A

A/C/C : Aluminium/Carbon/Competition arrow shafts made by Easton.
Made of multiple layers of carbon graphite fibres in a epoxy resin wrapped over a high strength aluminium shaft (0.2mm thick).
The code numbers printed on the shaft indicate its size: e.g. 3-71/300 where 3 is the number of carbon layers, 71 is the last two digits of the core aluminium shaft’s thickness in thousandths of an inch (0.271″) and 300 is the spine of the arrow in thousandths of an inch.
There are specific types of points and nocks for this arrow shaft.
These shafts are lighter than the Ultra-Lite Aluminium shafts.
A/C/E : Aluminium/Carbon/Extreme arrow shafts made by Easton.
Made much the same as the A/C/C arrows, except the shafts are barrel-shaped, being thicker in the centre of the shaft and tapered at each end. This creates a much lighter and stiffer arrow.
The code numbers printed on the shaft indicates its size: e.g. 1206G/370 where 12 is the diameter of the aluminium core shaft measured in 64ths of an inch, 06 is the aluminium shaft’s thickness measured in thousandths of an inch, G indicates the model series and 370 is the spine of the arrow in thousandths of an inch.
There are specific types of points and nocks for this arrow shaft.
These shafts are lighter than the A/C/C shafts.
Actual Draw Weight : The measured or calculated draw weight of an Archer.
E.g. a marked bow of 30 lbs. at 28″ draw when used by a person having a 27″ draw length will have an actual draw weight of 28lbs.
(A 1″ difference in draw length will make approx. 2 lbs. difference in draw weight.)
Aim : To superimpose a sight pin on the centre of a target or, when not using a sight, the placement of the tip of the arrow on a particular point for a given distance.
Anchor : A combination of points to which the bowstring and/or index finger of the drawing hand are drawn to on the face and neck.
Anchor point : Definite spot on the archer’s body, normally the face, on which string and index finger come to rest.
Arbalest : A medieval crossbow that needed a windlass to draw the bowstring back.
Arm guard : A piece of stiff material used to protect the bow arm from the slap of the bow string upon release, worn on the inside of the bow arm.
Arrow case : A box of wood or other material to store and carry arrows. Each arrow being held separate either via foam, slots or clips to protect the feathers or vanes.
Arrow plate : A plate, adjustable or fixed, to which the arrow rest is attached.
A piece of horn, shell or leather just above the handle of a longbow where the arrow passes as it leaves the bow.
Arrow point or pile : Metal point inserted into end of arrow shaft. Can also be that the shaft fits inside the point as in wooden shafts and some carbon shafts.
Arrow rest : A projection or support on the bow or the arrow plate located in the sight window on which the arrow lies when nocked on the bowstring.
Arrowsmith : A person who makes metal arrowheads.
Ascham : A tall narrow cabinet in which bows and arrows are kept.
Axle : The bearing pin holding the wheel in the limbs of a compound bow.
(The length of a compound bow is measured from top axle to bottom axle).

B

Back : The side of the bow away from the bowstring.
Backed bow : A bow which has been backed with rawhide, wood, fibre or sinew.
Ballista : A very large medieval crossbow used by an army attacking the walls of a besieged town. This crossbow was capable of firing large rocks and spears long distances.
Barebow : The discipline of shooting without a bow sight, stabilisers and release aid.
Bass or Bast : The twisted straw back of a straw mat target butt.
Belly : The side of the bow nearest the bow string. Now called the ‘face’.
Blunt point : Usually a conical rubber arrow point with a flat tip designed not to let the arrow penetrate a target, but rather bounce off.
Bob-tailed arrow : An arrow that is thicker at the point. It tapers to the nock end.
Bodkin : A medieval type of arrowhead designed to shoot through protective chainmail or armour usually worn by knights.
Bolt : A short arrow used in a crossbow.
Bow arm : The arm that holds the bow.
Bow hand : The hand that holds the bow.
Bowhunter : A person who hunts animals using a bow. While legal in the U.S.A. and other countries, this is strictly prohibited in the United Kingdom, even for vermin.
A style of shooting in Field Archery using a compound bow with no sights or release aid.
Bow sight : A mechanical device attached to the bow with which the archer can aim directly at the target.
Bow sling : A leather or nylon strap, fastened to either the bow or the archer’s hand, which prevents the bow from falling to the ground when the archer shoots without gripping the bow.
Bowstring : A multi-stranded string of either Dacron, Kevlar or Fastflight looped to the bow nocks or teardrops.
Bow stringer : Cord with two pockets of dissimilar size or one pocket and one saddle, used to string a recurve bow.
Bow stave : A piece of wood used to make a bow.
Bow square : T-shaped device to measure brace height and nocking point location.
Bowyer : A person who makes bows.
Brace height : Shortest distance from the string to the pivot point of the bow when strung. (Old English: Fistmele.)
Bracer : A name used for an arm guard. Usually used to describe the leather arm guard used with a longbow.
Broadhead : An arrowhead with triangular shaped cutting blades used for hunting animals.
Bubble : See ‘Level’.
Butt (Target Butt) : Any backstop to which a target face is attached.

