I've decided I want to at least have a go and hopefully take up archery with a compound bow on the other side of the lockdown. I've been able to find out lots of what I'd need to know (e.g. am right eye dominant and have a 27" draw length) but one thing I have a query about is effective range of a compound bow?

Articles like this made me think as I appreciate in the Olympics that they go 70m but what are the ballistics at that distance? Sure it would put a hole in something but at what force?

I also appreciate this is all going to be on the bows specifications so assume 310fps, 28" draw length, 55lbs draw weight (am assuming on arrows the 5x per lbs of draw weight ratio for grains). Is there an effective way for calculating the ballistics of this and the stopping power that this would have? (E.g. assuming a stationary and fixed target)?

1 Answer 1


You need approximately 25 ft-lbs of energy to kill a deer. You need to be able to pierce the hide and cause damage to the vital organs. https://biggamelogic.com/arrow-kinetic-energy/

Depending on what you are hunting here is the chart from the above link with the recommend energy of your arrow for different game species.

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Using these values, you can calculate the "effective" range of your arrow. However this is only part of the answer!

You will need to place your shot accurately! For example, on a deer, the area that you are trying to hit is roughly the size of a paper plate (8"). If your shot is not within this area, you risk wounding the animal and not recovering it. For this reason, the "effective" range is more a function of your accuracy. Are you able to hit this target?

Hunters have talked about taking shots at 60yds and maybe further. Many discussions go into the ethics of trying to make this shot. You need to be confident in being able to make this shot. And being able to hit this at a target is not necessarily the only thing. You will need to account for the wind. Is the animal going to move while your arrow is on its way? How are your nerves? Are there any sticks in your shooting lane?

For these reasons, it is generally recommended that archers stick to shots no longer than 40yds for hunting. The closer the better.

  • Thanks. I liked the link as it had some of the match behind it which was the kind of thing I was after. Granted on the point of accuracy as well. It's got to hit the right part of the target despite all the force you are putting into it.
    – user8812
    Apr 19, 2020 at 11:09

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