My wife likes to shoot arrows at targets. She uses a relatively lightweight draw compound bow now. We have been talking about her trying a crossbow. I did a quick search online and found junior models with draw weights from 15 to 60 lbs.

I suspect 15lbs is not going to give good results, and 60lbs is more than she is using now. Presumably there is some value in the middle that is optimal for target practice only.

What is the minimum draw weight for a target practice only crossbow?

  • As I state in my answer, you are starting from a false premise that the draw weights on a compound bow are comparable in difficulty to the draw weights for a cross-bow. Perhaps it would be better if you first asked how the weights compare and then what the minimum should be. I mean, I keep seeing crossbows reccomended for women/kids with draw weights of 100 lbs + crossbowproductions.com/top-youth-crossbow Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 5:19
  • @CharlieBrumbaugh If she shoots a 100lb crossbow bolt into a hay bale from 25 feet, it is going to go out the other side, or get stuck in middle neither options add to the enjoyment of the activity. Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 11:09
  • I still think you are comparing apples and oranges, a 70 lb compound can have the same FPS as a 150 lb crossbow Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 18:54
  • @CharlieBrumbaugh correct and at the same time they can both have the same Kinetic energy, and similar drops over 25 yards. Additionally a single 70lb compound can have vastly different FPS by changing arrow weight and/or draw length. On the other hand a 70lb crossbow can shoot a much smaller and lighter bolt, which means the FPS can be significantly higher then 70lb compound with an arrow that is twice as heavy, but they can both have the same (or different) kinetic energy at 25 yards. You are missing the point of the question, Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 11:16

1 Answer 1


You are comparing apples to oranges here. You can have a much much higher pull weight on a crossbow, simply because it is easier and you can use mechanical advantage.

If you look at history, the advantages of a crossbow is that the archers didn't need to have the same amount of physical strength required to pull a long bow.

For example,

That said, most of the better hunting crossbows are in the 150 to 175 pounds range, with a few topping out over 200 pounds. In general, bigger is better—or in this case, faster. Keep in mind that you can go too heavy, too, as at least one state—Ohio—has a maximum allowable draw weight of 200 pounds.


200 lbs incidentally is the world record for a longbow. =

Mark Stretton (UK) drew a longbow weighing 90 kg (200 lb) to the maximum draw on an arrow of 82.5 cm (32 ½ in) at the shooting grounds of The Bath Archers, Somerset, UK on 15 August 2004.


Now for your actual question, heavier pull weights mean faster arrows and therefore less drop and more accuracy. At some point however, a heavier pull will be impossible to pull back.

Where that point is will depend on the person. To find that point I would suggest that you visit a physical store and ask to attempt to cock one before actually buying it.

Personally, I would doubt that a 60lb pull would be too much for an average person.

  • Lighter arrows/bolts mean faster travel times with the same draw weight. Not trying to kill anything so kinetic energy at the 25 yards does not matter. Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 11:19
  • To be fair. At 25 yards you wouldn’t need much anyway. My 13 YO son shoots a normal SF recurve bow with 22 pound limbs with no problem. Heavier bows only make the difference when you start to get to those Olympic 70-90 meter distances
    – Desorder
    Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 21:26
  • "At some point however, a heavier pull will be impossible to pull back." Well, technically, you can always employ a winch of some type... the sky's the limit! Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 21:11

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