What Are Compound Bows Made Of: Basic Parts and Materials

What Are Compound Bows Made Of: Basic Parts and Materials

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Anyone can say that compound bows are among the most interesting types of bows, and most of the time, a lot of people will agree. You really cannot dispute this claim as one look at a compound bow, and you will surely be astonished. But what are compound bows made of really?

We were talking about a compound bow’s exterior a while ago, and we can really say that it has an intricate design. What about its functions, though? How did that design come to be? Unmistakably, compound bows are more than its looks.

You might be considering getting a compound bow, or you may already have one, but either way, we are going to take a closer look at the things that make a compound bow a good one. We are also going to talk about its parts and their functions. At the same time, we will discuss some of the materials used to create the best ones.

Do you want to learn more about this majestic bow? Then, keep on reading.

What Is a Compound Bow?

Let us first discuss what a compound bow is before we talk about its many components. A compound bow differs from other bows in such a way that it has a levering system. This means that it uses pulleys or cables in order to bend the limbs of the bow.

So, yes, all those cool things that you see on a compound bow are not just there for decoration. Rather, they are used to control the limbs. They are what make a crossbow suitable for hunting and target practice alike. More often than not, compound bows are the ones that are used in competitive archery.

The Advantage of a Compound Bow

The biggest advantage when using a compound bow compared to a longbow or recurve bow is the mechanical advantage. What does this mean? It means that the limbs are stiffer. The rule of thumb is that the stiffer the limb, the greater the rigidity.

Rigidity is important when it comes to the bow being energy efficient. This is the case as there is less manual pressure put on the archer’s part because the pull of the limbs are greater when the string is released.

Also, the more rigid it is, the more accurate your shot can be. The reason behind it is the sensitivity of the bow towards change in humidity and temperature.

Materials Used for Compound Bows

Most compound bows are still made of wood, but slowly but surely, these are being replaced by fiberglass. This is the case because when a bow is made of wood, it can be permanently deformed every time it is strung. The end result is the bow loses power and also its springiness.

When fiberglass is used, this problem is minimized. However, the problem with this type of material is that it can reduce the performance of the bow. The best materials to be used on a compound bow are a mixture of different woods, carbon fiber, and fiberglass.

For the woods, it can be made from maple, cedar, bamboo, red elm, or exotic woods like bubinga. As for the strings, steel wire still remains the best material to be used.

What Are Compound Bows Made Of?

Moving on to the most awaited portion of this read, we will now discuss each component of compound bows. They are the following:


This is the middle part of a compound bow. It contains the grip as well as the limbs of the bow and is usually made of aluminum. Its purpose is to reduce the weight of the bow but still maintain the strength.

Bow Limbs

These are connected to the riser and the cam system. They flex when the bow is drawn because this is where energy is stored and passed on to the arrow once the string is released.

Cam System

There are two kinds of cam systems: dual cams and single cams. For the dual cam system, there are two cams that are identical with each other on either end of the bow. These are more reliable and consistent.

As for the single cam system, there is a big cam at the bottom limb and located at the top is an idler wheel. With this setup, there will be a bit of timing and tuning issues.

Bow String and Cables

This is what the archer uses to pull back the bow, but as for compound bows, it is more complicated because there are subdivisions such as string silencer, string suppressor, and more.

  • String Silencer

These are rubber items that help reduce noise and vibration once the string is released.

  • String Suppressor

It helps stop the string from traveling forward after the shot. Furthermore, it also prevents the slapping of the string on the forearm of the archer. Just like the string silencer, they also help with the vibration and noise.

  • Arrow Shelf

This is located a bit above the grip, and this is where the arrow is held before it is shot. Some types have an arrow rest, but for most bows, they shoot directly from the shelf.

  • Cable Guard

These provide clearance for the arrow so that the cables are always out of the path of the arrow. At the same time, they make sure that the cables are running smoothly in order to prevent snags.

  • Limb Pocket and Limb Bolt

The limb pocket holds the limb bolt in place. On the other hand, the limb bolt holds the limb pocket to the riser. This is where you can adjust the draw weight of the bow.

  • Grip

Simply put, this is where you hold the bow. Usually, this is made of metal, rubber, wood, or plastic.

  • Wrist Sling

This sling is mounted between the stabilizer and the riser. Its purpose is to hold the bow in place so you will not lose grip while you are shooting.

Final Words

So, do you now know what are compound bows made of? Simply put, a compound bow is a basic bow with lots of safeguards towards accuracy and archer convenience. At the same time, the materials used for compound bows are also not that different from other bows, but they usually have a mix of different materials.

About the Author Pink Crossbow

Jen loves the outdoors and enjoys exploring a wide-range of activities. A mother of 3 whose seen far too many friends suffer from cancer, she believes Pink Crossbow reflects a sport for LIFE. It's a reminder that archery belongs to everyone regardless of age, size, or gender...and real enthusiasts aren't afraid to wear pink!

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