The archery bow played a pivotal role in the life of the ancient man. Apart from helping early humans to hunt and kill their prey, the bow played a starring role in ancient wars. Although the arrow and bow are rarely used in foraging and modern warfare, humans have progressively mythologized and developed the archery sport. Today, there are innumerable compound bow manufacturer’s, making the task of choosing the best compound bows difficult. All compound bows, no matter their name or manufacturer, have similarities that need to be considered before a purchase is made. This article is going to look beyond all the jargon and propaganda and give only the core aspects that will be helpful when buying a compound bow. From the simplest definition of a compound bow, the history of compound bows, top features of the best compound bows, to reviews of some of the best compound bows on the market, this article will stop at nothing until you have all the information you need to know about compound bows.
Why do you have to buy the best compound bow? The first reason is the application of the bow. According to their application, compound bows have different specifications. Secondly, only the best compound bows have the exceptional “let-off” capability that most users look in bows. Durable designs, precision, speed, proper draw length, and appropriate draw weight are among the many reasons why acquiring the best compound is the ideal option. At this point, you should now brace yourself as we take a deep dive into this review.
What is a Compound Bow?
In a word, compound bows are modern bows that make use of a levering system to bend the limbs of the bow. This provision offers the wielder a greater mechanical advantage. The levering system makes compound bows more energy-efficient than any other type of bow by working in combination with the stiffer limbs of the bow. Due to their high-technology and higher-rigidity, compound bows have a reduced sensitivity to temperature and humidity variations. According to archery experts, modern compound bows are the most powerful, fastest and most accurate bows ever made.
The history of the compound bows dates back to 50,000 B.C when the bow and arrow were invented in Africa. Historians think that the bow was invented as an alternative to long spears since a short bow was easy to handle when stalking animals in the bushes. At around 2,800 B.C, the Egyptians developed the “C” shaped or composite bow where wood was tipped with an animal horn. Egyptians commonly used the composite bow during warfare. After the composites bows, came the crossbows. Crossbows are believed to have been invented in China at around 1027 B.C. In 1346, the French army used crossbows with modified cranks.
It was not until 1960, when Holless Wilbur Allen, a mechanic, modified a recurve bow, that the compound bow was born. As mentioned earlier, a compound bow utilizes cables and pulleys to bend the bow’s limbs, enabling the arrow not only to fly further but also to hit the target with greater accuracy. After Allen patented his design in 1969, a bow manufacturer by the name Tom Jennings, begun commercial production immediately after. Today, there are many top brands of compound bows including Alpine, Athens, Bear Archery, Bowtech, Diamond Archery, Elite, Ben Pearson, Hoyt, Obsession, Mission, etc. The World Target Archery Championship competition started featuring the compound bow in 1996. Unlike traditional bows, which are hard to handle, compound bows allow the hunter extra time to aim. This provision is particularly helpful in hunting situations.
What to Look for in the Best Compound Bow for You
Although a compound bow is made by a combination of many features, there a few key features that one should focus on when selecting the best compound bow. These features Include speed, draw length, draw weight, brace height, let off and the cost. The section below will cover each of these factors, one by one.
Most archers use speed as the primary determining factor when buying a compound bow. Thanks to the International Bowhunting Organization, the speeds of all bows are expressed in a standard SI unit, Feet per Second (FPS). Currently, all compound bows have FPS speed ratings. All compound bows are rated with reference to 30″ draw length, 70lbs draw weight and a 350-grain arrow. When buying a compound bow, it is advisable that you go for the bow with the highest speed. Speed is important because an arrow approaching at a high velocity makes it impossible for the prey to react. Additionally, the higher the speed, the harder the arrow hits the target, ensuring a clean kill.
Draw weight is the amount of weight the archer feels when retracting the bowstring. A bow with a high maximum draw weight has a high shooting speed. For example, a bow with a draw weight of 50lbs has a lower speed rating compared to a bow with 60lbs as the draw weight. To take down a deer, you need a minimum of a draw weight of 45 lbs. Therefore, most archers choose compound bows with a draw weight ranging between 50lbs to 70lbs. True, a higher draw weight has advantages, but it also comes with drawbacks.
