How to adjust a compound bow

Draw weight is a measurement of the force required to draw a bow. Bows with higher draw weights generate faster arrow speeds by transferring more energy to the arrow. The result is a flatter trajectory, deeper penetration, and greater likelihood of pass-through shots when bowhunting.

Even so, you don’t need to pull 100 pounds to effectively bowhunt. But if you want more “umph” in each shot, you can easily achieve it by increasing your draw weight.

How to Improve Strength

How to adjust a compound bow

To shoot heavier draw weights, you must strengthen your archery muscles, and that means shooting your bow frequently. Photo Credit: ATA/Lester Photography

To shoot heavier draw weights, you must strengthen your archery muscles, and that means shooting your bow frequently. A convenient way to get that exercise is to shoot a target just a few yards away. This lets you shoot lots of arrows in a short time.

Another way to increase your strength is to repeatedly pull your bow and hold it at full draw. Be careful, however. Accidents can happen, even if you don’t intend to release the bowstring. Therefore, always keep an arrow nocked and pointed toward a target when doing this exercise.

What if you have no place to shoot at home? Use a stretch band or an archery training device like the ACCUBOW to help strengthen your archery muscles. Exercising your core, legs and rotator cuff also benefit your shooting.

Test Your Draw Weight

How to adjust a compound bow

The first test is to slowly pull your bow straight back in one smooth motion. Animals can see movement exceptionally well, so you must draw your bow with as little movement as possible. Photo Credit: ATA/Lester Photography

Just because you can pull a bow to full draw doesn’t mean it’s your best draw weight. Bowhunting involves unique challenges like cold weather, holding at full draw, and shooting in different positions. These factors make drawing and aiming a bow more difficult. That’s why you must test your strength before increasing your draw weight.

The first test is to slowly pull your bow straight back in one smooth motion. Animals can see movement exceptionally well, so you must draw your bow with as little movement as possible.

And while bowhunting, you must sometimes hold at full draw while waiting for a shot opportunity. To test your strength, draw your bow, hold it back for at least 30 seconds, and then make a good shot.

For a final test, draw your bow while seated, kneeling and with your feet in unusual positions. This practice mimics the awkward shooting scenarios you’ll experience while hunting.

How to Increase Your Draw Weight

How to adjust a compound bow

By increasing your draw weight just a few pounds at a time you’ll avoid injury. To adjust the draw weight on a compound bow, take it to an archery shop. Photo Credit: ATA/Lester Photography

To adjust the draw weight on a compound bow, take it to an archery shop. A bow technician will evenly tighten the limb bolts and check the draw weight. One full turn of the limb bolts usually changes its weight about two pounds. By increasing your draw weight just a few pounds at a time you’ll avoid injury. And by consistently training, you’ll hit your shooting weight in no time.

Increasing your draw weight can change your arrow’s tuning, and you’ll likely have to adjust your sight. While you’re at the archery shop, talk to the bow technician about your desired draw weight and buy the arrow spine they suggest.

Most of you know that as rule of the thumb, if you plan on shooting an animal with a bow, it is imperative that you do it as quickly and as humanely as you possibly can for their sake. That can be achieved by effectively sighting in the bow. This skill can also improve the accuracy of shot or aim. So, if you are serious about learning how to hunt using a bow and arrow, then you should first understand how to adjust compound bow sights.

Adjusting compound bow sights can take you anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour, but that entirely depends on your skill set and experience. To shoot a bow as accurately as possible is an impressive skill to have and an amazing hobby that will allow you to get closer to nature. This, however, without a doubt takes a ton of time, hard work, and dedication. Nonetheless, there are a number of methods to adjust the compound bow sights efficiently. To help you out, we will discuss the top-rated method on how to do so.

How to Adjust Compound Bow Sights: A Step-by-Step Guide

The bow sight is basically a mechanical device that is mounted in a bow’s riser and helps archers to make an accurate shot. As mentioned earlier, when a bow is sighted perfectly, there is a tremendous difference in the shot. The steps that we have listed below will help you achieve sighting your bow successfully.


Before you even start the process, you need to make sure that the sight was installed the right way. This means that the sight’s pins are on the same line as the bowstring and the arrow. Likewise, the vertical adjustment should be at zero. In addition, you should also ensure that you are shooting the right kind of arrow and the entire equipment is tuned correctly.


  • Step 1

The first things that you need to do are nock the arrow and then adjust the entire sight housing. It can be adjusted either to the right or the left so that the sight pins get aligned with the arrow and the string. What this will do is that it will adjust the bow’s windage. In this case, you can use a rough approximate. However, it should be as close as possible and should allow for the arrow to aim and hit the target with a level of certainty.

  • Step 2

The next step you need to do is to set the elevation. You can do this by elevating the yardage pin at about one-third of the distance from the right of the top of the sight’s housing. Most likely, this will be the 20-yard pin. This will make sure that there is adequate room for the sight pins which is necessary for longer distances. However, most importantly, this will place the 30 and the 40-yard pins close to the center of the sight housing.

