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N1 Outdoors is an outdoors company and outdoor apparel brand providing hunting and fishing tips via our blog and instructional videos. N1 shares bow hunting, fishing and other helpful information for those who hunt and fish and enjoy the outdoors. "Hunting, Fishing, The Outdoors... All N1"

Bow Anatomy 101 | Parts Of A Compound Bow

You might be new to the sport of bowhunting and be looking to learn all you can about it.

Or, maybe you are a seasoned bowhunter wanting to test your knowledge of the parts of a compound bow.

Either, way this one’s for you!

Parts of A Compound Bow | Interactive Diagram

In the interactive diagram below, you can click/touch the NUMBER of the parts in the chart below to reveal the names of the parts. You can read more about what each part is and does in the sections below the diagram. See how many you can get right!

CamsLimb DampenerLimbsLimb PivotLimb PocketLimb BoltRiserSight MountsCable GuardRest MountsArrow ShelfStabilizer MountAxleString SplitterCablesStringServingNocking PointGripString StopCable SplitterAxle To Axle LengthBrace Height

Compound Bow Parts | Piece-By-Piece

In the above diagram of the Nexus2 by Prime Archery, you can view the parts of a compound bow. Find out more about what each part does by clicking the words below:

  1. Cams
  2. Limb Dampeners
  3. Limbs
  4. Limb Pivot
  5. Limb Pocket
  6. Limb Bolt
  7. Riser
  8. Sight Mounts
  9. Cable Guard
  10. Rest Mounts
  11. Arrow Shelf
  12. Stabilizer Mount
  13. Axle
  14. String Splitter
  15. Cables
  16. String
  17. Serving
  18. Nocking Point
  19. Grip
  20. String Stop
  21. Cable Splitter
  22. Axle-To-Axle Length
  23. Brace Height

1. Cams

cam of a compound bow

On a compound bow, the cams are the round, or oval-shaped discs that work much like a block-and-tackle pulley system. The cams are connected to the axles of the bow.

The cams act as the “multiplier” of the energy of the person pulling the bow string. This allows the bow to store more energy than the person pulling the bow string is actually exerting.

The bow has a “back wall” where the cams will not turn any more. This is where the archer is at “full draw.” At this point, there is a percentage of “letoff” that allows the archer or hunter to hold the force of the bow at a fraction of the actual pounds of pull being exerted.

For example, a bow that is set to a 70-lb draw weight with a 70% letoff will only take 21 lbs of force to hold at full draw. The energy is stored in the bow’s limbs until the archer releases, which unleashes the multiplied energery, propelling the arrow toward its target.

So, the cams of the bow are what change the bow in essence from a traditional bow to a compound bow.



2. Limb Dampeners

limb dampener

Limb dampeners reduce the noise and vibration throughout the limbs and riser of the bow.

When the hunter or archer releases the arrow the sudden and powerful uncoiling of the string on the cams produces vibration, which causes noise. The limb dampeners help to absorb that vibration, resulting in a quieting of the bow.

This absorption by the limb dampeners is especially helpful in reducing noise when hunting deer or other wild game and also reduces the amount of vibration that is transferred to the archer.

3. Limbs

limbs of compound bow

A compound bow’s limbs are connected to the riser and store the energy that is collected when the string is pulled and the cams turn. When the string is released, the energy from the limbs is transferred to the arrow, which propels it through the air.

Most compound bow limbs are made up of fiberglass or composite material. Some bow limbs are solid, one-piece limbs. Others are “split,” having a gap between both sides of the upper and lower limbs.

4. Limb Pivot

limb pivot

Where the limbs pivot and flex on the riser.

5. Limb Pocket

limb pocket

The limbs of the bow rest in the limb pocket. These can be made of machined aluminum, ABS plastic or other composite materials. The limbs of the bow are secured in the limb pocket by the limb bolts.

