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Thread: Drawlength: How Do You Know

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2002

    Drawlength: How Do You Know

    I was asked yesterday this simple question. How do you know when you have your drawlength perfect? I mean spot on perfect ! I gave the man the best answer I could, but it lacked something. It maded me wonder how to get my drawlength perfect, tack driveing perfect.

    Lets say we have our stance down, a perfect T fourm, maybe just a tad open. Now the bow arm, is it fully extended, shoulder down, elbow bent a little like an 1/8 or a 1/4 to push the bow towards the target? Now string contact with your face, tip of your nose, nice tight anchor. Now the most important, The draw arm! To create the proper back tension and follow through. Where does it need to be and how do you know when its there? Do you deltoids burn when you got it right?

    How do you really really know when you have it perfect?

  2. #2
    Well, that is tough...and opinions will differ greatly.

    However, let's give it a try. Let me start off by stating that I have experienced it when I could still shoot worth beans. I have WITNESSED it numerous times when working with top gun type bear with me.

    First off:

    1. Steadiness of that site picture...if the draw is too short, then the movement is jerky...but generally, the misses are bigger when you screw up. The release can be tough to get to go if it is WAY short, but generally speaking the release comes off a tad easier. If the draw is too long, then you have normally slow movement, but wider arcs. The release is way tougher to get to go off (cuz you are already overstretched and have nowhere to go), and the misses will be smaller...but more frequent and less "directional" as in scattered..with a tendency to shoot left if you hold too long. OUTDOORS, the drawlength being too long will destroy you on the uphill, downhill, sidehill shots! 1/4" off is too much, by the way.

    2. However, steadiness of site picture can be affected by the "balance" of the mass weight to holding weight/letoff of the bow too...that has to be worked upon as well...but is a different issue.

    3. It takes LOTS of shooting at any given setting and TRACKING your results before making decisions. It takes SMALL increments of say 1/4" at first, track results, and then SMALLER increments, track results.

    Now to what I've experienced and witnessed: I have seen it numerous times where, once a shooter is CLOSE to the perfect drawlength (and combo), grouping will be SOLIDLY within the bullseye at 65 yards, but open groups....all well within the bullseye. MOST people would take it and be happy...However.....

    I have done it and seen it many times that as little as 1/2 twist on a cable or buss will take that situation above and the shooter end up with the arrows all touching within the X-ring at 65 yards...after only 1/2 twist of a buss or a cable! This is CAN be done...THAT is how critical draw length adjustments can become.....what a world of difference, and it comes from and then leads to.......

    Like the video "Straight Talk from the Pros" states so many times, "DRAWLENGTH is the most critical aspect of accurate shooting."

    Now for the little tid-bit that you won't want to hear..cuz it doesn't really "define it"....When you consistently get the dot of your scope centered, your anchor solid, your bow arm solid, and the shot to explode...ALL AT THE SAME TIME, and then you see the streak of the arrow thru your scope dive to the bullseye...and you do this CONSISTENTLY (maybe not seeing the arrow, but the REST OF IT)...then your drawlength is probably PERFECT...

    AND the big thing you don't want to hear: YOU WILL SIMPLY KNOW IT...cuz it will FEEL SO GOOD!

    This CAN BE DONE....but it take times patience, and staying with something for more than one day...and recording your results and trying a SMALL change and using it for several rounds and tracking results. MOST PEOPLE WILL NOT DO they are lost in the maze of drawlength and say, "well, I shoot pretty good this way, I tried it ***** for a few days and it didn't work.." Those that won't WAIT and be PATIENT are all over the leaderboard and rarely near the top....

    GOTTA GIVE CHANGES A many of us have passsed up the right drawlength and moved on....more than any of us will ever know.

    The Wing Span method is a STARTING POINT...but too many take it as gospel, or if they differ from it, then claim it "doesn't work"...butcha gotta start somehwere...and that somewhere isn't by using a measuring arrow at a bow shop and your friends saying, "You LOOK good right there with that 30" draw length bow." Even though your wingspan is only 69" and you are only 5' 8" tall.....LOOKIN' GOOD and SHOOTING well aren't necessarily complementary....(pun intended, and "c" word spelled that way intentionally).

