Some of the Different Bow styles shot at Elswood


A modern recurve bow has ends that curve away from the main curve of the limb.  The string touches a sections of the limb as well as the tip when the bow is strung.  This shape of limb stores more energy than an equivalent straight limbed bow, giving a better cast to the arrow.
Most recurves bows are “take-down” as the limbs can be detached from the riser for ease of transportation.  This also makes them interchangeable for greater choice.  The limbs are usually made from layers of fibreglass or carbon with a wood or foam core.  The riser is generally made from wood or plastic for beginners and aluminium alloy or magnesium alloy for intermediate and advanced.
Unlike a compound, recurve sights are just an adjustable pin.  Magnifying and rear sights are not permitted.  Other pieces of equipment, like stabiliser rods, clickers and slings, help to give more consistent and accurate performance.
The modern recurve is the type of bow used in the Olympics (Compound is permitted in some categories at the Paralympics).


Rich and the balloon

The compound bow was originally invented for hunting and is shorter than a recurve or flat bow, making it easier to use in undergrowth or among trees.
The bow has cams at each end that are turned when the bow is drawn.  These cams pull on cables connected to the opposite limbs.  As the bow is drawn the cams cause the draw weight to go through a ‘hump’ with an average 60% reduction at full draw.  Consequently an archer using a 40lb bow would only be holding 16lb at full draw, making it easier to hold and aim.
As the bow is shorter there is a tighter angle where the arrow fits the string, making it difficult to hold with fingers and is therefore is usually used with a release aid.  Release aids come in various forms, rope or clipper, held in the hand or on a wrist strap and triggered with a thumb or finger.
The use of magnifying sights is permitted as well as a rear ‘peep’ sight in the string.  The combination of all these makes the compound bow more powerful and easier to shoot accurately.


The longbows shot are based on the design of the traditional English longbow, dating back nearly a thousand years.  Most longbows now use laminated wood to mimic the heart and sap wood from a traditional stave, due to the difficulty of obtaining good staves.


Barebows have a similar setup to a recurve bow however sights and most types of weight (such as longrods) are not allowed.


We don’t currently have any crossbow shooters, but welcome them if they comply with the Archery GB rules of shooting. Relevant extract below:
210. Crossbow
(a) A crossbow stock may be made from any safe material and must be fitted with a mechanical trigger. Prods, which may be made of any material except metal, shall not exceed 900mm in length when the crossbow is strung.
(b) The draw weight at the string latch shall be no more than 95lbs (43 kg). The draw weight and draw length must be clearly marked on the prod. The clean draw length, measured from  the string to the string latch shall be no more than 300mm
(c) The bow must be fitted with a bolt retaining clip.
(d) A string may be made of any non-metallic material.
(e) Bolts may be made of any material and of such design as not to cause unreasonable damage to the target. Bolt length is minimum 12 inches, maximum 15 inches. Three fletchings, feather or plastic, shall be fitted.
(f) Telescopic or magnifying sights are not allowed.
(g) The following are permitted:
(i) Foot stirrups attached to the bow.
(ii) Stabilizers.
(iii) Palm rest.
(iv) A butt hook that does not rest directly on top of the shoulder and is no more than 150mm in length.
(h) The length between the back sight and the front sight shall not exceed 720mm.
(j) All crossbows must be drawn by hand. The use of cocking aids, gloves or fingerstalls is not permitted.
(k) Pistol crossbows are not permitted.
(l) Crossbow and the Law. When travelling on public transport or walking in a public thoroughfare it is essential that the prod be removed and the stock and prod be carried in a case or cover.

If your crossbow doesn’t comply or you just want to shoot with other crossbow users; have a look at The National Crossbow Federation of Great Britain