How to Adjust Draw Weight On a Compound Bow

I think we all can appreciate the beauty of compound bows as they offer not only a ton of features on the table but also many gadgets that can make shooting much more manageable.

Not to mention the accuracy and power that comes with compound bows. However, to shoot accurately and perfectly, you will need to understand how you can adjust the compound bow according to your needs, specifically the draw weight, as it will impact the power of your arrow.

You see, proper poundage can offer the kinetic energy the arrow needs without compromising on your shooting form.

Therefore adjusting the draw weight on your compound bow is imperative. You may have the best compound bow, but without adjusting the firing mechanisms of such a bow, your shots will not land where you want them to.

Here I have mentioned all the necessary steps to adjust the draw weight on a compound bow. So without further ado, let’s get going.

Figure Out the Max & Min Draw Weight Limits of Your Compound Bow

First of all, you should check out the maximum and minimum draw weight of your bow and make sure that you are not adjusting the bow way past the limits on either side.

Typically, a bow will have different sets of both max and min preset weight limits. These weight limits are in the form of a bolt that you’ll be turning to adjust the draw weight.

So the catch here is that every manufacturer has different amounts of weight limits, and you’ll have to figure what’s in your case. For instance, it might be mentioned that do not turn more than eight full turns on your bow; in such case, you should abide by it accordingly.

One more thing to keep in mind is not to max out your draw weight, as in such cases, you will run out of the string, and it might get detached and injure you.

Therefore, make sure that you are not exceeding the limits mentioned by your bow manufacturer.

Determine Your Current Draw Weight By Using a Bow Scale

Bow Scale

Before you proceed to begin changing your draw weight, try to look at the current poundage of your bow.

For this task, you will have to use an archery hanging scale or bow scale. I personally love the digital version of it for better accuracy, but the normal ones can still work just as well.

The bow scales have a hook at the end, and they are mostly vertically shaped; you can check the measurements on the scale.

You can place the scale on the nocking point of your compound bow and ensure that your bow is facing downward without touching the ground while lined up in the center.

Make sure that you are imparting the pressure on the riser, and slowly pull the bow whilst watching your scale. You will get your reading once the peak curve is reached; till then, keep pulling slowly.

Normally, you’d get the reading anywhere from 40-100 pounds.

Transition to the Draw Weight You Want

Once you have found out the current draw weight of your compound bow, you can now set to the new draw weight according to your leisure.

However, there are certain things to keep in mind while changing your draw weight. Firstly, if you’ve been feeling more fatigue and difficulty with your current weight, you should drop the weight by three to five pounds.

Generally, increasing your draw weight is suitable for advanced archers or as you level up from novice to intermediate or even professional.

You should also keep in mind that you should increase your draw weight by around three to five pounds at once gradually.

Anyways, don’t go too crazy with adjustments, as it is better to increase the draw weight by making minor adjustments than jumping all over the place and running into the risk of damaging your precious bow or, even worse, injuring yourself.

Adjust the Draw Weight By Turning the Bolts

Look closely at the risers of your bows, and you will find bolts that you can turn to increase or decrease your draw weight.

Note:- In some models of compound bows, there are bolts used to lock the limbs into place. Therefore before adjusting the draw weight, make sure to loosen these black bolts. Not every model has such bolts, but if your bows have, ensure to tighten the bolt after changing the draw weight and before shooting.

You will need Allen Wrench to turn the bolts, but I’d say go for a hexagon-shaped wrench or, even better, a T-handle hex key. These tools will help you with how many turns you have made and can simplify the whole process.

You can use the wrench on the limb and turn it 360° in either direction to make a complete turn. Generally, a 360-degree turn is about two pounds.

Make sure that you are checking your user’s manual to find out how many turns equals particular pounds.

The direction you’ll be turning the bolt will be either clockwise or anti-clockwise.

To enhance the draw weight of your bow, you should turn the limb bolts clockwise.

Similarly, to decrease the draw weight, you should turn the bolts anti-clockwise.

That being said, always-always make sure that you are turning both the bolts equal times. If they are not the same, use your wrench till the measurements are equal.

Gauge the New Draw Weight

Once you have adjusted your new draw weight, it’s time to measure it on the bow scale to ensure that you have the same weight you wish for.

You use the bow scale and hang the bow in such a way that you can pull the string without touching the floor. You can hook the bow scale on the release loop or the nocking point and measure the new draw weight by pulling.

If you have reached your goal, draw weight, you can tighten the bolts, and you’re good to go.

Lest should you haven’t, you can adjust the draw weight, measure it on the scale again, and keep repeating the process until you get your desired weight.

A Few Things to Keep in the Back of Your Mind

Generally, most of the bows can only deal with four to five turns at a time, and you should ensure that you know the same for your bow.

When you’re adjusting the draw weight, ensure to limit the anti-clockwise turns. I would recommend reading the owner’s manual before tinkering with the limb bolts.

Also, make sure that you are not twisting the bolts too tightly or with too much force, as you can inadvertently damage the limbs.

Never, I repeat, Never should you Dry Fire your bow, meaning you should not fire the bow without an arrow as it can damage your bow pretty bad as well as injure you in some cases.

How To Find Out Your Ideal Draw Weight?

Well, if you are not sure about where to start with draw weight, you can use these guidelines as a reference.

PersonWeight in lbsDraw Weight in lbs
Small Child45 to 7010 to 15
Kid70 to 10015 to 30
Boys and Girls100 to 13030 to 40
Boys and Girls130 to 15040 to 55
Men150 to 18045 to 80+

Note: These figures are just for references. If you feel uncomfortable with draw weight, do not shoot as it can affect your accuracy and potentially cause some injuries. Depending on your strength, shooting style, and experience, you’ll need to change the draw weight from time to time.

No Clue?

You may not understand the whole process right away just by reading. Therefore, it is also essential to watch some videos to get a clear idea about doing certain things, especially in archery. Here’s a video you can watch to get a better idea about adjusting the draw weight.

Wrapping Up

Now that you have adjusted your draw weight, it’s time to head back to the range and practice some shots or continue with your hunting.

Be that as it may, as you will gain experience in archery, and as you keep progressing, you’ll have to change the draw weight many times till you find the sweet spot.

With all that said, it is worth paying attention that different compound bow will feel different with the same draw weight as they differ in structure.

Till next time hunters, keep shooting and fishing!