How to choose your first compound bow

ARCHERY is fast becoming one of Australia’s most popular sports, with more aspiring new shooters getting involved every day to take on the challenge of hitting the bullseye.

However, one of the biggest challenges all new archers will face isn’t hitting the bullseye; in fact, it takes place well before.

Choosing the correct equipment is a vital, yet daunting task and with the ever-growing selection of compound bows and new technologies, it can get very complicated. But don’t worry, help is here! If you are new to this sport and still wondering what compound bows are, here is a bit of technical information on what they are and how they work.

Compound bows have been in mass production since the early 1970s and at the time were a major advancement in archery technology. Though modern compounds look very different to the originals, the concept of how they work is still the same. Simply put, a compound bow is a bow that has a cam on the end of each limb.

These cams are joined together via a system of control cables and a shooting string. As the shooting string is pulled back, the cams rotate and the control cables act like a system of pulleys and cables to flex the bow limbs. Once the bow is drawn to a certain point, the cables reach a part of the module called the apex.

From here, as the cams rotate further, nearly all the power of the limbs is directed into the cables and only a small percentage of the overall power will be felt when holding the bow at full draw. This is called the let-off. This means that when the bow is fully drawn, as stated you will only be holding a minor amount of the overall weight, thus allowing the bow to be aimed more easily and in turn making the archer more accurate.

This is what makes compound bows the preferred choice for many beginners and bowhunters. However, over the years this technology has advanced dramatically and newer equipment needs to be matched to the archer’s size and requirements. When considering buying a compound bow, you need to determine what draw length you require and how powerful the bow needs to be.

Certain compound bows have set draw lengths, so not everyone can shoot every bow. The draw length of a compound bow is measured in inches and is the peak length at which the shooting string is drawn back to. This is where the let-off is at its greatest and the archer holds the least draw weight.

Of course, some people are taller than others and therefore will need the string to come back further, or the other way around for shorter archers. Several compound bows have adjustable draw lengths and can suit a wide range of body types.

To calculate your correct draw length, use this simple equation. Measure your arm span from fingertip to fingertip, then divide by 2.5 (all draw lengths are measured in inches, so use a unit converter if needed). Now you know what your draw length is, it’s time to decide what poundage you need your bow to be.

A bow’s poundage is the maximum pressure felt at the apex of the draw cycle while drawing back. Modern compound bows can be as light as 5lb or as heavy as 90lb. Beginners should never choose a bow that is too heavy for them. This will cause poor form, resulting in a number of accuracy errors or worse still, injury to the archer.

Starting out light is the best way for a beginner, and don’t worry, nearly all compounds have built-in weight adjustment so you can crank it up as you get more confident and your strength and technique develop. Here are some recommendations of draw weight for different ages.

In general, for eight to 12-year-old children a lighter bow of about 10-30lb will suit best. For teenage archers aged 13-16, I recommend 30-40lb. This is enough poundage for them to be able to hit targets accurately out to 50m in a club situation and provide enough power to harvest small to medium-sized game if they decide to take on the ultimate challenge of bowhunting.

For ages 17 and over, I recommend 40-55lb and upwards, depending on your upper body strength and if you have any pre-existing injuries. These recommendations may not always be 100 percent correct because some people might be stronger than others.

However, start at the light end of the spectrum, find a weight you are comfortable with and stick with it. Nothing is tough about having a 70lb bow and looking like an uncoordinated praying mantis while trying to pull it back. If you keep practising, you’ll find it easier to pull back higher poundages as your muscles develop.

Just make sure you don’t put too much pressure on yourself early on. Now that you have determined your draw length and draw weight, you can finally get to the fun part… shopping! Plenty of bows are designed for beginners.
The number-one thing you should look for is adjustability.

At Apex Hunting, we stock a number of bows that are highly adjustable and designed for beginning archers. This is a lot of information to take in, however if you follow the recommendations, you’ll fast track your archery journey and should begin hitting the bullseye in no time.

Here are a few bows that are perfect for beginners.

Apex Blizzard

What makes the Blizzard such a great starter bow for children and adults is its adjustability and compact size. With a draw length range of 19”-29” and a draw weight range of 5-55lb in a compact 29” axle to axle bow, the Blizzard will be comfortable and manageable for the youngest and smallest to nearly the biggest beginners.

The Blizzard is available in ready-to-shoot packages starting from $305. This package provides everything you need to get started and is the cheapest of its kind available. Please note, if you are an adult and fall into the higher end of the Blizzard’s poundage adjustability spectrum, you may want to consider our next option so you have more room to grow into your bow.

Apex Berserker Evolve

The Berserker Evolve picks up where the Blizzard left off. With two different draw weights available, the Berserker Evolve will suit teenagers right up to the strongest adults. A draw length range of 25”-31” and the option of two draw weights of 25-60lb and 30-75lb make the Berserker Evolve perfect for beginner archers wanting to start off light and get their form right.

