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Compound Bows vs. Traditional Bows

Apr 8, 2008
A compound bow has been modernized and now uses a levering system, which normally uses pulleys and cables that are used to bend the limbs. The limbs on a compound bow, which are stiffer than a longbow or recurve bow, store energy more efficiently than others. But since they are stiff, they are too hard to draw with just a string.

The bow has strings fastened to the pulleys and usually has one or more cables attached to the other limb. The pulley is forced to turn when the bows strings are drawn back. Then the cables are pulled causing the limbs to bend and store energy. With little effect on the bow by humidity or temperature the compound bow often gives great velocity, distance, and accuracy when compared to other similar bows.

Developed in Missouri in the 1960s, by Holless Wilbur Allen the basic idea and design has become one of the most popular methods of hunting and popular in archery competitions. The compound bow is created out of magnesium or aluminum which is also used for air crafts at times. The risers for compound bows are made to be rigid. The riser is the middle mount for other parts such as sights, quivers, stabilizer's, and limbs.

All energy is stored in the limbs of the bow, which are usually designed from various composite materials each with it's own set of advantages/disadvantages. Limbs are capable of taking high frequent blows and strong forces. Normally each limb will consist of a wheel or cam on their ends. There are different types of cams depending on the bow.

Utilizing the cam and storing energy inside the limb depends on different things. The most common types are the hybrid cams, single cams, binary cams, and dual cams. Hinged or Quad cams are available but are used less often. The cables and strings on the bow are usually designed from high modulus polyethylene and created to have great strength and minimum stretchability so that the compound bow easily moves the energy to the arrow as smoothly as possible. The strings and cables are much more dependable today than when they where made of plastic-coated steel.

The arrows that are normally used for compound bows are not much different than those used for traditional archery. they are usually made of carbon fiber or aluminum alloy or even a combination of both. Using wooden arrows with a compound bow is discouraged due to the force that the bow puts on it when being shot. Most of the time the wood arrows will break.
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