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The 3 Most Important Components of Your Compound Bow

Updated on February 4, 2015

When compared to a regular recurve bow, the compound bow is a complex machine. With this being said, it is a favorite among many bow hunters and archers alike. There are many different reasons why many shooters have developed a fondness for compound bows, but many of the reasoning behind it is because of their accuracy coupled with their speed capabilities. In the following article, I will break down the three parts on the compound bow that you should better familiarize yourself with.

Cams

The cams on a compound bow are what give the different bows their particular shooting characteristics. In my experience, there are 4 different styles that you will see. They are as follows:

  • Hybrid Cams: This configuration is most notably known for their lack of synchronization issues and proponents of the hybrid cam system claim that they are nearly maintenance free. This system has 2 asymmetrically elliptical cams. The control cam typically being on the top and the power cam on the bottom.
  • Single Cam: This system is known for its quietness and ease of maintenance. They too have the power cam on the bottom of the bow and a round wheel on the top of the compound bow. The single cam is one of the most popular choices on the market today.
  • Twin Cams: As the name states, Twin Cams are labeled as such because their cams are perfectly symmetrical. They offer benefits such as accuracy and speed and have been a favorite of competition shooters for some time.
  • Binary Cams: Binary Cams are known for their "free floating" nature. This system was introduced by Bowtech Archery as a self-correcting cam system. This system is easy to tune and it offers one of the fastest speeds on the market.

Bow String

Bow stings can come in either simple, reverse-twisted, or looped designs. The materials that are used would vary depending on the bow. Dacron is durable, stretchy, and very easy to maintain. Vectran is another material that is used and is known for its speed, but it has less of an ability to stretch. Spectra or Dyneema have also been used since the early 90's and offer similar characteristics. Today, many of the strings are different blends of the previously mentioned materials.

  • Simple Strings: these can be made of any different type of material that is twisted into a single chord. They are going to be the least expensive option, but they also have a lower load bearing capacity.
  • Reverse-Twisted Strings: is made of different bundles that are individually twisted in one direction, then the entire bundle is twisted in the other direction. These strings are stronger than regular string.
  • Looped Strings: These bow strings are made of one continuous loop of material. Most of the modern strings are made in this fashion

The Limbs

There are a few different types of limbs that you would be able to get on your compound bow. They all offer distinct benefits to the shooter. What may be good for one person may not be the best option for a different shooter. The limbs are a vital part of the compound bow as they are the part that stores the bows energy. There are a few items that need to be covered before you can make an informed decision regarding the limbs.

Materials

  • Carbon/Fiberglass: Many of the limbs are made of different blends of carbon and fiberglass because of their particular strength/flexibility properties.

Composition

  • Laminated: This type of limb is built by layering different materials to form the whole. They are known for being a smoother drawing limb and being prone to less hand shock.
  • Solid: Just as the name states, these limbs are made of compression mold of either fiberglass or graphite. These bows are nearly resistant to cracks and splits because the fibers are laid out in the same direction.

In conclusion

There you have it! This is a quick and simple point of reference for people that are looking to get/change their compound bow. There are other factors that should also be considered, but I will include those in another article. If you make sure to read up on your cams, your string and your limbs, you should have a good starting point. Once you have that you can get into variations of the different cams. You can look into getting split versus solid limbs and you can also learn about parallel limbs. With the knowledge that you are learning, there is no reason that you should not be able to get the best compound bow for yourself.

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