The Recurve Bow Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Setting up a recurve bow can be tricky, but it's not impossible. You'll need the right tools and some basic knowledge to do it. But once your know-how, it'll be a breeze! Don't worry! You may learn everything necessary to properly assemble a recurve bow.

A recurve bow is different from a longbow. It is more versatile and can be taken down into smaller pieces for easy transport and storage. A recurve bow is still powerful and can hit several different targets. It also has a comparable draw weight to a long or compound bow.

Steps to Set Up Your Recurve Bow

A recurve bow is different from a longbow. With a recurve bow, the arms of the bow bend away from the shooter. It makes it more accurate and quieter when you shoot it. You can also add accessories to make it better.

Things you will need:

  • Workplace (a large table or workbench will do)
  • Size-specific Allen keys or hex drivers (occasionally, limb screws are thumb screws, in which case you don't need an Allen wrench or hex driver).
  • Similar to this bow stringer Bow Riser Upper and Lower Limbs
  • Limb screws (these come with the bow)
  • Crimping Bowstring Nocking points
  • Nocking point crimping pliers *Bow square, such as the one included in this set, are available.

Assemble the Pieces of the Recurve Bow

If the bow is brand new, remove it from its packing. Spread out all the components and verify that everything is present.

You will need the Allen wrench or hex driver that should have come in the pack to assemble the bow. If it didn't, they are easy to find. You can then lay the bow out and attach the limbs.

The lower limb is always the limb that contains writing. It is there that the bow's length and draw weight are specified.

The lower extremity always has written on it. On it will be inscribed the bow's length and draw weight.

Align the riser's prongs with the limb's openings. The riser will be equipped with pegs or another method to ensure the exact alignment of the limb. Compress the leg and riser with your fingers and begin screwing in the screw. The light should still be visible through the gap.

When tightening the screw, do not start until you are confident that the limb is correctly aligned with the riser. Tighten to a hand-tightness. Avoid overtightening the screw! The attachment between the limb and the riser should be secure when fully tightened. There should be no visible light between the gaps, and the object should feel solid in your touch. Repeat this process for each additional limb.

Make sure the bow's limbs are all adjusted to the same level. It is essential that in the next step, the arrows will fly in a straight line and be more accurate. Once you have them close to even, you can install any necessary accessories.

Some accessories for your recurve bow are:

  • String Silencer - A material you can attach to your bow's strings. It will help reduce strings' noise when moving back and forth. It is essential because it can help you stay hidden from your prey or scare them away if you miss your shot. String silencers are especially important for recurve bows with a 60lb draw, as they make a loud cracking noise when left untouched.
  • Sights – You can attach a three-pin view to your recurve bow to be more accurate when you shoot. It will help you hit your target better. Each pin on sight represents a different distance. Once you have set up the bow correctly, you will need to practice figuring out how far away your target is.
  • Arrow Rest – You will need an arrow rest on the front of the recurve bow. It will help the arrow move as it is shot. It will help the arrow go where it should go with as little resistance as possible.
  • Stabilizer – To make a good shot, you must be steady. If you are shaking or can't hold the bow in the same place, you need a stabilizer. It will help keep the bow level as you aim, making your shot more accurate.

The best accessories for a bow help it shoot more accurately and quietly. Many products on the market now can help you release the arrow more efficiently or help you track it as it flies. Choose items that make target shooting easier. Then, focus on moving and three-dimensional targets representing hunting and archery competition.

String the Recurve Bow using a Stringer

You will need a stringer to string your bow. A stringer is a tool that helps you put more tension on the bowstring. It does this by holding one end of the bow and allowing you to pull on the other end until the string is tight. Without a stringer, it will be difficult to tighten the string, and you may not be able to do it alone.

It is best to use a stringer because you can place the looped end on the ground and pull it down on the top fork. It will make it easier to put the string in place. If you don't use a stringer, the bow could flick the string off and injure the shooter and people nearby.

