One of the questions rookies ask when getting their hands on the first archery weapon is, how far can you shoot a longbow? Like most archery-related questions, this one doesn’t come with a universal answer.
There are many variables to consider and external factors that determine the travel speed of the arrow.
Nevertheless, this article is for those who want to find an answer to the question. So, let’s see how far you can shoot with a longbow.
Factors That Determine Shooting Range
Before talking about distances, let’s take a moment to analyze the factors that influence the shooting range.
We can divide them into factors dependable on the archer and on the bow. Regarding the archer, we can mention:
The level of expertise is perhaps the most crucial factor that can determine the shooting range. A novice lacks the knowledge of shooting afar and more often than not, will miss even the closer targets.
With expertise also comes the knowledge of adjusting the angle of aim. This is a tricky thing, as most books talk about an ideal 45° angle. What most books don’t tell is that perfect angle refers to ideal shooting conditions, which imply a vacuumed environment.
Now, when shooting outdoors, it’s improbable to be in a vacuumed environment. And here come into play the environmental factors which are the wind and the density of the air.
To maximize your shoot length, I recommend drawing the arrow at an angle lower than 45°, as the air resistance will stabilize it, making it travel farther. Just start at an angle of around 45° and try to optimize it until you achieve the best performance.
Regarding the bow, variables include the:
Optimizing these parameters to fit your exact needs is essential if you want to achieve shooting performance with a longbow, recurve bow, or any other type of bow you want to use.
How Far Can You Shoot A Longbow?
Getting back to the question, how far can a longbow shoot? The issue has solid fundaments. We’ve all seen some medieval movie in which King Edward’s archers were shooting arrows at a distance of over 400 yards with their rudimentary longbows.
But the truth is that despite being rudimentary, they could make an arrow travel faster and further.
There is a massive difference between the medieval weapons and the modern ones, and as odd as it may seem, the modern ones don’t have the same shooting capabilities. On average, a medieval longbow could make an arrow travel up to 249 yards.
A longbow nowadays has a useful range of only 200 yards. Achieving this is far from easy. New archers could have difficulties in making their arrow travel to 20 yards, let alone two hundred. Yet, you could reach the threshold through hard work and commitment.
How To Improve Your Shooting Skills?
You now know what factors to consider when shooting a longbow and have a goal. Reaching the 200 yards modern weapons are capable of handling. Or, why not, aim to the King Edward’s 400.
But daydreaming won’t get you anywhere. You need a strategy to improve your shooting skills.
A mistake most rookies make is believing that fixing the target at their desired distance and obsessively trying to hit the bulls eye will help them improve their skills. I’m sorry to spoil it for you, but this training won’t help you develop your skills.
What you have to do instead is start from a short distance and gradually increase it to reach your goal.
If you’ve never shot an arrow before, my advice is to fix your target at a distance between five and ten yards. At this distance, missing the target is almost impossible, but that’s the point. You’ll learn how to hold your bow and how to pull the arrow, which angle works best for you, and how to aim.
Practice until you never miss the bulls eye, then move your target 5 yards further.
Repeat the process above, until your shooting at that distance is flawless, then move the target further by other 5 yards. Repeat these steps until your target has reached a range between 20 and 40 yards.
Now, the fun part begins. At this point, you should be confident enough to change the distance freely. For example, set your target at 50 yards but position it at an angle. Start shooting and keep practicing until your level of expertise allows you to make another change.
When you’re confident with the angles, start working on heights, by positioning the target lower or higher than usual.
At this stage, start alternating between shooting at an angle and at different heights. Get out there and start practicing on different terrains. Furthermore, start practicing in different weather conditions, mainly when it rains or in the wind.
Slow but steady training will gradually improve your shooting skills helping you use your longbow to draw arrows at more than 50 yards.
As a bottom line, although a longbow can shoot arrows at 200 yards, it’s very unlikely to reach that distance unless you work hard and practice daily. Above, I explained to you what to do to achieve performance, so there are no excuses. Now, get out there and start practicing.