Saturday, October 18, 2008

Target Practice

Went down to Pacifica Archery before heading over to the range in GGPark. Walked in and asked for a 122 target, but taking one look at the beast that is the 122, I realized that there was no way that would work. It was just too big. The thing would not even fit on the target butt at the range. So instead, I got an 80 cm target. This does a few things. First, it lets me fit the the target on the target butt, making it usable. Second, it saves me a couple of dollars (80s cost 4 where 122s cost 6; hey, every little bit helps!). Third, it makes me tighten things up even further. Someone once told me, when I was trying to shoot 40s instead of 60s at 18 meters, that the center is still the center, and the same holds true at 70 meters. So, if I can learn to shoot well at 70 meters on a 80, imagine how I'll do when I get a 122 out there.

After a stop for a bottle of water, I drove out to the park along the Pacific. A great drive on a beautiful San Francisco day. Drove up to the range, put my bow case down at the 70 meter mark, and walked out to the target butt. I dropped my pen at the end of the lane and put up the target with the pins. Then I walked back down the lane and set up my bow.

First end gave me a 10 and a couple of less than stellar shots. Next four ends (12 arrows) all ended way low on the target. So I finally got around to lowering the sight. The next six arrows were in a horizontal line across the center of the target. In other words, I nailed my vertical alignment, but my horizontal alignment still needs some work. Maybe some v-bars would help. Something to look into this winter when I'm back on the east coast and at Archery USA.

The final end all landed high, but I still felt pretty good about the day. First time shooting at a target at 70 meters, and I didn't completely embarrass myself. Started to figure out the system, and now I just have to fine tune the thing.

Also at the range, helped a couple of guys out, telling them they were shooting with the wrong eye. Reminded me of a day at Archery USA when I could help people out while doing my own shooting. Perhaps I'll go for the instructor's certification this winter, too. In my spare time (Ha. Ha. Ha.).

And when I got home from the range, waiting for me at the back door, was a new set of latches and keys for my case from SKB. And a set of wheels. Don't know why they sent me a set of wheels, but I'm sure I can find some way to use them some day. But the latches are definitely good to have.

Hunting for Targets

So the great target search continues.

I'm sick of just shooting at target butts. If I am going to fine tune this 70 meter thing, I need a target to aim at to make some adjustments (and to see if I actually need v-bars). So instead of passively driving by the SF Archery Shop every weekend and hoping for the best, this week I took action.

A few nights ago, I picked up the phone and left a message at the shop, asking if they actually had targets available. They called me back and said that they do have one (1) 122 cm target available, and they do sell target pins, although I didn't get a price. The 122 sells for $7.50 normally, but this one was used.

"You know, I'm going to be beating up this target, so I don't know if I want one that's already beat up."

"Oh don't worry, it just has..." [pause while he checks the target] "...about six holes."

We also talked about when I might actually catch him at the store. He said if I went by when he was "open," and he was at the range, he has a sign on the store saying to call his cell phone. Well, I tried that last Monday, and couldn't reach anyone on the number.

Not a big fan of this semi-successful back-and-forth, I placed another call that night, to Pacifica Archery. With no problems, and a brief but productive conversation, I found out that they have 122s on sale for $6, and sell target pins for $1 each. For $10 plus tax, I'll be out the door with exactly what I need.

Pacifica, here I come.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Getting it Back, and Getting Back to It: An Archery Play in Two Parts

Part I: Breaking and Entering

Finally broke into my archery case today. Took the case over to a locksmith down the block from the archery shop. Put the case up on the counter and as calmly as I could screamed "HELP!!!"

But in all seriousness, I put the case on the counter and said that one of the latches is jammed, and could they please help me get it open. After about 10 minutes of working one lock and comparing it to the other, the locksmith finally got it open. No need to lock the case until Thanksgiving, so I'll use it as an unlocked latch until then.

$88/hour for locksmith services, 15 minute minimum. Cost me $22 to get to my own equipment. And worth every penny.

