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Sunday, September 29, 2013

5 Unique Perspectives Learned while Making Crossbows

Kodabow with a Cheekrest and HHA Optimizer 

1. Prison Time. Folks can make mistakes in life. A real bad mistake which results in a crime and a prison sentence can mean the loss of the right to own a firearm. But what happens when a the individual returns to the straight path, pays a debt to society and wants to hunt? The answer is archery equipment and we have met a few folks who have changed their ways, regret their errors and are very serious about the outdoors and hunting. They might do volunteer work to help young folks learn from their experience and avoid their poor judgement. They enjoy hunting for the same reasons we enjoy being in the field. We say  "go for it!" 
2. Amazing Things Happen when Shipping a Crossbow. 
A memorable experience was shipping a new Kodabow to a customer a long distance away. The phone rang later in the week and the agitated customer wondered how we would ship a crossbow that left the factory so severely scratched and damaged. OK. That was Bow #1. So we diligently attempted to make things right and Bow #2 was on its way to the customer. Same thing ..... the customer said you folks just don't get it. He explained that the 2nd crossbow was as damaged as the first one received. We scratched our heads at the factory, looked at the digital pictures and agreed. This was some serious damage. After some sleuthing which determined that the Fedex folks were not part of the problem, it became evident that the customer's package was arriving in perfect condition. While he was at work, another member of the household was opening the package and doing some very serious dirty work. It all worked out in the end and everyone was on good terms -- we helped the customer sort out the problem and address the family matter  ----   but it was not what it appeared -- "out of the box" so to speak.

#3 He hunted for his daughter. 
The gentleman said he was not really a hunter. He selected a Koda-Express. He mentioned his daughter had autism. The conversation was choppy but OK -- just go with the flow. We talked about deer and the increasing numbers of deer in the state and he mentioned that he was really getting involved in hunting for his daughter. He mentioned that he had hunted a little when growing up but having a daughter with autism changed his life. He was hunting for his daughter.
This conversation was "kinda" making sense but not everything was clear. 
At Kodabow, we are straightforward especially when we are a little confused. We said, "Sir, when you say you are hunting for your daughter, what exactly does that mean? Does she care about hunting and why exactly does she want you to hunt?
At that point the gentleman paused and said --- "Oh, I guess I really haven't explained."
He continued. He said that his daughter's medical doctor suggested that wild game was a tremendous food choice for her based on her medical situation. The organic meat was free from additives, preservatives and antibiotics and it was his opinion that wild game would actually help her. He described how he began to research hunting to learn what he could. He described how he attended hunter safety education (HSE) and eventually found out about Kodabow. This man, an exceptional father, loved his daughter dearly. He left with a Koda-Express and he is now hunting for his daughter. Folks hunt for many different reasons. 

#4  Mr. Customer, we have seen everything.
We have very few problems with our crossbows. We hunt with them - we make them - and we know them cold. Let us repeat that - we really, really know how a Kodabow works and have seen EVERYTHING.  We can be very helpful over the phone. We told Mike that he was using the 50 yard aim point in his scope instead of the 20 yard aim point. His complaint was that his bow was shooting fine last fall but when he took it out for spring turkey, it was suddenly shooting high. (Over the winter, Mike had forgotten how his scope works.) In some cases, a customer will send in a component to have us test and inspect a suspect part. For example, a customer recently forwarded a trigger group to us indicating that the trigger pull was hard and was causing him to shoot erratically.
We received the trigger and immediately had two different factory personnel shoot the trigger. We said, "Mmmm ..feels great."  We measured the trigger and found a crisp break at 3 lbs. (With minimum trigger travel in a Kodabow, the actual trigger pull feels much lower.) We said, "Mmmm.. tests great." We inspected the customer mounted optic which was shipped with the scope. In this case, the customer purchased a bare Kodabow and installed his personal scope. We found the retaining screws holding the scope rings to the rail were free moving. They had not been securely tightened. That was the source of the shooting variance. The moral of the story is that if something is a little haywire, we will always get to the bottom of it. It is usually something very simple. 

#5 Our Factory Range is cool.

We opened it to the public and activities include everything from a youngster shooting a recurve to a young man pulling a compound in preparation for a hunt. (When it comes to pulling back a vertical bow, our advice is to shoot a fewer number of arrows more often.)

If you need to ask why, look at the internal anatomy schematic of the shoulder muscle and tendon region of the body. There are plenty of opportunities for stress and strain. On the other side of the coin, pulling back 80 lbs and shooting 100 arrows from a vertical compound bow can be very good for the crossbow business. 
Frequently, someone will stop by and ask to shoot their competitive brand crossbow on
the Kodabow range. We do three things. (1) We NEVER say anything about the features on their bow vs. Kodabow unless asked. That is just being polite and then we try our darn best to find some positives about the other bow. The individual didn't stop in to hear a bunch of Kodabow PR. (2) We ask them to follow their manufacturer's recommendations and to shoot safely. (3) We ask them to sign a liability waiver.
Now here is where it gets interesting. A man shooting a brand new mail order compound crossbow gets 15 shots off before he needs to stop due to a cable issue. His out of pocket expenditure was about $750. If you go to the dictionary and look up the word "dissapointment", there is a picture of that man.  Another shooter fails to achieve 20 yard accuracy (6" group not real good) with his alternative brand crossbow. It could be attributed to the optics, arrows and bow all not working well together. What we find is that many other products don't shoot as reliably or as well as a Kodabow. It is just a fact.
We see it. And in some cases, dealers know it. We recently set up an archery dealer in Oklahoma that was pretty much planning to get out of the crossbow business. There were just too many boomerang sales where crossbows were being returned by customers. He found out about Kodabow and we kept him in the crossbow game. There is hope!
Hunt and shoot safely.
My best,
Chuck @ Kodabow

