Arrow speed is vital for any shot. You quickly realize this when you misjudge yardage the first time. 40 fps can easily widen the acceptable error limit of the shooter. Usually, a shot in an open environment for a hunter is around 25 yards or more. Increasing the speed of the shot by 30 to 40 fps can drastically improve results.
Obviously, for optimum results, you need a high quality, fast compound bow. Years ago, a top compound bow with modest brace height offered a speed of around 320 fps. Nowadays, a bow with the exact same axle length and brace height can deliver around 340 fps. 20 extra fps is important. With this in mind, make sure that you use the best compound bow you can afford. Then, if you need more speed, consider the tips below.
Increase Draw Length
When you draw the bow farther, you store more energy. This creates extra kinetic energy in the arrow as you release it. Lengthening draw means you need to use a stiffer, longer arrow to reach maximum draw weight. This shoots arrows with increased energy and, as a result, you shoot them faster.
If you are not comfortable with using a heavier arrow, use an internal carbon shaft component or a Super Lite aluminum one. This type of arrow is lighter but penetration energy is not lost when increasing draw length.
For one inch of extra draw length, your speed increases by up to 3.5%. Even if you shoot a light shaft and you need to use a stiffer one when increasing draw length, you still increase speed by up to 2.5% for one extra inch in the draw length.
If you do not overburden yourself and you boost poundage, penetration and speed are increased. It is a good idea to make this type of change during spring because you have many months to slowly build up poundage.
As an example, if you shoot at least 2 times per week, you can increase draw weight by 1 to 2 pounds every month. This will not be noticeable. For a good quality compound bow, an increase of 5 pounds surges speed by around 10 fps. When under-bowed, this change is worth it.
The problem is that many shooters increase draw weight too fast. You have to be aware of your personal maximum draw weight. This is how much poundage you can use and draw without raising arms above the height of the shoulder. Also, you need to be able to hold the bow at the full draft for over 30 seconds without shaking. If you start to shake, it means you use too much weight.
Use A Smoother Trigger
The match-grade release aid is rarely used by a bowhunter. This is a release that offers a better trigger action with zero trigger slop or travel. Shooting form is automatically increased, just like forgiveness and accuracy.
In order to find a match-grade release aid for your compound bow, you need to check out an archery warehouse with a generous or a competition-based stock. This is because such triggers are rarely bought as hunters do not know about them. You have a good chance of finding one at a store that is specialized in accessories for competitive archery or at shooting events.
Always sample before buying. The release has to complement your finger, hand, and wrist configuration. At full draw, you should only feel trigger pressure pushing into the finger. Nothing else should be felt until the arrow is released.
The disadvantage is that a very good release is expensive. However, it can withstand heavy use and can last forever. Also, it improves your shot accuracy and speed so it is a smart investment.
Change Your Arrows
Similarly to a car, it does not matter how fast it can go if tires are cheap because handling becomes sub-par. The same thing happens with compound bows and very cheap arrows. It is always recommended to choose the manufacturers that have a very high reputation of delivering high quality. With this in mind, if you want to increase speed, you need to use lighter arrows.
Fortunately, there are countless arrows available on the market right now, made out of different materials. This includes:
· Pultruded carbon
· Thin-walled aluminum
· Carbon-aluminum composites
The trick to increasing speed is to choose a lighter arrow shaft. For 5 grains of weight reduction, you gain 1 fps increase. However, this does not mean you can choose the lightest shafts you can find. Practical limits exist and if you go under 6 grains of weight per draw force pound, the compound bow ends up forced to absorb too much vibration. Also, when you want to shoot at speeds over 260 fps, you need to fine-tune the bow, the shooting form or use mechanical heads.
Upgrade The Cam
A faster cam can obviously be gained by buying a new compound bow. When this is not possible, you can sometimes upgrade the bow you use. John Dudley from Nock On Archery recommends inspecting the cam tracks because any small dent can cause big problems. You can repair the cam track yourself or go to a local shop for repairing if you are not confident you can do a good job yourself.
It is oftentimes possible to use a different system so that shooting is faster. There are bow companies that offer you wheel modules that can be used to modify the bow’s force draw characteristics. When you are serious about speed increase, use a cam that has a low let-off. Opt for 65% instead of the standard 80%.
Keep in mind that when you upgrade the cam, you may also need to buy different limbs and a new system for the string and the harness. This means you often end up paying more than you would when you invest in a new compound bow. Always do the math to see what investment is worth more.
At the end of the day, if you can only add a couple of feet per second to the shooting speed, it is counterproductive to make changes and worry about them. However, when you can increase shooting speed by anything over 10%, it is worth the effort and time put into it. If you do not reduce accuracy, your shooting is improved and you become more effective with your compound bow.