Arrow rests have remained largely unchanged for several decades. Golden Key introduced an innovative style of arrow rest in the 70’s called the TM Hunter and that design has been the foundation for virtually all arrow rests ever since. The TM arrow rest soon after, roughly the early 80’s, was being converted to the drop way style we know today. Prior to single cam bows, the drop away arrow rests were problematic due to the actuation cord affecting cam timing on dual cam bows. In the mid 90’s, with the single cam bows gaining acceptance, Trophy Taker started to popularize the drop away arrow rest. Many companies, including Schaffer Performance Archery, have manufactured drop away arrow rests for the last decade. There have been several modifications to improve on this design, including better arrow holding at rest and at full draw, however, the biasing (movement) of all the arrow rests have been limited to the launcher moving only up or down. I knew that if I was going to revolutionize arrow rests, I would have to think way outside the box.
Several things have evolved with the compound bows over the years, that in my opinion have limited the usefulness of the basic up/ down arrow rest. In order to move forward with a new design, I had to first identify all the problems with conventional rests, including those manufactured by Schaffer Performance Archery;Customers demand total arrow containment. Most will recognize the popularity of the Whisker Biscuit arrow rest, which has obvious appeal because it holds the arrow so well. The problem of course, is that it provides total fletch interference which adversely affects accuracy. The fallaway rests available, held the arrow either in the down position or up position. Most of the fallaway rests, including Schaffer’s Gen 1 and 2 series, used some type of adhesive backed clip or guide stuck to the bow riser to hold the arrow when the rest was in the down position. This worked great when the bow was at rest but did nothing to hold the arrow at full draw. Because the guide was just a sticker, they would occasionally fall off in the field. Some of the rests held the arrow at full draw but needed to be cocked (locked up), to do so. None of the fallaway rests with a cage or bar over the top provided true arrow holding in the up (firing) position, in other words, while the arrow couldn’t fall off the rest, it could still bounce around (noise) within the confines of the rest. I wanted to design a rest that provided total clearance while still holding the arrow tightly without having to cock the rest before drawing the bow.Arrow rest to arrow engagement time. In recent years, some attention has been aimed at addressing this. Specifically, the rest engagement time while firing the bow needs to be the right balance of guidance and clearance. Some have argued that the longer the better for tuning. There is no doubt that longer engagement will result in making the bow easier to paper tune, but so will shooting your arrow down a 1 inch diameter tube cause the arrow to come out straight. Conversely, if the arrow hops off the rest immediately, the arrow lacks any guidance at all. I’m not going to pretend that I’m the greatest shot in the world and I have no interest in trying to impress anyone with my shooting resume, but my experience is important to product development. I’ve had several money finishes shooting unlimited pro at Vegas, finished 5th pro at NFAA nationals, qualified 2nd at IBO worlds, and had 2 back to back wins for our Minnesota state NFAA tournament. A lot of archers throw around the term “forgiving”, for me this means having bow capable of finishing toward the top in a tournament or shoot fixed blades broadheads at over 300 f.p.s. at 100 yards. Specifically, when I am setting up a bow, I torque test (twist the bow left and right, push the grip at the bottom and top), short draw the bow (front edge of the valley), and overdraw the bow. If everything is working correctly, the arrow will never leave the x ring at 20 yards. Because I hate selling any of my personal stuff, I still have almost every bow I’ve shot since 1980. For the last several years, we’ve used and relied on our high speed camera system for many things with our products and I’ve gone back and looked at really forgiving bows I’ve owned and some bows that were not. Every bow that was really forgiving looked the same under our high speed camera. Whether it was a drop away, conventional prong, or lizard tongue arrow rest, they all had one thing in common in regard to engagement time. All the forgiving bows had somewhere between 5 and 8 inches of initial guidance / contact, and then no part of the arrow touched the arrow rest for the duration of the launch. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the bows that were really “touchy” or unforgiving (everything had to be absolutely perfect to hit the x) also had something in common. The unforgiving bows all had arrows that rode the arrow rest for almost the whole length of the shaft. It is important to note that although the unforgiving bows paper tuned just fine, they were worthless for high level accuracy. I wanted to design an arrow rest that could easily provide the proper amount of engagement for easy tuning and forgiving accuracy.All drop away arrow rests are prone to bounce back. Many shooters are now aware of the ill effects of launcher bounce back. The launcher will often times get out of the way plenty fast, only to bounce or rebound back into the path of the arrow and cause fletch contact. Many of the drop away arrow rests address this with different approaches. Some use mechanical lock downs, rubber dampening, or magnets. Schaffer Gen II’s employed a dampener on the back of the axle to counteract this. All of these “band-aids” add complexity to the arrow rest. The interesting thing about bounce back is that when we look at it with the high speed camera system, and just snap the rope or launcher, the launcher won’t bounce back. The main culprit for bounce back is one of inertia. The bow and arrow rest both primarily move in the same plane when shot, in other words, the bow and arrow rest are in effect fighting each other both trying to move in the same direction when shot. In order to beat this phenomenon, I had to design an arrow rest that would literally move in a new direction.
