Bows and arrows have been used for the longest time before human civilization was advanced. These tools were commonly used for hunting, but they quickly became helpful in war.
Over time, the simple bows would undergo numerous transformations to create the most powerful bows we see today.
The strength of a bow is determined by its draw weight.
What determines a bow draw’s weigh?
The draw weight is also called the bow poundage, the amount of force required to draw a bow to particular lengths. It is determined by calculating how far the archer needs to pull the bowstring before releasing the arrow.
In the old times, the bow weight was calculated by placing the bow in a frame and pulling back the string with gauges and weights until they reached a certain weight.
Currently, special digital bow scales are used to calculate the draw weights.
The lower the draw weight, the shorter the target range. Most adults can pull bows between 20 and 70 pounds (9 and 32 kg) Like Mark Stretton, who holds the world record for the heaviest bow draw weight.
Seasoned archers can pull further beyond 160 pounds (72 kg) up to 200 pounds (91 kg).
Throughout history, there have been a few instances where archers have recorded draw weights surpassing the average 70 pounds (32 kg).
Take a look at some of the record-breaking bow poundage for various types of weights.
1. Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s bow – 496 lb. 496 pounds
It is believed that Guru Gobind Singh Ji has one of the heaviest bows that could draw up to 496 lb. (225 kg) maximum.
Guru Gobind was a well-known archer in India, and his arrows could travel faster than any other modern bow could ever produce.
The bow itself weighed 11 lb. (5 kg), and it is believed that Guru Ji shot a bow 15 kilometres away from Gurdwara Moti Bhag to Delhi.
2. Heaviest English longbow draw weight – 200 pounds
Mark Stretton achieved the heaviest longbow draw weight from the United Kingdom.
Mark’s draw weight was a massive 200 lb. (90 kg) with an arrow measuring 32 ½ inches.
The event took place at The Bath Archers shooting grounds, Somerset, UK, on August 15, 2004. The infamous bow was built by Bickerstaffe Bows from the UK and is made of yew wood-backed with hickory.
He used an arrow made of aspen and was fired at a target nearly 5 yards away.
3. Second heaviest longbow draw weight – 170 pounds
Howard Hill held the title for the heaviest bow draw weight for over 50 years at 170 pounds (77 kg). Howards was born in Wilsonville, Alabama, and is considered one of the strongest archers.
Hill was known to design his longbows which contributed to his popularity. His expertise gave him a platform in Hollywood where he went ahead to star in many movies.
He won over 196 shooting competitions with his mind-boggling bow techniques. He once shot a plum off someone’s head 60 feet away.
4. Heaviest Yew bow draw weight – 170 pounds
In 2012, the heaviest Yew bow draw weight was recorded by Joe Gibbs at 170 pounds (77 kg).
He shot a 2.25 oz. (64 g) livery at a target 292 yards away.
This distance almost compares to Edward III’s archers, who could shoot at a target nearly 400 yards away.
5. Heaviest crossbow draw weight – 290 pounds
Crossbows are some of the limitless bows you can find in the market. Their draw weights are not tied to the construction material or strength of the archer.
The heaviest draw weight recorded for a modern crossbow is 290 pounds (131 kg). This was achieved by the Excalibur Matrix Mega 405, which does not have pulleys.
It uses reflex-deflex style limbs that get more power from the archer’s brute strength.
The crossbow’s design allows it to be cocked with a rope meaning a single draw can amass around 145 pounds (65.8 kg) which is fit for most shooters.
6. Heaviest Mongol bow draw weight – 166 pounds
The Italian Monk Carpini reported that the Mongol wars bows of the 13th century could reach a maximum draw weight of 166 pounds (75 kg).
These bows were found at Khan’s court during the Mongol wars.
These draw weights are comparable to the 16th century English longbows recovered from Mary Rose, the English warship.
7. Heaviest compound bow draw weight – 100 pounds
The heaviest compound bow model ever was built by PSE and could manage a draw weight of around 100 pounds.
The standard draw weights offered by the company can handle around 80 pounds maximum, as indicated by manufacturers.
Compound bows are typically used for hunting, and it is advised that female or young hunters use bows with draw weights between 45-50 pounds. Male hunters can draw weights reaching 70 pounds (31.7 kg).
8. Heaviest recurve bow draw weight – 67 pounds
World Archery competitions primarily use compound and recurve bows. The compound bows have the draw weight capped at 60 pounds. However, recurves can reach up to 67 pounds even if they weigh less.
During the 2018 World Cup event, Mauro Nespoli shot an arrow at bow poundage of 62 pounds.
International archery championships always have different poundage restrictions depending on the height and muscle of the athletes.
Although it is pretty challenging getting accurate information on archery and bow weights, this list summarizes some of the highlighted incidences in the global archery arena. S
ome have been in the records since centuries ago, and modern archers are trying to beat the odds even with poundage restrictions.
Ever since Mark Stretton set a world record in 2004, no archer has come close to his record. This comes after he broke Howard Hill’s 50-year record that earned him all kinds of titles in his lifetime.