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How to Transition from Indoor to Outdoor Archery

Winter is still dominating most of the country, but spring and warmer weather are nearing, which means a major shift in the archery world.

Indoor archery and its controlled settings provide the bulk of winter shooting, and that mean most shots are 20 yards long. Shooting outdoors requires archers to negotiate endless variables, including wind, snow, rain, varying distances and differing angles to the target. Handling those changes requires many equipment adjustments. Let’s review some of the gear you’ll need to prevail outdoors.

Arrow Shafts

Arrows require the most significant equipment change when switching indoor rigs to outdoor setups. Indoor shooting venues don’t affect arrow flight, so archers can shoot large arrow shafts without worrying about wind drift. Compound-bow archers generally shoot “fat” arrow shafts, commonly called “line cutters.”

Fatter arrows makes it possible for shots striking the outside edge of scoring rings to break the line and yield higher scores. A thinner shaft might not touch that line. Olympic recurve archers also use fatter arrows indoors, but not to the degree found in compound competition. When shooting indoors, most archers prefer heavier points to help guide the arrow and increase accuracy.

Transitioning outdoors requires changing to narrower arrow shafts that don’t drift as much in the wind. Archers also switch to lighter points, which improve the arrow’s trajectory for the longer shots common to outdoor archery’s many disciplines.

Vane Type

Just as fat arrow shafts are best suited for wind-free indoor shooting, so are larger vanes or feathers. Long 4- or 5-inch, high-profile vanes are common indoors because they improve the arrow’s stability and accuracy. When moving outdoors into wind and other elements, archers use shorter vanes with lower profiles to yield the best results.

Scopes and Lenses

Archers use sights for both indoor and outdoor archery. Photo Credit: ATA

Whether shooting indoors or outdoors, most archers use adjustable sights with a scope using a single aiming point. Scopes for indoor use are typically smaller in diameter than those used outdoors, and can be easily swapped out. Target archers also commonly use lenses, which attach to the scope’s face to magnify the target for more precise aiming. They’re available in several magnifications, but archers shooting outdoors usually prefer lower-magnification lenses.

If you’re ready to switch your gear for outdoor archery, visit an archery shop to see the latest options and get expert advice. Once you’re geared up, find an archery range where you can sight in and get ready for an awesome outdoor season.




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