No drop away arrow rests provide lateral biasing or support. One of the realities with today’s bow designs is that they have a significantly increased propensity for horizontal nock travel as the bow is shot. This condition is magnified with stiff cable guards, short brace heights, high let-off and differentials between the grip centerline and string centerline. As the bow is drawn back, the energy is transferred from the string to the cables, increasing the side load on the cable/ roller guard. For a right handed shooter, this action pushes the back of the roller/ cable guard to the left, forcing the riser and rest to rotate to the left along with it. When the bow is shot and the force on the cable guard unwinds, which causes horizontal nock travel as the string returns to static. This is the main reason that many bows with conventional drop away arrow rests end up tuning inside (close to the riser). Having to deal with this over the last few years got me thinking that it would be nice to have some sort of lateral bias/ support like the old plunger buttons. Years ago, the hot set up for a hunting bow was a flipper rest and a plunger button. This set up is still the most common way to set up an Olympic style recurve shot with fingers. This system provides decent clearance as the flipper can easily be knocked out of the way by the fletching if the arrow spine is not correct. The beauty of the plunger/ flipper rest is that the plunger could be adjusted to provide the proper amount of lateral bias or support. The problem of course was how to accomplish this and still provide clearance. I wanted to design an arrow rest that would provide lateral bias and support and still provide the clearance for easy tuning and improved accuracy.
Too many companies, including Schaffer Performance Archery, were manufacturing the same mouse trap. Of course there were certain elements to differentiate the various drop-away arrow rests in the industry, but they all provided the same movement and limitation with the up / down movement. Schaffer Performance Archery needed a fresh new design with the goal of improving the arrow rest segment.
A few years ago, I started experimenting with different movements for arrow rests. I decided that having the primary movement being left and right(horizontal) as opposed to the conventional up/ down (vertical) would be advantageous for the reasons listed above. The challenge was how to lift the arrow into position without having a complicated cocking mechanism. I settled on two opposing (hence the name Opposition) ramps, which we now refer to as the Launch Pylons. This set up provides automatic arrow centering and raising as the bow is drawn. In actuating the pylons, or drawing them together, we had several configurations or rigging’s that would move them at different rates. We settled on a direct drive where both pylons were slaved together. This was simple in that it required very few parts and offered a nice speed to raise the arrow. What I mean by this is that no matter how aggressively or fast you draw the bow back, there is no way to snap the arrow off the launchers.
To hold the arrow in total captivation at full draw, we shaped two hooks into the tops of the pylons. Now we had a rest that positively held the arrow at full draw. In order to hold the arrow at rest, we designed a pin button that the shooter could press in to lock the pylons in the firing position. When the bow is drawn back, the spring pressure is released and the button retracts and the rest function normally.
We feel this design offers significant advantages in that the arrow can be positively contained by pushing in the button for tree stand or stalking, but if a follow up shot is necessary or for day to day shooting, no cocking is necessary to locate or raise the rest to fire.
Another significant advantage of the new Opposition full containment arrow rest is that it provides clearance for the fastest bows. We have tested it with the high speed camera up to 417 f.p.s., and I am certain it will clear much faster than that if necessary. If necessary, in the future we can increase the spring tension for the pylons with no worries of bounce back. One of the reasons the actuation is so fast is that the total movement required is cut roughly in half because each pylon splits the movement necessary. The other reason is that the pylons are constructed of a light weight material for lightning fast response.
Anyone who uses our new Opposition full containment arrow rest will appreciate the ease of tuning. Most bows will tune right down the center of the grip where most of us would like to see it. This eliminates the annoyance of only being able to see half your sight housing, and keeping the fletching from hitting the inside of the sight window. We have a Mathews DXT and a Z7 in the shop, one is 28” 70# and one is 29” 70#. Both are tuned for perfect bullet holes, both tune right down the center of the grip. Both bows were set up with Beman 400 arrows, however, we have demonstrated to hundreds of customers something pretty amazing. We can take the same bows, without any adjustments to anything, and shoot a 500, 400, 340 and 300 spine all with perfect bullet holes.
The Opposition full containment arrow rest employs the same perfect riser lock fit our customers have come to expect from our Gen I and II rests. We manufacture plates to lock into Mathews, Hoyt, PSE. We feel that a $1000.00 bow is no place for a one size fits all arrow rest that requires set screws to keep it from moving.
Every part on the Opposition full containment arrow rest is designed, manufactured, and assembled in the USA. Click here to find your local dealer and check out the all new Opposition full containment arrow rest today!