Using a stringer on your recurve bow involves the following steps:

  • Attach the Covered End - One end of the stringer should be placed over the bow's end. It should be wrapped around the fork and provide leverage to help you string the bow. Do not rely on stringers that do not cover the forks, as they can break if too much pressure is applied.
  • Pull the Stringer – To put the string on the bow, first pull it tight. It will make the bow smaller so you can fit the string on the forks. The best way to do this is to stand on the end of the stringer with the rope loop. Then, exert your weight on the opposite end of the stringer to provide tension to the string.
  • Hook the Strings – Once you have enough force to bend the bow, attach the string's small end to the bow's bottom fork. The fork beneath the hand rest is the lowest one. Ensure you don't confuse the bow's ends, as the large end goes at the top.

Stringing a bow can be frustrating if you don't have the right tools. If you do not have a stringer, you can use a vice, but be careful not to bend or twist the bowl.

Setting the Nock Point is Crucial for Accuracy

A nocking point is a guide that facilitates the attachment of the arrow to the bowstring. A simple metal component attaches to the bowstring using a crimp. The arrow will rest on this point, allowing you to shoot more precisely. You will need to exert effort to achieve the desired position.

After crimping the nock, you must ensure that the arrows are level. If they are not parallel, the arrow will leave the rest at an angle, resulting in a wide shot. If accuracy is desired, a little level can be placed on the arrow as it rests in the nock. Using a bow and arrow, though, getting close is sufficient.

Consider the following when adjusting the nock position on your recurve bow:

  • Improper Height – The nock point height is critical for bow setup. Suppose it is too high or too low. In that case, the arrow will deviate from its intended target and may have unpredictable flight patterns.
  • Brace Height – When the string is not drawn, the brace height is the distance between the string and the bow's body. It is essential to brace the bow to uniformly disperse force. The normal brace height should range from 7 12 to 9 34 inches, depending on your draw length.
  • Measure Twice – Before proceeding to the next stage, the brace and nock height must be measured. Once you have those measurements, make sure you recheck them. Confidence in these heights will be necessary when you get to the testing phase.

You must ensure the measurements are correct when working with a nock point. If you do not, you might end up with inaccurate fires, which means you will have to refit the nock. It is also essential to be prepared for how the nock affects the shooting of your recurve bow.

Increase Accuracy by Centering the Arrow on the Rest

Arrows will not go in the right direction if they are shaking. It is because they move around a lot when they leave the bow. If they are not in the middle, they start to spin around when you shoot them. It makes them go in different directions, making it tough to hit your target.

The most important part of centering the arrow is ensuring enough space to move without hitting anything else. The area you need depends on the bow and how you draw it. You can find this information in the owner's manual.

Guidelines for aligning your arrows:

  • Look Down the Site –When drawing the arrow back, you should look down the target to determine the arrow's angle. If it goes to the left, it must shoot and remain true. If it moves straight ahead, it may be susceptible to swaying, rendering the shot ineffectual.
  • Test Draw the Bow – Multiple times at full draw, verify that the arrow returns to the same location. If not, reposition the pad and continue drawing until the lines are consistent.

Centering the arrow is similar to nocking in terms of procedure. It'll be done numerous times and greatly influences how the projectile performs. However, once an appropriate balance is achieved, the arrow rest will provide a stable platform for firing. The most significant aspect of the arrow rest is scrubbing. Once that process has been halted, you may continue practicing.

Time to Take a Few Test Shots

Now that your arrows are ready, you should go to the range and shoot at some stationary targets. Shoot both fletched and not fletched arrows at the target. It will help you understand how accurate your bow is.

Porpoising is the name for the movement of an arrow when its tail moves from side to side. It happened because it didn't set the bow up correctly. As the arrow flies, it will move back and forth across the aiming area. This movement will tell you everything you need to know about setting the bow up.

