My better groups have improved since the first week of slinging arrows with the Howard Hill Big Five, but I’m less concerned about accuracy right now and more focused on building strength and working towards a form that works for me. A couple startling discoveries along the way…
*A longbow will slap the #&$^#! out of your forearm if you use a grip similar to that of your “normal” compound archery form – that is, a grip where the weight of the bow is pressed directly on the webbing between your thumb and forefinger. Trust me I know.
*A longbow will not slap the #&$^#! out of your forearm if you use a different grip – that is, a heeled grip where the weight of bow rests more on the drumstick of your thumb. Takes some getting used to, but drastically less awkward that walking around with a raised bruise on your forearm the size of an elongated tennis ball.
*I started off 2 fingers under the arrow and 1 finger over. This did not work for me. I transitioned to 3 fingers under and I noticed an instant improvement in my groups.
*My current grip arm is absorbing the bulk of the buzz/vibration in my elbow and it freaking hurts. 20-25 shots and my elbow is screaming. A sort of tennis elbow I suppose. I’ve got to get this figured out ASAP and planning to mess with brace height as a first step. The Howard Hill bow is a D-shaped flex, many other longbows have a reflex/deflex hybrid shape and are far more forgiving. Trying an alternate style longbow would be a more drastic step. Going to recurve would be a more profound move still. Buying back a compound bow would be…wait, no, no, no…put that out of my head.
Most of my groups are still real loose. A 6″ spread is probably my average at 10 yards, but occasionally I concentrate everything into focus and get out 5 or 6 consecutive good ones. I need to get here consistently with my 10 yard groups by hammering home whatever form and anchor system I wind up adapting. All part of the progress, one that’s proving both challenging and painful…thankfully rewarding and satisfying as well!