Archery | Using the “Wrong” Size
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Archery | Using the “Wrong” Size

August 10, 2019


A while ago, I made a video about
choosing the right bow size. A lot of the confusion comes from people who were looking at bow charts, that recommend a far larger bow than what they’re
actually buying. This is misleading because these charts refer to the
full-size target bows rather than the beginner or hunting bows that
people often buy as first bows. Now, a lot of people are worried about what might
happen if they use a bow that is apparently too short and especially they’re concerned
about whether or not the limbs will break. I think the best way to explain
this is demonstrate it. Here I’ve got my 68 inch target recurve, and this is much
closer to what I’m meant to use someone with a 26 inch draw length I’m probably best suited to a 66- or 68-inch bow, and obviously I can use it fine. This is a 62 inch bow – this is much
closer to the typical lengths of hunting and beginner bows, such as the Samick Sage. Okay, I can show you can use it just fine. This is a PSE Razorback jr. It’s 54
inches, and typically used by 13 year olds as a youth bow. Can I use it? Yes. And here we have a Cartel Internature – it’s a 48-inch bow and we give this to eight-year-olds. Can an adult use it? Of course. That’s right; the limbs will
not snap. You may think if I pull too far back, it’ll snap. No it will not. It will take a load far more than
humanly possible to snap the limbs this way because these limbs are made to take
that kind of stress. There is no maximum draw length for a bow like this. You can pull it back 15 inches if you’re 8 years old, or you can pull it back 32 inches and the limbs will not break
There are exceptions, there are traditional wooden bows that may have a
maximum draw length, and if that’s the case you would normally see that in the
product description but practically all modern bows on the market today do not
have a maximum draw length, so you can in fact use a bow that is too short. Now, you may be wondering “surely there has to be some kind of problem using a shorter
bow” and yes there are – there are two main problems. The first problem is an effect called
‘stacking’. As most of you probably know when you pull the string back, the limbs
are placed under tension. The more you pull back the more energy
is required. In theory this is a linear relationship. However, there is a point
where it suddenly becomes a lot harder to pull back this is because the angle of the
string on the limb tips is so flat that you’re basically applying more
horizontal force than downward force, which means that you require much more
energy to pull these limbs further back. This effect is the stacking effect. Although it feels like you’re holding a lot more weight it’s not dangerous. What it does mean, is that it does
feel uncomfortable to draw because you’ve gone from ‘smooth’ to ‘that’s really
hard’ that’s what’s stacking does. Another
problem with stacking is that because of this huge variation in the draw force
curve, that is because there’s so much more power in this one inch extra draw (if you
don’t draw consistently), there was a much greater variation in arrow velocity, and
that means your accuracy on target can be affected. If you’re worried about the
string coming off the limb tips don’t worry – you require a much longer
draw length than humanly possible. The other problem is that you may
require a specific anchor in your technique. This is specifically true for target
archers and hence why the bow charts recommend target size bows. The most common anchor point taught to a target archer, especially one that uses sights, is one that goes under the chin or jaw. This is the one we see in every Olympic archery video – the anchor point is around here and over here, I actually have two
more reference points – I have the string that goes across my lips and it’s
touching the tip of my nose. If I’m using a shorter bow, I can’t actually get that reference point with a normal head position – I have to tilt my head forward to make that contact and that
will affect the rest of my alignment. This is more obvious on the really short
bows, so we go to full draw, its nowhere near my nose so this anchor point will be very
difficult with a smaller bow. That said, if you’re shooting instinctive or barebow, then you’re probably using a different anchor point. The other popular anchor point that people use is the corner of the mouth and in this case even though i
can use the chin anchor for the 62-inch bow, if I shoot instinctive, I can use the corner of the mouth just fine and basically, since you use the corner of the mouth the length of the bow doesn’t actually matter, because your reference point is one finger on the
corner of your mouth. Now, this one anchor point may be harder to be consistent with
because, there might be variations there’s no secondary reference but if you’re shooting
instinctive and barebow, this is basically what you’ve been doing, and if you’re buying a
beginner bow like this that’s basically what you have to do Another minor point regarding using short bows for big people, is that the angle of the string
on the fingers may be very sharp and that results in what’s called ‘arrow pinch’. The
string basically forces your fingers to pinch the knot and this can be a little
uncomfortable. So basically, you can use any size bow. If you’re a target archer, buy a target bow and those bow charts are fairly accurate of the best
balance between confident and performance. However, if you’re not buying a target bow, you can safely ignore those charts – the
bows will not break. That said, as a general rule of thumb, if you’re a person with longer arms, you may find it more comfortable to use
a longer bow – for example, if you had a choice between a 52-inch bow and a 66
inch bow and you’ve got a 32-inch draw because you’re 6’3 then you
may find it more comfortable to use a longer bow, but if you didn’t have a choice
you can safely use a short bow. Anyway, this is NUSensei – hope you found this
helpful, thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Very helpfull mate cheers. Been shooting compounds and love them, now looking at getting some type of hoyt recurve for targets. Some helpfull info thanks

