You Won’t Believe What Can You Do With a Ten Pound Draw Weight Recurve Bow

Ok, you probably will believe what you can do with a 10 pound bow, but it’s actually pretty cool and way more than you might imagine:


You really can do all of that with a mere 10 pound draw weight bow. That bullseye shot is for real. With practice, and the right draw length and arrows, you really can shoot a 10 pound bow accurately out to 50 meters without sights. Which means those awards are for real, too, all of the standard USA Archery Outdoor Barebow Adult Achievement Awards, and an advanced Bronze (the bow can shoot the gold score, too, and has in practice).

Power and Distance

A 10 pound bow may be light, but it is a real bow, and you still need to treat it like one. It can even penetrate light plywood, which I did by accident when trying to shoot left handed for the first time, hitting the frame the target stand (always check your arrows for damage). The same power that lets you (accidentally) penetrate plywood can also launch arrows 145 yards. YMMV, of course. I have a 29″ draw length and am using light, 238 grain arrows. Or you can go for shorter distances with an arrow mounted GoPro camera – much, much shorter. The GoPro Hero3 I used is relatively heavy, as is the solid aluminum arrow I made to insure that the arrow wouldn’t break on launch, thus the GoPro mounted arrows shot from the 10 pound bow didn’t go very far, but the light draw weight also helped insure nobody got injured from an arrow breaking when launched. Even with the short range, the results are still pretty fun:

Preventing Sprains and Strains

In most cases, a light draw weight bow is a great way to ease back into archery after recovering from an injury. Archers can work on their form without straining their body, and still have fun shooting. However, if you do anything in a way your body doesn’t like you can get injured. Being “talented” in that regard I managed to sprain my wrist with one of these super light bows, aggravating the same tendons I injured years earlier with a heavier bow while using the same technique, a “high wrist” grip, one where the pressure is high on the hand and on the bow grip. What can I say, you really can do just about everything with these bows. :) The light bow let me get away with a technique I’d had to stop using with heavier bows, but my hubris eventually caught up to me and now I’m back to using the “low wrist” grip, with low hand pressure that I should have been using. As far as I know, I’m the only one who’s managed to injure themselves with a featherweight bow, and the bow grip that my body doesn’t like works well for many archers.

Should you shoot a ten pound bow?

So, you really can do all sorts of things with a plastic Rolan riser and 10 pound rated Quintessential limbs. Most of all, shooting the light bow is fun, and there is a lifetime of challenge in pushing it to its limits, and tons of fun in just enjoying shooting the bow normal distances. What can you do with one? :-)

Now, would I recommend everyone get one?  While I think they are terrific fun for all sorts of people, they aren’t for everybody or every purpose. As with all bows, you should consider what kind of shooting you want to do and pick a bow that will match your needs. The 10 pound bows are super easy to pull, and we start pretty much every adult archer and most teens on one. You shoot better when you are using a fraction of your strength, rather than all of it, to pull a bow back. The light bows allow people of all sorts to control the bow well. For people who are going to shoot a bow once a week or less it is critical they use a bow that they can shoot comfortably right now, not in some theoretical future when they are stronger, because if they shoot once a week or less they aren’t going to get stronger using the bow. This is where the light bows shine. They are bows you can shoot right now.

Devil in the Details

There are some special considerations to keep in mind. If you use a soft target bale, such as straw bales, light Ethafoam, or any of a number of targets for the JOAD/student market, the light bows work great – from close up to easily out to 18 meters with just about any arrow. We have many students shooting them barebow (without sights) out to 30 meters. And, as noted earlier, it is possible to earn all of the regular 30 and 50 meter USA Archery Adult Achievement Outdoor Barebow pins with one.

Stiffer target bales, such as those made of compressed layers of carpet, heavily compressed batting (Spyder Web targets), very stiff foam, etc. can be a problem for light bows. Many targets are made specifically to stop high energy arrows from compound bows, and some of those targets will cause arrows shot from light bows to bounce back. Test your arrows on such bales from enough distance that the arrow won’t bounce into your face if it should bounce. (They can bounce at least 7 meters, depending on many variables).

