How Far Can A Compound Bow Shoot – Effective Range (2023)

Video compound bow effective range

Compound bows are fun but expensive. Therefore, to get the most out of them, it is important to determine how far can a compound bow shoot. These bows are designed to offer longer ranges and more power for the shots. These bows are used for hunting as well as target archery and have different ranges for each.

For hunting, a compound bow can release a shot as far as 30 to 60 yds. On the other hand, in target shooting, the longest compound bow shot ever recorded is 310 yds. However, it has the capability to shoot up to 350 yds.

However, there are numerous factors that impact the range of a compound bow. Moreover, you can also improve the range with a few tips and tricks. Using these bows not only requires skills and good aiming but also a handful of knowledge of the important factors associated with it.

Range Of A Compound Bow – How Far Can A Compound Bow Shoot?

If you are trying to learn compound bow shooting for purpose of hunting or target shooting, the most important aspect is how far can a compound bow shoot. You cannot learn to use a compound bow unless you understand its effective range. Factors impacting, and a few more things.

Compound Bow Effective Range

Effective range of a compound bow refers to the distance at which a bow releases a lethal shot. This is essential for hunting because hunters aim to kill the animal with a single shot at the right spot.

Similar to other bows, a compound bow also makes a brief noise as you shoot an arrow. Usually, noise can alert cautious animals such as deer from miles away. Therefore, shooting at an effective range will ensure the kill shot.

Depending on the draw weight, how far a compound bow shoot varies. Older models have lesser range whereas, newer ones with technological advancements have impeccable range. Similar principles apply in calculating how far can a crossbow shoot as well.

The chart below shows the average max and effective range based on different draw weights.

Draw WeightMaximum RangeEffective Range

Compound Bow FPS

FPS or feet per second is the unit to measure the velocity of an arrow. This unit tells how much distance an arrow can cover in a second. As a general rule, the greater the fps, the greater will be the chances of a kill shot in hunting. Fortunately, the majority of these bows nowadays have 300 to 350 fps.

For Hunting

Hunting with a compound bow is not new and hunters have been doing it for decades. However, the most important thing to consider while taking down a game animal is how far can a compound bow shoot. Knowing this will help you shoot within the kill zone that takes down the animal as soon as the arrow hits it.

The effective bow hunting range with a compound bow is 30 to 60 yds. Hunters shoot from the ground as well as elevated areas. That is when they need to carefully calculate the distance between the shooting spot and target for an accurate shot.

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If you are on a plain surface and your prey is also likely to be on the same height then there won’t be any complications. However, if you are shooting from a tree stand, make sure to aim for the right distance.

Suppose that you are in a treestand elevated at 15 ft. or 5 yds. height. The ground distance between the stand and the target is 12 yds. whereas, the diagonal distance between you and the target is 13 yds. In such situations, you should aim according to the ground distance which is 12 yds. here.

You can also figure out the right distance to aim at using the formula a = √c2 – b2. Here:

  • a = horizontal distance between the stand and the target
  • b = height of the treestand
  • c = diagonal distance between the shooter and the target

After substituting values for b and c in the formula, you will get,

a = √132 – 52 = √169 – 25 = √144 = 12

Now that you aim for 12 yds, you can get the kill shot of your prey easily with a 300+ fps compound bow.

Speaking of the optimum angle at which an arrow achieves the maximal travel distance, it is 45 degrees. But, for hunting, this would be way too much, and instead of hitting the animal, it would rather fly over it. That said, the realistic 10 degrees is the realistic angle for compound bow hunting.

For Target Archery

When it comes to how far can a compound bow shoot during target archery, the figures are way higher than those for hunting. It is because all you have to hit with the bolt is a target made out of compressed foam. Even though there are no issues such as hurting a live specie, there is still an effective range for it.

To begin with the range for target archery, it could be between 200 to 500 yds. However, the effective range could be between 150 to 350 yds. max. There are multiple reasons for such variation in the range. For example, different draw weights shoot at different distances. It also varies from model to model since the latest compound bows offer longer ranges.

During archery, the bowman hits targets at numerous distances and a particular angle of 45 degrees. This angle allows them to shoot right in the dead center at target places at a distance of 350 to 450 yds.