C

Cables : The plastic covered steel cables that connect the string via the cams or wheels to the opposite limb of a compound bow. Cables can also be made of Fastflite string material.
Cams : The wheels on a compound bow have a cam shape to one side that controls the amount of force and the shape of the draw/force curve of the bow.
Many different cam shapes are available to choose from: e.g. Hoyt’s Accuwheel = soft cam, smooth shooting for target archers, Performa Cam = radical cam, stores maximum energy for bowhunters.
Cant : To hold the bow to the right or left while at full draw. The reference to right or left is determined by the position of the top limb.
Cast : The distance a bow can propel an arrow.
Centre serving : The protective winding on the centre of the string where the arrows are nocked.
Centreshot bow : A bow where the sight window has been cut past the bow’s centreline.
Classic style : A method of shooting with as little deviation as possible from normal relaxed body position.
Clicker : Small strip of metal mounted on the sight window in front of the arrow rest giving precise indication of full draw by snapping off the arrow point with an audible “click”.
Clout : A form of target shooting in which an arrow is shot into the air at a 15 metre diameter target on the ground at distances of up to 180 metres.
Cock feather : The feather or vane set at right angles to the slot in the nock (also called the index fletch).
Composite bow : A bow made of more than one material. Not necessarily a laminated bow.
Compound bow : A hand-drawn, hand-held bow that for similar poundage at full draw, stores more energy than a recurve bow through the use of two cables and two eccentric wheels. Most modern compound bows have a 65% let-off of the peak draw poundage at full draw, e.g. a compound bow of 60lb peak weight will have a holding weight of approx. 21lb at full draw.
Creep : Letting the arrow move slowly forward before release (not maintaining draw length). Usually caused by loss of shoulder/back muscle tension.
Cresting : Coloured bands applied to the arrow shaft used as identifying marks.

D

Dacron : A synthetic material used to make bowstrings.
Breaking strain = 50 lbs/strand. Very durable and consistent.
Available in the following colours: black, white, green, yellow, brown, bronze, red and blue.
Dead release : A release where the drawing hand remains at the anchor point after releasing the bow string. (No follow through of the drawing hand).
Director of Shooting : The official in charge of an archery tournament.
Doinkers : A rubber vibration dampener fitted to the end of a stabilizer bar. The stabilizer weight is then fitted into the doinker.
Draw check : A device fitted to a compound bow so the archer can maintain a consistent draw length. Can be similar to a Clicker as on recurve bows or more usually as two separate, small plastic blocks, one fitted to each cable. As the bow is pulled to full draw, the two blocks move together until they touch at full draw.
Drawing hand : The hand which draws the bow string back to the anchor point.
Draw length : The distance, measured in inches, from the pivot point of the bow to the slot in the arrow nock when at full draw.
Draw weight : The force, in pounds, required to draw a bow a distance. (Usually stated ‘# xx @ 28’ , where xx = lbs at 28 inch draw length).

E

End : A set number of arrows that are shot before going to the target to score (usually 3 or 6).