To get longer distances out of these bows you need a light arrow. With my 29″ draw length I can shoot full length aluminum 1716 arrows (with NIBB points or screw in points up to 100 grains) and full length 15/25 Super Club arrows out to 30 meters. To get to 50 meters without aiming up in the sky, I had to switch to full length 2000 spine Medallion XR arrows. Shooters with very long draw lengths will have to shoot heavier shafts because light, low spine arrows don’t come in long lengths. So if you have a 31″ AMO draw length, you’ll be losing some velocity in spite of your longer draw length and subsequent longer power stroke.

Where to Get Your Hands on a Ten Pound Bow

If these bows sound like fun you can see if your local archery club has some of them to use (Golden Gate JOAD does, of course) or you can purchase the Rolan bows and 10 pound limbs from Quintessential Corporation or from Lancaster Archery, where the riser and limbs are listed separately. To learn more about how the light draw weight bows can aid archery instruction programs, check out our post “The Ten Pound Draw Weight Bow–One of the Most Effective Archery Teaching Tools.”

Posted in Archery Coaching, Archery Equipment, Archery How To

Ten Pound Draw Weight Bow Earns USA Archery Outdoor Barebow Bronze Award

An award winning 10 pound draw weight bow at Golden Gate JOAD, used to earn an advanced Bronze USA Archery Outdoor Barebow AAP Award at 50 meters.

The 10 pound draw weight training bows we use at Golden Gate JOAD are now award winning bows, earning the USA Archery Bronze Award for Outdoor Barebow  😀

We start all of our students off using good quality, light draw weight training bows – typically 25″ Rolan risers with 10 pound limbs from Quintessential. The light bows make it easy to work with students on form rather than strength and have all sorts of advantages. But light draw weight bows can also be a challenge to shoot accurately. While they are easy to shoot they are very challenging to master, magnifying any inconsistencies in form. So it only seemed fair to do what we ask of our archers and see how far it is possible go with one of these bows. Do you need a fancy or higher draw weight bow to earn all 8 of the regular USA Archery Adult Achievement pins? What about the advanced Bronze, Silver and Gold pins? The question was motivating for me personally and fun and challenging to answer. I finally earned my way up from the very first of the outdoor barebow pins through through the last of the 8 regular AAP pins and then on to the Bronze, all using the 10 pound bow. I consider myself a relatively average shooter, so even as a trained and certified instructor I can still use all the motivation I can get to practice more, and to practice smarter – you know, like we teach to all of our students. Although I’ve shot the Silver and Gold scores with the 10 pound bow in practice, I’ve yet to do it at one of our achievement shoots. So I’m still motivated 😀

Now, should you try to earn all the USA Archery Adult Achievement awards with a 10 pound bow? Of course you should! If you want to. I love these bows. But, I have to say, there are some technical as well as form challenges. The bows are fussy, and making the outdoor distance of 50 meters is tough. I have a reasonably long draw length which means I have more than the rated 10 pounds on my fingers at full draw (around 13 pounds), and the long draw length makes for longer power stroke, giving me an arrow speed between 114 – 124 fps, depending on which set of “10 pound” limbs I’m using (they vary). With full length 2000 spine Medallion XR arrows and an under the chin anchor, my “point on distance” (the distance where you can sight off of your arrow tip with it lined up right over the bulls eye) is 50 meters, or somewhere on the target face depending on my bow set up or where the pressure on my bow hand grip is. Your mileage will vary.  And keep in mind that the heavier your arrows, the less distance you will get out of the bow. It is a lot harder to shoot accurately when your arrow point has to be up in the clouds to hit 50 meters, which was the case when I shot full length aluminum 1716 arrows and when I shot Super Club arrows, both of which are heavier than the Medallion XR arrows. And I cannot for the life of me get my bow sight low enough to shoot sighted at 50 meters, not even with the sight inverted (between the bow riser and the string, shortening up the sight radius as much as possible to choke up on the sight angle) – hence why I switched to barebow 😀

Now, fun as the 10 pound bow is, if you want to shoot the highest score possible with a bow at 50 meters, it’s not the best tool for the job. A heavier draw weight bow that is within your strength’s ability to dominate will be more forgiving, have a closer point on distance and be possible to tune properly. So, so don’t think of the 10 pounder as a way to earn the highest score possible for a bow. Instead, consider it a challenge for you to shoot the highest possible score you can with a 10 pound bow at which ever distance and target you choose. It is a personal challenge. And a fun one. You can see if your local archery club has some of these fun bows to use (Golden Gate JOAD does, of course) or purchase the Rolan bows and 10 pound limbs from Quintessential Corporation or from Lancaster Archery, where the riser and limbs are listed separately.