6. Limb Bolt

limb bolt of compound bow

The limb bolt is the crucial piece in connecting the limb pockets, which hold the limbs of the bow, to the riser.

Limb bolts are typically allen wrenc adjustable. Tightening the limb bolts increases the draw weight poundage of the bow. Loosening the limb bolts will decrease the draw weight poundage.

It’s very important that any adjustment to the limb bolts be made in the same increments. If the adjustments are uneven, the bow’s cams could get out of time, causing an improper tune.

If you need to adjust your bow’s draw weight, it’s a good idea to back the limb bolts all the way down and then start moving them both up the same amount.

7. Riser

riser of compound bow

The riser is the vertical portion and foundation of a compound bow. The limbs attach to it and it also serves as the fastening point for accessories such as the sight, arrow rest, grip, stabilizer, quiver, etc.

8. Sight Mounts

sight mounts on compound bow

Sight mounts are holes in the riser that serve as the attaching point for the bow’s sight. The archer will look through the peep on the bow string and at the pin(s) of the sight to aim at the target or game animal.

9. Cable Guard

cable guard on compound bow

The Cable guard runs perpendicular to the bow’s riser. It keeps the bow’s cable out of the way of the arrow’s line of fire. It typically has rollers and/or slides attached to it to aid in keeping the cable on track.

10. Rest Mounts

rest mounts on compound bow

Rest mounts are holes in the riser that serve as the attaching point for the bow’s rest. The rest is what holds the arrow in place while the archer is drawing and releasing the arrow.

There are many different types of rests. Some use prongs that the arrow will rest on, while others hold the arrow up and then fall out of the way when the arrow is released. Others, called containment rests, completely surround the arrow until it is fired and typically have no moving parts.

11. Arrow Shelf

arrow shelf on compound bow

The arrow shelf is the area of the riser where the arrow sits on the rest. While the rest typically holds the arrow off the shelf on compound bows, traditional bows (non-compound) usually have the arrow resting directly on the arrow shelf.

12. Stabilizer Mount

The stabilizer mount is a universal size threaded hole in the riser that is used to attach a stabilizer to.

The stabilizer helps balance and thus “stabilize” the bow when drawing and shooting, and also typically has vibration dampening properties. In essence, it helps the bow resist movement during the draw cycle and when shooting.

The back of the stabilizer also typically serves as the fastening point for the wrist sling.

13. Axle

axle of a compound bow

The Axle is what holds the cams, in the same way a car axle holds its wheels. The cams have a hole in the center. The axle goes through the center of the axle and attach to the limbs.

14. String Splitter

string splitter on compound bow

Bows with parallel limbs (which eliminate cam lean) will have a string splitter. On these types of bows, the main part of the string that the archer attaches the release to “splits” just before the cams.

The splitter is what essential turns the single string into two strings, each going around its respective cam.



15. Cables

cables on compound bow

The cable(s) runs between the bow’s cams. They assist in moving the cams of the bow when the string is pulled back by the archer. It’s important to replace your cable(s) as well as your string as recommended per the bow manufacturer’s instructions or on the advice of your local bow shop.

16. String

string on compound bow

The string of compound bow serves several functions. It is where the archer will connect their release. It is what the archer pulls (or draws) back and releases to launch the arrow.

Many archers will utilize a “D loop,” which attaches to the bow string and serves as a way to quickly attach the release to the string and also improves accuracy.

You should always inspect your string before and after shooting and hunting. A damaged string could end up being a broken string, which could result in serious injury to the shooter or others.

Any cuts or fraying should be addressed immediately and it is recommended that you take to your local bow shop for an assessment.

17. Serving

serving on a compound bow

The “center serving” is coiled thread wrapped around the center portion of your string where you would nock an arrow and attach a D-loop. The center serving protect the center section of the string from wear and tear that results from nocking arrows as well as drawing and shooting the bow.

There is also serving material on parts of your bow string that go around the cams or through rollers that are attached to the cable guards. This helps the bow string stay together, especially in places that are likely to received the most friction.