F

Face : The surface of the bow that faces the archer.
FastFlight : A synthetic material used to make bowstrings.
Breaking strain = 95 lbs/strand. Minimal stretch ensures consistency.
Slippery material that requires specific serving to be used.
Available in the following colours: red, blue, white, purple, light green, dark green, yellow and black.
FastFlight S4 : A composite of Polyester Spectra (FastFlight) and Vectran materials used to make bowstrings.
Breaking strain = 160 lbs/strand.
Due to its strength, less strands are required to make a bowstring, so it is lighter and faster.
Field captain : The official in charge of an archery tournament.
Field archery : An archery round in which an archer shoots from a variety of distances at targets set up in natural country.
Field point : Arrow point shaped to prevent skips if the arrow hits the ground.
Finger tab : A piece of smooth material worn on the drawing hand to protect the fingers and to give a smooth release of the bow string.
Fistmele : The Old English term for brace height. Measured with closed fist resting on belly of longbow and thumb extended towards bowstring.
Flax-linen : A natural material used to make bowstrings. Used in medieval times and now used on re-enactment longbows.
Fletch : To glue a feather or vane to an arrow shaft.
Fletcher : A person who makes arrows.
Fletching : The feathers, plastic vanes or other devices attached to the arrow shaft which stabilise the flight of the arrow.
Fletching jig : A device used to hold the arrow shaft in place and correctly locate and align the placement of the fletching.
‘Fletch-tite’ : A clear glue used to apply fletching to the arrow shaft. Also used to apply nocks to the arrow shafts. It sets rapidly and remains slightly elastic (not brittle) to resist repeated shock and vibration in all weathers.
Flight arrow : An arrow used in flight shooting. Usually very light and very stiff and fitted with very small fletching to reduce wind drag.
Flight bow : A very strong bow specifically made for flight shooting. Usually with ‘shoot through’ riser and short limbs. Draw weight can exceed 100lbs.
Flight shooting : A discipline of archery purely aimed at attaining the longest distance able to be shot with a bow.
Flinching : Moving bow arm and/or drawing hand just before release.
Flu-Flu : An arrow fitted with many feather fletches spiralled around the arrow shaft. The arrow can only be shot a very short distance due to the amount of wind drag on the feathers.
Follow through : Movement of the drawing hand/arm and bow arm after the release.
Foot markers : Lines, golf tees or other devices to indicate the archer’s foot positions at the shooting line.
Free style : A method of shooting using a bow-sight to aid the archer in aiming.
Freeze : Inability to move the sight to the desired position while at full draw, or inability to release.
Full draw : The position of the archer when the bow string has been drawn and the drawing hand is at the anchor point.

G

Goose feathers : The feathers of the Grey Goose were used by medieval archers due to their excellent arrow flight quality.
Grip : To hold the bow, used in reference to holding the bow, too tightly.
The handle of the bow held by the archer.
Ground quiver : A device, generally metal, pushed into the ground to hold arrows and/or bow.
Group : The pattern of arrows in the target.

H

Handle : The centre part of the bow exclusive of the limbs.
Heel : Exert pressure with the heel of the hand on the lower part of the handle during the shot.
HyperSpeed A/C/C arrow : A brand name of arrow recently developed by Easton.

I

Index fletching : The feather or vane set at right angles to the slot in the arrow nock (also called the cock feather).

J

Judo point : A arrow point fitted with spring-loaded wire prongs that will catch on grass or scrub to stop the arrow quickly.

K

KLFA : King’s Lynn Field Archers. By far the best field archery organisation in the UK with talented, handsome, rugged and professional archers who win everything and crush all opposition.
Kevlar : A synthetic material used to make bowstrings.
A very strong and light material, but has no stretch, which causes more shock to the limb tips. Some bows cannot use Kevlar bowstrings.
Limited life-span of this material when used for bowstrings as it will break due to repeated bending.
Kisser button : Small protrusion placed on the bow string as an additional anchor reference point. Touches the archer’s lips, teeth or nose at full draw.
Kyudo archery : A ceremonial style of archery, first practised in Japan over 1200 years ago, involving Zen meditation to ‘become one with the bow’.
Kyudo arrows : Traditional arrows used in Kyudo Archery.
These arrows are over 1 metre (40 inches) in length and fletched with traditional feathers.
Kyudo bow : A Japanese longbow, approx. 2 metres (79 inches) in length. The grip is about one third distance from the bottom tip of the bow. The bowstring is drawn using a shooting glove fitted with a thumb groove for the string to sit in. The drawing hand is pulled back until over the rear shoulder and the bowstring is released by relaxing the thumb, allowing the bowstring to slip out of the groove.

