Choosing scope size for a compound target sight with David Houser and Alex Wifler

Choosing the right scope housing for your compound bow target sight can make a big difference in your competition scores.

What you see when you look through your scope – and what you can’t see – plays a role in how well you aim and how well you focus. And with scope housings varying greatly in size, your field of view can change dramatically from scope to scope.

scope size

Compound scopes come in the following common sizes – 14, 25, 29, 31, 35 and 42mm, or 1.25, 1.375, 1.625, 1.66 and 1.75 inches.

The variations range even wider when you factor in magnifying lenses of different powers. For example, the field of view through a 25mm scope is going to be much different with a 6-power lens than with a 2-power lens.

You can rest assured that professional archers have played with any and all scope-lens combinations in trying to figure out what works best for them. Granted, what works for one pro might not work for you. But hearing their thought process might help you find your winning combination.

So we asked two pros – David Houser and Alex Wifler – what scopes they use for various competitions, and why they picked those sizes. Both archers compete regularly in indoor target, outdoor target and 3-D tournaments.

DH: I use a 29mm Shrewd Essential for indoor and outdoor target archery, and a Shrewd Nomad 42mm for 3-D.


David Houser

AW: I use a 29mm Shrewd Essential for indoor and outdoor target archery, and a 35mm scope for 3-D.


Alex Wifler

LAS: What do you want to see when you look through an indoor scope, outdoor scope and 3-D scope?

AW: When I’m looking through my indoor scope, I see just outside the scoring rings on the three-spot target. For outdoor, it’s about the same – just outside the scoring rings. Please note, I shoot a 2mm blue dot outdoor and a 4mm blue dot indoor. (The dot is his aiming spot, and he uses a larger dot at the closer distance, and a smaller one at the farther targets. From his perspective, however, both dots look similar when aiming at the different targets.)

DH: For 3-D, I like to be able to see the entire target in my scope – or most of it at close distances. When we have a 25-yard target first thing in the morning, and it is a very dark target, I want to be able to see a lot of the animal in order to “silhouette shoot” the target. What I mean is to be able to reference off of the animal’s back, front leg, etc., to be able to make the best shot I can. This is where individuals run into issues when shooting a really high power lens, or small housing for 3-D.


As for indoor, I want the target face to be the majority of my sight picture. This is something that will be different from archer to archer, in figuring out what they like to see in their sight picture.

LAS: What problems do you have when you go larger than the size you like best?

DH: For outdoor events, such as field archery, OPA or Redding – the latter two are 3-D tournaments that require long-range shooting – a larger diameter scope doesn’t allow me to shoot as far because I run into clearance issues with my vanes hitting the scope at the longer distances.

AW: Lining up my peep becomes more difficult, because there is more to line up with a bigger scope.

LAS: What problems do you encounter when you go smaller than the size you like best?

AW: Dark, dark, dark! Especially indoor, when light is compromised anyway.

DH: I am not able to see as much of the target as I would like in certain situations.

LAS: How does lens magnification play a role in your scope housing selection?

DH: Lens magnification doesn’t really play a role in my scope housing selection, mainly because I shoot a 4-power lens for all types of archery.  However, if you are an archer who shoots different power lenses for different types of archery, then I would say that scope housing size would play a factor. Or if you are an archer who wants to see less or more of the target when aiming, you would need to take lens magnification into play when selecting a scope housing, because if you put a four-power in a 28mm scope and a four-power in a 42mm scope, you have a wider field of view with the 42mm, so you will see more of the target/around the target.

AW: Not hugely. I started using a two-power lens, and in the last three years changed to a four-power, and my scope size didn’t change.

LAS:  If someone wanted to have only one scope housing for all target competition, what do you think would be best?

AW: My personal recommendation based off of what I use is a 29mm scope with a 4-power lens, and dot for target and a fiber for 3-D.

DH: I would recommend a Shrewd 42mm housing with the “stepped” sunshade kit. This would allow you to shoot a 42mm scope to be able to have the light gathering capabilities, while the stepped kit allows you to screw a sunshade on the front side of the scope (closest to your eye) to decrease the perceived size of the scope. An archer could simply get separate stepped sunshades that correspond to the type of archery that they will be shooting.

shrewd shade

The 1-step, 2-step and 3-step sunshades in 42mm from Shrewd.

What to Expect at your first archery tournament

So you’re heading to your first indoor archery tournament? Maybe you’re feeling a little intimidated. Maybe you’re feeling nervous. Maybe you’re feeling like you’re not ready.

Maybe you’re feeling all of these things and more.