18. Nocking Point

nocking point on a compound bow

The nocking point is where the arrow, by way of the arrow nock, attaches to the bow string. The D-loop attaches above and below the nocking point.



19. Grip

grip on a compound bow

The grip is the part of the bow that you hold while shooting. Grips are made of various materials such as wood, rubber, plastic, metal, etc.

The grip can also be a source of inaccuracy. For example, if you hold the grip too tightly, or twist the grip while shooting, you can cause your arrow to go off-course from where you were aiming.

20. String Stop

string stop on compound bow

String vibration is a large cause for noise when a bow fires. A string stop helps dampen that vibration and thus reduces unwanted noise. The string stop is a rubber part that is often mounted on a post that is directly opposite of the front stabilizer.

The string stop not only helps dampen vibration, but also aids in better accuracy for the shooter, often resulting in tighter arrow groups at the target.

21. Cable Splitter

cable splitter on compound bow

On some bows, the cable splitter is a ring that connects the cable to two separate cables, thus dampening vibration and noise of the cable during shooting.



22. Axle-To-Axle Length

“Axle-to-axle” is not a part of a compound bow, but rather a reference to measurement. Axle-to-axle is the measurement from the center of one cam to the other. The axles go through the center of the cams.

This axle-to-axle measurement is often used to determine how forgiving the bow will be in regards to arrow flight accuracy when taking farther shots.

A bow with a longer axle-to-axle height may be more forgiving that a shorter one, but may also be difficult to maneuver in tight-quarter hunting scenarios.

23. Brace Height

The “brace height” is not a part of the bow, but rather a measurement, in inches, of the distance between the “throat” of the grip to the center of the bow’s string.

A shorter brace height means a longer “power stroke,” which is the distance from the grip to the center of the string when the archer is at full draw. A longer power stroke typically means a faster bow, as it increases the amount of time that the arrow is attached to the string.

Conclusion



Whether you are just a beginner bowhunter or looking to brush up on your bow component knowledge, we hope this has been a helpful tool for you!

young kids shooting at archery target

A Guide To Bow Hunting For Beginners

There’s nothing like the adrenaline rush of being in close to a deer or other wild game and releasing an arrow that finds its mark.

But, what if you’ve never felt that rush? What should you know to begin the quest of being a successful bow hunter?

In this article we will do our best to get you started in the right direction. Let’s just call this N1 Outdoors’ Bow Hunting For Beginners 101.

So, What Brings You To Bow Hunting?

Maybe you’ve always hunted with a rifle or other firearm. Maybe you’ve mastered gun hunting and simply want to try your hand at a new challenge.

Or, maybe you’re totally new to any type of hunting and just want to learn what this bow hunting thing is all about.

Whatever your situation or age, we think you’ll find that bow hunting is not only fun (you’ll want to say “Bowhunt Oh Yeah!”), but helps teach patience, discipline, attention to detail and focus. And, there is certainly a special sense of accomplishment knowing you have been able to take an animal at close range and provide meat for your family and friends.

Learn The Parts Of A Bow

parts of a compound bow bowhunting for beginners
It’s important to learn the basics of the components of your bow, so you can learn what each part does.

In the picture above, parts of a compound bow are numbered. Read below what each part is called:

  1. Cam
  2. Limbs
  3. Limb  Bolt
  4. Riser
  5. Sight
  6. Sight Pins
  7. Arrow Rest
  8. Arrow Shelf
  9. Wrist Sling
  10. Stabilizer
  11. Cam Axle
  12. String Dampeners
  13. String
  14. Peep
  15. Cable Guard
  16. D-Loop
  17. Serving
  18. String Stop
  19. Cable


Hunting Education And Safety

If you haven’t taken your state’s hunter safety course, be sure to sign up and do that the first chance you get. This will help you learn safe hunting practices whether you are hunting with a bow or a gun.

