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Discussion Starter #1
I bought a longbow last weekend, totally an impulse buy but something I've wanted to get forever. Now that I've got one, I'm researching and found a formula for calculating the correct draw length. It was (I think) your handspan divided by 2.5, which for me is 25.5". My bow is 28". Is that going to be an issue for training? As in, will I be teaching myself bad habits or bad form by continuing to use this bow? I really love it and can't justify another one right now.

I've been practicing a couple hours a day and am starting to have some hope that I'll get good at it someday! Just wish I'd done this years ago, because man is it awesome!
 

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i don't know about everyone else but for me the draw length is very important. I was "fitted" at the local archery shop and the draw lenght was about 1 1/2 inches to long. No matter what I told the guy he insisted it was correct. NOT! Because the draw length was to long it caused me to have to hyperextend to get full draw, which in turn caused some pretty severe strain in my right should and neck. After practicing with my new bow only a short time I could hardly turn my head. the next day I had my son help me correct the length and boy what a difference.
No way I could have used it the way it was for very long. now that it is correctly fitted I can go all day with no problem.
 

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Draw length varies from person to person. Draw length in and of it's self is inconsequential provided it is sufficient to cast an arrow with the required force and is consistent from draw to draw.

If your draw is 27 inches and one time you draw back to 26 inches and the next time you draw back to 28 inches you will have problems with consistency. That is speaking strictly longbow or recurve. I don't shoot a compound so I can't say whether or not or how much inconsistencies in draw will affect the arrow flight. Maybe a compound shooter could weigh in on that.

Draw length is simply the distance from the riser to the anchor point. A properly fitted arrow for a longbow or recurve will extend out past the riser by about an inch and a half at full draw.
 

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I don't think that having a bow with a longer draw length than your draw will do much in a long bow other than reduce your pounds of pull and thus arrow speed since most long bows are calculated with a 28 inch draw. In other words if your bow is rated at 45 lbs at 28 inches of draw you might only be pulling only 40 with a 25.5 inch draw. Conversely if you have a 31 inch draw then your 45 lbs bow might actually result in about 50 lbs due to the added draw back. If you are comfortable drawing back and consistently anchor your draw the same way it shouldn't effect your shooting negatively. Now were we talking about a Compound bow...then such a difference in draw might be an issue that would require some "tuning" courtesy of your local Bow Pro shop. Most compounds will allow for some adjustments to be made to make the shooter more comfortable.

Where draw length is critical is in your arrow length!!! Too short of a arrow and you wont be able to make a proper draw back on your bow and it probably wont be comfortable either. Object of the game is to get your arrows as short as you can while still being the proper length and the proper spine (stiffness) for the poundage you are drawing at. This will give you the most speed with a arrow of proper spine and will also help you a little more on proper drawing back and anchoring consistently.

There are two different ways to measure ones draw length. I have been measured with both. The one involving the hand span divided by 2.5 says I have a 27.5 in draw. The one that uses a special arrow that you actually put on your bow and then draw back on until you get your anchor point says my draw is 28.5 inches. Go figure... I have found that on my 70 lbs compound the best arrow length for me seems to be the 28.5 inch measurement as my shooting is way more consistent from one shot to the next. As such every arrow I buy I have them cut it to 28.5 inches and install inserts as required. It basically comes down to exactly what Seneca stated with the first 2 sentences of his reply!
 

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Do be advised that when you first start shooting a bow your going to have some soreness as you will find that you are using muscles you didn't previously use or strain as much before you started. With a number of short practice sessions these should hardly be noticeable later on as you build your strength in these areas. If you have chronic or severe pain after shooting a couple of dozen arrows then you need to consult a bow Pro shop and find out whats going on. It could be improper fit, form or a bow of too heavy poundage for you.
 

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Once you get the hang of shooting a long bow you might try 3D. The matches are pretty much done for the year around here, next spring they'll start back up. Plenty of time for practice. I love shooting 3D, it's also a great way to connect with other archers and pick up tips and pointers.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Get with your local archery shop and they should be able to tune your bow to you and answer your questions.
I don't have one, so thank goodness for the Internet. Can longbows be tuned to a shorter draw length, or is that just compound?

