There are many types of bows available to buy, so how do you pick the right one for you? You are in luck because you have come to the RIGHT PLACE! We have put together this huge resource of compound bow reviews to help you make the decision on which is the best compound bow for you. So before you buy that bow, let us provide you with some buying tips and where you can get the best compound bow for the money.
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In this guide, we will provide guidance on how to select the compound bow that is right for you. Whether you plan to use the bow for target shooting or hunting, we provide in-depth compound bow reviews so that you will be prepared to select the right bow for you!
Advantages of Using a Compound Bow
Compound bows have many advantages and benefits over traditional bows. These advantages make them more popular and easier to use than traditional bows.
The main advantage being that a compound bow easily customization to the archer by adjusting the cams to be softer for beginner archers and harder for professional archers giving it more speed.
Compound bows are more accurate because of easy to use sights as well as better stability and support. The stabilizer at the bottom front of the bow keep it from tilting back making it easier to stabilize when no matter where you are shooting from.
Easy to Manage
The compound bow is much easier to carry because of its light weight and shorter design. Whether it is in a case or on your back, you are sure to be comfortable while carrying it across any terrain or while placing yourself in the stand. The shorter design also makes it easier to shoot from a tree or through the bushes without being detected giving you the best experience possible whether it is target practicing or hunting.
Compound bows have a heavier draw weight making it more powerful and giving it a further shooting distance than a traditional bow. The draw weight can be adjusted as mentioned above so you are sure to have the speed and power needed to get the job done.
All of these advantages make compound bows extremely popular. Knowing these advantages will help you choose the right bow for you, not only in size and weight but for choosing the proper brands as well.
Types of Compound Bows
When you shop for compound bows for the first time, you are going to think that they all look the same, but that is wrong. There are different styles and types of compound bows. Knowing what type to shop for will be essential when finding the right bow for your needs.
Left or Right Handed
Being right or left handed has an effect on the type of compound bow you will want to buy as well as the accessories that would go along with it. If you are stronger in your left arm, then you are going to want a left handed bow, whereas if you are stronger in your right arm, you are going to want a right handed bow. Stores such as Dicks Sporting Goods have specialists that can assist you with finding the right bow that fits you perfectly.
Men and Women’s Bows
There are different bows for men and women. Most women prefer a women’s style compound bow because of a smaller design and lighter weight, as well as easier draw back and better comfort and support, but there are many women who find a men’s compound bow to be more comfortable. A men’s compound bow is often heavier than a women’s and has a heavier draw weight making it more difficult for most women to shoot. It is all a personal preference, no two people are comfortable with the same bow.
Bare or Ready-to-Shoot
Most compound bows are designed in such a way that accessories can be used to aid aiming and shooting. A bare bow does not come with these accessories that might be desired as a first time compound bow purchaser. Ready-to-Shoot bows however, come packaged in such a way that all the accessories one would desire are already on the bow. Accessories such as sights and quivers come already attached to most compound bows. Please note that a bare bow will require more work and money on your part, but in turn is more customizable than a Ready-to-shoot bow.
Do the proper research necessary before making a purchase decision on a bow. Find a bow dealer that will physically let you hold and test out the bow before you purchase it. It is important that you are comfortable handling it, aiming and shooting it before you make a dedicated decision to purchase it. This is true with any weapon you are considering to purchase, but especially true with compound bows because they are so customizable.
Modern archery consists of a compound bow that uses a levering system of cables and pulleys to bend limbs. However, compound bow manufacturers make finding the best bow difficult. Regardless of brand name and model, all compound bows have certain characteristics that can be used to identify the best bow for you. You have to look past propaganda and consider the core aspects when buying a compound bow.
Always look at application, and you should understand your purpose for buying a compound bow. For example, do you want to hunt with it or shoot targets? If you plan to shoot targets, you can usually use your hunting bow, especially for shooting 3-D targets. However, this does not work in reverse. If you want to hunt, you do not want a bright red or bright blue bow. Nevertheless, the differences go beyond a simple paint job. Certain bows have been designed for specific target practice applications while others are better for hunting.
