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Discussion Starter #1
I understand that dry fires are terriable for your bow and can seriously damage it, but I never really knew why. What's the science behind not having an arrow in vs having one in. It doesn't really make sense.

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Not sure if this is science, but the stored energy has to go somewhere. So with a arrow it takes the energy. Without a arrow the limbs, cams and strings take it. Don't do it just to find out!!!!!
 

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I can't really explain the science behind it but when you fire an arrow you put the energy that's stored in the bow at full draw into the arrow. If there isn't an arrow, there's nothing to absorb the energy when the bow is fired except for the bow itself.


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Discussion Starter #4
Quite interesting actually!

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Arrow absorbs stored energy in the limbs. Without arrow the limbs may blow apart which happened to me last summer - forgot to put an arrow in.
 

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Well the best way to think of it is like this. both limbs act as springs on a bow and store energy. when that energy is released it is released into the arrow. If no projectile is present then the energy stored in those limbs travels around the bow and, if at the wrong place. will break it. See the image below and imagine energy coming from both ends of the graph. each end represents a limb.

spectra-single12seconds1.png

if the converging energy waves joins at the wrong spot the energy released during the dryfire will break the bow. hope that helps and sorry for the less than stellar image. Best i could find to illustrate how it works
 

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So go outside and start your car and without putting the car in gear just push the gas pedal down to the floor for a minute and let the engine rev at maximum rpm's. that is what a dry fire is doing to your bow. Sure your engine may survive and so might your bow but there is a good chance that something is going to explode.
 

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Best analogy is this......go throw a baseball as hard as you can..... now pretend to throw as hard as you can without a baseball in your hand......you hurt yourself when there is no ball in your hand. When you throw an actual ball you don't hurt yourself because all the energy is transferred into the baseball.
 

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Energy cannot be created or destroyed, energy can only be transferred, so when you shoot without an arrow, the energy has no where to go but back into the limbs, riser and strings, wrecking havoc.

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Well the best way to think of it is like this. both limbs act as springs on a bow and store energy. when that energy is released it is released into the arrow. If no projectile is present then the energy stored in those limbs travels around the bow and, if at the wrong place. will break it. See the image below and imagine energy coming from both ends of the graph. each end represents a limb.

View attachment 3671289

if the converging energy waves joins at the wrong spot the energy released during the dryfire will break the bow. hope that helps and sorry for the less than stellar image. Best i could find to illustrate how it works
What?????
 

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Some of the energy also goes to friction, and some goes to noise. Snap!
 

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Not sure if this is science, but the stored energy has to go somewhere. So with a arrow it takes the energy. Without a arrow the limbs, cams and strings take it. Don't do it just to find out!!!!!
Larry
This is definitely physics and you provided a simple yet to the point explanation of what happens. Even though it does not explain in detail the "why" or the "how", it answers correctly the "What".
To the OP...
People mean well...but sometimes they misunderstand what happens. The baseball analogy above is a good one, but the wave energy and the tag of war analogy are completely unrelated to this. Sorry gents!
 

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Although an arrow seems very light and insignificant to all the energy involved in the shot, making that little arrow go from 0 to 300+ feet per second in the matter of a few inches requires a lot of energy.
Look at the energy on the receiving end of your shot (target or animal) and imagine all that energy transferred to your bow instead. Now you can see how and why a dry fire can cause so much damage. From a non scientific perspective.
 

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Best example I think of demonstrating transfer of energy: you have a hammer, nail and 2x4. You first swing of the hammer you hit the nail. No damage to the 2x4 and the nail moves. Second swing of the hammer, you miss. You look down at the 2x4, there is an indent of the hammer face(circle) in the wood. The same thing happens to a bow. The energy is spread out through the riser/limbs/strings and can cause damage
 
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