of it, is probably a pretty big necessity if you want to shoot a 200 incher.  So if you happen to be in the market for a new quiver, give this one a look.  I have a feeling you’ll like it.

Stealth Cam Archer's Choice Edition Game Camera Review

by Josh Fletcher 27. December 2011 11:34
Josh Fletcher

This fall we had the opportunity to run the new Archers Choice TV Signature Edition game camera by Stealth Cam through an in-depth series of tests.  We didn’t just want to do a quick review on game cameras, we wanted to give you, the readers the best understanding and quality review, so that you can make your own decision on what game camera is right for you, and be confident in that decision.
 
In this review we break the camera down, from the size of the camera, factory specs on the camera, to the warranty and operators manual. We will also look at the cameras mounting system, ease of use, trigger speed, sensor distance, sensor width, IR (infrared) distance test, battery life and many more series of other tests and features of the camera.

The author using the compact Archer's Choice edition game camera by Stealth Cam

Under each category I list a score. The score is based on a system of 1 through 10. The score of 1 being the worst, and the score of 10 being the best. To understand the means of scoring we were very strict about how good a 10 really is, basically a 10 means it is perfect with no room for improvement.  We also used feet as well as yards to measure distance. The reason for this is most people have a hard time picturing how far 24 feet is but all bow hunters can picture how far 8 yards is.

At the end of the review we will give you an easy to view break down of the good vs. the bad of the game camera reviewed, along with our overall impression of the game camera. So let’s literally break the new Archers Choice TV signature edition game camera by Stealth Cam down to the nuts and bolts.

Test Conditions:

Controlled testing was done on September 20th 2011 in the evening hours with temperatures that averaged around 70 degrees.
Battery life test was conducted in a range of temperature from 70 degrees down to 10 degrees, along with rain and snow.

Make and Model of Game Camera:
 
Stealth Cam Archers Choice TV Signature Edition Game Camera. Model #: STC-AC540IR

Game Camera Size:

This camera has dimensions of 6 inches tall, 4 inches wide, by 2 inches deep. It is very small, compact and light weight.

Factory Specs features of the Game Camera:

Stealth Cam was really thinking when they designed this camera; it shows by the locations of the LCD screens, along with ease of use. Stealth Cam equipped the Archers Choice edition with the option of selecting 3, 5, or 8 megapixels. It also can capture video along with audio at 640x480 resolutions.  The photos are all stamped with date, time, moon phase, and temperature.  All of this data can be stored on a SD card with up to 16 GB of memory. With the camera set to take 5 megapixel pictures, you can store 5440 black and white photos, or 3264 color photos. With the camera set to take 30 second videos, you can store 544 black and white (night time) videos on a 16 GB SD card or 224 color videos. (Note that these are approximate number of images)

The Archers Choice edition is equipped with a generous 1.85” black and white LCD Display. This display is located inside the camera and shows you your different settings and menu. There is also a LCD display on the outside face of the game camera that shows the number of pictures taken. This is a great feature so you do not have to open up the camera to view how many pictures have been taken.

Stealth Cam designed the Archer's Choice edition to be easy to use and user friendly

This camera also has the capture options of 1-9 image burst mode. The burst mode takes the selected number of photos in a row. This feature is designed to capture several different angles of your buck’s antlers to provide a better judgment of the animal.  The pictures are saved to the SD card in a standard JPEG format. The time that each trigger is taken by the camera or also known as the time out feature can be set from 0 seconds to 59 minutes.  This is the time in between each event before the camera takes another picture(s).

This camera is also equipped with a time lapse mode. This feature is designed to provide a constant monitor of an area; the camera will bypass the passive infrared sensor (PIR) and take photos (not video) during the programed time frame.  For example , it will snap a photo every 10 seconds from 8am to 8pm. Then the entire days’ worth of data can be viewed in a short period of time. This feature is handy for monitoring food plots or field where the deer may be out to far to trigger the PIR but can still be captured in the picture.
 
On the front of the camera it had a red LED low battery light that indicates that the batteries need to be changed without having to open the camera to check the battery status. There is also a green test LED light on the front of the camera to test the range and angle of the camera.

Next, the camera has five buttons under the inside LCD display, these buttons are-the test, confirm, menu, and the up and down buttons for setting up the camera’s modes. On each side of those buttons there are two switches, the power on/off and the Posse Mode/ custom switch.

