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How To Increase A Compound Bow’s Draw Weight

In this article we are going to learn how to adjust the draw weight on a compound bow.

Increase compound bows draw weight

Adjusting the correct draw weight to suit the archer is critical for accuracy and comfort.

If the bow’s poundage is too high, the archer will have a hard time pulling the bow back. When this happens, the archer won’t practice as much and their accuracy will suffer. The enjoyment of the sport then goes down.

The correct draw weight poundage will also be different for the different types of archery. Such as they might use a lighter poundage bow for target archery. But for bowhunting, the archer uses a heavier draw weight.


How to increase the draw weight on a compound bow

Limb bolt for compound bow


It is relatively easy to adjust the draw weight in this step by step guide.

Step 1. To adjust the poundage all you will need is an Allen key. (Hex key / wrench.) Depending on the bow manufacturer, they might use a 3/16” or 7/32” or a ¼” size Allen key size for the limb bolt.

allen key for compound bow


Step 2. To increase the bows draw weight / poundage, turn the bow limb bolts clockwise to tighten.

This will screw down the limb bolts and move the limbs towards the bow riser, putting more pressure on the limbs.

How to adjust draw weight on compound bow

Step 3. Ensure you turn the limb bolts at both the top limb and bottom limb evenly. That is if you turn the top limb bolt once all around, turn the bottom limb bolt the same amount.

Otherwise the bow won’t be correctly tillered. That is the limbs won’t bend at the same time. The cams will not rotate the same time, possible causing issues with bow tuning and accuracy.

Step 4. It is advised that you don’t turn the limb bolts more than two turns at a time. As an example you tighten the top limb two turns, then adjust the bottom limb two turns. The go back to the top limb, then bottom limb, etc. I generally just do one turn each.

Step 5. When holding the bow to twist the limb bolts, be careful you don’t put sideways pressure on the bowstring or cables as they can come off the cams. I hold the riser near the limb pockets.

increase bow poundage

How to decrease the draw weight on a compound bow

Step 1. To reduce the bows draw weight / poundage, turn the bow limb bolts counter-clockwise to loosen. This takes pressure off the limbs.

Step 2. Only turn the top limb bolt one or two turns, before adjusting the bottom limb bolt. Then go back to the top limb, etc. Just turn each limb bolt

CAUTION: Do NOT loosen the limb bolts more turns then the bow manufacturer states. This is from the fully wound down position. As an example the total turns allowed might be eight turns. Any more and the limbs might come off.

The bow limbs and cables are strung under tension and can fly off if the limb, if the bolts come out.

Step 3. Make sure the limb bolts are evenly turned the same amount for the top and bottom limbs.


Tips For Adjusting The Bow Poundage

If the limb bolts are hard to turn, use WD-40 or some spray to loosen them.

If the bolts have been sprayed but they are still tight, you can use a bit of pipe over the Allen key for leverage.

Two people might make it easier to adjust the bows poundage, with one holding the bow, the other person using the Hex key.

Tighten down the limb bolts all the way down. Mark the top of the limb bolts with a sharpie in a vertical dash. You use these marks to know how much to rotate the bolt.

On some compound bows, they have a locking screw on the side of the riser that you unlock. But with most new compound bows don’t have them.

Left to loosey, right to tighty is an old saying about which way to turn the limb bolts when adjusting them.

Grease the limb bolts now and then, so they don’t seize up. Check the manufacture to see what they recommend for grease type or spray to use.

When testing the bow’s draw weight with a bow scale, remember that the hump of the draw cycle and let off can be hard lowering the draw back down.

(I have nearly let go of the bow scale because of the spring in the scale and aggressive draw cycle, especially when letting down the draw.) It might pay to have an arrow knocked on the bowstring pointing safely at a close target and backstop. So if the bowstring does get away from you, it won’t dry fire the bow.


Frequently Asked Questions.

What Is The Peak Weight On A Compound Bow?

This is the maximum weight pulled in the draw cycle.