Posted in Archery Club News, Archery Equipment, Archery How To

Golden Gate JOAD Archers Earn USA Archery Bronze and Silver Awards

Golden Gate JOAD Instructor Gerard Hughes Shows his USA Archery Outdoor Barebow Bronze Award and the ten pound draw weight bow used to achieve it.

Golden Gate JOAD Instructor Gerard Hughes Shows his USA Archery Outdoor Barebow Bronze Award and the ten pound draw weight bow used to achieve it.

Golden Gate JOAD Archer Jeremy Steinkoler Shows his USA Archery Outdoor Barebow Bronze and Silver Awards.

Golden Gate JOAD Archer Jeremy Steinkoler Shows his USA Archery Outdoor Barebow Bronze and Silver Awards.

Golden Gate JOAD Head Coach David Chan presented archer Jeremy Steinkoler and instructor Gerard Hughes with official recognition from USA Archery headquarters. Jeremy earned Bronze and Silver awards for Adult Outdoor Barebow and Gerard earned a Bronze. The awards recognize achievement above and beyond the regular Adult Achievement Awards pins and includes publication of their awards on the USA Archery website. Both archers earned their awards at 50 meters, shooting bows without sights, stabilizers, draw checks or other gadgets. Gerard’s Bronze is likely the first and only Adult Outdoor Barebow Bronze award earned from the Green Pin on up using a plastic Rolan training bow with 10 pound rated limbs. Jeremy is now working on earning the Gold, and has exceeded the required score by 10 points in practice.

Accredited archery clubs around the country shoot for USA Archery Adult Achievement Pins. The pins are a great way for archers to set goals and mark their progress. For clubs, the pin program helps motivate their archers and allows clubs to offer inclusive, fun shoots where skill and achievement are recognized. The pins are issued following USA Archery national standards and shot under tournament-like conditions. They must all be earned one at a time, in sequential order.

Ok, enough with the stuffy, press release-style writing. The pins program is just fun. There’s a kids version and an adult version. A few years back everyone got sew-on patches when they earned their award – which was great if you were a scout with a big merit badge sash, but it really made the program seem kind of dated. Then USA Archery updated kids awards from patches to pins on lanyards, and the program really took off. Kids love swag. When they updated the grown up program, it turned out that grown ups love swag, too. 😀

The awards program isn’t competition, so there isn’t just one winner – everyone who shoots the required score earns the pin they are eligible for. But that doesn’t make everybody happy. There are a few really competitive people who criticize the program for not being competition, because their interest in archery is about being better than someone else – that is their metric for achievement. Which is fine, for them. And while many competitive shooters love the AAP awards, what those few competitive shooters who object to the program are missing is that there are no default awards in the program. If just three people turn up to a competition, they win by default, getting Bronze, Silver and Gold based on their relative scores alone, even if they didn’t shoot very high scores. With the AAP, you have to meet or exceed the nationally required score for each pin. But, don’t worry, they start off at levels that are achievable for new archers who put in some time and training. The goals gradually move up with increasing levels of difficulty to provide archers with continuing challenges. And then, as an extra bonus, there are three additional awards for advanced archers, the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards – awards that are special and have to be vetted and approved by USA Archery.

Now, as to motivation, Jeremy has had a lot of fun with the awards and so have I and the other archers and instructors. In fact, Jeremy is so motivated by the awards that once he earns the Outdoor Barebow Gold he’s planning on starting from the ground up in a different bow class so he can earn another full set. I think he wants them all 😀  For me, I decided to see what I could do with one of our 10 pound training bows. We start all of our students off using good quality, light draw weight training bows – typically a 25″ Rolan riser with 10 pound limbs from Quintessential. It only seemed fair to do what we ask of our archers and see how far it is possible go with one of these bows.

So, if these awards sound like fun, check out your local USA Archery JOAD (kids 8-21) or Adult Achievement Program (adults).

Posted in Archery Club News, Archery News, Golden Gate Park Archery Range News