This camera is has a 1.85" B&W LCD display

The posse mode is a pre-set mode for the camera’s ease of use. If you’re not a very technologically advanced individual, all that you have to do is flip the switch to on, then flip the other switch to posse mode and walk away. In the posse mode the camera will automatically take 5 megapixel photos, with a two picture burst and a one minute delay until the next event.  Or you can flip the switch to custom and program the camera to take video, time laps, or photos.
 
Both the photos and videos are illuminated by infrared LED’s giving it a 50 foot or approximately 16.6 yard range.

Ok, now that we have a good back ground on the specs and features of the new Archers Choice edition game camera by Stealth Cam let’s start breaking it down and seeing how it scores.

Initial Impressions of the Camera:

Upon receiving the game camera we noticed that the camera had a very durable housing.  The camera is sealed tightly by two heavy duty plastic latches with metal C-bar.  Compared to other game cameras that we have used the Archers Choice edition game camera was more durable that most others on the market, and is able to with stand the abuse that the average hunter will put it through. This camera is a camera that can take a licking and keep on clicking.
Initial Impressions of the Camera score: 8.5

Operators Manual and Lay Out, Tech Support, and Warranty:

Stealth Cam’s game cameras come with an in depth operators manual.  If you lose your manual to your Stealth Cam you can go to Stealth Cam’s web site at www.stealthcam.com and print off the manual to your model of Stealth Cam.

On the first page of the Archers Choice edition game camera is all the customer support information for the Stealth Cam Company. Not only does it provide the web address for the website, but also the companies mailing address, customer service number along with the email address to technical support.

The Stealth Cam Company has a one year limited warranty on parts and labor. The warranty covers defects in workmanship and materials.
Operators Manual, Tech Support, and Warranty score: 9

Camera’s Mounting System:

The Stealth Cam comes with a nylon web strap. On the back of the camera there are two molded slots for the web strap to slide through to secure the camera to the strap. These molded slots can also be used for other ways of securing the camera to a tree or fence post.  An example of this would be if you wanted to secure the camera using bungi straps instead of the supplied nylon strap.

The Archers Choice edition also has a tree screw mounting option on the bottom of the camera. This is designed for use with a tri pod to place the camera on if no tree is available or if you wanted to use a tree screw to mount the camera to a tree and not the strap.
Camera’s Mounting System Score: 9.5

Trigger Speed:

Independent test have been conducted on the Stealth Cam Hunters Choice model and has shown to have a trigger speed of approximately 1.5 seconds.

With a 1.5 second trigger speed Stealth Cam is not the fastest camera on the market. This is one area that I would like to see Stealth Cam improve on. On field tests this slower trigger speed didn’t affect the number of deer that we were able to capture on the field test as much as I had expected.  If a deer was feeding his way or even walking past, the camera does a good job at capturing the deer. If the deer was trotting through or on a run, the 1.5 second trigger speed may have a hard time capturing that image.
Trigger Speed Score: 6.5

Camera Ease of Use:

When the Archers Choice camera was designed you can definitely tell that ease of use was priority number one.  All it takes to get this camera going is a flip of two switches.  If you’re not person who likes to read owner manuals, just flip the power on and flip the second switch to the posse mode.  The camera preprogramed to take 5 megapixel photos with two picture bursts and a one minute time out. That’s it, just set it and forget it. It’s that simple.
 
If you wish to set the camera to your own custom settings, just preset the different features in the menu mode prior to heading out to the woods. Once in the woods just flip the power switch to on and walk away. Unlike some cameras on the market, you don’t have to go into the settings and manually arm the camera; with just a flip of the switch you’re ready to start taking photos.
Camera Ease of Use Score: 10

Camera Noise:

We wanted to add this topic into the review because we have tested several cameras that make a “clicking” noise while it is taking the photo.  This can be a major problem because it will tip of a mature buck of the cameras presence.  Once that buck is spooked and realizes his home has been invaded chances are he will shy from the area of the camera.

No camera noise is improtant so an animal close to the camera does not hear when the picture is taken

While testing the Stealth Cam and taking hundreds of pictures with it, not once did we notice any noise from the camera, so much so the only way we knew the camera took a photo was by picture counter on the front of the camera, or under low light the LEDs lighting up.
Camera Noise Score: 10

PIR (Passive Infrared) Sensor Distance Test:

Under a low light condition we set the camera up and began to walk towards the camera, once the LEDs light up we would measure the distance to the camera.  We conducted this test numerous time to be sure we got the most accurate results.