After practicing with my new bow only a short time I could hardly turn my head.
Ouch! Sounds like it makes quite a bit of difference then.

Draw length varies from person to person. Draw length in and of it's self is inconsequential provided it is sufficient to cast an arrow with the required force and is consistent from draw to draw.
Well, I'll have to see if I can work on being consistent, which I'm absolutely not doing yet, but I've only been shooting a handful of days.

Where draw length is critical is in your arrow length!!! Too short of a arrow and you wont be able to make a proper draw back on your bow and it probably wont be comfortable either. Object of the game is to get your arrows as short as you can while still being the proper length and the proper spine (stiffness) for the poundage you are drawing at. This will give you the most speed with a arrow of proper spine and will also help you a little more on proper drawing back and anchoring consistently.
Oh no! I was worried about that. My husband shoots a compound bow but he's out of state. He said I could use his arrows which are 29" to 31" or so. I bought two new arrows and he cut them a little long since my bow is handmade so they're 28.5". How on earth do you tell about spine? Is that with all arrows, such as carbon? There weren't a lot of choices there so I assumed they were fairly universal.

I want to get wood ones soon, but for now I'm going with what's available and that's carbon. Speaking of what's available, fiberglass arrows are AWFUL! I bought a 3-pack and two of them split and fell apart in the first couple of days. I drew back and got a handful of fiberglass splinters too. Yuck!

Once you get the hang of shooting a long bow you might try 3D. The matches are pretty much done for the year around here, next spring they'll start back up. Plenty of time for practice. I love shooting 3D, it's also a great way to connect with other archers and pick up tips and pointers.
What's 3D? How do I learn more?
 

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Once you get the hang of shooting a long bow you might try 3D. The matches are pretty much done for the year around here, next spring they'll start back up. Plenty of time for practice. I love shooting 3D, it's also a great way to connect with other archers and pick up tips and pointers.
I love shooting 3D and so does my family. We have discovered archery is a great sport for the whole family. I shoot both a compound bow and a traditional bow. The compound is very surgical in its accuracy and the traditional is cool because you, "become the arrow" with aiming. Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect, what I mean by that is find an expert that can fine tune you're shooting and practice. Make sure your stance, draw, and release are the same every time so it becomes second nature.
 

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I bought a longbow last weekend, totally an impulse buy but something I've wanted to get forever. Now that I've got one, I'm researching and found a formula for calculating the correct draw length. It was (I think) your handspan divided by 2.5, which for me is 25.5". My bow is 28". Is that going to be an issue for training? As in, will I be teaching myself bad habits or bad form by continuing to use this bow? I really love it and can't justify another one right now.

I've been practicing a couple hours a day and am starting to have some hope that I'll get good at it someday! Just wish I'd done this years ago, because man is it awesome!
Draw length is THE critical component to accurate archery shooting. Some will tell you that it is no big deal, . . . for the most part, . . . they simply do not know what they are talking about.

The draw length determines the exact force that will be behind that arrow when it is released.

The key though is not necessarily in greater length vs shorter length, . . . but rather a uniform length. Always draw the arrow the same length each time, . . . and you will be able to some day put em where you want em, . . . drawing randomly or non uniformly, . . . your arrows will be all over the spectrum.

My compound has a pair of blocks on the strings, . . . when the blocks just touch, . . . my bow is properly drawn, . . .

Think of it as being the amount of powder in a cartridge case, . . . more powder = more power, . . . less powder = less power.

May God bless,
Dwight
 

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draw length on a long bow as said previous will not matter, and only will affect the power of the shot, I.E. the farther you pull back the more thrust you will get, to a point then snap of course.

The old style compounds had about three inches of range for draw length after they cam over.

The new bows with high percent of let off, 75 and 80 % have a very short relief, in order to keep the power stock to it's maximum efficiency, these bows are critical to have the draw length set perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I really don't know about the mechanics of bows, but could I get a shorter draw length bow at the same weight I'm pulling now? Because I'm definitely not hitting it as hard as I'd like to but I can't really pull back much more than I am. So is it possible to find a 25-26" bow at 40-50#? Should I look or just practice with what I've got in the meantime?

