It is possible to adjust the draw weight of your recurve bow. Beginner archers start with a draw weight that matches their weight. As they gain strength and experience, they can slowly increase the draw weight of their bow.
These days, archery has maintained its popularity in the competitive scene. Many people now use the recurve bow in archery because the sport improves patience, focus, and precision.
Modern recurve bows have takedown limbs that allow you to change your limbs’ weight easily. These limbs are removable from the riser, making them convenient for transport. With the takedown limbs, you won’t have any trouble increasing your bow’s draw weight.
- What is a recurve bow?
- What are the essential parts of a recurve bow?
- How do you shoot a recurve bow?
- What’s a good draw weight for a recurve bow?
- What draw weight do Olympic archers use?
- How do you adjust the draw weight on a recurve bow?
- What are the advantages of increasing your bow’s draw weight?
- What are the disadvantages of increasing your bow’s draw weight?
What is a recurve bow?
A recurve bow is the successor and evolved version of the traditional bow. This bow takes its name from its shape. This bow features limbs at the top and bottom, which curve away from the archer.
When you release the arrow from the recurve bow, the unique design of the bow positively contributes to the arrow’s speed and smooth release.
If the recurve bow looks familiar to you, you may have seen it in pictures or videos of the Olympics before. Archery and recurve bows became more popular thanks to this grand sports event, especially because archers could only use the recurve bow for the competition.
What are the essential parts of a recurve bow?
Recurve bows have more than three minor parts, but the whole equipment consists of three main parts: the riser, the limbs, and the bowstring.
The riser is the part you grasp to bring the bow into position. To create the riser, manufacturers use various materials such as wood, metal, aluminum, or carbon.
The riser consists of smaller parts, namely: the handle, shelf, rest, bow sight space, and clicker.
Before buying a recurve bow, you should consider if you are right-handed or left-handed. The handle on the riser should fit your hand like a mold, so choosing a recurve bow specifically for left-handed or right-handed people is essential.
You use the shelf on the riser to put your arrows before drawing them. If you are a competitive or target archer, you can also attach a rest above the shelf. You can also shoot arrows off this elevated rest. Many archers believe that doing so can improve your accuracy.
Many archers, especially those active in the hunting scene, use bow sights to ensure the accuracy of their aim. Fortunately, modern bows have a space on the riser where you can place your bow sight.
The last part of the riser is the clicker. The clicker is a new addition in most modern crossbows, and it is used more often by competitive archers. The clicker helps you know if you have already reached the ideal draw length by making a clicking noise, hence its name.
Furthermore, the limbs of the bow are attached to the riser. They are flexible, allowing you to draw the bowstring a bit further than the traditional bow. Some recurve bows even have removable or takedown limbs so you can change the bow configuration.
Attached to the limbs is the bowstring—the stretchable part of the bow that helps launch the arrow.
How do you shoot a recurve bow?
Before shooting, you should be in the proper stance. Then, prepare for the release by placing the arrow’s nock on the bowstring, raising your bow, drawing the bowstring to your face. Once the aim is accurate, release the arrow.
Before you shoot a recurve bow, you should stand at the appropriate stance to keep your stability, posture, and aim accuracy in check. As a result, you will have a successful draw and release without injuries.
The first stance is the square stance, wherein you place your feet on both sides of the shooting line. Your feet should also be at should be a shoulder-width apart.
Use the open stance if you’re using your recurve bow while standing on uneven ground. To achieve this stance, place your feet at a shoulder-width apart. Next, put your right foot on the shooting line, and then place your left foot a half-step backward and point it slightly to the target.
After ensuring that you have the proper posture, it’s time to start shooting the arrows.
First, place the nock of the arrow on the bowstring, raise your bow, and then draw the bowstring to your face. To avoid any injuries, let the arrow shaft rest on the bow. Do not wrap your finger around it.
When you draw the bowstring and aim at the target, you will be in the shooting form. If your left hand is holding the riser, your left arm should be shoulder height. Raise your right elbow a little bit when you pull the bowstring.
It is more efficient to use your back muscles when you draw the bow while you are in the shooting form. This form keeps you from tiring your arms out quickly.
Once you are in the proper posture, check your aim. When it’s accurate, release the arrow by relaxing the hand holding the bowstring and then moving your hand back slightly to let the bowstring slip out of your fingers.
The release is the most crucial part of archery, so it is essential to do it right. After releasing the arrow, continue to relax your hand and let it hang by your ear. This form is called the follow-through position, and you should maintain this position after the release.
What’s a good draw weight for a recurve bow?
For beginners, the suggested draw weight depends on your weight. The range starts from a draw weight of 10 to 15 pounds for small children weighing 70 to 100 pounds and ends with 45 to 60 pounds draw weight for large-frame men weighing more than 180 pounds.
If you are a beginner in using a recurve bow, it’s best to choose the lower draw weight range to get used to it first. With proper and consistent training, you will gain more strength, and that’s when you are free to increase your draw weight, depending on what you believe you can handle.
