When firing a bow, there is nothing more important than having a string that is intact and functioning well. Without this, you will find that your shots are way off and the bowstring could break at any point, causing injury to you or damage to the bow.

A good quality bowstring should last for between two and three years, but this will vary depending on a number of factors. Keeping the bowstring well-maintained is key if you want it to last the entire time.

One of the best ways to keep the bowstring healthy is to apply bowstring wax. But there are so many products out there that it can quickly become confusing trying to find the best one. But we have got your covered.

In this article, we are going to be looking at the importance of waxing the bowstring as well as showing you our top picks of the best bowstring wax that money can buy.

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What Is Bowstring Wax?

As you use your bow, the bowstring will become stretched. This is natural and over time, it will cause your bowstring to wear entirely, leaving you in the position of having to have a new one fitted.

However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot improve the life of your bowstring and using a bowstring wax is a very effective way of doing this.

Bowstring wax is a product which can be applied to your bowstring in order to prolong its life. It will take care of the string and help to maintain it for much longer than if you did not use a wax at all.

The wax can be easily applied and good products will quickly soak into the string, allowing you to get on with the more important things, like shooting. It is important to avoid low-quality bow waxes as these have been known to cause damage to the strings and this is the opposite effect to what we are trying to achieve.

A bowstring wax can improve the life of your bowstring drastically. For example, if you were to avoid using a wax at all, you might find yourself changing your bowstring as often as every few months, depending on how often you use it.

When you use a bowstring wax, you will notice that you can probably go for the entire two to three year period without having to replace the string. But this leads people to ask the question; do I really need bowstring wax?

Do You Need Bowstring Wax?

Let’s be honest, omitting to use a bowstring wax is not going to render your equipment useless. However, it is much like anything else that is optional; using it certainly has more advantages than not using it.

One of the things that a lot of people do not realise is that a bowstring wax will not only help to maintain your string but will also improve your shots.

This is because it gives the string greater elasticity which in turn will result in a more accurate shot that hits the target much more consistently. As archers, we don’t need to tell you the importance of that.

However, if you are undecided on whether to use a bowstring wax or not, you might want to take a look at the benefits of doing so. This can help you to make a more informed decision.

  • The wax will keep each strand of the bow closely connected to the next one. This will prevent the strings from fraying which is one of the first signs of wear.
  • The wax will protect the string from moisture which, if allowed to make contact with the string, can significantly reduce its life.
  • The wax will stop the fibres of the bow from rubbing against one another. As you draw the bow, these fibres move and cause friction on one another. Over time, this will cause the bowstring to wear down. But using a wax drastically slows down this process.

How Often Do You Need To Wax A Bowstring?

It might come as a surprise to hear that a lot of archers do not wax their bowstrings as often as they should and this means that you are not getting the most out of the product.

It goes without saying that archery is a sport that puts a lot of pressure on the equipment and as such, your bowstring will be subject to quite a beating.

Using a bowstring wax is one of the most effective ways of ensuring that this pressure does not cause premature damage to the bowstring.

Depending on who you talk to, you might be given different advice about the frequency of waxing your bowstring.

There are some people who would say that it needs to be done after every shooting session, but we think that might be a little excessive. Although, with that in mind, it is a good idea to clean the bowstring off any debris or dirt that may have accumulated during the session as this can also help to protect it.

However, applying wax every few shooting sessions should be more than enough to give your bowstring the best chance at a long life.

The Best Bowstring Wax

There are hundreds of products on the market and you will quickly begin to learn that not all of them are made equal. It is important to look at various factors when choosing your bowstring wax but if you feel as though you don’t want to spend hours trawling the internet, why not take a look at our favorite products?

Our Top Pick – Scorpion Venom Polymeric Bowstring Wax

This wax contains a diverse blend of ingredients and is ideal for anyone who prefers a more traditional bowstring wax. It combines shea, kokum and mango oils that work together to give the bowstring a much longer life.

These ingredients are known to prevent premature aging of the bowstring and will help to optimize its condition.

When applied, the wax will never freeze, even if you are going out in tough conditions or storing the bow in colder climates. Your bowstring will maintain its flexibility effortlessly.

What’s more, this is an odorless product and comes with a handy applicator so that you can care for your bowstring quickly and easily.

If you don’t want to take our word for it, just take a look at the incredible number of people singing the praises of this wax on Amazon!

Best Value Wax – LimbSaver Bow String Conditioner And Protectant

If you want something that is not going to break the bank but will still deliver everything that you would expect from a bowstring wax then this is without a doubt, one of the best products out there.

It provides a sealed coating for the bowstring that is fully weather resistant. This will keep moisture from getting to the string which could serve as a way to damage it. It will also prevent friction.

The wax will also condition the string and this will have a knock-on effect to the longevity of the string. You will notice that your equipment has a much longer life with a few applications of this miracle wax!

This product is fragrance-free and fireproof which is why it is so often favored by police units, the military and other important organizations. If it is good enough for them, then it is good enough for us!

How To Wax Your Bowstring

It goes without saying that there are several important techniques that you must learn as an archer and each of these can go a long way in improving your accuracy and consistency. But did you know that there is a right and wrong way to wax your bowstring?

If you want to get the most out of your bowstring wax, it is important to put it onto the bow correctly.

Before you even go near the wax, you must make sure that you clean your bowstring. There is very little point trying to apply wax to a bowstring that is oily, dirty or otherwise soiled. But one of the major parts of this is ridding the string of the previous coat of wax.

To get the wax off, you can use regular dental floss. Take the floss and wrap it around the top of the string and gradually slide it down.

You will notice how the previous coat of wax slides down the bowstring; it won’t be pleasant, in fact, it will be brown and pretty disgusting. This is why you don’t want it on your string. Alternatively, you can soak the string in a string cleaning solution which can be purchased from your local archery store.

Once this is off, you are ready to start applying a fresh new coat of wax. Some bowstring waxes come with a leather applicator but you would do just as well to apply the product with your fingers.

This is because when using leather, a lot of heat will build up and this could serve as a way to damage the bowstring. When you use your fingers, you will avoid this while still creating just the right amount of heat for the wax to penetrate the string.

Take the wax and warm it up between the fingers before gently applying it to the bowstring. Be careful not to get it on the cables if you are using a compound bow as this can interfere with that aspect of the system.

Once the wax is applied, allow it to soak into the string fully before you start shooting.

It is also worth pointing out that many people make the mistake of using bowstring wax to flatten down any fraying of the string.

Of course, this will work and you will notice that the fraying disappears as if by magic. However, this should never be used as a long-term solution. Replacing your bowstring should be the priority as soon as it begins showing signs of wear.

How To Choose A Bowstring Wax

As we have already mentioned, there are hundreds of bowstring wax products out there all vying for your attention. It can feel as though you are lost in a sea of waxes with no idea which one will do the trick.

Firstly, we should mention that when looking for a bowstring wax, you should only ever use waxes that have been designed for this specific purpose. You should never use beeswax or candle wax as this can be detrimental to the health of your bowstring.

You should also avoid scented bowstrings like the plague. One of the main reasons for this is that if you are hunting game, these prey animals tend to have a very good sense of smell. You could be the most stealthy hunter on the planet and yet your scented bowstring wax could be enough to blow your cover.

That being said, if you are not hunting and simply want to do a bit of target practice, then it really doesn’t matter what type of wax you use. Scented or unscented, your target isn’t likely to grow legs and run in the opposite direction.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the things you will want to consider before choosing a bowstring wax.

Easy To Carry

The chances are that when you are doing archery, it isn’t going to be in your backyard and for this reason, you will need to take all of your equipment with you wherever you go. You are not going to want a product that is bulky and difficult to carry.

Waxes come in all kinds of containers, tins, tubes and even sticks. Which of these you choose will largely depend on your personal preference.

However, you will want to consider the size of the container. There are many waxes that can easily fit into your pocket which is great for when you are out and about.


The last thing that any archer wants is for their bowstring to become saturated with water; this will affect the performance and potentially the life of the bowstring.

Most bowstring waxes will have waterproof printed somewhere on the container but you should test out a variety of waxes to find out which has the best ability when it comes to protecting your bow from water.


