|November - December 2004
Volume 2, Number
Cover Photo Ron Spomer
For many years, one of the real weak links in
bow hunting was crummy bow sights. Getting a bow shot at a big game animal is tougher than
old shoe leather, and once you finally do make it happen, nothing on earth is worse than
finding a broken sight pin, bent frame, loose screws or a sight that rattles like my old
55 Chevy at the shot.
A decade ago, these types of gremlins were not
uncommon. In recent years, however, sight design and manufacturing processes have been
modernized, manufacturing tolerances tightened up and attention to detail tweaked to the
point where the best sight makers now offer products that are dang near bomb-proof
exactly what a careless, clumsy schmuck like me needs.
Bow hunters know that mature bucks, bulls,
boars and bears tend to move on the cusp of daylight, which makes seeing sight pins
difficult in dim light. To help solve that di-lemma, bow-sight makers over the past two
seasons have begun using wound fiber optic material to brighten your day. This
allows a sight maker to use up to a couple of feet of fiber optic for each sight pin with
the material wound around a portion of the sight and protected by a clear plastic housing
that prevents breakage, yet allows ambient light to strike the fiber optic material. This,
in turn, provides the shooter with maximum light transfer to the pin tip in the dim light
of dawn and dusk.
Fiber optic pin tips are now being offered in
different diameters too. This is an often overlooked yet very important development.
Having a large-diameter pin tip of, say, .030 to .040 inch is great for close-range,
20-yard chip shots taken at deer from a tree stand. However, when using this large pin
when aiming at ranges of 50 yards or more, the pin obscures so much of the target that
precise shooting is difficult. Thats when smaller diameter pins of about .017 to
.025 inch really shine. The most advanced sights today allow you to use both pin types at
the same time. The new-for-2004 Trophy Ridge Top Pin is a prime example.
Also, sight makers have recognized the fact
that more and more bow makers are building short axle-to-axle bows designed for release
shooters begging for smaller, more compact hunting sights. In 2004, sight makers displayed
more and more compact sights designed specifically for these bows.
The other key trend in sights is that
manufacturers have finally
realized that shooters want sights that are easy to adjust vertically and horizontally
with a minimum of different-sized Allen wrenches. Cutting-edge sight makers have responded
with one Trophy Ridge offering a sight that can be adjusted without any
wrenches at all. Many new bow sights also allow micro- adjustability so you can precisely
set the sight pins without having to fumble with hard-to-handle adjustment screws.
The key, however, is to make sure that a
micro-adjustable sight isnt so fragile that the adjustments tend to rattle or shake
loose from the vibration of repeated shooting. Also, many quality bow sights now permit
you to move the entire pin block vertically and horizontally, a welcome feature that
allows fine-tuning for left-right and up-down hits once the pins have been set for
specific distances without having to move each pin.
For decades, archery manufacturers have
focused on the tree-stand whitetail hunter. After all, they make up the vast majority of
the nations bow hunters. Today, though, more and more have realized that there is a
significant number of western bow hunters out there. These guys, who can and do
take shots at 50+ yards, require more than the usual three or five pins found on
most of todays hunting sights. Today a few select manufacturers are offering bow
sights that allow the use of more than five total sight pins. In the past, unless you
wanted to use a single-pin movable sight which many people do not care for,
although those who use them love them if you wanted to set the pins in 10-yard
increments beginning at 20 yards, the farthest you could have pins for was 60 yards. With
todays hot bow-and-arrow setups, shooting accurately at least on the practice
range at much farther distances is very realistic. Now with sights that allow the
use of six to nine total pins, such long-distance shooting can be precisely done without
sacrificing short-range accuracy.
Want to find out more? Then check out these
five hot, new 2004 bow-sight models.
1) Trophy Ridge Mantis VDrive: Chris Rager is
one of archerys most innovative minds and one serious bow hunter, as this new sight
demonstrates. The VDrive system is a movable sight system that uses 50 percent less parts
than others of its type. When added to the Mantis pendulum sight, you now have a
combination pendulum and movable one-pin sight. To convert from one to the other, you
simply lock down or release the VDrive system its that simple!
The sight head features a round sight window
with over 2 feet of wrapped fiber optic to light up the single .029-inch pin. It has a
built-in vibration dampening system, bubble level, RSR Peep Alignment Tool, gang sight
head adjustments and can work for both right- and left-handed shooters. It has to be seen
to be believed; its that cool! Trophy Ridge, LLC; or visit online www.trophyridge.com.
2) Trophy Taker Top Pin: Designed by Dan
Evans, one serious western bow hunter, this sight features a round pin guard with fiber
track and alignment ring that glows in the dark, the largest level bubble in the industry,
slide or micro-
adjust windage and elevation capabilities and machined aluminum throughout with stainless
hardware. The sight uses standard fiber optic pins mounted from the riser side, but the
kicker is the top pin, which comes down from the top and features 50-plus inches of
wrapped fiber that light it up like a lamp in dim light. The Extended Range model comes
with an extended sight window and seven pins for long-range accuracy. Trophy Taker; www.trophytaker.com.
3) Toxonics Top Gun S-50: From one of the most
respected names in hunting sights, the S-50 features an all-new 50mm machined aluminum pin
guard with fluorescent green aiming ring for centering the peep with the sight, bubble
level, sight bar extension and comes with either three or five .040-inch pins, although
.019- or .029-inch pins can be specified. The top pin is Toxonicss Tracer pin, which
coats the top of the pin with a new technology that uses a phosphorous-based coating
deposited on the aiming face of the steel pin and around the tip diameter that retains
visibility in low light conditions for over 30 minutes. Its awesome! Toxonics
Manufacturing; on the web at www.toxonics.com.
4) Cobra Sidewinder LX: Cobra introduced
wrapped fiber optic pins to the industry, and its Sidewinder LX is an improvement over
last years model. It features dual-angled tracks for zero pin gap spacing,
micro-adjustable windage and elevation ability, all-metal construction for the ultimate in
ruggedness, built-in bubble level, an Enhancer Cover and Cobra Glo-Sticks that enhance the
fiber optics brightness even more. Cobra Manufacturing, Inc.; www.cobraarchery.com.
5) Copper John Dead Nuts C.U.P.: Copper
Johns Dead Nuts sight helped start the round pin guard revolution. This year the
improved C.U.P. (Cover Up your Pins) version adds a moulded, fitted plastic flip cap to
the front of the pin guard. This is designed to protect the fiber optic pins from any
potential damage during storage and transport through the brush. Once youre on stand
or ready to shoot, the cap simply flips open and out of the way, offering a clear view of
the sight picture. Copper John Corp.; www.copperjohn.com.