  2. Hey, I love your videos. Could you make a video explaining how your make your videos? Like how you document yourself?

  3. Lol. My kaya firefox. Is 50 inches. And 60 pounds at 31 .i draw 32 and anchor padt my ear using thumb draw .Yet my target bow my anchor is chin like yours. And my draw length is only 27.

  4. What do you recommend for a 6 y/o that is trying to get into archery. Been looking around for something for my nephew.

  5. The string came off the limb tip on my friends bow. The thread on the outside had separated and it just flung right off. He bought a new string and never had the issue again.

  6. As you said, the exception tends to be English Longbows which are tillered to a very specific draw length. If you exceed this they do break 🙂 Nice vid!

  7. I recently made the change to a 68" bow from a 70" with a 29.25" draw length. I was having trouble with the string resting heavily against my chest and wanted better limb efficiency.

    So far it seems comfortable, but I've noticed my anchor point has changed and I get slight callouses on the edges of my 2nd and 4th fingers on my draw arm from the pinch. Any advice?

  8. Hi NUSensei. When you say 68" your refering to the total lenght of the bow right from tip to tip. I was looking at a rise that came in 2 lenghts. I cant remember what they were it was a hoyt and just for example said 21" and 24". Then i checked out some limbs and they seemed to come in different sizes too… so what difference does the length of the riser have. Im very confused now…. or have i just confused myself haha

  9. Finally some words about bow size…!!! 
    I have 31" draw length and my beginner bow was 68". Then it became too week for me so I have decided to make a change…to hunter bow which is 60" and at the same time much stronger (45# at 28"). I had to convince people in archery shop that it's fine, limbs will not break as this is not a long bow or compound where there are some limitations of draw length. 
    With my draw length it will be around 52-53# and yes – there is a problem with arrow pinch, that's why I shoot with 3 fingers under. 
    And guess what? NO PROBLEM!! (at least so far) 🙂

  10. Is there a discernable deference between the Bear Bull's-eye x vs the Sage? The reason I ask is they seem to me a layman very similar but the Bear is 99 where as the sage is 139.00. I am finally going to give archery a try I have been wanting to get into it for a couple of years now, but I haven't because I felt that if I was going to do it I should "do it right" and buy the expensive stuff. Well two years later no bow. I just could not spend that much on something that I might or might not like. Especially since I have a new home and children. My sons birthday is the 20th and I have decided to get him the lil Brave 2. I would like to get a bow so that we can learn and have fun together. I know 40 bucks isn't much savings but it would pay for some arrows and things plus I like the look of the Bear better. Any advice would be great.

  11. In terms of stacking, sometimes it depends on bow design too. There are some very good short bows out there, I have a Super Mag 48 from Bear Archery which is a 48 inch hunting recurve bow (it's 50 pounds at 28 inch draw). And oh golly is this bow nice and smooth for how short it is!!

  12. Thanks so much for this video. @6:46 fits my situation almost exactly except I've been afraid of should strain, hand shock, and not finding arrows long enough. I wanted to go the Samick Polaris route, but it would be better to get limbs that can handle the faster flemish strings. So the Journey was recommended, but it only goes to 64". This limitation has thrown me into the hickory flatbow/classic English longbow camp where I can find bows 72" long with 28" dl, but can go to 31". What do you say NuSensei? I'm 6'3" with a 77" armspan. I trust your judgment?

  13. i am 14 years old, can i use a samick sage take down recurve bow ,i have some experience but i'm not so familiarize with the recurve bow or should i start with something else ,if sou what?

  14. +NUSensei should i choose 68 or 66 bow. Iam 67,5 inch tall but so 66 would be closer but im thinking about future in archery so 68 would be for future. Thank you for awesome videos.

