The compound bow arouses a lot of interest. Its design has improved over the years and increased the performance of practice. Some hunters even prefer the recurve bow. However, due to their complex structure, you might have a hard time finding the compound bow that best meets your needs.
We are going to cover some key features that you will find in any design of this type of weapon. We’ll also tell you a few features to consider when choosing a compound bow. Our complete guide should help you find the right arc for your next bow hunting mission.
What is a compound bow?
First of all, it is important to determine what a compound bow is. You should know that a bow is an instrument made of wood or flexible materials and its main function is to throw arrows. Usually, the curved end is connected by a flexible and powerful rope to propel the projectile.
However, unlike a traditional bow, it has the particularity of functioning according to the principle of leverage exerted on the two pulleys located at the ends of the branches of the bow.
Compound bows deliver arrows faster than the recurve bow. By having a flatter temple, the precision of the shot is increased thanks to better stability. It also implies that the arrows hit their target with much more force, which means that the power of the bow allows you to shoot at longer distances.
Advantages of the compound bow
There are many advantages to using a compound bow if you compare it with a crossbow or recurve bow. Its advanced design and its constant evolution allow to exceed the capacities of other models.
A compound bow greatly increases the effectiveness of an archer. It has a cam system that makes it easier to tighten the rope while increasing the release force thanks to the pulleys.
The pulleys help the archer to easily cock with minimal effort and tension to perform a powerful shot. This impact increases efficiency and projection distance. So with little effort, you can pull the rope as much as you want, without disturbing the result tension.
Compound bows also equipped with an arrow rest which is great for balancing your arrow. In addition, they are equipped with a release system to facilitate your shooting and offer a better shot on the target.
Whenever a bow is cocked, the ends are pulled together by themselves using the string. In a longbow or traditional bow, the limbs are stretched according to the stiffness of the string. This variation implies that compound bows have branches closer to the horizontal tangle.
The parallel arrangement of the limbs reduces the potential for recoil with each arrow thrown, as the deployed force moves up and down the bow while canceling out creating better stability.
Compound bows can be fitted with different types of cams to suit any situation, and are available in a wide range of designs, from soft to hard. The cam structure directly regulates the movement of the boom. What is called a “soft cam” will drive the boom slower than a hard cam.
This type of bow can be used by both experienced and beginner archers. They take little time to master and they usually have sights to improve your shot and give you the most accuracy possible.
Precision is another advantage. This is increased and the power of shot thanks to the cam systems. The compound bow sometimes comes with a release which provides a firmer grip and requires less effort to pull the string. Stability and precision are therefore guaranteed. In addition, the arc sight allows for more precise shots.
The compound bow is slightly heavier than other types of bows. In addition, most moving parts require additional maintenance and can be sources of larger points of failure. In case of dry firing, the bow is more susceptible to damage because it allows more energy to be released. It requires the use of a mechanical release system. You can’t just use your fingers to tighten the rope.
Again, unlike recurve bows, changing or adjusting strings generally requires an arch press, a unique tool used to shrink limbs, loosen strings and release tension. In addition, it is usually necessary to bring in a professional to repair compound bows when they are faulty.
Different types of compound bows
We can distinguish several types of compound bows but this distinction is only made by the shape of the model. You have to tell the difference between a pulley and a cam. The first is round and the second is oval.
Although there are various other ways of grouping compound bows, the main classification criteria are still the cam system. On this basis, three different types have been identified. These are the single cam, double cam, and hybrid cam.
Single cam compound bow
The single cam arc is equipped with a single cam to tension the ends of the arc and concentrate energy. The control cam is often installed on the lower branch, while the upper one is equipped with freewheel. The ergonomics of the arc are simple, therefore easy to use.
Some single cam bows are upgraded for a smooth shot, while others are better equipped and designed for rapid fire. Again, some single-shot arcs have some notch point displacement issues while others do not, but they are all fairly accurate.
Double cam compound bow
If we juxtapose this with the single cam arc, the two cam ones are more powerful and faster but usually have timing issues. However, it is a question of ergonomics which is compensated for according to the brands and models.
The two cams act independently of each other. Therefore, you face the fact that one cam turns slightly before the other because of the friction of the rope. This implies that the strength of the upper and lower limbs is not balanced, which can cause the notch to shift.
To overcome this problem of cam synchronization, manufacturers have designed a binary cam pulley arc. Each of the strings is connected to a different cam. Such an adjustment allows these two elements to rotate at the same time with respect to each other, thus making it possible to have perfect synchronization.
Binary cam arcs are much more powerful and increase the speed of the arrows fired. As their two cams control each other, any errors are compensated for to give you smooth and precise shots. The special settings of the binary cams allow their self-balancing and also reduce the problems of displacement of the notch point.
Hybrid cam pulley bow
Hybrid cams are an advancement over dual cams, they are made to eliminate timing issues. They have two asymmetrical elliptical cams. The control cam is located above the power cam. The set consists of a divided harness, a control cord and a tightening.
Even though the hybrid cams are in fact independent, they must be adjusted and rectified from time to time in order to ensure optimum efficiency. There are many hybrid cam arches that are incredibly fast and quiet. Although the pull cam is generally aligned, the cams are not relative to each other.