It is important to think about cost when buying anything and buying bowstring wax is no exception to the rule.

There are many bowstring waxes and some can be very affordable whereas others might be a little more bank-breaking. That being said, the price doesn’t always determine the quality of the wax.

They say that you get what you pay for and this is true in some instances, but try not to be lured in by a high price, thinking that this will mean a better wax. This is not always the case.


Bowstring waxes will be made from different materials, oils and chemicals and it is crucial that you check out the ingredients before applying the wax to your bowstring. The last thing you want is to realize that the wax will do more harm than good once applied.


The purpose of a bowstring wax is to help improve the life of your bowstring so there is very little point in investing in a wax that doesn’t serve this purpose.

You will need to make sure that the bowstring wax gives you a noticeable effect and will prolong the life of the string.


Not all archers are aware of the importance of bowstring wax. As a general rule, you will need to change your bowstring once every two to three years. However, this could be much more frequent if you are not careful to maintain your bowstring correctly.

One of the best ways of doing this is to apply a bowstring wax as this product has been proven time and time again to improve the life of the bowstring.

However, there are a lot of products out there and choosing the right one isn’t always easy. It is important to make sure that the bowstring wax is waterproof, long-lasting and unscented, particularly if you will be bowhunting as a scented wax could alert your target to your presence.

If you are unsure where to start, why not take a look at our top picks for the best bowstring wax on the market? We are confident that these products will improve the life of your bowstring and keep it operating at its best until it is time to replace it.

A recurve bow is one of the more traditional pieces of archery equipment and closely replicates how these weapons would have looked when they were first invented by our ancestors.

If you prefer to shoot in a more conventional manner then it is likely that you will choose a recurve bow. However, these bows do come in different sizes and it is important that you find the right fit for you.

Not doing so could mean that operating the bow becomes very difficult. In this article, we will be giving you all of the information you will need to effectively choose the right length of recurve bow for you.

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What Size Does My Recurve Bow Need To Be?

There is no hard and fast rule on the size of your recurve bow. However, there are several factors that you should consider.

Of course, your personal preference will play an important role when choosing your recurve bow’s size. But you might also want to think about how easy it will be to move around and how accurate you would like the bow to be.

In the main, a smaller bow will be more easy to maneuver but a larger one will give you improved accuracy.

Take a look at the cable to see the draw length compared to the length of the bow. Later on, we will be looking at how to correctly calculate your draw length and this is crucial in finding the right size recurve bow for you.

Draw Length Length Of Bow
14 – 16 inches 48 inches
17 – 20 inches 54 inches
22 – 24 inches 62 inches
24 – 26 inches 64 – 66 inches
26 – 28 inches 66 – 68 inches
28 – 30 inches 68 – 70 inches
More than 31 inches 70 – 72 inches

As a general rule, archers doing bowhunting may benefit from something smaller, purely because this will be easier to take out hunting. Conversely, those doing target archery could stand to work with something a little larger.

One thing that is important to keep in mind is that you would always be better going for a bow that is slightly longer than one that is too short.

For example if your draw length is just over 28 inches, you would find it a lot easier to use a 68 – 79 inch bow rather than a 66 – 68 inch piece of equipment.

Myths About Recurve Bow Length

You only have to take to the internet to be greeted by thousands of opinions on what is right and wrong when it comes to choosing your recurve bow length.

There are many myths out there related to how to choose the proper length but there are two that particularly stand out and it is important for us to address this.

Firstly, it is said that you can obtain the correct bow length every time using the measurement of your arm span. Is there any truth to this?

Yes, you can measure your arm span and divide this by 2.5 to get your ideal draw length. Although you will still need to test out the bow to make sure that it fits out.

However, it is vital that you take this measurement rather than guessing it; this is where the myth comes in. A lot of people suggest that the arm span is the same as your height; please don’t take this as gospel.

While some people may have an arm span that is equal to their height, there is evidence to show that this is not the norm. Always take your measurements.

Furthermore, some people say that you should choose your recurve bow length based on your age. But if you think about this, you will clearly see that this cannot be used as a go-to guide.

Of course, these are purely guidelines based on the average size of a person at any given age. But consider your clothing.

If you are 14 years old and buy a jacket made for a 14-year-old, does this mean that it will fit every person in the world who is 14 years of age? Certainly not. There are 14-year-olds who are 6’6” and very wide whereas others are 4’0” and slender.

Fitting a bow based on your age should never be done, again, you should always make sure that you are measured.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Recurve Bow Length

Before you can confidently declare the size of the recurve bow that you need, there are five main factors to think about.

Each of these is of equal importance and it is vital that you look at each one in detail. It can help to go to your local archery shop where the professionals can help you to choose something that will work well for you.

Dominant Hand And Eye

We all know which is our dominant hand but unless you need to, there are not many of us that pay attention to our dominant eye.

If you are unsure as to which is your dominant eye, you can approach a keyhole and try to look through. The eye that you instinctively go for is likely your dominant one. You will also notice that when you close your other eye, this one feels more natural.

In most cases, your dominant eye will match up with your dominant hand and it is certainly a good idea to work with the hand on the same side as your dominant eye.

If you do not do this, it can have an effect on your overall accuracy. You will find that if you attempt to use your non-dominant eye, you will tilt your head which can in turn create torque, throwing each shot off.

Draw Length

As we have already discussed, determining your draw length is a matter of a simple equation. Measure your arm span and divide this by 2.5.

This will allow you to find the right range for your draw length although it won’t be down to the number. In order to find your true draw length you must hold the bow and take the measurement between your grip and the nock point. This can be a little tricky to do so it will likely require help from someone else.

When you are shopping for your recurve bow, you will notice that there is a small range on the bow where draw length is concerned. This will give you a minimum and a maximum and you should always try to source a bow that is within your draw length range.

Draw Weight

If you have recently started out with archery, it is vital that you do not go for a large draw weight from the outset. It is much better to start with something lighter that will allow you to practice rather than trying to prove something and ultimately struggling.

The best way to determine a good draw weight is simply to test the bow. You might notice that you are aiming the bow slightly upwards when drawing and this is a clear indicator that it is too heavy for you.

Other signs that the draw weight may be too heavy for you are:

  • Arching the back as you draw
  • Pain after shooting just a few arrows
  • Bad form and stance
  • Inconsistent shots

You might kid yourself into thinking that you could wing it or perhaps get used to the bow but if you are struggling initially then this problem will likely only get worse over time.

Personal Choice

A lot of how you will feel comfortable has to do with whether you like working with the bow or not. If you do not feel comfortable operating it then this will likely have an impact on how you perform with it.

You can look at various aspects of the bow such as how smoothly it operates, the brand and the style. All of these things are important especially if you will be getting a lot of use out of the bow.

However, you should also consider your budget. The last thing you want to do is purchase a bow that is far out of your price range.

That being said, you also want to avoid badly manufactured or cheap recurve bows that simply won’t give you what you would expect. So always try to get the best piece of equipment you can for your budget.

Working With The Archery Shop

When you are looking to find the perfect length recurve bow for your needs, one of the best ways to do this is to head to your local archery shop where an assistant will work with you to help determine the best fit for you.

However, a word of caution, there are some archery shops that just want to make a sale and the ‘technicians’ won’t be bothered whether you find the right bow or not, as long as they are making money. For this reason, it is vital that you know what to look for in a sales man or woman.

An archery expert should be willing to work with you, take all of your measurements and be prepared to order in a bow if needed.

Conversely, someone who is just looking to make a sale will most likely try to convince you that whichever bows they currently have in store will be right for you.

It is important to never give in to these sales tactics as once you get your bow home to realise that it is too short or too long, or potentially overbowed, you will really wish you hadn’t given in.

Storing Your Recurve Bow

You’ve been measured, you have tried a huge selection of draw weights to find the one that is right for you and you have picked out a bow that you find aesthetically pleasing. Now the fun can begin and you can start shooting.

But in between practices, it is vital that you store your recurve bow correctly as this will prevent it from becoming damaged.

One of the biggest mistakes made by newbie archers is that they will stand their bow up, resting on one of the limbs, leaning against a wall. This might look like a comfortable position for your bow but you are putting unnecessary pressure on that limb, which could cause it to weaken.