Don’t worry. Everyone is anxious in some way the first time they step to the line alongside dozens of other archers to shoot for an official score.

shooting line

But guess what? The archery community is one that welcomes new competitors to the game. It’s likely the people standing on either side of you will offer a tremendous amount of help and support.

But in the interest of helping you be as prepared as possible – both mentally and physically – we asked two experts to share some insights and advice about attending a first archery tournament. Whether you’re a young kid or an adult, take heed to their words.

Our experts are Heather Pfeil, program director and head coach at Lancaster Archery Academy, and Alex Wifler, 2015 Vegas Shoot champion, 2016 LAS Classic Men’s Open Pro champion and member of the USA Archery team.


Heather Pfeil is Lancaster Archery Academy’s program director.


Alex Wifler

In a Q & A format, we’re going to switch back and forth between the two.

LAS: What was the first indoor tournament you entered?

AW: My first tournament was The Presley Shoot, which became the Midwest Open in Bloomington Illinois, at the age of 12.

LAS: How did you get up the nerve to enter it?

AW: It was the excitement to enter the tournament and opportunity to see if I could compete in this new sport that I was embracing. I was more focused on having fun than being nervous.  I knew that I was able to shoot and the experience of being there was not about being nervous. I was just going to try this and focus on having the experience.

LAS: Is there anything I can do to minimize anxiety?

HP: Pack your gear the night before, so you can take your time and make sure you have everything you need.

Arrive an hour early. This will leave you plenty of time to find out where you need to go to check in, where to store your bow, where your lane is and where you can practice. If you are rushing around at the last minute trying to figure all this out, your mind won’t be in the right place when it’s time to shoot.


Arrive early and find your target assignment.

The week before the tournament, practice with uncomfortable music on, and visualize that you are shooting with lots of people around. This will prepare you for being in an unfamiliar environment.

LAS: What, if anything, caught you off guard about that first tournament?

AW: Standing with all of the other archers and meeting the pros.  I was not prepared for the number of people that also loved the sport of archery, and the pros were just normal people that also loved promoting their sport.


Everyone around you at an archery tournament shares your passion.

LAS: What are some things I need to know about the competition?

HP: Know if they have any special equipment rules, and make sure you’re following them. You are going to have to keep score, so know how they do it. Remember your archery etiquette – when to walk up to and off of the line; what to do with your bow in between ends; when to walk down to pull arrows; all of it. Consciously remind yourself what target you are shooting every time you go to the line, so you don’t shoot the wrong one.


Be prepared to keep score.

LAS: What should my goal be?

HP: Something achievable, like have fun. Make it your goal to finish the competition, no matter what happens. Make a new friend. Don’t worry about your score or how you place. You want to come out of this tournament feeling good about yourself.

LAS: What advice would you give a new archer for dealing with nerves on the line?

AW: Breathe and focus on shot execution, not the score.  Tell yourself over and over again that this is fun and that this is what you have trained to do.  Enjoy the moment.


Remember to have fun at your first archery tournament.

Alex Wifler Hangs Out with Lancaster Archery Academy JOAD

Pro archer Alex Wifler, who was the 2016 Lancaster Archery Classic Men’s Open Pro champion and the 2015 Vegas Shoot winner, spent the evening of Oct. 13 hanging with members of the Lancaster Archery Academy JOAD club. Also joining in on the fun were Alex’s parents, Chris and Tim Wifler, who are the owners of All Tyed Up – a company that leads groups in making tie dye shirts.


Alex, 22, talked to the kids for a bit about his career competing with a compound bow first, then switching to Olympic recurve, before switching back to compound for good. He competed in the Men’s Unlimited division at his first Lancaster Archery Classic when he was just 14 years old, missing the cut for the shoot-off by one position. At the time, that’s the class that all the top pros shot in.


At 20 years of age, Alex was the youngest archer ever to win the Men’s Open Pro division at The Vegas Shoot, which is considered to be the most prestigious indoor archery tournament in the world. He has since shot all over the world in World Archery events as a member of the USA Archery team.

As a young person with lots of top-tier archery competition experience, Alex is a great mentor for Lancaster JOAD club members to interact with.

He spent the evening watching kids shoot, offering tips on shooting and mental preparation and sharing lots of laughs with the club members.


Meanwhile, small groups of kids cycled off the shooting line and made tie dye shirts with Alex’s parents. Each kid made his or her own shirt, featuring his or her own design, under the direction of Chris and Tim Wifler.


It was a great night of archery, tie dyes and general camaraderie.

Alex plans to start his indoor competition season in November and work toward defending his LAS Classic title at the 2017 tournament Jan. 27-29.