  • Step 3

After which, ascertain that the downrange area is completely clear and position yourself at 20 yards from your target. When you aim at the center of your target, you can release the arrow. The arrow should have quite an impact on the target at this point. If not, then without a doubt, there is something wrong. However, what you need to remember is that it does not matter what part of the target was hit, as long as you hit it with an impact, you should not change the point where you are aiming.

That is because what is more critical is that you need to develop a pattern or a group wherein the shots have an impact on the target. This will tremendously help you in determining how you have to adjust the sight. With that said, repeat this entire step two to three times more. In each round, shoot no more than three arrows, or else you will tire yourself out quite easily which will cause you to make unreliable adjustments.

  • Step 4

Keep shooting until you end up developing a defined group. Also, keep readjusting the sight housing on the basis of your pattern. To give you an example, if all your shots impact the target high and on the right, then you need to adjust the sight housing upwards and towards the right. In this case, when you move the sight housing up, it will lower the point of impact of the arrow by forcing the arm of the bow downwards.

Keep repeating this process until you find that the arrows are only hitting exactly in the center of your target, and once you have achieved the right level of accuracy, completely stop from adjusting the sighting house. From this point onwards, all you will need to adjust are the individual pins.

  • Step 5

Keep practicing in good form and then only continue shooting at about 20 yards. In this process, keep making subtle changes to your 20-yard sight pin on the basis of the grouping of the arrows. Also, avoid doing this in a single shot. It goes without saying that this entire process will take you a while. It may take even more if you are new to it. So, be patient at all times till you end up getting it correct. When you begin to feel like you are more comfortable with how your shots are going, move further to either 30 or 40 yards and repeat the process all over.

Final Words

The method on how to adjust compound bow sights that we have discussed is amongst the simplest and most effective. Nonetheless, your skill set and experience play a significant role in this process.

We would like to emphasize that a bow that is adjusted properly and continued practice are the only ways to ensure that you get a great shot placement. In addition, just like every other shooting sports, using a bow and arrow also needs 100% of your attention to safety measures not just in the field but also on the range. Further, when you move back towards longer distances, do so as gradually as you can until you are aware that the arrow hits the target with an impact.

How to adjust a compound bow

Most archers that use compound bows install sights on their bows so as to increase their accuracy for target hunting and shooting. The popular sight configuration that is very common from one to four adjustable pins that are usually mounted on the riser of the bow.

These pins can be moved up and down or left and right with the individual pin set for a particular distance.

The question is how do you adjust a compound bow sights?

Below is the step-by-step method you can use to adjust compound bow sights.

1st Step

Tease apart the inner collar on the pin so as to adjust the horizontal position of the pins. This will enable their tips to approximately focused on the inside edge of the arrow when it is knocked.

When the outer collar is teased apart, this will let you move the pins up and down in order to make them uniformly distanced from one to another in the bracket.

When the inner and outer collars are tightened up to make them secured. These previous settings allow you more space and this will help move each pin without obscuring other pins because you can make adjustments during the process of the sighting.

2nd Step

Begin at the 20-yard line and shoot three arrows to the target by making use of the top pin. You can sight by placing the pin directly on the middle f the target.

You have nothing to worry about when the arrows are off their mark at this point. The reason for your shooting is for the sake of consistency and preference of the arrows to be in a tight group.

3rd Step

Shift the pin towards the arrow group if you want to adjust the sight. First and foremost, you can begin with the vertical direction as you move the pin-up or down.

For instance, if the arrows hit the target higher than your aiming point, then you need to move the pin-up. But if the arrow hit below the target, you have to move the pin down.

4th Step

Keep on with the shooting process of the three arrows and let your adjustments be in the vertical direction until the arrows hit the middle of the target. They can land to the right or left of the target at this point., but they should be hitting the vertical center prior to your movement to the next step.

5th Step

Now, it is time to shoot another three arrows and move the top pin to the right or left for adjustment in the horizontal direction. If the set of arrows is to the center-left, then move the pinout or to the left. But if the arrows are to the center-right, you need to move the pin in or to the right.

6th Step

In this step, you have to repeat the process of sighting in the vertical direction at 30 yards with the 2 nd highest pin, 40 yards with the 3 rd highest pin, and 50 yards for the bottom pin. At this point, you must only need to make little adjustments in the horizontal direction.

Note that:

  • Ensure that you try all possible best to have constant anchor and release as you sight in the bow. This will give you tight arrow groups. However, if you want to have the best and quality accuracy, your groups must be very close enough for your palm to cover.
  • Make sure you avoid trying to move the arm of your bow to adjust your aim. Let your pin focused on the target and adjust the pin.

Effective sighting in your bow is very crucial for anyone planning on hunting animals. This will help you become more accurate and let you have better-shot placement on animals to put them down quicker.

Shooting a bow accurately is an impressive skill to have and takes time and dedication to be very proficient with a bow but this is full of fun to have and get you outside enjoying Mother Nature at its finest.