Factors That Impact Bow Range

How far can a compound bow shoot isn’t all you need to know but also what are the top factors that impact its range? Even if one of the following factors is inaccurate, the overall range would be affected.

  1. Arrow Weight
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The first effect of arrow weight is on the archer’s comfort. If it’s too heavy, the bowman wouldn’t be able to keep the aim stable. Moreover, the arrow’s weight must also be compatible with your bow. The parts of arrow vary as per the type of bow used.

The industry standard for measuring an arrow’s weight is GPI short for grains per inch. The measurement includes the weight of the entire arrow’s shaft, its total length wall thickness, and diameter.

On the other hand, the GPP or grains per pound measures the total weight of an arrow divided by the draw weight of a bow. These measurements include the weight nock, fletchings, insert, shaft, and point. Based on the GPP, there are three types of arrows:

  • Lightweight arrow – 5 to 6.5 GPP
  • Midweight arrow – 6.5 to 8 GPP
  • Heavy arrow – 8 or more GPP

Remember, the lighter the arrow, the better will be the performance. According to the expert archers and bowhunters, every 10 GPP increase in an arrow would lower the total bow’s speed by 2 to 3 fps. Ultimately, it reduces the bow’s range by 0.5 yds.

  1. Draw Weight

Draw weight measures the amount of force that an archer must exert to pull the bolt before releasing it for the shot. Greater draw weight results in farther distances. Rightly so, if you reduce the draw weight by 10 lbs., it will drastically decrease the overall bow speed by 15 to 20 fps. As a whole, it translates to the range reduction up to 4 to 6 yds.

Typically, compound bows come with draw weights between 40 to 80 lbs., allowing the archers to release their shots at a speed of 250 to 370 fps.

  1. Draw Length

It is the distance between the throat of the grip to the nocking point when you fully draw the bow. Draw length is measured in inches and varies from person to person. You can easily measure the draw length of your compound bow by following these steps:

  • Stand straight with your back straight as well against the wall.
  • Stretch both of your arms out completely.
  • Measure the distance between both of your hands starting from the end of the middle finger from one side to the other.
  • Now divide the figure you got by 2.5.
  • The final figure will be the draw length of your compound bow.

Commonly, every one inch reduction in the draw length decreases the compound bow’s speed by 10 lbs. This reduction translates to 3 yds. decrease in the overall range. Range is subjective and vary person to person. Therefore, some archers even measure arrow length before buying to get most accurate range.

  1. Wind Speed

This factor won’t bother you unless you are shooting outdoors. If you are an experienced bowman, you would know how pesky winds become when it comes to using a compound bow in windy conditions. Even if you shoot with a great draw length and at an accurate target, you won’t get the results if the wind gusts are high.

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The wind won’t interrupt your arrow’s flight when blowing under 15 mph. However, as they exceed this figure, you would start noticing impacts on your arrow. 20 mph winds can impact your arrow over 5 inches at a distance of 40 yds. The higher the winds get, the more impact they would have on the bolt.

While it is not recommended to perform hunting or archery during heavy winds, try practicing in slightly windy conditions to develop the skills.


Regardless of your intention of use, when it comes to knowing how far can a compound bow shoot, knowledge is important for all. There is always room for understanding and improving and the factors helps you do it much quicker.

Compound bows are one of the most powerful bows one could use. Rightly so, these have great shooting ranges in different situations. You can expect your bow to send the arrow as far as 500 yds. However, the effective range is between 30 to 60 yds. for hunting and 150 to 350 yds. for target archery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

  1. How to maintain your bow?

To preserve the operational supremacy of your compound bow, make sure to take good care. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t leave it uncovered in rough weather.
  • Wax/lube the mechanical parts such as string, cams, etc.
  • Remove dirt and dust from the bow after every use.
  1. How to draw your bow?

How you draw the bow leaves an impact on the overall performance. The process is pretty simple and easy to learn by everyone. Here is how to do it:

  • Use your strongest shoulder and back muscle to draw the string.
  • Come into the anchor as soon as the mechanical stop draws fully.
  • Look through the peep sight and align your angle with the front sight.
  • When both the sights are aligned, shoot the arrow.
  1. How far can a 40lb bow shoot?

With a 40 lbs. draw weight, the compound bow can shoot at a maximum distance of 280 to 350 yds. However, the effective range is between 50 to 60 yds. only.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>