The maximum range we were able to get the PIR to take a picture was 14 yards or 42 feet


The camera would trigger at a distance of forty two feet or fourteen yards.  The most effective range for best results is thirty feet or ten yards.
PIR Sensor Distance Test Score: 8

PIR Sensor Width Test:

Again under low light condition we used the distance of 24 feet or 8 yards from the camera.  I then walked across the plane of the camera marking the location that the PIR sensor first picked up my motion.  We copied this from the other side of the camera.

The PIR sensor width at 8 yards is 5 yards or 15 feet wide

At 24 feet or 8 yards from the camera, we had a PIR sensor width of 24 feet or 8 yards wide. 
PIR Sensor Width Test Score: 8

Infrared Distance Test:

We used a 3-D target to represent our deer at the given distance to judge the picture quality and the effective distance of the Infrared flash.

The above picture shows the IR capabilities at 30 feet or 10 yards to the deer target

The above picture shows the IR capabilities with the deer target being 50 feet or 16.6 yards

After testing the infrared at the distances of 30 feet and the recommended maximum range of 50 feet we reviewed the photos.  This test showed that we could still identify antler characteristics all the way out to the 50 foot maximum range with good quality.
Infrared Distance Test Score: 9

Picture Quality:

To decide the score for the picture quality we reviewed photos that were taken under both the black and white infrared night pictures and color day photos. We also compared and reviewed both photos taken during the tests and in the field photos.

Stealth Cam takes great night time photos and has an excellent IR range

Some of the color pictures taken in the morning have a blur to them

The Stealth Cam took great quality night time photos, both in the field and under testing conditions. The day time photos taken under the testing were of good quality, however some of the day time photos in the field had a haze to them. 
Picture Quality Score:  (9 for infrared) (7 for day time)

Special Feature Test:

In the PIR mode the Stealth Cam has different zoom levels to achieve a close up picture at a further distance.

 

The above picture showing the quality picture set at the two power zoom

 

 

The above picture shows the picture quality of the camera set at the four power zoom


During the testing the zoom modes is a great feature, especially when using the camera for home security. The zoom at 4x (the maximum) showed a little bit of blur.
Special Feature Test Score: 8.5

Battery Life Test:

This camera runs off of 8 AA batteries and has the optional connection for an external 12 volt battery pack. Using the AA batteries we had the camera in place set on the PIR photo mode taking 8 megapixel photos. The camera battery life was monitored from the last week of October to the last week of December.

We wanted to test the battery life through this time frame since this is the time when most hunters have their cameras in the woods. Also this time frame gives us a wide range of temperatures. During this test we had temperatures ranging from 70 degrees down to 10 degrees, we also had sunshine along with snow.


We started with full battery power at the end of October, the last week of December we were down to ¼ battery power.  Given the weather conditions which this camera was tested in, we were very impressed with the battery life using the AA batteries.
Battery Test Score: 8.5

Final Impressions of Camera:

After running this camera through a strict series of tests, we are very impressed with the Stealth Cam’s Archers Choice Signature Series game camera.
This camera is small and compact in size, light and easy to transport. It has many great features that are useful for many different applications. It also has a good battery life, which has shown to be reliable under a variety of weather conditions.

The trigger speed is slower than we would like, however it is not the slowest on the market nor is it so slow that you’re going to miss animals walking through.

The picture quality and IR range at night is excellent, we were very impressed with the IR range. The day light photos were good quality with some of the early morning pictures having a slight blur to them.

We were also impressed with the durability of this camera. Stealth Cam did not make a cheap quality camera here; this camera can take a licking and keep on clicking with the quality and durability of the camera body.
 
Also this camera is very reasonably priced.  You can buy several of these cameras for the price of a different company’s camera.

If you are looking for an easy to use camera that does not require reading the owner’s manual from cover to cover and days to learn, this is the camera for you. You will spend less time reading and learning the camera and more time having the camera in the woods scouting for you. Stealth Cam designed this camera to be a no brainer and is super easy to use.

Over All Score: 8.5

Hopefully this review will help you with deciding which camera is right for you this year. All cameras have their strong points along with their weak points. There is no perfect camera on the market, and we hope that this review helps to assist you in picking out your next camera to get you on the biggest buck of your life.

