Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pioneer Air Bow - UPDATE

Several weeks back, I wrote about a new weapon system that is and will revolutionize the hunting and shooting industry for years to come.  Just as cams on a bow, rifling to muskets and repeating arms drastically changed the landscape of shooting sports in the past, the Airbow will do the same.

This week, I want to dive into more of the details of this new weapon to inform those of you who may be curious to the change that is coming when the Airbow ships in April.

1.  "It's a pneumatic weapon, so I have to buy CO2 for it?" Nope!  It is air operated but not CO2.  You can use a pump to charge the cylinder or a scuba tank.  So there is no additional cost for charging the cylinder to ready it to shoot.

2.  "This is a gun.  No way it is even close to archery specifications.  it shoots 450 feet per second!"  Well, here is a surprise.  The speed is generated by using full length arrows.  A crossbow is fast at short distances but loses it speed rapidly due to the short bolts.  A regular compound or re-curve bow shoots slower from the launch point but retains it speed over distance due to the length of the shaft of the arrow.  The Airbow has the initial speed of the crossbow while also having the retained speed of the compound bow by using full length arrows. An integrated pressure regulator guarantees consistent shots at 450 feet per second.  BUT, this translates to only 168 foot pounds of energy (FPE) which lines up nicely with most crossbows (170-185 FPE) and compound bows on the market today which is under 200 FPE.

Additionally, "A crossbow applies up to 185 lbs ("draw weight") but has a power stroke less than 18". A compound or recurve has the longer power stroke but a draw of 50-90lbs. The Airbow applies 150 lbs of energy in the form of compressed air to an arrow over a 25" power stroke. More energy over a longer time which is Truly Revolutionary." - Chip Hunnicutt who is the Marketing Manager for Crosman.

3. "It's still just a gun!" Well, yes and no.  Fact remains it is propelling an arrow.  In my home state of Louisiana, the law is rather clear that anything propelling an arrow is deemed an archery weapon.  Crosman's genius is using air to push the arrow instead of a string.  In a typical archery set-up, the string is pushing the arrow which creates the "archers paradox".   The paradox is the waggle of the arrow as it flies.  It is generated due to the way the arrow is pushed forward from the rear by the string.  The Airbow uses air to push the hollow arrow just behind the broad-head or field-point.  This creates an enormous increase in accuracy.

4. "Ok, it's NOT a bow!!" I have been amazed to read on Crosman's twitter feed the people who are immediately against this new system just because it is a major leap forward and a complete change from the way we have understood archery in the past.  Wasn't compound bows a major leap forward?  Are people still going out and hacking a Willow tree down to make that recurve bow?  No!  Nothing stays the same...ever! We are always moving forward.

The truth is, there are many people who can no longer pull a bow due to disability, age or accident.  Are we saying that we are going to be soooo pure to archery that we cannot allow room for an innovative product to allow these amazing people to enjoy a sport they loved once again?

I write this blog for a growing percentage of people who are what I like to call Handi-Capable.  They can no longer do it the way they used to, but they can still do it if the right tools are in their hands. Let's face it, 15 plus years of warfare has left plenty of our great people who served our country well injured and maimed. The Airbow can help level the playing field for them and many of us who also cannot operate a typicl archery weapon.

I want to applaud Jim Shockey and Crosman for having the guts to think outside the box.  To push the envelope on what is possible or feasible and at a price-point that is do-able.  Is it different?  Yes! It is wonderfully, fantastically, amazingly different.  So different, that more people like me can and will enjoy the thrill of the outdoors.