How to Adjust Your Compound Bow’s Draw Weight

By Andy Ryan


Updated at

Adjusting your compound bow’s draw weight is essential to ensure optimal performance and a comfortable shooting experience. By getting acquainted with this skill, you can improve your accuracy and increase your confidence when taking the shot. In this article, we will guide you on how to effectively adjust the draw weight of your compound bow, making sure your bow is well-suited to your physical abilities and shooting style.

To begin, it’s important to understand that the draw weight is the amount of force required to pull the bowstring back to full draw. This force determines the speed and power of your arrow as it leaves the bow. By properly adjusting your bow’s draw weight, you can fine-tune your bow to work in harmony with your body, while maximizing the potential of your equipment.

Getting Started

Gathering the Necessary Tools

To adjust your compound bow’s draw weight, you will need a few essential tools. First, locate the limb bolts on your bow. These are typically hexagonal bolts found where the limbs connect to the riser. You will need an Allen wrench that matches the size of your limb bolts to make adjustments. It’s helpful to have a dedicated bow scale or a regular scale to measure the draw weight accurately.

In addition, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with your bow’s strings and tiller. Understanding how your bow is constructed will help you make informed adjustments for better performance, whether for bow hunting or target practice.

Measuring Your Compound Bow’s Current Draw Weight

Before adjusting your compound bow’s draw weight, it’s important to determine its current setting. Follow these steps to measure the draw weight:

  1. Place your bow scale’s hook on the D-loop of your bowstring.
  2. Draw the bow to its full length (ensure you are using a safe draw technique).
  3. Note the reading on the scale when the bow reaches its peak draw. This value is your compound bow’s current draw weight.

Remember to check your bow’s specific draw weight rating to avoid over-tightening the limb bolts, as this could damage your bow.

With these steps complete, you are ready to make adjustments to your compound bow’s draw weight. Throughout the process, ensure you maintain a friendly and enjoyable experience, as tuning your bow can greatly enhance your archery performance.

Step-by-Step Guide to Adjusting Draw Weight

Unlocking and Adjusting the Limb Bolts

To adjust your compound bow’s draw weight, the first step is to unlock and adjust the limb bolts. Make sure your bow is unstrung and secure it in a bow press. You’ll need an Allen wrench to loosen the limb bolts. Turn the bolts counterclockwise to decrease tension or clockwise to increase it. Remember to adjust both top and bottom limb bolts equally to maintain balance.

Verifying the Draw Weight

After adjusting the limb bolts, it is essential to verify the draw weight. To do this:

  1. Place a scale or draw board below your bowstring
  2. Attach the bowstring to the scale
  3. Slowly pull back the bowstring until it reaches the draw length you set
  4. Read the scale to determine the draw weight

Your draw weight should now be close to the desired amount. If it is not, you may need to make further adjustments to the limb bolts.

Perfecting Your Adjustment

To perfect your draw weight adjustment, follow these steps:

  1. Make note of the current draw weight
  2. Determine how much more weight you need to adjust (either decrease or increase)
  3. Incrementally adjust the limb bolts again, remembering to turn counterclockwise for less tension and clockwise for more
  4. Verify the adjustment by checking the draw weight using a scale or draw board

Repeat these steps until your bow’s draw weight is exactly where you want it. Remember, adjusting draw weight is a trial-and-error process, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a few attempts to achieve your desired level. The key is to be consistent and patient throughout the process.

Considerations When Adjusting Draw Weight

Age and Physical Capabilities

When adjusting your compound bow’s draw weight, it’s essential to take into account your age and physical capabilities. Men, women, and children have varying levels of strength, so finding a comfortable draw weight for each person is crucial. A beginner might require a lower draw weight while a pro or master archer may need a higher one. As you develop your muscles and technique, you can gradually increase the draw weight over time to find the ideal range.

Keep in mind that too much stress on your muscles can lead to decreased accuracy and reduced shooting experience. It’s better to start with a lower draw weight and build up gradually rather than jumping straight into a high draw weight that requires more effort and may cause injuries.

Purpose of Use

The purpose of using your compound bow plays a significant role in adjusting the draw weight. If you’re using your bow for target shooting, work towards finding a balance between comfort and accuracy for a satisfying shooting experience. For hunting, however, you might need more kinetic energy to penetrate your target effectively. This may require an increase in draw weight within your comfortable limits.

Remember that the appropriate draw weight for target shooting may be different from hunting purposes, so you should make minor adjustments accordingly. Be sure to maintain proper flexibility and avoid compromising your technique.

Safety Precautions

When adjusting your compound bow’s draw weight, safety should always be a top priority. It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s specific draw weight rating and limb weight rating recommendations. Exceeding these limits could lead to damage to the bow or risk personal injury.

Stay within a safe range and make gradual changes to avoid putting too much force on the bow. Always inspect your bow for any signs of stress or damage before and after making adjustments to ensure a secure and comfortable shooting experience.

By paying attention to your age and physical capabilities, understanding the purpose of using your bow, and taking necessary safety precautions, you can find the optimal draw weight for your personal needs, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience with your compound bow.

