How Far Can a Longbow Shoot

How Far Can A Longbow Shoot

When you first look at a longbow, you’ll notice it’s tall and has a long draw.

It’s designed with simplicity in mind because it doesn’t have many curves or any accessories to speak of, and it has elegant limbs.

Yes, it looks delicate, but don’t underestimate it because the longbow can pack a mighty punch!

Is the longbow a really old bow?

This traditional bow is one of the oldest bows, as it dates back to the Paleolithic Age, which began over two million years ago! While they’ve obviously changed in appearance since then, longbows are still regarded as valuable in today’s times.

Simple, elegant, and traditional. Here’s everything you need to know about the longbow’s origins and how it can benefit you as an archer.

The History Of The Longbow

Battle With Bows

As mentioned earlier, the longbow was already being used in the Paleolithic Age.

It was actually developed in Wales in the 12th century, and by the late 14th century England conquered Wales and its people like the longbow so much that they started using it.

During the middle ages, the English Longbow was a popular choice for people to use, and it had many uses.

It was an amazing piece of equipment, with a whopping six-foot length, and was used by both Welsh and English people for hunting purposes as well as during combat.

It was a weapon that was considered quite intimidating. The most successful longbows were made of wood from a yew tree.

They required a lot of energy to draw – between 150 and 180 pounds! – and they were able to shoot arrows up to 37 inches far.

They had a range of between 450 and 1,000 feet, but this depended on the arrow’s weight, as Britannica reports.

Interestingly, the English bow was no longer used by the English navy from 1595. It was replaced by the handgun, as Local Histories reports.

That said, the longbow hasn’t totally disappeared. It is still in use today, although a bit different and more modern!

What To Know About Using A Longbow Today

Shooting With Longbow

The longbow is a great choice if you’re looking for a simple, frills-free bow, and if you like the idea of a bow having such a rich history behind it. 

The longbow doesn’t have the complicated features found in compound bows, such as cams and cables, and it doesn’t have many curves like the recurve bow that’s focused on making its limbs more powerful.

What you see with the longbow is what you get.

Although there have been some changes made to the longbow in modern times, it’s still got its characteristic length and that’s what makes it so effective and powerful.

What To Know About The Longbow’s Features

The longbow has strong limbs and is tall, which makes it a heavy bow.

That might put you off if you’re a beginner, but it’s worth noting that its heavyweight can work in your favor when aiming for a target.

It prevents the bow from wiggling around when you draw back the string to release the arrow. This can make your shot much more accurate.

The bow is easy to use because you don’t have to fiddle with different elements and equipment!

It’s also much quieter than other bows, such as the recurve bow.

Not only can the noise produced by a bow distract you from shooting your target, but if you’re hunting it can throw off your game and make you unable to fire a killing shot.

The good news about the longbow is that it doesn’t make a noise.

Man Using Longbow

This is because there’s less contact made between the bow’s limbs and its string, so you don’t have to worry about the string snapping on the limbs and producing noise.

Although there are many advantages to using a longbow, there are some drawbacks to consider before you go out and purchase one.

You can’t increase a longbow’s power. When it comes to being able to increase a bow’s power, this can often be done by purchasing new limbs for it, as is the case with a recurve bow.

However, you can’t do this with a longbow because it is one single piece, so what you get is what you’re stuck with, with no room for upgrading.

This is also the case when it comes to archery accessories. You can’t add accessories such as elevated rests and sights to your longbow because it’s not compatible with such things.

Even if you’re not interested in adding extra accessories to your bow, the longbow’s inability to be upgraded does, unfortunately, mean that if the bow’s limbs get damaged, they can’t be replaced.

You’ll have to purchase a new bow altogether.

You can’t find the longbow everywhere. Some of the most popular bows today, the recurve and compound bow, can be found everywhere.

The longbow is not as popular. You’ll find it, but you might not have many options for it at your disposal. 

What’s A Longbow’s Range?

Man Aiming With Longbow

The fact that longbows make use of higher draw weights means that they can shoot arrows far.

The modern longbow has a range of 200 yards, which is 180 meters. This does seem quite far but with commitment and practice, you might be able to get there!

For something really impressive, consider that an archer in the time of King Edward III was able to reach 400 yards, which is around 365 meters!

Can You Use A Longbow For Hunting?

Although you can take a longbow with you when you go hunting game, it’s important to bear in mind some important considerations.

For starters, a longbow is really big and this can make it difficult to carry around with you.

This fact is exacerbated by how you can’t detach its limbs and pop them in a carry case, so portability might be a problem.

It’s also important to bear in mind that longbows usually have high draw weights. This can impair your ability to hunt successfully, especially if you’re a beginner.

It’s always recommended for bow hunters to use as much weight as they can pull and shoot in a safe manner.

This not only benefits the hunter because the experience of using the bow will be more comfortable, but it also benefits the animal the hunter is stalking.

If you can’t properly shoot with the longbow, this can result in a missed shot that can injure and wound an animal but not kill it, thus increasing its suffering unnecessarily and unethically.

When choosing a longbow with which to hunt, it’s worth finding one that has the following features:

  • It should be quiet, so look for one that’s reviewed as not making a lot of noise.
  • It should have a grip for extra comfort when drawing it.
  • It should be made of high-quality materials to increase its lifespan, especially since you can’t change its limbs.
  • It should accommodate various draw weights, at least from about 45 pounds to 65 pounds, so that both beginners and seasoned hunters will be able to use it comfortably.

Consider The Reflex/Deflex Longbow As An Option

Longbow On Ground

This type of longbow is a really interesting one to consider if you’re keen on purchasing a longbow but are worried about its drawbacks.

A reflex/deflex bow is a modern flatbow with a riser that curves towards the person holding it and limbs that move away from the archer.

If you’re familiar with a recurve bow, then you’ll be able to spot that it’s quite similar to it, and this is also the case when it comes to how it performs.

It’s basically a hybrid between a longbow’s simple elegance and the recurve’s ability to use energy during the draw and release without causing hand shock.

Related Questions

What is hand shock?

Hand shock is a vibration in the bow that’s caused by extra energy left behind after the arrow has been released.

Although it doesn’t affect shooting accuracy, it can be painful.

To prevent it, don’t use a strong grip on the bow and choose bows with a heavier arrow that will use up that extra energy.

Where can you find quality longbows?

There are quite a few manufacturers of high-quality longbows.

These include Bear Archery, PSE Archery, October Mountain Products, Martin Archery, and Southland Archery Supply.

They are worth checking out if you want a longbow that’s well made and perfect for your needs. 


The longbow has a fascinating and colorful history, and it’s interesting that it is still in use today when it comes to archery and even hunting game.

While it might not be the right bow for everyone, mainly due to its large draw weights, it is recommended for beginners because it’s simple and easy to use.

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