The two most important parts of your bow
are your riser and your limbs. They’re also the most expensive parts.
Now an expensive riser has some fairly obvious differences to a cheap riser, but limbs generally look the same.
So what’s the difference? In fact, there are quite a few things
which you should know about limbs. So we’ll be covering quite
a bit of information in this video, and hopefully we’ll answer some of the most common questions when it comes to buying limbs. Firstly, let’s talk about what limbs
actually do. While the riser acts as a central hub, the limbs do the work. When the string is drawn, the limbs flex,
storing potential energy. When released, the limbs snap back, and the energy is transferred into launching
the arrow. A misconception is that the power comes from the string, and while the
string does have an effect, the power basically comes from the limbs. The limbs achieve this through its use
of layers of different materials. Traditionally, bows used wood, horn, and sinew. Modern limbs use fiberglass, wood, carbon, and synthetic foam. Take down bows can easily remove their
limbs, allowing for ease of storage and replacement. Most risers and limbs use
international limb fitting, or ILF, which means that most risers are
compatible with most limbs. Cheaper take down bows tend to use their own proprietary limb-fitting systems, so
you can’t swap out Samick Sage limbs with an ILF limb set, for example. There are a couple of notable
examples on the high end as well. The Hoyt Formula Series uses its own limb systems. So you have to, basically, buy Formula
limbs for a Hoyt Formula bow. Now, you can get some adapters, but generally speaking it’s much easier
going with the simplest option which are the Formula [riser] and Formula limbs, or just get
a recurve bow that uses ILF fittings. Let’s go on to differences. The most
important thing to consider when buying limbs is poundage. Poundage refers to the
draw weight of the bow measured in pounds, which is how heavy the bow is when at
full draw. The heavier the bow, more powerful it is. Now, how much poundage you get
depends on what you are getting the bow for. If you are a beginner, it’s recommended that you get somewhere
between 20 to 30 pounds. If you’re shooting competition,
people tend to use 40 to 50 pounds, and if you’re hunting, well, that can be
40 pounds to 60 or even 70 pounds. Again, this varies greatly with gender as
well as fitness, and it will change over time. You may find that you will grow in strength so you will get higher poundage limbs down
the track, or you might find that heavy limbs might be too strong for you, and
you might want to go down to weaker limbs. A couple of notes about draw weight.
The actual figure you see printed on the limbs assumes two things. The first is it
assumes a standard draw length of 28 inches. Now if your draw length is longer, it’s
going to be heavier than the printed draw weight. Likewise, if it’s shorter it’s going to
be a bit lighter than the printed draw length. For example, these are 40 pound
limbs, as rated for a 28 inch draw. Now my draw length is closer to around
26 inches, so I’m not actually pulling 40 pounds on my fingers. The second base line is that a limb’s poundage
is based on a 68 inch bow, unless otherwise specified. If the limb is used for a shorter bow, then it will have a higher effective poundage. Some limbs
will list these separate lengths. For example, on these limbs, you can see it’s 40 pounds for a 68 inch bow, but it’s 42 pounds for a 66 inch bow. And, likewise, if you put these limbs on a longer riser, and you get a 70 inch bow,
this will probably be around 38 pounds. On that note let’s talk about limb lengths.
When you buy limbs you have to choose how long the limbs are.
For an Olympic-style target recurve the most common length is 68 inches. Now, that’s actually not how long the
limbs are, but it’s how long the bow is in total with the riser and the limbs. The next part is a bit complex.
The lengths listed for a limb assume a 25 inch riser, which is the most common size.
Limbs usually come in 66 inch, 68 inches, and 70 inch, and that will be the length
of the bow overall when paired with the 25 inch riser. However, you can get different sized
risers. The most common variations are 23 inch and 27 inch. Although you can get
ones in between or longer ones. Now, if you put 68 inch limbs on a 27
inch riser you get a 70 inch bow, because there’s an extra 2 inches. Likewise if you put 70 inch limbs
on a 23 inch riser you get 68 inches for a bow. Basically, you can have different
combinations of short, medium, and long limbs with short, medium, and long risers.
