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Bow shape

In archery, the shape of the bow is usually taken to be the view from the side. It is the product of the complex relationship of material stresses, designed by a bowyer. This shape, viewing the limbs, is designed to take into account the construction materials, the performance required, and the intended use of the bow.

There are many different kinds of bow shapes. However, most fall into three main categories: straight, recurve and compound. Straight and recurve are considered traditional bows. If a limb is 'straight' its effective length remains the same as the bow is drawn. That is, the string goes directly to the nock in the strung (braced) position. The materials must withstand these stresses, store the energy, and rapidly give back that energy efficiently. Many bows, especially traditional self bows, are made approximately straight in side-view profile. Longbows as used by English Archers in the Middle Ages at such battles as Crecy and Agincourt were straight limb bows. A recurve bow has tips that curve away from the archer when the bow is strung. By definition, the difference between recurve and other bows is that the string touches a section of the limb when the bow is strung. Recurve bows made out of composite materials were used by, among other groups, the Persians, Parthians, Scythians, Hyksos, Magyars, Bulgars, Huns, Turks, Mongols, and Chinese.

 

Choosing the Right Archery Bow

Choosing the right archery bow is a very personal choice, but a very important one. Many factors come into play, and fortunately there are many different bows available on the market for you to choose from. Choosing the correct bow will greatly increase your comfort while shooting, and will increase your accuracy.

The correct bow for you should have the proper draw weight and draw length. This means that it will draw back far enough (but not too far!) and with the proper amount of tension. Many archery shops will be able to measure you, to determine your ideal draw length. An ideal draw weight should be one that you can comfortably draw back and hold for at least 60 seconds.

Another factor to consider is the axle-to-axle length (ATA) of the bow. This is the distance between the points where the two respective cams are attached. Bows with longer ATA's are generally considered more forgiving and easier to draw back, but remember that if you are hunting you may not always have a lot of space available!

Whether you choose a single cam, dual cam, or hybrid cam style bow will depend on your style of shooting. Single cams tend to draw smoother, while dual cams are generally faster. Hybrid cams offer a mix of the two, and are relatively new to the market.

These aren't all of the factors to consider when choosing the right archery bow, but it should be enough to get you started on the right track. The best thing to do it to shop around! Try to shoot several bows by several manufacturers and see which one suits you best. Choosing the correct bow will prove to be a wise decision for many years to come.