Longshot Medium Super Butt
One thing I would never ever do is advise people to shoot at home, the combination of bows and arrows is a very dangerous one and a good few thousand years of hunting and warfare should be enough to convince anybody of that fact. However there are some people, myself included, that live far enough away for civilisation that doing so doesn't present a danger to the public. One of the disadvantages of being tucked out of the way is that it might mean, as is also the case with me, that you might not be near an archery club, for me the nearest one is at least an hour away and so popping out for a bit of practice, especially in the summer evenings is pretty much impossible. So what better way to practice than get a target for my garden, there are a number on the market, from the smaller square variety up to the large Atlas targets featured elsewhere on the site.
I have been using one of the small cube types for a while now, but they leave a little to be desired as while they do a perfectly good job of stopping the arrow they are low to the ground and it means pointing the bow downwards significantly at short to medium range and then don't offer a massive area when you move back. Equally the larger targets used at most archery clubs are just too big to use in the garden, if for no other reason than they often require a couple of people to set up and leaving one out for both security and weather reasons is not ideal. If you have ever shot field the a smallish square target butt is a common sight out on a field course, equally at home as a back stop or target they tend to be light weight, movable and easy to set up with no stand.
This is where the Longshot Medium Super Butt comes in, they come in a number of sizes, small at 65cm square, medium at 90cm square, large at 130cm square and a new wider 130 x 90 cm butt. However the names are relative as when we went to pick one up for testing the large wouldn't fit in to the car and the extra large was more on the massive size. Despite the large size the target is easy to move around on your own and I had no trouble getting it out of the car and down to the end of the garden on my own. The target is made from layered foam strips which are held in place initially by tight metal straps and then a wooden frame attached to the top and bottom of the butt. The construction is very solid and you can imagine it will take some considerable abuse, in fact I would guess that the foam will be shot out way before the wooden construction gave way.
A home target is more for form work than it is accuracy so I stuck the butt in front of trees to form a natural back stop and then went back 10-15 yards to try it out. I started off with a 45# bow shooting nice heavy wooden arrows to test the stopping power, no problem there as the arrows went in back only a few inches or so. The target is relatively deep compared to most and none of the arrows were going in too far, so I switched to a compound bow and nice light carbon arrows, the butt was just as effective with those stopping them no problem. The other great news is that the arrows come out easily too, I gave up using compound for target archery a few years ago when I simply couldn't pull the arrows out of the old straw bosses we had at the club. At 90cm there is plenty to aim at and at no time did I feel I was doing anything artificial in terms of aiming, this is particularly true if you are a field archer as I predominately am as this is the sort of thing you will be shooting on a course anyway.
Given that it was doing a great job of stopping the arrows I went back to the wooden arrows to give it a proper going over and then spent the next hour working my way through 3 Portsmouth faces, the golds were totally obliterated on all three yet when I removed each one the foam still looked great. No doubt over time it will deteriorate but I would imagine it would take a serious beating and given the size you can move the face around a fair amount to get the most out of it. Then of course you can flip it around and do the same again.
These butts are designed for the field and I have no doubt they it would perform just as well there, but in your average garden they do a fantastic job and from now on this will be my target of choice for a quick practice. The other thing which I haven't mentioned is that they are great value too, the medium just £85. It might cost you a bit in shipping but if you are close to one of the retaliers it should fit in most hatchbacks or estate cars.
Features & Design
It's a target so not packed with features exactly but it the wooden construction gives a solid feel which you could see lasting a considerable amount of time.
Can take an arrow at close distance without too many problems, I'm sure the foam will wear out at some point but you have some scope to move your chosen paper face around a bit to share the load.
Value for Money
At £85 it's not that much more than much smaller targets and a considerable saving on a full round straw boss.
Does the job really well and the construction seems at this stage to be built to last. Might not be suitable for a full blown target archery club but great for home use or out in the woods somewhere.