Compound Bow Selection Guide
To help you choose from the best compound bow reviews above, below is our concise how to guide picking one. Selecting a compound bow has become difficult with time. The change in technology, addition of new bows, innumerable choices and brand wars makes it hard to select the right compound bow for a beginner. We are going to make this selection process easier with the following factors that need to be considered while buying the bow.
1. Different Bows for Different Needs
Requirement: Why do you need the bow? Before getting in the technicalities of a compound bow, you need to know the types of bows available in the market.
Do you need it for hunting or shooting? If it is for hunting, then what is the budget? Each company has their own flagship compound bows, which represent their top tier bow for that year.These are the best in the world – as well as the priciest!
For shooting, or casual archery, or professional shooting, speed is not an important factor. Hunting bows are the fastest while being slightly inaccurate, whereas, the marksmen bows are more balanced, but have slower arrow speeds. Zone out the requirement of the compound bow and then look at the other features in that category.
2. Choose the Compound Bow Draw Weight that Fits You
Draw Weight: This is the most important feature to consider while buying a compound bow. There are heavy draws like 65 lbs., 70 lbs., or even 80 lbs. Not everyone can pull that weight.
The most important factor here is to get something you can comfortably handle. This lets you shoot more accurately. If you are a beginner our just starting our with shooting bows, it becomes even more important to use a draw weight you can control and not something that is too heavy for you. This way you can learn the proper shooting technique and not wrestle with the bow and end up with bad habits. Compound bows need to be shot at the set weight for maximum efficiency.
For hunters, a good draw weight that can bring any alpine creature would be 60lbs. You need to be really strong to pull weights of 70 lbs. or 80 lbs. Compound bows have a great lifespan, so if you are selecting a bow that is uncomfortable to draw weights, it is going to be a bad choice.
For children, this range is between 15 lbs. – 40 lbs. Arrows out of these bows will not pass through a bull’s skull, but children can learn how to handle compound bows with smaller draw weights.
For teenagers or beginners in archery, start with a 50 lb. or 60 lb. draw and move to higher weights once you are comfortable using these weights.
These days, most compound bows have a good range for draw weights. Almost all the bows made by Bowtech, Bear Archery, PSE have ranges between 40# to 70#, 30# to 60#, 50# to 80#, respectively. And by the way, the # sign stands for pounds (lbs.).
3. Get a Bow with the Proper Draw Length
Draw Length: This is the length that the bow string can be pulled. This is important as it varies with the height of a person. A simple way to find your draw length is to measure the arm length or span, and divide it by 2.5. Arm Span (The distance from the tips of middle finger when arms are spread.)
Another tip to finding the right draw length is: Add 0.5 inches (half an inch) to every additional inch you’re taller than 5 ft. to your draw length. For example, the ideal length would be 24’’ for a 5 ft. tall person. For someone 5’1″, it would be 24.5″, and then 25″ for someone who’s 5’2″ tall and so on.
Draw length is very important as shorter draws can lead to highly inaccurate shots. It is advised to never go for shorter draw lengths or even practice with it. Find the right draw length for your height and stick to it. For children and teenagers, gradually change the draw lengths as you grow. There is popular analogy in compound bows that they grow with the archer, which is true, as long as you are getting taller.
4. Consider the Level of Noise and Vibration Produced
Noise and Vibration: All compound bows make a loud ‘twang’ once you fire it. This noise is produced by the tension in the string when released, and is similar to a stretched rubber band that is let go. This noise is inevitable and not much can be done to remove it. But, there are quiet bows and loud ones.
‘Quietness’ can be added with limb dampeners, and noise reduction add-ons. There are also third party bowstrings which significantly reduces the noise in loud compound bows. Much like noise, vibration is another factor to consider while buying compound bows.
Even though some of the top compound bows are ‘bare’ (without dampers and other accessories) they are crafted to have just a small vibration after the shot. An archery glove is recommended to everyone using a compound bow. This glove absorbs the vibration, and gives you a firm grip on the bow.
5. Compound Bow Accessories
Well, these are the most important factors while choosing a compound bow. There are subtleties like Ready-to-shoot packages, archery add-ons like bow sights, stringers, broadheads, dampeners, and others. These are small additions to the overall experience of archery. The more you add, better are the effects, yet, it is not advised to start with add-ons for beginners are it can spoil the learning process.
6. Ready-to-Shoot Packages
Ready-to-shoot packages are great for any beginner as most of them come with a complete archery set. For hunters, and pro shooters, bare compound bows are the best. They can be customized choosing add-ons and arrows from the wide variety in the market. Saying that, here are a few features that are not as essential as those listed earlier in this review, but can be valuable to know before buying a compound bow.
Bow Speed: Not really a factor because anything more than 330 fps (feet per second) can pierce through your prey or a solid piece of wood. Some of the flagship bows are pricier because they have higher speeds.
If you’re concerned about not spending too much on your bow, you can avoid the whole range (flagship models) as the speed differential is not going to be that crucial in hunting or casual shooting.
Speed matters if you hunting for very long range targets. And for birds, and small game, they price isn’t worth the difference in speed. That’s unless cost isn’t an issue for you. Fetching a 420 fps arrow out of some guy on the ground after failing to nail a crow can get messy.
Broadheads: When you get a compound bow, chances are they’ll come with some arrows and field points. These arrow tips are excellent for shooting at targets.
If you’re considering hunting with your bow, you’ll need to get a set of broadheads. The broadhead generally adds drag because of the weight, and is often used on the higher mid-range (those that cost $600 – $750) and flagship bows (mostly price over $750).
That’s because these bows can produce more velocity and power making them efficient in carrying the heavier arrows to their targets. Broadheads come in various size, shape and technology. Some split open on impact, and they are amazing to hunt larger animals.
Don’t shoot them into wood, never shoot them into anything that is not squishy. Losing a $40 broadhead inside a 200 year old tree can be heartbreaking; especially on the first shot!
Compound Bow Accessories and Other Factors
– Buy an archer’s glove: You can buy those classy bare compound bows and use them to perfection with a glove. Hands will get sweaty and that will leave dirt on the handle, so, the glove and your compound bow are inseparable.
– Good arrows: Carbon fiber arrows are more costly, but they have a longer lifespan than glass fiber or aluminum arrows. Unless you are a night elf, don’t use wooden arrows, these types of arrows are really expensive and their life is just longer than a number of good shots (for hunting).
– Budget: Always a factor, but it can be ignored if you are buying a compound bow for long-term use, or you plan on making this an investment. But only do so when you’ve gotten a good hold on the sport and know what you really want.
If you’re just starting out, a cheaper bow works better, since it lets you make your mistakes as you learn as well as understand your preferences when it comes time to ake that bigger investment. Compound bows are beasts that last more than ten years easily, so go for the best mid-range bows in the market ($300 – $550). Also, buy the ones that have a long warranty.