A compound bow will only draw a certain distance before the string stops. Archers call this the draw length. The majority of compound bows can have the draw length adjusted to provide the shooter with a comfortable shooting form. Before purchasing a bow, shooters should know the appropriate draw length for numerous reasons:
A short draw length hurts accuracy because sustaining a reference point becomes more complicated. When shooters reach full draw, they will have an anchor point, and a short draw length leads to a floating anchor point and inconsistent shots. In addition, a draw length that is too short leads to increased torque, which contributes to inaccuracy.Draw lengths that are too long cause numerous problems such as bad posture and shooting form. Poor shooting form leads to tension and torque on the bow, which can cause inaccuracy. Worse, a fully extended arm puts the inner elbow in the path of the bow string. Having the string slap your arm for each shot makes shooting less enjoyable.Proper draw length will help your form, accuracy and consistency. While there are countless sources explaining how to find the best draw length, a shooter who is a beginner should visit a qualified archery shop to measure the draw length. Doing this ensures that they do not waste their money on a bow not suitable to them.
Draw weight becomes an especially crucial aspect for compound hunting bows. Hunters must hold at full draw when taking aim at their game, so they especially need to match their strength to the bow’s draw weight. Bow that have a heavier draw will shoot arrows at higher speeds; however, speed becomes a second priority when you cannot firmly hold the bow at full draw without too much stress. The good news is that compound bows come with a feature known as let-off, which lessens the weight shooters need to maintain at full draw. In addition to draw weight, hunters will also want to check the let-off percentage.
Drawing the bow back and waiting for the opportune moment to strike can take a long period of time. Also, archers need to consider unfavorable draw conditions. For example, the draw weight may feel heavier or become harder to hold after sitting all day in the tree stand in the dead of winter. Bow experts commonly recommend a test of holding the bow for a full 20 to 30 seconds. If you can do this without shaking, then the draw weight is appropriate to your strength. Proper draw weight becomes important because a bow that you can easily draw and hold steady allows for increased accuracy.
An important factor for stability and maneuverability, choosing bow length comes down to application. For example, hunters will want a shorter bow because it grants them greater control in a tree stand or field. However, people who want to shoot targets will want a longer bow. When measuring bow length, people measure from axle to axle, and while no one has set an official length, hunting bows tend to be between 30 to 32 inches. However, bow length comes down to personal preference, and you will be hard-pressed to find seasoned archers who will completely agree on the subject.
Brace height estimates the measure from the grip to the string. Bow experts consider a bow with a smaller distance to be more efficient. With a higher rate, novices will give up precision. For that reason, beginners should keep a brace height that has more than eight inches. The modern compound bows usually come with a brace height of approximately seven inches. Brace height equates to energy storage, and the bow’s brace height will also figure the powerstroke of your bow. A longer powerstroke generates more energy.
However, unlike draw length, brace height cannot be adjusted, so archers should choose carefully when looking at brace height. Shorter brace heights usually lead to a faster bow. While compound bows with a shorter brace height have a tendency for being top performers, they do come with a few drawbacks:
Shorter brace heights are less forgiving and require greater skill in order to be accurate. The bow is in contact with the string for a longer period, which creates more opportunity for errors.Imperfections in your archery stance have an inclination of getting amplified.Hunters who have a bow with a long draw length will especially want a longer brace height because the longer draw length and shorter brace height creates a perfect storm that leads to additional shooting issues.Axle-to-Axle Length
Axle length means the total length of the bow. A bow with a shorter axle length will offer easier maneuverability and be easier to hold. Nevertheless, a shorter axle-to-axle length sacrifices accuracy. Beginners to archery will have better luck buying an extended bow because it provides the bowman with greater forgiveness when shooting. Because you can hold it steadier, a longer axle length has become popular. You often see world-class competitive archers shooting 45-plus-inch bows.
While longer and heavier bows are easier to shoot with accuracy, ultralight super short bows have been hyped because they are easier to carry. At a hunting range, one group of bow enthusiasts shot the heavier bows slightly better, but it was not until they stepped back to 60 yards that the accuracy was truly noticeable. The vast majority of whitetail hunters who plan to keep their shots within 30 to 40 yards will not notice a great difference in accuracy. If you have an obsession with accuracy at longer distances, then a bow with a longer axle length will suit you.
