Recurve vs. Compound Speed/Weight [Archive] - ArcheryTalk Forum: Archery Target, Bowhunting, Classifieds, Chat

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July 20th, 2004, 03:04 PM
Does anyone know the arrow speed comparison of a Recurve versus a Compound Bow assuming the same arrows, draw weight, draw length, etc. - most interested in the 60# - 70# range.

Currently have a Martin Hunter 60#. My son is interested in a Recurve, but currently shoots a Browning Compound.

July 20th, 2004, 03:58 PM
Brim -

If both are dropped from an equal height, in a vacuum, both will hit the ground at the same time.

Recurves and longbow avg 140 - 200 fps., specialty bows, can approach 230 fps.

Compounds - 140 - over 300 fps. (Big variance, most are in the 230 - 280 fps range)

Interestingly, draw weight is NOT the determining factor. Most Olympic bows in the #45 to #50 class are faster than most (probably all) #70 hunting bows. Arrow weight / #draw weight is much more important if speed is the only factor being considered, but it isn't.

Wanna rethink that question :D

Also a #70 compound will generally NOT shoot the same arrow as a #70 recurve.

BTW - Welcome aboard.

Viper1 out.

July 20th, 2004, 08:52 PM

Thanks for the reply. I guess I didn't leave the right/enough info and certainly don't understand all of the technical aspects of archery.

My son is considering switching from a compound to a recurve and is concerned about arrow drop over distance. He has shot a compound since he was 7 and is now 14. He doesn't have a problem pulling a 60# bow - he wears size 13 shoes already!

For a similar total weight, arrows shot with his compound fly with a flatter arc than my recurve, so I assume his compound is a faster bow for a given arrow weight. However, he seems to like shooting my recurve more than his compound bow. I want my bow back!

He does much better with the recurve on targets inside 15 yards. He has significant vertical problems hitting a 10" target with my recurve between 20 and 30 yards, but hits targets reasonably well with his compound out to 30 yards (has pin sights).

I was just wondering how much different the arrow flight characteristics really are for a given pull weight and what we can do to improve his shooting at longer range before he makes the decision to switch to a recurve.

July 20th, 2004, 09:55 PM
I guess it partly depends on what you want to do with the bows? Hunt? 3D? backyard target? Im amazed that a 14 year old can shoot a 60# recurve. Im 5'9" and 185..and I find my 46# recurve plenty if Im shooting a bunch of arrows. I have trouble amiming anything over 55# in a recurve. My last Compound was a Champion did about 290 at 5 grains of arrow weight per pound and shot at 28". In a compound, your sons draw length will ahve a big factor on arrow speed. In a recurve, draw weight is usually given at 28". If the bow is 60#@28" and you sons draw is 27"..then hes probably pulling 55ish pounds..if its a 29-30" draw...perhaps 65 pounds..depending on how the bow builds energy in the limb. Theres a great many variables. If youre competing..Traditional bows shoot from a shorter distance stake than the compounds (up to 30 or so here) arrow drop at say, 45 yards is only important to the compound. A recurve is harder to outgrow than a compound..but if he's allready into an adult size bow..then as long as it accomodates a range of draw lengths then its not an issue. Ok..Im rambling..too many variables.

July 20th, 2004, 10:19 PM
Not really comparable. I figure you are looking at arrow speed of no more than 200 fps with a recurve for the most part. You have to shoot more arrow weight from a recurve bow. Most shoot around 9 or more grains per pound of draw weight from a recurve and most shoot around 7 grains per pound out of a compound so the compound shoots a faster arrow. Also if you shoot 60lb draw weight compound you should most likely shoot around 50lb of draw weight with a recurve. You will have to drop down some. I think even Fred Bear only shoot 65 lb of draw weight. You don't want to overbow yourself with a recurve or you will be sorry. The recurve is a closer game than the compound. I take 30 yard shots with the compound without even sweating it but with a recurve I limit myself to 20 yard shots. I am no expert with either type of bow but I do believe the recurve should keep you a little closer to your game. Now if you are a target shooter the sky is the limit. If you can see it you can shoot it with either of the two if you are practiced. I hope to take a deer this year with a recurve. I was wishing for the same thing last year. Oh well getting there is half the fun. I took it up as an added challenge and it sure is that. It is also fun.

July 21st, 2004, 09:27 AM
My son is 5'9" and I am 6' even. From what you have said, he may not be getting all of the pull weight that I do - my Martin Hunter is 62". We have not had a point of comparison for arrow flight between us with the recurve, since we only have one of them.

We mostly target shoot, but he has an interest in huting with a bow. We currently both hunt with handguns. Target shooting is a quick pick-me-up and we do compete fiercely (and vocally) with each other and my younger son. We don't have plans to compete in any formal group.

He has no trouble pulling back the 60# Hunter and does not wobble too much with either his compound or my recurve. He had his old compound bow set to 45# at age 11.

July 21st, 2004, 09:38 AM
I was getting 210 ft/sec with my PSE Intrepid set at 47# @ 31" and shooting A/C/E 400.

One of my friend is getting 205 - 210 ft/sec with is tradionnal recurve 70# @ 31.5" with GoldTip arrows.