The most common combination is medium limbs with a medium riser,
which makes your standard 68 inch bow. Although, if you need that extra length, you can combine
long limbs with a long riser or medium limbs with a long riser, depending on how much length
you want. The combination makes a difference. Using shorter limbs will give
your bow a bit more punch, which means the arrows will come out a bit quicker. However, it makes it easier to “stack”. What that means is, when you get past a
certain point, you go beyond what the limb is rated for.
That isn’t bad, and that isn’t dangerous. What it means is that it becomes
dramatically more difficult once you reach this point. That’s because
the energy in the limbs isn’t linear based on draw length. Once you get past that point it
makes it more difficult to be consistent with your release. Longer limbs on the
other hand are less efficient, so they wont launch the arrow as quickly. So, if you have a short draw length, you
shouldn’t be using longer limbs because it’s just not efficient. You may as
well use shorter limbs. Which bow length you use depends on your draw length. Although some charts will draw an
estimate based on your height, most people will use 68 inch bows. Note that this is most relevant to a
full-size target bow. If you are shooting a youth bow, or traditional bow, or hunting bow, your limbs will probably be shorter. Whoof!
OK, that’s a lot to take in. The last part covers the differences between cheap and
expensive limbs, and this is actually the easiest part to explain. Cheap limbs are
made from fiberglass with a wood core, whereas, more expensive limbs are made
from materials like carbon and synthetic foams. The price difference is astronomical! You are looking at, say, AU$200
for cheap limbs, and, you know, AU$800 and AU$1000 for more expensive limbs. There are a couple of big advantages to
using expensive carbon limbs. The first one is that it’s more linear.
I said before that when you draw a bow back the energy in the bow isn’t linear.
It tends to “stack”. Now, for a cheap wooden limb set,
it tends to stack a lot sooner, so you come back, and it gets harder
at this point. With a carbon limb set it’s a bit more linear.
So, when you come in, it’s smoother, it’s more consistent.
So even with a bit of variation it won’t punish you is badly as with a wooden limb. The second advantage is that
carbon limbs are more efficient. If you get 30 pound wood limbs and 30 pound carbon limbs, the carbon limbs
will launch the arrow with higher velocity. This efficiency makes carbon limbs the prime
choice for competitive shooting. That said, for beginner archers the difference
in limb performance isn’t as important. With the focus for a beginner
being on form rather than accuracy, it’s OK to use cheap limbs to begin with. Additionally, as a beginner, you may end
up going through multiple sets of limbs as you increase your draw weight.
Now, if you’re looking for more limbs you can perhaps borrow old limbs off somebody else. Some stores will offer a limb trading
service where you can trade in your old limbs for new ones of a higher draw weight or
the same price range, even if it’s a different brand, but if
you have to buy new limb to each time you may want to consider spreading your
budget out, so you don’t buy AU$1000 Hoyt or Win&Win limbs for
every single draw weight. So you might go cheap limbs until you’re
happy with your final weight, and then you spend big on that one. Take it from me, the carbon limbs will
give much better performance, and they will contribute to tighter groups. By the way, if you’re shooting the target style recurves, you don’t need to get matching risers and
matching limbs. Like, you don’t need a SF Axiom riser with SF Axiom limbs.
You can mix and match. It’ completely fine. Everyone does it. You could put
Hoyt limbs on the Win&Win bow. As sacrilegious as it might sound, you can do that. I mean, it’s not like you’re wearing
one Nike shoe and one Adidas shoe! Whoo! So that should cover most questions
about limbs. Since the limbs do the work of the bow they’re very important,
and buying good limbs will allow you to perform better. However, they also are an expensive investment. So if you don’t need top tier limbs,
you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for them. *cough* Anyway, hope that was helpful, thanks for watching. This is NUSensei.
Like this video.
Subscribe for more archery stuff, and i’ll see you next time.