My mission is to provide you with the best information on the market pertaining to all things outdoors. My topics cover a variety of different information, some of which we’ve broken down into sections below.

How to adjust a compound bow

Compound bows are designed to be drawn back to a fixed distance, unlike traditional recurves and longbows which can be draw back at almost any distance. The draw length of your bow needs to be set according to your height, allowing for a comfortable draw with optimal power and accuracy. You should always fire a compound bow from a full draw.

Here we’ll be explaining to you how to determine your optimal draw length while taking you through a look at how to adjust draw length of a compound bow to match your bow, strength & height.

Determining the Perfect Draw Length

There is no fixed rule which guarantees the best draw length; instead the perfect draw length is relative to your individual size, height, weight and strength. This being said, there is an extremely reliable calculation which has been used by countless archers over many, many years. The “Arm Span” method serves as a great starting point to begin finding the right draw length for you. The optimal draw length is the length at which you shoot best so be sure to adjust as is necessary from the basic draw determined by the “Arm Span” method.

The Arm Span Method

While other methods such as the “Wingspan” and others exist and work, this technique gives a draw length which is comfortable and optimal for most:

• Determine your arm-span length in inches by standing with your arms outstretched naturally

• Get a friend to measure the length from the tip of one middle finger to the opposing middle finger’s tip

• Divide the length obtained by 2.5 and you have a starting draw length to work with

Adjusting the Draw Length of Your Bow

Find the limb bolts of your bow situated near the center. These bolts are typically locked into the riser using locking bolts, found just below the top limb or a short distance above the top limb. Tightening the bolts (clockwise) will increase the draw weight of your bow while loosening the limb bolts will lower the draw length and weight.

Always use a bow scale to check the draw weight as you adjust your bolts. When lowering the draw length of your bow always start from a fully tightened set of limb bolts and adjust by unscrewing the bolts at one full revolution at a time. Check the weight and adjust as is further necessary.

Draw Weight

Draw weight is the maximum amount of weight that an archer will need to pull while drawing their bow. Compound bows differ from traditional bows in the sense that they reach a peak weight then drop to a holding weight instead of requiring a fixed amount of pull poundage while drawing the bow.

General Guidelines for Draw Weight

If you are put on the spot and don’t quite know what draw weight to use for yourself or a friend, then here is a general reference according to weight which will generally give the best draw. Remember to use this as a guide only, adjusting until shooting your bow is comfortable.

• Small children weighing between 45 to 70 pounds – 10 to 15 pounds draw weight

• Average children weighing between 70 to 100 pounds – 15 to 30 pounds draw weight

• Small-frame women and boys weighing between 100 to 130 pounds – 30 to 40 pounds draw weight

• Large frame women and boys weighing between 130 to 150 pounds – 40 to 55 pounds draw weight

• Men weighing between 150 to 180 pounds – 45 to 65 pounds draw weight

• Men weighing between 150 to 180 pounds setting bow for hunting or 3d archery – 50 to 70 pounds draw weight

• Large frame and muscular men – 65 to 80 pounds draw weight

Compound Bow Adjustment Precautions

Ensure that you never tighten your limb bolts too much. Over-tightening will cause strain to the bowstring or cam making it essential to check the user manual supplied with your bow to find the maximum turns to tighten the limb bolt. Whenever you are done adjusting the draw length of your compound bow, be sure to secure the locking screws in place. Without the screws locked in, the limb can disengage during use posing a great danger to you as the archer and bystanders.

Never Overset Your Draw Length

The longer your draw length, the greater the speed and power of your shot but this does not mean that you should set your bow for too much draw length. Some shooters opt to overset their draw length on purpose but the trade-off giving a loss of comfort and control is not worth it. A draw length which does not suit your height and weight may give a high-speed shot but your accuracy will pale in comparison to a properly configured compound bow.

Establish a Comfortable Draw Length and Weight

Most archers find that the most comfortable draw length and weight requires them to use about 75% of their strength at the most. If your bow is overbowed, it’ll only be a few shots before you are fatigued, bringing your practice to an end. As your back and upper-body strength increases you can always increase your draw lengthy for a faster shot.

Don’t fall into the mistake of using the same draw length across all of your bows as depending on the size, weight and overall composition, each compound bow will have a different draw length and weight which is comfortable.

Find the Right Balance

Some archers prefer a draw length calculation which takes your total arm span length less 15 then divided by two, resulting in your total draw length. This is referred to as the “Wingspan Method.” As you can see, it is essential that your draw length never be longer than is necessary. The longer the fault in length the greater the impact on your accuracy.

The distance of your draw length does not change when you add a string loop but your anchor point will adjust. If you want to retain the same anchor point, make sure that you shorten your draw length accordingly to move your anchor point back to your place of preference.

When you are in the market for a new compound bow, one of the most important decisions to make is your draw length. How do you know what length will be right for you? This informative guide will show how to adjust your compound bow draw length so that it fits your unique body type and shooting style.