You will also learn the hunting laws and regulations of your state, deer hunting tree stand safety, as well as learn how to identify game.

Study, Study

It’s possible that if you’re interested in learning to bow hunt, that you’ve already been watching videos or TV programs about bow hunting. But, if not, there is certainly no shortage of videos about bow hunting tips. And, while videos are great visuals to learn from, don’t discount the wealth of knowledge you can glean from bow hunting blogs and articles.

You may also find it interesting to learn about the history of archery as well. It may help you appreciate the skill you are about to begin learning.

When getting started in archery, it’s a good idea to talk to your local bow shop for recommendations on what type of archery equipment and supplies you should begin with.

Go Local

Your local bow shop is a great resource for anyone wanting to begin their bow hunting journey.

You don’t have to look long on social media to know that there are more than a few companies pushing their archery equipment and supplies. Of course, they all look good and sometimes it’s difficult to know what exactly you need.

Shop N1 Bow Hunting Tshirts



Broadheads And Arrows And Bows, Oh My!

As a bow hunting beginner, you may be overwhelmed with the choices of bow hunting equipment that is currently on the market. Your local bow shop can help you find your way through the sea of bow hunting advertisements to equipment that’s right for you.

For example, what is your draw length? What should the poundage be on your bow? And, of course, there are so many choices when it comes to broadheads, light or heavy arrows, arrow rests, sights, releases, bow strings, fletches and targets. And, of course, these things can be affected by what species of game you will be pursuing.

The bottom line is that your local bow shop should provide you with a wealth of information when it comes to figuring out your equipment needs. And, of course, it’s always great to support local business, right?




Inspect Your Archery Equipment

Once you have decided on and purchased your bow hunting equipment and supplies, it’s time to do some target practice! But, before you sling an arrow, you need to inspect your equipment. Be sure you don’t have any cracks in your bow limbs, fraying of your bow string, or nicks or cuts in you bow cams . Also, be sure you have waxed your bow string recently.

Target Time

You may have a local range or archery shop to shoot at, but you may also choose to buy your own target for practice at home.

If you choose to shoot at home, always be sure you set up your target in a safe location where there is no chance of an arrow shooting toward any individual. This includes never shooting towards houses, streets, sidewalks or any other location where people may be standing or passing by.

It’s also a good idea to place a backstop of some kind behind your target. This will help to block an errant arrows that miss the target. Be sure your backstop is much larger than your target.



Be sure to always put a back stop behind your target when shooting.



Practice, Practice and Practice!

Once you have set up a safe target location and inspected your equipment, you are ready to begin practicing!

Be sure you don’t nock an arrow until you’re ready to shoot. When you nock your arrow, be sure to point it toward the ground while nocking.

In short, never point the arrow at anything you are not prepared to draw on and shoot. Also, if possible try to be shooting toward your target at a downward angle.



Once you have gotten familiar with the operation of your new bow hunting equipment by shooting at a target, you can start to prepare for various bow hunting scenarios.

While shooting at a stationary target is certainly something to master, deer and other game animals don’t always still and broadside, allowing you to take a perfect shot. So, you should practice shooting your bow from various positions, including inclines, declines and sitting positions.

You should also practice shooting in a way that mirrors the various angles that your game may be standing. For example, a shot on an animal that is quartering away from you will require you to shoot further back, so that the arrow passes through the vitals, so that you can take an ethical shot that results in as clean a kill as possible.

Don’t Forget Your Hunting License

You may already be a hunter that is learning to bow hunt. But, if this will be your first hunting trip, be sure before you get your hunting license before your first trip.

You can contact your state’s Department of Natural Resources to purchase a license. Some local outdoors shops also sell hunting and fishing licenses. You can also go online to purchase a license for the state you live in.



Time To Hunt

As you get ready to take your new bow hunting skills to the field or the woods, continue learning as much as you can from experienced bow hunters. Be teachable. Your learning curve will be much less steep if you listen well and put into practice what you’ve learned.