 

"Idiot Proof Archery" book review

by Josh Fletcher 19. December 2011 16:45
Josh Fletcher

“Hi, I’m Josh Fletcher and I have target panic!” Yes that is right; I suffer from a major case of target panic. This year was the worst display of shooting I have ever done in my hunting career.  I owe it to the viewers who watch Bowhunting.com’s Bow Hunt or Die Series, and most importantly the animals, that every shot I make is the most accurate shot I am able to produce.

I’m no rookie at archery; I’ve been hunting and shooting a bow since the age of six. I remember running around the local woods with my brothers chasing small game with an old plastic recurve bow. The thing with archery is that it is a discipline, and even though I have been shooting bows my whole life I have picked up bad habits along the way.

For those of you that never had target panic, one of three things may have happened to you.  One you have not shot archery long enough to experience this problem. Two, you don’t know what the symptoms of target panic are. Three you are not honest with yourself and blame poor shots on anything other than yourself.

Being the type of person that I am, I’m not going to just sit back and live with the problem of target panic. I needed help. Now that I am in the off season I recently bought a barrage of different archery books. After reading numerous books and obtaining as much archery info my little brain could cram, I discovered a book that every archery hunter needs to read. Whether you suffer from an extreme case of target panic or just want to improve your shooting capabilities and range, this is a must read book.

"Idiot Proof Archery" is a must read book for anyone looking to improve thier accuracy

“Idiot Proof Archery” is written by Bernie Pellerite.  Bernie Pellerite has won over 75 tournaments and titles. Not only does the author shoot competitive archery, but is also an avid bow hunter.

As I have mentioned earlier, I have been shooting bows my whole life, and after reading “Idiot Proof Archery”, I analyzed my shooting form and habits and literally went, “yup I’m doing that wrong, that wrong, and that wrong.

Bernie Pellerite said it best in his book that most sports out there have coaches. Just look at golf. Virtually any golf course you go to has golf pro available to help you with your game. I grew up playing baseball, not once did I play a game without a coach. Now think about archery, when was the last time you shot your bow and had a true coach there to help you improve your game? And by true coach I don’t mean your buddy bubba that shows you his way of shooting and not so much the proper way.

“Idiot Proof Archery” is like having Bernie Pellerite as your personal coach. Idiot Proof Archery is a book designed in an easy to read, get you back to the fundamentals of correct archery, and building your accuracy.  What I like about Bernie Pellerite, is that he says it like it is and doesn’t care about being politically correct. His goal is to make you a better archer.

“Idiot Proof Archery”  is 338 page book that has lots of detailed pictures that show you exactly what Bernie is explaining.  Bernie also has “key points” throughout the book.  The key points re-emphasis of solid advice that is covered throughout the particular chapter.  What I enjoy about Idiot Proof Archery is that every chapter is like a building block, each chapter builds off the last and as you go through and read your way through the book you get a much better understanding of how to improve your shooting game.
 
The Chapters Covered in Idiot Proof Archery is listed below.

Introduction: Why You Don’t Shoot Like a Pro (Or Even As well As You Can)
Chapter 1: Equipment, Form, The Mental Game, And You!
Chapter 2: Your Personality… Can You Handel The Truth?
Chapter 3: The Importance Of Tuning, Shooting Form, And Draw Length.
Chapter 4: The Magic And Myths Of Bow & Arrow Setup and Tuning.
Chapter 5: How The Pros Do It… Part One- Aiming
Chapter 6: How The Pros Do It… Part Two- Holding Steady
Chapter 7: The Shot Sequence… Part One- The Defense
Chapter 8: The Shot Sequence… Part Two- The Offense
Chapter 9: Anticipation, Programming, Back Tension & Your Release
Chapter 10: “Hi, My Name is Bernie & I’ve Got Target Panic”
Chapter 11: 44 Form Flaws- When Things Go Wrong
Chapter 12: Shooting Inside Your Comfort Zone
Chapter 13: Perfect Practice, The Do’s & Don’ts Of An Accelerated Learning Curve
Chapter 14: Tournament Nerves, Choking Under Pressure, And Shooting In Adverse Conditions
Chapter 15: 3-D & Estimating Yardage… “Legal & Illegal”
Chapter 16: Hunting With a Bow

In "Idiot Proof Archery”, Bernie Pellerite explains methods recommended to produce the most consistent shooting form, because in archery you don’t have to do things right, you just have to do things consistently. “ Idiot Proof Archery” not only explains how to do things consistently but also gives you shooting drills to help you improve your accuracy and how to truly overcome target panic.