Setup instructions for your recurve bow's test-firing:

  • Place the Target – To increase the chances that your arrows will hit the target, set the static target 20 yards away from your firing position. You don't want to go any farther because the arrows that are not fletch are challenging to track down and often go astray at greater distances.
  • Shoot a few Arrows – Now it is time to shoot the arrows. Shoot them without fletching first and mark where they land on the target. Then hit the regular arrows and make a note of where they land. If the not-fletch arrows land higher than the others, you must move your nocking piece up until they are even.

Fishtailing is the polar opposite of porpoising. It indicates that the arrow turns to the right and left when shot. It may indicate that you need to tweak the nock and arrow rest to achieve the desired shots.

Check for the following when firing your bow:

  • Height of Arrow Landing – If the arrow lands to the left when you shoot it, you should adjust it by moving it back to the rest. It will ensure that the arrow doesn't hit the center of the bow too hard and makes it challenging to shoot.
  • Weak Spined Arrow – If the arrows travel to the right, the spine is weak. It indicates that the projectile does not rebound when contacting the bow's center. It bends rather than breaks, causing shots to travel to the right.

Working Towards Arrow Clearance is Time Consuming

You think all the clearance issues with the recurve would be fixed by now, but you aren't there yet. You will also need to consider the fletching on the arrow. It forces the arrow to turn on a straight line as they are fired. It is essential, so they have enough room to move.

You will need to do detective work to determine where the arrows hit the bow. It will involve using talc or dry deodorant to see where the arrows' fletchings impact the bow.

The following steps are required when testing the fletchings on your bow:

  • Coat the Areas – It does not matter what you put on the bow. Something easy to spread and easy to see when it is gone is what you should use. Please put it on the arrow rest and nocking area.
  • Fire at the Target – Be careful not to touch the talc or deodorant when using fire arrows. Aim the arrow somewhere that won't go too deep and take the feathers with it when you shoot.
  • Search for Skidmarks – Examine the arrow rest and fletchings to determine where they have struck the bow's spine. The fletching will also indicate where the arrow smashed on its journey to the target.
  • Recoat and Fire – If you know where the arrows are being scrubbed, you can adjust the seating of the rest or go back to the beginning of setting up your bow. This is the final option, but it's not a bad idea if your bow has been out of service for a long time.

It will take a lot of time to recoat and shoot your bow to search for scrubbing. Make sure you are ready to do this and mark where the arrows land. This information is essential because it will help you correct mistakes when returning to your bow.

Archery for Beginners: The Complete Guide to Shooting Recurve and Compound Bows


Setting up a recurve bow will take time and effort to produce an accurate shot. Once the bow parts are assembled, you should add all the necessary accessories. Maintaining a low amount of accessories will allow you to focus on the quality of your bows and their accuracy.

Shooting arrows with and without fletching will help you see how well the bow is set up if the arrows without fletching go higher. Or, to the left or right, you might need to adjust the nocking and arrow rest so that the arrow has enough clearance and isn't affected by contact with the recurve.

Read more: Archery 101: Equipment

Frequently Asked Questions About Recurve Bow Guide

How Far Is a Recurve Bow Good for?

The accurate range for recurve bow target shooting is between 60 and 100 yards. The range of the recurve bow for hunting is between 20 and 40 yards, depending on the bow's draw weight and the archer's skill.

How Hard Is It to Pull Back a 40-Pound Bow?

The maximum draw length for a recurve bow is measured by pulling back the string to 28 inches. For a 40 lb bow, it takes 40 lbs of force to pull back the string 28 inches.

How Far Will a 50 Lbs Recurve Bow Shoot?

You should be able to shoot a deer at 50 yards if you use a bow weighing 50 pounds. Make sure you know the distance precisely, so you can take the shot without scaring the deer away.

How Do I Know What Draw Weight I Need?

You can find your draw weight by having an archery shop measure it. For compound bows, the draw weight is set, and it will stay the same no matter what the draw length is.

How Do I Know What Draw Weight I Need?

30 or 25 lbs. draw weight is plenty for recreational target practice. If you have good aim and your form is correct, you can hit a target from 60 or 70 yards away.

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