How to adjust a compound bow draw length

Your first action should be to measure the length of your draw.You can visit an archery shop or sporting goods store and have a professional do it for you, or you can purchase your own bow draw length measurement tool online or at any sporting goods store. if you are searching for a compound bow, then you should read this article about high buget compound bow.

When measuring your draw length, two measurements need to be taken: the anchor point and the bow arm length.

The anchor point

You will be applying your release at the anchor point on your face .To find it you can either imagine poking a small hole in the corner of your mouth or use a bow release aid. (a bow release aid is a small strap you put around your wrist with a trigger on the end that attaches to the bowstring when it is drawn).

The bow arm length

The bow arm length is the measurement from the back of your wrist to six inches in front of the point where you will be applying for your release. For right-handed shooters, this measurement should begin on the left side of your face. If you are a left-handed shooter, this measurement should begin on the right side of your face.

How do you adjust the draw length?

Simple question, huh? Not so fast. There are things to consider when adjusting your draw length using the static equation.

Static equation: Draw length = 72 inches minus your height in inches divided by 4.5. However, the most accurate way to measure is from the bow arm with your back facing a wall and measuring from the ground up to your middle fingertip with a tape measure held vertically.

Watching this video for more help.

How an adjustable drawn length works:

The adjustable drawn length works well for people whose static equation is incorrect or who need to shoot at a slightly different draw length than the static equation.

Similarly, you do not need an adjustable bow if you can adjust your height and your wardrobe to match your bow’s measurements.

How to Measure your draw length and arrow length.

To find your draw length, sit in a chair with your back against a flat wall and your bare feet flat on the floor. Place an arrow across your lap with the nock on the string and the point touching the wall. Then, starting from a hanging position (with your arms, shoulders, and back muscles relaxed), raise the bow up so that your draw hand touches your cheek

At this point, you should have raised the bow as high as it can go without moving your feet, and you should be able to hold it here for several seconds. Try to reach your draw length in seconds, rounding off to the nearest 0.1 seconds.

What is the ideal draw length?

Your ideal draw length should be the measurement from the middle of your throat (where you aim) to the nock of your arrow. This is when your arm is hanging naturally at your side.

If you are less than 5 feet tall, you should subtract 4″ from your regular draw length. For example, if you are 5′ 4″ tall and want to be at 29″ draw length, you will need to set at 25″ draw length.

How do I choose the right draw length?

It’s ideal to measure your draw length by simply shooting the bow and getting a feel for it – if not, follow the guidelines below.

Bow length is the best indicator of bow draw length. So if you know your bow’s exact physical dimensions, you can simply subtract 10,” and you’ll have a fairly accurate draw length.

Dialing in your draw length

Dialing in the draw length on the first shot is paramount when you shoot a recurve bow. Also, it is one of the most common reasons for missed shots in recurve matches .The arrow’s location in the bow window, the position of your hand on the string, and your hold are all affected by how long you draw.

How to adjust a compound bow draw length FAQs

How do I adjust the draw on my compound bow’s draw length?

To adjust the draw of your compound bow’s length, you have first to decide what your perfect draw length is. You should measure the distance from the ground to the top of your nose and subtract two inches for your ideal draw length.

Can you adjust the draw lengths without a bow press?

Yes, you can adjust the draw lengths without a bow press, but you will need the following items:

  • Some string nocks (for your other bow)
  • An exact knife or scissors
  • Superglue (or any other adhesive that’s strong enough to hold the string in place)
  • A block or saw bench to work on
  • String wax (for your bowstring)

How do you determine your draw length for a compound bow?

To determine the draw length of a compound bow, you must first understand what draw length is and why it’s important to know yours. Moreover, to choose your draw length, measure the distance from the side of your mouth to the inside of your elbow.

How do you adjust the draw length on a vintage compound bow?

To adjust a compound bow’s draw length, you’ll have to know its components. You should be able to identify the cams, cables, and then the limbs. Similarly, how you adjust varies depending on how many cams are on each limb.


Here’s the guideline that can help you determine what draw length works for your body type, shooting accuracy, and style. We hope it has been helpful to have some insight into how important proper bow set up is, so please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments!

Archery is an age-old skill that goes back thousands of years and has a rich history. There are plenty of advances during the last few decades that have inspired the creation and improvement of new styles and designs of compound bows that are able to shoot long distances with amazing accuracy.

Compound bows are basically the pinnacle in terms of balance, design, and technology that gives a shooter this amazing accuracy and long-distance shooting. Because of the precision required to use a bow, it is very important to shoot a bow that is set up to the individual archer and their needs. This will make them much more effective when shooting the bow.

Adjusting the different specifications and mechanical aspects of compound bows is very simple, and can significantly increase your overall accuracy and efficiency. All you may need is a wrench and a little bit of patience to get the exact length and weights that you will need.

Find the Small Bolts on the Bow Limbs

In order to begin, first, you will need to locate the limb bolts that are found in the middle of the compound bow that you are using. The limb bolts are found in the round spacers that attach the bow limbs onto the riser of the bow. The bolts have to be moved in order to change the weight of the bowstring on the bow, also known as the draw weight.

