Stonebow Field Archers 3d Rats
I started to take part in field archery seriously about 4 years ago, at the time most shoots used paper faces, which while they were still fun simply couldn't compete with the new boys on the scene, 3D targets. There were a few shoots that had 2 or 3 deer or the odd rabbit and it was clear from the number of people in attendance that 3D shooting was the future. But there was a problem, 3D's were and are seriously expensive, for example at a recent shoot I saw a mountain goat, looked fantastic but the price was close to £800. Some of the large clubs could see the benefit of providing full 3D shoots, high set up costs but the money could be recouped over time by increased attendance at shoots.
We now find ourselves at some what of a cross roads, those full 3D shoots and those that still provide paper target shoots. This is where Stonebow Field Archers come in as they have produced a number of low cost but excellent 3D targets which allow clubs to take their first steps in to the world of 3D at a much reduced cost. We managed to convince them to send a couple down to us at Archers Review so we could get a closer look at them.
We got the rats a couple of weeks ago, this has given us plenty of time to have a play with them and get a feel for how hard wearing they are. The first thing to notice is that they are actually pretty large, the images don't do them justice as the smaller one is around 12 inches high, with the larger one 16 inches or so. We have seen cheaper 3D targets in the past but these are a little different, they are soft in the hand and have some give however they are filled with target foam which means they stop arrows with ease and do not allow the arrow to bounce off.
We set the rats up and went back 10 yards or so, they are more than big enough to be able to be shot from a good 15-20 yards with no problem and we had no trouble hitting them. We were using high performance American hunting bows and the targets had no problem in soaking up the arrows power. We had a couple of arrows which went through to the other side but this was more due to the fact they are a little thinner than your average 3D target such as a deer. We attempted to hit all parts of the 3Ds to see if we could bounce some off but they had no problem catching the tip of the arrow and even shots to the ears held firm.
Stonebow kindly provided 2 rats for us, the one in the left of the picture had been left out on their permanent course for the last 8 months, out in all weathers, rain, snow and sun shine, however it showed only minimal signs of wear, this is even more remarkable as it been out all winter in temperatures as low as -7c . It had clearly been shot a number of times but other than a few marks it looked almost as good as the new one. The newer one took a fair battering from our arrows over the course of 4 days testing. On occasion there was a small entry hole left, but this was a minor issue as most of the time the arrow left no visible mark.
Steve an I have fair amount of experience with 3D's and have owned and used pretty much all of the various manufacturers and styles for a number of years, with 20-30 people a week shooting large numbers of arrows in to them. We therefore have a very good idea of their practical life and these little guys stack up very well indeed on that front. So far we have neglected to talk about price, other than indications that they are cheap, which of course is a relative term. Most of the big 3D manufacturers have a series of targets which are a similar size to these, around a foot tall, however even those cost a small fortune, for example McKenzie's rock rascal series which are a similar size start at £105 and go up to around £140. The price of these rats is currently only £27.99 which as I'm sure you will agree is exceptionally good value. It should of course be noted that these are not the same quality of materials as the more expensive targets but I'd be surprised if the more expensive ones lasted twice as long let along the four times as long you would need for them to be of comparative value.
These rats would be a fun addition to any field course, large enough to be shot at a reasonable distance, hard wearing but most importantly great value we would recommend you get some for your course. In fact so cheap are they that you could have some fun setting up a small scene with a few rats to choose from, those sort of shots are always memorable and bring a light hearted touch to the very serious business of archery ;)
Features & Design
More of a comic look than life like, but then again you wouldn't want to be shooting at a life sized rat.
For such a cheap product they really do an excellent job of stopping the arrows.
Value for Money
I don't think you could find a cheaper 3D anywhere
They would be worth getting hold of if they were twice the price. They look like they will last a fair while and in the short time we had them we tried all we could to damage them as much as possible, yet they held firm.