Traditional Archery Discussions on the Leatherwall


My thoughts on the Ashby studies

Messages posted to thread:
pdk25 21-Sep-22
Altitude Sickness 22-Sep-22
Wapiti - - M. S. 22-Sep-22
cacciatore 22-Sep-22
Don T. Lewis 22-Sep-22
Don T. Lewis 22-Sep-22
Phil Magistro 22-Sep-22
Dale in Pa. 22-Sep-22
pdk25 22-Sep-22
pdk25 22-Sep-22
pdk25 22-Sep-22
Scoop 22-Sep-22
Altitude Sickness 22-Sep-22
Beendare 22-Sep-22
Sawtooth (Original) 22-Sep-22
Sunset Hill 22-Sep-22
lamb 22-Sep-22
grouchy 62 22-Sep-22
tradmt 22-Sep-22
Sunset Hill 22-Sep-22
Juancho 22-Sep-22
Beendare 22-Sep-22
Beendare 22-Sep-22
Jarhead 22-Sep-22
pdk25 22-Sep-22
pdk25 22-Sep-22
trad_bowhunter1965 23-Sep-22
Beendare 23-Sep-22
shortdraw 23-Sep-22
tradmt 23-Sep-22
Corax_latrans 23-Sep-22
Phil Magistro 23-Sep-22
Corax_latrans 23-Sep-22
Beendare 24-Sep-22
Corax_latrans 24-Sep-22
fdp 24-Sep-22
Corax_latrans 24-Sep-22
fdp 24-Sep-22
Corax_latrans 24-Sep-22
Beendare 24-Sep-22
Chairman 24-Sep-22
Corax_latrans 24-Sep-22
From: pdk25
Date: 21-Sep-22




Many years ago, I read up on the Ashby studies, which still are arguably the largest source of information regarding penetration through heavy bone, specifically on Cape Buffalo. I think that everyone should realize by now, that this information wasn't really intended to be applied to North American game, where if you are encountering heavy bone, the odds of recovering the game are a little slim just based on anatomy. We can argue that point at a later date if necessary. I really only made this post regarding buff hunting.

I just want to share some of my experiences, and some from people that I know. I have said a few times that luck is probably the largest contributor to success when it comes to buffalo hunting and I still feel that way.

I guess I will go in a little bit of reverse order. I recently was on an Asiatic Buffalo hunt with a couple of outstanding hunters. We had some different experiences, which may be useful to someone else going on the hunt.

One of the hunters took a nice management bull and a cow, and the other took a nice trophy bull. Multiple arrows took one of the bulls, but only one went through a rib, and that one was around 1000 grains and tipped with an iron will broadhead. As luck would have it, the remainder of the arrows shot went between the ribs and had no impediment to penetration. All of us were using very high FOC arrows, I am not sure regarding the calculation, and all of the arrows were roughly between 900 and 1000 grains, being shot out of bows ranging between 70 and 75#. I know that my personal bow was 74# at 29.5" and was bareshaft tuned and shooting 926 grains at right around 155 fps.

I will describe my expereinces on 3 different animals regarding penetration.

The first was a nice management bull slightly quartering away at 17 yards. For a broadside shot, the ideal placement is up the leg and mid body to hit where the major vessels and airways go into and out of the lungs. This is reportedly the fastest way to put them on the ground. Since he was quartering away the guide said put the arrow on the crease and mid body. I hit exactly where I aimed, the bull ran up onto the flat, and to to my amazement the arrow fell out after 20 yards. The bull ran off with a scant short blood trail, and almost certainly lived. The arrow had blood spattered on around 4" of the shaft, and the Tuffhead broadhead was covered in bubbly lung blood. The guess is that the arrow was horizontally oriented on impact and tried to go between the ribs and got greatly slowed down to the point that only the broadhead reached the lungs, then it turned and fell freely out from betweeen the ribs. Surely if it broke ribs, it wouldn't have fallen out as easily, but obviously I can't prove that.

The next day was spent looking for that bull, and not finding it. Not surprising given the size of the lungs and the relatively small broadhead. As it would happen, a very large trophy bull was spotted and I was able to close the gap to around 17 yards again, this time completely broadside. Unfortunately, I hit around 5" below mid body, but straight up the leg. Double lung, but over the heart and below the great vessels of the lungs. The bull took off and we gave chase. I guess that there was around 23" penetration on this bull, with 10" of shaft sticking out, 20 inside plus around a 3" broadhead. Stopped on the offside shoulder. Dead animal, but he was able to make it past the escarpment, we lost sight of him and poor blood trail. We looked for him for 2 days and never recovered him. I was pretty devastated, and a combination of things, including my performance, made this my worst outcome hunting trip ever. This brings myto the next buff.

