How Far Can A Bow Shoot (Maximum Range with Table)

By Andy Ryan


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A bow’s highest reach is around 200 to 500 yards. Several factors, which we will discuss later,  affect the range your bow can shoot. For target shooting, your arrow can reach around 150 to 350 yards. Most bow variations have a maximum hunting range of 30 to 60 yards for expert hunters and 15 to 25 yards for beginners.

As we continue, I will be breaking it all down below. Keep reading to know more about your bow’s maximum range and effective range:

Multiple Bow Types’ Maximum and Effective Ranges

The type of bow, the draw strength, the type and weight of the arrow, and the atmosphere are all factors to consider when measuring your bow’s shooting power. You can drive the effective range of the bow by a number of these elements and the archer’s ability.

Table Chart

Type of BowDraw WeightMaximum RangeBow Effective Range
Longbow30 lbs.150-200 yards20-30 yards
35 lbs.240-260 yards30-40 yards
40 lbs.250-300 yards40-50 yards
Recurve Bow30 lbs.200-220 yards15-20 yards
35 lbs.220-240 yards20-25 yards
40 lbs.260-280 yards25-30 yards
Compound Bow30 lbs.150-200 yards30-40 yards
35 lbs.200-300 yards40-50 yards
40 lbs.280-350 yards50-60 yards
Crossbow80 lbs.200-300 yards30-40 yards
150 lbs.300-400 yards40-50 yards
200 lbs.400-500 yards50-60 yards

A Bow’s Maximum Range

Depending on the materials and components you use and the draw weight, different bows will have differing maximum ranges thanks to variances in design. As a result, we’ll need to examine the ranges that each bow style can achieve with various draw weights.

Range of a Longbow

Since longbows were conceived as war weapons, old-world longbows were notably more potent than modern longbows. Several ancient sources mention draw weights as high as 180 pounds and longbow ranges of over 400 yards (365 meters).

Newer longbows have much lower draw weight and, as a result, have a shorter maximum range, ranging from 200 to 300 yards (182 – 274 meters).

The accurate range of the longbow is 100 to 200 yards (90–180 meters), which is less than the maximum range.

The effective range of a longbow is the range at which it is functional for hunting. A modern longbow has an effective range of 60 to 80 yards.

In shooting a longbow, you must draw on the old skill of archery to do so. It’s not an easy undertaking, particularly for most archers who currently use a variety of attachments and apparatus to improve their arrow-shooting abilities.

With little more than a raw piece of wood and thread, you’ll have to depend on your natural ability, as well as your capacity to identify distance, aim, and steady your hand.

Range of a Recurve Bow

Over 400 yards is the world record for the longest recurve bow shot. The usage of custom arrows and bows is undoubtedly responsible for the long shots.

However, the maximum range of a regular recurve bow is between 280 and 300 yards, depending on the draw weight. Unfortunately, shooting at these ranges is not efficient, and it is unlikely that it can be used as a shooting length for target shooting or hunting. At these ranges, the longbow is more precise, but the recurve bow has more power.

The recurve bow’s optimum shooting range is around 60 and 100 yards. Furthermore, the effective range of a recurve bow for hunting is between 20 and 40 yards, based on the bow’s draw weight and the archer’s ability.

To determine your bow’s effective range, identify the point at which you can no longer aim accurately. It will require firing at various ranges until you can no longer group your arrows on the target.

Therefore, the quickest way to determine your effective range is to begin firing at a suitable range for you. You should shoot a few arrows at the target each time to see how you aim. If you still manage to hit the target accurately, back up a few yards and shoot again. The distance beyond which you can no longer aim accurately is your effective range.

Ensure you’re shooting on a flat plane, and refrain from taking this measurement on a windy day. Since the gear you’re using can affect your accuracy, stick with what you’re used to. You should shoot in 5-yard intervals and repeat the process a few times for each level to eliminate momentary errors. (1)

Range of a Compound Bow

The most extended range a compound bow can fire is between 300 and 350 yards. This distance determines how far the arrow can travel, although shooting successfully over this distance is impossible.

