Recurve bows are one of the finest inventions in the world of archery. Choosing a bow with the right specs, draw length, and draw weight won’t help unless you know how to aim it. Imagine having a bow with top tier features and comfort but you fail to shoot at the target every time.
The main reason could be poor aiming accuracy. So, how to aim a recurve bow steadily and get precise shots?
Whether you aim with or without sights, one thing that helps with the aim is shooting stance. While aiming your target, stand straight with your legs apart about the width of your shoulder.
There are numerous factors associated with appropriate aiming such as presence of sights, wind, rain, etc.
Our experts compiled a guide for all the archers and bowhunters struggling to understand how to aim a recurve bow.
Shoot Like A Pro – How To Aim A Recurve Bow?
Out of all the bow types, recurve bows are the only ones allowed in Olympics. Professionals in such tournaments prefer bows with draw weights quite low i.e., 40 to 50 lbs. Compound bows are excessively powerful and are designed mainly for hunting.
Whereas, archers used longbows in the Olympics for decades but stopped as the times changed. These are less precise than recurve bows with no room for attachments.
When using a recurve bow, in qualification phase, archers are allowed to shoot 72 arrows. Whereas, in the matchplay phase, they shoot their best of five rounds. The distance at which they take the shots is 70 meters at a 10 point ring target with a total diameter of 122 cm.
That said, the majority of the archers are drawn to it because their favorite Olympians use a recurve bow. If you are just starting, choose purpose built beginner recurve bows.
As mentioned earlier, the shooting stance plays a vital role in precise aiming and shooting. Along with keeping the legs shoulder-width apart, you should also bend your knees very slightly.
This is known as a neutral stance. At full draw, this posture will keep your feet and arrow perpendicular while hips and arrow will be parallel.
Identical to compound bows, recurve bows also come with multiple bushings for various attachments. This is where you can load sights for aiming. There could be times when you don’t have any sight so, you should know how to aim without them as well.
Even though sights make a significant impact on overall shooting accuracy, you should be careful with the aim.
Things don’t become a piece of cake to shoot right in the bullseye with peep sights. It is just a marker that helps you with better accuracy. You, yourself are responsible for aiming at the right spot. Similarly, when not using a sight, you have to work on your firing posture and steadiness.
How To Aim A Recurve Bow With Sights?
The first thing to understand when using a bow sight is that it is only a tool that fine tunes your aiming. In no way a sight guarantees an enhanced performance or shots in the target’s dead center.
Just like a rifle scope works, bow sights have a similar mechanism. To aim with the sights, you have to place the right focal point on the target and hold your aim.
There are a few types of bow sights that archers can choose from.
Open Ring Sight
These are the simplest of them all and are often known as peep sights. It features a horizontal line with a dot in the middle to aim at the target. Simply place the dot in the middle of your target and hold it in place. Open ring sights are not as precise as other advanced ones.
As the name suggests, this type of sight comes with one or more than one pins. A single pin sight is specified for a particular yardage. However, multi pin sights can be used for shooting at various distances without changing.
Sights having more than one pin are labeled with the yardage they will focus on. For example, if you have a four pin sight for 20, 40, 50, and 60 yards, all will be color-coded and labeled.
If your target is 50 yards away, focus on it with the pin specified for that distance to aim and shoot with high precision.
Multi-pin sights are most widely and commonly used by bowhunters and archers. These offer impeccable accuracy.
These are similar to those used in guns and feature crosshairs. Just like the pin sight, these also come with numerous crosshairs dedicated to different distances. The crosshair in the middle having darker lines usually accounts for 0 to 20 yards.
You can easily mount it on your recurve bow. To aim with this scope, look through it and place the intersection of the crosshair right in the target’s center. Make sure to use the right intersection according to the distance you are shooting at.
- Red Dot Sight
It is one of the most advanced and easy-to-use sights. As you peep through it, you will see a relatively bigger red-colored dot in the center followed by a few smaller ones right below it.
When aiming, if your target is between 0 to 20 yards, place the center dot over the target. Similarly, for greater distances, use the designated dots as labeled on the scope.
Aiming With Sights
Now that you know about different sights, let’s have a look at how to aim a recurve bow with them.
1. Hold The String
For the grip and draw, there are two common types. Both can offer great precision if you aim right. However, the Mediterranean draw is the most preferred one.
You can also try this technique
2. Choose Your Anchor Point
The most efficient way to lock your aim with sights is by using a three-anchor point approach. The first anchor point will be your jaw. Place your finger on the shelf of the tab and make sure it is close to your jaw or touching it.
Secondly, pull the bowstring and let it align with the tip of your nose. Lastly, the string should come in line with your lips or chin as well. This alignment of the bowstring allows you to aim accurately.
3. Aim And Shoot
Aim at the target using the pins or crosshairs of the sight. If there are multiple pins or crosshairs, make sure to choose the right one for the distance.
Overlap your target’s dead center with the center of the sight. Once you are sure about the aim, release the arrow.
