LONG DRAW SHOOTERS:
SHORT DRAW SHOOTERS:
COMFORT RULES: There are several factors to consider here, beyond just brute strength. First and foremost, we strongly recommend that you choose a draw weight that is COMFORTABLE for you and suitable for your particular purpose. Particularly for the purposes of recreational archery, a bow with too much draw weight will simply make you less successful and the sport less enjoyable. A good rule-of-thumb is to choose a draw weight that requires about 75% of your "maximum" strength. If your bow is too heavy to draw back, and you can only shoot a few times before you're fatigued, then you'll be reluctant to practice and improve your game. But you also want your bow to shoot with as much speed and power as possible, so you shouldn't choose too little weight either. Again, the right balance between comfort and performance will probably be at your "75%" mark.
HAIL THE MACHO MAN: We bowhunters tend to be tough-guys - and some of us just can't resist choosing heavyweight bows. Unfortunately, a heavyweight bow choice usually turns out to be a mistake. Even if you can beat-up the neighbor and you just finished your P90X DVD set, that doesn't mean you possess the back and upper-body strength to comfortably manage an 80# Insanity CPX or Freak-Max. Unless you've been shooting hundreds upon hundreds of arrows per week, and have been specifically training-up to a heavyweight bow ... don't do it. It will likely just ruin your experience.
YEAH! BUT I WANT MORE SPEED: Actually, more draw weight won't make a significant speed difference beyond 60 lb. peak. Since industry standards require at least 5 grains of arrow mass per pound of draw weight, a 60# peak bow only requires a 300 grain (5 x 60) arrow. A 70# peak bow requires a 350 grain (5 x 70) arrow, and an 80# peak bow requires a 400 grain (5 x 80) arrow. So although the heavier bow will generate more KE at the target, the increased arrow mass requirements tend to offset the potential speed gains of shooting more draw weight.
DANGEROUS GAME: With all that said, there may be some specific applications where heavyweight bows really are called for (African Elephant, Black Rhino, Cape Buffalo, Nile Crocodile, etc.). Of course, if you're going to hunt THOSE animals with a bow, you really should be a Macho Man. The point is, for the vast majority of North American bowhunting and recreational archery applications, a heavyweight bow is completely unnecessary (commonly referred to as being "over-bowed"). Unless you have a really good reason to shoot a heavyweight bow - beyond just a barbed-wire tattoo and some intimidating facial hair - we strongly suggest you stick with the common draw weights.
DON'T GO TOO SOFT EITHER: Not to sound hypocritical, but you may not want to choose an excessively light draw weight either (being "under-bowed"). Heavier draw weights will undoubtedly yield better kinetic energy (penetration) and quicker arrow velocities with less parabolic arc in flight (up to a point - depending on proportional arrow mass). More importantly, some states require a compound bow to meet certain draw weight minimums (usually around 40#) in order to hunt large game like Whitetail Deer. Check with your state's governing agencies, and always observe the rules and regulations for legally harvesting game in your state.
PUMP SOME BOW: If you still don't feel good about your level of bowhunting buff-ness, don't worry. The "archery muscles" used to draw a bow are primarily large muscle groups in your upper back (the same muscles you use to row a boat or pull-start a lawn mower). Most people don't specifically work to exercise these muscles. So you will probably find that once you do put them to work, your "archery muscles" will gain strength quickly and drawing your bow will become easier over time. Fortunately, most bows come with at least 10 lbs. of draw weight adjustment. So if you are a new shooter, you may wish to begin with your bow set at a lower draw weight - and gradually "crank-up" the draw weight as you become more conditioned.
Here are some general guidelines for choosing an appropriate draw weight. Of course, each individual is different. You should apply your common sense here and interpret this chart with due respect to your own age, general physical condition, and Body Mass Index (BMI).
|Very Small Child (55-70 lbs.)||10-15 lbs.|
|Small Child (70-100 lbs.)||15-25 lbs.|
|Larger Child (100-130 lbs.)||25-35 lbs.|
|Small Frame Women (100-130 lbs.)||25-35 lbs.|
|Medium Frame Women (130-160 lbs.)||30-40 lbs.|
|Athletic Older Child (Boys 130-150 lbs.)||40-50 lbs.|
|Small Frame Men (120-150 lbs.)||45-55 lbs.|
|Large Frame Women (160+ lbs.)||45-55 lbs.|
|Medium Frame Men (150-180 lbs.)||55-65 lbs.|
|Large Frame Men (180+ lbs.)||65-75 lbs.|
Please call 877-410-7811 or email us if you have other questions regarding draw weight or length. We will be glad to assist you in any way we can.
Compound Bow Packages
Sights & Arrow Rests
About Hunter's Friend
Privacy & Security
How to Order
Compound Bow Selection Guide
Bow Sizing Charts
Carbon Arrow University
Traditional Bow Guide