Draw Weight and Draw Length
What is Draw Weight? It is the amount of force, measured in pounds, to draw your bow back. So say you have a 70# bow, it will require you to pull a force of 70 pounds in order to draw the bow back. Bows come in different poundage and most can be adjusted down ten pounds from its peak weight. Most manufactures will list what the bow draw weight is on the lower limb of the bow. You will see when you look at different bows that some bows that say they are 70# bows will be more difficult to draw then other 70# bows. This is due to cam design, some performance bows are designed to reach there peak weight quickly and to hold to almost full draw, where other bows are designed to come to peak weight more gradually and the let off smoother. Some guys just can’t help it, but they think they are super strong and want a heavy poundage bow, but when they draw it back they are turning beat red in the face due to straining. When you are going to decide on what weight is good for you, you need to be able draw a bow back comfortably. You shouldn’t be pointing the bow up at the sky, or trying to jerk it back. If you get a bow the is too heavy for you, you will not practice as often because it will wear you out quick, and it makes shooting the bow less enjoyable. Another problem that arises when you have a bow that is too heavy for you, is that after you have sit there in the freezing weather all morning long, and that buck of a lifetime comes walking out and is standing broadside at 20 yards, and you go to draw your bow you will find that those stiff cold muscles won’t get that bow drawn back, and as you struggle to draw the bow back that buck sees you and then runs off. Now I know most of you are reading this saying whatever, but hey it’s true. Unlike a re-curve or long bow where you hold the same weight at full draw, a compound has let off. So say you draw a 70# bow back and when it hits the wall (full draw) you are only holding 13#, you have a bow with 80% let off. That is one of the advantages a compound bow has over traditional archery is that you can draw on your game and hold it comfortably at full draw for a length of time. Most bows today come adjustable between 65% and 80% let-offs. A quick note on let off and draw weight, some states require that you shoot a compound bow with a certain amount, so you should check with your states laws to see what is allowed before deciding on what weight and let off you want.
Here is a table that shows what the average draw weight is for your size:
|Small Child 50-70 lbs
|Small Child 70-100 lbs.
|Large Child 100-130 lbs.
|Small Woman 100-130 lbs.
|Medium Size Woman 130-160 lbs.
|Large Woman 160 lbs. and up
|Large Child (Boys) 130-150 lbs.
|Small Men 120-150lbs.
|Medium Size Men 150-180 lbs.
|Large Men 180 lbs. and up
Now these are just averages shown here. You should use these to get started with, but every person is built differently, so get the bow that you are comfortable with.
What is Draw Length? According to AMO standards draw Length is the distance from nock point to the throat of the grip plus 1 ¾ “.
Where you can draw a traditional bow back to virtually any length, a compound bow will only draw back a certain distance then it hits the wall. So if a compound bow is set to a draw length of 28” it will only draw to 28”, it can’t be over drawn. That is why when you buy a compound bow it needs to be set to your specific draw length.
How do you figure out what draw length you are? The answer is simple. Stand and have your arms out with your palms facing forward. (relaxed not stretched) Have another person measure from the tip of your middle finger to the tip of the other middle finger. Take the measurement (in inches) and divide it by 2.5, this will give you your draw length.
Don’t be like most people and set your draw length too long. This will result in poor shooting form, inaccuracy, floating anchor point, and yes that painful and I do mean painful string slap on the forearm. Use the formula to figure your draw length, and if in doubt, go a little shorter and you will be more successful with your bow.
Draw Length Guide:
You need to know that the measurements above should be a good estimate of what draw length you should be. The only true way to get your draw length is to draw a bow back and get a length that is comfortable, natural feeling, and gives you a good anchor point while keeping your forearm with a slight bend in it. (Stiff arm means string slap, ouch!!)
An anchor point is a spot located on your head where you will either bring your hand, knuckle, or string to when shooting. If you use a kisser button and set it to come back and touch the corner of your mouth that would be your anchor point, if you draw back and put your top knuckle to the bottom of your ear lobe then that would be your anchor point. What is the importance of an anchor point? When you draw your bow back and say your draw length is to long where you have your hand behind your head you will float and you will not have a consistent shot. With an anchor point you will come back to the same spot every time and release from the same spot every time increasing consistency when shooting groups.
Something else you will need to look for when figuring your draw length is how far away from your eye will the peep sight be located. The proper distance is anywhere from 4-6”. If the peep sight is too far away (due to too short of draw length) the field of view will be restricted. If your peep sight is too close to your eye (due to too long of draw length) you will find that your eyes will want to cross plus a peep to close will give you a large field to look through making precise aiming almost impossible.
Will a string loop change your draw length? The answer is no it will not change you draw length. Remember that your draw length according to AMO standards is the distance from the nock point to 1 ¾” in front of the throat of the grip. Now a string loop might make it seem that it changes your draw length since you will have to draw the string further back. So simply adding a string loop will not change your draw length but it will make you change your anchor point unless you use a kisser button as an anchor point.