First Casualty

Posted: September 3, 2011 in Archery

So, I’ve always said that my PVC bows had a limited lifespan. I just didn’t know where that limit was, exactly.

Now I know.

I was shooting my favorite PVC bow this afternoon, the one that I juiced up with a stick of bamboo in the center, and it blew up. Literally. I was shooting a real nice group into the target, and then I drew it back, suddenly finding that I had a slack string in my right hand and bow elements all over the place.

I was hurt in no way by this, but I was surprised. The bow ended up in about five pieces, though the string was in no way damaged. There were no untoward sounds or behavior, it just gave up suddenly and critically.

I don’t have a solid estimate on how many shots I had on this bow, but it was a great many. Probably over a thousand, and I have a long draw. That’s a lot of mileage on a plumbing pipe. I should also point out that I did have a string fail at one point, and that may have stressed the plastic a bit. Finally, the inclusion of the bamboo in the middle of it may have stressed the material more than a plain bow would be.

What did I learn from all of this? Well, a few things.

First, there’s a chance that the bow will, in fact, break up suddenly. Consequently, it’s probably wise to wear eye protection when you shoot. I always do, as I need my specs to see the target. If you have good vision, a pair of impact-resistant safety glasses is probably a smart idea. A shooting glove on the bow hand isn’t a bad idea, either.

Second, some sort of handle wrap is probably a smart thing. In recent days, I’ve taken to doing a cord-wrapped handle, which I think looks smart. It should also serve to make it less likely for the handle break at the point of primary stress, which would be right at the webbing of our thumb on our bow hand. Even if it should break, it would be tough for any of the sharp edges to cut your hand (not that I was cut, even as that exact thing happened right against my skin).

Finally, and the over-arching lesson here, is that a PVC bow can shoot a fairly good number of shots and give you a great deal of enjoyment (and possibly even utility) for almost no money.

Happy Shooting!

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