Choosing The Right Bow


Bow weights at 28" as labeled on bows, is not an indicator of draw limits or recommended draw lengths for the bow. It is simply a standard of measure to compare bows. Bow weight changes at about 5% per inch of draw. The rate of change will be slightly greater on short recurve bows and longbows. When selecting a bow, consider the bow weight you will be holding when you reach full draw.

If you are moving from a compound bow, your draw length is likely to be 1 to 1.5 inches shorter with traditional tackle. Also, remember that although your compound bow may have a 70 pounds peak weight, with a 80% let off you are "holding and shooting" only 14 pounds.  A 60 pound recurve (at 28") will be about 63# when drawn to 29 inches. That would work out to about 4.5 times the weight you’ve been holding with the compound bow.

Try this test: Measure your draw when under the load of the recurve bow. If your draw length is more than 1.5 inches shorter than with your compound bow, it is an indicator of too much bow weight. Try something a little lighter until your natural draw is closer to the 1.5" rule. The average bow weight we sell is 50 to 55# @ 28". But back in the late 1960’s and early 1970's the average the average bow was 48#. Whatever you choose, keep in mind that power without control means nothing. You must be able to control the bow weight to be successful.


Your draw length should be considered when choosing the length of bow. Shorter bows are more maneuverable and longer bows draw smoother and can be held more steady for target purposes.   All bows have a non linear increase in weight as draw length increases. The fact that a bow is too heavy does not mean that it "stacks".  The term "stack" would best describe a bow which is increasing at an excessive rate for the type of bow.  In the case of a recurve bow, you will reach that point as you have used up (uncurled) the recurve. You will likely prefer a bow that is still relatively smooth drawing at your anchor point.

There is no absolute rule for selecting hunting bow length.  If your traditional draw is under 28", their will be no clear advantage in smooth draw using a 62" or longer bow.  Draw lengths over 29" will be better suited to 62" or longer.  Draw lengths of 30" or more will like 64" bows.


Sure, take downs have their place - the utility of compact travel, interchangeable limbs. And arguably because of their heavier physical weight , the TD’s are more stable in your hand. So why choose a one piece?

Well for one thing, in the old days they didn’t have take downs.  In some respect it is more "traditional" to shoot a one piece bow. They are certainly lighter in the hand. You "tote" a TD bow, but one piece recurves and longbows almost float along.  The truth is, one piece bows don’t shoot faster, or draw smoother than a TD. They are just sometimes more fun to carry.

For many people, their first traditional bow should be a takedown version. You can upgrade with different limbs, etc. When you know what you like ( in bow lengths and draw weight) and it’s time to add to your collection , try a one piece. You might find out you like it both ways.