Reviewed By Steve , 6 June 2011
There can few archers that would pass up the opportunity to shoot at proper aerial targets and when we heard that La Porte had produced a target launcher that would not need to be re-loaded for up to 65 shots we knew that this was a job for archers review.
La Porte are the French folks who make clay traps for launching clays for the shotgun community, it seems that the next natural step was to make something suitable for archers. The machine is like a giant version of those already in use at shooting clubs. However he challenge was to make something that would send a foam disk up to 40 feet into the air, the mechanism would have to be robust enough for the climate yet gentle enough to not to jam up with foam disks, if you are mad keen on knowing how the research progressed their website is a great place to start.. however if like me you really don't care how or why but just if it actually works then we will skip the physics lecture..and you can steam straight in to the video below !!
In essence it is pretty simple – a huge cassette holds the orange discs ( one thing I really liked is that the discs have a blue centre which really helps when the target is in flight so that you can focus down on the spot you want to hit), it revolves and allows one of the discs to drop down into the launching mechanism which can then hurl the object at any angle from along the floor up to 90°.
We are happy to announce that with the help of the Invicta club and the use of the Robin Hood Events grounds we are amongst the first to try out this wacky archery thrower.
The machine is powered by battery and we are told that a single charge will give 5000 shots, there are few parts to go wrong and Tony Blaine the rep had it set up and ready to go in just a few minutes, it is worth noting here that the day itself was probably the windiest one this year and to prove the point a huge gust blew the machine over on it's side with a mighty crash – I was terrified the day would be over before it had even begun. It is a testament to the build quality that no damage was suffered and after we had righted her the machine was undamaged and functioned perfectly.
After being loaded the control cord was attached, you don't have to use an attached cord as there is a remote control version and even a voice activated start mechanism – we were quite happy for the button to be pressed manually by someone behind us. The first few targets escaped unscathed as we tried to figure out the best method of tracking and hitting them. Instinctive archers will have a huge advantage as there is no time for point of aim, gap shooting or any form of calculation other than relying on instinct and skill and despite the launcher being set to throw them upwards each throw will be different so you never know exactly how it will come out of the trap.
We tried several methods including coming to draw ready for the target, this proved to be the least successful and instead we reverted to a familiar relaxed style of focusing on the thrower and the disc whilst the bow is relaxed and then following the target whilst performing the draw, the whole action is fluid and performed faster than the conscious mind can adapt and keep up. This means that when you do hit it, it actually feels like you have performed a magic trick and this makes it difficult to describe to someone the actual dynamics involved.
Incredibly within a short time it is possible to "get your eye in". We had invited several members of the Invicta archery club and some folks who were very new to archery along with some total beginners who had never even shot a bow before. The more experienced archers were able to adapt pretty quickly and hit a good percentage of discs and surprisingly the novices to were able to get to grips with not just the bows but the challenge of drawing on a moving target…… well done Matt !!
I could hardly stop myself from shooting throughout the session. I and some of the other archers owned our own flufu arrows which is just as well when you are shooting at aerial targets with a 50# bow, however the folks at La Porte also produce lightweight bows up to 26# which they offer together with some feather-light carbon fluflus, I am not sure that carbon is the best choice when it comes to arrows for this sort of shooting as the opportunity for breakages by stamping or picking up an arrow caught in the grass is quite high and we all know carbon shards are unpleasant things. I must say though that these little arrows work very well from the bows they supply, of course the accessories are not included in the price. I used a variety of bows and draw weights I found the shelf shooters more user friendly for this style of archery and there really was no penalty to using a light or heavy weight bow as I hit almost as many with a 17# bow as I did with a 55# – the eye and arm adjust in no time at all. We found the straight up ones the easiest, however as it was a gusty day they were being blown along at a fair rate so there was not much "hang time" – the rabbit ones along the floor were the toughest by a long way, not least because the arrows went in to the ground flat and take an age to find on anything other tan a billiard table !
La Porte have tested the machine to destruction – well they tried, except it was found to be almost indestructible ! it was hosed down with water, filled with sand, swamped with mud and hosed down again, the thrower just kept on working… we had just one jam up during the session and to be fair that was because the wind was blowing a hooly and lifting some of the light foam discs so that they entered the machine crooked, but as I say this was just the once and was easily remedied. The option to have 65 targets at your beck and call is astounding and the smart move would be to have 65 fluflus in a quiver in front of you… now that is my idea of a fun day out !!
I guess if you don't own 1/3rd of Berkshire as over shoot or have a cool 5K sitting about unsupervised then it will be a question of getting on to the club chairman to provide you with one !!
Once again our sincerest thanks to Tony of Laporte for coming at our request to show us the whole kit and kaboodle, thanks also to the Invicta archers and to Robin Hood Events for the use of their ground… and not least to Caroline, how she puts up with my archery obsession I will never know – thanks babe for doing the filming !
|Features & Design|
Absolutely brilliant…. you have a choice of button, voice command or remote to activate each throw, the foam targets are beautifully weighted so that even on a windy day such as we had hey still flew well – with an unlimited angle of flight from 0 to 90° you will have hours of fun
|Exceptional ! |
|Value for Money|
|£4800 is a substantial sum of money.. the replacement disc's are £750 for 65 but other than that your consumables are limited |
|You know you want one !!! I certainly do !|
Steve Nicholson and Andy Gilfrin, are real archers interested in the best archery suppliers have to offer. In our search for the very best bow, arrows and equipment we have shot, used and worn pretty much everything on offer.
Contact Steve .. email@example.com
Contact Andy .. firstname.lastname@example.org
We are now offering the opportunity for suppliers, manufacturers and bowyers to get involved. Check out the sponsors page for more information.
Laporte Archery Target Trap
Simple yet robust..
It's all about timing...
.. and whenit comes together it feels just great!
We take a tour the length and breadth of the British mainland to visit Scotland with Border Bows, Yorkshire with Aidy Hayes, the Wirral with Jason from thelongbowshop.com, down South with the Company of Canterbury Longbowman, and Geoff is in Spain.
A list of other Archery Kit ReviewsEleven Red Stag 3D