The issue that I have with shooting is target panic. With target panic I anticipate the release causing me to punch the trigger along with what is called a “drive by shooting” or “drive by sight picture”. Basically, once my pin is on the target, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to hold a steady sight picture like that you have while bench shooting a rifle. The thing is that with an archery sight picture, the pin will float over your target.

My issue is that once my pin gets close, I punch the trigger to make a quick shot before my pin moves off the target. “Idiot Proof Archery” explains that this is normal and your pin is supposed to float over your target. To correct this problem I need to anticipate the follow through not the release, I also need to produce a muscle memory of a perfect back tension release, causing the release to surprise me. Idiot Proof Archery teaches me several drills to perform this task. The last month I have been shooting at a blank bale at just three yards away working on muscle memory of the perfect back tension release.
 
In Bernie Pellerite’s book, he states that muscle memory needs to be engrained and it takes approximately 2,000 repetitions to engrain a particular grip, stance, anchor point, or release.

In archery you don’t have to do things right, you just have to do things consistently

This book taught me that in the off season to forget about shooting bulls eyes and work on having the proper grip, consistent anchor point, perfect back tension release, and follow through. Once that is ingrained into my shooting habit, then and only then will I began working on close range target shooting, and slowly extending my range. If I begin to pick up a bad habit, I need to immediately work on the fundamentals before going back to the target again.

Idiot Proof Archery gives you the knowledge every archer needs to build his own shooting regimen by using the tools presented in Bernie’s book.

There is one thing in this book that I dislike. The one and really the only thing, is in the beginning of the book, Bernie states that the archery industry keeps pushing more gear to make you shoot better and you need better equipment to shoot better and that he is sick of this.  He states to become a better archer you need to work on your fundamentals. I agree one hundred percent with this, that’s not the problem, the issue I have is that throughout the book Bernie mentions about his new release aids and bow shooting aids, basically doing the same thing he is blaming the archery industry for. This seems a little bit hypocritical to me, however the rest of the 99% of this book is great material that will help anybody to improve their accuracy and overcome target panic.

So if you’re already a great archery shooter or one that suffers from extreme target panic  like I do, this is definitely a book that needs to be added to your archery arsenal, so much so I keep mine with my archery tools and is just as important as a bow press to any archer.

On a scale of 1 to 10, “Idiot Proof Archery” by Bernie Pellerite gets a Solid 9. The only reason this book did not receive a 10 out of 10 is due to the sales pitches about his products when he knocks others in the industry for doing the same thing. But if you can get past or ignore that little portion this is one of the best books I have ever read and will definitely be referring to it and the advice Bernie Pellerite recommends to help improve my archery abilities this year.

 

 

The Maximum from The Axiom

by Daniel James Hendricks 13. June 2011 09:06
Daniel James Hendricks

With spring bear season right around the corner, Excalibur offered me their 2010 Axiom to field test against the mighty bruins of Manitoba.  I deduced that nothing should work better on a Canadian black bear than a Canadian crossbow so eagerly accepted their offer and shortly thereafter received the Axiom package directly from the Excalibur factory in Ontario.

Not only is the Excalibur Axiom a dependable, consistent and powerful crossbow, but it is real purty, too!


My first reaction when I opened the box was that the bow was “real purty”.  You see, the truth of the matter is that I am not really interested in the statistics of a crossbow like the fact that the Axiom has a draw weight of 175 lbs and an arrow speed of over 300 feet per second.  Or that it has a power stroke of 14.5”, an arrow length of 20”, a minimum arrow weight of 350 grains, a 3 lb trigger-pull or a mass weight of 6 lbs.  That is information for the technically minded, which is exactly why we have the cool and calculating brain of our European Correspondent, Geoffrey Toye on the HBM staff to masterfully and with great detail review our bows from the mechanical point of view. 

 

The Axiom possesses all of the classic lines that Excalibur has become so famous for.

