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Thread: How do you determine your proper draw weight?

  1. #1
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    How do you determine your proper draw weight?

    Every time I read a post about draw weight, someone is recommending that it be turned down. Usually, they list a weight 5 lbs. below the person's draw weight and say "XX lbs. is plenty. There's no need to pull more than that."

    But how do you know what XX is? I bought my first bow this year and it was 50-60 lbs. I set it at 55 lbs. and called it good. I have no problem pulling it back. I was at a shop recently and demo'd a bow set at 72 lbs. I could draw that back without a problem. It certainly wasn't as easy as 55 lbs. but it wasn't painful or difficult. Is 72 lbs. my perfect draw weight? Is 55 lbs. my perfect draw weight? I doubt it, since I randomly picked it. If I had picked 52 lbs. or 57 lbs. would those have been my perfect draw weight?

    A few weeks ago, I posted here that I was thinking of turning my weight up to 60 lbs. I got a flurry of responses that said "Don't do it. 55 lbs. is plenty." OK, if 55 lbs. is plenty could I turn it down to 50 lbs. and be fine? Is 50 lbs. plenty?



    It seems that many people on this board recommend turning draw weights down but I've yet to see any logic behind it.


  2. #2
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    I think that perfect draw weight is the maximum weight you can draw without having to lift or drop your bow arm.
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  3. #3
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    be able to draw your bow sitting down or kneeling easy...best test sit on a chair with feet off the ground and do it...

  4. #4
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    Well it depends on what you are using the bow for and how well it fits you at the DL your at now. If your into target shooting changing the DW will change your holding weight which can affect your pin movement when holding on target. If your into hunting most guys pull a DW that they can easily get back in the stand without grunting or making to much movement trying to pull it back. Just remember if you change the DW on the bow you have now it will affect the DL making it longer or shorter maybe by as much as a 1/8-1/4 of an inch and you will have to change anchor points, also it will change your holding weight at full draw which you will have to compensate for as well. Only you can figure out which DW works best for you, your not going to find a generic answer to this question you'll have to experiment.
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  5. #5
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    I had my GT500 tested to see what the DW was and it was set at 55lbs. It was easy to pull back so I had it reset at 60lbs. It was a little too much on my shoulders so I turned it back a half turn to about 57lbs and it is fine. You say 72lbs didn't bother you to pull back, well go shoot it 50 times and see if the next day how it feels. Sore muscles can be telling you something about DW. Its better to underbow than to over bow......People buy 70 lb bows for hunting and there arms and shoulders can't take it for any length of time.
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  6. #6
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    Some along with jmvaughn06. A basic start for finding draw weight is putting the bow on target and keeping it somewhat there and being able to draw straight back and able to hold on target without undo strain/stress for a period of time. Known distance target shooters want something they can shoot well and shoot all day as some events require 60 and more arrows and more than one day. My hunting bow is set to 67 pounds. My 3D bows are set 58, 60 and 62 pounds. Though I dislike spots I have 35/50 pound limbs for my target bow.
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  7. #7
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    A lot of this depends on your frame and muscular development also. I hadn't shot my bow in months and then saw there was a 3D shoot going on near our armory. I brought my bow the next day and went through the whole shoot, I think 40 different targets. I could tell by the end that I was getting a little tired, but that just simulated real hunting conditions to me since I'm not always in a stand. My bow was still maxed out from the last hunting season at 70lbs.

    Also, bows are designed to be shot at max poundage. I think all bows will perform their best when they're tightened down all the way, everything is just tighter. I start the season by sitting on the ground, legs out in front of me. If I can draw the bow like that, I'm fine in any situation. I'll try kneeling and sitting in a chair also. If any of those are too hard, then I hit the gym and do specific exercises to strengthen those muscles.

    Turning your bow down to a lower poundage is a short term fix to me. I know that my bow performs its best at max poundage, I can't change that. I can change my physical strength through training. I want to shoot my heavy arrow as fast as I can so do as much damage as possible....to make a clean kill. It doesn't set well with me to wound an animal.

    If you're target shooting, that's a different story, you just need the arrow to get there, not pass thru the target.