Despite the fact that a high draw weight ensures a quicker and deadlier shot, a bow with a high draw weight is hard to control when drawing and aiming, leading to poor shooting techniques. Consequently, for the shooter to avoid injury, it will be imperative to hold the bow in a still position for at least a minute in the full draw. For beginners, it is helpful to start with a bow having a draw weight as low as 10 lbs and then progressively increase the draw weight as the muscles get stronger.
Draw length is the name used to describe the distance between the bowstring at full draw and when it is at rest. Usually, the draw length of a bow should be set in accordance with the archer’s physical stature; otherwise, the chances of achieving full shooting are tremendously reduced. The draw length of most of the today’s bow is adjustable. Set the draw length to equal your full arm span divided by 2.5.
This term describes the percentage of peak weight that the archer holds at full draw. For instance, a bow with a 70lbs draw weight, and a 75% let off has a full draw of 17 pounds. Therefore, the archer has to pull 17lbs to maintain the string at full length. A higher let off enables the archer to hold the bow at full draw for a longer period while a lower let off increase the arrow’s velocity. A very high let off can be very useful in some hunting situations where the hunter has to wait for long for a perfect, but then, it can lead to a bad shooting.
Brace Height is the distance from the shooter’s grip to the bowstring. There is a relationship between the closeness of the bowstring to the wrist and the amount of energy needed to draw the bow back. Shorter brace heights enhance the velocity of the arrow. Nevertheless, it is not advisable for a novice shooter to use short brace heights of 6.5 or less since they tend to magnify any minor shooting flaws. A standard 7-inch brace height is the recommended provision for beginners.
The more complex the compound bow, the higher the price. Although it is never advisable to go for the cheap low-end products, not all expensive bows return the value of the investment. When buying a bow, be sure to consider the features that will work for you; jus a tradeoff between the features and the price then choose the best deal.
Best Compound Bows for Hunting
Here are the best compound bows 2015-2016 season.
1. Bear Archery Compound Bow Arena 30
The bear archery arena series provides one of the best compound bows for hunting. The arena 30 is the ultimate compound bow in this series featuring a lightweight as the primary pro. The bow features a six and a half inch brace height, which offers the needed speed. It also features H15 hybrid camera system that enables drawing the target closer. Another incredible design feature is the inserted rubber that absorbs sounds and vibrations. The bear hinges are designed to reduce lateral torque while shooting. Its rubber is removable to allow for two grip options.
2. SAS Rage Compound Bow
The SAS Rage ranks among the best compound bows for hunting. It features high-quality construction, which translates to extended durability. Beginners can start by applying less draw weight and improve by tightening the bolt, which increases the draw weight. It offers between 55 and 70 pounds of weight. The draw extends between 26 to 30 inches. The arrow can go up to an impressive speed of 270 FPS. The strong-layered limb gives it durability. The ABS limbs are compressed to improve on strength and comfort during use. The package comes with no arrows, and the bow weighs 4.4 pounds.
3. Genesis Original Compound Bow
This top rated compound bow has managed to become official in the national archery school programs. It forms a great introduction to bows for both the youth and adults. It is ideal for the whole family to use courtesy of the adjustable physique.
The main drawback with this compound bow is that it is may fail to impress an experienced hunter due to low shot speed. Otherwise, it offers a broad range of draw weights and draw lengths. It also features one cam to eliminate the need for turning. The bow provides minimum recoil with little to no noise and precise shots. Its design is rugged featuring aluminum and stainless steel cable guard. Aluminum and stainless steel assure the user long lasting service. The choice of material is perfect in attaining lightweight too.
4. 2016 PSE Brute X Compound Bow
PSE Brute X is the best compound bow for someone looking for high speed in a shot. The bow can release arrows at a speed of up to 320 FPS. It provides excellent performance and a desirable quality at an affordable price.
