Compound Bow and Carbon Fiber Arrows – Post SHTF Winners

Not long ago I bit the bullet and bought a compound bow and a half dozen arrows from a friend who owns a sporting goods store here on the Midcoast.  He’s a good guy and I’ve bought a lot of my dive gear from him, so I know he’s a trustworthy type.

It’s been at least ten years since I picked up a bow and I was surprised at how small it was in relation to the others I’ve owned in the past.  It’s a PSE and as you can see in the pictures it’s camouflaged.  He set it up for me, cut the arrows to fit, and had me do some shooting on his indoor range so we could get the sites zeroed in.

The sites are pins and are used in conjunction with a peep site on the string.  In the photo with the arrows you can the rubber tube on the string connected to it.  When the string is pulled back the rubber tube pulls the peep site into proper alignment and it’s used in a manner similar to shooting a rifle – center the pin on the front site in the peep site – put the front pin on the target and release and voila!  Instant dinner.

In the middle photo you can see the front pin centered on the red target down in my basement.

At first he wanted to bring me one of those fancy bow triggers, but I never got used to shooting with those and asked for a shooting tab instead.  He shook his head, but after I shot for about fifteen minutes he was impressed at what  a tight group I was shooting with the tab.

The secret to shooting a bow is consistency and practice.  Your anchor point has to be the same every time; your release must be the same every time, your breathing must be the same every time, your arrows must be as close to perfect every time as you can get them.

Surprisingly, my form came back fairly quick and I was able to shoot a half decent group at the end of a half hour, but at the forty-five minute mark I was getting tired and started to jerk my shots, so I packed it in.


Now let’s talk about using a compound bow after TEOTWAWKI.   A bow has numerous advantages over a gun:  it’s quiet so you can shoot all day long and no one will hear you.  The arrows are recoverable if you’re careful.  You can reuse arrows multiple times until you break one, and even then there’s a good chance you can fix it.  With enough shafts, nocks, fletching, and tips you could potentially be set up for many years as long as the bow held up.  On the bow you need to keep an eye on the cable and the string, but if you stockpile enough of these you could be set up to shoot for years.

There are disadvantages to using a bow as well of course.  They take a tremendous amount of skill and practice to be used effectively and you need to be closer to the target in order to be effective.

Also, it’s difficult to pick up just any bow and shoot it like you can a rifle.  My bow is sited in specifically for me and someone with a different anchor point is going to shoot a little different with it.

Plus, some bows have a very heavy pull.  Mine pulls at around 55 pounds, about ten pounds lighter than I used to shoot.  I was shooting with a friend once and he handed me his bow to try and when I pulled it back I nearly popped my shoulder out of joint.  He was shooting about 80 pounds and it was extremely difficult to draw it back, hold it, and fire it with any amount of accuracy.  After a dozen arrows I was done with it.  It’s one of those things you have to work up to.

Most women have a hard time pulling a 55 lb bow and thus have smaller bows with a lighter draw.


When I first started shooting years ago aluminum arrows were all the rage.  They’re still out there, but these days most people shoot carbon fiber arrows, so I picked up a half dozen to try them out.

The good thing is that – from what I understand – they don’t bend like the older aluminum arrows.  They will break, but it takes some abuse to get there.  After shooting my arrows about thirty or forty times apiece I’ve damaged two and they need to be repaired.  My dad took a shot with my bow and it went something like this:

Me:  “Dad, you gotta look through that rear site and line the peep up on the front pin.”

Dad (seriously old school):  “Bah.  I don’t have time for all that stuff.  I’m just going to shoot.”

He released and of course hit the wood pile behind the target and launched the nock into outer space.

But I digress.  Anyway, I have three out of six arrows that now need to be repaired and I don’t think the results would have been much different if I’d been using aluminum arrows.  They seem to be a little slicker, but I’ve shot them less than a hundred times, so I’ll hold off on making any kind of judgement until I get more experience with them.

Are there any heavy-duty bow hunters or sport shooters out there?

Have any advice or comments?

Sound off below!

-Jarhead Survivor

17 comments… add one
  • Jason December 7, 2012, 9:55 am

    You forgot to add your dad’s old school, prideful response after missing the target – ” see sonny, dad’s still got the touch – I hit that wood pile I was aiming for.”

    • Jarhead Survivor December 7, 2012, 12:44 pm

      He’s a hard head, so I guess I came by it honestly.

  • wolverine6 December 7, 2012, 11:51 am

    I really like your set up , mine is similar. I hunt almost entirely with my bow and feel comfortable that I could put something on the table. I also feel that I could use it in a pinch to defend my family. Carbon arrows do remain straighter than aluminum arrows but as you’ve found out they do not hold up well… I began fletching my own arrows because I inevitably damage the fletching during my practice session. Super glue can repair minor issues so they remain usable for practice. As I get older I’ve realized that my shoulder is not holding up to heavy draw weight, dialing it down.

    • Jarhead Survivor December 7, 2012, 12:46 pm

      Wolverine – thanks, so far I really like it. I was shooting again last night and damaged another arrow. It’s nothing that can’t be fixed quite easily though. I just need to get the glue, fletching and other stuff to fix them myself. I’ll probably pick some stuff up this weekend.

      I could probably still pull 65 lbs without a problem, but I find my control is better and the extra 10 lbs of pull really doesn’t add much benefit with the existing bow technology, so I’ll probably keep it around 55.

      Good hunting!

  • Odd Questioner December 7, 2012, 12:38 pm

    I can think of one thing…

    With a compound bow, you cannot make wooden arrows for it. Wooden arrows stand a good chance of shattering (sometimes in your face just as you release) if you do that.

