Twisted Limbs

Arguably, the MOST important part of the bow are the limbs, since the movement of the limbs transfers energy to drive the arrows to the target. Investing in well-manufactured limbs can be the best move any archer can make. Since consistency is the number one requirement for any archer, you want to avoid any twists. Wood/Fibreglass limbs perform well however can be prone to warping in areas where temperature changes a lot. Carbon fibre layers help strengthen the limb and reduce the tendency to twist.

After purchasing a new set of limbs, one of the first things an archer should do is align their limbs to their riser. Alignment of the limbs means the string should appear to run right down the center of the limbs thru the center of the riser.

I highly recommend the purchase of a new set of limbs for any archer; however, the purchase of a good used set can be an option for a new archer who is still learning the sport. When purchasing a used set remember any twist will cause inconsistent flight of arrows, check for limb distortion (often called limb twist). Viewing the bow strung with the limbs from either end of the bow, if one or both of the limbs have a slight twist, you may have limb twist.  If the distortion is only slight sometimes it can be cured with one of three methods.

1)       Cold Bump Method

Attempt to straighten the limb using the “cold bump” method. If a limb has developed a slight twist from improper stringing, this method often will correct the problem. Grab the bow by the riser with your dominant hand. Use your other hand to grip the bow limb slightly above the twist. Slowly twist the limb in the direction opposite of the distortion, and then quickly release the limb. Repeat this process several times until the limb properly is aligned.

2)       Warm Wet Submerge Method

Submerge the twisted limb in a tub of hot water for 3 to 4 minutes. The water should be no warmer than a hot bath, around 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This is just hot enough to mildly loosen the glues in a laminate. Remove the limb from the water, then slowly twist the limb in the direction opposite of the distortion. Release the twist slowly and examine the limb for straightness. Repeat the twisting procedure several times until the limb is straight.

3)       Low Heat Method

Twist the limb in the direction opposite the distortion and hold it in place. Have an assistant heat the limb using a hair dryer. Hold the hair dryer 6 to 10 inches from the limb, and slowly move it up and down the length of the limb. Heat the limb slowly for 2 to 3 minutes, then release your hold and examine the limb for straightness. Repeat the heating procedure as necessary until the limb is straight.

In my opinion, it is not worth playing with twisted limbs or possible physical injury and especially where ranking is important, competitive archers should not risk the possible performance dip . New well-manufactured limbs are very forgiving of a poor release, feel smooth and are more affordable than ever. Cartel Doosung and Bow Korea offer a complete line of limbs for everyone including introductory limbs, the new Midas MPS limbs for intermediate archers and MK Archery Vera/1440 limbs for competitive archers.

Pulling Arrows

One of the first things every archer has to do is pull their arrows from their target. As an archer develops and increases in draw weight, arrows can become lodged deeper and deeper into a target making them more difficult to pull out. Additionally, new target materials make this more difficult since they are denser, more rigid, and designed to last longer.

Arrows should be removed on the same angle at which they entered the target and while twisting an arrow can help loosen the arrow, it can also crack the shaft and damage it, so this is not a recommended approach. So, if an archer is struggling retrieving their arrows they can unintentionally bend or break them.

This can be a problem, especially for younger archers, who have bows that drive the arrow deep into the target but have not yet developed the strength to retrieve their arrows.

Generally, pulling arrows doesn’t have to be difficult with a little preparation before shooting.

First, apply arrow lube to your arrows. By lubricating your arrows, it makes it easier to pull your arrows from the target. Alternatively you can use bar of soap.

Next, get yourself an arrow puller. An arrow puller wraps around the arrow providing a better grip to help remove a stubborn arrow.

Every archer should have an arrow puller, so when selecting one, make sure it is large enough to wrap around your arrows, yet small enough to work within tight groups of arrows. Check out Cartel Doosung’s new Midas arrow puller, it is small, inexpensive and very effective, and it is the one I use.

Sometimes, an archer can miss the target and the arrows find themselves in more difficult material for removal such as the wooden target frame, a tree stump or even a concrete wall.  Although arrows stuck in concrete wall are lost, arrows stuck in wood sometimes can be retrieved by loosening the wood around the arrow with a sharp knife or a hammer and chisel. If attempting such an extraction, remember to work slowly and avoid damaging the arrow or point.

MK Archery Vera Limbs

Every bow requires limbs, most beginner, and some intermediate bow kits come with limbs. If an archer moves towards competition archery, they will want to upgrade this essential element. Designers of limbs strive for an ideal combination of speed, stability and smoothness when deciding what materials to use and how to combine them.

Modern recurve limbs are made from multiple layers including fiberglass, carbon and/or wood and usually are laminated over a core of wood or carbon foam. A good archer will be able to shoot well with any good set of limbs, no matter the composition and elite archers often have a selection of various types for different training purposes, they usually gravitate towards one.

Foam-core limbs are more resistant to warping, are usually lighter and are not affected by humidity and/or weather conditions. They provide a consistent straight smooth pull curve and a faster shot. Carbon foam-core limbs are usually a lot more expensive and require a lot care. Archers need to inspect and repair even minor imperfections as they can lead to massive failure. Whereas, Wood-Core Limbs are usually far less expensive than foam-core, and are usually more durable. Although they usually have, a little more mass weight they can deliver a slightly higher speed with the same poundage as foam-core limbs.

Manufacturers produce limbs in various strengths or draw weights to service all types of archers and are measured in poundage (#) at a certain draw length (usually twenty-eight inches) and by length of risers.

Example is 66”-34# @ 28” or 68”- 32#@28”

Since not all archers have the same draw length, the same limbs will be different for each archer. The same set of 34# limbs for an archer with a 24” draw length will pull less than 34# and an archer with a greater than 28” draw will pull more than 34#. You can easily determine your draw weight using a bowscale at your local archery shop.

Limbs also come in various lengths that will determine the overall length of the bow which may be a factor for shorter archers.  This chart can help you determine which length to order.

Riser Size Long Limbs Medium Limbs Short Limbs
23” 68” 66” 64”
25” 70” 68” 66”

Limbs use to be designed specifically for the manufacturers riser and once you purchased a riser you were bound to that manufacturer for limbs or you would have to change both limbs and riser. Now most manufacturers use International Limb Fittings or ILF and are an unofficial standard that allow limbs manufactured by different companies to fit on the various risers.

There are several great manufacturers of limbs and in 2010 MK Archery started producing a great set of competition limbs.  Currently holding world records in recurve men with scores of 1386 for FITA and 342 for 90M. The two top of the line models are the MK 1440 (foam-core) and VERA (wood-core).  The limbs are made from multiple crossed carbon layers, laminated over a foam or wood core. If you are seriously considering investing in a good set of limbs, consider some from MK Archery.