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Brace Height..

Just Hunt

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Ok, here is my thought on brace height now. I thought brace height played a big role in shooting and it did, in the older bows that shot slower with soft to medium style cams. Not a factor in today's hard cam bows.. Why, now my numbers maybe a little off due to my mental computer, but the arrow on today's hard cam bows stay in the power stroke ( on the string ) for about 15,000 or 150,000 of a second.. In order for you to bare any change on the arrow, you half to make a pretty drastic human error with in that time frame. 6 vs 7 inch in today's hard cam bow really isn't a big deal anyone.. However many company's advertise  bigger brace heights because it is a selling point to many shooters who are still buying with an old technology mind set..


I now prefer shorter brace height bows knowing that. The less brace , the more speed. for every inch of brace height you could gain 10 fps..The time frame at which I can mess up is to short for me personally to take into consideration..

Edited by Just Hunt
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Great topic, 6 past bows are all 7 " BH, my new bow will be a 7" BH, I'm interested to see what everyone else has to say, I have noticed some newer bows have been using shorter BH's, with the advances in technology would one really notice ?

Yes lots of bows and some target bows are coming out with BH under 7.. More speed less guess work on the range..

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While arrow time in the bow has a part in the equation, it's not the only factor.


The amount of reflex in the riser (how far your hands pivot point is behind the pivot point of the limbs where they meet the riser) also plays a large part in this.


The more deflexed the riser is, the more difficult it is to torque out of alignment. The more it's reflexed, the easier it is to torque.


This is the reason Bowtech came up with "Center Pivot Technology" They move the pivot point of the limbs behind the hand (or neutral with it) to reduce the effects of torque as well as help balance out the bow to a more neutral roll upon release. With CPT, this is accomplished without sacrificing speed that a deflexed riser would.


Todays bows are no doubt easier to shoot, but some factors will never change and only the introduction of more and more innovative technology will help negate or reduce the realized effects.

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My .02 is that ATA vs. draw length is more critical to a shooter due to string angle and head position than the brace height. Also think about it this way too, just because the ATA is short does not necessary mean it will be a difficult bow to shoot. Larger cams and the string position when it rolls over gives the effect of a larger ATA... We cannot compare the old standards to newer technology.  Older bows with low brace height and short ATA were for the most part sporting small cams which were hard to shoot because 1: brace height is short and 2: the cams were a lot smaller then and the string was riding off of the cam much closer to the limb tips whereas now the string can be rolling off the cams almost 3" above the tips at full draw.


Just my opinion.

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I guess I should add that most of the torque you introduce is while drawing the bow, the reflexed risers allow it to happen more easily, hence the term "less forgiving". So it's not as much about the time the arrow is in the bow, though that does play into it as I said earlier.



To picture why deflex vs reflex matters, take a paper clip or piece of wire bent in a V.


That is the riser of the bow. A reflex riser has the grip on the outside of the V's point and the limb pivots at the tops of the V. This formation want's to go one way or another to get reversed.


A deflex riser is already in the natural position with the limb points behind the hand. It's doesn't want to wiggle one way or the other trying to find the natural resting place.




As for what BTE mentioned, I agree that string angle is also very critical and that today's larger cams have decreased the length that is still found user friendly by most. I still find slightly longer bows to be better, I don't like an acute string angle at the face. I don't want to bend my head forward, but like the string to touch my nose, To accomplish this with acute string angles, most people shoot draw lengths that are too long for them. This brings the string far enough back on their face to allow comfortable nose touch, but places their back muscles in the wrong position for correct back tension.

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Also to consider for shorter brace height is that the shorter the BH is, the closer the string gets to your arm/wrist. I will not shoot under a 7" BH because during winter bow I do not want to worry about the string catching heavy clothes.