    Waiver: I'm not a bow dealer, nor do I professionally set up shooters. So take it for what it's worth. I'm sure someone will tear me up for this...their response will start with, "LMAO......"
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  8. #8
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    I went through the same thing, I have seen more & more guys say, to crank it up to Max, all of those 70-80# shooters, I started out shooting at 50lb, my pro shop guy said "you don't have Bow muscles yet, You need more Rep's pulling back a bow to find your form, and site picture, than pulling back a 62lb bow that you are just going to be punching a bag target in your front yard all day, when you can go 35-45 shots without get the muscle shakes, then that is your draw weight, then try going up a 1/4 to 1/2 on your limbs, and shoot the same amount of Rep's for a week or so without getting tired....Leave it right there...But if you hunt once in a while then pulling back 65-70lbs 10-20 times just for a shot at a deer, then get a bow set just for that...When I started to get into this, my limit was 15-20 shots and i was Spent...Now I'm up to 56lbs, and go about 30-40 shots a day 5-6 times a week, and not a bit sore, Almost like i did 50-60 arm curls or push ups...I don't need a 70lb bow, I still can crank my Sniper up to 62.5lb if I see a ZOOMBIE in the front yard...That or i'll use my 1911....
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  9. #9
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    To me if someones starting new, it depends on their age and how good of shape they are in, now if it's a teenager like me, I usually get a 40-50# bow out and see if they can pull back 40 and then 50 pounds and then I get a 60# bow out and see how they can pull it at 60# and usually they can't so I either find them a 50# bow or a 50-60 pound bow and have it cranked down to 53# or so all depending on how easy it was to them to pull it back and if they can't pull the bow straight back (no raising the bow to the sky or to thr left or whatever) while sitting down and can do it a few good times then I leave it there. Generally adults are pretty easier to guess what draw weight they need because most adults in good shape can pull 60# or more but with teenagers it can all vary, some are like me and can pull back 60-70 pounds no sweat while others can't pull 50#.
    But to me it's much much better to pull back a lighter poundage that may be slower but can shoot it very well many times than a bow that's too much weight and have to struggle to pull it back or you can't pull it straight back many times and not shoot so well because thst extra speed don't mean a thing if you wound an animal or miss itno matter how fast your bow's shooting. And if you're pulling too much weight what'll happen is in Colder weather or when a big buc walks in front of you, you won't be able to pull your bow back, ther was some guys that my gramdfather knew that he took out to Colorado that could shoot pretty good and they'd have an elk come up on them wether or not it was bugling and they coudn't pull their bow back.
    And to me the best way to get your bow muscles stronger is to just shoot your bow, if your bow is pretty easy for you to pull back then crank it up a pound and shoot it for a while, and once it gets just as easy before you cranked it up then do it again and just keep up with it until you have no more turns left on your limbs and just shoot it up, that's what I did and when I got back from Colorado this year I had my bow cranked up a full turn more on each limb (approximately 2#-2.5#) in maybe 2 weeks actually not even that long and I'm still crankin' on it.
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  10. #10
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    This is how I check peoples draw weight.
    Quote Originally Posted by erictski View Post
    be able to draw your bow sitting down or kneeling easy...best test sit on a chair with feet off the ground and do it...
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  11. #11
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    If you're a target shooter, you should be able to make 200 shots a day, and 10 in 5 minutes, and your last shot is as good as your first. That way you'll be able to handle any tournament, and more.

    If you're a 3D shooter, you can go higher in weight, so make that 60-80 shots a day.

    If you're a hunter, you need to be able to draw the bow smoothly without struggling and getting "busted", from any reasonable position, at all sorts of angles, after sitting motionless for several hours in cold weather.

  12. #12
    I check my draw weight by sitting in a chair and holding legs up and drawing bow back. If i struggle i turn it down. This is going to be way different when sitting in a stand because you wil probbaly have been sitting there for a while and will be cold. So i go to a comfortable weight and turn down just a little. I probably sound like everybody else, but if 40# is approved by the state than that is all you need to harvest an animal. IMO

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by erictski View Post
    be able to draw your bow sitting down or kneeling easy...best test sit on a chair with feet off the ground and do it...
    I have seen replies quoting this childish proposition on many occasions on the AT forum. A good parallel to this would be asking a gymnast who can easily complete 100 Normal press ups, continuously, Can you do the same on one finger, each hand?. Alternatively, asking a gymnast who can do 100 pull ups continuously, Can you do this 2 fingers , each hand?. Your body is not designed to do things like this. You are given 2 hands with five fingers each to spread such stress correctly. Use them. Equally and particularly important for Archery, you are given two strong legs ( have to be to support your full body weight) and distribute this weight to keep correct pressure on your skeleton to reduce undue wear. Please do not listen to people who try to tell you that if you cannot draw your bow as stated in the quote, that the draw weight is too heavy for you.This is nonsense and is akin to a trick shot archer holding a bow with his feet and shooting lying down. There are one or two people who can do this, but they will never win Vegas. The only test as to whether your selected draw weight is beyond your ability or not is purely down to repetition.How many times can you shoot an arrow before your get tired and your draw gets shaky. Your own body will tell you just like it does when you are feeling ill and need to call in sick and see the doc. Just listen to it and you will know your draw weight ,keeping both feet firmly on the ground and you spine fully intact.

