Archery being one of the oldest methods for hunting a variety of animals has a lot more than one might expect. From different types of bows in archery to the right arrow size for it, you have to carefully pick everything.
As you enter the market, you will find a plethora of options and different types of bows in archery with multiple arrow options. Some archery weapons are old-fashioned whereas others are modern ones with technological advancements. You must pick the best choice for you based on your personal preferences and key features.
The different hunting bow types are specified with unique functions which you can choose according to the type of hunting you do. Consider features like weight, draw length, ease of use, etc. before purchasing. The same goes for the arrows, you must ensure that it has everything you require for a successful, convenient, and fun-filled archery.
Bow Comparisons – Types Of Bows In Archery
Hunters love the aesthetic styles of bows and choose the one that is the most good-looking. However, this is not encouraged at all. Looks can’t get the required job done in multiple scenarios unless it is designed to do so.
That said, based on capabilities and other technical features, there are 4 types of bows in archery. Make sure to understand the differences carefully so you don’t end up buying the wrong one.
These are the oldest types of bows to date and are still used by thousands of hunters regardless of their experience. Invented back in 800 B.C., another name for recurve bows is traditional bows. Because of their decades-old age, these are the most tried and tested ones.
Manufacturers typically use multiple layers of wood, carbon, or fiberglass to craft these bows. Doing so could be extremely dangerous for the archer. Dry firing is when the arrow is not nocked on the bowstring and you still shoot it.
On these bows, both limbs curve in a direction opposite to the archer. This bend results in a much more powerful shot as compared to the straightened limbs. The best thing about these types of traditional bows is that they are super easy to learn. That said, can be used by beginners as well as experts.
The recurve bows for beginners come with a wooden handle. Whereas, professional recurve bows feature a metal handle. Aside from target and field archery, it is the only type of bow used in the Olympic games. Very few hunters use it to hunt down game animals since it’s extremely challenging in those situations.
Crossbows are a mixture of traditional kinds of bows with some amendments. Featuring a traditional archery style with an addition of a trigger release mechanism, crossbows are greatly popular among hunters. An important deciding factor in buying a it is how far can a crossbow shoot.
These have a relatively shorter bow with a horizontal position. Previously people used these bows in battles and wars. However, the use is now limited to hunting and sports. With a crank mechanism, the bows are drawn which allows the string to attach and lock to the trigger. This keeps the string in place until the archer fires an arrow.
The aforementioned point-and-shoot method is quite convenient for archers including novices. This allows them to enjoy some good target archery even without a lot of practice. Additionally, these come with brief limbs and a non-existent riser, and different positioning of the containing grip. Because of the shorter limbs, crossbows generally have heavier draw weights with shorter firing ranges.
These are not the oldest types of bows but are among the most widely used ones. Mimicking a traditional look with modern features, the compound bows have a lot more to cherish.
Newer models come with composite limbs and metal risers. The bow sports a pulley system and the bowstring is connected to it.
Compound bows are more mechanical, instantaneous and can exert greater force on arrow resulting in longer shooting range. Although how far can a compound bow shoot greatly depends on draw weight and arrows. It is a key deciding factor in bowhunting with compound bows.
This pulley system makes it easier for the archer to draw more weights using less strength. That said, once you overcome the strain caused by the initial draw, the rest won’t cause any trouble. You would then have to maintain the steadiness of your bow and aim correctly.
Considering all the amazing features, usability, and accuracy, this is the best type of bow for expert hunters. Compound bows suit the needs of archers that perform target archery and hunting in several parts of the world.
Considering all the amazing features, usability, and accuracy, this is the best type of bow for expert hunters. Compound bows are mostly used for target archery and hunting in several parts of the world.
Simple design and great performance are what a longbow offers. As referred to by the name, it is an extended pole with a bowstring joined to both ends. Companies use wood as the sole material to craft these bows. Since it doesn’t have any advanced features, this is quite tricky to use especially for beginners. Longer limbs result in more draw weight and ultimately much more strength.
That said, archers who are immensely powerful encounter no problem using these bows. All you need is to draw the arrow and the string as much as you can and release when you reach the max draw. The more force you apply to pull the arrow, the more powerful shot will be released.
