Crossbows are unique in mechanism as well as features. The ease of shooting an arrow with a crossbow just by pressing the trigger comes after drawing the arrow at the certain draw weight required. Different crossbows have different draw weights depending on the size and mechanism. It can be between 50 lbs to even more than 250 lbs.
While buying a crossbow, ask about the draw weight to get the right one. The right one means the draw weight you can master and are comfortable with for the style of hunting you opt for.
Being a professional or amateur hunter, it’s important for you to get a crossbow with a suitable draw weight as it can affect your performance. You can save yourself from a lot of exertion and discomfort with the right draw weight. Besides, an unsuitable draw weight can extract all the fun of crossbow hunting.
In this article, we have compiled all the information you should have about crossbow draw weights to find the “right one” for you. We will start with what a draw weight actually is.
What Is Crossbow Draw Weight?
The draw weight of a crossbow is the amount of force required to draw a crossbow fully. Crossbows having higher draw weight will require more energy to be drawn.
More force applied to a crossbow with a higher draw weight will shoot the arrow with more power. So ultimately, a crossbow with a higher draw weight shoots an arrow with more power.
Although the quality of hunting depends on the draw weight to a great extent, don’t make the mistake of always going after a higher draw weight as it might not be suitable for your type of hunting.
Recurve Crossbows and Compound Crossbows Draw Weight
You might wonder about the difference between the draw weight of compound crossbows and recurve crossbows. Even If the draw weight is the same, you will see the difference in the performance of both. It is because the mechanism of recurve and compound is different.
For a recurve bow, the level of force required to draw it will increase gradually until it is locked to its position and is ready for the shoot. While for a compound crossbow, the level of energy required to draw it will be the same throughout the draw.
Therefore, a compound bow will release the arrow with more power as more force would have been applied to it and stored in the bowstring. While the recurve bow at the same draw weight will shoot the arrow with less speed. But it offers the ease of drawing a bow with less force if you don’t need a faster shoot.
Choosing a Suitable Draw Weight: How To?
From the various options of crossbows with different draw weights, selecting the one suitable for you will be challenging if you don’t consider the following factors. As there is a vast range of crossbow draws weights, you will be able to get the right one depending on your requirement for yourself at a reasonable price.
Type Of Crossbow
The various types of crossbows, including:
- Recurve Crossbows.
- Compound Crossbows.
- Repeating or Automatic Crossbows.
- Bullet crossbows
- Rifle crossbows
- Reverse Draw Limbs Crossbows.
- Pistol Crossbows.
All of these types have models with a range of draw weights. For instance, you can get a compound crossbow with different draw weights ranging from 110 lbs to up to 1800 lbs draw weight, depending on the model you select.
While considering the type of crossbow you want, you look for a crossbow that will be reliable for your style of archery and other requirements. One of these requirements is to look for the draw weight that is right for you. You will have to check the draw weight of that particular model if the draw weight is suitable for your style of archery and easy to handle for you. You can rely on that crossbow for an excellent performance.
What Is the Right Crossbow Draw Weight for Us?
There will be a great difference in handling heavy or low crossbow draw weight for kids, adults, and males and females. We can not specify draw weights that can be handled easily by them as it also depends on individual differences. But we can discuss a range of draw weights suitable for them.
1- Crossbow Draw Weights for Kids
A child between 10 to 15 years old can handle 15 to 25 pounds of draw weight. While teenagers can handle almost 70 to 80 pounds of draw weight
However, depending on their weight and potential, it can be a little more or less.
2- Crossbow Draw Weights for Adults
An adult can handle crossbows with more than 100 pounds of draw weight. Here, besides the physical and potential, comes the difference of gender.
- For Men: An adult male might be able to handle a 175 to 200 pounds draw weight.
- For Women: An adult woman would be able to handle almost 120 to 140 pounds of draw weight.
However, depending on their physical abilities, the potential of males and females may vary a lot. So it would be better to test your potential before buying a crossbow to decide how many pounds you can easily handle.
Purpose Of Using a Crossbow/ Style Of Archery
Archery has always been a fun activity for people worldwide. Long ago, it was one of the most used weapons in warfare and hunting. People gave a lot of importance to practicing archery for attacking and protecting themselves. As time passed, it was stopped being used in wars but still widely used for many other purposes. Today, archery has many forms that include:
1- Crossbow for Bowhunting
If you are choosing bows and arrows for hunting professionally, there is no way you can compromise on the quality of the shoot. Why? Because picture yourself spotting a target after hours of walking in the woods or hills and missing it because you weren’t able to hit the target at the time. And the animal getting a sign of your existence, immediately runs away.