This buff was shot by the guide with a rifle after being mistaken for a wounded bull. I had the opportunity to put a couple arrows in it to put it out of it's misery. These were quartering away shots, with the bull laying partially on its side against the slope of the escarpment. The first arrow was pretty steep quartering away, penetrated well, but the bull didn't pass away quickly, so a follow up arrow was placed, slightly lower and less quartering. There was a loud crack, and blood poured out the wound. We assumed a heart shot but when it didn't expire rapidly, it was dispatched with a rifle. An extensive autopsy showed that the first shot went between a rib and destroyed the entirety of the closest lung. The second shot centerpunched a rib, and didn't get fully through the rib. The blood pouring out was from the damaged lung, not the heart. It took quite a bit of work to get that broadhead out. It was probably sticking a little over 2" through the rib but just tickling the heart.

Speaking of centerpunching a rib, a good friend of mine and great archer shot large mature cape buffalo bull and centerpunched a rib. Just enough to make him lay down a little bit away The follow up shot penetrated to the fletch and took him out. His first shot didn't quite make it past the rib. I think he was using high foc arrows in the upper 900 grains and around 77#.

I was using a similar setup with I shot my cape buffalo and was able to penetrate completely through one lung, but only tickle the other. He went a long way before expiring. Turns out, my broadhead hit him horizontally oriented between ribs, which acted like a brake on each blade, impeding penetration.

Cape buffalo cow I shot penetrated to the fletch quartering away, with a quick follow up broadside that broke thought the rib and took out the vitals. No autopsy on her as it was getting dark and the herd was threatening us.

Another friend shot a massive water buffalo quartering away. Shot went between the ribs, and it died quickly. He tried the same shot 3 times on the carcass, each time being stopped by the rib. When he shot it broadside he had full penetration.

Now some thoughts of mine based on these experiences:

Take the Ashby studies for what they are, but realize they don't include all hunting situation, specifically not quartering away shots on live buffalo. They also don't address the differences in anatomy of large mature animals from less mature animals, and what moving muscles can do to impede penetration.

I don't have enough testing to have too strong of convictions on things, but based on what I saw, you can't rely on the single bevel of a long 3:1 broadhead to rotate and crack the rib to improve penetration, particularly on a quartering away shot. It is possible that you would have improved performance with a shorter thinner broadhead in the long run. Another thing is on this last hunt I was using Tuffhead dangerous game heads. I really can't recommend that head. It is far thicker and a little wider than the 225 grain heads, and I think that impedes penetration more than a tiny bit of possible edge chatter would. Once again, I think there needs to be alot more testing particularly when it comes to quartering away shots.

I will leave off for now, just mentioning that the previously reported requirements for reliable full penetration of buffalo have been found to be inadequate under hunting conditions for myself and others that I know. If I am able to go back again, I will either use a more energetic setup with some changes to the broadhead that I am using, or will limit myself to only what I perceive to be perfectly broadside animals, which is greatly limiting under spot and stalk conditions.

From: Altitude Sickness
Date: 22-Sep-22

Altitude Sickness 's embedded Photo



Patrick, what was the bow design? True, Moving animals greatly decrease penetration. From ducking and or walking. Quartering away shots are not preferred on bovines. The rib cage is narrowing towards the front making it harder to

deliver all the energy into a smaller area. Best to hit a rib at 90 degrees than 45. Broadside or quartering too is better for chest angle.

From: Wapiti - - M. S. Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 22-Sep-22




So completely broadside is the way to go,it seems standing still.Not moving and closer shots taken.Indians used bird points- broadheads that were smaller & fit in between the ribs easier. Pdk you said luck i would say that's probably a bigger part of it.Then one fortunate enough to kill a buffalo is willing to admit.

From: cacciatore Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 22-Sep-22




Thanks for posting Pat,a really learning lesson..

From: Don T. Lewis
Date: 22-Sep-22




Good stuff thanks for sharing.

From: Don T. Lewis
Date: 22-Sep-22




Good stuff thanks for sharing.