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blackhawks, Veterans and 1/2 MOA

Jeff was a stand up guy. 8 years in the military with a current assignment as the Crew Chief on a DAP (Direct Action Penetrator) Blackhawk helicopter. Think about 30mm guns that shoot bullets the size of beer bottles and a mini-gun that shoots .308's at 6,000 rounds per minute. Today, he was volunteering to help out at a Family Day Shooting event near Ft. Campbell, KY for veterans and their families. He was assigned to the Kodabow Crossbow Shooting Station. Jeff reported for duty --- he was there to get the job done. Later that day, he would relate that when he first showed up, he was thinking that crossbows were kind of "dorky." I could tell Jeff might have preferred a different station like handguns or the AR-15 range. He was a trooper nevertheless and agreed to blow up ballons and help me help veterans and their families launch arrows downrange. After the first 150 or so ballons, Jeff had a whole different view of crossbows and I had a re-energized respect for our active duty and retired veterans who serve our country.
What follows is the absolute unvarnished truth.
The balloons were out at 35 yards. Shooter after shooter never missed. Wives of soldiers never missed. 12 year old daughters never missed. Whole families that shot together never missed. Active duty and retired types never missed. As each shooter selected a different color ballon and called the shot, there was often applause from the crowds with each shot. Jeff was coming around. By 1400 (2 PM military time), Jeff had a big change of heart about crossbows and said "that Kodabow is a fine piece of equipment."   He was so pleased to be part of what was happening.
This was the group that organized the event!
We kept shooting and he kept blowing up balloons and arrows kept bursting them at a frantic pace. Attendance was about 150 veterans and with family members, the total group was several hundred. Along the way, Jeff and I shared stories. He had a few deployments under his belt. I could tell he did his job well. A Blackhawk pilot, Charlie, showed up along with other members of his group. These guys did special ops missions and I sensed that the troops on the ground appreciated the skills and professionalism of these men and their attitudes. Their Blackhawk provides cover support for our troops for as long as 3 hours on station. As the balloons kept bursting all afternoon, Jeff simply said, "you are hammering that crossbow hard --- and it just keeps on going ---- and nobody misses --- it is simply amazing." Mutual respect -- I respected his helicopter and his work and he had a growing respect for Kodabow.
Volunteers like Jeff and companies like Ruger and Smith & Wesson plus many others make events like this happen. Trevor Baucom in his wheelchair (helicopter pilot) was the local inspiration behind this HAVA event. This was the morning volunteer briefing.
That's me with my red HAVA hat helping a veteran get his sight picture.
Naturally, he made the shot.
The day progressed. There was lunch and dinner. We shot all afternoon long. Prior to the event, a Kodabow customer called Kodabow and learned that we would be in TN and asked if he could assist and perhaps bring his new Kodabow up to get fully checked out. I said "please come, bring your Kodabow and help out!"  Tom joined Jeff, the helo crew Chief and was tasked with balloon work and arrow retrieval as well.
Tom had received his Kodabow a few days earlier but had never fired it. He assembled it out of the box and set it on the shooting table after the last veteran headed to the steak dinner under the tent. 
The next sequence of events was extraordinary.
Tom's first shot at 35 yards was dead on the money. Perfect.
After shooting hundreds of arrows all day long, I was ready for a change and moved the target to 50 yards. Tom settled in behind his Kodabow and squeezed off the 2nd shot from the crossbow. X ring.
Bullseye at 50 yards!
Shot #3 was next. 50 yards. Bullseye. 1/8 of an inch from the first shot.
This was 1/2 MOA (Minute of Angle) performance from a crossbow that had just been assembled without the new owner ever making a scope adjustment.
Tom was amazed. Jeff was now shaking his head. I told the men that actually, at Kodabow, we are not surpised by this type of thing --- but we are always impressed with their accuracy and often have a sense of wonder about how these bows shoot.
It was a tremendous day.
Shooting with out troops is a terrific experience. These events give our service folks the opportunity to share with their families the types of things they do routinely. A spouse may have never fired a firearm before but now has an appreciation for the difficult work our warriors do. (Times have changed - the typical military command wouldn't allow this type of event to occur on the military base so support groups like HAVA help out in many ways. They arrange hunts especially for those with serious injuries and organize different types of outings.) It is a remarkably positive experience. The daughters and sons of these military families are polite and respectful. They say "Thank you Sir." The veterans are respectful and very appreciative. They shoulder a Kodabow like they have been shooting one for years and place their finger alongside the trigger, gain a sight picture, and squeeze off a shot. They are professional and always say "Thank you" too.
I spoke with Jeff and a few of his buddies Saturday evening and shared a beer. Their backgrounds are rich and their attitudes are exceptional. They have done many things and are well trained. One had taught at the Sniper School at Ft. Benning. Another enlisted and progressed from enlisted to officer. They were like the many veterans that we spoke with during the event. The very, very best that this country has to offer.
Thank you for your service!
CDR Chuck Matasic - USN (Ret)

P.S. (The names of the active duty personnel were changed --- Jeff - you know who you are my friend!)