There’s no doubt about it comes down to shootIng a heavy riser bow they are dead in the hand upon release but do I need it in every situation?
A bow that has a heavier riser will also help with your accuracy because it will help control and dampen the movement of the bow arm upon release. A bow arm that moves upon release will send the arrow in the direction the arm moves.
Longbows and mostly one piece recurves have light weight riser, these bows have the tendency to move upon release if the bow arm is not controlled by the shooter.
I like the feel of the heavy riser with the solid feel upon release and understand the benefits of it but for hunting I prefer the feel of lighter weight riser like the longbow or one piece recurve.
When I’m hunting either sitting in a stand or stalking, I’m looking to take that one successful shot, maybe two, if a follow shot is needed.
For those shooters competing or just want to show off their archery skills amongst their friends in some aspect of target archery such as 3-D, Indoor or Field archery. These shooters would benefit from a heavier riser just because multiple shoots are taken throughout the event not just one or two shots.
No matter if you choose a heavy riser bow or light riser, the most important thing new archer can do is get good shooting instructions and practice.
Chuck, I can't really answer your question directly.
What I can do is observe that if the bow weighs more than is necessary to balance out the vertical component of the draw force, then the archer must recruit muscles to hold the bow up in addition to the muscles needed to keep the bow drawn.
Does it matter? I don't know. But I could say from personal experience that the more muscles I have to recruit for shooting, the more likely I am to mess up.
I hadn't shot a "heavy" riser for quite some time. Then I bought a used 3 piece Timberhawk recurve and was almost shocked at it's mass weight. I had forgotten how much more a bow of that style weighs. I also forgot how much it does help having a heavier bow in the hand when shooting.
That being said, I sold it shortly thereafter and used that money to purchase my newest asl. So, there's that.
Steve....a question....does riser weight even play a part until release...keeping the bow / bow arm from being moved quickly ? When holding 40, 50, 60 pounds of draw, are you even aware of an extra pound or two of bow weight ? Seems to me all it really does it keep the bow from moving in a reaction to release, at least long enough for the arrow to clear.
I think it depends on the shooting style, some extra mass in the riser can help if one consciously 'aims' (with the arrow or a sight) but for instinctive shooting using a rhythmic pointing style I'm not sure riser mass matters all that much. Aside from the obvious differences between bow designs (EX. Widow MA vs. ASL, etc.) and assuming tuned equipment, preferences and results may be more dependent on the shooters' comfort level with their particular bow and style than on bow mass. For sure, pointing an arrow with rhythm has less technical demands on the shooter than trying to aim it like a rifle, and that alone can make a big difference in one's overall level of satisfaction with their equipment and shot results.
One of the wonderous things God gave most of us is a natural cognition and ability to adapt. We're also often cursed with this idea that we have to make things more complicated than they need to be. We can't seem to help it.
You want to get scary accurate? Shoot just one bow! Any weight. You'll figure it out. Lesson over.
That said, I like light (static) weight bows. ASL's. But I've shot 'em all (styles), I think. There's usually a technique or shooting style that each shooter matches well, or gels, with. For me, it's a swing draw method, which works well with just about any type of traditional bow, for me, but especially so with ASL's. There's no doubt that if you prefer to anchor, hold, aim, release, as your shot sequence, you probably benefit from a heavier (and potentially, even weighted in specific places) riser and bow. In contrast, a swing draw shooter probably doesn't want much heft to his/her bow.
For me, though, the real fun comes from judging others. If you don't do it like me, your not "traditional enough" and there must be something wrong with you! LOL.
I am so use to my ASL's, that every thing else feels like a ton of bricks. LOL
Ray Axford does a nice analysis of bow weight in his book Archery Anatomy. There is a component of the draw force in the vertical axis. If the bow weight is equal to this vertical component, then it is as if the archer is holding no weight and is truly just pointing at the mark as in the exercise shootrefexbow describes.
The exact weight is a function of draw weight and archer morphology, but is usually a bit over a pound.
I have thought of an example to better illustrate how aiming lighter bows versus aiming heavier bows feel to me.
Stand towards an aiming spot as though you were going to shoot a bow. Stretch out your bow arm and bow hand exactly as though you were holding your bow. Draw your string arm hand to your anchor point as though you were holding your bow at full draw. Now aim the knuckle from your index finger of your bow hand at the target. Hold the knuckle on target for a while. Experience how this feels for you.
Now repeat exactly as above, except this time hold a 5-lb dumbbell with your bow hand (or perhaps a 3-lb or 4-lb. dumbbell). Experience how this feels to you.
Perhaps the way your body is physically built plus how you have developed your muscles and stamina that are necessary for holding up and steading the 5-lb dumbbell will cause holding the dumbbell to be a steadier situation for you than when you are not holding a dumbbell. If so, that is great.
In my case it is much easier for me to aim and hold my bow hand steadily towards the target when it is empty compared to when I am holding a 5-lb. dumbbell with my bow hand.
I must defer to all the wise and experienced archery experts who know much more than me. I have been told, read, and have seen in videos many times ever since I began archery in 1966 that a heavier bow with a heavier riser is more accurate. This must be true! This apparently is simply a fact.
On the other hand, my personal experience has been different for me. The lighter the bow, the easier it is for me to hold the bow up. The lighter the bow, the easier it is for me to hold the bow on target. The lighter the bow, the easier that it is for me to focus on the target rather than focusing on holding up and controlling the bow. The lighter the bow, the easier it is for me to hit where I want to hit on the target.
With heavier bows I not only need to contend with the strength needed to pull the draw weight of the bow, but I must also simultaneously use more strength to hold up and to steady the physical weight of the bow while aiming.
So far, I have not found a limit to the benefit of having a lighter riser and overall lighter bow (i.e., for me !!!). I have a 64" Howard Hill Archery Legend Stick with a 53# draw weight at my draw length. It has bamboo limbs and a bamboo riser. Ready to shoot it weighs only 1 lb. and zero ounces. It is much easier for me to aim and accurately shoot this bow than any of my heavier bows, particularly those with heavy thick sculpture risers.
Shoot your heavier riser bows. More power to you! I like a very simple light bow for many reasons, including accuracy.
I also like the lightweight ASL bows. I just don't like heavy.
I have to agree with James, I just received an ASL with a cane riser and really like the way it points and shoots.
very light weight like ASL weight for me
I agree about a heavier riser being more accurate in the average archers hand. Now when I was a lot younger toting around a 9# bow wasn’t an issue. That bow was a Jennings Arrowstar compound with 8 arrow quiver loaded, a small stablizer and a sight with 5 pins. Weighted more than my 7MM mag rifle with scope. But that was 50 years ago and these days this old body likes light weight bows. Heaviest bow I have now is a Warf made from a Hoyt “Rambo” riser and TT limbs. It is also hanging on the wall. I am really liking my new LB and really concentrating on keeping my bow arm up and my hand in my face. Although yesterday I tried out a new Black Widow PMA that wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be.