  15. you might want to take into consideration that not every adult has your size and arm length im 198cm tall and when i try to use a small bow like you did it either breaks at the screwlocks or in case of a longbow it simply snapped . i would have to stop 3/4 in my draw to not risk any damage to the bow more to the point usually the arrows are too short for my draw lenght …

  16. Thanks for the explanation on anchor points with shorter bows! No more worries about a wrong anchor point for me, as I'm using the corner of my lips and the side of my thumb across my cheek. Again you have more information in one video that I could think of 🙂 great channel 👍🏻👍🏻

  17. I have a 30" draw length what would be the shortest recurve I could get that would still be relatively comfortable

  18. I'm a beginner archer seeking for a new bow, I was about the buy the Samick Sage when I learnt about bow sizes. I have a 26" draw length too, so according the charts i should purchase a 64" samick journey right ? Still, in the product description, the journey is the "Sage for 6ft tall, or more, people". So what do you think about it ? I should get a 62" Sage to begin with or a 64" ?

  19. While I understand what you're saying, not all shorter hunting bows can handle longer draw lengths. For example, the Samick Sage can't draw past 28" with their standard riser. The limbs will crack or have a delamination explosion, I had both happen in an archery shop after casting just a couple arrows. The first time we thought it might be bad limbs, the second time I was bleeding from the limb shrapnel. They contacted Samick and were notified that they had made a larger riser for the Sage for people with over a 28" draw. I ordered the larger riser, which brought it to a 66" amo, I later found out it was only tested to 30" draw. The limbs lasted longer but they couldn't handle the force. Samick doesn't make that size riser anymore and hasn't changed their printed recommendations about that bow. The sage also has a problem with the tension in the limbs caused from longer draw lengths constantly unscrewing the limbs bolts – meaning that after every arrow the limbs need to be tightened. The archery shop was amazed and doesn't carry or recommend that bow anymore. I've used a lot of shorter entry level and hunting bows (all take downs bows) than what is needed for my draw and many can't handle the stress.

  20. I prefer compounds over recurves but one thing you dont get with compound bows is those big bows that are almost as tall as you are and while that makes recurves less ideal for hunting me as a target shooter think a longer bow looks cooler.

  21. I'm thinking about getting a cheap recurve just to start out and this video answered a lot of my questions! Thanks and nice channel :}

  22. Hi, I just wanted to know if you have the mission menace bow. I've really been looking into it and I wanted to know what you thought of it or similar bows

  23. My dad found a bow but it didn't have a string or arrows, he didn't buy, I just wanted to know how I could get a good bow string for it, I don't know the size of it or anything

  24. I have a 30 inch draw, what would the best set up be for flight archery? long limbs on a very short riser? or something else, or would the difference in speeds be too negligible?

  25. I have a wooden bow of 24 poundage but still it becomes difficult for me to anchor/pull. Wasting both my energy and stamina.should I go for a little less poundage?

  26. I'm about 5ft6" but I have obscenely long arms, which makes my draw length 31". So I always end up with a really huge bow.

  27. Hopefully you can help me with this. I am 5'11" with a 29" draw length. According to my research i should be using a 66" or 68" bow. Why is it that most of the major brands (i.e Bear, Hoyt, PSE, etc) don't carry any traditional recurves that are around 66" to 68" on their website. The largest bow most of the companies have is around 60". Am i just searching for the wrong thing, or should i be looking into other more specific brands??? Thank you ahead of time.

  28. Nu Can you explain in a video how to combine raiser with limb size and is a smaller or bigger riser is preferred??

  29. I have recently acquired a 54" recurve "primitive" bow. It's quite nice. It has a ~40# at 20-22 inches.I'm six foot tall. The bow does not want to be overdrawn. It's a single piece of red oak. I'm not going to hunt with it or do formal target shooting. It's a backyard bow for me. I also am interested in learning the mystical art of instinctive shooting. The bowyer has given me some nice advice, but I'm wondering on what your take on this is as I will not be able to hold my left arm straight (I'm right handed) and anchor on my cheek.

  30. very informative, as always
    BUT PLZ use the metric system!, so the rest of the world knows what you are talking about!