Bow size relies on the basis of height and suggests that arm-span will equal the height of the bow. Using a chart to determine bow size does not always lead to correct results. If you line three people of the same height together and ask them to show their arm span, each will likely give varying measurements. In addition, proper bow size should not be measured based on age. This will yield worse results than if you measure by height.
If the bow has not been properly sized, the archery experience becomes painful. To calculate proper bow size, shooters should look at their draw length:
14-16 inches = 48-Inch Bow 17-20 inches = 54-Inch Bow 22-24 inches = 58-Inch Bow24-26 inches = 64-66-Inch Bow26-28 inches = 66-68-Inch Bow28-30 inches = 68-70-Inch Bow31+ inches = 70-72-Inch BowLet-Off
Today’s leading compound bows come with a 75 to 80 percent let-off. Models with 65 percent let-off are mostly used for professional competitions. The let-off percentage reveals how much mechanical relaxation will be given at full draw. In other words, a bow that requires 50 pounds of draw weight but has an 80 percent let-off will be reduced to 10 pounds when you finish a draw stroke. A bow with excellent let-off percentage equates to easier holding and aiming at full draw for an extended duration.
Some bows come with high or low let-off options. The average archer wants to find a bow that falls in the middle with let-off percentage. Market trend has changed over the last decade as hunters have become better educated and desire bows with a higher let-off percentage. Many new bow designs do not even offer the low let-off option. Why do world-class competing archers favor bows with a low let-off percentage? Well, bows with a 65 percent let-off percentage usually shoot with a few fps faster than bows set with 80 percent let off. In addition, maintaining a certain level of resistance leads to proper bow alignment, which leads to greater accuracy.
Speed and Noise
The vast majority of hunters shout insistently for speed. New materials and smart engineering feats have led to advancements of technology in this industry. Bow design has reached a point where we are reaching the limits because of the laws of physics. A bow with 300 FPS used to be fast, but now bows have been pushing the 350-370 FPS range. FPS stands for feet per second. After 300 FPS, most hunting experts will tell you that the big buck is not going to have time to jump out of the way anyway. However, some hunters still insist on higher FPS, so the speed continues to climb.
Hunters will also want to consider noise when it comes to shooting the bow. When you fire a bow, the sound travels faster than the arrow, which is why you want a bow that produces low noise and vibration. Also, you want all the energy transferred into the arrow, rather than losing accuracy to friction, vibration and sound.
IBO Speed Tests and FPS
Any bow within the 300 FPS range offers reasonable speed for a bow hunter. If you shoot arrows that use 350 grain or higher, you arrows usually fly slower even with 70 pounds. When you see an FPS rating next to your bow, you can usually assume the company measured FPS according to IBO standards. IBO also called the International Bowhunters Association, is a lead authority on bow hunting, and they use a standard and reliable method to measure and compare relative speed.
How Much Does a Quality Compound Cost?
People with a limitless budget can afford to buy the most expensive compound bow from their favorite manufacturer. Price does not always indicate quality, but you can rest assured that compound bows that cost $750 or more will deliver optimum performance. Nevertheless, you might be overpaying, considering you can purchase similar bows for $200 less. To understand this, you first must understand how the bow hunting industry works. Manufacturers always overprice their latest cutting edge bows for those willing to pay the price. However, what costs $1000 now could cost $400 after a few years because of less demand. Also, you want to look at well-established manufacturers when looking at brands. Excellent brands include:
Bows from these manufacturers usually come with 340+ FPS and the latest grip design, pivoting pockets and dampening technology. If you have a little money, but you do not want to break the budget, a compound in the $350-$450 range will provide excellent quality without sacrificing precision. In addition, you will find the largest selection of compound bows at this price range, and the majority of these bows feature a speed of 305-320 FPS and a brace height that is usually in the seven-inch range.
Searching for a good compound bow is an individual pursuit. What works for one bowman will not satisfy another. Looking at a bow, you need to consider your purpose for buying one. Also, if you are a just starting archery, you may want to get assistance from a qualified professional who can help you to understand the nine essential factors for purchasing a compound bow.
John Pearman is a gunman & instructor. He shoots, hunts and is a patriot in the sense that he enjoys pissing off gun grabbers and anti-hunters. He writes for several online outlets on the use of guns and ammunition to solve all sorts of problems from the ‘hoods to the woods.