That’s why you will need a crossbow with a suitable draw weight that you can handle to easily hit your target and prevent you from missing the target. There is a range of draw weights considered the right one for hunting different animals. Also, most states where bowhunting is very common have given a list of preferred ranges of draw weights for hunting different animals.
2- Crossbow for Deer Hunting or Other Small-Sized Animals
Clearly, you would need a crossbow that can shoot the bolt with speed if you are targeting a small-sized animal. Animals such as deer, rabbits, or a turkey who can escape quickly as soon as they hear the noise of a bolt or arrow being shot will be missed if the arrow doesn’t hit them with speed. The speed of a crossbow having up to 150 pounds draw weight, is usually enough for hunting these animals.
You can use any crossbow with a draw weight between 100 lbs to 150 lbs for shooting this category of animals but keep in mind the other factors that can affect your hunting experience. If you are able to handle this daw weight comfortably, you can for sure rely on it. Also, as small animals like rabbits do not need to be hunted with more power, a crossbow with low draw weight will also be suitable.
3- Crossbow for Hunting Elk or Other Large Animals
Elk, reindeer, and similar-sized other animals, including small-sized bears that are large and have thicker skin, need to be hunted with crossbows having at least 170 to 180 lbs of draw weight. The more the power you hit with, the easier it will be to hunt these animals.
However, if you feel that 170 lbs of draw weight will be difficult to handle, you have two options. Either use a cocking device or choose a crossbow with a little less draw weight that can be handled comfortably. But shooting with more power is crucial for hunting large-sized animals. Don’t worry about the speed, as they won’t run away from hearing the sound of the bowstring. But they will try to run after getting shot. Therefore, a more powerful shot to kill them on the spot will be necessary.
4- Crossbow for Hunting a Large Bear or Other Huge Animals
It’s difficult to hunt a massive animal with a draw weight of fewer than 200 lbs. But can you handle a crossbow with that much draw weight is the real question? If you are a professional hunter, you might have discovered some tricks to successfully use crossbows with high draw weights and hunt a big animal.
However, if you are thinking of relying on using assistive or cocking devices for drawing the arrow, keep in mind that it will take some time to cock an arrow if you need to make a second shot to kill the animal fully and if you are close to the animal. It would be dangerous for you. You can choose crossbows with more than 200 lbs of draw weight for more power and speed but first, make sure you can handle it somehow.
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Target archery as a style of archery is basically the form of archery that is sports. People have joined teams for these sports and compete with their fellows in hitting the red circular targets. Target archery is an internationally recognized sport in the Olympics.
Usually, the preferred draw weight for target archery is 40 to 60 pounds. But most of the crossbows have a draw of more than 80 pounds. That is because crossbows are not very often used for target archery. You can find a few models for less than 80 pounds for this form of archery.
1- Amateur or Recreational Archery
Choose whatever draw weight you consider the right one for recreational archery. It can be either 40 pounds, 80 pounds or 100 pounds. However, a 50 to 60 pounds draw weight is more than enough for practicing and recreation. For different draw weights, place your targets near and far accordingly.
Besides, crossbows are more powerful than any other type of bow.
If you are using these for recreation and shooting at circular or 3D targets, a crossbow with higher draw weight and power can wreck your target. Even if you are opting for a 50 pounds draw weight, make sure your target does not get wrecked with its power.
What’s the Range of Draw Weights on Crossbow?
All the ranges of crossbow draw weights can be categorized by dividing them into three categories suitable for different archery forms and the potential of archers. These categories are as follows:
1- Low Crossbow Draw Weight
80 to 100-lb draw-weight crossbows are considered low draw-weight crossbows. There are some options available for draw weight below 80 lbs for small-sized animal hunting or for children archers (10 to 15 years of age). These are only suitable for target archery, small animal hunting, or recreational archery.
2- Average Crossbow Draw Weight.
The draw weight between 125 lbs to a maximum of 200 lbs is categorized as average crossbow draw weight or medium crossbow draw weight. This range of crossbow draws weights is mainly preferred for hunting. Crossbows are very popular for hunting large-sized animals, including elk, bears, and some other animals. In fact, they are mostly manufactured for hunting purposes. Therefore, you can find great unlimited models of crossbows with draw weight in this range.
3- Heavy Crossbow Draw Weight (Medieval Crossbow Draw Weight)
In the range of heavy crossbow draw weights come all the crossbows with draw weights above 200 pounds. It’s almost impossible to handle heavy crossbow draw weights, even by an adult man. Therefore, they require a cocking aid for drawing the arrow.