The riser on a compound bow is the middle section of a bow that lies between the top and bottom limbs and holds all of the other bow accessories. Finding each of these components is very important in properly setting and adjusting the draw weight.

Changing the Limb Bolts

Many modern bows use an extra pair of bolts in order ensure that the main limb bolts secure once they are in the correct position. These bolts are usually located on both sides of the regular limb bolts and can usually be done using the same size of Allen wrench that you are using to move the same limb bolts.

The next step is to move the limb bolts depending on your desired weight by either tightening them more or loosening them. By inserting an Allen wrench in the correct bolt, you can turn it clockwise to increase the tension or counterclockwise in order to lose it. Adjusting this tension will adjust each limb on your bow.

One tip is to rotate each bolt one complete rotation and stop after each turn, copying this for the other bolt. Keep track of how many turns you give the bolt, as it is important to match the other bolt as well. One full turn of the bolt on the limb usually gives you about a pound of weight gained or lost. You must have the same tension on each of the bow limbs.

After adjusting the limb bolts, lock them into place and test draw weight by pulling back on the bow. Pull back the bow like you normally would if you were going to be shooting it. If you are happy with the amount of weight then you are done with the process. If you are not happy, keep adjusting the tension on the limb bolts until the bow is at the correct draw weight that fits you.

When adjusting the draw weight on a compound bow, you want to set it to a draw weight that is in line with your skill level and physical strength. You should be able to draw the bow back in one smooth, controlled motion without too much shaking or struggle.

If the draw weight is too difficult or feels like too much weight, the tension is probably set too high and you will want to lower it. A draw weight that is too heavy for you can wear you out much quicker and start to decrease your accuracy.

Adjusting a Bow for Your Needs

If you are just a beginner into the world of archery, you may not know how much draw weight is best for your needs and fitness. To get a good starting point, you can find some of the average draw weights according to other archers of different ages and sex. Children can usually start with weights around 20-30 pounds, while women that weigh less than 170 pounds and teenage boys will usually have draw weights around 30-45 pounds.

Men will have draw weights all over the board depending on their physical stature and comfort level and can see weights anywhere from 45 pounds all the way up to 100 pounds. The average for most men in decent physical shape will be anywhere from 50-70 pounds.

It is important to try out different bows whenever possible. You can then test out different models and draw weights to find which fits you best and what you find the most comfortable. You should be able to draw back a bow for at least ten seconds without straining or losing tension, so you can use this method to find the best draw weight for you.

Another useful method that you can use to find your best draw weight is to sit down on a stool or a chair and try raising your feet off of the ground. You then try to pull back on the bow without losing your balance. The point at which you are able to comfortably pull back your bow without losing balance or straining is considered your ideal draw weight.

Adjust Your Compound Bow as Needed

Compound bows were designed to be able to adjust easily and to fit the person that is shooting it. Do not be afraid of tweaking and playing with the bow you choose until you find exactly what you like and what suits you the best.

While the entire process may seem a little advanced, anyone with the proper tools and a little bit of learning can adjust a compound bow anywhere and at any time. Not only will you end up with a compound bow better suited to your needs, you will have the pride of accomplishment of knowing your equipment better and being able to adjust it yourself.

Draw weight is the necessary force, in pounds, needed to bring the compound bow to full draw. Shooting the proper poundage is very important so that required kinetic energy needed is met without sacrificing proper shooting form.

Before adjusting your poundage, the limbs may be “locked” into their current position by locking bolts. These would be located just below the top limb or above the bottom limb and are screwed into the riser. To adjust the limb bolts, these bolts must be loosened first. After adjustment, they can then once again be tightened.

To adjust the draw weight, we have to unload or load more stress (flex) on the limbs; we do that by tightening or loosening the limb bolts.

To raise draw weight to maximum poundage, tighten the limb bolts (clockwise) until both limbs are tight against the riser.

To lower the draw weight we unscrew the limb bolts equally on each limb (counterclockwise).

Safety Precaution: Be careful that you do not unscrew the limb bolts passed the bow’s lowest weight setting. If the limb bolts are unscrewed too much, the limb bolt’s threads can come out of the riser and cause damage to the bow and injure the mechanic.

Every bow’s limbs have a specific draw weight rating: 50-60, 60-70, 70-80, etc. To check to see if a bow is in “spec” (at its specified manufacturer’s measurements) tighten (clockwise) the limb bolts until the limbs are against the riser. The bow will now be at the maximum poundage and maximum draw weight, ATA measurement, and brace height measurement can be verified.

To raise draw weight

How to adjust a compound bow

Tighten the limb bolts until the limbs are tight to the riser.