Holding weight on a compound is the actual weight the archer holds at full draw.

For a longbow or recurve, the peak weight is the maximum weight holding at full draw.


What is the highest draw weight compound bow?

The heaviest bow draw weight commercially made this year is the Mathews Safari at 85 lbs.

You can however get custom made compounds with 90lbs limbs from some bow manufacturers.

There are a few brands that have a maximum draw weight range of up to 80 lbs. The bow models are:

Athens Archery Vista 31, Vista 33 and Vista 35

Bowtech Revolt XL

Hoyt Archery Ventum Pro 30, Ventum Pro 33, Carbon RX – 7, Carbon RX – 7 Ultra

Moxie Archery Helo, Gunny, Fearce, Origin, Valkyrie, Valkyrie XL

Obsession Archery TM 33, HB33

Prime Archery Inline 1, Inline 3, Inline 5, Nexus 2, Nexus 4, Nexus 6, Black 9

PSE Archery EVO XF 30, EVO XF 33, Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1, Nock On Carbon Levitate, Evo EVL 32, Evo EVL 34 EC, Evo EVL 34 SE, Expedite NXT


Why have a heavy draw weight bow?

If the bows poundage is too light, the arrows won’t achieve much speed.

The arrows trajectory will drop considerable. For shooting 3D archery and field archery at unmarked distances, a bow that shoots flat has an advantage.

For bowhunting, too light of draw weight means the arrow may not penetrate the game effectively. (Depending on shot placement, broadhead design, arrow speed and weight, distance, etc.)


What does the max draw weight on a compound bow mean?

This is the maximum poundage the compound can be adjusted to.

As an example a compound bow might range from 60 lbs. to 70 lbs. The maximum weight for this bow would be 70 lbs.


What is the difference between draw weight and bow weight?

The term “weight” can be thrown around interchangeable in archery and mean two things.

The draw weight is the poundage you pull back when drawing the bow.

The bow weight is technically the mass weight, such as the bow’s physical weight is 4 lbs. to carry it.

However, some archers might mention weight, when they mean the draw weight of the bow.

Probably a bit confusing, so I will put it another way:

Draw weight = bow poundage.

Bow weight = bow’s mass weight. (But might mean draw weight / poundage as well.)


What is the Genesis bow draw weight?

The Genesis Archery Mini Genesis has a draw weight of 6-12 lbs.

The model – Genesis is 10 – 20 lbs.

While the Genesis Archery  Gen – X comes ranges from 25 – 40 lbs.

For more information and a list about children’s bows, click on – Youth Compound Bow Models


What is the Diamond Infinite Edge bow draw weight?

The Diamond Edge XT has 20 lbs. -70 lbs. draw weight

Edge 320 ranges from 7 lbs. – 70 lbs.

The Infinite 305 has a draw weight ranging from 7 lbs. – 70 lbs


What is the recommended bow draw weight?

There is no set draw weight and this will depend on the archer’s size and type of archery they want to do.

As an example, a small framed person who practices target archery might use a 30 – 40 lbs. compound bow. A larger person might use a 40 lbs. – 50 lbs., or even a 50 lbs. – 55 lbs. bow.

(Some target archery organizations have a limit on the maximum draw weight allowed used. This is so the targets won’t get wrecked and for safety.)

For field or 3D archery, the person might use a 50 lbs. – 60 lbs. or 60 – 70 lbs., depending on their size and strength. A younger person would go a lighter poundage.

A large frame archer who does bowhunting might use a 60 – 70 lbs. bow.

Just like bow poundage is extremely important for beginners, so is getting the correct draw length on a compound. For several ways to find your correct draw length, click on – How To Figure Out Your Draw Length


What is the best draw weight for hunting?

Just like the above answer, this will depend on the archer’s size. Also what type of game they are chasing?

Is it small game where a 35 lbs or 40 lbs bow will work? Or are they after medium size game, where 50 lbs. or 60 lbs might be effective.