It also provides you with the opportunity to greatly increase the poundage so you’ll be able to competitively shoot or bow hunt. All in all, the Berserker Evolve does it all and better yet, has a price tag starting from $359 for a ready-to-shoot package.

Please take into consideration that even though the specifications of the Berserker Evolve may fit you, its size may not, and smaller-framed teenagers might have some difficulty handling the bow. The Blizzard and Berserker Evolve will cover just about everyone and provide a suitable platform to get you shooting correctly and accurately in next to no time.

However, if you have a bigger budget your options don’t end here. Diamond and Bowtech each make very high-performance beginner bows with price tags that won’t break the bank. Here are my recommendations from these manufacturers.

Diamond Infinite Edge

The Diamond Infinite Edge is one of the best-selling bows in the world and there is a reason for it. The Infinite Edge is adjustable from 5-70lb and has a draw length range of 13”-30”. Combine this with its ultra-smooth draw and compact yet stable design and you have the ultimate starter bow that will suit the smallest child right up to a fully grown adult.

Better yet, the Infinite Edge is available ready to shoot for $549.95. If that price tag seems a little daunting, remember this: with the Infinite Edge’s adjustability, you won’t be upgrading to another bow any time soon.

Bowtech Fuel

New for 2015, the Bowtech Fuel combines all the latest technologies in a beginner-type package. With extreme adjustability of 14-70lb draw weight and 18”-30” draw length, the Bowtech Fuel will suit just about anyone. It is also the fastest starter bow on the market, producing arrow speeds up to 320 feet per second.

If you want to cut to the chase, and get the best beginner bow on the market, look no further than the Fuel. The technology within the Fuel will truly transform your shooting experience. Available in Bowtech’s Ready Aim Kill package, which contains everything you need to get started, the Fuel is priced from $669.

If you still have some questions or want to find out more, please contact our team at Apex Hunting on 1300 883 770, email support@apexhunt or come in to 22 Tombo St, Capalaba 4157 and try out the bow you are looking at in our seven-lane indoor archery range.
Tight groupings!

Apex Blizzard
Apex Berserker
Diamond Infinite Edge
Bowtech Fuel

About Lachlan Rooth

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  1. Look like you have a deep research and many experiences for this type of bows, Im currently using Inf Edge, it’s great but dont know there are any similar bow but lighter than this?

  2. Hey man! I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that your guide has helped me out a lot! I have been shooting my mother’s old Hoyt compound (about 22 year old bow). I have been thinking about purchasing a new or used bow, and I have been searching around to decide on what I want to get. I will be using mine for target shooting, and have been searching the web for advice on what I should be looking for. Your guide here has helped a ton, and I will be referring to it in the future! Thank you!

  3. Hi. I bought a Berserker compound bow online from you some while ago. Living in Hervey Bay makes it difficult to “drop in” to the store. However, this coming Monday, the 7th March, we will be down in Brisbane for an appointment and taking the opportunity of visiting during the day. Interested in talking to someone regarding strings and maybe some general advice. I am a “senior” 75 year old having only taken up archery in the last twelve months. That’s target shooting not hunting. Doing quite well in our local club and enjoying it.
    I am looking forward to having a chat so hopefully will see you Monday.

  4. Hello again. I have just send you a message regarding my compound bow. On sending it I realised that it is going to the wrong place. I bought my bow from Apex Hunting in Capalaba. Don’t know if you are connected with them at all on the net. However, I have just checked the whereabouts of your business and note that it is in Cleveland. We know the area having lived on Lamb Island for some years. Time permitting we may get the chance to also visit your store. Apologies for the oversight and will now try to contact Apex Hunting.

    • Hi Keith,

      Thanks for your messages. Yes, we (Bush ‘n Beach Fishing) are in Cleveland. Apex is in Capalaba, so not that far away. I’m sure if you contact them direct they will be able to assist you. If you don’t have any luck getting hold of them let me know and I’ll get them to give you a call. Cheers BNB Team

  5. This is so interesting and helpful. Your posts are right on target. I was just talking to my brother about this today 😉 Thank you so much!

  6. The best way to choose a recurve bow is based on the size of the bow, your experience with the bow, and the way you plan to use the bow. Some bows are better choices for hunting and others for competitive archery. Selecting a recurve bow is usually easier than selecting a crossbow or compound bow.

  7. He,
    I am rony, I am new and more interested in this platform, I want to learn more valuable idea about this topic. today I got here more resources. thanks for this great idea

  8. This tips are very effective and proven, thanks for this good share

  9. Great post, really interesting read..

  10. Thanks for your great article. It’s is a great information about hunting!

  11. Hey

    I have been interested in the berserker for a while now.

    Is the draw weight only two options of 30 or 70 or can it be in between also?

  12. Thank you for the post. It is really helpful to choose the best crossbow for hunting.

  13. I just picked up a bowmadness 30 to add to my pse collection. Fantastic bow. Looking forward to putting meat on the table with it. I now have 9 pse bows, they truly are the best on the market.

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