To lower draw weight

How to adjust a compound bow

First, raise the drawing weight to its max. Next, unscrew both limb bolts one revolution (360°) and check the poundage on a bow scale. Repeat this process until you reach your desired draw weight. Only attempt to shoot draw weights in the limb’s specified range (50-60 lbs, 60-70 lbs). If they are not marked, max out the draw weight and your lowest draw weight will be 10 lbs lighter in most cases. When using a bow scale, hook the string to the scale’s hook at the nocking point and pull down on your bow’s riser until your bow is at it’s “roll over” spot on the cams and look at the scale for its draw weight. Try not to roll the cam(s) over, but if you do, make sure you keep a good grip when raising the bow back up to take it off the scale… it’ll try to take you for a ride!

How To Find Your Ideal Draw Weight

To find your ideal poundage, sit down on a chair or tailgate of a truck and pull your bow back with your feet off the ground. If you are comfortable with the poundage and can hold full draw comfortably, the poundage is where you need it. If the poundage seems high (it was tough to pull back and hold) lower the draw weight in 2 lb increments until you have found a comfortable draw weight.

Average draw weights

  • Smaller children (45-65 lbs) = 10-20lbs
  • Children (65-95 lbs) = 20-35lbs
  • Women and boys (95-125 lbs) = 35-45 lbs
  • Larger women and boys (125-145 lbs) = 45-55 lbs
  • Men (145-175 lbs) = 55-65 lbs
  • Muscular men = 60-70 lbs
  • Muscular barbarians = 70-100 lbs

Although these are average drawing weights, it is important to shoot what is comfortable for you. Any attempt to draw more weight than you should will result in improper archery form and affect accuracy.

How to adjust a compound bow

Unlike traditional bows, where you can pull the bowstring to practically any distance, draw length in compound bows are fixed. Compound bows are designed to be easier to handle and offer customizations in comparison with traditional bows.

What is an ideal draw length?

Before you get into adjusting the length, the most important lesson is to understand the shoot’s purpose, which is for practice or hunting. Once we decide on the purpose, we can then go ahead and understand an ideal draw length and then further adjust it.

No rule defines a perfect draw length. It depends on individual size, height, weight, and strength. For a comfortable and smooth archery experience, you need to understand and adjust your draw length well. There is no such rule or method that helps you calculate draw length, but The Arm Span Method has been used by archers over many years. The optimal length is the length at which you get the best shoot.

  1. Stand against a wall with your arms stretched out against the wall.
  2. Determine arm span in inches with the help of a friend, measure the length between the tip of your middle finger to your opposite middle fingertip.
  3. Divide the length measure by 2.5, and you have your draw length.

For example, 75 is the length between your arms; subtracting 15 from it will give you 60, and you then divide 60 by 2, which will provide you with 30, your draw length. That’s how to measure draw length!

Why is it essential to adjust draw length?

The answer is simple, to ensure accuracy and stability. If the draw length is short, it will lead to inconsistency between shots. In case of a longer draw length, the archer’s posture will be affected, which will lead to an improper shooting form.

How to adjust the draw length?

Draw Length Specific Cams

Draw length-specific cam bows deliver different lengths. For these cams, the archer can purchase the cam, which is numerically marked, and install it to change the bow’s draw length. The only restriction here is one might not adjust the length on their own; instead, they will require some professional help.

Modular Cams

These cams-specific bows are the most commonly found ones in the market.

The modular cams have specific draw-length modules that an archer can change by using a hexagonal wrench.

What is an ideal draw weight?

Draw weight is the maximum amount of weight that an archer needs to pull while drawing the arrow. It would be best if you matched the draw weight by your upper body strength.

– If the draw weight is heavy, you will lose the aim

– And if the draw weight is light, you compromise speed and velocity.

– Your draw weight also depends on the purpose of the shoot; hunters might want to use a heavier draw weight, whereas, for Archery competition, archers would like to use lesser weight.

Precautions while adjusting the draw length?

– Always keep the bow scale handy to check the draw weight

– When reducing the draw length, always begin with tightened set of limb bolts

– Remember to adjust the tension on the limbs equally

– Do not pull the limb bolt too much; it can break the bowstrings

– Ensure locking screws are safely secured; it will prevent bolts from disengaging

Quick tips and precautions

Each bow is different; practice and assess what works best for you

There cannot be one final draw length, and you might want to keep changing your draw length as you keep learning and keep gaining experience

Assess your adjustments, see how a certain level of tension works for you, then make changes to enhance accuracy and speed

How to adjust a compound bow

Setting up a compound bow to hunt whitetails is more complicated than you might think. A lot of hunters just order a bow, have the local shop do a basic tuneup or, do it themselves if they are capable, and think they are good to go. But you’re honestly leaving performance on the table if you go that route.

To get the most out of your compound bow this deer season, there are a few things you need to consider, from component upgrades to the bow you buy. This won’t be a cheap build, but if you’re fanatical about bowhunting deer, creating the ultimate whitetail bow is well worth the money. Here is how to set up your compound bow for fall.