  14. #14
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    I think basically its what ever you can pull comfortably and constantly.You dont need to pull a ton of weight and alot of people just want the most weight they can pull but with the bows now it does not matter.A good placed shot will do it and being able to hold the bow steady and not dealing with pulling with everything you got

  15. #15
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    joed, and Swat29 are on the same page as I, and what my pro shop coached me from the getgo...Rep's and hold time...I get to 30-40 shots on most days, and some get only to about 25, then get a little shakey, and then at that point I make my last 3 shots Hold Time shots, just like on a deer waiting for the broadside shot, I hold it steady on target for a good 10-15 seconds, then release....I'm done for that day...more shots keeps your anchor point, grip,and form, consistant...
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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by dube_77 View Post
    I check my draw weight by sitting in a chair and holding legs up and drawing bow back. If i struggle i turn it down. This is going to be way different when sitting in a stand because you wil probbaly have been sitting there for a while and will be cold. So i go to a comfortable weight and turn down just a little. I probably sound like everybody else, but if 40# is approved by the state than that is all you need to harvest an animal. IMO
    +1

  17. #17
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    So many opinions. Whatever you can comfortably handle is a good draw wt for you. Keep in mind after sitting on stand for several hours in the cold, drawing a heavy bow may be difficult. Usually adrenalin is pumping pretty good and its not an issue. I've always shot compound bows in the 60-70 lb draw wt. and I shoot more than the avg archer. I had my bow maxed out for a very warm antelope hunt. Recently I turned down my bow to 60lbs to get ready for colder weather deer season. I shoot longbows and recurves in the mid 50# range yr around. They all blow thru the deer with cut on contact broadheads.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stash View Post
    If you're a target shooter, you should be able to make 200 shots a day, and 10 in 5 minutes, and your last shot is as good as your first. That way you'll be able to handle any tournament, and more.

    If you're a 3D shooter, you can go higher in weight, so make that 60-80 shots a day.

    If you're a hunter, you need to be able to draw the bow smoothly without struggling and getting "busted", from any reasonable position, at all sorts of angles, after sitting motionless for several hours in cold weather.
    200 arrows a day are you serious I just find this hard to believe since most pro shooters preach, "it's not the quantity but the quality", even with the bow set at 40# 200 arrows a day would leave you walking like a hunchback everyday. I might be wrong, and it happens quite often, but that number seems a little unrealistic.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmvaughn06 View Post
    200 arrows a day are you serious I just find this hard to believe since most pro shooters preach, "it's not the quantity but the quality", even with the bow set at 40# 200 arrows a day would leave you walking like a hunchback everyday. I might be wrong, and it happens quite often, but that number seems a little unrealistic.
    For a FITA guy, 200 in one day should definitely be in his ability. Hell even hooting 5 spot takes some endurance. I shot 27 rounds of consecutive 5 spot at 61#'s 2 weeks ago. That's 135 arrows. Shot over 110 xs. It's great endurance training.

    I'd say being able to comfortably double what you shoot in competition is a good position to be in...

    I don't think he meant shoot 200 arrows every day, I think he meant that they should be able to.

    I shoot with a former Olympic coach, yes... Olympic, in California and he always says harps at me saying I should easily be able to shoot a full 70 arrow 5 spot round an be perfect at the last arrow.
    Shooting: it's what you should be doing instead of reading this.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by erictski View Post
    be able to draw your bow sitting down or kneeling easy...best test sit on a chair with feet off the ground and do it...
    Exactly
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  21. #21
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    Whatever You can comfortably draw back during the coldest part of you bow season dressed for the coldest part of your bow season... Not what you can draw in the bow shop or out back shooting your target before deer season.

  22. #22
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    A round of Field is 112 arrows not counting practice shots before the round. I'm not a regular field shooter but even with my hunting rigs I routinely shoot 200 arrows and more when I practice. I also try to pracitice with my bows at full weight (70-72 lbs) all summer, knowing full well I will be turning them down to about 62 or so come hunting season. This really tunes my muscles and allows me to pull my hunting rigs with little effort from any position I need to. Bottom line, your perfect poundage is the one you think it is. You should be able to pull your hunting bow from any position you might encounter with minimal movement. As for a target rig, it's a whole different issue. Just shoot what you feel best with. Practice at different poundages and see which one fits you best.
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  23. #23
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    maximum weight, sit flat on the ground, draw the bow, if you can not do it smoothly, its to much weight... good frind of mine found out this morning, 66 was too much for him, about 46 degrees out, sitting in tripod, could not draw it.... we got him fixed up at the shop a little later,, his max is 62,,,

    max draw has to be determine dunder less than ideal circumstances,, just like hunting conditions, no warm up, no stretching, and not standing.... roll out of bed first thing in ht emorning sit on the floor and draw,, if you can you should be good to go... if you cant.... you gotta make a decision...petend to be macho or be smart..

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmvaughn06 View Post
    200 arrows a day are you serious I just find this hard to believe since most pro shooters preach, "it's not the quantity but the quality", even with the bow set at 40# 200 arrows a day would leave you walking like a hunchback everyday. I might be wrong, and it happens quite often, but that number seems a little unrealistic.
    theres many a day i have shot 300-500,, everyone is not equal,, neither are the bows they use,,, speed bows are way harder to shot that much,, but some people can

  25. #25
    i shoot what im comfortable with. i can draw 65-70# but i like 60# bows. i can draw mine every easy and shoot for a long time without getting tired. plus i can draw it in more awkard positions and sitting down.

    just shoot what you feel good with. if you can shoot your bow good maxed out then do it man. get that extra power out of it
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