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I love Colorado and the weather here, I really do!  However, it does have its drawbacks when it comes to doing much shooting/testing/work outside and this year in particular has been quite rough.  When the weather broke this week I was stuck at my day job from when the sun comes up to when the sun goes down which left no time for outdoor shooting.  One of these days I will build my own indoor, lighted and heated range out to 50 yards if I have my way!

Today arrived and I was off to Boy Scout training in the morning for 4+ hours, finally arriving back home around 1PM.  The sun was out and the thermometer read above 40 degrees, so outside I ventured.  At this time I have several products that are lined up for reviews, many of which require dedicated and fairly long periods of outdoor shooting to work on; these will have to wait another day.  What I did get to play with was a RIPshot that arrived during the middle of the week.  When I first saw ads and pictures for the RIPshot I immediately thought “man, if Billy Mays were still alive, he’d have an infomercial for this in a heartbeat!”  In other words, I presumed it was another gimmick.  Now don’t take me wrong, I love gimmicks and playing with them, and some end up being great items, but gimmicks yare nonetheless.

Earlier in the week when the package had arrived I had set the RIPshot up with my Jim Fletcher Flathead release and fit the harness to my arm.  I broke out my trusty Hoyt Ultra Elite and pulled it back a few times and adjusted the RIPshot until I was happy, a total time of about 20 minutes of messing around.  It felt a bit awkward pulling it back because there is no weight put on the entire forearm and it is an entirely different sensation then pulling back with a standard wrist or t-handle release.

Once outside I was ready to fling a few arrows and give this “gimmick” a good ol’ once-over.  The first round of three shots were more about getting used to settling in and gaining the proper form with this new system.  On the second round the second arrow kissed the first one and the third arrow blew off one of the pin nocks on the first arrow.  At this time I’m starting to forget the word gimmick and think more along the lines of innovation.  A total of about 40 arrows later I was very impressed, but it was time to move on and get some other things done; much more is to come with more shooting and a thorough review of the RIPshot in the coming weeks.  UPDATE: the RIPShot review is finished and can be seen here.

Next up on my list of products to play with is the F.A.S.T. (Fletched Arrow Squaring Tool) from Burt Coyote, makers of the Lumenock.  A squaring device has always been another thing that I thought would be nice, but never quite made it to the top of my list.  I have been using an aluminum block that I had precision machined to match the exact outside diameter of my shafts, set on a piece of sandpaper.  When I really get serious about square shafts, especially on my hunting arrows tipped with fixed blade broadheads, I put my shafts in a lathe.  Both of these methods are on extremes; a rudimentary and simplistic block vs. precision machining overkill.

So along comes the F.A.S.T. which looks to be a good compromise between overkill and caveman style engineering.  The nice thing about the F.A.S.T. is not only can you square shafts with it, you can square fletched shafts with it and you can do it “fast.”  The beauty is in the simple, but very effective design and the speed with which shafts can be squared.  Look to next week to see a finished review on the F.A.S.T. that will have some hard numbers to see how well it can do its advertised job.

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