Hybrid arcs deploy incredible speed and precision, just like dual cam arcs, except that all cams work synchronously.
How to choose the best compound bow?
Choosing a compound bow is not easy, especially in a market where models number in the hundreds. There are different ways to look at each of the characteristics to consider. I will make sure to discuss with you the essential criteria that should not be overlooked in choosing the best compound bow.
Purpose of use
There are several reasons to buy a compound bow. Some will use it in the context of a sport, others simply as a hobby and some use this equipment to hunt game.
If you want to use your compound bow for target shooting, you don’t necessarily need an overpowered model. Instead, you will need a bow that will allow you to shoot accurately. For example, maybe a heavier bow is what you need as a higher weight will help you get a more accurate shot.
The length of the arc
For the length of your bow, you must take into account your body type and size. The length of the stretch often determines the length of the arc, but there are times, depending on what you want to do with it.
If you are a hunter, definitely want a shorter bow. This will allow you to carry and handle it more easily. For target shooting, a larger bow will make shooting easier. The average length of compound bows is around 30 to 32 inches or the equivalent of 75 to 80 cm.
The length of the arc suitable for you a little different. Be sure to choose one according to your need.
This is a very important criterion that should not be overlooked. The draw is the distance the rope will travel before it stops when you pull it. If you opt for a bow that is too long, you may lose some of the power. On the contrary, if your draw is too short, you will not be well-positioned to properly use your bow. It can even affect your level of precision.
There are several ways to calculate your draw, but you can easily determine it by extending your arms parallel to the ground and measuring the distance between the tips of your fingers. Then refer to this table:
|Span||Extension (in inches)|
|145 to 150 cm||22 to 23|
|151 to 158 cm||23 to 24|
|159 to 165 cm||24 to 25|
|166 to 173 cm||25 to 26|
|174 to 182 cm||26 to 27|
|182 to 188 cm||27 to 28|
|189 to 196 cm||28 to 29|
|196 cm and more||more 30|
The weight of the bow can affect the way you shoot. The lighter the bow, the easier it will be to carry with you. A heavier bow may be easier to use if you are target shooting.
This criterion is questionable and is more of a very personal position, so be sure to find something that works for you. But be aware that the higher the weight, the more difficult it will be to shoot for some, but the shot will be all the more powerful.
Calculated in FPS, the speed of a compound bow is another important metric that can sometimes convince you to opt for an accurate model. Speed is an indicator of the strength of your bow. Of course, it is also influenced by the weight of the arrow. The higher the speed, the stronger the arc.
You may not need a high speed bow if you are only aiming at targets.
This is always something archers take into account when looking to purchase a compound bow. Bows can be made from different materials and can have various qualities. Those of better quality and better designed will logically be more expensive.
However, there are still bows with good value for money that may be suitable for you. Make sure you don’t break the bank on buying a good bow. You can always save for the compound bow of your dreams and get a cheaper one to practice while you wait.
While it’s true that speed is important in archery, the point is that sometimes this variable isn’t just all that matters. To avoid mistakes, everyone loves powerful bows that can shoot an arrow at high speed with amazing FPS coverage but remember that there is no point in having high speed if you miss your target. Precision is therefore also important.
The Arc height
This is the space between the handle and the bowstring when the bow is not in tension. Bows with a large height may reduce the speed of the arrow, but the ease of use is better. It is best if you can try out multiple arch heights so you can choose the one that suits you the best.
This is another element to consider when purchasing your compound bow. Make sure you can stand up easily and hold the bow firmly in order to deliver a consistent and powerful shot. A compound bow that offers a good grip will allow you to shoot accurate shots repeatedly.
This requires you to be able to hold yourself correctly and adopt the correct posture, and to hold the bow in a relaxed and balanced manner.
It is essential to consider the presence and quality of the sight before choosing a compound bow because it allows you to determine the height at which you need to hold your bow to fire accurate shots depending on the distance that you need.
The type of arc
The compound bow is essentially available in 3 different types (see earlier in the article). As a reminder, the three main types of bow available are the single cam, the double cam and the hybrid cam. Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses.
For example, the single-cam compound bow is simple to use and quiet, but the speed is not very high, while the double cam bow is difficult to adjust but offers incredible arrow speed. While the hybrid cam arch provides ease of maintenance and adjustment.
The dominant eye
Even if you have the best bow release in the world, you still need to figure out how to shoot with your dominant eye. This can be the right eye or the left eye. Once you understand this, it is important that you consider a compound bow that matches your dominant eye.
This is another thing to consider if you are looking for the best compound bow. If you are an adult archer you probably don’t need a lot of adjustment for your bow, but if you are still young and growing you can choose one with flexible fit options both in length and size. ‘In weight.
Now you know everything about the compound bow. Keep in mind that each model offers its own settings: arrow speed, grain, band, weight of the bow or let off. You have to look if the model is right-handed or left-handed to avoid bad ergonomics. The power of the bow is also important: it is calculated in pounds and determines the penetration capacity of the arrow.