Shoot a Short Bow

Maneuverability is an important feature, especially for those who spend their time 20 feet up a tree, in a hub-style blind, or a shooting house. For this reason, many whitetail hunters opt for a bow that measures no more than 31 inches between the axles. Yes, this is short, but short means maneuverable, and bow engineers have done a fantastic job at creating shorter bows that feel extremely balanced at full draw. A few of my favorites include Hoyt’s 342 fps Ventum 30, Bowtech’s 30-inch axle-to-axle Solution SS, PSE’s EVO EL 32 and the 27-inch axle-to-axle V3 from Mathews. I’ve put arrows through each of these compounds, and all provide accuracy and incredible maneuverability.

Shoot a Heavy Bow at a Low Draw Weight

How to adjust a compound bow

A light draw weight is the right choice in the whitetail woods. Jace Bauserman

I love a heavy bow, especially for whitetails. (Here I’m talking about the weight of the actual bow, not how heavy it is to draw back). A heavier bow helps steady your sight picture and minimizes pin float on the target. This is especially helpful during moments of buck fever, when the pin(s) seem to bob and weave around your target. It’s also good to have weight during those times when your treestand is swaying in the wind.

What you don’t want to do is try and pull too much draw weight. Whitetail hunting can be a cold affair. Cold temps tighten muscles. Combine that with heavy, bulky clothing and it can make pulling the string back difficult. Shots on whitetails are commonly under 40 yards, meaning 50 pounds of draw weight is plenty in order to get the job done. Naturally, shoot the poundage you’re comfortable with, but I suggest practicing in the clothes you plan to hunt in, and drawing at awkward positions in a treestand and ground blind. If you can’t hold the bow straight out in front of you and pull the string straight back without having to tilt the riser up or down while straining, you’re pulling too much weight.

Stick with a Single-Pin Sight

Some of you will bang on your keyboard when reading this, but few things boost accuracy like an uncluttered sight housing. The advantage of a single-pin system is you get a single aiming point on a vertical post, which makes the shot process much simpler and ups pin clarity on target. Plus, during moments of low light, you get less of the haze effect from the glow of other pins.

Some worry about having a rutting buck at 20 yards that suddenly chases a doe to 38 yards, which they believe requires letting the bow down and dialing the sight. This can be handled in a couple of different ways. First, a sight like Spot-Hogg’s MRT Double Pin, which has two aiming points on a single vertical post gives you two different aiming points. The double pointer on the sight tape will tell you the distance of the second aiming point based on your selected sight tape and what you have that tape dialed to. For 2021, Spot-Hogg also introduced a three-pin system on a single vertical post.

If you don’t want to go the Spot-Hogg route, opt for another quality single pin like HHA’s Tetra, Axcel’s AccuTouch, or CBE’s Engage Hybrid. Set the sight at 25 yards and work on your holding points. By this, I mean practicing often and knowing where to hold you pin at distances of 20, 30, 35 and 40 yards. If you shoot often, knowing where to hold on a buck that’s at 27 yards and suddenly jumps out to 35 yards isn’t very difficult. You can also take a dab of orange or fluorescent green model paint and put a small dot, using a toothpick, on the post down from the pin to give yourself a second aiming point.

Add a Back Bar

How to adjust a compound bow

Adding weight to your bow will make it more stable. Jace Bauserman

Adding weight to your whitetail compound is important for better stability. One of the easiest ways to do this while boosting overall bow balance is to add a front and back bar stabilizer. A front and back bar system allows you to tinker with weight by adding 1-ounce weights to the front and back bar. Plus, with a back bar on an offset mount, you can angle the back bar down and toward or down and away from the string. If you take your time and play with different weights and the position of the back bar, your accuracy will increase. Two of my favorite systems are Bee Stinger’s Sport Hunter Extreme Kit and Fuse’s Carbon Torch FX stabs with a Hoyt’s Hard Locking Rear Stabilizer Adapter.

Hunt with Your Quiver On or Off?

How to adjust a compound bow

Hunting with or without the quiver attached to your bow is a personal preference. Jace Bauserman

This comes down to your personal preference, but those that prefer to hunt with their quiver on the bow will appreciate how the back bar stabilizer balances out a quiver full of arrows. For those that prefer to hunt with the quiver off, there are countless options on the market. The main thing is making sure the quiver holds your arrows tightly and comes with some sort of tree-hanging hook or device. For example, I lost the opportunity to shoot a giant buck because I tried to lay the quiver across a couple of branches and had the wind send it tumbling just as I reached full draw. The buck spooked and I never saw him again.

Shoot a Heavy Arrow

How to adjust a compound bow

Arrow speed is of little consequence for whitetail hunts. Jace Bauserman

I could care less about arrow speed in the whitetail woods. I want my arrow to penetrate deeply, and I want that arrow to be quiet in flight. Whitetails are fast-twitch creatures, and having a quiet arrow is just as important, if not more important, than having a quiet bow. We all know whitetails are notorious for ducking the string. Personally, I think what triggers them to duck is the sound of the arrow in flight. A heavy arrow like Easton’s 5MM FMJ fitted with a 100-grain broadhead will up penetration and fly quieter than a lighter arrow. Another option to boost arrow weight is to add a brass or titanium insert. Both are heavier than aluminum, and will add weight.

