How to Change Bow Draw Weights

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The draw weight on a bow reflects how much pulling force is required to draw back the bow into firing position. The higher the draw weight, the more difficult it is to draw the bow, and the greater the force released upon firing. Most adult men who weigh more than 150 pounds can draw a bow weighted between 55 and 65 pounds. Most adult women, and boys weighing between 100 and 150 pounds, can draw a 30 to 40 pound weight. Compound bows can be adjusted for lighter draw weights, to about 10 pounds below the listed weight.

Find the limb bolts on your compound bow. The upper limb bolt is located just below the point where the upper limb joins the main body of the bow, and the lower limb bolt is located just above the point where the lower limb joins the main body of the bolt.

Check for limb bolt locking screws. If your compound bow has a limb bolt locking screws, loosen the screws before attempting to adjust the draw weight.

Tighten each limb bolt completely by turning the limb bolts in a clockwise direction. Do not overtighten the limb bolts--simply tighten them until they stop. The bow is now set to its peak listed draw weight.

Decrease the bow's draw weight by turning the limb bolts counterclockwise. Begin by turning one full counterclockwise revolution on each of the limb bolts. Put on your safety glasses, and draw the bow to check the draw weight.

Continue decreasing the draw weight by adjusting the limb bolts together, keeping track of the revolutions turned. Do not loosen the limb bolts more than four full revolutions. Make sure that each limb bolt is adjusted the same.

Tighten the limb bolt locking screws, if present, when the desired draw weight is reached.


  • Never "dry-fire" a bow, or release a drawn string without an arrow notched. Slowly return the string forward when not firing a bow. Always wear safety glasses when using bows.


About the Author

Fred Samsa has been writing articles related to the arts, entertainment and home improvement since 2003. His work has appeared in numerous museum publications, including program content for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and he was awarded a Presidential Fellowship in 2005. He holds a Master of Arts in art from Temple University and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Brown University.

Photo Credits

  • lady archer eleven image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com