If we look back a few decades, people used longbows in battles and wars. However, these are now opted for fun purposes only such as target or field archery. However, some exceptionally skilled archers use it for hunting.
Depending on the nature of use and performance, there are three different longbow types:
- English Longbow
These are extremely long with an average length measuring up to 74 to 78 inches. Centuries ago, archers used English Longbows in wars and battles due to the long draw length. Some people also used these for hunting. However, the use of these longbows is now only for target shooting practices.
- American Longbow
These longbows are newer than the English longbows but way too old for now. As a common belief, American longbows are an evolutionary form of the American flatbow and English longbow. These bows are a bit shorter than English longbows, measuring up to 68 to 70 inches in length.
Archers who prefer relatively shorter draw lengths and bows mostly use American longbows. Invented in the 1930s, these bows have been commonly used for hunting and target archery since then.
- Horse Longbow
Horse longbows also date back to 1200 B.C. and were a common weapon for field battling and wars. The newer horse longbow models have a slightly different curve that bends towards the bowman from the center and then curves away at the end. Due to this appearance, these have another name i.e., hybrid or reflex/deflex longbows.
Size wise, the horse longbows are the shortest of all three types with approximately 65 to 68 inches in length. The best thing about these bows is their flexibility which makes them an ideal choice for target archers and hunters.
Parts in Various Types of Bows in Archery
Three parts of an archery bow are the same in every kind. While searching for the types of hunting bows, you must know what the major parts and their roles are.
The riser is the middle part of every bow that attaches other parts such as an arrow shelf, grip, and the sight window. It is the part that you hold with your hand and is made out of wood, plastic, polymer, or other composite materials. For high-performance risers, manufacturers use premium materials like forged machined or die-cast aluminum.
It features universal points for mounting different accessories such as pressure buttons, stabilizers, sights, rests, and more. It is worth noting that risers are right-hand or left-hand specific.
For a right-hand riser, you will hold the bow in your left hand and the arrow will sit on the right side of the riser. Similarly, for a left-hand riser, you will hold the arrow in your right hand and it will sit on the left side.
The sight window is on the right side for a right-handed riser and on the left side for a left-handed riser.
There are two flexible limbs on either side of the bow. These provide enough force to move your arrow and push it forward with great power. Limbs are connected to the riser and also hold the bowstring firmly at the string nocks.
As suggested by the name, it is a string having loops on both ends. It is the component that holds your arrow and provides it sufficient energy to cover the distance between you and your target.
Bowstrings can be made out of a variety of materials which you can choose as per your liking. Initially, companies only used wood to make these strings. Later, they started using much more durable materials such as carbon fiber and fiberglass. The bow technology had evolved impressively in recent years, resulting in a great performance.
Types Of Arrows
Bow and arrow go hand in hand when it comes to archery or bowhunting. Arrow length is key deciding factor for your personal archery setup. Based on the construction materials, arrows are of the following types:
- Wooden Arrow
These arrows are made out of spruce, cedar, pine, and Sitka spruce wood. Wooden arrows work best with longbows and recurve bows. These usually come with feather fletchers and bend very slightly when released. While these offer amazing shooting accuracy, wooden arrows can break very easily.
- Carbon Arrow
Compared to wooden arrows, carbon arrows are quite robust and can withstand a lot of abuse. However, once they break, you cannot fix them, unlike other archery arrows. Note that these are the most expensive types of arrows.
Carbon arrows feature a smaller diameter and result in greater penetration. Because of its impressive durability, there is minimum to no shaft bending issues with the carbon archery arrows.
- Aluminum Arrow
Since aluminum is a lightweight element, the arrows made out of it also have this property. These make an ideal combination when paired with a lightweight bow as well. Though aluminum arrows are prone to bending they come back to their original shape instantly.
You will find these arrows at a relatively less price than carbon arrows. Aluminum arrows have the highest precision at a low price as compared to all other types.
- Aluminum Carbon Arrow
These arrows feature an aluminum center with carbon covering the surroundings. The best thing about these arrows is that they have all the features of a carbon arrow. With smaller diameters, these arrows are suitable for long shooting distances.
