Archery targets don’t get a lot of time in the spotlight. They just sit there, day after day, taking a beating. Most of us probably don’t give much thought to targets, but they are necessary gear for practicing archery. It might be appealing to save money on a target and buy a rice sack filled with cotton, but after a few shots, you would regret it. If you are serious about archery, you need to shoot a lot. And if you shoot a lot, you need a good target. But which one?
Hands down, the best field point target for archery is the Morrell 131 Double Duty 450 FPS Field Point Archery Bag Target.
It would be nice if a target was a target and it didn’t matter which one you shot at. But for the serious archer who shoots a lot of arrows, a good target is important. Morrell has long been known for quality targets, but they’ve outdone the competition with the 131 Double Duty 450.
Here is What Sets This Target Apart.
One of the biggest negatives of most bag targets is that you can only shoot at two sides. Even with off-center bullseye markings, a two-sided target can only last so long. Cube or block shaped targets have been used for a long time for shooting broadheads because of their deep penetration. Morrell ingeniously realized the cube shape could also be used for field points and it gives you four sides to shoot at, which will give your target a much longer life.
Quality Materials and Design:
I spoke with Morrell about the construction of their targets to find out a little about what sets them apart. They don’t “stuff” their targets. Instead, their targets are designed with a floating center (a design so unique it is patented). After reading the patent, I’ll have to say that the inventor, Dale Morrell, knows what he is doing.
This free-floating central core is made up of multiple stacked sheets of tightly woven nylon material. This central core is oriented in such a way that it works to absorb the impact of the arrows without being penetrated. The core is “free floating” because it is surrounded by compressed cotton molt packing, which is inside a cardboard frame.
All of that is then enclosed in a moister barrier made a polyethylene bag. Twelve layers of nylon mesh are used to enclose the moister barrier. Using strands can help slow the arrow through deflection, and you are less likely to break the nylon mesh which helps preserve the target. Finally, all of that is housed in the outer cover which is made of burlap fabric.
This incredible design not only gives you durability, but it also makes for easy arrow removal. It seems Morrell has thought of everything! Oh, wait, one more thing.
Replaceable Cover :
For me this is the biggest proof of a quality product. Morrell makes replaceable covers for most of their targets. They know that with such a great internal design, you are going wear through the cover faster that you will the inside. A lesser company wouldn’t offer new covers because then you’d just have to buy a new target.
Finally, the double duty has cool graphics on all 4 sides of the target like a nearly full size dart board, a nine-ball rack, and or course dear vitals. All these different graphics make for great shooting challenges and will help you improve your accuracy.
Different Types of Targets
When you start looking at targets available, you may wonder what the difference in the targets is. There are two main types of targets:
Field Point Targets–
Most of the field point targets are classified as bag targets, which indicates there is an outer bag or cover that is filled with material. Bag targets are typically made to be free standing but also have grommets so they can be hung from a stand. There are many different sizes of targets, but the most common design is a rectangular or square bag with similar height and width measurements. The depth of most targets is around half of the height of the bag. Take the popular Hurricane bag target for example. The measurements are (25″x23″x12″)
What is a target made of? That’s the mystery. Every target is different. The cheap bag targets can actually be a bag stuffed with poly-fil (polyester filling, like the inside of a stuffed animal).
Not only are these bad for stopping fast arrows, but they also will not last long at all. If the bag is just stuffed with loose poly-fil, it pulls out of the bag when you retrieve arrows. It also clumps together leaving sections where there is little to no filling. This means you will quickly have arrows passing through the target. Moving up the price scale, you’ll find bag targets with better arrow stopping materials inside like shredded foam and felt. These targets will also have higher quality synthetic fiber materials.
The outer covering of the target or “bag” is a crucial part of the target’s performance. So what material is used for the bags? That can be a tough one to nail down. The bigger target makers how a proprietary composite materials that are used on the outer bag. Often the cover is burlap type of material or some other woven fibers. The outer bags can also be laminated or painted. This design helps to preserve the cover and keep it from shredding apart.
These targets are much different than those used for field points. Broadheads, which are used for bowhunting, are larger arrow points made with razor-sharp sides attached to to the tip. You can see a common design for broadheads in the picture.
Why the need for a different target? You can imagine the razor sharp edges of these would tear up target bag pretty quick. Broadhead targets utilize thin layers of foam to stop the arrow. These layers are tightly compressed together which provides friction to stop the arrow.
The layer design always works to contain the damage caused each time you shoot. Many broadhead targets are cubes or blocks, with equal height, width, and depth. Since broadheads are razor sharp and the modern compound bow is extremely fast, a deeper target helps to prevent arrows passing through.
Field point targets can’t handle broadheads, but most broadhead targets can also be shot with field points….So, you may be thinking, why wouldn’t I just get a broadhead target? You can BUT, even though a broadhead target easily stops field points, the arrow is often very difficult to remove. Why? I’m glad you asked. The compressed foam layers in a broadhead target are always compressed, even with your arrow inside the target.
When you shoot a broadhead, it slices through those layers with anywhere from 2-4 razors, depending on the broadhead. The surface area it cuts through is quite a bit larger than the arrow shaft. So, in addition to cutting a channel into the target, most broadheads are very sharp on the backside of the razor sides. This means that pulling the arrow out of the target is often easy.
Shooting field points into compressed foam layers is a different story. A field point pierces a channel into the foam, roughly the same diameter as the arrow shaft. It may not cut the layers at all. So, those foam layers remain tightly compressed on the arrow, and it feels like your arrow is suctioned in that thing…… But you can try it out. If you don’t mind pulling field tips from a broadhead target, then, more power to you.
Many archers who also bowhunt have both a field point target and a broadhead target. This is also what I do, and I find it works best. The reason manufacturers make these two types of targets is that each works best for those arrows.
What Makes A Good Target?
Although there are only the two main types of archery targets, there are many different ones available. How do you choose? What should you look for in an archery target?
Targets are a unique piece of gear because essentially you are destroying it little by little every time you shoot at it. You want a target that will last as long as possible. A targets durability comes from design and material used.
Even in a field point target bag design is important. You don’t want a target bag that is just stuffed with material. Why? Because it will not last. Every time your arrow penetrates the target, you will be displacing the material inside. The areas you shoot repeatedly will push out the material until your arrows are passing through the target.
Most cheap field point targets are just packed with poly filling, and that stuff also gets pulled out of the target when you retrieve arrows. If you leave this kind of bags out in the rain, water gets inside and which causes the poly filling to settle at the bottom.
The good field point targets are made with woven layers inside. They aren’t stuffed, there is a design for the internal material. You want layers and connected material, whatever the material is because when your arrow pierces the target, the internal material surrounds the hole stays in place. This drastically increases the life of your target.
If you want a target to last a long time, get one that has replaceable covers available. This option says something about the target and the manufacturer. If a target has replaceable covers, they know you will destroy the outside cover faster than the inside material. This is the sign of a good target. Also, making new covers available means, the manufacturer isn’t just concerned with profit. With no replacement covers available, you’d have to just buy a whole new target once the outside is destroyed.