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How to Really Test a Compound Bow

We teamed up with Stress Engineering to run a battery of tests on this year's crop of compounds
Natalie Krebs Avatar

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Video footage by Alex Robinson, edited by the author.

For the objective components of this year’s compound test, we partnered with Stress Engineering Services, a consulting firm that tests everything from rifles to treestands at its Ohio-based outdoor division, for the second year. Bows were set to IBO specs and verified by the staff of Broken Rack Archery in Batavia, Ohio. We then shot them through a Hooter Shooter inside a semi-anechoic (echo-free) chamber. We calculated speed using a chronograph, a fletchless 350-grain arrow, and a capture-style rest. Draw cycle is an evaluation of a compound’s overall feel throughout the draw curve. (Stress also measured draw-force curves to confirm tester impressions.) Multiple microphones recorded noise, and Stress filtered the data to account for how we perceive sound. Stress ­measured ­vibration with a micro-accelerometer and applied a hand-arm perception filter.

To see the results from the bow and crossbow test, pick up a copy of our Summer issue or check out the story online.