The practical components of a crossbow are what flick my personal switch and during the assembly, the first thing that I really appreciated about the Axiom is that with its Advantage Timber camouflage skin and with the graceful lines of its traditional Excalibur contour, it is most pleasing to the eye.  That is the kind of high-tech thinking I conduct.  Once it was completely assembled, the Axiom and I did a bee-line for the backyard range with a hand full of arrows, a cocking rope, my trusty KneePod and a camp chair.  My first shot at ten yards hit the bulls-eye dead center, which is the exact kind of practicality my technical-less mind truly appreciates – a bow that comes out of the box and is almost perfectly sighted in on the very first shot. Now that is the kind of technology I can really sink my teeth into.

 The Axiom fires a 350 grain arrow at just over 300 feet per second.

Only a couple of minor adjustments were required to zero in at twenty and thirty yards, which is pretty much all I am interested in as I have never been a big fan of long shots with any kind of a bow.  Out to thirty yards I know that the Axiom (as well as all other Excalibur crossbows) is capable of dotting the “I” with every shot, when using a bench rest.  One must make sure to shoot at a different spot with each release or a target-shooting session will quickly turn as expensive as a hardcore junkie’s drug habit.  The only junk the single-spot archer will have to deal with when shooting an Axiom crossbow, however, will be the numerous arrows that will be trashed by its deadly consistency of its arrow flight. 

The Axiom is proudly made by Excalibur Crossbows in Ontario Canada.

The time I spent on the range established the benefits of Excalibur trigger, which according to many is finest in the industry. Three pounds isn’t much and it definitely will surprise you with its release when it is squeezed slowly providing even more fine-tuning to the degree of accuracy obtainable with this incredible little bow.  The Excalibur Multi-Plex scope that comes with each Axiom is 2.5 power, crystal clear and all that one needs when hunting with a crossbow.  The Axiom kit also includes an attachable quiver, four Firebolt arrows and field tips.

The 2.5 power Excalibur Multi-Plex scope provides all of the magnification necessary for the Axiom.

The Axiom is built to hold up under the most difficult conditions and remain virtually problem free.  Its rock-solid construction proved itself on the Canadian trip when the bow was blown off the hood of a pickup by high winds and landed upside down on the pavement.  A quick trip to the target range established the fact that the bow was still perfectly zeroed and that no limitations had been placed on the performance of the bow in any way.  There were a couple of cosmetic dings that would serve as friendly reminders of the experience as well as giving credence to the Axiom’s undeniable toughness.  In all likelihood, the only serious mechanical challenge that will shorten a hunt with this bow is a broken string and that is easily remedied by carrying a spare in your fanny pack or gearbox, which I always do.

The Excalibur trigger, according to many, is finest in the industry.

Another component of the Axiom that I really appreciate is its overall light weight.  By using a separate self-enclosed back quiver, I am able to pare even more weight off an already light bow making the load even more pleasant to bear and easier to hold steady when the moment of truth has arrived.  While in Canada, all of my hunting partners commented on how light the Axiom was compared to the bows that they carried.  In every situation, the lighter weight of the Axiom proved advantageous to me, broadening my appreciation for the bow and making it an absolute delight to carry in the field all day long.  

The Axiom safety must be engaged manually each time the bow is cocked.

Our trips into and out of the field were long, rough, dirty and wet.  They had record rainfalls this past spring and the water was deep and the mud was plentiful and sticky.  The Axioms sleek design was easy to access for cleaning making it simple to get at the critical areas for mud removal.  Never more have I appreciated the benefits of scope covers as on this hunt as well as the easy to clean surfaces and recesses of the Axiom.
   
The many hours spent with the Axiom on the range, traveling into and out of the bush and sitting on the stand gave me a great appreciation for the bow.  But, how did it perform in the killing department with the mighty Manitoba black bear you’re asking.   How would I know!  I didn’t even see one.  My five hunting partners all killed bears and I was the only one that had to hunt until the very last minute of the very last day without seeing a bear.  I am quite positive that word got out in the bush that Daniel Hendricks was there with a brand new Excalibur Axiom and that was all that was necessary for every bear in Manitoba to steer clear of the baits I alertly guarded.  Of course that is just a personal theory of mine; my hunting partners weren’t buying into it, actually I believe they were scoffing a bit.

When locked and loaded, the Axiom fits very comfortably on my lap making a long watch more pleasant.

