I always liked shooting heavier weight bows. It was one of my goals. I went so far as learning about what muscles needed conditioning, buying a gym membership and working out 4 times a week. For a good number of years I shot 70#-80# bows with ease. That may seem extreme but I feel it’s a good reason I didn’t have the shoulder issues I read so much about on archery websites. No, at age 75 I don’t enjoy my 60# bow but I still can handle my 55# bow well.
My question to you, what is your goal? Like has been said, 50#-55# will kill most everything around here. Personally I would get myself proficient at 50#-55# before moving up anymore. When I say proficient I mean at ranges past say 20 yards. Try a field round, 4 arrows at 28 targets with a max range say of 50 yards.
Don’t jump #10 from your #45. A #5 to #50 is enough. Feeling capable is different than being as accurate. I know a score is not welcome as test but if you have a 3D course around, keep the score with #45 and compare it with a round done with #50.
PS Flattening a trajectory makes sense just if you shoot past 20-25 yards.
I no longer remember how, when, or where I adopted the belief that a 55# traditional bow was completely sufficient to harvest any game animal in North America. I have had this attitude for a long time. This probably arose from subtle subconscious indoctrination from all the archery magazine articles, archery books, and archery videos to which I have been exposed over the years. As a result, for a long time I have considered any traditional bow with a draw weight less than 55# to be a light bow in the sense that it was below the optimum draw weight. Conversely I have considered any traditional bow with a draw weight greater than 55# to be a superfluously heavy bow for any North American game with the possible exceptions of moose or buffalo (which I do not hunt). I now realize that I have never really had any rational basis to validate my views described above.
Currently I most often shoot my 45# HHA Legend Stick, particularly when frequently shooting for any extended period of time such as during stump shooting or target practice. When I expect to shoot less often as when hunting, I sometimes use one of my 50# bows, but I most often use my 45# HHA Legend Stick for hunting. I still harbor and cannot seem to shake a constant secret desire to build up my strength and stamina back up such that I could again routinely shoot a 55# traditional bow at my draw length.
PROUDLY an Irredeemable Deplorable
I found your comment about a heavy poundage craze in the early 80’s to be surprising and very interesting! I do not at all dispute your information. I do not have even the slightest inclination to doubt that there was indeed a heavy poundage craze in the early 80’s. I just managed to have been oblivious to that craze, which is not really all that surprising. I would like to know more about this heavy poundage craze.
I do have personal experience that at least one person in my small farm town was shooting a very heavy draw weight bow prior to the early 80’s. In 1970 I was either still shooting my 30# Ben Pearson longbow or I had just recently started shooting my 45# Ben Pearson recurve. On a hot summer day I stopped my car to talk with a man shooting a longbow in his back yard. I remember that he was not wearing a shirt, was tall and skinny, was profusely sweating, and seemed to have huge raised veins all over his arms. He was having a great time shooting his 90# draw weight longbow which he claimed that he shot on a regular basis.
The math says that going from 45# to 55# is a 22% increase. Going up 10lbs from 75 is only a 9% increase. That is to say it’s either not much or it’s a lot, depending on where you’re at.
As for “mastering” a bow, the benchmark I’ve used for decades is simply, “what weight am I fully effective and capable with, stone cold?” Because many times the window of opportunity is open when I’m not warmed up, frozen solid, barely awake, or physically spent. Every time I’ve been that way with a too heavy bow in hand, I’ve regretted it.
And to that end, I’ve settled for myself that this means hunting at 60lbs or less.... and that means practicing cold as well. No more than two shots morning, noon night this time of year.
Find that same weight that you can fully master for yourself. And that will change over the years— which is okay because practice, form, tuning, and judicious choices are what makes a trad bow deadly.
best of luck!
“Take the good where you find it, be honest with yourself, and let the results be your guide.”
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