how to test bow draw weight



How to Test Bow Draw Weight

Are you a passionate archery enthusiast looking to understand how to test the draw weight of your bow? Determining draw weight is crucial for every archer, as it ensures the optimal performance of the bow and maximizes accuracy. Testing draw weight involves measuring the force required to fully draw the bowstring to the specified length. In this article, we will explore five different methods to test bow draw weight effectively. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced archer, this guide will provide you with valuable insights to help you improve your archery skills.

Using a Bow Scale

A bow scale is an important tool that allows you to precisely measure the draw weight of your bow. It consists of a digitized scale attached to a hanging hook, specifically designed for measuring the force exerted when drawing the bowstring. These scales provide accurate readings, allowing you to adjust your bow according to your specific needs, such as increasing or reducing draw weight.

To test your bow draw weight with a scale, begin by securely attaching the scale to a sturdy and fixed point. Hang your bowstring on the scale's hook, ensuring it is at the exact height where you would normally draw the string. Slowly draw the bowstring until it reaches a full draw, while keeping the bow in a horizontal position. Make sure to exert constant pressure throughout the entire draw to obtain an accurate reading on the scale. Repeat this process a few times and record the average draw weight to establish your bow's true draw weight.

Using a bow scale is a reliable method for testing draw weight, offering precise measurements. However, it is essential to note that the measurements may differ slightly based on the specific scale being used. Hence, it is advisable to cross-check readings with different scales to ensure accuracy.

Leverage Mechanical Devices

Another effective method to test your bow's draw weight is by utilizing mechanical devices designed explicitly for this purpose. These devices typically consist of a calibrated machine that simulates the act of drawing a bow, allowing you to measure the force exerted. They provide a consistent and replicable environment for testing, enhancing accuracy during the process.

To use a mechanical device, attach your bow on the testing machine securely. Follow the specific instructions provided with the device to ensure proper setup and positioning. Slowly draw the bowstring while the machine measures the force exerted. It will display the draw weight digitally, providing you with the precise measurement. Repeat the process multiple times to obtain reliable readings and calculate the average draw weight.

Mechanical devices offer a straightforward and standardized approach to test draw weight. They eliminate any errors resulting from human factors, resulting in accurate measurements. Moreover, these devices are often designed to accommodate various types of bows, making them suitable for archers with different bow preferences.

Using a DIY Hanging Scale

If you do not have access to a specialized bow scale or a mechanical device, you can still test your bow draw weight using a simple DIY hanging scale. Although it may not provide as precise measurements as professional tools, it can serve as a reliable alternative.

To create a DIY hanging scale, you will need a spring scale, a durable rope, and a sturdy overhead beam or pole. Start by tying the rope securely to your bowstring. Attach the other end of the rope to the spring scale, making sure it is taut. Hang the scale on the overhead beam, ensuring it is at a comfortable height for you to draw the bowstring fully. Slowly draw the bowstring while reading the measurement on the scale. Make sure to maintain consistent pressure while drawing to obtain accurate results. Repeat the process a few times and record the average draw weight.

While a DIY hanging scale may not offer the same accuracy as professional tools, it can still provide you with a good estimate of your bow draw weight. Additionally, it is an excellent option for archers who are on a budget or do not have immediate access to specialized equipment.

Using a 'Bow-Eye' Method

The 'Bow-Eye' method is a traditional technique used by many archers to estimate their bow's draw weight. It relies on observing the physical changes in the archer's body when drawing the bowstring, allowing for a rough approximation of draw weight.

To use the 'Bow-Eye' method, stand in front of a mirror or ask someone to observe you from the side. Hold your bow at an approximately horizontal angle. Begin drawing the bowstring, paying close attention to your dominant eye. As you draw the bowstring, observe any slight movements or adjustments in your eye alignment. The greater the draw weight, the more noticeable these changes will be. Use your observations to estimate your bow's draw weight.

The 'Bow-Eye' method provides a quick and straightforward way to estimate draw weight without the need for additional tools. However, it is important to note that this method is subjective and may not provide highly accurate measurements. Combine it with other testing methods for a more comprehensive understanding of your bow's draw weight.

Using an Archery Pro Shop

For archers who want to ensure the most accurate measurement of their bow's draw weight, visiting an archery pro shop is highly recommended. These specialized stores usually have experienced staff who can assist you in testing your bow's draw weight using precision tools and equipment.

When visiting an archery pro shop, explain your requirement to the staff and ask for their assistance. They will likely utilize a bow scale or a mechanical device to measure your bow's draw weight accurately. Additionally, they might offer valuable advice on adjusting your draw weight based on your shooting style and requirements.

While this method may require visiting a physical store, it provides archers with the most reliable and professional approach to test draw weight accurately. The expertise and guidance provided by the pro shop staff can significantly enhance your archery experience.


Testing the draw weight of your bow is essential to optimize your archery performance. Whether you choose to use a bow scale, a mechanical device, a DIY hanging scale, or utilize the 'Bow-Eye' method, each testing method offers its advantages and considerations. Experiment with different approaches to find the one that suits you best.

Remember, accurate measurements of draw weight allow you to adjust your bow accordingly, ensuring enhanced accuracy, precision, and overall shooting experience. Take the time to test your bow's draw weight regularly, as it can change over time due to various factors such as adjustments, string changes, or bow tuning. By understanding and managing your draw weight effectively, you can become a more confident and skilled archer in no time. So, grab your bow, choose the most suitable testing method, and embark on your journey to archery excellence.


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