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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

What are your ranges using for foam targets? I want to get my local bowhunters club to switch to foam instead of the arrow death trap of wood fibers and metal straps. If they are recycled where do you get the materials? If they are commercial which company and which model?

Thank you in advance!
 

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Ben Avery (my club's home range and the site for the Arizona Cup) uses American Whitetail AR152's for their FITA target range, layered homemade carpet bales for the NFAA range, and a recycled foam mat from a now out of business company for the indoor range.
 

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USAA Regional-L4 Coach
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From experience, the foam targets we tried did not hold up well and left a pretty big mess on the range. (SF Golden gate park, I see you are in our area). They didn't last nearly as long as the new synthetic bales we are currently using, and required several hours of shuffling for each bale every 2 months. With 9 bales, we didn't have the man power or time to do that.

It would help if people didn't come out with their knifes to cut into the bales (both straw and synthetic) to dig out their broadheads and crossbow bolts. (both which are technically prohibited on our range) Cutting up the covers, even one slice, shortens the lift of the bales considerably.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
From experience, the foam targets we tried did not hold up well and left a pretty big mess on the range. (SF Golden gate park, I see you are in our area). They didn't last nearly as long as the new synthetic bales we are currently using, and required several hours of shuffling for each bale every 2 months. With 9 bales, we didn't have the man power or time to do that.

It would help if people didn't come out with their knifes to cut into the bales (both straw and synthetic) to dig out their broadheads and crossbow bolts. (both which are technically prohibited on our range) Cutting up the covers, even one slice, shortens the lift of the bales considerably.

Interesting, thanks for the info. BTW what foam target was it so I know what to avoid? I had no idea you were a coach at SF Golden Gate Archery, that's cool that we're so close. Are you using excelsior type bales like bowhunters unlimited (the closest range to me) is?
 

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we are currently using Pacific Bow Butts Synthetic bales. (custom built to our size requirements) they are large wood frames (plywood built on a structure I presume) then wrapped with a woven synthetic material. Inside is filled with a synthetic netting torn or cut into strips. Then covered the rest of the way. The way they suggest is just to turn them to the back side after the front starts to get shot out, then re-cover, spreading the stuffing out when you have the bale off the stand.

We found it's much faster to drop the bale flat on the ground, (back side down) then re-distribute the stuffing, and stretch a new cover over the face. We then put it back up on the stand bottom side up so that any settling happens on the other end of the bale.

If you cut the fibers of the cover, it's like starting a tear in fabric, it just opens up real fast. so a broadhead will damage the bale to the point that it will fail very quickly after just one or two broadheads go into it. Knife cuts are even worse. And the last two times I re-covered the bales, there were either knife cuts or broadhead cuts within 1 week of the new covers being installed. I found evidence of the broadheads in less than 24 hrs on a few of the bales.

The foam bales we tried were the Elastifoam bales made by American WhiteTail. (not the wound versions like the portable units) Same material different construction. (individual foam elastifoam sheets stacked on top of each other and then compressed)
If a broadhead goes into those, (and yes we found plenty of evidence of that in those as well) then the elastifoam just splits apart. The next arrow to hit anywhere close to the cut will crumple and curl the elastifoam back into the bale. Couple of these and all of a sudden there are soft spots. And when arrows go into the soft spots, they just tear their way through rather than being stopped by the friction. All the little pieces end up all over the place. Even a year after we discontinued them and supposedly disposed of all the material, I'm still finding bits and shreds of the orange elastifom in my van, Garage and on the range.

We have also tried ethafoam. but the ethafoam we use to control bounce outs on the pacific bow butts' targets with only a few hundred arrows per week, are pretty much destroyed in about 6 months. If they were on the public range, I would suspect they would only last about a week.

If you can get work parties to turn the pacific bow butts straw bales on a regular basis (every 2-3 months) and they are in a dry location, you can probably get those to last several years. At the Golden Gate park range with the sprinklers hitting the bales, people shooting at water bottles (plastic) and soda cans/bottles and then soaking the bales with sugar water, and the fog, we were lucky to get 6 months out of the straw bales which is why we were looking for a synthetic bale.
 

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We use Hips high density foam 48"x48" blocks. We have 9 bales, giving us 18 lanes. The initial investment was around $5k. About a year in, I spent around $1k on new face layers with some expanding foam renovations (Not off the shelf foam. It's a two part formula). That bought us another year or so.

Just spent another $2k on cores. We're going to gut and replace the centers, because the outer edges are still solid. I predict about another years worth of use with this latest renovation. So, including shipping, foam and manpower, were at about $10k for three years worth of hard hitting, high foot traffic archery. Plus JOAD, SYWATs and other tournaments. Super easy to pull arrows and no bounces.

Yep, it takes some maintenance, but that's just the nature of the beast with any target solution.

Hips have been great to work with, and we love the product. We use their portables, too, just replacing the standard cores for the HD.
 
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