But before the limb weakens, you would likely notice that the bow stops performing how you would expect it to. This is just one of the reasons why proper storage is critical.

You can buy a hard case for your recurve bow and this is by far the best way to store it. However, if this is not possible, you might opt to hang the bow.

If you are going for this option, you should NEVER hang the bow from its string, this will affect performance, cause the string to stretch and do all kinds of damage.

Instead, hammer two wall pegs into the wall after having measured the bow. You will hang it from the riser but you should ensure that the weight of the bow is evenly spread over the two pegs.

You should also consider removing the string when storing the bow for long periods of time as keeping it on will likely reduce its lifespan. Furthermore, you should never store the bow in humid conditions or extreme temperatures.


It is important that you buy the correct length of recurve bow as this will help you handle the bow better and will ensure that it is right for the way you want to use it.

In the main, you should measure your draw length and use a chart, such as the one we have provided you with to determine the right length of bow.

But this is not the only thing to consider when looking at recurve bows and you should also factor in your draw weight, personal preference and eye dominance among other things.

Dry firing a bow is one of the worst mistakes that can be made in archery, there is both a potential to damage your bow as well as causing injury to yourself. But if you properly understand how a bow works, you will be better able to understand how to prevent a dry fire and the potential problems that might ensue.

In this article, we are going to be looking at dry firing in a little more depth and discovering what you should do if the bow dry fires.

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Why is dry firing a bow bad?

Whilst it may sound something more akin to lighting a fire, the act of dry firing relates more to a bow in archery. Dry firing is when the bow is fired without an arrow nocked in place.

In the main, dry fires are not intentional and are a relatively common accident but that isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be mindful of them. Everywhere you look in the archery world, you will be confronted with warnings about the perils of dry firing your bow, so it stands to reason that it isn’t a good idea.

There have been many archers who have accidentally dry fired their bow and who refuse to admit it; it doesn’t seem a very experienced thing to do, does it? However, it is important to keep in mind that most archers have gone through this mishap and you might almost see it as a learning curve or a rite of passage into the world of archery; you’ve made that crucial mistake, now you’ve learned and are one of us!

You should also keep in mind that whilst admitting that your bow dry fired can be a mistake that leaves you a little red in the face, it’s best to be honest because the likelihood is that you will require a trip to the bow shop. A professional will be able to spot the damage from a dry fired bow a mile off and that would be even more embarrassing. Your warranty will likely cover accidental damage, but if the bow was damaged as a result of the user, you’ll probably have to fork out.

How Does Dry Firing Damage Your Bow?

If you have ever dry fired the bow or been around someone who has, you will be familiar with the unmistakable and often frightening sound that it makes. But not only is it scary to hear and potentially dangerous to the archer and everyone around him or her, but it could also cause some serious damage to your bow.

When you release an arrow from the bow, this arrow takes much of the force of the string being released. However, when an arrow is not nocked in the bowstring, there is nothing to absorb this force; aside from the bow itself. But this piece of equipment is not designed to handle this type of force, therefore, it may become damaged. In fact, there is a 95% chance that you will damage your bow if it is dry fired.

Unfortunately, dry firing your bow is something that will likely happen to all archers at some point during their careers. But what most people are not aware of is that despite a dry fire being classed as releasing the bow without an arrow, the same effect may be realised if you use an arrow that is too light for your equipment.

In the main, there are several things that could happen should you dry fire your bow. These things might be as follows:

  • Splintered limbs
  • Broken bowstring
  • Warped cam tracks
  • Bent cams
  • Broken cable guard

Any type of bow may be damaged by a dry fire; however, compound bows may be more likely to suffer substantial damage compared to recurve bows. This is purely because the compound bow has far more mechanical parts. It is also worth considering that the greater the draw weight, the more damage may be likely to occur.

In some severe cases, you may see that your bow appears to explode. This happens when the bowstring snaps and the limbs are severely damaged; this can be a terrifying experience and it is important to note that there is a potential for bodily harm to you and those around you.

What Can Happen To Me If I Dry Fire A Bow?

As we have mentioned, dry firing your bow can be a threat to your safety and the safety of anyone who is in the vicinity.

When you dry fire your bow, there is a significant chance that pieces of the equipment will fly off in all directions. Since the bow is located so near to your face, there is a very real chance of these pieces flying into your face and causing anything from minor cuts to serious eye irritation and even being knocked out. In some serious events, there have been reports of archers losing their sight owing to the bowstring pinging back into the eye.

If the dry fire provides enough force, anyone who is nearby might also fall victim to these flying pieces of debris.

What Should I Do If I Dry Fire My Bow?

In the event that you dry fire your bow, the first thing that you will feel is a sense of surprise, shock and fear. In some cases, archers will be extremely angry that they have accidentally joined the dry fire club. However, after the initial shock has passed, you will need to address the issue in order to get your bow back to a working condition.

Once the bow has dry fired, your priority will be to check that everyone around you is safe and that nobody has sustained an injury, yourself included.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that you must not use the bow again until it has been checked over by either a professional bow shop person or yourself if you have the relevant knowledge.

In the moments after the dry fire, even if you aren’t a bow expert, you can give the equipment the once over to check for any visible damage. Sadly, if there is any, it will be blindingly obvious. If there is any visible damage, then you will need to have this seen to before you use the bow again. However, even if you cannot pick out any problems at first glance, it is still a wise idea to take the bow to be inspected by a professional who will be able to give it a more detailed examination.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that if there is no visible damage, they can continue using the bow as normal. Whilst a lucky few may find that this is OK, in the main, there is usually micro-damage that can cause the bow to wear over time and end up breaking completely. It is highly unlikely that a dry fire will cause no damage at all.

If there is some small damage that is not immediately noticeable and you continue to shoot the bow, this will, over time cause intense structural damage that will see you having to splash out for another bow further down the line.

Talking To A Professional

You won’t be the first archer to walk into the bow shop hanging his head and having to admit that he dry fired his bow, nor will you be the last. Think of it as a similar situation to when you visit the doctor with an embarrassing problem; he will have seen it all before.

One of the main reasons that you must ensure that you are honest about what happened is so that the person working in the archery shop will be able to assist you correctly. There are specific elements that he or she must look for in a bow that has been dry fired and if they are not aware that this is what has caused the issue, they may not look for the right type of damage. This could then result in something going unnoticed and your bow not being in full working order.

Once the professional archery expert knows what the problem is, they will be able to carefully inspect the bow for specific types of damage. Furthermore, they will put the bow onto a bow press and take it apart to give it a thorough inspection.

You might also use this as an opportunity to ask any questions that have been eating away at you about archery or your equipment as well as giving it any updates that may be needed. You might think that checking the bow yourself is enough, but going to the archery shop will allow you to fire safely in the knowledge that your bow is safe and functional.

How To Check Your Own Bow

If for any reason you are unable to attend your local archery shop then it is possible to look over the equipment for yourself. However, it is vital that you are 100% confident in your knowledge. For this reason, we have put together this step by step guide that will allow you to inspect the bow as thoroughly and in as much detail as a professional.

  • Make sure that wherever you plan to inspect the bow, the light is adequate; you want to be able to see all parts of the equipment clearly.
  • Check the limbs for any signs of damage; using a magnifying glass is a good way to make sure that you don’t miss any minor scratches or breaks. Another excellent way to do this is by running some cotton wool across the bow; an undamaged bow will not snag the cotton, however if there is damage, some of the cotton may get left behind.
  • Any damage needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. To prevent anything further, you should remove the bowstring as this will take off some of the pressure from the limbs.
  • Next, take a look at the string – are there any signs of damage such as fraying? If this is the case, the string should be removed. If it is not and it snaps, this could further damage the rest of your equipment.
  • You must ensure that you inspect all parts of the bow, take your time so that you do not miss anything. Signs you might look out for could include: fraying, wobbling, splintering, snapping, cracking, loosening and anything else that should not be present.
  • You should also take the time to draw the bow and check whether it is making any odd noises. These vibrations or ‘off’ sounds could indicate unseen damage that should be looked at by a professional.
  • If you feel confident that there is no damage, you should try the bow by firing a few arrows. One of the things that may be affected is your sight as a dry fire could knock this out of alignment. Another thing to look for is whether your arrows are firing in a straight line, having them veer off when you would normally hit the target every time could indicate that there is a problem.