From my humble point of view, the Axiom is a user-friendly bow that is easy to assemble, comfortable to use and tough as granite, while being very simple to maintain.  It is deadly accurate with consistent arrow flight and packs more wallop than necessary to kill any animal in North America.  It is light to tote, has a dynamite trigger and best of all it retails for around $650 for the whole kit and caboodle.  From a simple crossbow hunter’s point of view, one that likes things sweet and simple while still maintaining complete and trustworthy dependability, the Excalibur Axiom is a great start-up crossbow for the newbie or will make an excellent addition to anyone’s crossbow collection as a tough, dependable, hunting crossbow.  One can expect the maximum for the Axiom.

 Excalibur’s Firebolt Arrows are the perfect match for the Axiom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The NAP Nitron | Little Broadhead, Big Results

by Justin Zarr 29. November 2010 15:00
Justin Zarr

As I move into my 30's and close in on my 2nd decade of chasing whitetails with a bow I can't help but notice the vast amount of trends that we see in the archery and hunting industries.  Every year there's a barage of great new innovations that are sure to make us more effective bowhunters.  However the more I hunt the more I find myself relying on the tried and true products and technologies that have two distinct qualities; durability and dependability.

One segment of bowhunting that has seen remarkable advancements in technologies over the years is broadheads.  In today's marketplace they come in all shapes, sizes and colors.  Each one taughting it's ability to blast through  hide, bust through bone and create holes roughly the size of a small planet.  With a seemingly endless supply of celebrity endorsements, TV commercials and print ads you'd think some of these heads would darn near jump out of your quiver and kill your quarry all by themselves!

The Nitron from New Archery Products is a broadhead that many bowhunters may not be familiar with.  There's no fancy ad campaigns pushing it, no TV celebrities with their smiling face on the package, and no lame catch-phrases being coined in it's honor.  This is a product that has silently snuck under the radar despite it's impeccable qualites that make it, in my opinion, one of the finest broadheads ever produced.

Made from 100% stainless steel from the tip to the ferrule to the blades the Nitron is both durable as well as dependable.  I have personally shot this head through the shoulder of several whitetails with devastating results.  Complete penetration through the entire animal and a broadhead that looked virtually brand new when I picked it up afterwards.

Like all NAP broadheads the Nitron features surgical steel Diamize blades which makes them the sharpest in the industry.  The Diamize process is exclusive to all NAP broadheads which is part of their recipe for success.  When it comes to putting down animals in a hurry, having sharp blades is a must.  The sharper the blades the better the penetration and better blood trails since the coagulants in the animals's blood cannot adhere to the slick edges left by sharp blades.  Sharper blades mean quicker kills - period.

Possibly the finest feature of this broadhead is it's accuracy.  I've shot my fair share of broadheads before, both fixed blade and mechanicals, and have yet to find one as accurate as the Nitron.  This "mini" broadhead, with it's 1 1/16" cutting diameter flies like a dart.  While the current trend may be "massive wound channels" and holes big enough to stick your fist in, I'll take a well placed arrow that's going to deliver both entrance and exit holes any day.  Throwing an axe through an animal sounds great, but doesn't mean much if you don't hit where you need to.

While many bowhunters shy away from the Nitron's small size, I assure you this only works to your advantage.  The small profile of this broadhead not only reduces drag and wind planing to make it more accurate, it also reduces friction as it passes through the animal which increases penetration.  Just two weeks ago I took down a 200 plus pound whitetail with this broadhead which you will see on this week's episode of Bowhunt or Die!  From the time my arrow struck the buck it took a mere 13 seconds for the animal to expire.  Proving yet again that there simply is no substitute for accuracy, durabilty and sharpness.  Don't let the size fool you, this broadhead is a stone cold killer.

Since 2006 I've been fortunate enough to harvest 14 whitetails and 1 antelope with the NAP Nitron.  Every shot has produced both entry and exit wounds. Nearly half of those animals have fallen within sight of my stand and those that didn't generally made it just out of sight before expiring.  I have replaced the blades and shot multiple animals with the same head without a problem.  Dependable, durable, and accurate - that's the Nitron.  For my money, it doesn't get much better than this.

If you're in the market for a new broadhead I encourge you to try out the Nitron.  You may just be surprised that such a small head can deliver such big results.  You can purchase them right here in the Bowhunting.com store.  Click here for the 100 grain Nitron and click here for the 125 grain Nitron.  Don't let the "crossbow" title confuse you, a broadhead is a broadhead no matter what arrow you screw it on the end of.




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