Sight aids on certain bow types

Raven's_Eye

Active member
Ironman
Hello all, as most of you know I'm a longbow enthusiast. I'm a member of AGB (GNAS) and BLBS. Now only coming from a target POV forgive me if I'm ignorant in other forms of archery.

My main question is probably a common one, but it's only really come up in the past few months in my circles.

Recently there has been a bit of an influx of barebows at my local club, and as you know barebows have quite a wide spectrum ranging from horsebows, flatbows, stripped recuves....basically anything that doesn't fall into recurve, compound or longbow category.

What I find interesting is that barebows aren't allowed any form of sight aids, be it bands/marks on the bows or ground markers. I do have a horse bow and I've often wondered whether it could be disqualified as the leather thong holding the leather on could be considered a sight aid as it's on the belly of the bow.

What makes it even curious is that longbows are allowed ground markers/bands.

So really the question is, why? Why are longbows allowed sight aids, while barebows aren't. Logically wouldn't it make more sense to have it the other way around?
 

jerryRTD

Active member
Because long bows are a different class to bare bows,and historically have used certain marks on the bow or on the ground as aids. A precident has been set as to how the longbow is used, no such precident has been set for bare bows.
 

Mufti

Member
How many old war type films have you seen where runners are sent out putting flags in the ground at various distances?

Longbows have ground markers, unfortunately others bare bows don't :(
 

Raven's_Eye

Active member
Ironman
How many old war type films have you seen where runners are sent out putting flags in the ground at various distances?

Longbows have ground markers, unfortunately others bare bows don't :(
Only film I've seen with ground markers is Kingdom of heaven and that was more for the trebuchets. The only other time I've seen archers having a ranging finding archer shooting an arrow to extreme range and waiting for the enemy to reach that arrow so they know when to shoot.

Jerry Tee: I know longbows are a different class to barebows, but what are you defining as historic? Victorian or medieval?

I don't see many troops at Agincourt, or Poitiers. Crecy possibly seeing as we picked the ground, but seeing as archers were trained at that time via roving so they could read the land.
 

Mufti

Member
Good points Raven's_Eye,

I was thinking of the flags they put outside of castles that are to be defended from the battlements.
 

jerryRTD

Active member
Medieval, Victorian long bow has no historical significance as a weapon of war.

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Medieval, Victorian long bow has no historical significance as a weapon of war.
 

Raven's_Eye

Active member
Ironman
Medieval, Victorian long bow has no historical significance as a weapon of war.

- - - Updated - - -

Medieval, Victorian long bow has no historical significance as a weapon of war.
Well if you are going medieval, do you have any links to historical evidence that longbows had marks on the bow to act as range markers? Also IF this was done with the longbow, surely other historic bow types (some of which are classed as barebow) would use similar techniques so doesn't explain why longbow would be allowed and barebow wouldn't.

Using the ground's natural layout I could believe, but again on campaign the ground would change all the time so would wouldn't get practice at using something, and during battle where you may have more than one arrow in the air at any given time it'd be hard to watch it land and adjust, esp if it's a battle where the enemy has chosen the ground and forced you to fight.
 

English Bowman

Well-known member
The longbow target rules were written to preserve the Victorian target weapon, not the war-bow, and so the rules reflect the style of shooting used at the time. There is a big difference between target shooting and war. The closest GNAS get to war practice is clout.
 

jerryRTD

Active member
The basic tehniques of shooting or missile fire only recently changed at or about 1945 with the comingof the assault rifle and the reduction of ranges of engagement. Up to this point the basics of missile engagement had not changed since the time of the long bow. A rifle squad would use area fire at long ranges. But when ranges came down the individual rifle men would pick individual targets. Bowmen would do exactly the same thing,you don't stop shooting at the enemy just because the range is short.the long range area engagement element is covered by clout. The close range engagement is covered by target
Now put yourself in the placeof the archer, anythig you can do to give you an edge and helpkeep you alive you are going to do. That is where the marks on the bow come from.
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Looking at this from the outside, it seems to me that barebow, is a term that has a specific meaning that may or may not be connected to any bow type.It seems to me to describe a manner of shooting. Whatever bow you use it must be bare. Bare,of sights for one thing and possibly stabilisers too.
I would guess that some archers who shoot longbows, for example, will find a way to aim without the sort of sight we see on recurves and compounds. Ground markers could easily have developed from using the bottom limb aimed at a natural fetaure on the ground. I have done this at clout shoots, by aiming the arrow at things on the ground that were there naturally.
Barebow shooting sounds like a deliberate style thought up by some who wanted to avoid any form of sighting that could be moved about in any way.
 

AndyW

Well-known member
In NFAS it's a big style as there's a large contingent of instinctive archers. What tends to separate the styles is the bow/arrow type as well as if other bits are used like stabs. In fact sighted are in the minority. I prefer bowhunter which I think you guys call barebow compound. The odd band allowance also exists with LB but obviously no ground markers.
I'm no great shakes at pure instinctive but there are some truly wonderful folk out there who simply walk from one unmarked target to the next getting hit after hit.
I had the good fortune to shoot this years nationals with a few time national LB champ - lovely guy, but very off putting when he's outscoring you using only an expensive stick (no offence ). Very,very hard to get top class shooting pure instinctive and they will always make light of it.
 