For a larger male chasing bigger game, a compound bow around the 60 – 70 lbs. might be suitable.



What is the best draw weight for beginners?

This will depend on your size and archery style you want to do like, 3D archery, bowhunting or target archery.

Try some bows first at the archery pro shop, or go to an archery club and see what suits you and your size and strength.

(Some old timers suggested sitting in a chair and see if you can pull the bow back. If you struggle with the weight too much, it isn’t suitable.)

Remember you won’t just pull the bow back once, but many times when practicing.

Another option is to look at a compound that is widely adjustable, like the Diamond Infinite / Edge that can range in draw weight from 7 lbs. to 70 lbs.

To check the latest price, click on Diamond Edge Compound (Available from Amazon. Affiliate link.)

When drawing back the bow to test a bow, ensure there is an arrow on the bowstring. This is because if you accidentally release the bowstring with no arrow on it, it can damage the limbs, cables and cams.

Also ensure there is a large target backstop for safety when drawing back the bow and, in case of accidentally releasing the arrow. (It is amazing the amount of people who accidentally trigger the release aid device. Place all the fingers behind the trigger, so the release aid can’t go off.)

Also for safety info, visit – Archery Safety Rules For Beginners


What does overbowed mean?

The draw weight (poundage) is too heavy for the archer. A lighter poundage bow would be more suitable.


How to increase draw weight on a recurve bow?

A recurve bow can’t be changed like a compound bow.

A compound might have a 10 lbs. adjustable range. With a recurve bow, the bows poundage increases as you draw it back. But the maximum draw weight range can’t be changed.

The exception with a recurve bow is an I.L.F. (International Limb Fitting) riser and limbs, you might be able to adjust the draw weight up or down by a pound or two by the limb bolt.


How to adjust the draw weight on Mathews bow?

Adjusting the draw weight is the same on any compound bow as described above, regardless if it is a Mathew’s bow, Hoyt bow or Bear Archery compound bow.


What is compound bow length and draw weight?

A compound is measured axle to axle for its length.

The draw weight is the poundage the archer pulls back.


What is the minimum bow poundage for deer?

The minimum draw weight will depend on the state and local field and game laws and also the type of deer hunted. The minimum bowhunting weight might be from 45 lbs., 50 lbs., or higher poundage for some species and areas.


What draw weight for small game bow hunting?

A 35 lbs. preferably 40 lbs. or a higher poundage is suitable for small game. Make sure you check your local and state game laws and regulations for the minimum poundage if applicable.


What is the best poundage for a compound bow?

The best poundage is one that you can draw comfortable and hold accurately on the target. And it suits your style or objective. Such as, are you going to do 3D, field or target archery, or go bowhunting?

There is no sense having a 70 lbs. compound if you can’t draw it back without hurting yourself.

You should also allow that you can practice with it, without getting too fatigued.

For target archery you might be shooting seventy arrows, so a compound bow from 30 lbs. – 45 lbs. or more could be suitable depending on your size.

For bowhunting practice you might just practice releasing twenty arrows, so a 60 lbs. – 70 lbs. might work, subject to your size.

The poundage should also reflect what your archery goal is, such are you chasing Big game like Elk, or indoor target shooting?


What draw weight for target archery?

Depending on the archer’s size, they might use a 30 – 40 lbs. compound bow for a lighter framed person.

A 40 lbs. – 50 lbs. draw weight compound might be used by a medium or larger framed person.

Just like there are extremes in people’s height and size, the draw weight can also very widely to suit the archer and personal preference.


Does Bowtech have an 80 lbs. bow?

Bowtech has the model – Revolt XL which has a draw weight range up to 80 lbs.


What does poundage mean in archery?

This is the bows draw weight you pull back at full draw.

As an example you might have a compound that ranges from 50 lbs. to 60 lbs. and is set on 55 lbs., this is the bows poundage.



Extra Resources And Information

How to Aim a Bow and Arrow

Correct Draw Length

New Compound Bow Models 2022