    • imanni mozas January 1, 2016, 12:23 am

      Not true, wooden arrows will hold up well with no more than a 60 pound draw weight. (yes on a compound)

  • John Brown December 7, 2012, 1:17 pm

    My advice would be for a SHTF set up would be get the 30mm mounts for a red dot, for night use. I have sold some of the illuminated pin set ups and they are too fragile to consider for SHTF use. On the other other hand some red dots are pretty sturdy, but, expensive and bulky. I would get one made for a bow, not a gun (maybe an air gun) because of the unique vibration issue.

    I decided on a 40# for my kids and a 55# for myself. The 75-80# are fine for hunting deer, but, I would not want to practice unless I had a release. The other thing is the bigger bows require a much heavier/better arrow at 420 gr min. The small take down versions of bows for back packing are okay, but, at 30# pull max more for tiny mammals then anything else.

    I am just a beginner when it comes to bows, so this advice is only worth a 2012 slag metal penny.

  • Spud December 7, 2012, 2:43 pm

    I too started with virtually the same set up from PSE that you have. That was seven years and about $10,000 dollars worth of bows ago !
    Suffice it to say, I became totally addicted ! Within two years I became known as one of the best shooters in our local archery club. Shooting 2&3 , 3D competitions a month. Let me tell ya, scoring that first white tail buck with a bow was a thrill of a life time.
    Now I am convinced that no Prepper should be without his archery equipment. It is the ultimate long term weapon, especially for stealth.
    Currently I have a Hoyt Contender Elite compound, which is top of the line , Draw weight is 60 max. ( old shoulders ) which is more than enough.
    I use carbon arrows exclusively , some 5 grains per inch for speed.
    and others at 10 grains per inch for bigger game.
    A release is really a must for consistency , for this I use a Carter Two shot, a double seer fine release.
    Now on the other hand I also have several recurve bows from 30 lbs on up to 48 lbs. These I use a Tab or glove to shoot. All of the recurves use aluminum arrows, though I do have some wood shafts. These you could manufacture arrows for. Making them exceptionally suited for survival.

    The compound bows that I have are considered irreplaceable as preps. Along with the guns of course he he.

  • Spectre December 7, 2012, 3:25 pm

    Hmmm, not a fan of the Compound bow, it would be really hard to repair if it broke post SHTF. I prefer recurve bows the most.

  • T.R. December 7, 2012, 5:46 pm

    I,m not sure I would want a compound bow or crossbow post SHTF ………how are you going to get or repair broken wheels and all the other moving parts .

    • Jason December 7, 2012, 9:06 pm

      Gorilla Glue

      • T.R. December 7, 2012, 10:50 pm

        Toe Jam & Elmers glue

    • Spud December 8, 2012, 4:55 am

      That is why you want a quality bow such as a Hoyt. The wheels will never wear out and have sealed bearings that will last a lifetime. Just make sure to stock spare strings and cables along with any other part which might fail. Buy a bow press in order to work on it.

  • Walt December 7, 2012, 7:18 pm

    Our compounds don’t get much use anymore, was thinking of a recurve until a buddy showed me his new crossbow. It’s way too heavy and bulky for my taste, and slow to reload – but I live near a small subdivision and our properly borders federal land . A crossbow with a NV scope would be perfect for taking game without alerting anyone.

  • wilson December 7, 2012, 9:30 pm

    Years ago, my PSE was set at 70lbs. for deer. Nice deer came by. Started to draw back and my arm did pop out of the shoulder part way. When I let up on the bow it popped back in and was quite sore for a while.

  • late2theParty December 7, 2012, 9:33 pm

    I was reading about some of the accidents with Carbon Fiber where the DA hunter ignored damage and the broken CF arrow went right through the hand. I’ve got a Bear to start, 65lbs, I use aluminums, pin sites and have only destroyed 2, both were dull points not pointed. When they hit the wood backstop, rather than punch through, the dull points pushed all the force back into the shaft. Points, feathers and nock’s fine .. shaft’s split to ____. I’m a beginner, picked mine up this spring. As a teenager I used a self bow that my father used but I was just a LITTLE unfocused then. :)

    I’ve calculated that I should be getting between 80 and 120 mph out of them. I will NOT shoot the bow with anyone or any dog in the yard – too much chance I slip when I’m tired. Funny thing, my aim isn’t great, but I’m very consistent. Well at least till I’ve been shooting for 30+ minutes.

    I have to admit, I decided to try it because … (hmmm….) Daryl* did so well with the crossbow. Of course he’s a tv character but I figured it’d be used for hunting if needed. I did try the crossbow, again. My roommate in Denver had one and it was deadly. Too hard to load it for the similar effect of a compound. I do want a self bow again so even if I destroy all my arrows, I can make more.

    * If you get the chance, read the comic ‘The Walking Dead.’ It’s far better than the show – less goofy behavior. I mean walking one by one, all facing same direction, or walking side by side when all sides are open or not making sure every walker body is destroyed. That and Andrea has the sickest :} scar in the comic book. I’d show it off with pride. Oh and she’s much less wuss and what we wanted Lori to be.

  • Jon Lorisen December 21, 2012, 4:02 pm

    I’m no archery expert but I am partial to Mission bows. They are inexpensive but more importantly, they are adjustable. I had a mission riot (sadly, had to sell it), it was adjustable for a draw weight of 15-70 lbs and draw length from 19-30 inches, no bow press required.

    Easy to hand down to different family members or even adjust it for different uses (target vs. hunting).


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