By Crispin Duenas
Choosing equipment can be overwhelming, especially when spending lots of hard-earned money. Unlike some accessories such as sights and the plunger, bow limbs might be changed frequently, depending on where you are in learning your optimal draw weight.
Beginners generally change limbs annually as they master their technique, and progress to higher draw weights. Archers shouldn’t spend too much on limbs during those stages as they assess their interest and development. During that time they should shoot entry-level limbs.
When archers finally figure out their preferred draw weight, they can look into higher-quality limbs. Ideally, they won’t have to buy another set of limbs after getting these limbs, or only upgrade them after a significant advance in limb technology.
Beginner limbs usually range from $100 to $400, and advanced limbs can range from $500 to $1,000. Beginner limbs are usually made from wood, foam and fiberglass; while advanced limbs use wood, bamboo, foam and carbon.
The chief difference in price is materials. Limb manufacturing is fundamentally the same between beginner and advanced limbs; layering and gluing materials together differs little in the two grades of limbs.
The materials “define” the limbs, and distinguish them from each other. Materials in beginner limbs do not seriously account for limb weight (their physical weight), the speed they propel arrows, their “torsional stability,” and their smoothness through the clicker zone. Those traits, in simple terms, define advanced limbs.
The limbs’ physical weight directly correlates to the arrow speeds it can produce. Lighter limbs shoot arrows faster than do heavier limbs of the same poundage. “Torsional stability” refers to the limb’s tendency to twist, which no high-end archer wants. Limbs need a good amount of torsional stability to shoot consistently arrow after arrow.
The limb’s smoothness through the clicker zone is a trait top archers desire in limbs. If they struggle to pull their arrow through the final millimeter, they’ll grow tired during long days of competition. Fatigue causes archers to lose fine motor control, and their shooting suffers.
Even though high-level archers seek a good set of advanced limbs, their equipment does not define their shooting level. In fact, a bow fitted with beginner-level equipment, when shot by an expert, will out-shoot any novice archer using the best equipment. To see that in action, watch the video above by Triple Trouble.
No matter your equipment, practice makes perfect!