I want to build up to 60-70# so I can also hunt. This one is 42# and I'm not tiring out shooting 1-2 hours. Should I hold off and aim for getting a bigger bow later? (That question depends on the answer to the first one about shorter draw length.)

Thanks so much for all your input. I can't wait to keep learning!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oh, but I forgot. 28" is standard for longbows, yeah? I'm Googling now and I realize I could find this information, but it's nice to have that connection with people who already know versus the impersonal method of looking it up and relying on websites that may or may not be accurate.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Okay, so I see on this page: Bows In Stock-Northern Mist Longbows that I can get different weights but all the same draw length. So, I should just get a heavier bow, even if I can't fully draw it, in order to get closer to the 40# mark I'm hoping for now. Do I have that right?
 

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Yes with your shorter than 28 inch draw length you will have to resort to a heavier poundage rated bow in order for you to achieve more power with your shorter draw. IE... a 50 lbs bow may only actually be 45 lbs at your shorter draw length. Where as if you have arms like an orangataun and a 31 inch draw you might end up actually pulling back enough to generate 55 or 60 lbs of draw with that same bow that's rated 50 lbs at 28 inches.

If working up to 60 lbs is your goal I would seriously suggest looking into take down recurves that have spare limbs available so you can work your way up in poundage without having to buy a new bow everytime you step up a notch. That might work out a little cheaper for you in the long run.

For arrows, I would suggest aluminum or better yet Carbon once you get up in the higher draw weights due to the spine of these being much stiffer for the weight of the arrow. Wood works fine for shorter draw lengths and on lighter poundage bows. There is no penalty for using a arrow that has more spine than required. But go the opposite direction and use a arrow without enough spine and your arrow will do some wild things on you due to the flexing on launching it from your bow and in extreme cases may actually break. In other words using a wood or fiber glass arrow on a 70 lbs bow will not generally be recommended. It can be done and it was done in the dark ages obviously but its not always a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I really wanted the whole authentic feel of wood arrows but I can already see they would probably not do as well. I bought 3 cheapo fiberglass arrows when I first got the bow and put the last one away after completely destroying the first two in the first couple of days. I'm borrowing the hubby's carbon ones now and got myself a couple new carbon ones. I see these ones kind of fishtailing when I launch it, but they wind up straight in the target. I *really* need a coach, but there aren't any clubs nearby that I've found yet. Ah well, hubby will be home in 6 weeks or so.

I emailed the people who made the bow I have now and they said they could make me one with a shorter draw. Cool beans! Have to wait for some fundage, but at least that's an option. The way this 40# feels, I think I could probably step right up to somewhere around 50-60 after building up some muscles with this one. So maybe I wouldn't have to buy multiple bows. Then again, if I could do 60 without much trouble, maybe I should try for more....

This is going to get spendy!

Is this the type you mean with spare limbs? Fatal Styk Take Down Recruves by Robertson Stykbow Do you recommend any brands?
 

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Most long bows are sensitive to spine weight because of the archers paradox.
You can see the arrow flexing increase as he moves from using the correct spine weight arrow to using progressively lighter spine weight arrows.
 

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Yeah the Fatal Styk is the type of take down bow I was talking about although that one is definitely a bit more than my tightwad butt is willing to pay but a beautiful design none the less for sure!

Yeah I know what you mean about spendy, ha ha ha. I got into archery because I thought it would be cheaper than a gun and arrows being reuseable would be cheaper than buying bullets. I was wrong! I am not sure I have saved a dime really!!! It has been very rewarding though and its something we discovered I had a real knack for shooting right off the get get go. Left the guy at the Pro shop dazed and confused after the first shot on their in door range the first time a let a arrow loose, he couldn't believe it. That using the new compound bow they just set up and tuned for me before I even had a chance to pay for it! Now a days, I hunt almost exclusively with a bow and do better than most of the local deer hunters do shooting over a feeder with a gun.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
That was a cool video. What a difference in each shot. So on that note, are all carbon arrows the same or do you get different spine weights with those? Gah! The more I learn the more I don't know!

The Fatal Styks look nice but yeah, definitely way out of my price range. I'll have to keep looking for some other ones.
 
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