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How Long Does a Compound Bow Last?

Be it for hunting or as a recreational or professional sport, archery dates back thousands of years. And throughout all these years, bow designs have been modified and enhanced for efficient target settings.

Unlike the recurve bow, the compound bow uses a pulley system to function, giving the archer a mechanical advantage when using it. Its robust design makes it resistant to environmental changes, thus you don’t have to worry about reduced accuracy.

But as this instrument is made of several components involved in constant friction, you might wonder — how long does a compound bow last? Well, on average 15 to 20 years! But with proper care and maintenance, you can make it last for even more.

If you can take good enough care of your compound bow, it will last and work well for up to 15 or 20 years. That’s a huge stretch of time, so you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

But in order to make it last that long, you must keep note of its individual components and how to maintain or replace them from time to time.

Compound Bow Components

Typically a compound bow is made up of:

  • A riser (containing the grip and arrow shelf)
  • Cams (can be single, binary, hybrid, or twin)
  • Limbs (can be split, solid, or parallel)
  • Strings and cables/cable guard
  • Other parts (for example: rests, sights, silencers, cable slide, and rod)

Now that we have dissected the bow’s separate parts let’s see the longevity of each of those.

1. Riser

The riser is the heart of the compound bow as it connects everything together. So it’s obvious that it has to go under a lot of pressure when the bow is in action. Although the riser is built to be extremely strong, the grip can get cracked or become unstable.

If any of the other parts connecting to the riser are not secured tightly enough, there will be an uneven distribution of pressure when you draw the bow. Always make sure that the arrow shelf, grip, and other parts linked to the riser are very well secured with no wobbling.

Since it is the core of the bow, any mechanical damage to it will slowly disintegrate the entire compound bow.

2. Cams

The cams are what allow the transfer of most of the pressure onto the limbs. Undeniably they are very strongly built because of this reason alone. The only issues you can get with cams, in the long run, are if they get bent out of shape or if the string or cable gets derailed.

3. Limbs

Putting too much stress on the limbs by drawing the compound bow too far back can potentially cause breakage. Even after minor cracks and bending, the limbs can function well for up to 10 years.

4. Strings and cables/cable guard

Since a lot of pulling and rubbing goes on in the string or cable, they need to be replaced once a year. However, how soon your bow’s cables will wear and tear depends on—

  • Frequency of your shooting
  • How you store the compound bow
  • How you maintain the string and cables

Generally, if you see that the string feels rough and prickly to the touch, then it means it needs to be replaced. Also if you see that the string is fraying in the middle, then it is a definitive signal to get a new one.

5. Other parts

Some other parts of a compound bow include rests, sights, silencers, cable slide, and rod. Although most of these count as accessories and tools to improve target, they still need to be replaced from time to time when you see instability or breakage.

How Long Will a Compound Bow Last with No Care or Maintenance?

Even though tensile pressure and friction are the forces that drive a compound bow to work, they have been designed to withstand such exertions for a long period of time. And in general, this ranged weapon is expensive, so you won’t have to think of getting a new one in less than 10 years.

Even with zero care and no maintenance whatsoever, a compound bow will last and function to its full potential for up to 7 years. Though considering how expensive this weapon is, we suggest you always take good care of it.

Tips on Caring for and Maintaining a Compound Bow

To get maximum use out of your compound bow, it is important to take good care of it. Here are some things you can do as maintenance:


In conclusion, your well-maintained compound bow can last for a maximum of 20 years. The trick is to always treat it with care and properly store it when you’re not using it. And if you don’t use it too often, it can last a few years more!

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