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How to Set the Draw Weight on a Compound Bow

Draw weight on a compound bow is the measurement of resistance that the string provides when the shooter pulls it back prior to a shot. The measurement is based on how much strength is required to pull back or “draw” the string. For example, if your bow has a 50-pound draw weight, it takes 50 pounds of strength to pull it back. This is similar to lifting an item that weighs 50 pounds.

The draw weight of the bow affects the arrow. The higher the number, the more energy is sent into the arrow on its journey. Most compound bows come with a set draw weight, but many archers like to change the draw weight so the highest number possible so the arrow will fly with as much power as possible.

Step by step

Before you undertake the process of trying to adjust the draw weight, it is always best to consult your owner’s manual so you do not damage your bow. You could find that the draw weight is at its maximum, so you could create trouble if you try to increase the draw weight. In most cases though, the draw weight is relatively easy to adjust, but be sure that you have a cocking rope so you can continue to use the bow even if the weight is more than you can manage on your own.

Step One: Prior to making any adjustments, it is important to look closely at the points where the bow and limbs connect. You will want to be sure nothing is damaged. Then, find the limb bolts. Most compound bows will have a locking screw to help with draw weight. Once you find the locking screw, you will need to loosen it to begin the process.

Adjust Compound bow bolts

Adjust Compound bow bolts

Step Two: The next step is to work on the limb bolts. You will need an Allen wrench to do this. Many compound bows will actually come with the necessary size wrenches. In order to adjust the limb bolts, you will need to use the short end of the wrench into the limb bolt. Then, use the Allen wrench to spin the bolt in a clockwise direction. Once it sticks, turn it counterclockwise. You will need to do this on the other limb, too.

Step Three: You continue to spin the bolts until you reach the draw weight that you want. Then, you will need to lock the screws.

Step Four: Once you have the bolts locked, the next step is to test out the draw weight you have created. Put an arrow on the string, nocking it into place. Find your target, aim, draw the bow and see if the weight is what you wanted. If you can handle more weight, adjust the bolts again until you get what you want. Repeat the process until you are satisfied. Be careful as you nock the arrow.

Shoot compound bow after changing draw weight

Shoot compound bow after changing draw weight

Things to Remember

When you are adjusting the draw weight, it is important to limit the counterclockwise turns. Most bows cannot handle more than four or five turns at once. You should be sure to read the owner’s manual or check the manufacturer’s instructions online prior to working with the limb bolts. It is also important to avoid turning the bolts with too much force or too tightly so you do not harm the limbs which are difficult to repair. It is also a good idea to check out local ordinances regarding the draw weight, so you do not get fined if you are caught using a bow with a weight that is too powerful.

Safety Tips

It is important to set the draw weight at about 75 percent of your strength. It you set it too high, you will not be able to shoot the bow effectively. If you set it too low, you will not get the power you want from the bow. It is also a good idea to thoroughly investigate your bow; it might have a label with the maximum draw weight recommended by the manufacturer. You could damage the bow if you set the draw weight too high. It is also a good idea to understand that a draw weight could have a difficult feel from one compound bow to the next, simply because of the structure of the bows. Remember that compound bows should be fired only after the bow is drawn to the maximum. If you cannot get the string to that point, then you should reduce the draw weight to one that you and the bow can safely manage.

Necessary Tools

In order to successfully adjust your compound bow’s draw weight, you will need a few tools. Allen wrenches are necessary for adjusting the bolts. You will also need arrows so you can test the weight. You will also need a target to be sure that the weight is ideal for your shooting practice.

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