  31. I have a 32 inch draw and a 58 inch bow it use to pinch my fingers really bad butt after a few months I don't even notice it anymore

  32. So today (after 3 years) I decided to measure my draw length…I know I'm an idiot…and found that I have a roughly 28 inch draw length. I've been shooting a samick sage 62 inch recurve (originally with 50 lb, now 40 lb limbs) for about 2-3 years as my first, and currently only bow. I only shoot at a target and have not hunted with it, yet, and found out that according to charts, I need a bow 6 inches longer. What are the set-backs of shooting a bow like that? Will it affect accuracy for the better to buy a longer bow? Should I buy a new bow? Or continue to use my 62 inch, which I'm used to

  33. Hello,
    recently started archery after six years again and like your videos, great work!

    Currently im shooting a Hoyt Eclipse with short limbs, giving me a 66" bow with a draw length of about 27". After some shooting i have the issue that my index finger really starts hurting. (Also did six years ago). Is it because of my technique/fingertab/anatomy or did your hear about someone with similar issues with shall bows?

    Greetings from Germany!

  34. Quick question, I started shooting recurve Olympic style. I’m 6’4 with 31 3/4” draw, I have been told to use a 72” bow but they seem to be a rare unicorn to find. Would 70” with 25” riser be a bit short for me? Since finding a 27” riser for under $500 seems impossible. Thanks

  35. omg you just shot your string without arrow in!! i was told that the world will implode if you do that!

  36. please help me?

    i am a small FEMALE, 5,08 feet, 120 pounds, right eye dominant and write with my right hand.

    the measurament i got from my finger to finger (draw length) was 1,61cm which i converted here and got 63,4 inches.

    i then divdided the above 63,4 inches by 2,25 and got 28,1. which by your list here i should get a total lengh bow between 66 to 68.

    did i caculate all the above correct?

    i was thinking in getting a 23 inch riser so this way i have more choices to pick limbs and make it 64 inches total lengh or 66… giving me more possibilities. what do you think?

    or a 25 inch riser?

  37. I am 71 inches or 1.8 meters tall and I have bow that is a one piece bow and is 54 inches long with a weight of 55 pounds. I get some major shakes when I draw an anchor point the one used in the video. Wondering what advice you have as far as exercises or possibly altering the draw length

  38. Noone explains archery techniques, equipment , etc better then this man. Very skilled tutor and well spoken, aside from the fact he knows his shit. Alot of it is logic you already know, but you need a reminder. You do a great job with your videos.

  39. Hi! Great videos! I'm a beginner looking to target shoot. Far as I can see and have been told a 68' bow minimum is what I need (I'm 5'10, 28 draw length). But I have found a bow I like for a good price to start out with which is 64", would this hinder my introduction in to learning how to shoot well in this size? Thanks!

  40. So even for me who has a 32 inch draw length it won't break? Also would the 64inch Samick Spyder XL be a good starter bow for me with my draw length?

  41. Im a 5'5 female and i want to buy my first brand new Recurve Bow. What dize in length should i get?

    Edit: Size not dize

  42. Hello! It might be that no one sees this, but I am doing some research for fun about bows, and for the life of me there is one question that I just can't find an answer to, so I were wondering if any of you bow-gurus could help me?

    Basically, what I want to know is: Can recurve/reflex bows be made as large and powerful as a traditional longbow, if not then why? What pros and cons are there to each size and/or type?

  43. sir..how to increase draw weight if we use longbow..? some people say to shorter the limb..but some people say use tape in the limb. what do you think..?

  44. I'm 6 feet, my natural bone alignment draw is 38 inches (thumbdraw).. I practically have to use something like a manchu with 36 inches draw just to feel comfortable using it

  45. Funny I just discovered this highly interesting video after all the other dozens and dozens of yours that I've watched. My main interest in archery is gaining facility with different bows, especially short quality "youth" or horse bows. For example, right now I have a Samick Shadow 30 pounder and a Kodiak Cub Junior 35 pounder, both quality recurves that are only 48". My draw-length is actually 29", and of course I can't comfortably get there with these short bows. However, I've discovered that achieving my normal anchor point is not necessary at all, and I've learned to shoot well with these short bows just like my longer bows. With respect to stacking, I've learned that it is actually an advantage to my style of shooting, although originally it was an awful pain (literally). Now I use it to my advantage because I now have developed a quick draw and release cycle, and I can draw my 48" bows a little further than actually comfortable (or "safe"?) and get a little extra power out of the shot without sacrificing accuracy. Admittedly, it is a little trickier to shoot this way, but I've gotten used to it. I have a 56" Top Archery take-down bow coming today that I'm looking forward to getting used to also. Thx.

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