The construction is versatile to allow for drawing the weight to the user preference. It provides between 60 and 70 pounds with an adjustable length of 29 inches. the bow can be set between 25 and 30 for comfort. It has 7.25 inches of brace height with a let-off of 75%. Using this bow does not only give you fast shots but also quiet and powerful making it fall on the list of best compound bows for hunting. Noise and vibrations are reduced by Vibracheck backstop and Vibracheck limb hands devices. The bow has an effective ultra-rigid riser and Raptor grip to absorb shock and enhance comfort.
5. Bear Bow Attitude RTH Realtree APG Camo
The bow offers style without compromising on value. The bow is a perfect choice for someone on a budget but does not want to sacrifice durability and reliability of the bow. It features one cam to facilitate smooth and efficient shooting. Shots from this bow can travel up to a speed of 310 FTP. The draw weight of this bow is 60 pounds but adjustable up 10 pounds below. It has a let-off of 80%, and its draw length can be adjusted according to a user’s preference. The draw ranges between 25 and 32 inches. Other features include brace height of 7.25 inches and unit weight of 3.7 pounds. The bow construction is supplied with a string suppressor to reduce vibrations and noise.
Best Youth Compound Bows
Here are the best youth compound bows 2015-2016 season.
6. Velocity Youth Archery Race
The bow is an excellent choice for young people who are still newbies in using bows. It fits needs such as lightweight since it weighs 2.8 pounds only.
The device offers easy maneuverability with its axle-to-axle measuring 28 inches. The adjustability allows a user to set the draw weight between 15 and 55 pounds. The draw length for this youth bow ranges between 19 and 29 inches. It can be adjusted without necessarily using the bow press. The brace height measures 7.125 inches. The package comes with an optic sight, two arrows, and a quiver.
7. Diamond Atomic Package Youth Model RH Blue
New archers can be strongly advised to acquire this compound bow. The construction is simple but offers all the necessary adjustments and produces super smooth shots. It lies in the category of the most finely produced bows with attention paid to technical details. The result is excellent accuracy and very high speed. The construction is also durable and can withstand all forms of mishandling.
The adjustments include draw weigh between 6 and 29 pounds with a length of 12 to 24 inches. The brace height is 6 inches. The package comes with a quiver, 3-pin sight, and three arrows.
8. Matthews Mini Genesis Youth Compound Bow
The bow has a light weight of 2 pounds with a draw that ranges between 6 and 12 pounds making it ideal for the youth. It can be used with kids who are as young as three years. The construction has attention paid to producing quality components. One feature you will probably love is the resale value. Once the user is grown, the bow can be sold at a good price to upgrade since the construction allows for durability.
The bow has zero let off and no cams to aid in shooting hence high flexibility. The bow draws between 14 and 25 inches. The bow boasts of being built with technology similar to the original Genesis, which is a top rated compound bow.
9. Barnett Vortex Youth Compound Bow
The Barnett Vortex Youth Bow is a lightweight device with operations similar to those of the larger version. It is specifically designed for youth archers.
The bow construction ensures flexibility with the draw length adjusting between 21 and 27 inches. The weight can be set between 16 and 45 pounds. The bow has a good sight and can be used by the youth to hunt.
This product comes with a manufacturer’s warranty. It offers easy shooting, and its price is reasonable making it a perfect choice for amongst the best youth compound bows.
10. Bear Archery Brave 3 Bow Set
The brave 3 is an excellent right-handed bow for the youth. It can serve well for youth who are eight years and above. The kit comes with the necessary components to train a child the art of archery. The draw length and weight are adjustable to aid in finding the perfect fit. It has an inbuilt quiver, and the kit packaging comes with two fiberglass arrows. The critic about the bow being relatively difficult to pull yields into power shots in the long run.
The pricing of this youth compound bow is a great bargain since it offers versatility and durability