The distance a bow can shoot an arrow is dependent on a number of variables including facets of design, the archer’s form, altitude, and the weather conditions.
However, generally speaking, the heftier the draw weight, the more powerful the shot will be and the further the arrow will travel. With 70lbs being the heaviest draw weight available, you can get some serious travel in a shot.
In calm weather conditions, with a decent pull length and light arrows, a good archer should be able to shoot beyond 1000 feet (333.333 yards) with a 70lbs bow. That’s some epic range!
While you explore this intriguing topic, make sure to check out this informative topic about whether a bulletproof vest can stop an arrow from penetrating here.
It’s not unheard of for a distance-primed hunting bow to shoot over a quarter of a mile, but it’s not all ‘usable’. Archers usually tend to only consider the effective range of their bow, meaning, the distance at which they can shoot accurately and consistently.
Although lighter arrows do fly further than their weighty counterparts, as soon as the weather begins to stir, their flight path will be drastically altered, rendering their potential range completely useless.
Switching them up for a heavier alternative will fix this, but will probably only reach around half to three quarters of the distance of the light arrow.
Matching a heavy arrow up with a bow with a 70lbs draw weight, but a short draw length, and you’re probably looking at something to the tune of 350 yards...not quite as impressive, but still decent enough for most applications.
If you’re doing some high altitude archery, the game changes completely. As the air is so much thinner that far above sea level, there is little drag as your arrow takes flight, and so, it will travel faster and further.
You should always set your marks to the altitude you’re shooting in.
How Far Will a 60 lb Bow Shoot?
The same variables that affect the range of a 70lbs bow will also affect a bow with a 60lbs draw weight, so there is no definite answer.
As the second heaviest pull, you certainly get some awesome distance on a shot, especially if the weather is mild, your arrows are nice and light, and you have a large enough draw length.
If you show good form, you could definitely hit a target from 60-70 yards away consistently, and over 100 yards with some difficulty.
If you’re going for pure range, with no effort to be accurate or consistent, you should be able to hit around the 1000-foot mark, although you may need to employ an overdraw and switch up your arrows for that kind of distance.
How Far Can a 50 lb Bow Shoot?
50 pounders tend to have an effective range between 50-60 yards, but if you’re using your bow for hunting rather than archery, you should try and get as close as possible to your target to loose a humane shot - we’re talking 30-40 yards.
In terms of range alone, you’re looking at a maximum distance of around 100 yards depending on the weather conditions, your setup, your skill, and the altitude.
Having said that, with a 55lbs bow, Harry Drake, one of the pioneers of the modern composite bow, managed to fire a shot 1072 yards using a grip extender and an overdraw.
The conditions for a long distance shot would have been perfect too.
How Far Can a Compound Bow Shoot?
For the most part, a compound bow can fire a shot well over 1000 feet, but that doesn’t mean they’re effective up to that range.
The world record holder for the farthest target hit with a compound bow is American, Matt Stutzman. Shooting at the TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas, he managed to hit a target from 930.04 feet.
That was under World Archery conditions, so there may be well someone out there capable of hitting targets from an even further distance that deviated from the accepted standards for professional archery.
A quality modern compound bow with a pristine setup should be able to hit just over 600 yards, which is around 1800 feet.
That’s impressive but consider this. In 1971, Harry Drake managed to shoot an arrow 2028 yards using a foot bow. This record was then broken in 1983 by a shot that traveled a whopping 1.873km.
Tips to Maximize Your Effective Range
The limits of the effective range of your bow may be determined by the bow itself, bow how much of that you can take advantage of comes down to your skill as an archer. Let’s briefly discuss a few tips for improving accuracy at distance.
- Shooting Angle - This may change depending on weather conditions, but a 45° angle is generally considered the best for a long range shot.
- Release - A clean release is essential. If you use your fingers for shooting, the perfect release takes time to master. If possible, use two fingers instead of three to limit the contact points on the bowstring. As it only requires a single contact point, using a release aid might be a good choice to boost your range.
- Relax - Don’t put tons of energy into the shot. Focus up and let the equipment do the work. We’d go as far as saying put no effort into the shot at all. You should be completely relaxed during the release. Tension in your body will be transferred to the bow which is going to reduce your effective range. Make sure the fingers of your bow hand are nice and loose, and you’ll improve your distance shooting significantly.
- Follow Through - Holding your posture is key to long range shooting. The problem is that a lot of archers don’t realize how much they’re moving as soon as they release. Every movement you make in that instance, no matter how small is going to affect the flight path and distance of your shot.
- Use Lighter Arrows - As lighter arrows travel faster through the air, they experience less drag, enabling a longer flight path.