From: Phil Magistro
Date: 22-Sep-22




Thanks for sharing that. Tough critters. I'm glad I'm never going hunting for buffalo.

From: Dale in Pa.
Date: 22-Sep-22




I remember reading about his studies and one of the things mentioned was he used very narrow Grizzlies, probably to negate the possibility of having the ribs interfere.

From: pdk25
Date: 22-Sep-22




Altitude, that is likely the wisest choice, although very limiting in a hunting situation. Andy Ivy wrote about this.

I was using an ILF rig with Morrison Max 1 recurve limbs that were 74# at 29.5”.

From: pdk25
Date: 22-Sep-22




The guide had seen the quartering away shot be succesful, but with compound shooters using more energetic setups.

From: pdk25
Date: 22-Sep-22




The guide had seen the quartering away shot be succesful, but with compound shooters using more energetic setups.

From: Scoop Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 22-Sep-22




Very well written, pdk25, and your observations are objective as well. It’s good stuff.

From: Altitude Sickness
Date: 22-Sep-22




Good observation. Big bore rifles and high energy compounds may have the amount of energy needed. The animals you shot would be the equivalent of 6-8 whitetails in mass, to put it in perspective.

From: Beendare
Date: 22-Sep-22




In the hundreds of critters Ive seen shot with an arrow - many different arrow combos FOC is way down the list of important factors.

On my Aussie Buff hunt we all shot 6 buff ( compounds) …..the only failure was a guy shooting a 560g arrow with a non tempered steel head. That wounded buff almost killed us and did mash up our assistant guide within an inch of his life. (2006)

I rate the main factors;

Efficient BH

Perfect arrow flight

Arrow weight

Bow weight

Many excellent studies showing Ashby has misapplied physics in his theories….and recent indications ( anecdotal) that single bevel BHs dont penetrate as well as double bevel.

There is so much wrong with Ashby’s rubber bands and soda straw demonstration proving FOC its not worth debating.

.

From: Sawtooth (Original) Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 22-Sep-22




Very good piece brother. Well written and relayed.

From: Sunset Hill
Date: 22-Sep-22




It sure sounds like it could be a combination of things resulting in the less than favorable results. I know two Idaho guys who went and shot large Oz bulls a few years back on Melville, one used a 66# foam limb DAS style recurve, 900ish gr. arrows, original Grizzly head with bevel matched to his fletch, carbon arrow and put the arrow completely through the animal, the arrow was hanging by the fletch on the offside and fell out. The other guy used a Hill longbow 75#, ipe wood arrow around 900 gr., original Grizzly head and shot two bulls (one large and one medium-sized), got complete penetration with half the arrows out the off-side. Paul Schafer,Don Thomas, Denny Sturgis, Dale Karch are guys coming to mind that have shot these beasts with Zwickey / Magnus heads on heavy shafts without the efoc or foc dictates...just heavy bows and heavy arrows and good "thinner" stout broadheads. Maybe these other guys got lucky and the broadheads all entered the animals on the correct plane to get past the ribs, maybe they were all perfectly broadside shots...don't know. But I do believe that there are some errors in the Ashby studies when it comes to real life. My opinion of course and I use single bevel heads myself for all my big game hunting.

From: lamb
Date: 22-Sep-22




hi pat why would the guide tell you to take a quartering away shot ??? when i shot my cape buffalo the ph said only broadside shot. i've also killed 2 waterbuff in argentina with broadside shots neither went over 100 yds. my arrow on cape was 985 grains with 600 up front

From: grouchy 62
Date: 22-Sep-22




I agree with your conclusions. We never heard what Hill and Bear experienced on wounding losses . I would have been very useful to hear them. In addition to hunter reaction I think animal reaction would be a very significant factor. Just a slight movement by the animal would make a huge difference.

From: tradmt
Date: 22-Sep-22




Well if you had Razorheads you might have scared the buff to death.

From: Sunset Hill
Date: 22-Sep-22




One thing to remember as well... No free lunch... If you are rotating a head through bone, it is expending energy that may be used for penetration purposes. A head that is not forced to rotate, aka double beveled, may yield deeper penetration all other things being equal

From: Juancho
Date: 22-Sep-22




Very interesting and important observations.Will keep them in mind on my next water buffalo hunt coming up mid November

From: Beendare
Date: 22-Sep-22




James, you have to search.