Although they offer a great power to shoot the arrow, you don’t necessarily have to rely on them for hunting. For that, an average crossbow draw weight is enough. The heaviest crossbow draw weights can even exceed 1000 lbs. There were some medieval crossbows with draw weights ranging from 1000 to 1300 lbs.
They are hard to find today because they were mostly used in wars. The draw weight of medieval crossbows depended on the material that was used to manufacture them. There were crossbows with wooden or steel laths. For use in wars, they were easier to be trained with than any other type of bow.
Crossbow Draw Weight Chart
As there is a range of draw weights for crossbows. They are effective for shooting arrows at a range of several distances. If you are choosing a crossbow for target archery or any other form of archery, you will have to consider its speed and power for effective shooting.
Following is a crossbow chart for the range of different crossbows with different draw weights:
|Draw weight||Effective range|
|80 lbs||30 – 35 yards|
|100 lbs||35 – 38 yards|
|125 lbs||40 yards|
|150 lbs||40 – 45 yards|
|200 lbs||50 – 60 yards|
|250 lbs||60 – 70 yards|
|300 lbs||70 – 80 yards|
These are the effective ranges in which a crossbow can shoot with these draw weights. Although they can shoot the arrow farther, it will not be a powerful shot for hitting the target.
Can You Adjust the Draw Weight of a Crossbow
Back then, there were no crossbows with adjustable draw weights like compound bows have for long time, but now there are many models of crossbows that have adjustable draw weights meaning their draw weights can range such as the draw weight of the ten-point pro slider has three crossbows draw weight adjustments that are 125 lbs, 150 lbs, and 175 lbs.
An adjustable draw weight lets you hunt with more or less power if needed for your type of use of crossbows. A crossbow offering a range of draw weights will be a great choice if you are a hunter who has to shoot bolts near or far, depending on the target or target archery.
Adjusting the draw weight on the crossbow is easy. Some manufacturing companies have introduced crossbows that have interchangeable limbs, which means that you can attach the limbs suitable to your required draw weight.
Besides crossbows with interchangeable limbs, there are also various crossbow models that have slider risers so that you can lock the crossbow at different positions. A crossbow has different draw weights at different positions that significantly increase or decrease the power at which the bolts are shooted.
Crossbow Draw Weights Regulations By States
In various states where bow hunting or target archery is a popular game, there are regulations for selecting suitable draw weights for different forms of archery. For instance, the minimum draw weight for elk hunting in Colorado should be 35 pounds. In Mexico, the minimum draw weight for elk hunting should be 30 to 50 pounds.
Similarly, for hunting different-sized animals and target archery, there are minimum draw weight ranges set by different states. You should get to know about these regulations and consider the minimum and maximum ranges of draw weight before getting a crossbow for your purpose of use. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to hunt in that state.
Crossbow Draw Weight vs. Fps
The speed at which an arrow is shooted by a crossbow is determined by its draw weight. This arrow speed is calculated in feet per second. A crossbow with an average draw weight can shoot at a speed of 200 to 300 fps which is sufficient for elk hunting. More than that, speed can be difficult to handle as it will come with higher draw weight.
Also, depending on the size of the animal, speed can vary. For example, 100 to 150 fps for whitetail deer will be enough. However, you will have to get a crossbow with more draw weight for more fps because an increase and decrease in draw weight will affect fps. A decrease of 10 lbs of draw weight will decrease 15 fps of arrow speed for a certain crossbow.
1- Can you adjust the draw weight on a crossbow?
Most crossbows do not have adjustable draw weights, but some new models, such as Tenpoint Pro Slider, have adjustable draw weights. It has a range of draw weights of 125 lbs, 150 lbs, and 175 lbs.
2- How to measure crossbow draw weight?
Manual or digital bow scales are used to measure crossbow draw weight. To use a manual scale:
- Hook it around the arrow nook on the string and draw an arrow to the normal draw length.
- Slowly move back the string to its initial position.
- Check the bow scale indicator to see the crossbow’s draw weight.
3- What does draw weight mean on a crossbow?
The draw weight of a crossbow is the energy required to draw an arrow or bolt on the crossbow. It is measured in pounds. Different crossbows have different draw weight ranges and a suitable draw weight can be chosen according to the requirements of the user.
4- Can you adjust the draw weight on a Barnett crossbow?
You can adjust the draw weight of some models of Barnett crossbowsY, such as the Barnett vortex.
Crossbow draw weight has a lot of impact on the performance of a crossbow. You should not always go for higher draw weight without considering the necessary factors such as your archery style, which will require different speed levels, draw weight that you can handle as well as your type of crossbow.
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