How to Adjust the Draw Length on a Compound Bow (Step-by-Step Guide)

By Andy Ryan


Posted at
an archer holding his compound bow

Shooting with the right draw length is an integral part of scoring efficiency and proper archery form. An inch overly long or too short of a draw length can create issues resulting from lack of accuracy to damage.

Using a bow that matches your strength is vital for good shooting form and accuracy. Here I will be showing you a step-by-step guide on how to adjust the draw length on a compound bow.

Adjusting Draw Length of Compound Bows

There are several options for adjusting draw length. The second step in changing the draw length is to figure out what other system your bow uses. I’ll go over these systems in greater depth further down.

Several recent bows will include a mod that you may customize or replace. Interchangeable cams or adjustable string posts may be available if you have an older bow.

Configurable Mods

You will know when you have a configurable mod if your mod has many holes with corresponding numbers or letters. You must release the screw to adjust the draw length. You can twist the mod after you’ve loosened the screws.

You will find the precise compound bow draw length on the mods. For example, 16 – 31 Inches, whereas some will use a code. The instruction manual will tell you what draw length matches each code. You may always try changing the mod in one manner to see what occurs if you can’t find the instruction manual.

If each of your cams has a mod, you’ll need to set them to the same configuration. Securely fasten the screws. When shooting the bow, screws might easily fall loose due to vibrations. This is how archers commonly misplace a set of screws.

Replaceable Mods

Many high-end bows feature replaceable mods. To adjust the draw length, you must remove the current mod and install a new one. Some compound bows will come with the various default mods. However, you might need to pay for them individually. This will usually cost you between $10 and $30.

Typically, the instruction manual or the manufacturer’s website will specify which mod you need for each draw length. You can do this with most bows without using a bow press. However, if the wires are resting on the mod, you’ll need to use a bow press to swap it out.

When changing a compound bow draw length, simply detach the screws on the current mod and attach the new mod. You must change both mods if you have two of them.

Replaceable Cams

Replaceable cams are generally seen on earlier compound bows and are rare on modern bows. Here, you should replace the entire cam to modify the draw length. You’ll need a bow press to perform this because the wires and string are connected to the cams.

I strongly advise you to purchase a bow press if you don’t already have one. This device will come in handy if you ever need to fix or replace the string or cords.

Depending on the model, replacing the cams can be costly, ranging from around $50 to $200. The instruction manual or the manufacturer’s website will tell you the cams you need for your bow.

Adjustable String or Cable Posts

Several older bows feature adjustable string or cable posts. You definitely have this setup if you have a lot of screw ports near the string or cable post. To adjust draw length, place the bow in a bow press and loosen all string and cable pressure.

You can loosen the string or cable post. You should screw the post into a new port and the cables or string attached to it. The entire technique is quite simple; however, identifying which screw port to use may take a few tries.

Reading the Codes on the Cam

You will find labels on the screw ports concerning configurable mods and adjustable string posts. These are between 16 and 31 in various circumstances. This is the bow’s draw length. If you don’t know how to measure your draw length, see this article. Alternatively, you can start with a draw length of 28 since it is the most commonly used, and you may adjust the draw length if need to.

A, B, C, or 1, 2, 3 are some of the labels on compound bows. These labels also indicate several draw lengths. The instruction manual will explain what these terms represent in detail. If you can’t find an owner’s manual, you can try different settings to see what works best.

Single or Dual Cams

Two cams and two mods are standard on most bows. This means you’ll have to modify both mods to get the draw length you want. Before firing the bow, double-check and set both mods to the same level.

Several compound bows only have a single cam configuration. This means you only have one mod on your bow. The idle cam, sometimes known as the wheel, is the other cam. The idle cam is totally round when compared to the “active” cam.

Draw Stoppers vs. Limbs

There are no limbs or draw stoppers on most compound bows. However, if your compound bow contains these features, you must also adjust them. The method you use depends on the bow you’re using. As a result, you’ll need to refer to the instruction manual for guidance on setting up the limb or draw stoppers.

Fortunately, most archers are unaffected by this feature. If you can’t pull your bow to full draw despite following the guide to the mark, it’s most likely due to a problem with the limbs or draws stoppers.

Correctly Tweaking the Draw Length

[Calculating the final draw length after the draw stop both at the bottom and top cams. Check out how to calculate a draw length guide.]

You may adjust several compound bows in one-inch increments. This implies that you can only set your draw length up to 28 or 29 inches, not 28.5 inches. With most archers, this isn’t a problem because an inch is not that much. More skilled archers, on the other hand, would require more flexibility.

Fortunately, this is achievable, although it does necessitate the use of a bow press. To begin, place the bow in the press and loosen the string and cable tension. Then twist the bowstring to decrease the draw length or remove it to lengthen the draw length. (1)

Helpful Tips

You must correctly adjust the draw length. It’s possible that if you do it incorrectly, you might destroy your bow. Here are some extra pointers to consider while tweaking the draw length.

Careful when Handling the Screws

  • Safeguard the screws; if you misplace them, you won’t be able to lock the mod firmly in order. If they’re gone, it can be tough to replace them.

Read the Instruction Manual First

  • If you have an owner’s handbook, you should read it before getting started. Although compound bows all use the same equipment, minor variances can dramatically affect the procedure.

Be Cautious When Drawing the First Time

  • Before you start drawing for the first time, double-check and set up everything perfectly. If you forget to configure both mods, the bow may malfunction when you draw.

Consult a Professional, When in Doubt

  • You should go to a local shop if you’re not sure if you’re adjusting your bow correctly. The setup of some complex compound bows requires a high level of knowledge, and they perform the draw length adjustment for you.

What is The Proper Draw Length?

So now you understand how to perform a proper draw length adjustment on your bow. You may also want a guide on finding what draw length to use.

  1. Measure draw length by raising your arms out in front of you, palms facing out, and stretch them to the sides of your body in a straight line.
  2. Allow a friend to measure the distance between the tips of your one hand’s fingertips and the tips of the other hand’s fingers over your body.
  3. Deduct 15 inches from the measurement.
  4. Then divide the result value by 2.

Here is an example, suppose you have 55 inches, subtract 15 to get 40. Then, divide 50 by 2 to get a measurement of 20 inches. This is the correct process to measure draw length. (2)

How Do Compound Bows Function?

In assistance for the shooter with the draw and release of the bowstring, compound bows use a system of pulleys, often known as cams. The draw length is the distance that the bowstring must bring to the archer for the shooting to fire comfortably.

A correct or incorrect draw length does not exist, but a proper draw length does exist. It’s whatever makes you feel most at ease. Therefore, you should also learn the correct way of finding draw length, which I will also discuss below. 

Use a tried and true way to draw the length of your compound bow. And if you want to make your own compound bow, you may click here. Until our next article!

(1) cable tension –
(2) measurement –