Part I: Taking Measurements

Let's Build Your Next Bow...

Building your Bighorn would be simple if we made only average bows, but we don't.   For Bighorn, building a bow is a caring and complicated process because we build each bow, from beginning to end, for one particular bowhunter.  Our way involves attention to detail, quality materials, and craftsmanship, and incorporated them into the dynamics of performance and the sheer beauty of the bow.  Our way also involves you.   Follow along with us in the bow building process while keeping in mind what you want from your next bow.  Let's build your new custom Bighorn together.

Step 1: Draw Weight

If you shoot a compound bow now, and want to try a traditional bow, consider:

  1. A recurve will be a simple transition from compound to traditional.  With the exception of the break-over feature of the compound, the recurve's handle, feel, and shooting technique are practically the same.  The Longbow will require more effort and time to reach comparable accuracy.
  2. Choosing a too-heavy bow is the greatest deterrent to learning to shoot traditional equipment accurately.  Regardless of whether you choose a recurve or a longbow, the draw weight is the place to begin designing your bow.  Let's take a closer look One of the great joys of traditional equipment is its simplicity.  And nothing could be simpler than shooting instinctively... looking and pointing.  The formula below has proven extremely accurate in helping beginning traditional shooters choose the correct bow weight.  (A sample bow draw weight and percentage of let-off is give in parentheses.)   The formula will tell you what you can shoot comfortably, day in and day out - even if you choose to shoot with a bow sight (which typically involves being at full-draw for a longer period of time.)
    1.      Bow draw weight (70 lbs.)
    X  % Let-off              (.65)
    =  Bow let-off weight (45 lbs.)
    2.      Bow draw weight (70 lbs.)
    -    Bow let-off weight          (45 lbs.)
    =   Full-draw holding weight (25 lbs.)
    3.      Bow let-off weight (45 lbs.)
    /    2                           
    =  1/2 Bow let-off weight (22.5 lbs.)
    4.      1/2 Bow let-off weight (22.5 lbs.)
    +   Full-draw holding weight (25 lbs.)
    +   10 lbs. if you are in good shape; 5         lbs. if you are not.                       (10 lbs.)
    = Traditional bow weight you should order (57.5 lbs.)

Step 2: Determining Your Correct Draw Length

Everyone typically draws a longer arrow with a compound bow than they will with a recurve or longbow.  This is because of the break-over/let-off feature of the compound bow, which allows overdrawing, and because of the less rigid, more slouched body position when shooting traditional equipment.  With the longbow, the heel-down hand position causes a length reduction.

Plan your draw length shortening by one to two inches with a recurve or longbow.   If you have access to a lighter weight traditional bow, you can have someone help you check your draw length by drawing an arrow and marking it.  Be aware, however, that a reduction in draw length will not always be apparent the first few times the bow is drawn.  For many, the reductions slowly occurs over the first few days of actual shooting.

Step 3: Determining Bow Length

Bow length, along with draw length, will determine how comfortable your bow is for you, and, to an extent, how accurately you shoot the bow.  in general, a shorter bow will be more convenient in the bush, and longer bows are more forgiving, smoother and more accurate to shoot.  Consideration should also be given to the type of hunting you'll be doing (i.e., tree stand, pit blinds, stalking).

Bow length always relates to limb length, as well.  Matching your draw to the bow will facilitate maximum efficiency from the limb.  To explain: a longer 66 inch bow will be smoother, but if you only  pull it 26 inches you will not flex the limb enough to get maximum performance from it...but, you might well prefer the smoothness of this limb-to-draw matchup over performance.  Here are some suggestions for choosing a bow length.


  • 54" bows will give you comfortable and accurate performance for draws under 27". 
  • 56" bows can handle draws up to 29" and are the best choice for draws under 28 1/2". 
  • 58" bows draw up to 29" and are the best choice for draws between 27" and 28 1/2".
  • 60" bows draw up to 29 1/2" and are best for draws between 28" and 29".
  • 62" bows draw up to 30 1/2" and are best for draws between 29" and 30".
  • 64" bows draw up to 31 1/2" and are best for draws over 30"

The 60" and 62" are our most popular lengths.  The versatile lengths combine performance and convenience.  Our customers run the gamut of bow length and draw length combinations.  Talk with us. We'll help you decide.


Longbows allow considerably more latitude in length selection than recurves do.   Here are some tips to help you choose the right draw length for you.  Keep in mind that with the longbow draw lengths are greatly reduced because of the hand position (which puts a natural bend in the elbow).

  • The 62" length is great for those who often hunt in tree stands.  It handles better in tight quarters and is less apt than longer bows to catch clothing on steep angles shots.  It favors draws from 26" to 28", but comfortably draws up to 29 1/2".
  • the 64" bow is a good compromise between the short and the long.   As length can increase accuracy, this bow may be a bit more "forgiving" than the 62".  It will comfortably handle draws from 26" and up.
  • The 66" length is our most popular.  This bow shoots well at draws up to 30", but any draw length will find it comfortable.
  • The 68" is our longest.  Many longbow shooters prefer the smoothness and stability of the longest longbows.  While "shelf" bows are all weighted at 28 inches, we can build our bow at the exact weight you want at your specific draw length (i.e. 50 # @ 29 1/2"). 

You are ordering a custom bow.  Let's build it to fit you.  The trick is to figure out your draw and try to figure exactly how much weight you are shooting by factoring draw length out.

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Bighorn Bowhunting Company
2709 W Eisenhower Blvd
Loveland,  CO  80537
(970) 962-9306
(970) 962-9316
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