How Do I Adjust The Draw Weight On My Compound Bow?

So you’ve recently acquired a compound bow and now you’re wondering how to adjust the draw weight to suit your needs. Adjusting the draw weight is essential for achieving optimum accuracy and comfort while shooting. Whether you’re a seasoned archer looking to fine-tune your equipment or a beginner trying to figure it all out, this article will guide you through the step-by-step process of adjusting the draw weight on your compound bow. By the end of this read, you’ll be well-equipped to make the necessary adjustments and have a bow that feels just right in your hands.

How Do I Adjust The Draw Weight On My Compound Bow?

Understanding Draw Weight

What is draw weight?

Draw weight refers to the amount of force needed to pull back the string of a compound bow to its full draw length. It is usually measured in pounds, and it plays a crucial role in determining the speed and power of an arrow. The higher the draw weight, the faster and more powerful the arrow will be.

Why is draw weight important?

The draw weight of a compound bow is important for several reasons. Firstly, it affects the speed and accuracy of your shots. A higher draw weight allows the arrow to travel at a faster speed, which can be advantageous when shooting long distances or hunting larger game. Secondly, draw weight is also important for the comfort and safety of the archer. If the draw weight is too high, it can cause excessive strain on the muscles and lead to poor shooting form or even injury. Lastly, the draw weight also impacts the amount of energy transferred to the arrow upon release, which influences its penetration and stopping power.

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How is draw weight measured?

Draw weight is measured by pulling back the bowstring to a standard draw length and using a scale or draw weight gauge to measure the force required. It is essential to measure the draw weight correctly to ensure accuracy and consistency. Most manufacturers specify the draw weight range for their bows, allowing archers to choose the appropriate option for their needs.

Determining the Current Draw Weight

Checking the bow’s specifications

One way to determine the current draw weight of your compound bow is by checking the specifications provided by the manufacturer. These specifications often include the bow’s peak draw weight, which is the maximum amount of force required to reach full draw length. However, keep in mind that the actual draw weight can be adjusted within a certain range, typically lower than the peak weight.

Using a draw weight gauge

If you’re unsure of the current draw weight of your compound bow, you can use a draw weight gauge to measure it accurately. This tool, usually consisting of a handle and a scale, is designed to be attached to the bowstring and pulled back to the desired draw length. The gauge will display the draw weight reading, allowing you to determine the current weight or make adjustments if needed.

Adjusting the Draw Weight

Locating the limb bolts

To adjust the draw weight of your compound bow, you will need to locate the limb bolts. These bolts are typically found on the upper and lower limbs of the bow near the riser. They control the tension and compression of the limbs, which directly affects the draw weight.

Using an Allen wrench

An Allen wrench is the primary tool used to adjust the draw weight of a compound bow. It is essential to select the correct size wrench that fits snugly into the limb bolt. Using an improperly sized wrench can damage the bolt or result in unreliable adjustments.

Rotating the limb bolts

To increase or decrease the draw weight, you will need to rotate the limb bolts. Clockwise rotation will increase the draw weight, while counterclockwise rotation will decrease it. It is crucial to make small adjustments at a time, typically turning the limb bolts no more than half a turn at once. This gradual approach allows you to fine-tune the draw weight and maintain overall stability and balance.

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Checking the draw weight after each adjustment

After making an adjustment to the limb bolts, it is important to check the draw weight again to ensure it matches your desired setting. Use the draw weight gauge or consult the bow’s specifications to verify the new reading. Make additional adjustments if necessary, repeating the process until you achieve the desired draw weight.

Increasing the Draw Weight

Turning the limb bolts clockwise

To increase the draw weight of your compound bow, you will need to turn the limb bolts clockwise. This rotation increases the tension in the limbs, making it more difficult to pull back the bowstring to full draw length.

Applying equal turns to both limbs

When adjusting the draw weight, it is crucial to apply equal turns to both limb bolts. This ensures that the tension on each limb remains balanced, promoting consistent and accurate shooting. Failing to apply equal turns can result in an imbalanced bow, affecting both the performance and safety of your shots.