Overall, these arrows weigh extremely light and have great stiffness hence, perform quite well in windy conditions. Aluminum carbon arrows are widely common among experienced archers and hunters.
Parts of An Arrow
It is important to understand the parts of an archery arrow when you plan on purchasing one. There are four common parts in all types of arrows. Each part has a specific purpose and contributes to the overall performance.
The shaft makes the most of an arrow, it is the elongated spine. These are made out of wood but some newer arrows are crafted from carbon, aluminum, or fiberglass. Numerous archers still use arrows with wooden shafts for hunters.
However, these arrows are not suitable for faster-speed compound bows. Instead, use carbon or aluminum arrows with these. You must know what length arrows do you need to hit the bullseye.
Regardless of the arrow material, you must look for the types of bows in archery that are compatible with the arrows. In simpler words, the stiffness of a shaft must match that of a bow. As you release a bow, the shaft will bend initially and then straighten during the flight. If the stiffness isn’t correct, the shaft will bend abnormally, resulting in an inaccurate shot.
Fletchings produce wind drag that results in the spinning of the arrow. Most of the time, these are also called vanes. Fletchings are responsible for correcting the flight of an arrow by stabilizing it with great accuracy and steady speed.
The fletching on an arrow comprises three or more feathers or vanes. One feature would have a different color than the rest known as ‘cock feather’. Whereas the rest are called ‘hen feathers’.
- Arrow Point
An arrow point is the business end present on one side of every arrow. It is one of the most vital parts of an arrow and impacts its overall performance. You will find these in various shapes and sizes which one chooses according to the size of the arrow. Based on the shape and size, the characteristics of an arrow point can vary in different situations.
Broadheads are the best type of arrow point. These have applications in hunting animals larger than a cotton tail or grouse. It further has two types i.e., fixed-blade and mechanical broadheads. The fixed blades as suggested by the name are fixed in their place and are extremely strong. Because of their exceptionally sharp ends, hunters prefer fixed-blade arrow points.
Whereas, the mechanical broadheads are better with the flight. Broadheads have one major advantage i.e., unlike fixed blades, you don’t have to tune these. Offering larger cutting diameters, these broadheads could be ideal for hunting larger animals such as deer, antelope, elk, etc.
Nock is a plastic tip at the arrow’s rear end. This is what attaches the bowstring to your arrow. However, it isn’t as simple as you may think. There should be the right amount of tension when an arrow attaches to the bowstring.
If the string tension is too tight, it will impact the accuracy adversely. Whereas if it is too loose, there would again be accuracy issues with much higher chances of the arrow falling off the string.
You can find the following two types of nocks:
- Regular Nocks – Made from wood, plastic, or sometimes even bone.
- Lighted Nocks – Ensures great visibility and is favorite among professional hunters.
When it comes to finding the best types of bows in archery and a suitable arrow, you come across a wide range of features to look for. There are numerous aspects to consider such as compatibility, material, durability, the intent of use, and more.
The different types of bows in archery come with varying characteristics that can be used in a variety of situations. Archery could be all full and games unless you have the right types of bows and arrows.
So, make sure to carefully consider all the aspects and choose between the ones that fit your requirements the best.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
No matter what bow you are using, as a general rule, the size of an arrow should not be shorter than the riser’s center part. In simpler words, it should exceed the arrow rest at least 1 inch or a little more could also work when fully drawn. This ensures better safety for the archer.
There are different bow styles but the one that differs in terms of limbs curve is the recurve bow. Unlike other types, the limbs of a traditional bow curve away from the bowman.
When it comes to the types of bows in archery ideal for beginners, the best choices include recurve bows and crossbows. Recurve bows have very less learning elements and can be handled easily by a beginner. Whereas, crossbows offer an advanced point-and-shoot method that makes powerful shots convenient.
The standard bow for archers are recurve/traditional bows. These could be inexpensive yet high-performing and easy to use. On the other hand, carbon arrows are a standard choice. These are light in weight and offer premium accuracy, speed, and much better penetration.