Recently, Old Joe ( a physics prof) on Archery talk had some good threads and vids on youtube.

Back in the day when Ashby came out with his EFOC stuff ( 25 yrs ago?) i think it was the UC Berkeley Archery club physics guys that debunked Ashbys claims. It defied the laws of physics that efoc arrows flew further. ashby pulled that paper decades ago.

There have been many requests to see his supposed extensive data sets …nobody has seen it that I know of. The ashby stuff amounts to anecdotal observations from a below avg stickbow shooter.

His stuff on heavy arrows….and BH Mechanical Advantage was right on…though no actual scientific data. He went all in on EFOC….and that was what sunk him.

The recent Ashby foundation criteria is decent recommendations for the avg bowhunter….seems he is Going more mainstream.

From: Beendare
Date: 22-Sep-22




No offense to the man himself, sweeheart of a guy. I met him a few times decades ago at shoots- Pacifica was one.

Talk of this has me wanting to go back to Australia…great adventure for anyone. Tough critters for stickbows though….

From: Jarhead
Date: 22-Sep-22




I would be very careful to not let a personal experience outrun a Ph.D dissertations worth of science and dispassionate data.

At the end of the day - it's all chances... and our job is to set conditions for success. But setting conditions with our set up isn't "hunting." And just because something doesn't work - doesn't mean it wasn't a good set-up.... and just because something does work... doesn't mean it was an appropriate set-up.

Tough story to read... from reading it sounds like it shoulda worked out. 1/2" left or right and you're telling a different story.

From: pdk25
Date: 22-Sep-22




I am just relating personal experience that somewhat refutes what some see as an absolute for full penetratio, on quartering away water buff and broadside cape buff. His data is what it is. Just limited in real world hunting applications. Part of that is my fault in following the guide and shooting quarter away animals, but that isn’t the entirety of the problem.

From: pdk25
Date: 22-Sep-22




And I am not putting this out there with an ax to grind. This is really just for information for other people that may want to hunt water buffalo or cape buffalo in the future. If you want to take a quartering away shot, you better have one heck of a powerful Set up. Even with broadside on a very large mature cape buffalo or water buffalo, I certainly would not go with the minimum standards that were established in the original Ashby studies. It does not always offer full penetration in the real world. That is all.

From: trad_bowhunter1965 Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 23-Sep-22




pdk25 I don't think you put this out there to grind ax or piss off anyone I think there some great discussion going on here and it's good to read folks that have killed buff and what there experience was. I know there are a lot of guy's out there that believe Mr. Ashby study to be Bible on arrows.

From: Beendare
Date: 23-Sep-22




I think its worth applying common sense to the fringe recommendations out there.

I shot the trad nationals with the Montana state champ years ago…a very successful bowhunter…he had great success with a low 400g arrow. As he stated…and I have seen it myself with my 47# setup…a very efficient 2 blade head is an amazing killer and penetrator.

He set me on the right track; its all about shooting accuracy and your skill set.

Sure, more Arrow weight absorbs more of the bows energy…so of course its going to help with penetration. It never behoves us to focus on only one factor; penetration- an efficient BH takes care of that. We as bowhunters have to balance all of the factors… including trajectory.

The guys pushing the extreme spectrum do it to increase their celebrity. I know appx 100 experienced bowhunters killing a lot of critters using avg gear that spend their time improving their accuracy and honing hunting skills…vs getting all wrapped up in fringe theories-

These are the true experts…but its not some wild theory designed to get more likes on the internet…its grind it out basic skills…which isn’t sexy.

.

From: shortdraw
Date: 23-Sep-22




"You should always use the heaviest arrow possible that has a trajectory that you still find acceptable". A quote by Dr. Ed Ashby This quote tells the story. Game over

From: tradmt
Date: 23-Sep-22




Luckily, my accuracy is always spot on.

From: Corax_latrans
Date: 23-Sep-22




Related thoughts in random order….

It seems at least a bit plausible to me that high FOC arrows would shoot a hair flatter if you were to exploit the advantage by minimizing your fletching, as our friend Bowmania did when he bagged his B&C Bullwinkle with #38. I find higher FOC arrows easier to bare-shaft because they’re about half fletched to begin with. Today I was shooting Centershots .600 + 175, .500 + 175 and .500 + 200 and they all flew down the middle give or take 4” in either direction out to about 30 yards….

