Our annual report from archery’s biggest show
As usual, the Bow team was at ATA for a poke around the world’s biggest archery trade show. The ATA is the Archery Trade Association of America, and it’s also the given name of the trade show every year in January, kicking off the North American ‘season’ of the ATA, Lancaster and Vegas that gives the first part of the archery year its shape.
Back in its spiritual home of Indianapolis, many major archery manufacturers attend the event, which remains closed to the general public.
A few of the bigger names in the business, including Hoyt, Mathews and Win & Win, decided not to attend the show this year. No matter: we still went around hunting for the new, exciting and covetable.
Easton was showing off its newest version of the Bowtruk, its popular touring bowcase available in three sizes. The Gen 2 version is available now – allegedly, the original Bowtruk was specced for two loads of Steve Anderson’s gear.
The Bowtruk is constructed from TPU-coated nylon for extra strength and has a duffel clip for attaching a second bag to it – handy for airports. The medium-size bag is designed extra-wide for archers who like to keep their sights installed, and has ‘outside-in’ pocket access. It’s pretty much the daddy of semi-soft cases.
Easton also had out its Carbon Legacy arrow, a nod to the historical wing of the company. When Doug Easton first began his archery company in 1922, he started out making handcrafted wood arrows and longbows one at a time in his small workshop, with his own signature cresting.
The idea is to combine the traditional look of wood-grained carbon with high-visibility white-dipped shafts and feather fletchings. “We really wanted to make the Carbon Legacy something special,” said Gary Cornum, Easton marketing director. “We went back into our archives and found some of Doug’s 1920s arrows and borrowed ideas from his original wood shafts to inspire the look we were going for.”
The Legacy arrows come fletched in 340, 400, 500, 600 and 700 spine, and include RPS inserts and pre-installed 6.5mm 3D Super Nocks.
More at: www.easton-archery.com
An interesting new product was on display from Bowhilt, designed to provide a heated grip that is powered by USB. Like a lot of things at the ATA, this was originally geared toward hunters, but they announced their firm intention to move into the target market too.
The latest version of the product is narrow enough to use on a recurve and is powered by any USB battery pack. If you are suffering from cold hands and don’t mind a little extra weight, it might be just what you need.
More at: www.bowhilt.com
Axcel / TRUBall
The Trident Flex release has been making some serious waves in the compound community, with an automatic reset and a triple rotating head (looking this up on YouTube is probably easier than me explaining it). This is a new implementation of an older idea, as Bow understands it. The Tri-Star hook includes an added magnet that resets the sear after firing. For trigger users, it seems like something that should be considered at least. Available in the usual three and four finger versions.
The latest incarnation of the Achieve XP is the ‘Variable Range’ version for both compound and recurve. This reduces the size of the rail at the front to just 1.5in; a 2in rail is also available. (The standard rail is 3.5in). This removes around an ounce in weight and a corresponding reduction in vibration.
It is designed for any and all target archers, although Axcel notes that it might not work for field recurve bows who may need a little more travel and elevation. The sight has more adjustability at the riser bracket side of things, it’s just you would need to take it off the bow and get the tools out. Shibuya produced a similar idea a couple of years ago, although it has not seen huge take-up among the elite.
Axcel also had a hunting stabiliser pairing on display, which might be of interest to target compounders. Its Antler Ridge line, made identically to the target stabilisers, is selling as a combo kit: a 12in front and 10in rear stabiliser, offset mount and quick disconnect, plus vibration dampeners and weights, in either black, coyote tan or drab green.
More at: www.truball.com
Aimed squarely at field and 3D shooters, the Elevation Nest Lite shooting stool is a lighter variation of their original Nest stool, weighing 5.6lb including arrow tubes. The tubes can be shifted to each side to according to preference, and the stool includes three stretch pockets, a large main compartment and a front zippered compartment.
Elevation also has a fully modular, ambidextrous quiver system called the Terra MGS designed for field and 3D shooters, consisting of a quiver, belt, rangefinder pouch, utility pouch and utility belt. It includes pen sleeves and D-loops. For those archers with very specific needs who like to configure things their way.
