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What size bow riser should I use?

The bow riser is the nerve center of the bow. It can be used for a long time if it is well chosen from the beginning. In addition, to achieve a perfect shot, apart from the technical level of the shooter, the choice of the equipment, as well as the elements (such as the bow riser) that make it up are equally important. In this article, we will look at what size bow riser to choose in order to have a bow that suits our needs.

What is a bow riser?

In a recurve bow, the limbs are placed at the top and bottom of the bow riser. Then there is the sight, the cliché, the stabilizer. With the compound type of bow you will have the pulleys, string, cables, cable spreader, bow riser, bow limbs. On the other hand, with a simple bowor traditional bow, the bow riser and limbs are made in one piece.

The bolt is placed on the bow riser with the help of an arrow rest. And, a Berger Button can be attached to the bow riser and press the bolt tube. This accessory will act as a shock absorber for the bolt when it is projected and will reduce the ripples.

The riser sizes follow a standard across all brands, either 21 or 27 inches. Inch is the unit of measurement for length in archery. And, one inch is equivalent to 2.54 cm.

The bow riser is different if the shooter is right or left handed. However, the bow is always held in the center of the riser with a grip.

Depending on the archer's taste, bow risers are available on the market in a wide range of colors and materials (carbon, aluminum alloy, etc.) to choose from.

The weight of a bow riser is usually around 1.5 to 2 kg depending on the type of bow (compound or traditional).

How to choose the size of the bow riser?

A bow riser that is too small for the archer will weaken the equipment because of the much greater tension on the limbs. On the other hand, a riser that is too large will give a lower power output, especially if the target is at a very long distance. This is why the choice of a suitable bow riser is essential to the quality and performance of the archer's shot.

The size of the bow

Choosing the size of a bow riser can be done according to the size of the desired bow (and vice versa). To that end, here is a little chart that may help in choosing the size of the bow riser.

bow\riser (inches) 62 64 66 68 70 72

Legend :

Green color: Ideal size between the bow riser and the bow

Yellow color: Acceptable limit size between the bow riser and the bow

Couleur rouge : Avoid size

For a 23" bow grip , you need a 64", 66" or 68" bow

For a 25 inch riser, you need a 66, 68, 70 inch bow

The 27 inch size is not offered on economy or mid-range equipment.

Bow length

To determine the draw length, here is a tip.

Put your arms in a spread position, orthogonal to your chest (like a cross)

Measure the end from one middle finger to the other (ask for assistance for more precision)

Divide the height in cm by 2.5 and by 2.54 to get the theoretical length in inches.

As a guide, here is a list of the correspondence between the draw length and the size of the bow

Draw length (inch) Bow size (inch)
23 62
23 à 25 64
25 à 27 66
27 à 29 68
29 à 31,5 70
More than 31.5 72

All that remains is to match the results of this table to the one between the riser size and the bow size

For example:

For a 23-inch draw length, you will need a 62-inch bow. This corresponds to a bow riser of 21 inches or at the limit 23 inches.

The power of the bow

The powers marked on the bow limbs are theoretical powers calculated for a 28 inch draw length and a 25 inch grip. Note that one unit of draw length or grip size is approximately 2 pounds (lbs).

For example:

For a 23-inch bow riser, which is 2 inches shorter, the bow's power will increase by 2 lbs.


It is important to note that all bow risers have a 10% power adjustment range. In other words, the bows sold are adjusted to the minimum power. Therefore, it is possible to increase the power of your bow by 10% without changing the limbs.

The more powerful a bow is, the more difficult it is to control. In this case, in order to find the right power of the bow, you need to pass the following test.

cocking the bow without putting in a bolt

Correctly align the sighting eye with the edge of the grip (ask for assistance if necessary).

Keep the axis without any deformation for a period of 10 seconds.

If the test goes smoothly, increase the power of the bow. If not, it is better to reduce it so that it makes you more comfortable.