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TAP logoArchery has come a long ways since the days of sticks, sinew and obsidian.  Not only has the equipment been greatly improved, but so has our understanding of the physics behind how things work.  This has led to the creation of various software packages that supplement the archer’s own knowledge and can save time while creating a more accurate shooting setup.  These programs also bring with them a wealth of data on bows, sights and arrow components.  In this preview we will take a look at The Archery Program, better know as TAP.  The follow up review will put TAP to the test using a real world setup to compare to the TAP results.

Introduction to TAP

TAP is the brain child of Tony Virnoche who created and coded the program from the ground up by himself.  TAP has several features for the archer:

  • spine selection
  • sight tape creation
  • data on speed and arrow drop over distance
  • database of bow and arrow specifications
  • ability to virtually test different combinations

TAP CalculateBy inputting certain variations of data about their setup, the archer is given feedback on if their current arrow is spined correctly and/or help them pick a shaft and components.  Sight tapes are an easy way to set yardage adjustments on any of various sliding type sights.  The charts on speed and arrow drop help an archery understand how their setup is performing and how making changes will affect the characteristics of their arrow flight.  It’s also useful and entertaining to play with bow and arrow setups different from your own equipment to get an idea of performance.

Using TAP, the Basics

The user is given four different ways to input their data to drive the calculations of the program:  single speed, two speeds, sight marks or calculate everything from data”  Each way has advantages and disadvantages.  Single Speed is the simplest to do because it only requires the bow to be chronographed at a point-blank distance, whereas Two Speeds requires a point-blank and second measurement at a known distance such as 20 or 30 yards.  Sight Marks is similar to Two Speeds but instead of using a chronographed speed at two distances, the archer must sight the bow  in at two known distances and then use the distance between the two sight marks.  The final option is to Calculate everything from data by inputting the bow make and model, then filling in (or accept the defaults) the required information of brace height, axle-to-axle, draw length and poundage.  Each setup is then assigned a “Bow Performance Factor” (BPF) by the software that is used in the calculations.

TAP SpineOther important data that must be input include the vertical distance from the arrow to the peep, and the linear distance from the peep to the sight.  These measurements are necessary to calculate the geometry that governs how the archer’s line of site will interact with the position of the sight pin and where it needs to be placed on the target at different yardages.

At this point the archer can do one of two things with regards to arrows.  TAP can take the bow information and help the archer choose a correctly spined arrow and all of it’s components, or the archer can input their current arrow information including length, tip weight, fletching type, nock type, etc. to determine if that arrow is correctly spined.  Either way, when the information of the arrow is input, the program is ready to give us the good stuff.

Once the bow and arrow information is properly input and the peep/sight measurements taken and added, the user can now see the results.  The Tape tab presents the user with the sight tape that has been created using the ballistic data.  If you have never used a sight tape on a sliding sight, the tape is a series of yardage marks that the archer attaches to their sight.  When the archer has decided at what distance they will be shooting, they simply move the slider to the correct mark on the tape.  Pin shooters can also use the tape to set up the spacing of the pins by comparing the marks to the sight.

Probably my favorite part of the program is the Data tab.  It is a ballistic table of the arrow’s flight.  Listed is information on the drop of the arrow, kinetic energy, point of impact and velocity of the arrow over the distance it travels.  Also listed is the amount of wind drift if the user inputs the wind speed and wind direction.  This can be especially useful information to FITA shooters (who shoot up to 90 meters outdoors) or anyone else that shoots fairly long distances in windy conditions.

What I really enjoy about TAP is that there is a wealth of information that can be used in all sorts of ways, yet the program is simple to use and easy to navigate.  The program is fast, has a small footprint and should work on any modern computer using the Windows, or handheld devices using PocketPC or Windows Mobile operating systems.

Using TAP, Setting a Sight

To test out how well TAP can set a sight by using a sight tape, I used the two speeds method.  The bow was chronographed at point blank and 30 yards and the info input into TAP.  Printing the tape was a breeze once the right label format was chosen and it was off to the range.  Before installing the tape the sight had to be set at twenty yards.  After the twenty was set the tape was installed with the twenty lined up with the sight marker.

The following images are the results of using the sight tape marks.  Though I will admit to choosing the pictures of some of the better groups.

As can be seen, the results were pretty good.  There was a little bit of gusting breeze that I had some issues compensating for that can account for some of the left side shots.  Both the fifty, sixty and seventy shot a hair low, but I will need to continue to shooting the marks to better determine if the sight is off slightly or if it is just me.

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