Just as when you practiced target shooting, check your bow hunting equipment thoroughly, including your broadheads, before taking into the field.

You may feel that learning the basics of shooting your bow will surely lead to instant success. We certainly wish you bow hunting success.




However, there is much to learn when trying to take an animal with a bow at close range. For example, you must pay close attention to wind direction as well as learn when to use certain entry and exit routes to access your deer stand.

And remember, even after your hunts, be sure to continue educating yourself on hunting tips with relevant blogs and videos. And, also be sure you know the distinct characteristics of the type of deer and other game you are hunting.

Hopefully this bow hunting for beginners article has provided you with the information you need to get started on this new adventure! We wish you success and hope you have an arrow that’s Just Pass’N Through!

FOC calculator header image

FOC Calculator | Easily find Front-Of-Center of your hunting arrows

If you already know the length and balancing point of your arrow, you can use the FOC Calculator below to quickly find the % of your arrow’s weight that is Front-Of-Center! (enter a number or slide the orange dots to the desired number)

FOC (Front Of Center) | Calculator
Arrow length from end of arrow shaft to the bottom of the nock groove (L)
inches
Distance from balance point to the bottom of the nock groove (A)
inches
FOC (Front Of Center):

0 %

You may have heard other bowhunters talk about the “FOC” of their hunting arrows. (Who knows, you may have even heard “The Ranch Fairy” ranting about high FOC).

But, what does “FOC” mean and how can you easily calculate it?

What does FOC stand for?

“FOC” stands for Front-Of-Center (Or Forward-Of-Center) and refers to the percentage of an arrow’s overall weight that is forward of the balancing point, or, “center” of the arrow.



How to calculate FOC using a formula

You might like the FOC calculator but also want to learn how to calculate FOC using a formula.

The formula to calculate an arrow’s FOC is:

100 x (Balance Point measurement [A] – Arrow Length [L]) / 2.

To use this formula, you will first need to measure the arrow’s overall length as well as finding the balance point measurement.

foc equation graphic
Once you have found the arrow length (A) and balance point (B) measurements, use the formula above to find the FOC of your hunting arrow.

Finding the arrow’s length

To find your arrow’s length for the purposes of calculating FOC, you need to be sure you measure correctly.

Measure your arrow from the end of the arrow (where the broadhead/point screws in) to the bottom of the throat of the nock (see diagram above).

Once you have your arrow length measurement, you need to measure the balancing point…

How to find the “balance point” of an arrow

To find the balance point of your hunting arrow, first be sure you have already installed your nocks, vanes, inserts and broadheads/points onto your arrow.

balance point FOC diagram
To calculate FOC, you first need to find the “balance point” of your hunting arrow.


Using a triangular block of wood, find the exact place that your arrow balances perfectly. (If you don’t have a triangular block, you can also balance the arrow on your finger).

Once you have found the balance point of your arrow, measure from that point to the throat of your nock. This will be your balance point measurement.




tuffhead broadheads
Consider heavier broadheads when seeking a higher FOC.

Conclusion

Once you have measured your arrow’s length and balancing point, you can use the formula provided in the diagram above to calculate the FOC of your arrow.

Certainly bowhunters want to be the best they can be so that they can get an ethical kill. But, when it comes to FOC, there are varying opinions on whether higher or lower FOC is better.

Some bowhunters want an arrow with a lower FOC so that the arrow is as fast as possible. The intent is often to keep the deer or game from “ducking the string.”

Others want an arrow that has a higher FOC %, (you may have seen The Ranch Fairy discuss this) so that the arrow hits the animal with a heavier impact. This tends to increase the odds of a “pass-through” shot.

This can be helpful to increase the chances of a mortal wound in the event you encounter bone or other stiff tissue that might impede the arrows progress.

Hopefully you find our FOC calculator helpful and we hope you have an arrow that’s Just Pass’N Through!

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