How To Aim A Recurve Bow Without Sights?
When learning archery or bowhunting, always keep room for new experiences. Learning how to aim a recurve bow without sight is one of them. It helps you master aiming and more accurate shots without the help of bow sights.
This skill will be extremely handy when you don’t have a sight with you and need to take down your target immediately.
Following are the different ways that you can adapt while aiming with no sight.
This type of shooting involves aiming at your target imagining a vertical line from the tip of your arrow. With this method, you can determine the place where your arrow hits on the target from various distances.
For example, begin with shooting from a distance of 5 yards. Make sure to aim the arrow’s tip right in the bullseye of your target. Take 3 to 4 shots while aiming at the dead center, this will create close groupings.
Now, measure the gap between the center (where you aimed) and the place where arrows actually landed. This will be the gap you will get every time when shooting at 5 yards without a bow. Determine the gaps in the same way for 10, 20, 25 yards, you can go farther if you wish.
Once you know your shooting gap at specific yardages, always shoot at those points to hit the dead center. For example, the gap at 5 yards measures 10 inches above the dead center, you must always aim 10 inches above the bullseye to get the accurate shot.
As suggested by the name, face walking is when you change the anchor points near your face for different yardages. As you set the arrow tip at the target’s center, choose an anchor point and shoot with it. If the arrow hits above the bullseye, lower your anchor point and vice-versa.
In this method, you will walk your hand on the bowstring up or down to adjust the arrow tip on the target hence known as string walking. When aiming, you should always overlap the arrow’s tip in the middle of the target.
If you’re hitting higher at the target while right beneath the nocking point, try lowering the grip. Similarly, if you get groupings below the center of the target, slide your hand a little up on the string.
Continue practicing for various lengths and yardages using a barebow finger tab that has markings. This will help you grip the string from the exact marking every time when distance varies.
Unlike other methods, you will focus on the entire area where you wish to shoot. With this technique, you don’t have to overlap the arrow tip on the target. Opt for the square shooting stance i.e., one food ahead of the line and the other behind it.
Now draw the bow while aiming it on the ground and look at the target with 100% concentration. Bring the bow up, keep looking at the area and shoot, all in a quick flow. Doing so helps with better accuracy in less time. The key to successful instinctive archery is lots of practice.
From different techniques to learn shooting without a bow sight to how to actually do it, we have shared it all.
- Make Appropriate Adjustments
The first and foremost thing should be making the right adjustments to your bow. A gear with improper settings will always fail to give your desired results despite all the skills. When using a recurve bow, make sure to determine the draw length and draw weight.
If these are not according to your stature and strength, the bow will become imbalanced. You can easily adjust these yourself or with help of a bow technician.
- Embrace The Correct Firing Posture
Hold your recurve bow in a way that your fingers are at an angle of approximately 45 degrees. Now stand straight while facing toward your target and at a distance of no less than 10 yards. Even if you are one yard closer, the aim wouldn’t be accurate.
- Prepare To Aim
Once you are at the right distance, raise your bow to shoulder height. Make sure to keep your arms straightened out. As mentioned earlier, you can use any technique for holding and drawing the string.
Once you choose the technique, draw the arrow to your mouth’s corner. This spot is important for everyone shooting without a bow sight and is known as the anchor point. Drawing to the corner of your mouth helps hit with greater accuracy.
- Aim And Shoot At The Target
For appropriate aiming, only keep your dominant eye open and close the other one.
Now pay close attention to the bullseye of the target and hold your arrow over it. Keeping your hands steady and eye sharp at the target, shoot the arrow.
You might get disappointing results at the start but, practice will surely make you perfect. Hitting right in the dead center will require lots of trials.
Tip: When releasing the arrows, keep your body relaxed, especially the arms.
How To Aim A Recurve Bow In Wind?
During archery or bowhunting, there are numerous variables working against you and wind is the most common one. Since you can’t see wind, it is important to determine in which direction it is blowing.
If the wind is consistent, you need to control your eyes and focus on the point where you wish to shoot the arrow. At this point, you should ignore the sight pin since the wind makes it move continuously.
Also, never move your sight horizontally to adjust for the wind. While you can change it vertically for the height that you want to aim.
In simple words, regardless of where the sight pinpoints, you need your eyes to do the job. Don’t look anywhere else than where you want to shoot and you will surely get amazing results.
Bowhunting and archery are indeed exciting and adventurous sports. If you are drawn towards traditional shooting rather than modern archery, you must get proper training. It is important to learn how to aim a recurve bow with or without sights and in various conditions.
If you practice religiously while following our guidelines, you can quickly learn to aim and shoot a recurve bow like a pro.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
When not using sights for a compound bow, you should work on your firing posture. Stand straight with your arms relaxed. Focus in the middle of the target and aim with your dominant eye.
If the rain is normal, aim like you regularly do. Rain generally doesn’t impact aiming or shooting unless it’s accompanied by heavy wind.