How To Avoid Dry Firing Your Bow

Dry firing is an accidental event, for the most part; it is highly unlikely that any sensible archer would dry fire ‘just to see what happens.’ In reality, however, it is something that will happen to the best of us, especially if you have been practising archery for a long time.

That being said, there are several things that you can do to make sure that it happens as little as possible.

When you first start with archery, dry firing could be a very real potential but this is why it is important for those that are new to the practice to take advice from people who are more experienced. Listen to your teacher (if you have one) and do plenty of research, including reading articles like this one. One of the most important things to learn is how to correctly nock your arrow; there is a special technique for this and it is worth taking the time to commit it to memory.

Never let anyone else handle your bow unless they are properly trained to do so. A bow and arrow could be a tempting novelty for people who don’t usually see this type of equipment and many archers have heard ‘Can I just have one shot?’ from an eager friend or family member. But those who are not trained in its use could cause a dry fire. If you cannot resist the temptation to let them have a go, be sure to fully explain the risks before handing over your equipment.

Avoid using arrows that are too light. This may not produce a dry fire, as such, since there will be an arrow present in the bow. However, it can cause a reaction that is very similar to a dry fire and potentially cause just as much damage. When you purchase your bow, there will be a section in the user manual about the type of arrows that should be used and you can also obtain this information from your local archery shop.

Periodically check the nocks on your arrows to ensure that they are not damaged in any way nor have them come loose. For the most part, they are unlikely to loosen if you only practice target archery. However, for those that do bowhunting, there is a very real risk of the nocks coming loose when hitting a particularly rigid target. Therefore, it is a good idea to check the arrows every time you go out.

Don’t be tempted to use your bow to work out. Many people will exercise their shoulder muscles by drawing their bow and there is good reason for this. The shoulders get a great work out during archery sessions but it is never a good idea to use the bow for this reason when an arrow is not nocked.

Never fire your bow without an arrow being nocked. If you draw the bow, there is sometimes a potential for the arrow to fire prematurely if you accidently let go too soon. However, this is far preferable than drawing the bow with an unnocked arrow and causing a potentially incredible amount of damage or injury.


There are some genuine risks in archery, one of the first things that springs to mind is being injured by a rogue arrow but something that poses a significant threat is a dry fire.

The dry fire is when you fire the bow without having first nocked an arrow. Not only is this potentially dangerous for your bow, which may become damaged, but it also carries serious risks of injury to yourself and anyone standing near you.

If you do dry fire, and it happens to all archers accidentally from time to time, you must make sure that you inspect the bow carefully or preferably take it to a professional for a once over. It is vital that you do not use the bow until it has been checked.

Furthermore, you should try to prevent a dry fire by preventing inexperienced users from firing the bow, never drawing without an arrow and checking your equipment regularly. This will prevent unwanted dry fires from happening and giving you the shock of your life!

Many modern archers use a compound bow. These bows have not been around for anywhere near as long as the more conventional recurve or longbows but even so, they are hugely popular.

But if you have ever tried a compound bow, you will have noticed that there is more than one string; in theory. What you are actually seeing is the bowstring and a set of cables.

A lot of people who are new to archery find it difficult to understand why there are three strings, or a string and a cable on a compound bow. In short, it is because they operate in a different way to more traditional types of bow.

In this article, we are going to look a little more closely at the workings of the compound bow  and why it is designed the way that it is.

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What Is A Compound Bow?

Traditional types of bow typically have a bowstring attached to the limbs; this simple design goes back thousands of years but in the 1960s, a new type of bow, the compound was invented.

Drawing a bow is known to take quite a lot of strength and holding that draw weight as you aim at your target can be extremely demanding.

A compound bow works on a system of cams and cables which, at full draw, take a significant amount of the draw weight, making it much easier on the archer.

When you look at a compound bow, it is not difficult to see that this piece of equipment is vastly different to the types of bows you are used to seeing in movies like Lord of the Rings or Robin Hood. One of the key differences is the extra strings.

However, it is important to keep in mind that these are not strings in the same sense as your bowstring, but are cables which help to draw the bow.

How Do Compound Bows Work?

Before we get into the details of the mechanics of the compound bow, let’s put it in as simple terms as possible.

Compound bows work on a system of cables and cams that place a force on the limbs as you draw the bow.

But of course, it only takes a quick glance at a compound bow to see that there is a lot more intricacy to the process. For those who have only ever seen a traditional bow, these modern pieces of equipment could look extremely complex, but they are easier to use and are often favored by new archers.

On the limbs of the compound bow, you will see cams, these are wheels that work in conjunction with the cables; which some people may mistake for being additional bowstrings.

When drawn, these cams are able to store energy in the limbs of the bow. You will often be told about the let off of your compound bow and this refers to how much energy is stored when you pull the bow back.

For instance, if you purchase a 50lb bow with a let off of 50%, you would only need to take 25lbs of the draw weight and the rest would be stored in the cam system.

Types Of Cams

Now that we have established that these extra two bowstrings are in fact cables that attach to a cam system in order to draw the bow, it is essential that we understand the various types of cams.

Firstly, there are single cam bows which have a longer bowstring and two cables. You will find a single cam located on the bottom limb of the bow and an idle wheel at the top. Your bowstring is connected in a loop around this wheel and also to the cam at the bottom.

On this design, there is also a buss cable which is used to load the limbs, giving the impression that there are three bowstrings.

Alternatively, you can get a dual cam bow, in this case, there would appear to be three bowstrings, but two of these are cables. Unlike the single cam bow, this design features a cam on both the top and bottom limb, with cables attached to each.

This is a more common design but it is important to have the bow perfectly in sync as the two cames must line up and move in unison.

For this reason, these bows have what is known as a control cable which runs between the two cams and allows them to move at the same speed as one another.

Does This Make Them Faster?

One of the critical things in archery is speed, along with accuracy and consistency, of course. Many people would assume that because of the way a compound bow is made, it would be more effective than a more conventional design.

A lot of it is down to the skill of the archer, but there is a lot of suggestion that a compound bow can fire arrows at much greater speeds than a recurve or longbow. In fact, in some cases, it has been noted that compound bows can fire up to twice as quickly as traditional models, owing to the mechanical advantage.


When you look at a compound bow, it looks like a complex piece of equipment and those who are new to archery might be surprised by the apparent presence of three bowstrings. Surely, that’s not right?

Well no, it wouldn’t be right for a bow to have three strings but compound bows do not have this feature. What you are looking at are actually cables which form part of a cam and cable system that allows these types of bows to take a portion of the draw weight.

Deers are not small animals. If you are hunting them, you are going to need to make sure that you have the right equipment to effectively take them down. If you don’t, you will likely only injure the deer. Not only does this mean that you won’t get your kill, but it is also incredibly inhumane.

To be a successful archer, you need to think about several factors when it comes to deer hunting. But one of the most important is the draw weight of your bow. If this isn’t heavy enough, there isn’t going to be enough force to propel your arrow powerfully enough to kill the deer.

In this article, we are going to be exploring what the minimum draw weight for deer should be as well as giving you some handy tips.

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What Is Draw Weight?

The draw weight of a bow refers to the weight of pulling the bowstring back to full draw. You might sometimes hear this being called poundage, but they are one of the same thing.

If you are drawing a bow with a poundage of 50lbs, this would be akin to picking up an object weighing 50lbs. For this reason, the weight of a bow that you could handle may be vastly different from the weight of a bow that I could handle.

Everyone has different levels of strength and so it is vital that you choose a draw weight that you are comfortable able to manage draw after draw. But we will look at this in a little more detail later on.

There are many things that would impact the draw weight of a bow. But one of the biggest influencing factors is how stiff the limbs are. The more flexible the bow’s limbs, the lower the draw weight. This is because, as you draw the bow, flexible limbs will move more easily, meaning that there is less resistance.

