Is it Safe to Shoot an Old Compound Bow?

Archery and bowhunting can be two of the most enjoyable and rewarding hobbies a person can do. Like any hobby, you not only learn the mechanics but you acquire the equipment. Depending on how invested you are in archery or bowhunting, you could be spending a pretty penny on new compound bows and accessories. This isn’t always a feasible option for some, so perhaps a used bow is a more affordable option. Used bows are likely older models, which come with their questions and concerns.

It is safe to shoot an old compound bow. Compound bows have a lifespan of around 15 -20 years, maybe even longer if taken care of properly. Their amount and type of use is also a factor in the longevity of the bow. Still, it might be a good idea to consult a professional if the bow hasn’t been shot in a long time.

If you are considering shooting an old compound bow, especially to potentially purchase it, there are other factors you might want to take into consideration before making your decision.


What Do I Need to Know About Old Compound Bows?

Knowing how long compound bows should last, if handled with care, might leave you without any hesitation in taking an old bow out for some leisure shooting. However, there are a few factors in determining what measures may need to be taken in order to make it a safe outing.

If you are thinking about the safety precautions, you might need to take if you want to shoot with an old compound bow, you might need to consider a few things about old compound bows.

  • Maintenance
  • Normal Wear and Tear
  • Last Use

Looking into each one of these things will give you a better understanding of what the bow may need for it to be used. It will also let you know how you can use it.

The Maintenance of the Bow

With every piece of equipment you own, there will be components of the unit that will need to be changed regularly to keep it in tip-top working shape. The same goes for your compound bow. When you purchase a bow, you may have seen these replacement parts under accessories on the manufacturer’s website or on display in-store.

When handling an old compound bow, you want to be sure that these parts have been changed as often as is recommended for the lifespan of the bow thus far. If it is your bow, you will already know this information, but if the bow belongs to someone else, then you may want to ask this question before taking it for a test run.

  • Riser
  • Accessories
  • Bow String 
  • Cables

Each item has its own timeline for maintenance. The riser should last the typical lifespan of the bow itself, 15-20 years, but if you’re shooting a bow that is older than that, you will want to check if those have been repaired or replaced. The bowstring and cables will be changed out more often, at least every 2-3 years. Of course, replacement is dependent on how often the bow was used in that timeframe.

Do compound bows have serial numbers?

Normal Wear and Tear

When handling an older compound bow, you are more likely to start seeing signs of aging from use. While this is normal, it is still something you should keep a close eye on and repair or replace anything that may be showing signs of breakdown.

Some common places to check for wear and tear or erosion are the area where the riser and limbs meet. In particular, you want to make sure the limbs are tightly bolted in place, and the bolts don’t wobble. If there is any movement, be sure to take the bow to a professional.

Next, check your accessories and make sure they are also installed tightly in place and have no breaks or erosion. Most of your accessories will be located with your riser.

  • quiver attachment
  • bow sight
  • stabilizer
  • arrow rest
  • cables

Lastly, check the bowstring, make sure there is no fraying anywhere on the string. If you find any, take it to your nearest tech.

What happens if you shoot a bow without an arrow – also called to dry-fire a bow.

Last Use

If the compound bow you are wanting to shoot belongs to someone else, it is important to ask them the last time the bow was used. If it has been shot within the last year, then it may be fine to shoot after a regular safety check. However, if the bow hasn’t been shot in over a year, it would be best practice to take it to a professional to have it looked over.

A bow tech will look at all the items previously mentioned and make any necessary repairs or replacements. Then you can take the bow out for a test shoot.

Here’s 7 things that you could do with your old archery equipment.

Safety Check Before Each Use

It’s important to note that regardless of whether the compound bow is old or not, you should always do a safety check before shooting the bow. Even if you shot the bow the previous day, you never know what could have escaped your attention at the time or what may have changed overnight. Depending on what you use your bow to do and where you store it when it is not in use, a bow can sustain damage or erosion from one day to the next.

Storing your bow properly will also help keep it safe and last longer. There are a few options for storage. You can either purchase a case for your bow, especially if you travel with it, or you can hang it up somewhere safe.

Even with your safety inspections before each use, it is still best practice to take your bow to a professional every year for an inspection. This is especially important if you are not familiar with all the elements of a safety check.

Final Thoughts

Not only do you have the answer to your question, but you have the tools you need to shoot safely no matter the circumstance.

Also, you should be knowing if you need an arm guard when shooting a bow?

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