With the tecnology in todays bows there is very little vibration so "flex" really has been reduced dramatically. Mentioned above is that reducing BH by 1" can add 10 FPS... but if you don't want to reduce your BH to achieve that extra speed you can reduce your arrow weight and pick up 10 FPS or more. Check your arrows grains per inch, you can find this on the website of the arrow manufacturer, just google the manufacterer and go to the model of arrow you are shooting. I have gone from shooting a 495 grain XX75 2413 arrow to shooting Victory HV (high velocity) carbon arrow that weigh in at 354 grains, I gained 28 FPS! So depending on what arrows you are currently shooting, you may want to look at that first before going for a short BH bow for speed.


Let's say you are in the market for a newer bow and you want speed... decide where you want to be with speed because you can shoot up to 400 FPS if you want to! But to shoot 400 FPS and have one pin out to 40 yards you will have a 6" BH! If 390 FPS is good enough for you, you can go with the more forgiving 7" BH and have more clearance for heavy winter clothing. If you decide to go under IBO with the weight of your arrows, check with the manufacturer before you do, you may void your warranty, vertical bow companies do warranty down to 3 grains per pound. Just like the engineering of risers/geometry has improved dramatically over the last 10 years, so has limb technology... limb example: take todays crossbows, Gordon Glass makes Ten Point crossbow limbs and they also make Hoyt's limbs... Check this out, a Ten Point Venom crossbow at 185 LBS shoots a 370 gr arrow 372 FPS!!! That is only 2 grains per pound!!! Talk about getting close to a dry fire! But todays limbs can handle it... specs are from the Ten Point website.


The other thing that usually comes up with shooting light arrows is kinetic energy and it only takes 42 FT LBS to kill a deer and 65 FT LBS to kill a Grizzly (how the traditional hunters got er done!)..

Edited by The Field Archer
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I'm not a fan of speed speed speed. I really don't understand why everyone worries about it so much. 10 years ago my bow was shooting a blistering 220fps and I killed tons of animals and targets, before that I was in the upper 100's and it still worked.


Remember that the lighter your arrow, the less energy it absorbs from the bow. That energy has to go somewhere, so it goes back into the bow. That equates to wear and tear! Even if you don't consider the extra stresses it causes, it causes something that I've always found to be important in bowhunting and that is NOISE. Why are crossbows so damn loud? Because they are nearly dry-firing like FA said. That's also why they have limb issues so often. 


My opinion seems to be less popular among newer bowhunters, but give me a medium weight arrow that shoots quietly out of my bow and I will kill animals. The other issue I've had when shooting light arrows was how quickly they lose kinetic energy. A heavy arrow retains that kinetic energy downrange much further than the light arrows. It's always a game of give and take. You have to decide what's important for your intended purposes and choose the best all around for that. For me it's bowhunting and what I find to be important are penetration, along with a quiet bow that isn't susceptible to failure and the best accuracy I can achieve, even from awkward shooting positions.

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Yes lots of bows and some target bows are coming out with BH under 7.. More speed less guess work on the range..

This dude is shooting a HCA bow with 6" BH and Speed Pro arrows. He is probably shooting a 230-240 grain arrow... like Matty said above, an arrow this light loses KE at longer range faster than a heavy arrow... but this arrow still has over 70 FT LBS of KE so you will get great penetration on deer and it sounds like you want a flatter trajectory and have your 1st pin out to 40 yards... but if you bow hunt in the cold and will be wearing a heavy jacket etc... you may want to go for the 7" BH and shoot 390+ FPS and probably have your 1st pin 30-35 yds (depending on your draw length and draw weight).



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With the tecnology in todays bows there is very little vibration so "flex" really has been reduced dramatically. 



 Just wanted to make sure you weren't referring to the "reflex and deflex" I was talking about The fact that you put it in quotations after my post made me realize that could be confusing to some.
Reflex and deflex refer to the geometry of the riser, not actual "flex" or movement. Torque applied is at the hand where it moves slightly left or right. It was difficult for me to explain the paper clip thing, but if anyone understood what I meant, it's easy to see why so many target archers shooting the tougher games shoot deflexed risers.
Also there's something wrong with quote. lol Everytime I hit enter, it's making a quote box. 
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