Longer and certainly narrower BH make sense just because they have better odds of slipping between ribs.

Single bevel seems clearly superior if that’s what you can get the sharpest.

;)

Looking at Jay’s diagram of a Cape, quartering away looks like you could hit an endless series of ribs on their edge/long axis… seems an insurmountable task!

And +1 on trying to penetrate a thick layer of moving muscle. I’ve not had great results on just a biggish whitetail, which is mere spindrift by comparison.

I don’t know what the calculus would be, but stabilized, point-on arrow flight has got to trump some substantial poundage. That has to give carbons an edge; woodies are wonderful in so many ways and when used well have proven themselves more than adequate, but maybe not the ideal solution for a new convert to “trad”.

Wandering. I’m out!

From: Phil Magistro
Date: 23-Sep-22




I don't really have a dog in this fight because I don't hunt anything bigger than deer but...I don't believe there is any scientific proof that high FOC arrows fly flatter. There may be other reasons, like the fletching size or broadhead design, that let the arrow fly flatter but weight is weight, no matter this distribution.

From: Corax_latrans
Date: 23-Sep-22




Mass being equal, it comes down to drag.

That’s one advantage of high FOC. You can get away with less fletching.

From: Beendare
Date: 24-Sep-22




Oh cmon guys, Sir Isaac Newton is rolling in his grave…

it defies the laws of physics that a high FOC arrow flies further or flatter. This Ashby snake oil claim was debunked decades ago….dont fall for the soda straw demo he does.its designed to mislead us.

From: Corax_latrans
Date: 24-Sep-22




Disagree.

If you tune it properly, a high FOC arrow will shoot as straight as a bare shaft as it will fletched with a field point. If you take advantage of that by minimizing your fletch, you can flatten your trajectory.

A bit.

I’m still not convinced that it would truly matter in a hunting situation, but I am paper, it should be there…

From: fdp
Date: 24-Sep-22




If high FOC arrows flew further and flatter with better ballistic characteristics the world champion flight shooting boys and girls would use them.

They don't.

From: Corax_latrans
Date: 24-Sep-22




Can’t argue with that, as an absolute, and I expect someone has tested that pretty thoroughly.

What do they use in broadhead flight?

I was noticing yesterday that I can raise the middle of my group by about 3 feet by taking a couple steps closer to the target, so between 65 and 70 they’re really in full- on Plummet Mode…..

From: fdp
Date: 24-Sep-22




Not sure what everyone uses but Dan Perry likes his arrows to balance as close to center as possible. I suspect that is pretty close to the norm.

Larry Hatfield talked about that su next on here one time. Seems his thoughts were similar. Not sure if I can find the post though.

From: Corax_latrans
Date: 24-Sep-22




I guess that makes sense at long distance. Just thinking through the physics.

For hunting/penetration purposes, I think the FOC argument has merit. Within reason. Straightens up the arrow quicker and keeps everything stacked behind the BH on impact. Especially on a harder hit.

All good.

It may well be that exactly 0% FOC really IS ideal for Flight, but those guys don’t get any points for penetration.

From: Beendare
Date: 24-Sep-22




Good point fdp.

Archery/ bowhunting is a sport where accuracy is paramount.

If massive FOC was an advantage, then every pro tournament archer would be shooting it. None do…not a one. That should tell a guy something.

These pros understand the physics of it…,the principles of an “equal and opposite reaction” of a bow shot arrow. Massive FOC hurts as much as it helps.

As trad guys, We know that we get better results from our relatively low energy setups by #1 using a very efficient BH….and #2 a heavier than avg arrow. Those are the primary factors…nothing else even comes close.

I know a hundred very experienced bowhunters that combined have killed thousands of critters- a couple own archery shops. Very few could even tell you what their FOC is….that indicates FOC is a function of a smaller subset NOT a primary criteria. Its tuning that is paramount, not the other way around.

From: Chairman
Date: 24-Sep-22




I went down the high foc rabbit hole a few years ago, the only advantage I saw was a slight better handling in the wind. I got over it.

From: Corax_latrans
Date: 24-Sep-22




I hear you on tuning, Frank. Hence the half-fletched thread.

I don’t chase FOC, but with carbons, I can’t make Weight without some beans up front, and my 165 Standards on an adapter are 205 grains, so it all works together for me.





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