You can refer to this table to know the suggested draw weight for beginners:
|Archer’s Weight||Suggested Draw Weight|
|Small Children (70–100 pounds)||10–15 pounds|
|Larger Children (100–130 pounds)||15–25 pounds|
|Small-Frame Female (100–130 pounds)||25–35 pounds|
|Medium-Frame Female (130–160 pounds)||25–35 pounds|
|Small-Frame Male (120–150 pounds)||30–45 pounds|
|Medium-Frame Male (150–180 pounds)||40–55 pounds|
|Large-Frame Females (160+ pounds)||30–45 pounds|
|Large-Frame Men (180+ pounds)||45–60 pounds|
If you plan to increase draw weight to start big game hunting, your draw weight should be at least 40 pounds to effectively hunt large animals like deers or elks. On the other hand, you need a draw weight of at least 30 pounds for small game animals like rabbits or turkey.
Any draw weight less than that minimum will give you fewer chances of a successful hunt because you need to consider the distance from where you will be shooting.
What draw weight do Olympic archers use?
The draw weight that Olympic archers use varies for men and women—men’s bows have an average draw weight of around 48.5 pounds, while women’s bows have an average draw weight of about 33 pounds.
Since the Olympic Games reintroduced archery to the Olympics program in 1972, the committee decided that the archers could only use the recurve bow for the competition.
Aside from being strict with the kind of bow used in the sport, the Olympics committee also has other specifications. The specifications include the bows’ draw weight, equipment, and target specifications.
For men, the average draw weight of the bow is around 48.5 pounds, while it’s about 33 pounds for women.
The specifications for the athlete’s recurve bow include the length limit of the primary stabilizer being 29 to 36 inches, while it’s 12 to 15 inches for the top and bottom stabilizers. The shaft can be of any material as long as it does not exceed 9.3mm in diameter.
The archers should also stand 70 meters from the target. The target has a diameter of 122cm and is set on a 75 to 80-degree incline.
These specifications ensure a fair match for all athletes in the Olympics.
How do you adjust the draw weight on a recurve bow?
When you gain enough experience and strength in archery, you can gradually adjust the draw weight of some recurve bows. If your recurve bow has takedown limbs, you can change them to adjust your bow’s draw weight quickly.
To change the limbs of a takedown bow, unstring the bow and then change the limbs to your desired weight.
If your recurve bow has an International Limb Fitting (ILF) riser or limbs, you can also easily adjust your bow’s draw weight.
ILF is a universal system used by different manufacturers so that you can pair ILF risers with ILF limbs regardless of whether or not you bought each part from other manufacturers.
There may be a slight difference in the measurements, but the main goal of ILF is to make it easier for archers to mix and match risers and limbs from different manufacturers without worrying if the parts will fit like a puzzle or not.
The bow’s tiller bolts are crucial in adjusting the draw weight of recurve bows with ILF risers or limbs. Tighten the bolts to increase the draw weight, and loosen them to decrease the draw weight.
What are the advantages of increasing your bow’s draw weight?
Increasing your bow’s draw weight has many advantages, such as the arrows having more wind resistance and increased penetration. The heavier bow uses more durable materials, and you will get the chance to exercise your upper body muscles.
If you are involved in the hunting or competitive archery scene, having a recurve bow with a higher draw weight allows your arrows to have more wind resistance. When your bow is heavier, your arrows will travel straight and fast even when you release them from a far distance.
If your bow has too little draw weight, your arrows will travel at a slightly downward position, especially when you release them from a far distance.
On the other hand, if your bow has too much draw weight, you will have difficulty drawing the arrow. After you release the arrow, people will also know that your draw weight is more than you can handle because you will be shaking after the draw.
Furthermore, an increased draw weight means that your arrow will penetrate the target more. This advantage is beneficial for hunters.
To hunt successfully, make sure that you hit your target accurately and that your arrow penetrates the animal with enough force. Too much penetration can cause your target to escape injured.
When you increase your draw weight, this would mean that you will be using limbs made of thicker materials, which means it’s more durable. This durability ensures that the limbs, one of the weakest parts of the bow, are less prone to breaking.
Lastly, a heavier draw weight helps you train your muscles. Muscle training and experience don’t stop when you finally increase the draw weight.
Instead, use this opportunity to enhance your upper body strength and focus by constantly shooting arrows using heavy bows.
When you have good upper body strength, you can control how much power you use when you’re shooting arrows. You will also have fewer chances of shaking after each release. Remember, though, that accuracy is more important than power in archery.
What are the disadvantages of increasing your bow’s draw weight?
If you use bows heavier than your limit, you will shake after each shot, resulting in you shooting fewer arrows to allow your body to recover. You also can’t focus on your technique because you’re using too much strength.
An inaccurate aim is the last thing you’ll want in competitions and hunting. Using bows that are heavier than what you can take can also affect the accuracy of your aim. The weight will strain your muscles when you draw your bow, negatively affecting your accuracy.
Although increasing your bow’s draw weight is the goal, always listen to your body, especially if you’re a beginner or into hunting or competitive archery. Only increase the draw weight if you think your body is ready for the upgrade.