A compound bow’s accurate range on a stable target is between 80 and 100 yards, relying on the archer’s proficiency and the bow’s draw weight.

These longer and more accurate ranges are possible thanks to the compound bow’s technology. These additional features allow the archer to draw a bow with firmer limbs readily. This offers the arrow more speed, power, and precision than any of the other bows mentioned. (2)

Whereas most compound bows have a range of more than 100 yards, the range at which you can shoot a target precisely is far shorter.

In the hands of a professional compound bow archer, the compound bow’s effective range can be as much as 60 to 70 yards, significantly longer than conventional bows. However, the effective hunting range with a compound bow is commonly between 30 and 60 yards.

Range of a Crossbow

A crossbow’s maximum range for launching its arrow is roughly 500 yards, which is somewhat surprising for such a little weapon. Of course, the crossbow isn’t particularly precise at this range.

You might expect a range of 180 yards to 200 yards with a lot of target shooting practice. The shorter arrow used as a projectile in a crossbow has an impact on this distance. This implies you might be able to get a little more space out of a longer arrow.

There are multiple factors concerning hunting. When your target is further away, those considerations become more important. 

80 yards is the crossbow’s maximum range for hunting, which would be a very long shot. Making a successful shot of this range on a deer will have your mates bragging about your crossbow ability for years to come.

For a professional crossbow hunter, a hunting range of 60 yards would be more acceptable and typical. If you’re new to crossbow hunting or bow hunting in general, you should stay in the 25-35 yard range.

What Factors Affect the Range of a Bow?

You can base the range a bow can fly upon several factors related to the gear’s design and construction. This applies to both the bow and the arrows.

You can determine the bow’s range with the following criteria:

Style of the Bow

Bows come in various styles and varieties, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. They all, however, operate on the same principle of firing a projectile. When tension is released, they transfer stored energy in the bow to the arrow, or projectile, via the drawstring.

There are four basic bows: longbows, recurve bows, compound bows, and crossbows. Each of them possesses features that enable them to excel in some areas while limiting them in others.

The Composition of the Bow

At whatever point you draw the bow, its composition will influence its ability to store energy and transmit that force to the arrow on release.

The Arrow’s Structure

Wind and obstructions such as trees will impact or deflect lighter arrows, causing them to go further. This renders them less accurate, and when they hit the target, they don’t have as much power, which can reduce penetration. Since heavier arrows are forced down by gravity, they will not travel as far as lighter arrows, but they will be more precise and produce a more penetrating blow on the target. A heavier arrow will have a shorter range than a lighter arrow.

The Weather

The distance a bow can shoot and the precision of the shot will be affected by wind. When taking longer shots, archers must typically adjust for the weather.

Factors That Can Affect the Bow’s Effective Range

Draw Weight

This will impact not only the range from which you may shoot but also the arrow’s piercing potential. For deer shooting, certain states have basic draw weight requirements.

Arrow’s Weight

The arrow’s weight should be enough to permit effective penetration but not so heavy since the arrow’s flight path might decline too quickly.

The Shooter’s Ability and Confidence

When hunting, you want to make the shot as smooth, efficient, and stress-free as possible for the animal. A bow hunter must only take a shot at a distance in which he is confident shooting and has thoroughly trained this shot range to make sure that he gets a clean kill and does not unduly cause pain to the animal.

What Is The Most Powerful Bow?

Due to the apparent technology that has accelerated their evolution, compound bows and crossbows are perhaps the most potent bow kinds.

The recurve bow is an excellent blend of ancient and new technologies. Although the bows are modern materials, the mechanism remains loyal to its classical bow roots.

The longbow is the most classic bow, yet it is also the least modern. Many modern longbows are still made of wood or wood laminates to stay faithful to tradition, although some people use cutting-edge materials. However, longbows are not very popular because of their size and the fact that they require a lot of attention.

In a pure hunting scenario, I’d go with a compound bow or a crossbow, but I’d go with a recurve bow in a survival situation. Under severe wilderness survival circumstances, the recurve bow would be the most resilient of all bow types.

(1) windy day –
(2) technology –