Your compound bow’s draw weight will determine how powerful and faster your arrow flies (and hits the target). The heavier the draw weight, the higher the energy is transferred to the arrow. Want more (or less) draw weight? Here’s how you can make the necessary adjustments!
How to Change the Draw Weight on a Compound Bow
Adjusting the draw weight on your compound bow is easy if you prep for it. Make sure you know the draw weight that's suitable for you - learn more here. Here are quick and simple steps to consider:
Prep Your Tools
Aside from checking your bow for any visible damage, ready other tools needed for the job.
- Allen Wrench – you’d need this to lessen or tighten the limb bolts of the compound bow.
- A Target – to check the impact of the arrows fired.
- Arrows – when choosing arrows, make sure that they are of the same weight or class. Using different arrows will result to different results (which defeats the purpose of adjusting the draw weight!).
Check and Loosen the Bow Limbs
Now, let us get intimate with your bow. Find and check the points that connect to your bow’s limb. Check for any locking screws or bolts when you do find the limb bolts. These locking bolts are usually located either above the bottom limb or below the above limb of the bow. If your compound bow does have these screws, loosen them.
Additionally, do remember to tighten the locking bolts or screws back once you are done adjusting the draw weight! Otherwise, the bow may disengage when you do use it!
Adjusting the Limb Bolts
Using an Allen wrench, fix the short end of the tool into a limb bolt. Depending on if you want more or less draw weight, follow these motions:
- Clockwise Motion – fix the limb bolts this way if you want to increase the draw weight of your bow to its maximum poundage.
- Counterclockwise Motion – fix the limb bolts this way if you want to decrease the draw weight of your bow to the manufacturer-determined lowest weight setting.
Make sure that whatever adjustments you’ve made to a limb bolt is the same for the other!
Nock to Check
You can now do some tests once your bow’s adjusted. When nocking the compound bow with an arrow, please do make sure that your index finger is facing away from the bow. Once nocked properly into the bow string, carefully aim your bow and arrow towards your prepared target.
Bow String Tension Checks
Once positioned, carefully adjust your fingertips to hook onto the bow string just by the arrow. Draw the bow to test the draw weight. Once you’ve noted down the bow string tension, carefully reset the position back without letting the arrow fly. If you aren’t satisfied with the tension, then repeat the draw weight adjustment process until you get it right.
Once you are comfortable with bow tension, release some arrows and check the difference of each shot.
Ideal Draw Weight Comparison Chart
The built of your body is a big factor to consider when adjusting a bow’s draw weight. Archers are built in all shapes and sizes! Here’s a simple chart to compare recommended draw weight and a shooter’s built and weight.
Archer’s Built and/or Weight
Recommended Draw Weight Value
Small Children (from 45 to 70 lbs.)
10 to 15 lbs.
Children (from 70 to 100 lbs.)
15 to 30 lbs.
Small Frame Women and Children (from 100 to 130 lbs.)
30 to 40 lbs.
Large Frame Women and Children (from 130 to 150 lbs.)
40 to 55 lbs.
Men (from 150 to 180 lbs.)
45 to 65 lbs.
Men (from 150 to 180 lbs.) (Big Game Hunting and 3D Archery Usage)
50 to 70 lbs.
Larger Frame Individuals (190 and up lbs.)
65 to 80 lbs.
The above values are recommended. Other factors do play in determining the best draw weight for you. And we’ll be discussing it more below!
Protips When Making Adjustments on Your Compound Bow
Here are some helpful pointers on how to change the draw weight on a compound bow.
Check Manufacturer Settings
Depending on your gear, some compound bows come with a label stating recommended draw weight settings. Always check the prescribed values and factory-set details. Doing do will help you gauge just how much you can flex your bow’s limbs.
No Compound Bow is the Same
Even if you have two compound bows that have an identical draw weight setting, subtle changes on bow string tension may still be felt. This is because that no bow is the same – it all boils down to the construction and even design details.
The Full Draw Reminder
Always remember that compound bows are designed to only fire when at full draw. If, for any reason, that you cannot pull your compound bow at full draw, then it simply means you may need to reduce its draw weight!
A Quick Alternative to Determine Your Ideal Draw Weight
Here is an easy way to find out the draw weight for you. Holding your compound bow, sit on a high chair and slowly pull the bow string. Make sure you are doing this motion without your feet touching the surface. Also, while pulling back on the bow string, check and identify which point of the string has the most tension. If you feel the bow string resistance is comfortable at full draw, then that means the bow’s draw weight is ideal.
Factor in Muscle Strength
Remember the ideal draw weight chart above? Aside from the recommended value, a good draw weight to adjust your bow to is one that will require approximately 75% of your muscle strength. This is because of two factors:
- Too Much – excess draw weight will make drawing the bow a struggle (worst, you may not even pull it at full draw).
- Too Little – your arrows may not have the speed or power you need (worst, you may not even hit the target!).