Checking the draw weight after each adjustment

After making an increase in draw weight, always check the new measurement to ensure it aligns with your desired setting. Repeatedly verify the draw weight until you achieve the desired increase, adjusting the limb bolts incrementally if necessary.

How Do I Adjust The Draw Weight On My Compound Bow?

Decreasing the Draw Weight

Turning the limb bolts counterclockwise

To decrease the draw weight of your compound bow, you will need to turn the limb bolts counterclockwise. This rotation relieves tension in the limbs, reducing the force required to pull back the bowstring.

Applying equal turns to both limbs

Similar to increasing the draw weight, it is important to apply equal turns to both limb bolts when decreasing the draw weight. Maintaining balance between the limbs ensures optimal bow performance and shooting accuracy.

Checking the draw weight after each adjustment

After each adjustment, make sure to verify the draw weight to ensure it matches your desired lower setting. Continuously assess the draw weight until you achieve the desired decrease, making additional adjustments if needed.

Using a Bow Press

When is a bow press necessary?

In some cases, adjusting the draw weight on a compound bow may require the use of a bow press. A bow press is a specialized tool used to safely and effectively alter the tension in the bow’s limbs. It is typically necessary when significant adjustments are needed or when working with certain bow designs that require the limbs to be compressed for draw weight changes.

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Working with a professional bow tech

If you are unsure about using a bow press or the specific requirements for your compound bow, it is always recommended to seek the assistance of a professional bow technician. These experts have the knowledge and experience to safely make draw weight adjustments and ensure your bow is functioning optimally.

Safety Precautions

Always wear protective gear

Before adjusting the draw weight or engaging in archery activities, always wear the appropriate protective gear. This can include a well-fitting armguard, finger tab or release aid, and a quality archery helmet if desired. Protective gear helps prevent potential injuries and enhances your overall safety during archery sessions.

Inspect the bow before adjusting

Before making any adjustments to the draw weight, thoroughly inspect your compound bow for any signs of damage or wear. check for cracks, loose parts, or any abnormalities that may compromise the bow’s structural integrity. If you notice any issues, it is essential to address them before attempting to adjust the draw weight.

Seek professional assistance if unsure

If you are unfamiliar with adjusting the draw weight or have concerns about making the changes yourself, do not hesitate to seek professional assistance. Consulting a knowledgeable bow technician ensures that the adjustments are made correctly and reduces the risk of damage to your bow or potential injury.

Testing and Fine-Tuning

Shooting a few arrows

After making adjustments to the draw weight, it is essential to shoot a few arrows to assess the changes in performance and feel. This allows you to gauge the impact of the adjustments on arrow speed, accuracy, and the overall shooting experience.

Seeking the desired draw weight

During the testing phase, pay attention to how the bow feels as you draw and release the arrow. Aim for a draw weight that allows you to comfortably and consistently execute your shots with proper form and without excessive strain.

Fine-tuning with minor adjustments

If the draw weight feels slightly off or you are not achieving the desired results, you can make minor adjustments to further fine-tune the setting. Utilize the limb bolts to make small turns and retest until you find the optimal draw weight for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I adjust the draw weight myself?

Yes, it is possible to adjust the draw weight of your compound bow yourself. However, it is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, use the correct tools, and make adjustments gradually to ensure safety and optimal performance.

What happens if I exceed the bow’s recommended draw weight?

Exceeding the bow’s recommended draw weight can lead to various issues. It can put excessive strain on your muscles, resulting in fatigue and potential injuries. Additionally, shooting with a draw weight higher than recommended can negatively impact your accuracy, form, and overall shooting experience.

Can I adjust the draw weight without a bow press?

While many compound bows can be adjusted without a bow press, it is essential to check the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a professional bow technician. Some bows may require a bow press for certain draw weight adjustments or specific models.


Understanding draw weight is essential for any archer, whether they are beginners or experienced enthusiasts. By grasping the concept of draw weight, knowing how to determine the current weight, and understanding how to make adjustments, archers can tailor their bows to meet their specific needs and shooting preferences. Remember to always prioritize safety, make gradual adjustments, and seek professional assistance if uncertain. With proper knowledge and careful adjustments, you can optimize your compound bow’s draw weight to enhance your archery experience.

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