If you are planning to go out and hunt deer, you will need a minimum draw weight; but what happens if this is too heavy for you? If this is the case, you are not alone. But the good news is that by using a compound bow, you will typically be able to shoot something with a much greater draw weight.

The reason for this is all down to the fact that these bows have what is known as let off.

What About Let Off?

Let off is a feature of all compound bows. The compound bow is a relatively new invention, having only been properly designed in the 1960s. Rather than being a simple pull-back design like more conventional bows, compound bows work a system of cams and strings.

This design has a huge advantage for archers since it will hold a lot of the draw weight so that you don’t have to.

The let off of a compound bow is usually given as a percentage. For example, if you are using a compound bow with a draw weight of 50lbs and a let off of 50%, the bow would take 25lbs of the weight. This means that you would only need to handle the remaining 25lbs.

Why Does Choosing The Right Draw Weight Matter?

When you buy a bow, one of the first things that any good archery shop assistant will do is talk to you about the draw weight. This is important for several reasons.

Primarily, as an archer, you need to be able to handle your equipment comfortably. If you are using a bow with a draw weight that is too high, you won’t be able to use the bow as effectively.

While you might feel comfortable drawing the bow once in an archery shop, things can feel vastly different when you’re out in the field. What a lot of people don’t realize is that many archery injuries stem from the archer using a bow that is too big for them.

There’s no shame in admitting when the draw weight is too heavy. Not only will this make the whole archery experience a lot easier for you, but it will also mean that you can take a much more accurate shot.

One of the main things to keep in mind when hunting deer is that you want to hit the deer in the vitals to take it down as quickly as possible. If you struggle with the weight of your bow, you might misfire, hit another part of the deer, and merely injure it. This isn’t good.

There is a common misconception among new archers that using a higher draw weight will increase the speed of the arrow. Yes, a higher draw weight will cause the arrow to fly faster; but only if you can handle it.

Shooting a bow with a higher draw weight than you can handle may increase the speed, but with your accuracy out, this won’t make a difference to the end result. You’ll get a much more precise and successful shot by lowering the draw weight.

Furthermore, you should keep in mind that many bowhunters choose heavier arrows. These do not have anywhere near as much speed as lighter arrows yet still make an effective kill. The skill of taking down a deer doesn’t lie as much in the draw weight itself, but rather your ability to handle it.

Can I Kill A Deer With A Low Draw Weight?

If you have had to take a considerably lower draw weight than you expected, you may be concerned that you won’t be able to hunt deer with as much success as you would have liked.

One thing that you should keep in mind is that while draw weight will influence the success of a kill, this isn’t the only factor that will.

When you are shooting a bow with a lower poundage, there are other things that you must consider. The higher draw weights will allow for deeper penetration of the arrow and will do a good job at hitting the vitals. However, lower draw weights can achieve just as much success provided that you hit the animal in just the right place.

Before you start shooting with a lower weight bow, make sure that you keep the following things in the front of your mind.


When shooting further away from a target, the arrow has to cover a greater distance. However, when you are closer, not only will the arrow lose less speed thanks to being closer, but it will also be easier to aim for your target. This is simply because the deer will appear much bigger than if you were further away.

For this reason, if you are shooting a lower poundage bow, we would advise getting as close to your target as possible.

Weight Of The Arrow

As we discussed earlier, many bowhunters will use a heavier arrow for better penetration. If you are using a bow with a smaller draw weight, a heavier arrow can complement your setup well.

Placement Of The Shot

There is potentially nothing more important than getting your shot in exactly the right place. If you want a successful kill, you must hit the deer in its vital organs. This means the heart and lungs.

Regardless of your bow’s draw weight, hitting the deer anywhere other than this will not cause a significant blood trail to kill it quickly. The only thing that you will likely achieve is maiming the animal. Yes, it may die over time, but this is not humane nor will you be going home with your prize.

Choose The Right Broadhead

Broadheads are one of the most effective types of arrows for bowhunting and are used by most archers hunting deer.

If you want to make sure that your lower poundage bow will still yield as good results as an 80lb bow, then you must choose the right broadhead. Fixed-blade broadheads are one of the best options.

Laws On The Minimum Draw Weight For Deer

There are regulations that archers need to adhere to when bowhunting. However, depending on your location, these may vary.

In the USA, the typical minimum draw weight for deer is 40lbs although there are some states where this is different. The only way to determine this is to check with your state before hunting.

40lbs is typically the lowest weight that you could use to effectively kill a deer. That being said, there are skilled archers that could shoot a 35lbs bow and still be successful. The lowest legal draw weights in the USA are in Pennsylvania and South Dakota who both require a minimum of 30lbs.

Conversely, in North Dakota, hunters are required to have a bow with a poundage of at least 50lbs for hunting deer. If you live in Wisconsin, you will need to have a minimum draw weight of 100lbs! It isn’t difficult to see how much variation there is depending on your locality.

That being said, there are some states that do not have any regulations that stipulate a minimum or maximum draw weight for deer hunting. These states include;

  • New York
  • Mississippi.
  • Kentucky
  • Kansas
  • Arizona
  • Alaska
  • Georgia
  • Michigan
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Iowa
  • West Virginia
  • Virginia
  • South Carolina
  • California
  • Missouri

You should also consider that there is a maximum draw weight in many locations around the USA. The highest maximum is 200lbs and this is permitted in the state of Pennsylvania. So, while they also have the lowest draw weight restriction, they are also the most versatile state.

One of the most common questions is whether a bow as low as 20lbs could take down a deer. Unfortunately, the truth is that when you begin to get down into these very low weight categories, the bow wouldn’t have the power to propel the arrow effectively enough to kill a deer.

Aside from hunting deer, there are other legal minimum draw weights if you want to hunt other animals.

  • When hunting moose, the draw weight should be no less than 65lbs
  • When hunting antelope, the draw weight should be no lower than 40 – 65lbs but this will depend on the size of the animal.
  • When hunting bears, the draw weight should be no less than 40 – 65lbs but again, this will depend on the size of the animal.
  • When hunting elk, the draw weight should be no lower than 40lbs

How Do I Determine My Draw Weight?

We have talked about the importance of finding the correct draw weight and we must reiterate this point. Having a draw weight that is too high will only end in disaster. If you want to effectively and efficiently kill deer, you must find the proper poundage.

When you first go shopping for a bow, you should be given the option to try out different draw weights. The professional in the archery shop will offer you a selection of bows to try out.

However, a mistake that many people make is trying out a bow in the archery shop and finding it easy to draw then immediately committing to that bow.

Imagine that you have a 70lbs weight on the floor in front of you. Lifting it once may not require too much effort. However, if you then have to lift it over and over again, you might quickly become fatigued.

The same is true for a bow. This means that you should try the bow several times to ensure that you can handle the weight.

One of the best things to do is to try to hold the bow at full draw for at least thirty seconds. If you can manage this without shaking or feeling strained, then you can feel confident that the bow will be suitable.

Alternatively, you could attempt to draw the bow thirty times in a row. If you are able to do this, then the bow should work well for you. However, if you notice that you become tired before the thirty draws have been completed, you will need a lower poundage.

On a compound bow, the weight can be altered. But it is important to keep in mind that this is only within around a 10lb range. For example, if you have a 60lb bow, you might be able to adjust the weight between 50lbs and 60lbs. You certainly wouldn’t be able to change it to anything significantly different.

Altering your draw weight is simply a matter of making the limbs either tighter or looser. This is done by turning the limb bolts and as a general rule, turning the bolt once will alter the weight by around 2lbs.


Hunting deer requires just the right setup, especially if you intend on being successful. And we would guess that most archers want success!

One of the things that you should consider when hunting deer is the bow’s draw weight. This is the amount of force required to pull the bow back and in most places, there is a legal limit of the minimum draw weight for deer.

Across the United States, the average minimum is anywhere between 30 and 50lbs although this will vary by state. Before hunting, we would always advise checking the state laws.

It is also imperative that you select a draw weight that is comfortable for you. Failing to do this could mean that your shots are not as accurate and you don’t make a kill as easily.

When people think about sports that provide a wealth of physical benefits, it is not often that they would imagine archery; boxing, running, weightlifting and soccer, perhaps, but certainly not archery.

