How to Adjust Draw Weight on a Compound Bow

By Archer | Bows

How to Adjust Draw Weight on a Compound Bow
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If you’re like most people, you want to learn how to use a compound bow. With it comes a lot of time and effort on your part because you’ll need to learn to use it correctly.

Part of that mastery is learning how to adjust draw weight on a compound bow. For that, we’ve got your back. Aside from learning to adjust draw weight, we’ll also share with you what draw weight is and why it’s so important.

What Is Draw Weight?

The draw weight on a compound bow is the measurement of the force that is necessary to draw the bow. A bow with a higher draw weight tends to generate faster arrow speeds because it transfers more of its energy to the arrow. The faster arrow speed will result in deeper penetration into the target. It also creates a flatter trajectory, and a better chance of pass-through shots when hunting with the bow.

With that said, you don’t necessarily have to pull 100 pounds each time in order to hunt with a bow. However, if you’d like more power in each shot, you can do that by increasing the draw weight.

How to Test Draw Weight

While you might be able to pull the bow to its full draw, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best draw weight for you. Bowhunting involves a variety of unique challenges, to include holding it at full draw for a long time. Shooting in various positions and shooting in cold/hot weather.

These factors can make aiming and drawing the bow a little more difficult. Therefore, you need to test your strength before you increase the draw weight.

  • The first test requires you to pull the bow straight back using one fluid, smooth motion. Do this slowly because animals will see movement well. It’s best to practice drawing the bow back with very little movement.

If you can’t do that because you’ve got too much draw weight, it’s best to back it off a bit. If you can’t draw slowly because your arm doesn’t have enough resistance, you should increase draw weight.

  • You should also perform a test where you hold a full draw. Many times, you’ll be poised and ready and will have to wait for your shot. Therefore, to test this, draw the bow fully and hold it for about 30 seconds before taking your shot (at a target).
  • A final test includes drawing the bow while you’re seated, kneeling, or when your feet are in unusual positions. These tests mimic awkward shooting situations you might experience while hunting.

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How to Adjust Draw Weight on a Compound Bow

You’ll find two methods for adjusting the draw weight on your compound bow. The first is the easiest method because you’ll only need to take it to an archery shop. You can let the technician tighten everything and check your draw weight.

Taking It to the Pros

Usually, a full turn of the limb bolt will change the weight of the bow by about two pounds. You should increase draw weight a few turns at a time and retest yourself to avoid injury. Injuries can happen after increasing your draw weight.

If you increase it too much, your muscles aren’t going to be prepared for that extra weight, which can cause muscle strains and sprains. You may also overcompensate by overarching the back or standing with poor posture, which can cause back pain.

Adjusting Draw Weight Yourself

Of course, you may be the type of person who wants to do things yourself to get the sense of pride that comes with doing it all on your own. You can do it, but you should be very careful not to damage the components or put too much draw weight on the bow.

The first step is to inspect the limbs and where they connect with the bow to find the limb bolts. Examine that area and find the locking screw. There might not be one, but if there is, loosen it.

Then, you should insert your Allen wrench into one of the limb bolt ends. Turn it clockwise until it sticks and then turn it counterclockwise. Repeat this step with the opposite limb bolt. Adjust the bolts until you’re at your desired draw weight. Remember that one turn can add about two pounds of weight.

Then, if there were locking screws, retighten them as well. You’ll also want to test the draw weight by nocking an arrow, positioning yourself near the target, and aiming. Draw the bow slowly and carefully, but don’t release the arrow.

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Other Things to Tune/Adjust

Once you do increase your draw weight, it’s likely to affect the sighting and your arrow’s tuning. Therefore, you should also adjust the sight and tune the arrows again. This may also require you to buy new arrows with the appropriate spine for your draw weight.

How to Increase Power in Every Shot

To shoot with heavier draw weights, you have to strengthen the muscles used in archery. That means you have to shoot frequently. To get that amount of exercise, you should shoot at targets that are a few yards away. This helps you shoot many arrows in a shorter period.

You can also increase muscle strength by repeatedly pulling the bow and holding it at its full draw. Be careful because accidents can happen, and you don’t want to risk dry firing, which can damage the bow and string. If you choose to do this, make sure the arrow is nocked correctly, and you’re pointing at a target.

If you can’t shoot at home, you can purchase an archery training device or use a stretch exercise band to help strengthen those muscles. You should also consider exercising the rotator cuff, legs, and core, as well.


While it can seem a little challenging to do, you should learn how to adjust draw weight on a compound bow. If you don’t, you could end up hurting yourself, have inaccurate aim, or making your arms and shoulders tired before their time.

You may find that it is easier to ask an archery shop technician to adjust the draw weight for you. We’ve included a method so that you can do it yourself if you are mechanically inclined.

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(2) comments

Garret Auer March 17, 2020

Could you help me with something if you have a second? Would you recommend a new hunter invest in a crossbow or a long bow? It seems like a longbow is more accurate. I’ve heard though that a crossbow is much more powerful. Thanks in advance for your answer.

    Archer March 21, 2020

    It depends on what type of archery you are practicing. If you enjoy target shooting and would like less expensive hardware then a long bow would be a good investment. If you are going to hunt then a compound bow and maybe a crossbow depending on your local laws may be the way to go.

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