L

Laminated bow : A bow made of several layers of different material glued together, usually two layers of fibreglass and a hardwood core.
Launcher : A style of arrow rest used extensively on compound bows. Can be a one-piece flat metal prong with a ‘v’ groove for the arrow to rest in or can be two round metal prongs set apart to suit the size of the arrow.
Left-handed archer : An archer who holds the bow in the right hand and draws with the left hand to bring the arrow back under the left dominant eye.
Left-handed bow : A bow with the sight window cut out on the right hand side when viewed from the face of the bow.
Let-off : The reduction in draw weight of a compound bow, when pulled to full draw, usually expressed as a percentage.
Most modern compound bows have a 65% let-off.
E.g. a marked peak weight of 50lbs and a full draw weight of 32.5lbs.
Level : A small spirit level, fitted in the bow sight, to indicate when the bow is being held vertically (compound bows only).
Limbs : The energy storing parts of the bow above and below the riser.
Limb dampeners : Recently developed product consisting of a mushroom-shaped rubber form attached to the limbs of a bow to reduce the vibrations in the limbs after the release.
Limb pocket : A recessed slot in the top and bottom of the riser, shaped to fit the ends of the bow limbs and maintain correct limb alignment.
Limb twist : A failure in the bow limb where the bow tip turns away from aligning with the bowstring. Can be caused by over-stressing or over-exposure to very high temperatures making the laminations deflect.
In extreme cases, the bowstring can slip off the limb at full draw on a recurve bow.
If a Compound bow is left with the cables still against the cable guard for an extended period of time, the limbs can twist, forcing the cam wheels out of alignment to the cables and the cables can miss the cam grooves after release and the bow will de-string itself resulting in damage to the bow and the archer using it.
Before buying any bow, check for any signs of limb twist.
Longbow : Self bow in the tradition of the old English bows, slightly deflexed and with or without minimal reflex at the bow tips, approximately 1.7 metres (5 feet 6 inches) in length.
Loop : The woven or served looped ends of the bowstring that fit in the bow nocks when the bow is strung.
Loose : To release the bowstring (Old English term).
Command given to archers to begin shooting, usually in battles.

M

Mass weight : The actual physical weight of the bow.

N

NFAS (National Field Archery Society) : Governing body of our sport. Details at www.nfas.net.
Nock : To place an arrow on the bow string.
The attachment to the rear end of an arrow which is placed on the bow string and holds the arrow on the string.
Nock set : A small brass attachment added to the string to mark the nocking point.
Nocking point : The specific point where the arrow is to be nocked on the string.

O

Open stance : The position of the feet on the shooting line, where the left foot is behind an imaginary line extending between the archer’s right foot and the centre of the target (for a right handed archer).

P

Peak weight : The maximum draw weight of a compound bow.
The peak weight is adjustable on a compound bow by turning the limb bolts, giving approx. a 10lb weight range.
Peep sight : Also known as a string peep. An aperture in a small round piece of plastic or metal which is set between the strands of the string above the nocking point to sight through in line with the bow sight for aiming a compound bow.
Pinching : The squeezing of index and middle fingers against the arrow nock during the draw, causing deflection of the arrow.
Pivot point : That point of the grip about which the moment forces (reactions) act. Normally the physical centre of the bow.
Pluck : Pulling the string away from the face in any other direction upon release than that dictated by a correct follow-through.
Pile or point : Metal tip of an arrow.
Point of aim : A method of aiming in which the point of the arrow is sighted on an object, usually on the ground.
Poundage : Draw weight of a bow.
Pressure button : A spring loaded button in the sight window against which the arrow lies and compensates for side-ways bend of the arrow. Also called plunger button.

Q

Quarrel : A crossbow bolt.
Quiver : Device for holding arrows. Different forms are back, belt, bow, and ground quivers.

R

Rebound : An arrow that bounces off the scoring area of a target.
Recurve : The end of the bow limbs that curve away from the archer when the bow is held in the shooting position.
Recurve bow : A bow that has recurve limbs.
Release : To allow the string to leave the fingers or the release aid.
Release aid : A mechanical device for releasing an arrow (compound bows only).
Right-handed archer : An archer who holds the bow in the left hand and draws with the right hand to bring the arrow under the right dominant eye.
Right-handed bow : A bow with the sight window cut out on the left hand side when viewed from the face of the bow.
Robin Hood : A bandit archer of legend who lived in Sherwood Forest, near Nottingham, UK. Said to have unsurpassed skill with the bow and arrow, able to split an arrow at will. Also robbed the rich and gave to the poor.
A term given to two arrows shot end to end, the second arrow embedded into the rear of the first. (Happens rarely, so the arrows are usually kept as a trophy.)
Round : The shooting of a definite number of arrows at specified target faces from set distances.
Rounds are given names, usually of towns or cities in the country of origin.