But whilst archery is viewed by the masses as something of a tame sport, those who take part regularly will know that this is actually far more physically demanding than people give it credit for.

But what are the physical benefits to be obtained from archery? In this article, we are going to find out.

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Mind And Body United

One of the first things that any archer will tell you is that before you even begin to think about the physical benefits of archery, there is the mindful side of it.

There is no denying that this is a sport which requires the utmost focus and attention. It is, therefore, excellent for anyone who wishes to improve their concentration. Furthermore, if you move away from competitive archery and head out into nature, you will notice the meditative benefits of being in such a tranquil environment.

But your body will be working hard too.

The Physical Benefits Of Archery

As we have mentioned, anyone unfamiliar with archery could be forgiven for thinking that it wasn’t an over tasking experience, but they couldn’t be further from the truth.

Let’s explore the many physical and health benefits that can be obtained from taking part in archery.


The power required to draw the bow successfully is far greater than people may first imagine, and there are many muscle groups involved in this. You might think that most of the work is done by the arms when, in fact, your core, back and shoulders all play an essential role in getting the bow to full draw.

For this reason, many archers have awe-inspiring core strength and excellently strong rotator cuffs and arms.

If you are looking for something that will help you to improve your strength levels, then archery should be a consideration.


Improving your coordination can have a direct impact on many areas of your life – think about it, we must have good coordination for a variety of everyday tasks such as driving.

Not only that but the concentration and coordination that is involved in every shot is an essential part of becoming an expert archer.

A lot of this is related to muscle memory and those who have been shooting an arrow for some time will notice that their coordination is improved so much that getting a shot spot on becomes almost second nature.

Burn Calories

At first glance, archery may not seem like a sport that would rival other Olympic sports in terms of how many calories are burned. So you might be surprised to learn that this sport is closer in calorie-burning power to the marathon than it is to a long jump.

But these calories are not only burned through the activity itself but rather the immense amount of walking that is done in a tournament. It is thought that archers may walk as many as eight kilometres in a single tournament.

Mental Benefits

As we have briefly mentioned, the mind gets an incredible workout during archery, but it is essential to take a closer look at this.

One of the key takeaways from this sport is patience. In this modern-day and age, we are all in such a hurry to achieve anything, but these achievements are often short-lived since real accomplishment and precision requires incredible patience. You will develop this patience by taking part in this sport, and this will be carried over into your everyday life. The more patient you feel, the more satisfied you will be in general.

Furthermore, it is widely accepted that archery can vastly improve your self-confidence, and this is something that a lot of people lack in modern society. As you meet and exceed your goals or stand out in a tournament, you will feel a great sense of achievement, and this will boost your confidence. There is nothing quite as powerful as seeing what you are capable of achieving.


When we think of becoming more flexible, it might be easy to assume that jumping onto a yoga mat would be the most beneficial exercise but what many people don’t realise is that archery can rival practices like yoga where flexibility is concerned. At least, for the upper body.

The hands, fingers and arms will benefit the most from this aspect of the sport, and much like other advantages, you will see this carrying over into other areas of your life.


There is no denying that there are incredibly sad amounts of loneliness in the world, and this can result in some serious mental health problems. One of the best ways to defeat social isolation is to engage in group activities, and with so many archery clubs out there, more and more people see the benefits of this.

Archery tournaments are known to be very inclusive, and those new to the sport can often be seen competing against old hands. For this reason, it is effortless to bond with others and develop lasting friendships with people who have a common interest with yourself.


When we think of sports that offer substantial physical benefits, we don’t often think of archery. Still, this wonderful hobby can offer a more diverse range of advantages than most other sports put together.

Whether you are looking to improve your physical strength and fitness, meet others, like minded people or develop your mental skills, archery has a place for you.

It is hardly surprising that a lot of people turn to the sport to access a range of benefits that you would struggle to find elsewhere – so why not give it a go?

If your bowstring is not fully intact and working correctly, this can have an effect on your shot and that is the last thing you will want if you want to remain consistently on target.

People who have not been practicing archery for a long time may be unfamiliar with the signs that their bowstring is beginning to wear. For this reason, it is important to learn how to check your bowstring and replace it when the time is right.

In this article, we will be looking at some of the most common signs that your bowstring is bad and needs to be changed.

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Why Do You Need To Monitor Your Bowstrings?

Every time you draw your bow, there is tension and pressure on the bowstring. Fortunately, these are relatively durable components of a bow and don’t need to be replaced all too frequently, however, you do need to keep your eye on the string to make sure that it is not damaged, frayed or otherwise not perfect.

That’s right, perfect. There is no use in trying to use a bowstring that is anything less. Archery is a sport based on accuracy and consistency and without a functioning bowstring, neither of these things can be achieved.

What’s more, you may notice that you lose poundage when attempting to shoot with inferior bow strings. Replacing your bowstrings is not an expensive venture and should always be done as soon as you notice that it is time.

Some might compare shooting a bow with bad strings to driving a car with bald tyres; you would never do it.

When Do You Replace A Bowstring?

You might think that because your bow gets some heavy use that the bowstring will need to be replaced quite often. But this is not true.

In the main, the bowstring will only need replacing every two to three years and this is even the case if you are shooting every day.

The only time that it would need to be replaced more frequently than this is if there are signs of damage. In this case, address the problem as soon as possible.

You can take your bow to be restrung at your local archery shop or, if you are able, you can do the work yourself. At most, you can expect to pay around $150 for the strings and fitting, so it won’t break the bank.

Signs That Your Bowstring Needs Replacing

The first time that you need new bowstrings, you may not associate the problems you are having with worn equipment. A lot of new archers may find themselves searching the internet for articles like this to find out why their aim is suddenly off or their arrow groups are not consistent.

The best thing you can do is to educate yourself on the signs that your bowstring needs to be replaced and keep your eye on this, inspecting your bow after each use.

Age And Use

The first thing you should consider is how old the bowstring is. There may not be any signs of wear or damage, but if the bowstring has been in use for some time, age may have had an effect.

Much like any other type of equipment, your bowstring won’t last forever. So if you have had the same one for more than two years, you should schedule a replacement regardless of how good the condition appears to be.

Broken Bowstring

In days gone by, bowstrings would have been made from natural fibres but in today’s archery industry, they are made from durable synthetic material. But whilst this is strong, it can be broken.

If you are using a compound bow, you will notice that there is a main string and some connector strings. If any of these break, they will need to be replaced; you will not be able to use the bow with a broken string.

Server Separation

The serving of the bowstring is a thread that is tied around the synthetic material of the amin string. On a compound bow, you will notice that wherever a string makes contact with a roller guard, string stop or cam, there will be a server.

These servers should be tightly wound and neat however, they won’t last forever. Over time, you may notice that the server begins to separate and this is a clear sign that your bowstring needs to be replaced.

The String Is Dry

You will likely be familiar with the concept of waxing your bowstring, this is probably something that was discussed at the archery shop when you purchased your bow. In order to work to its best, your bowstring must have a slightly waxy texture.

If you notice that your bowstring has begun to dry out, this could be one of the first signs that it is on its way out.

To begin with, you would get away with applying a little extra wax, this would smooth down any fibres that were starting to lift.

However, this is a short-term solution to the problem. Eventually, the strings would begin to fray so it is best to replace them now before it gets any worse.

The String Is Stretched

Of course, a bowstring needs to be stretchy, a stiff string would be useless when trying to draw the bow, but you don’t want the string to stretch too much.

As you continue using the bow, energy is absorbed into the string and this causes a degree of overstretching. If you carry on using the string at this point, you will notice that your accuracy is adversely affected.

You might be tempted to believe that if you haven’t used your bow for some time, stretching would be impossible. But this is not true. Bowstrings can also stretch if they have been left unused for some time, particularly if they were stored in extreme temperatures.

The String Is Frayed

One of the most common problems faced by archers where their bowstrings are concerned is that the string can become frayed. You will notice that the fibres of the string begin to unwind and there is popular belief that a bit of string wax will fix the problem.

However, whilst this may make the bowstring look better, it will not solve the issue of fraying. It can be tempting to shoot just a few more arrows with a frayed string, but we would recommend sorting out a replacement quickly.

