What Are the Different Parts a of a Long Bow?

parts of a long bowThere probably aren’t that many bows out there that are as well-known as the longbow. It is, after all, considered the “traditional” bow. 

It’s the one we see in fantasy movies, on TV, and in most depictions of war during the medieval times. One of the reasons this bow is so popular is because of how well-designed it is.

In fact, the design is so close to perfect that there are a lot of people still using it today. It won’t be too hard to find a couple of people using longbows at an archery range or on a hunt. 

They’re fun to use, and they do the job very well. That being said, these bows aren’t don’t exactly have the simplest of designs.

Longbows don’t have as many components and aren’t as complicated as the modern compound bows we see today. But, there are still a couple of things you need to know about the parts of a longbow. 

In this article, I’ll be explaining all the different parts of a longbow and their uses. Read on to find out more.

The Parts Of A Longbow

1. String

The string is the part of the bow that attaches to the ends of the bow. This is what provides tension and is what launches the arrow. Typically, the strings are made out of traditional materials such as linen and hemp. However, there are also a lot of strings made of more modern materials such as Dacron, Kevlar, and Vectran.

When getting a string for a longbow, it’s essential to make sure it has the correct measurements. That way, you won’t end up having a string that’s either too long or too short. The ideal measurement for a longbow string is 3 inches shorter than the bow. You’re also going to have to think about how many strands of the bowstring material you need.
The number of strands you need depends on your bow’s draw weight and what it’s made of. A good rule of thumb is that bows with heavier and stronger draw weights need more fibers, while bows with lighter draw weights require fewer fibers.

2. String Nock

The next part of a longbow that we’ll be talking about is the string nock. This is the place where you fit the string onto the bow, and it isn’t to be confused with a nock, which is the place an arrow rests on the string.
The “nock” is also called the nocking point, as it is the point on the string where the arrow goes.

3. Limbs

The limbs of a bow are the largest parts of it. As the name suggests, these are the upper and lower parts of the bow where the string gets attached. These limbs are the ones that bend and give the bow its shape.
The curve is definitely more evident and easier to spot on recurve bows, which are sometimes confused for longbows, but they are two different things.

Both of these bow types are traditional, as they don’t have the same components as today’s modern compound bows. But, longbow limbs don’t have any curve to them, which is what gives it its signature look.

The limbs have two different sides, the backside, which is the side that faces the target, and the belly side, which is the side that faces the archer or hunter.

As limbs can be replaced, it’s important to note that traditional longbow limbs and recurve limbs are different.

4. Riser

The riser of the bow is the center of the bow. This is the part of the bow to which the limbs get attached. It is one of the most integral parts of the bow, often being the component that gets a lot of attention.

There are different sizes for risers, and there’s no one perfect size for longbows. When choosing a riser, the draw weight and limb size of your bow must be accounted for. This is what determines the size of your riser.

When looking for a riser, make sure to give a good look and feel. Hold it in your hands, close your eyes, and visualize using it. The riser should feel balanced and comfortable in your palm. That way, shooting, developing accuracy, and getting used to the bow will become much more manageable tasks.

It’s also important to pay attention to the details of the riser. After all, you would want a well-made riser that looks as good as it feels. For this, take a look at the workmanship of the riser, is it up to your standards? Do you like the look? Does it feel right? This is all for you to decide.

5. Grip

As the name suggests, this is the part of the bow which gets held. Nowadays, these things slide right on to the riser of the bow and give you a more comfortable and stable grip. This is one of the most essential components of a longbow as an archer’s grip plays a huge part in whether the shot will be an accurate one or not.

Grips are made of a variety of materials, and they come in a bunch of different styles, all catered for different hunters. There’s no one grip type out there that’s better than all the rest, as everyone has different styles and preferences, so make sure you choose a grip that makes you feel comfortable.

6. Arrow Shelf

This is the last main component of a longbow, and it’s a straightforward one. It usually rests on the riser and is the place on the bow where the arrow rests when the archer is drawing and taking aim. Having one is completely optional, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if you encounter a longbow without one.

However, having an arrow shelf can make it easier to aim and ready a shot, especially if you’re just starting out with archery. The choice of whether or not to put one on your bow, however, is completely yours, and there’s nothing wrong with using or not using an arrow shelf.


So there you have it, all the main parts of a longbow. Since everyone’s bow is different, some of these things may look a bit differently than you imagine, but that’s just part of the beauty of longbows.
Getting into longbows can be an exciting and very new process. Still, one of the most important things you have to know before getting started are the parts of your bow. Knowing your bow in and out is a great way to get better at shooting, as well as a good way to stay safe while using the bow, and there’s no better place to start than learning all the parts of the bow.

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