About eight years ago, my family lived in a little house on a big hill (Yes, I realize this sounds like the opening to some kind of fairy-tale). The house was riddled with problems and getting out of there was probably one of the best decisions we’ve made. One aspect of that house that I do miss was that our piece of land backed up against several acres of woods.
I used to like setting up a 3D Deer along the wood line so that I could fling a few arrows. I never had to worry about a wild shot because there was plenty of trees – an errant shot wouldn’t go very far.
When we moved to our new home, I was suddenly surrounded by neighbors and the idea of shooting outside made me uncomfortable. With a compound bow and a hinge release – accidents happen. A d-loop could break or the release could slip and fire – resulting in an awkward conversation with a neighbor as to why my arrow was sticking out of their house. For this reason, if I was going to do any shooting at home, it would have to be in my basement.
Basement Archery Range
I don’t remember the specifics – if it was for Christmas, Father’s Day, or my Birthday, but my wife surprised me with a Hurricane Bag Target that she picked up at Dicks Sporting Goods. It was a relatively small target that claimed to be able to stop any arrow I could fling at it with my compound bow (given it didn’t have a broadhead on it).
I hung my Hurricane Bag Target from a joist in my Unfinished Basement and found that I could shoot from about seven yards away if I got creative. It was a nice way to fling a few arrows and work on form when I didn’t feel up to driving over to Stowe Archers.
At the time, I was shooting an Elite Pulse with Gold Tip Series 22 Arrows as well as an Elite Victory with Easton Eclipse Arrows. The bag stopped the arrows every time and I never had an issue with over-penetration. Unfortunately, that seems to have to changed recently when I fired an Easton Full Metal Jacket Arrow from my Elite Energy 35.
I’ve told this story before on the blog but it is worth repeating. When I was young, my Grandfather was very much into Archery. He was a board member of Wapiti Archers in Fort Washington and an active volunteer. During the summer months we would spend every Wednesday at the club participating in Work Parties to keep the grounds maintained. After working, we would be able to hit the course and have some fun with our bows (this is in addition to the monthly shoots they still hold on the 1st and 5th Sunday of each month).
The day that I got a dozen Easton XX75 Arrows for my Youth Bow, I was pretty excited. No more shooting bent hand-me-downs, this was big time! There wasn’t anything special about those arrows – they were the same Autumn Orange that was very popular at the time.
As Archery progressed and time passed – seeing Autumn Orange Arrows became a rarity. That was until a couple of years ago when Easton did a limited release of their Full Metal Jacket line in retro Autumn Orange. As soon as I saw them I was overcome with a wave of nostalgia and had to get myself a dozen.
If you aren’t familiar with this arrow, it is a carbon shaft with an aluminum sleeve. The result is a heavy arrow that claims to have better penetration and increased durability. While I can’t attest to this on an animal (I haven’t hunted in years and I bought mine after I stopped hunting) they were very impressive on the 3D Course. I was getting much better penetration than the basic lightweight carbon arrows coming out of faster bows. Another bonus was that they were a breeze to pull from the foam targets – thanks to the aluminum sleeve.
One day, while bored out of my mind, I headed down to my basement to fling a few arrows. I got out my Elite Energy 35, loaded up an Easton Full Metal Jack, and let the arrow loose. It sank deep into the Hurricane Bag Target but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I fired two more before setting my bow down. The last shot sounded funny and there was a definite clicking sound after the shot.
I reached to pull the first arrow free and noticed that the nock was missing. That was strange. The second arrow had the nock barely in the arrow. Also strange and a little concerning. The last arrow was the worst of the bunch – the nock was firmly in place but the end of the shaft was mangled.
I’m not sure what happened. Had the arrow passed through the bag and struck the cinder block wall, I could see the nocks flying out from the impact but I would also expect to see some kind of deformation of the point. Whatever the cause, the result is the same – I won’t be shooting any more Easton Full Metal Jackets into my Hurricane Bag.
Question to the Readers
This situation leaves me curious. For those of you that shoot into Bag Targets – have you ever seen damage to your arrows?