Explaining Bow Draw Weight


Bow draw weight in its essence will determine how much power you can generate from your shot. Before getting into specifics below, the higher the draw weight, the more power you will generate and the more velocity your arrows will experience as a result. It's important to understand the concept of bow weight, where it comes from and the many factors that will affect your end decision or purchase.

The bow weight for a particular model will be derived from the setup and construction of the bow as well as the size of the bow and the materials used. The amount of stiffness or rigidity in a particular compound bow is what will translate into a specific draw weight. There are of course many different models and classes for compound bows, but today the most popular draw weights are between 50# and 70#.
Factors to Remember
  Adjusted Maximum: A bow with a maximum draw weight of 60# can generally be adjusted to shoot and perform with a lower draw weight, in most cases up to a full 10# down. This allows you to alter your setup for specific scenarios or situational changes, or just to fine-tune your bow for your own preferences. However, just because you can adjust down in this fashion it doesn't mean that you necessarily should. Always remember that a bow operating at its full draw weight will perform better and more efficiently than a bow tuned down to have a matching draw weight.

  Arrow Velocity: Generally speaking, higher draw weights produce more velocity. However there is an important asterisk that comes along with that. Compound bows with a heavier draw weight have to use arrows with more grains. The difference between a 300 grain arrow and a 350 grain arrow for a 60# and 70# bow respectively will work to largely offset the added velocity that the higher draw weight produces. That's not to say that it won't be faster at all, but the differences will be negated to a degree. Remember the IBO standards of 5 grains per every pound of draw weight to determine what arrows you should use for safety and control.

  Legal/Moral Standards: Hunting regulations in your area may have a minimum fps that you need to shoot with depending on what target you'll be hunting. It's a legal requirement based often enough on moral standards, ensuring effective and complete hits and strikes. Reaching a minimum isn't generally a problem, even with a lighter draw weight today. However, as the game you are targeting increases in size, you will need to increase your draw weight. For example, a 40# draw weight should be sufficient for a whitetail deer, however massive game would require a draw weight of 70# or more.

  Bodyweight and Size: Of course your age, bodyweight, size and strength will in large part determine the draw weight that you will be using. Children under the age of 10 should use a 10# or 15# draw weight, and as they grow and mature that can be increased in increments up to 25# or 35#. A strong, experienced woman can utilize a draw weight up to 40# to 50# or so, while a typical adult male will find that a 50# to 60# draw weight is ideal. Larger men can make use of a 70# draw weight or higher as necessary, and of course taking into consideration the other factors mentioned above.

As you can see there are many different factors at work when it comes to the draw weight of your compound bow. Ultimately, you should first think about your size, strength and experience to determine a baseline that you'd be comfortable with. Then take into account your specific intended usages, any legal regulations in the area and the important considerations of velocity, control and adjustments.

Remember, a higher draw weight will produce more raw power, but sometimes that raw power ends up getting lost in translation in terms of velocity. Also remember that bows operate better at their intended maximum draw weight. Knowing all of this, you should have an easy time making a selection of a compound bow in terms of the desired draw weight you would like it to have.