If you continue to use a bowstring that is frayed, you run the risk of it snapping entirely, and this could happen in the middle of a shot. If the sting were to snap at full draw, you stand to be seriously injured; it simply is not worth the risk.

General Bow Maintenance

Taking care of your bowstring as well as the bow itself will mean that you get a lot of use out of your equipment. This is a complex piece of kit that cannot merely be brought and ignored. It is important that you pay special attention to the maintenance of your bow.

Let’s take a look at some quick tips for keeping your bow working to its best.

  • Regularly check your bow for damage. Cracks in the body or damage to any of the components could signal that your bow needs repairing.
  • Make sure that all strings and screws are tight. If any are coming loose, you should address this issue immediately.
  • When you are not using your bow, be sure to store it in a hard protective case.
  • Also, when you are storing your bow, be sure to keep it in a dry environment where the temperature is moderate and stable.
  • Take your bow to your local archery shop at least once a year to be serviced. The technician will be able to diagnose any issues and give your bow the once over to make sure it is in good working order.
  • If you have any accidents with your bow such as a dry fire or your bow is dropped, you should take it to be looked at by a professional. Even if the bow doesn’t look damaged, there may be something that you don’t pick up on.


Bowstrings are surprisingly durable and while some people may think that they need to be replaced a lot, every two to three years will be sufficient.

But if you are new to archery, you may not be familiar with the signs that your bowstring has come to the end of its life. It is essential that you are aware of what might happen to your bowstring when it is bad and these handy tips will help you understand your equipment better.

If you notice any of the things we have talked about in this article, it is important that you take your bow to an archery shop to be a replacement string. This will make sure that your accuracy and consistency are not affected.

One of the essential parts of bow maintenance is stringing the bow, and while this can be done by a professional at a bow shop, it is a good idea to have the knowledge in case you ever need to do it yourself.

A longbow is very different from other types of bow, so it is vital to know the intricate details of stringing this type of bow. In this article, we are going to be looking at how to string a longbow as well as giving you some handy tips to get it just right.

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What Is A Longbow?

A longbow is a traditional type of bow that has been around for the best part of a thousand years, having been invented in 1100 in Wales. This type of equipment was typically used in wars and for hunting and today is one of the most favored types of bow for archers.

Unlike other bows, a longbow is much larger and can often be the same height as the archer, but this often makes it a lot easier to use.

Furthermore, longbows have far fewer components and are simply made from one piece of wood and the bowstring. Knowing how to attach and replace this string is one of the most crucial parts of owning a longbow.

Using A Bow Stringer

You will often be told that in order to string a longbow, you must have a bow stringer. Let’s clear this up; it is not necessary for you to use a bow stringer as there are other methods for stringing your longbow. But it will make the process a lot easier. So let’s take a look at how to use a bow stringer.

A bow stringer can be used with most longbows, but you will need to check this first as some are designed for use with only recurve bows. Once you have established that the bow stringer is suitable, you can attach it to the bow.

While this may sound like a complex piece of equipment, it is actually much simpler than you would first imagine. A bow stringer is a robust piece of cord that fits over the limb tips of the longbow. Once it is in place, you will stand on the loose cord, and this will allow the limbs to be flexed while you attach the new string.

It is commonly accepted that using a bow stringer is the safest way of stringing a longbow. But there are other ways you can do this.

Stringing A Longbow Without A Bow Stringer

If you do not have a bow stringer, don’t fret, you can still restring your longbow, but you might need to use a little patience and give yourself plenty of time to do this, especially on the first few tries.

The best thing to do is to purchase strings that have been pre-looped; this means that they will come with a top and bottom loop already in place and will save you the hassle of having to do this step yourself.

Before you start the stringing process, it is a good idea to take a look over your equipment to make sure that it is in good working order. The last thing you want is a broken or damaged bow, so be sure to look for cracks in the wood and frays in the string. This may be an additional step, but it is worth it to make sure that your bow will work to the best of its ability.

The next thing that you will need to do is loop the string around the bow; in other words, install it. Take a look at the following steps;

  • First of all, you will need to take the top loop of the string and slide it over the nock and down onto the limb. Of course, this will need to be repeated with the bottom loop as well.
  • Choose either your right or left leg, whichever feels most natural and comfortable, and step over the bow to secure it at the same time as holding the top of the bow with your right hand. Remember to hold the top of the bowstring with the left hand. It is also essential to choose which leg you will use carefully because you will need to feel comfortable. If you start trying to use the opposite leg, you will likely get caught in the string.
  • When you are ready to hook the bottom of the bow, you can do this by sliding it in using the outer part of the foot that is not wrapped around the bow foot.
  • Now you will need to bend the bow slightly, be gentle, and take your time. As you do this, you will notice that there comes a point where the top loop can be placed at the top of the nock.
  • Again, taking your time, slowly draw the bow back to its original state and gradually increase the pull length until the bow is entirely upright.
  • Finally, you will need to check the pressure of the string.

How Long Should my Bowstring Be?

The type of bow that you use will depend on how long the string will need to be, and since all bows differ, it is important to take some measurements. Where the longbow is concerned, you will need to measure the length of the bow and use a string that is three inches longer than this.


A longbow is one of the most traditional archery equipment types, which is a significant attraction for many modern archers. However, it is vital that you know how to take care of your equipment, and one of the first things you should learn is how to string your longbow.

It will take a little bit of practice and a good deal of patience, but you can either use a bow stringer for the easiest method or do it without.

One of the greatest aims of any archer, either professional or hobby, is to be able to shoot groups with greater accuracy and ease. But this isn’t something that comes without tireless practice and a good handle on your equipment.

So, how do you shoot better groups with a bow and are there any special techniques that you can use to stay on top of your game?

In short, the answer to that question is most definitely yes, and in this article, we are going to be looking at just how to accomplish better group shots.

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What Is Shooting Better Groups With A Bow?

Archery is full of jargon that may sound a little confusing, especially if you are new to the sport. However, it can be quickly learned, so before we get started on looking at how to shoot better groups, we must be sure that we understand what this means.

Grouping refers to many arrows being shot from the same archer at the same time. There are two types of groups; loose and tight. A loose grouping is where the arrows are not released from the bow in close proximity to one another. In contrast, a tight grouping is made up of arrows that were very close or tightly fired together.

Of course, if you are able to shoot a tight grouping, this will prove your ability where accuracy and precision are concerned; two things that are vital in archery.

How To Shoot Better

Now that we understand what we are aiming for and why it is time to start exploring ways in which we can improve our groups and some of these ways are surprisingly simple and easy to implement.

Get The Right Fit

There is not one bow that works for everyone; you might imagine this piece of equipment in a similar way to a set of golf clubs – every golfer needs something personal to them. Your bow is exactly the same, and if you do not have the right fit, this could translate to poor shots and negatively affect your precision and accuracy.

A professional will be able to fit you for a suitable bow, and many things will be taken into consideration, most notably, the draw length. If this is out by even the smallest amount, it can drastically impact your shot. Besides, your draw weight might be off, and this can also have terrible results on your precision.

When you are being fitted for a bow, the professional will be able to offer you invaluable advice that can help you ensure that your aim and shot is always spot on.

Get A Professional To Give Your Bow The Once Over

It’s all well and good trying to maintain your bow at home, but without a bow press, there are some things that cannot be done as accurately. Taking your bow to a professional will allow them to give it the once over and make sure that everything is in full working order.

The first thing that you should ask is that the professional put the bow into a bow press and look at the cams; these should be tight. Failure to do this might mean that when firing, your arrows shoot off in various directions.

After this, it is essential to have the overall integrity of the bow checked because even the most minute changes in the position of certain features such as the arrow rest could yield disastrous results when trying to shoot a group.

Arrow Spines

There are different levels of flexibility when it comes to arrow spines, and what works well with one type of shot will not be as beneficial for another. This is why it is crucial to be sure that you are using the right kind of arrow for a tight group shot.

You will notice that each arrow has a spine rating and this refers to how stiff the arrow is a higher number means that the arrow is relatively flexible whereas numbers that are lower on the scale represent a stiff arrow.