The chart detailed above are just recommended values. Draw weight is truly determined on an archer’s skill and strength. Remember to go for a draw weight that you are comfortable with – after all, archery’s a state of mind and you need to clear your mind to make every shot count!
Caution! Avoid these Mistakes When Adjusting a Compound Bow!
And also, we’d like to point out some common mistakes that may happen when adjusting the draw weight of a compound bow.
Careful With the Adjustments
Adjusting the limb bolts too tight will only damage your bow’s limbs! Please do check the bow’s manufacturer details. Certain compound bows can only be adjusted to a certain level before it breaks. Relax and take it easy when turning that Allen wrench!
Leave the Macho Man Ego Behind
What can result when attempting to draw back a bow that has too much draw weight? Don’t attempt it! Aside from the point mentioned earlier that excess draw weight may mean a struggle for you to actually draw the bow, overreaching may also lead to accidents. Not only may you break your bow – you stumbling down is never a good thing. So, keep safe and go for a comfortable draw weight!
Why You Really Need to Consider Draw Weight
A common belief is that more power means better results. This isn’t really the case when it comes to archery. The right draw weight will depend on you yourself. You can only use your bow at a comfortable draw weight level. Why open up yourself to frustration or injury when you couldn’t pull a bow, right?
As such, we’d like to discuss more on why the proper draw weight is essential
The Importance of Draw Weight Adjustments
We’ve mentioned that we are all built differently. And this is also the reason why you need to learn how to adjust your draw weight. As you both grow in skill and age, you’d need to have your gear adjusted accordingly as well.
Let’s say, a few months back, you’ve started out at a draw weight of 50 lbs. Because you’ve learned more and improved your skill, you may now need to adjust your gear to the same level of your archery skill!
Again, it all boils down on how comfortable you are on using your compound bow. The best archers succeed in hitting their target when they have a clear mind. And being comfortable is a step into the successful shooter mindset!
Draw Weight for Target Archery
Draw weight is definitely important for archers competing at a professional level. There are standards set by competitions that will affect the required draw weight that participants need to use. Some of these factors are:
Certain archery organizations have arrow speed limits in place. And this is where choosing the right draw weight factors in.
To keep competition at a fair (and exciting level), some shooting organizations sets the draw weight at 60 lbs.
As such, striking a balance in practicing at a standard draw weight will help you have accurate shots!
Draw Weight for Big Game Hunting
Hunters need to learn how to adjust a compound bow for quick, accurate, and ethical kills. Of course, this doesn’t simply mean you’d need to get the maximum poundage for your bow! Here are some draw weight factors to consider for big game hunting:
Check State Game Regulations
Certain states determine the draw weight required when hunting. You do not want to break the law!
Factor In Kinetic Energy
Let’s quickly put this into the picture. If state game regulations do not have any minimum draw weight restrictions, then factor in kinetic energy for your arrows. Kinetic energy is mainly an archery essential in hunting game. It’s the “wallop” that an arrow produces! Connecting this on draw weight, the recommended value would be at 30 lbs. of kinetic energy (we’ll talk more about kinetic energy on a different article!).
Because You Do Not Want to Break Your Shooting Form
Using a bow with an inappropriate draw weight isn’t good for your shooting stance. You’d either be exerting too much effort or shooting with no energy at all! And shooting with a bad stance is a bad domino effect – you’ll end up missing your shots, breaking your equipment, and potentially injuring yourself. It’s a frustrating mess that defeats the purpose of you getting into archery in the first place!
Because You Want a Compound Bow that Will Grow With You
Part of what makes archery amazing is the gear you are using. And having a compound bow you can rely on makes shooting accurate and fun. Learning how to adjust your preferred gear will help you learn more of its quirks and design features. It’s an essential relationship you’d want to build, for you to be a successful shooter.
Essentially, draw weight adjustments are important in your growth as an archer!
The Right Draw Weight is Crucial in Archery
Learning how to properly adjust the draw weight of a compound bow is part of your journey in being a successful archer. You will learn that power isn’t really the case when making each shot count.
Technically speaking, adjusting the draw weight will bring out the full potential of your compound bow. You’d also prevent your bow from undergoing potential wear and tear from unnecessary bow string and limb tension.
Physically speaking, you’d be able to shoot in a proper and comfortable manner. Comfort truly matters in archery.
Philosophically speaking, the comfort level that the proper draw weight brings will help you clear your mind and make your arrows fly towards the target. Pride is set aside for this one – you don’t need to overcompensate in archery!
Hope you get your draw weight right!
Read more about why draw weight is essential in archery.
Bow releases can help you increase the draw weight you can cope with.
Shooting Time – features a step-by-step guide on how to properly adjust your bow’s draw weight.
BowGrid – discusses several precautions to look out for when changing the draw weight of your bow.
Compound Bow Source – lists down several recommend draw weight values for certain body frames.
Elite Archery – points out how draw weight factors in different archery scenarios.