    Last edited by field14; July 5th, 2005 at 11:29 AM.
    Just let it float and SHOOT THE SHOT! Author of: "ProActive Archery", "The Puzzled Archer", "The Puzzled Cyclist".
    -field14 (Tom D.)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    north dakota
    Here is the single most important point about searching for and finding a correct draw length: Keep a log of your set up and scores. Draw length is a relative concept. This means logging ATA, release type, grip style, d-loop length, string and cable material, and your true draw. Then shoot for scores, and over time, patterns will develop which provide an answer. No one can tell you what your dl. should be, and the wingspan chart in my experience gets you within 1 inch, try going 1/2" up and 1/2" down.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Waco, Texas
    I think we all speak of draw length like it is something that is adjusted by the AMO definition; in my opinion that is only a part of the equation. Finding that magical point where everything comes together is a combination of many things. As Field14 mentioned bow mass to draw weight/holding weight ratio, balance of the bow as it sits in your hands at full draw, stance, body shape, even weight loss or gain can affect the status of Nirvana and your ability to maintain it…

    The draw length of the bow and it’s fit to you is primarily a product of string angle; at least as far as the relationship to keeping proper form. Next comes the connection between you and the string; that is in my opinion the most important. Finding the location of the scapular which allows the release of the arrow with the least amount of movement and conscious effort is the secret…

    When you have found that little 1/8” wide area… you will have achieved archery Nirvana…… That is the Draw length of the total package….. change one thing and you will lose it…..

    When you have found it... there will be no confusion YOU WILL KNOW....

  5. #5
    What is the best way to find your draw length, in general?

    What method will give you a number in the same ball park as the magic one?

    I've been shooting 29" draw length but feel perhaps I need just a hair more, but have not started playing around with it yet....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    As always field 14 and Javi set me straight. Now comes one of the Quest for
    "The Holy Grail" of archery. I am lucky enough to have two of the same bows that are set up alike and they both shoot the same marks. So with that being said I will start experementing with one of them, one twist at a time. Till at least my scope has little or no movement. I am in no Hurry to get this done. Buit I will say this, after shooting a 28 inch draw for years and now jumping to a release, I do believe my draw is a tad short. Between 1/8 to 1/4.

    Now that I have been educated a little I can tell you that when I draw, Get to my anchor, I see that I am bending my elbow what I believe is to much in my bow arm. I am however relaxed with my bow arm.

    But I think I know what you are trying to tell me about when I find it. At one time I do believe I found it. By chance or by string stretch. I couldnt miss and the groups scared me. But as with all thngs other problems cropped up which lead to a cable & string change on that perticular bow. Well the cams were marked so I put it all back together to spec. Marks lined up but yet, it felt different.

    What have I learned? Do no ever take anything for granted. I should have measured the strings and cables as they cam off the bow And reinstalled the new ones to those specs. Now, like an idiot, with a question from another archer, find myself in a spot I didnt realize i was in.


  7. #7
    Wingspan divided by 2.5. My wingspan is 68.5"/2.5=27.4". Another way is get in "your stance" with bow hand in a fist and place it on a wall. Measure back to corner of mouth. There are several others and they all are close. Key word, CLOSE!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    After thinking about this for the only 15 min of quite time I have, another question has come to mind. As silly as it may be but here goes. If you start twisting the buss cable or the control cable to gain a little on the draw length you will start to gain a little poundage every time you twist up.

    Now you have two options, one is to back the poundage down lets say that 1/4 turn or two, just leave the poundage alone. If you leave the poundage alone it will change the spine of the arrow ever so slightly. But for the sake of argument lets say you twisted up to gain a 1/4 in draw. By then you might have gained about 2 pounds or more. I might live with that if I get Super groups. But, would you keep the same poundage that you started with?

    Third option, untwist the bow string. Which will have the same effect on bow poundage. It goes up ever so slightly each time. So the question remains the same. Do you keep lowering the poundage? Now what would have he greatest effect on drawlength, buss cable, control cable or bow string? (Spiral Cam)

    Not only are you trying to change your drawlength and hopefully with some success, you are also changing the dynamic spine of the arrow to a certin degree. If you do not change the poundage, you now have accomplished not one but two aspects of equipment change. Now, the first part of the tunning process is to achive a dead on draw to get the bow to aim as steady as you can. After that, everything else comes in to play.

    Am I thinking about something I shouldnt be? Is this where that saying comes into play " Dont over think it".

  9. #9
    I have two areas I use most to adjust my draw. First is the peep. I try different and repeatable anchor points and move peep in small moves. The release handle I use is micro adjustable. My next bow will have adjustable cams. Just in the last month I have tuned around and discovered a very stable and repeatable setup I never have tried. My peep is now the lowest (closest to the nock) then I have ever had it. My sight picture is very stable. I think you might want to keep experimenting. I like being able to adjust my own bow. As I have said in other post draw length, in IMO, is most critical part of consistant shooting. Most of the time shooters choose speed over the better fit. Just keep tuning......tuning......

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Waco, Texas
    Quote Originally Posted by bowbender1
    " Dont over think it".
    find the sweet spot.... for the steadest hold and that perfect release....

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