You will want to use a stiffer arrow for group shots for many reasons but most importantly, because this will give you a straighter shot despite the high poundage of the bow.

Form A Habit

One of the most unique things about archery is that while a certain degree of skill is required, muscle memory plays a vital role in achieving specific shots like groups.

If you want to develop your skills and learn how to fire a perfect and tight group shot every time, then practice makes perfect.

You want to form a habit that becomes second nature, and this can only be done through repeatedly shooting the bow. To begin with, you shouldn’t worry about the accuracy or hitting a target but rather focus on the draw and your stance (more on that, later) giving you a great form. This practice must be done every day for at least half an hour and you will need to continue this for at least three weeks to see results.

You will notice that over time, the process becomes almost automatic and you won’t need to think much about it at all.

Correct Your Stance

If there is anything that can affect the aim and accuracy of your arrows, it is your stance, yet so many archers are still not standing properly when firing their bow. You may have been taught a specific way, but quite often, this won’t be correct.

One thing that you must remember is that while you are holding the bow in your hands, your entire body is responsible for how it reacts and the smallest inconsistency or movement can throw your shot off dramatically.

You want to maintain an open stance, and this is beneficial in two ways. Primarily, this type of stance was developed for bowhunting since it prevents having to do too much movement and therefore, scaring the target. Secondly, this stance will prevent the string from brushing against your clothing. Many people are not aware of the fact that should the bowstring even lightly touch anything on your person; the accuracy could be significantly affected.

To stand correctly, you should consider the following steps.

  • Face your target at around 45º.
  • Your toes should point towards the target, many new archers will point them at 90º, but this is not effective and should be avoided.
  • The feet should be parallel and set between 18 and 24 inches apart.

While you are practising getting your stance right, it can help to mark out the floor and keep working on committing the stance to your muscle memory. Furthermore, you want to ensure that your stance is consistent, it may seem like a small detail. Still, any professional archer will tell you that the base for each shot must be consistent if you want to achieve consistent accuracy and tighter group shots.

Don’t Move When The Arrow Is Released.

Another of the most common mistakes made by those new to archery is that as soon as the arrow is fired, they will tilt their head or move it to one side. Again, this may seem like a small detail, but it is undoubtedly an important one.

Fortunately, this doesn’t require vast amounts of practice to rectify, and after leaving your head in place until the arrow hits its target a few times, it will soon become automatic. This is one of the most exciting things about archery; you will find yourself becoming one with the bow and treating it as an extension of your body, allowing yourself to develop incredible automatic responses.

Improve Your Equipment

You have probably heard the saying ‘a bad workman always blames his tools’ and this could be relevant in archery.

If your aim is off and you are struggling to release tighter groupings, then it might not necessarily be something that you are doing, but rather the fault of your equipment.

Every new bow that you buy will come with a stabiliser, but for the most part, the standard ones are cheap and highly ineffective. Upgrading this could be the thing that sees your groupings go from loose to incredibly tight.

Your stabiliser is a small but very relevant part of the bow and serves to prevent the bow from rattling and shaking as you aim. If this happened, your shot can be way off and replacing the stabiliser with one that is more effective might be the solution to your problems.

Elbow Position

Do you remember that earlier we said that every part of your body affects your aim? Even something as unassuming as the position of your elbow could throw you off and cause devastatingly inaccurate groupings.

When using a bow, you should make sure that the crease of the elbow is pointing upwards, this will allow you to move the arm horizontally across the body. This position can take some getting used to, but you must take the time to do this.

Not only will incorrect elbow positioning affect the accuracy of your groups, but it can also cause some physical harm to you. If your elbow is not in the right position, the bow may slice across your arm as it is released and this can be very painful as well as leaving marks.

Anchor And Hook

This may sound like something that is more closely related to sailing, but your hook and anchor can drastically affect how your arrows fly.

Your anchor refers to the position at which the string rests on your face, whereas the hook relates to how you hold the bow. It is worth marking the bow so that you hold it in a consistent manner every time, therefore, improving your hook.

In addition to this, you must make sure that your anchor is correct and this can be done by working with an instructor. However, in the main, the anchor point will be just under the mouth or at the bottom of the chin. You might compare the importance of the anchor with an anchor that is used on a boat; holding it in place and therefore, improving your accuracy.


Tight groupings are important in archery, and improving your accuracy is the best way to achieve consistently tight groups. However, many archers make several mistakes that can have a negative impact on the precision of their shot.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to improve this, including ensuring a correct stance, updating your equipment and spending a lot of time practising.


Being able to maintain your archery equipment is an essential part of this activity – whether you do it for hunting or sport. There are lots of things you need to consider, and one of these is how to install a peep sight – whilst this is not an essential component of the bow by any means, it is certainly a helpful one.

In this article, we will be looking at how you can successfully install a peep sight without a bow press and why doing so could be incredibly advantageous.

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What Is A Peep Sight?

A peep sight is sometimes referred to as merely a peep, and this is used to help you with your aim. It can be attached to the bowstring on either a curve or compound bow and will allow you to ‘peep’ through to your target.

The addition of this aid is excellent for ensuring that your line of sight between you, the bow and the target is precise. In turn, you will have a far clearer idea of where your arrow will end up.

How To Install A Peep Sight

Installing a peep sight without a bow press is entirely possible, but you must follow a specific set of instructions to ensure that the process is completed correctly.

First Steps

Before you begin, there are some things you should keep in mind, the first being that you will need to seat the bowstrings. You can do this by launching a series of arrows; you should aim to launch around twenty, but if you can do more then this will make the strings even more stretched and seated, which is what we are aiming for here. Omitting this step will result in the peep sight twisting when you install it, and this can prove disastrous.

Once this step is complete, you can then decide where you would like to install the peep sight.

You will need another person to help you with this part as getting it spot on is essential. Get into a comfortable position and bring the bow to full draw – do this with your eyes closed and when you are properly anchored, open the eye that you would typically use. Wherever you find yourself looking will be where the peep sight needs to be installed. Your aide can then mark this spot in preparation.

Installing The Peep Sight

Since we will not be using a bow press for this installation, you must find other tools to help with the job. One such tool that is indispensable for this operation is a bow splitter.

There are several excellent bow splitters on the market, and you can easily pick on up from either a local supplier or an online store. However, if you do not want to do this, you may use something that you already have such as a piece of plastic – if you are going to do this, you must make sure that:

  • The plastic is not sharp around the edges and will not damage the strings.
  • The piece of plastic is wide enough to keep the strings apart and for the peep sight to fit through.

You are now ready to split the strings, and this should be done at the top centre of the bow, where your mark is. Working in this area will help you to make sure that the peep sight will not twist as you draw the bow later on.

You should also be mindful not to damage the strings when you split them; you do not want to separate the fibres – only the strings. Before splitting, make sure that the D loop is straight out and then divide the strings so that they are equal on both sides of your bow splitter or piece of plastic. Once you are satisfied that they are indeed equal, you can twist the tool to 90º to keep them apart whilst you insert the peep sight. With the device twisted, you should be confronted with a long diamond shape where the peep will fit.

It is also essential to check that this diamond shape is in line with the D loop, it may be frustrating to find that it isn’t since this will mean you will have to split the strings again. However, it is better to get it right now than to have to make adjustments later down the line.

As you insert the peep sight, you will twist the bow splitter allowing the strings to fall into line with the grooves of the peep. Take your time doing this and be sure that the angle of the peep is correct. It may surprise you to learn that the peep won’t be straight and will sit at an angle – this is because of the way that the strings fit into its grooves and is normal.

When it comes to using the peep, the draw of the bow will twist it into a straighter position for you to be able to look through.

Checking The Sight

Once you have installed the peep sight, you must check that it is in the correct position and you can do this by testing the bow at full draw. This would be an essential step even if you marked the area, to begin with.

If it has moved slightly off, you can employ the help of your friend once again who can gently slide the peep up and down while you hold the bow in full draw.


Many people might take their bow to a bow shop to have a peep sight installed by a professional who uses a bow press, but it is possible to do this without this piece of equipment.

You can install your peep at home by marking out the area and using a bow splitter, saving you both time and money.