My compound bow reach 274 ft/sec at 60# @ 30.5" a with A/C/E 400.

Hope this can help!

July 21st, 2004, 09:44 AM
Brims -

Recurves DO drop off faster after 20 yards, just a matter of physics, between the two bows. The the other possibiity is that with a compound, you're almost always at your correct draw length, as you basically pull until it stops. With a recurve small changes in draw length, which go un-noticed at 15 yds, become very apparent at 30 yds, and that will result in a vertical group.

BTW - what arrows are you using, that can make a difference.

Viper1 out.

July 21st, 2004, 11:43 AM
Kinda like comparing a slug gun to a rifle--they are both bows, but very different in ways. With practice he will learn where to hold for longer distances.


July 21st, 2004, 11:47 AM
Hello Brimstone,

BS>>Does anyone know the arrow speed comparison of a Recurve versus a Compound Bow assuming the same arrows, draw weight, draw length, etc. - most interested in the 60# - 70# range.

Currently have a Martin Hunter 60#. My son is interested in a Recurve, but currently shoots a Browning Compound.

Well, a couple of things...Compounds and Recurves/traditionals are two toally different Breeds of bows. Comparing them is like comparing Apples to Oranges, and expecting to get a great tasting apple pie, whether you use apples in it or Oranges.

Do not worry about Arrow speed, but worry about proper form, anchor point, follow through, weight, Brace height, and other factors.

Weight and size is the #1 factor I would worry about. Since your son is tall, I would recommend at least a 65" bow or taller. The taller the bow, the more forgiving.

I would also recommend a 30 to 35 pound MAX bow. (30 would be better) If you son is shaking *any* at all, the bow is way too much for him. I don't care if he can pull back 60 pounds of compound bow. That STILL lets off to 30 pounds at 50 percent and even less if you have 65 percent or more letoff

Learn to shoot that Traditional Bow properly... With a bow light enough he will NOT wobble with, can pull back and hold, and can shoot 100 arrows through without resting. HE will learn a new and consistant anchor point. He will learn a new draw length that fits him with the bow, He will learn trajectory, He will learn proper finger release, He will learn proper hand grip, He will learn many other things that are not quite as obviously taken care of with a bow that has training wheels and gadgets on it.

After he learns to HIT accurately (it will take some time). Keep that bow, and buy another about 45 pounds. (That extra 15 pounds is a tremendous leap!) Shoot that 45 pounds until you can hit accurately with it and take it hunting. Keep your older 30 pound bow for "Practice", "REtrainging" for your form, Helping another person into the sport, and memories of how hard you worked to get where you are now.


July 21st, 2004, 12:22 PM
Martin Savannah "longbow", 60#@28", 27 inch draw, Ultra Cam string, 540g arrows, 190 fps.

A 60 pound compound w 300g arrows will do about 275 fps (older compound). With 540g arrows, still about 200 fps or better.

10 fps doesn't sound like much, but going from dacron to "fast flight" type strings on a longbow/recurve only gets ya about 10 fps more, but it can be noticeable on longer shots. I limit my hunting shots to 30 yds or less (usually much less), so it makes little difference to me there. I like the new strings cuzz brace height doesn't wander as much; set it and forget it. For fun, w lighter arrows (370g), a 45# longbow can zip 'em noticeably flatter farther out...

More speed means flatter shooting, but heavier arrows means more penetration; momentum more important than kinetic energy(KE) for hunting, and 400g is my minimum. Was chasing the speed demonw lighter arrows for awhile, but came to my senses after talking to some guides who see lottsa arrows hit lottsa deer/elk, not to mention my own experience.

A 405g arrow at 185 fps (34 ft lbs KE) can shoot them all the way through an elk at 20 yds... usually as well/better than a 300g arrow at 250 fps (42 ft lbs KE). Different KE, same momentum.

A 45# Savannah/Hunter w 405g arrows, Ultra Cam strings, 185 fps. Shot 65# Bear and Browning recurves when I was in high school and a lightweight wrestler (132#). Older w a bad shoulder now, shooting lighter stuff, even though I'm still lean and a lot meaner... ;)

July 22nd, 2004, 07:22 PM
It sounds to me like the question really relates to range estimation, or the lack of it, as it in turn relates to elevating the bowarm without benefit of the index provided by pinsights.

The bad news is that the technique is a matter of practice as much as anything else. The good news is that it can be done once the practitioner weans himself away from the sights and puts in the requisite time and effort.

There's really no need to try to match the recurve to the compound's performance. Just start practicing and never look back. :cool:

July 24th, 2004, 01:14 AM
Compound bows are so good and so affordable that if you want to shoot an arrow really fast and hard and flat, you can buy a bow that will do that, and you can set it up so it shoots really well and be shooting it very well in a pretty short time. That is fine. Recurves are more fun. A lot more fun. there aren't many things more satisfying than becoming a good shot with a traditional bow. These are just two different subjects.
If I were you, I would go out and pick myself out a bow that I liked and I would buy it for myself and let my son use my other recurve for a year and see if he gets some good use of it in the field. If it sticks to him then I would sell or give him the recurve, and if his style of hunting is better suited to the compound then you have a spare, or just another bow. That is fine too.