Why some bows are more accurate than others

Regardless of whether you are just getting started with archery or whether you are experienced, you want your bow to shoot as accurately as possible. On this blog, we often discuss techniques on how you can make sure that you shoot more accurately. But what about the inherent accuracy of the bow. Are some bows more accurate than others? And how can we increase the accuracy of the bow? If you don’t want to read this entire article, here is a quick summary:

The most important thing that determines the accuracy of the bow is the archer’s skill. Therefore, some bows are more accurate because they better fit the archer and it corrects some inconsistencies of the archer. Even very simple bows can be shot very accurately by a skilled archer.

In this article, we will discuss this question in more detail. We will discuss what makes a bow accurate and why expensive bows tend to shoot more accurately. Also, some important aspects that determine the accuracy of the bow will be covered in more detail. At the end of the article, I will also give some quick tips on how you can increase your accuracy with some quick tips.

What makes your bow accurate?

If you would completely remove all human error from a shot, you will find that almost every bow shoots very accurately. If I had to make an estimate, I would say that about 99% of all variance between shots is caused by the archer. Although some bows can be inherently more accurate, most inaccuracies are caused by the archer.

Inherent accuracy: the accuracy of the bow when you remove all other things that influence the bow; for example, the archer’s skill and the wind.

Archery technicians, therefore, often use a device called a hooter shooter. This device holds the bow; therefore, you only need to pull the mechanical release to fire the shot. When the archer is not in contact with the bow, all variance from the archer is removed. Therefore, this device allows you to test the inherent accuracy of the bow.

So, the most important thing that influences the accuracy of the bow is you. Most bows differ very little in terms of accuracy when they are shot 100% perfect. Some bows are only more forgiving, meaning that minor mistakes in the technique don’t influence the accuracy too much.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Hooter-SHOOTER.png
A hooter shooter from the brand Spot Hogg

Why expensive bows tend to shoot better

So why do most archers prefer more expensive bows when the difference in the inherent accuracy is minuscule? Of course, some archers just like the look of Hoyt bows or are just a fan of the brand. Additionally, many archers still believe that more expensive bows are significantly more accurate.

But there are also some performance benefits. For example, most expensive risers are made of metal, while cheaper risers are made of composite. Since those metal risers are heavier than composite risers, they tend to vibrate less, which improves your accuracy.

Sometimes buying more expensive gear can also improve your accuracy. Think for example of the sight. Most cheap sights will block more of your field of view, which makes it harder to aim the bow.

That doesn’t mean that an expensive setup shoots always better than a cheaper setup. That also depends on your situation and preferences. A heavier riser is for example, more strenuous on the muscles. Therefore, in some cases, it could even hurt your accuracy. Additionally, some people with limited eyesight prefer the bigger sight pin most cheaper sights have.

Compound bows are more accurate because they are easier to shoot. A well-tuned traditional bow in the hands of a skilled archer can also be very accurate, it is just more difficult to master such a bow

The importance of bow fit

The most important aspect of your bow is that it should fit your shooting style. We already discussed this briefly in the previous section. If you shoot a bow that doesn’t feel right, you will probably never shoot that bow accurately. Especially the draw weight, draw length, grip and weight of the bow can significantly impact your technique.

You should feel comfortable and confident while shooting your bow. When you are just getting started with a new bow, it will feel weird for a few weeks. But it should feel like second nature within 2 months. If that is not the case, you might have to change your setup.

I believe there is too much emphasis on the ‘’one right technique’’. Archers are learned that there is one baseline technique which they should follow meticulously. Although it’s a good idea to use this technique when you are just getting started. You might develop habits that are not right according to this baseline technique. But if it works for you, there is no reason to change it.

We are all different, therefore, every archer their own shooting style, and gear that works for him/her. If we would be all the same, we wouldn’t need so many different options in limbs, risers, sights, etc.

The importance of tuning the bow

Another thing that some archers overemphasize is how the bow is tuned. Some archers use paper tuning tests and constantly tweak their button, arrow, and tiller. In my opinion that is just a waste of time. Constantly changing these settings will not increase your accuracy. Spending your time actually practicing does.

This does not mean that you should never tune your bow. Whenever, you get new limbs, riser, or sight, you must tune the bow to an acceptable level. You can often just use a tuning guide and make sure that the measurements are between the guidelines.

If you notice that the bow shoots just fine, I wouldn’t touch it again. Only when you experience issues, you might want to check the tuning.

The importance of your arrows

Having the right arrows for your bow is very important. In general, there are two important things that you should consider: the spine (flexibility of the arrow) and the consistency between arrows.

Both too flexible arrows as too stiff arrows can cause clearance issues. This happens because the arrow doesn’t bend around the riser, but instead hits the riser. Therefore, it will interfere with the arrow’s flight path and decreases your accuracy. Luckily, just using this spine chart can prevent this issue. In general, it doesn’t matter if the spine is 100 more or less than the recommended spine, but it shouldn’t be too extreme.

If you shoot carbon or aluminum arrows you don’t have to worry about consistency. But if you are using wooden arrows, you should consider it. Since wood is a natural product, it is impossible to make arrows that have a 100% consistent spine. Although the arrow doesn’t have to be 100% consistent to be accurate, it should be between acceptable margins.

When professional traditional archers are making arrows, they often only use about 20% of the arrows they make. The other 20% of the arrows are outside of their acceptable spine margins and thus influence the accuracy. Most hobbyists don’t have to be so stringent, but if you notice that one arrow behaves differently, you now know why that happens. Cheaper arrows might have consistency issues because they are made from lesser-quality wood.

Some tips to improve your accuracy

In this article, we have discussed a lot of things that do little to improve your accuracy. But you might be more interested in things that can majorly improve your accuracy. Although there are probably a million things that I could mention, I summed up the most important ones:

  • Make sure that you can comfortably draw the bow: one of the most common mistakes archers make is to shoot with a too heavy poundage. This often leads to excessive shaking or makes you rush the shot process. You can use this simple test, to figure out whether you are shooting the right draw weight.
  • Shoot more arrows: the best way to improve your archery is to practice more. Therefore, try to shoot more arrows per session or train more days. Even practicing at short distances in your garden can greatly improve your shots.
  • Take more time to aim: when you take more time to aim, your shots will become steadier. This also applies to instinctive archers. Traditional archers often tend to shoot quite fast. But if you look at professionals, you see that they take a lot of time to aim.

Final words

I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section down below. I will answer your question as soon as possible and send you an email with my reply.

Tim van Rooijen

For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by archery. First due to its historic significance but later because I like being outdoors. With this blog, I share my knowledge about Archery and how you can improve your shot. More about author…

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