One of the reasons compound bows are so popular is that they are extremely efficient and relatively simple to use. They make the art of archery into a less intimidating task to learn and master.
However, compound bows are complex pieces of machinery with many different parts, styles, sizes and other assorted differences. When you’re interested in buying one you have to understand exactly what a compound bow consists of and what would best fit your skill level and other wants.
The limbs of compound bows are stiffer than the limbs of other bows. These stiff limbs make the bow more energy efficient and help add to the increased accuracy of compound bows versus more traditional bows. But the stiffer limbs also cannot be pulled by directly attached strings.
Therefore, compound bows use a cable and pulley system. The strings are attached to the pulleys, which are attached to the cables, which are then attached to the limbs of the bow itself. Pulling the string makes the pulleys turn and pull the cables, which finally bend the limbs of the bow.
The wheels are more commonly known as cams. The many different types of cams consist of some of the more important choices you will have to make when buying your compound bow. Soft cams are the easiest to control and have a very smooth and gentle pull back. This is great for beginners and helps to increase both accuracy and ease of use.
You can also have a single cam versus a double cam. Double cams are also geared more for beginners. They help lower the difficulty of using the bow and add accuracy. However, over the long haul single cams are more durable and less prone to mistakes.
Once you master using a compound bow, the single cam allows for more precise adjustments and more consistency. As you can see, the type of compound bow you purchase greatly depends on your skill level going in.
Of course you also need to make sure you get a bow that’s properly sized. A bow that’s too small won’t allow you to get full extension. In turn, you will lose speed and power. A bow that’s too long again will result in a loss of speed and power as you can’t control the limbs completely.
An easy way to determine the proper draw length that you need is to measure your wingspan. As a rough rule of thumb, your wingspan should be in the range of 2.5 times larger than the draw length itself.
The draw length isn’t the only length you should be concerned about. You also have to ensure that the bow itself is appropriately proportioned to your tastes. Once again, it comes down to your abilities, comfort level and preferences.
Longer bows are more stable, but are also heavier and harder to carry with you. Shorter bows can be harder to control and therefore are better suited to those with a great deal of experience.
Picking the right compound bow comes down to some trial and error. A lot of what makes a great fit is the feel of the bow to you, and that’s something that is different for everybody. Think about your skill level and experience, what you’re using the bow for and find a size that suits you and you’ll be all set.