S

Scope sight : A bow sight with a magnifying lens. Usually used in conjunction with a peep sight on a compound bow.
Semi-recurve bow : A bow that is neither straight nor fully recurved.
Serving : The wrapping of thread around the loops and centre of the bowstring to protect it from wear.
Serving jig : A device that holds the serving thread and maintains consistent tension as the thread is wrapped around the bowstring.
Shaft : The arrow excluding the point, nock and vanes.
Shooting glove : A leather glove with only three fingers for holding the bowstring.
Shooting line : A line parallel to and a specific distance away from the targets from which all archers shoot.
Sight : Bow sight.
Sight extension : Bow sight extension which attaches to the bow.
Sight block : The movable part of the sight which holds the sight pin, aperture or scope.
Sight window : The cut out section of the bow above the grip.
Sling : Strap fastened to either the bow or the archer’s wrist or index finger and thumb, to prevent the bow from falling when shooting with a relaxed bow hand.
Snap shooting : Releasing the arrow without pausing to aim carefully.
Spine : The arrow’s resistance to bending, classified by hanging a 2lb weight at the centre of an arrow resting on two supporting points 26″ apart, and measuring the amount of the bend.
Spinwing : A type of fletch made from mylar and is c-shaped in section.
A good fletch to use on A/C/C and A/C/E arrows as they rapidly stabilise the arrow flight through rapid spinning.
Stabiliser : An extension rod holding a small weight used to minimise the vibrations which occur during the release.
Stacking : A characteristic of bow performance where the force/draw curve rises more rapidly over the final part of the draw.
Stance : The position of the feet and body assumed when addressing the target.
String : A cord used to shoot a bow, ready for shooting and to propel the arrow in the act of shooting.
To place a bow string on a bow in the proper position for shooting.
String jig : An adjustable frame used to make bowstrings.
Stringer : A device to aid in the stringing of a bow.
String alignment : The placement of the string when at full draw in relation to the bow sight or the bow.
String angle : The angle formed by the string at the nocking point when at full draw. (Also pinch angle.)
String fingers : The fingers used to draw back the bowstring.
String hand : Drawing hand, the hand used to pull the bowstring.
String height : Brace height or fistmele.
String peep : Peep sight.

T

Tackle : An inclusive term for archery equipment.
Tackle line : A line, set behind the shooting line, behind which is placed all such equipment which is not used during shooting. (Also equipment line.)
Take-down bow : A bow which can be taken apart. The limbs can be detached from the riser for ease of travelling, storage and limb change-over.
Target captain : The person who decides who is to call the value of each arrow, record the scores and draw the arrows from the target.
Target face : The paper which is attached to the butt and indicates the scoring areas.
Target Panic : A mental condition causing a loss of control in shooting form. Symptoms can include aim freezing, snap shooting, flinching and trigger punching.
TFC : Torque Flight Compensators are adjustable rubber vibration dampeners fitted to stabiliser rods, usually on v-bars.
Tiller : To shape the limbs of an unfinished bow for even bending.
The reaction of the limbs whereby the nock ends propel the arrow in a straight line by moving an equal distance in equal time to return to brace height by means of the various stresses in the top and bottom limbs with compensation for the bowhand pressure below and the arrow axis/centre line above the centre of gravity of the bow.
Torque : Any rotation or twisting motion of the bow in the horizontal plane.
Toxophilite : A devotee of archery.
Trigger : The mechanism in a crossbow to release the bowstring.
To release the bowstring using a release aid.
Tune : To adjust the arrow rest, pressure button, string height and nocking point height to achieve good arrow flight out of the bow.

U

Ultralite : A model of aluminium arrow made by Easton.
The wall thickness of the shafts are either 11 or 12 thousandths of an inch thick. Available in sizes 1511 to 2512.
A much lighter arrow than the X7 and XX75 models.

V

Vane : Plastic fletching.
V-bar : A short extender fitted between the riser and long stabiliser that allows two short stabiliser rods to be added as a counter balance to the long stabiliser. The addition of the two short stabilisers on each side of the riser helps resist twisting reactions from the bow hand.
The v-bar is used in conjunction with TFCs.

W

Windage : The adjustment of the bow sight or the pin on the bow sight to allow for the wind deflecting the arrow.
Windlass : A medieval device to pull the bowstring back on a crossbow.

X

X7 : A model of aluminium arrow made by Easton.
Usually blue or black in colour.
A better quality of arrow than the XX75 model.
X10 : Currently the best model of aluminium/carbon arrow made by Easton.
Used by the top archers as they only come in precisely weight matched sets of 12.
(Be prepared to spend about £400 for a set of these).
XX75 : A model of aluminium arrow made by Easton.
Usually gold in colour and also available in camouflage colours.
The printed code number on the shaft indicates its size: e.g. 1816 where 18 is diameter of the shaft in 64ths. of an inch and 16 is the wall thickness of the shaft in thousandths of an inch.
Available sizes range from 1413 to 2514.

Y

Yarn tassel : A large tuft of yarn that is used to wipe mud and dirt from arrows.
Usually made of Club colours or to the archer’s personal choice.
Yew : The wood of a European evergreen tree used for making medieval longbows.

Compiled by Colin Bonfield