How Far Can a Compound Bow Shoot?

If you are venturing into the world of Compound Bows, you might be wondering, how far can one shoot?

The answer to this question is dependent on a lot of different factors like: What is the feet-per-second of the bow? What weight is the draw? How accurate is the shot? What is your draw height? What is the bows brace height? Are there any obstacles in your path? What is the weather that day? Phew…

When considering how far a Compound Bow will shoot, you also need to consider whether your arrow will actually sink into your target. If you are hunting, your target is obviously an animal, whereas if you are target shooting it would be your target.

The range of the Crossbow can be estimated based on either the IBO or ATA speed

The IBO is the International Bowhunters Association. It was started in 1984 for the purpose of making sure the ideals of bowhunting survive. While holding a series of tournaments and other bowhunting events, the IBO also measures the speed of new bows on the market in what is called the International Bowhunters Organization’s test. The IBO uses a maximum bow weight of 80 pounds +/- 2 pounds using an arrow of 400 grains (5 grains per pound of draw weight) with no required draw length.

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The ATA or the Archery Trade Association is a group dedicated to defending and educating archery topics for the greater good. The ATA also tests the speed of bow in what is called the Archery Trade Association’s test. This will conclude of a maximum pull weight of 70 pounds +/- 2 pounds with an arrow of 350 grain or 5 grain per pound of draw weight with a set draw length of 30 inches +/- ¼ inch. This is a more precise number when considering bow speed, however most companies list the IBO Speed instead because ATA doesn’t enforce it standards, which means companies can declare pretty much what ever they want to.

To put into perspective just how fast the arrow is flying, you can calculate how many miles- per-hour the arrow flies. To figure this out, you would divide whatever the feet-per-second of the bow is by 1.467.

Example: 360FPS / 1.467 = 245.455 Miles per hour.

By doing this you can visualize how fast your arrow is actually flying.

Every bow is set to each person’s personal preferences, so for this article we have taken the standard settings of some of the best bows on the market in order to draw a conclusion on just how far the bow will shoot.

All being said, a Compound Bow can travel up to over 1,000 feet, however that doesn’t mean that you can expect to hit a target at that distance. In fact, the farthest distance target ever hit by someone is 930.01 feet. (and he has no arms!) The world record for the longest shot that hit a target is held by Matt Stutzman, a paraplegic crossbow archer. Stutzman achieved this incredible distance after competing in the 2012 Olympics. Stutzman has held the world record for the longest distance crossbow shot to hit a target since 2011. (Yes, he beat his own world record!)

That being said, there is an “effective range” for compound bows which is 90-180 feet. At this range an archer can reasonably expect to hit their target. This is also the range that is safe to say that you are able to lethally drive an arrow into your target. You need to keep in mind when you are shooting that many things deter the travel distance and aim of your arrow like wind, other weather, kinetic energy, humidity, obstacles, and the weight of the arrow. And remember, the longer your arrow is in the air, the more likely it is to be affected by any of these things and just gravity itself. As soon as your arrow leaves the string on your bow it starts to lose velocity/ speed and will start its descend to the ground.

How different factors affect your arrow flight:

Wind: a light wind won’t affect your arrows flight because it is traveling at such a high velocity, however if the day is calling for winds over 20 miles per hour, you can expect it to factor the travel of your arrow. The longer your arrow is in the air, the more likely it is to be affected by the wind, so if you are considering hunting on a windy day it is best to get as close to your target as possible. Another thing you can do to minimize the wind’s affect is by using a smaller diameter arrow, a shorter arrow, and even a heavier arrow.

Rain: Something to remember about shooting in the rain is that rain makes things heavier. When you are shooting a wet arrow on a wet bow string it will take more force to get the arrow where it needs to go. You will need to draw back a little further than you normally would to make the arrow go the same distance.

Kinetic Energy: Kinetic energy is simply the energy of the arrow due to its speed. Kinetic Energy decreases throughout the flight due to gravity and air resistance. The more power you give to your shot, the farther it will fly. If wind is moving toward you and the arrow, the kinetic energy of your shot will be more impacted and your arrow will not fly as far.

Humidity: When in flight, arrows are affected by aerodynamic drag. The aerodynamic drag is dependent on the amount of moisture in the air. This amount makes the air heavier and thus drags down the arrow further. It also affects the feathers on the arrow making them less efficient at stabilizing it throughout its travel course.

Obstacles: If you are shooting in the woods, some obstacles that can disrupt your arrows speed of flight are leaves and branches. When shooting from the ground you must consider that your arrow might blow through a couple of leaves on its travels so you should stand a little closer than you are used to if you expect some of these obstacles might be in your path.