Ensuring the Compound Bow’s Efficiency After Adjustment

Testing and Fine Tuning

After adjusting your compound bow’s draw weight, it’s essential to test and fine-tune its performance. To ensure consistent accuracy, shoot a few arrows and evaluate their trajectory. If necessary, make minor adjustments to the limb locking screws, locking bolts, or tiller height.

Don’t be hesitant to spend more time tweaking your settings, especially when using expensive bows from reputable manufacturers. These bows are built for optimal performance, and a little extra effort will help you achieve greater accuracy.

It’s also useful to use a bow square to measure the tiller height. Ensuring even tiller bolts on both limbs maintains a balanced force, leading to more accurate shots. Keep an eye on your shot grouping as you fine-tune to make sure the changes positively affect your bow’s performance.

Maintaining Your Compound Bow

Proper maintenance is crucial for your compound bow’s longevity and consistent accuracy. Routinely inspect your bow’s limbs, locking screws, and tiller bolts for signs of wear or damage. Loose or damaged components can significantly impact your bow’s performance and may even result in injuries.

  • To check your limb locking screws, gently loosen and tighten them periodically. This prevents any potential loosening during regular usage.
  • Lubricate the locking bolts and locking screws to prevent them from rusting and becoming difficult to adjust.
  • Inspect your bow’s limbs for cracks or other structural defects. Contact the manufacturer for guidance if you detect any signs of damage.

By following these steps and performing regular maintenance, you’ll ensure your compound bow remains in excellent condition, offering you consistent accuracy and an enjoyable shooting experience.


Adjusting your compound bow’s draw weight is essential for achieving better shooting performance and preventing any injuries. Keep in mind that the most important aspect is to find the draw weight that feels comfortable and effective for your specific needs.

To adjust the draw weight, simply follow these steps: locate the limb bolts, determine the optimal draw weight for you, and adjust the bolts accordingly. Remember, increasing the draw weight usually tightens the bolts, while decreasing it loosens them.

Safety Tips:

  • Always use a bow press when making adjustments.
  • Consult the bow’s owner manual for proper settings.
  • Don’t over-adjust, as exceeding the manufacturer’s recommended range might damage the bow.

Remember that practicing regularly is crucial to becoming a better archer. As you continue to train and develop your skills, you may find that you need to make additional draw weight adjustments to achieve your desired performance. Stay consistent, and happy shooting!

Frequently Asked Questions

What tools do I need to adjust my bow’s draw weight?

To adjust the draw weight on your compound bow, you will need an Allen wrench or hex key set. The specific size required will depend on your bow model. Make sure to consult your bow’s manual for precise instructions and additional tools that may be needed.

Can I decrease and increase draw weight?

Yes, you can both decrease and increase the draw weight of your compound bow. Adjustments are typically made by turning the limb bolts either clockwise (to increase weight) or counterclockwise (to decrease weight). It is essential to make these adjustments in small increments to prevent damage to your bow.

Does adjusting draw weight affect bow accuracy?

Adjusting the draw weight may impact your bow’s accuracy. Higher draw weights can result in faster arrow speeds and flatter trajectories, while lower draw weights may increase arrow drop and require more archer skill to maintain accuracy. It’s essential to practice and adjust your shooting technique after changing draw weight to ensure consistent performance.

How do I know the right draw weight for me?

The best way to find your ideal draw weight is to try shooting with different weights and observe your comfort and accuracy. As a general rule, you should use a draw weight that you can hold at full draw for at least 15-20 seconds without struggling. Your physical strength, body type, and archery experience will influence this. Be sure to consult an experienced archer or coach for guidance tailored to your needs.

Do I need a bow press to change draw weight?

In most cases, you don’t need a bow press to adjust draw weight on your compound bow. A bow press is essential when making more complex adjustments such as changing your bow’s draw length, swapping limbs, or working on the bowstring and cables. For draw weight adjustments, a set of Allen wrenches or hex keys is typically all you need.

Are there limits to adjusting draw weights?

Yes, there are limits to how much you can adjust your bow’s draw weight. These limits depend on your bow’s specific design and are usually stated in the owner’s manual. It is crucial not to exceed these limits when adjusting your bow, as doing so could cause damage to the limbs or void the manufacturer’s warranty. Always consult your bow’s manual and follow the recommended guidelines.

How do I find my ideal draw weight?

To find your ideal draw weight, start with a lighter weight and gradually increase it until you find a balance between comfort and performance. The ideal draw weight should allow you to draw the bow smoothly and hold it steady for a few seconds without excessive strain. Consider your physical strength, shooting style, and the type of activity (hunting or target shooting) when determining your ideal draw weight

How do I know if my draw weight is too heavy or too light?

If you find it difficult to draw the bow or experience muscle strain, the draw weight might be too heavy. If you’re struggling with accuracy, it could be too light. Adjusting the draw weight within the manufacturer’s specified range can help you find the perfect balance.

Can I damage my bow by adjusting the draw weight?

As long as you stay within the manufacturer’s specified range, you should not damage your bow. Over- or under-tightening the limb bolts can cause damage, so always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Should I adjust my draw weight for hunting and target shooting separately?

Ideally, yes. The optimal draw weight for hunting is usually between 50 and 60 pounds, while target shooting may require a lighter draw weight for better accuracy. Adjusting the draw weight based on your shooting activity will result in better performance.