English Bowman

Well-known member
The basic tehniques of shooting or missile fire only recently changed at or about 1945 with the comingof the assault rifle and the reduction of ranges of engagement. Up to this point the basics of missile engagement had not changed since the time of the long bow. A rifle squad would use area fire at long ranges. But when ranges came down the individual rifle men would pick individual targets. Bowmen would do exactly the same thing,you don't stop shooting at the enemy just because the range is short.the long range area engagement element is covered by clout. The close range engagement is covered by target
Now put yourself in the placeof the archer, anythig you can do to give you an edge and helpkeep you alive you are going to do. That is where the marks on the bow come from.
I really don't believe that they would have any marks on the bow before target archery introduced shooting at the same distance time after time. If your target is constantly moving, then I don't see how a band would help. I shoot longbow, and don't use a band, when shooting at unmarked distances you can very quickly work out the gap between the arrow and the target, and use that. I believe that is what a hunter or war archer at close range would do.
 

ieuan_johns

New member
I really don't believe that they would have any marks on the bow before target archery introduced shooting at the same distance time after time. If your target is constantly moving, then I don't see how a band would help. I shoot longbow, and don't use a band, when shooting at unmarked distances you can very quickly work out the gap between the arrow and the target, and use that. I believe that is what a hunter or war archer at close range would do.
You don't see how a band that gave you and indication of distance would help?

If you had a band that you knew would mark a hit at 50 yards and your target was a little closer/farther it is far easier to use that reference point than to use none. Plus of course there would have been no restriction to the number of bands/marks you could have. A bow with marks for 30/50/60/70 yards would be much easier to aim than one with none.
 

Raven's_Eye

Active member
Ironman
You don't see how a band that gave you and indication of distance would help?

If you had a band that you knew would mark a hit at 50 yards and your target was a little closer/farther it is far easier to use that reference point than to use none. Plus of course there would have been no restriction to the number of bands/marks you could have. A bow with marks for 30/50/60/70 yards would be much easier to aim than one with none.
But the problem is with battles is that people are moving all the time and you'd just have to guess the distance, and you aren't aiming at a spot you are aiming at a group.
Another problem would be hunting, if you had marks for so many paces, that'll be on the flat and perhaps whilst standing upright. With hunting you probably won't get to stand full upright and the terrain might be up a hill or down a hill changing your effectiveness of your marks.
 

ieuan_johns

New member
But the problem is with battles is that people are moving all the time and you'd just have to guess the distance, and you aren't aiming at a spot you are aiming at a group.
Another problem would be hunting, if you had marks for so many paces, that'll be on the flat and perhaps whilst standing upright. With hunting you probably won't get to stand full upright and the terrain might be up a hill or down a hill changing your effectiveness of your marks.
How does that make it any less useful? Those are factors that you can consider and adjust relative to. You've got to adjust for movement, height etc regardless so better to do it from a known point than from nothing.
 

English Bowman

Well-known member
I assume that you have never shot a longbow for any length of time without a band or other sighting aid. It's surprising how natural it becomes using the sight picture or gap between the arrow and the target. Many people don't even know that they are doing it and think that it's "instinct."

Also there is no evidence that I am aware of for the use of aiming marks in Tudor times or earlier. I admit that absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, but don't you think that if they used aiming marks it would have been mentioned by Ascham or shown in one of the paintings of archers?

I think that the aiming mark is a relatively recent invention that came in with the rise in popularity of pure target archery.
 

blakey

Active member
K
Hello all, as most of you know I'm a longbow enthusiast. I'm a member of AGB (GNAS) and BLBS. Now only coming from a target POV forgive me if I'm ignorant in other forms of archery.

So really the question is, why? Why are longbows allowed sight aids, while barebows aren't. Logically wouldn't it make more sense to have it the other way around?
If the rules state that Longbow has to have a Mediterranean split finger release, and a fixed anchor, then the only way to have sighters is either ground markers or bands.
If however you shoot barebow you can face walk, string walk, change anchors, etc. In short with barebow you can sight down the arrow. With longbow you cannot, so the sight aids are there to help you find a consistent aiming reference. :)
 

Raven's_Eye

Active member
Ironman
K
If the rules state that Longbow has to have a Mediterranean split finger release, and a fixed anchor, then the only way to have sighters is either ground markers or bands.
If however you shoot barebow you can face walk, string walk, change anchors, etc. In short with barebow you can sight down the arrow. With longbow you cannot, so the sight aids are there to help you find a consistent aiming reference. :)
But it isn't the only way to have sighters, as mentioned already there is gap shooting, & point of aim (which is essentially what a ground marker does), or you can just look at the target draw back and loose which if practiced enough you can do with a good degree of accuracy.
 

blakey

Active member
you can just look at the target draw back and loose which if practiced enough you can do with a good degree of accuracy.
That is what I have always thought Asham has tried to say, practiced from a young age of course, so in a sense it truly becomes instinctive.
As for the rest, I do believe string walkers are regarded as the most accurate in the world, certainly for field. As a gap shooter myself, I acknowledge it has restrictions, particularly with finding an aiming point. Sighting down the arrow gets around this. You can always aim at the gold. Gap shooting does not incur the same problems with tune though.
But if you think about target longbow, you have 4 fixed distances over flat terrain. Ground markers would give you very good fixed point of aim. Something that would be very hard to replicate on a field course? :)
 
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