Arrow weight: Arrows are measured by the number of grains they have. The number of grains per inch determines how heavy and how thick in diameter the arrow is. Where lighter arrows fly faster and farther, they are less likely to penetrate their target. Conversely, a heavier arrow will fly slower but it is more likely to penetrate their target.

What’s Popular:

Below we are going to list some of the most popular bows on the market and what IBO speed they have. You can see how some of these top models are not the fastest out there, but are still held in high regards to their performance. As you have read above, performance and accuracy are two things that greatly determine the speed and distance of your arrow. So, even though some may have a lower IBO number, they may be faster than the others due to their qualities that make you as an archer feel more comfortable and stable.

Bowtech Realm SR6:

  • 335 Feet-per-second IBO rating
  • 36-31-inch draw length
  • 50,60, and 70-pound draw weight
  • MSRP: $1,099.00 USD

Bowtech Revolt:

• 30-inch total length

• 335 Feet per second

• 36-31-inch draw length

• 50,60, and 70-pound draw weight

• 4.3 pounds

  • MSRP: $1,099.00 USD

Mathews Vertix:

• 30” length

• 6” Brace height

• 343 Feet-per-second

• 60,65,70, and 75-pound draw weight

• 30.5-36-inch draw length

• 4.67 pounds

MSRP: $1,099.00 USD

Mathews VXR

• 60,65,70, and 75-pound draw weight

• 343 Feet-per-second

• 31.5-inch length

• 26.5-31-inch draw length

MSRP: $1,199.00 USD

Xpedition Marko X

• 364 feet-per-second

• 33.31-inch length

• 5-inch brace height

• 34.5-30-inch draw length

MSRP: $1,099.00

Elite Ritual Kure

• 32-inch length

• 6.5-inch brace height

• 23-30-inch draw length

• 40-70- pound draw weight

• 335 feet-per-second

• Left hand capable

MSRP: $1,099.99

Hoyt Helix

• 342 feet-per-second

• 30.5-inch length

• 6-inch brace height

• 4.3- pounds

MSRP: $1,199.00 USD

PSE Evoke 31

• 6-inch brace height

• 4.2 pounds total weight

• 31-inch height

• 342-336 feet-per-second

• 50,60,65,70, or 80- pound draw weight

• 24.5-30-inch draw length

MSRP $1049.99

What’s the fastest?

So fastest means farthest, right? So even though we’ve listed some of the best compound bows on the market, you might be wondering, what are the fastest compound bows out there? If you are looking for speed, these bows will make you proud:

  • Xpedition Mako X: 364 feet-per-second
  • PSE Expedite: 354 feet-per-second
  • Mathews Monster Safari: 350 feet-per-second
  • Bowtech Realm SR6: 350 feet-per-second
  • Bowtech RPM 360: 350 feet-per-second
  • PSE Dream Season Decree: 350 feet-per-second
  • Bear Perception: 350 feet-per-second
  • Bear Status EKO: 344 feet-per-second
  • Hoyt Helix: 342 feet-per-second.
  • PSE Evolve: 340 feet-per-second.

Conclusion:

The answer to the question on how far a compound bow will shoot is obviously a very involved answer. While you can say that a bow is capable of shooting an arrow over 1000 feet, there are a lot of factors that come in to play before you expect to be shooting that far. Remember, if you are looking to shoot far to hit a target far away from you, your odds are very slim unless you are extremely skilled. Don’t get discouraged! Only the best of the best can shoot a target past 30 yards.

If you are planning to attempt to shoot a compound bow as far as possible, you will want to make sure of the following things:

1. You are shooting on a day with little to no wind, and has a medium temperature with a 0% humidity and no inclement weather. You will want the least number of factors that will negatively affect your distance as possible.

2. You will want to make sure your bow settings are set to your most comfortable preferences so that you can make the most accurate shot possible. Don’t try to draw at the highest weight and distance right off the bat. Practice at each interval leading up to the highest.

3. You will want to invest in a lighter arrow that will travel farther that has a sleek aerodynamic fletching. A great arrow for this would be the Easton A/C/C.

4. Don’t get discouraged on your first couple of shots. You will likely need to find the right position and angle to shoot at and get comfortable in your position before maximizing your draw and poundage to really let your arrow sore. Practice increasing your draw weight at several intervals and then maximize it on your final attempt. As long as you have a steady and stable shot, this will surely be your farthest.

So, even though this may not have been the answer you wanted, it was the answer that was best suited to the question. Hopefully this article will help explain a little more on what you can expect the distance achieved to be on a compound bow.