Went down to the archery shop afterward, hoping to buy a target. Shop is open, but the sign on the door says the owner is at the range. Try his cell phone, and with no answer, I am still sans rings to shoot at. But at least I have access to my bow again, and can get some shots in.

Part II: 18 Arrows, 70 Meters, and a Feral Feline

Out to the range in Golden Gate Park. Both paved lanes are taken, but one of the field lanes is marked at 30, 50, and 70 meters. The 70 meter mark is all the way back on the path at the far end of the range, right up against the tree and vegetation line that separates the range field from the road. I get my bow set up for the first time in a few weeks, knock an arrow, draw back, aim, and see a small black cat, sitting on the hill that rises behind the target.

Now this is only the second time I've shot from 70 meters. I am relatively confident that I can hit the target, even from all that distance, but I am a little bit nervous that, on the off chance the arrow goes high, I may go bowhunting for the first time in my life, and totally by accident at that.

The cat disappears from my sight, and I figure he has gone up into the trees, so I let fly my first arrow of the day. It hits the target butt with a satisfying thump. And then the cat reappears. First he is next to my target, then sets himself down right in front of it. I walked over to the other archers, asking if the cat belongs to any of them. They tell me he belongs to the park, and not to worry about him. He'll get out of the way when he hears the arrows coming.

Still a little nervous, and not wanting to hunt some urban game, I still set up my second shot. The arrow flies towards the target, and the cat, flinches as the sound hits, far too close for comfort. The next arrow gets another flinch, and the next has him scurrying off up the hill and away. I saw him wandering around for a while after that, but soon enough had disappeared from the range completely.

Shot a pair of double ends and a pair of single ends from 70 meters, for a total of 18. Put them all in the target butt, in some interesting lines and wide groups. If I could get a target on there, I am confident that with a bit of practice, I could get some pretty good groups and some decent Olympic scoring rounds in.

Collecting my arrows at one point, I stopped to watch the other lanes shooting at their targets. There is nothing quite like the sight of an arrow, arcing toward its target. I first saw this on the range in San Diego, when I would arrive as Dakota was firing down range. It is rare to enjoy the view at an indoor range, because the distance and safety requirements limit viewing opportunities. But on the range in the park today, I was able to watch those arrows fly, and enjoy the simple beauty that is the arrow in flight.

A small bit of shaking in the shoulder late in the game, but Still got enough arrows in for a warm up double and a full Olympic round. Feels fine now, hours later. No soreness, and I did not even ice it, although I may regret that later.

Maybe I'll go back to Pacifica Archery, not for any shooting, but to buy a target. Surely they must sell 122s.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Call a Locksmith!

Nothing doing last weekend.

Or this weekend, at least until Monday. Latch is still jammed, although supposedly replacements are on their way. Spent a good amount of time last night trying to un-jam the latch, but no such luck.

Locksmith is closed for the weekend, and as important as archery is to me, I hardly think this constitutes an "emergency," so Monday is the target date for getting the case opened.

Maybe next weekend things will be back to normal-ish, or at least back to the range.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Signs from the Gods

So at long last I get to chronicling my archery misadventures from last weekend. One mishap after another led to zero arrows being fired from any distance. First, massive traffic gave me a frustrating slow drive across the city, across the park, and out into the Richmond, heading for the archery shop.

The web site for the shop said they were open 1-6 on Saturdays. The sign on the shop itself said they were open from some time in the morning (10? 11? 11:30?) until 6 on Saturdays. I got there around 3. The place was closed. Translation? No 122 cm target for an Olympic round.

On to the range. Still figured I would get some practice in at 70 meters. Get myself comfortable there and get some arrows off. But it was not to be. Unlocked the right latch on my archery case, but the left one is jammed. Sat struggling with it for a while. Even broke off one of my keys (don't worry, there are two identical ones). The fun part is I still can't get to my bow or arrows or anything else in there until I get that latch unlocked. Have to get in touch with SKB and get it taken care of.

Between the traffic and the closed shop and the jammed lock, maybe someone was trying to tell me something. I'm just not in the habit of listening when I'm being told to not shoot.