More at: www.elevationequipped.com
The long-running fletching manufacturer, established in 1946 in northern Michigan, has an increasingly large range of interesting products available. With a long history of commitment to R&D and innovation, it always steps up at ATA time and had several new products on display.
First up was the Frontier jig, an entry-level jig designed to introduce people to fletching arrows at an appropriate price point. Made of simple plastic parts, it is also collapsible and light enough to take on a weekend or fit in the bowcase.
Most interesting of all, to Bow’s eyes, was the new 2in version of the Griffin vane. This was originally developed by Bohning at great expense for Olympic recurve shooting. Of course, this market is dominated at senior level by the SpinWing, which has issues of durability and longevity.
The Griffin vane, now in either 1in or 2in versions, is an extruded plastic vane (rather than punched) with a ‘ribbon’ that does a full twist over the top line of the vane. They are fletched on straight, rather than at an angle. The Griffin seems almost absurdly tiny, but Bohning claims they will get the arrow spinning twice as quickly and four times faster. They are also less affected by crosswind.
Unfortunately, Olympic archers are a stubborn bunch, and so far few have tried out Bohning’s new offering. However, some compounders seem keener to try the new vanes, thus a 2in version was born.
The Griffins come with small plastic clamps to be used in any fletching jig, not just Bohning’s custom clamps. They are a lot more expensive than SpinWings, but with an increase in durability. Available in rather natty packs of 40 which look exactly like a small box of fancy chocolates, maybe you will be the one to go out and win the first tournament with them.
More at: bohning.com
Gateway had some new and beautiful Batwing feathers in full length, 3.5in multi-colours. On top of that it has started making small bales for home use which are stuffed with the biots, the part of the turkey feather they don’t use in making vanes.
It turns out that turkey feather waste is almost the perfect material for stuffing bales; energy-absorbent, compostable, sustainable and unique – and reducing wastage. Excellent work as ever. Gateway continues its mission of providing the best natural vanes on the planet. Good show. (They’re available from Merlin in the UK).
More at: www.gatewayfeathers.com
Last Chance Archery
LCA is a stalwart of the ATA and here at Bow we’ve long been fans of its products, many of which are designed for professional bow shop people and manufacturers of other archery gear.
The new Limb Lock Kit is extraordinary, designed as an add-on for other LCA bow presses in order to use bows which are ‘beyond parallel’, which covers many modern editions. The rotating finger
head keeps the limb fully engaged throughout the process, and the fingers can be adjusted for any limb design. It’s a feature to keep the bow intact and unscratched, and the user safe and confident.
The Revolution Vise (that’s ‘vice’ to our British readers) is a multi-axis vice that can mount to a table or another bow press. It can grab bows in multiple places and tilt to any angle, and can take a bushing adaptor too. If you work on bows a lot, this might be exactly what you need.
LCA also had a small knife called the Ready Blade, designed with ‘half blade’ exposure specifically for archer’s needs such as tackling serving. It takes regular DIY store blades and is ambidextrous. Top stuff.
More at: www.lastchancearchery.com
The long-running 3D and other target manufacturer, recent sponsors of the Terni World 3D Championships, had a new version of their well known 15in 18–1 polygon target called the RED, made entirely from the kind of self-healing foam used in their 3D inserts.
This makes it easier to pull arrows from the get-go and lighter, at the slight expense of durability, so designed more for occasional use. As usual, they had a delightful selection of animal targets, including the lower-cost ‘Woodland’ series and their higher-end ‘Signature/Competition’ series.
More at: www.rinehart3d.com
Best of the rest
There were multiple smaller manufacturers there in droves, and several showing off their wares at the usual Innovation and New Products stands. We were pleased to see GreatTree, whose bamboo-style stabilisers were a hit a couple of years ago. The latest version has hand-applied ridges along the length of the shaft. It really does feel like a fat piece of bamboo. (They also make bamboo-effect arrows.)
The Faux Bow is a clever shoot-thru jelly bow idea which some of you might find an application for. It comes in two flavours, one more ‘trad’ than the other.
Youngspeed is a newer company based in New Jersey making innovative clothing solutions. Look it up if you want something very different for your archery club. And finally, we know several members of the archery community that could benefit from some Deer Steer ‘Arctic Apple’ beard oil. We’re sure you do too. See you next year!
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