What you will need. The only tools you need to do this successfully at home are a bow scale and an allen wrench.

The first thing to do is put your bow into max draw weight configuration. All this means is to completely tighten the top and bottom limb bolts by turning each 3 turns at a time.

How to adjust a compound bowCompound Bow Limb Bolt

Don’t rely on the thread count method if you can help it. As we mentioned at the top of this article, the best way to adjust the bow is to begin by fully tightening both top and bottom limb bolts the same tightness and bottomed out all the way.

Just turn the top bolt three turns, if it will go that many, then drop down and repeat by turning the bottom bolt three turns. Repeat this until you’ve completely tightened each limb bolt snugly.

Now check your draw weight. This should be the maximum draw weight your bow is advertised to be from the manufacturer.

Tip: Once top and bottom limb bolts are fully tightened it’s a great idea to use a marker to put a mark on each bolt at the same place. This makes it much easier to keep track of the number of full revolutions, or partial revolutions you make to each limb bolt.

How to adjust a compound bow

Before you begin backing the bolts out, it’s very important to keep in mind that whatever you do to the top limb you want to do to the bottom limb equally.

For example if you loosen the top limb bolt one turn, then loosen the bottom limb bolt one turn immediately after you finish with the top bolt.

This means if you loosen the top bolt 3 revolutions, then stop and immediately loosen the bottom limb bolt 3 turns.

You shouldn’t loosen either the top or bottom limb bolts more than 3 turns each at one time before checking the newly adjusted actual draw weight with your bow scale.

Now you should immediately check the current draw weight of your compound bow on your bow scale. This keeps the cams synchronized and allows for maximum accuracy. You don’t want to be missing your target do you?

To adjust the draw weight keep in mind we are actually unloading less stress by loosening, or loading more stress by tightening the bolts onto the limbs of your bow. This stress is the flex amount of the bow and we are precisely doing that by tightening or loosening the bolts on each limb of your compound bow thus giving you an increased or decreased draw weight.

How To Raise Draw Weight To Maximum Poundage.

If you want max out your draw weight then you will want to tighten the limb bolts by turning them clockwise until both limb bolts are tight and both limbs are against the riser.

Be cautious not to over tighten them. A good snug tightness will do. The idea here is to prevent the limb bolts equally tightened into the limbs.

Beginning compound bow owners may worry about the bolts backing out. Don’t worry because vibration to your bow is by several factors. It’s caused by the action of releasing the arrow towards your target, walking with your bow through the woods, and by road or handling vibration as you travel with your bow.

Many people keep their bows in a carrying case, (click here to read a great article on a good carrying case choice) which will allow you to take your compound bow on a commercial airline or bus.

This not only prevents lots of unwanted vibration but protects the cams, string, sights and limbs of your compound bow. Keep in mind that going to maximum poundage may not be suitable for beginning archers.

Does Changing Draw Weight Change The Sights?

Yes it can. One full turn of the limb bolts usually changes its weight about two pounds.

By increasing your draw weight just a few pounds at a time you’ll avoid possibly injuring yourself due to a bow malfunction or an arrow that leaves the string in an awkward angle.

Increasing or decreasing your draw weight can change your arrow’s tuning, and as stated above you’ll likely have to adjust your sight.

A good rule of thumb is to always check your sights by using a stationary target to practice with after you adjust your draw weight.

How Many Feet Per Second Do You Lose Per Pound Of Reduced Draw Weight?

Keep in mind that for every 10 lbs. of reduction in draw weight, a good rule of thumb is to expect a loss in arrow speed around 15-20 FPS.

For many beginners using a 70 lbs. draw weight compound bow (like the ones used during IBO tests) is not possible.

A beginner will likely go for a 55 or 60 lbs. version. That’s another 15-20 FPS reduction.

It’s a big bragging point in the compound bow community about how fast your bow is. Many people including myself want to have a 300 fps and above speed bow.

It’s really not that big of a deal so just go with the draw weight your body is comfortable with. There are exercises you can do at home that will build strength in your archery muscles.

It’s a popular topic and so much that we’re linking to an article covering that very subject. Once you finish this draw weight adjustment task then come back and go to that article by clicking here.

Notice The Gap Between The Riser And Limb In This Exhibit.

How to adjust a compound bowGap Between Riser And Limb

This is an example of a bow that is not maxed out to it’s full draw weight. The full draw weight of this Bear Archery bow is 70 lbs. The current draw weight is 55 lbs. This gap won’t be visible when the bow is adjusted to it’s full draw weight of 70 lbs.

Both limb bolts, top and bottom should be the exact same length. Due to them being the same length you can count the threads and get the proper optimal adjustment of top and bottom risers and feel confident your cams will stay synced.

Don’t rely on the thread count method if you can help it. As we mentioned at the top of this article, the best way to adjust the bow is to begin by fully tightening both top and bottom limb bolts the same tightness and bottomed out all the way.

That’s all there is to it!

Now you can practice with your bow and make sure the sights are correct by checking accuracy. We have written another article that covers the proper sight adjustment technique right here.