Archery and a List of Archery Terms

Archery and a List of Archery Terms:

When we think about all Archery has to offer we don't always look at terms. So today we will take a look at some of the terms used in Archery and see where they themselves correspond. Whether your talking Shortbow, Longbow or any other type of thing that has to do with Archery. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the terms used.



Aluminium/Carbon/Competition arrow shafts made by 'Easton'.

Made of multiple layers of carbon graphite fibres in a epoxy resin wrapped over a high strength aluminium shaft (0.2mm thick).

The code numbers printed on the shaft indicate its size:

eg. 3-71/300 where 3 is the number of carbon layers, 71 is the last two digits of the core aluminium shafts thickness in thousandths of an inch (0.271") and 300 is the spine of the arrow in thousandths of an inch.

There are specific types of points and nocks for this arrow shaft.

These shafts are lighter than the 'Ultra-Lite' Aluminium shafts.


Aluminium/Carbon/Extreme arrow shafts made by 'Easton'.

Made much the same as the A/C/C arrows, except the shafts are 'barrel-shaped', being thicker in the centre of the shaft and tapered at each end. This creates a much lighter and stiffer arrow.

The code numbers printed on the shaft indicates its size:

eg. 1206G/370 where 12 is the diameter of the aluminium core shaft measured in 64ths of an inch, 06 is the aluminium shafts thickness measured in thousandths of an inch, G indicates the model series and 370 is the spine of the arrow in thousandths of an inch.

There are specific types of points and nocks for this arrow shaft.

These shafts are lighter than the A/C/C shafts.

Actual Draw Weight

The measured or calculated draw weight of an Archer.

eg. a marked bow of 30 lbs. at 28" draw when used by a person having a 27" draw length will have an actual draw weight of 28lbs.

(a 1" difference in draw length will make approx. 2 lbs. difference in draw weight.)


To superimpose a sight pin on the centre of a target or, when not using a sight, the placement of the tip of the arrow on a particular point for a given distance.


A combination of points to which the bowstring and/or index finger of the drawing hand are drawn to on the face and neck.

Anchor point

Definite spot on the archers body, normally the face, on which string and index finger come to rest.


A medieval crossbow that needed a windlass to draw the bowstring back.

Arm guard

A piece of stiff material used to protect the bow arm from the slap of the bow string upon release, worn on the inside of the bow arm.

Arrow Case

A box of wood or other material to store and carry arrows. Each arrow being held separate either via foam, slots or clips to protect the feathers or vanes.

Arrow plate

A plate, adjustable or fixed, to which the arrow rest is attached.

A piece of horn, shell or leather just above the handle of a longbow where the arrow passes as it leaves the bow.

Arrow point or pile

Metal point inserted into end of arrow shaft. Can also be that the shaft fits inside the point as in wooden shafts and some carbon shafts.

Arrow rest

A projection or support on the bow or the arrow plate located in the sight window on which the arrow lies when nocked on the bowstring.


A person who makes metal arrowheads.


A tall narrow cabinet in which bows and arrows are kept.


The bearing pin holding the wheel in the limbs of a compound bow.

(The length of a compound bow is measured from top axle to bottom axle).



The side of the bow away from the bowstring.

Backed Bow

A bow which has been backed with rawhide, wood, fibre or sinew.


A very large medieval crossbow used by an army attacking the walls of a besieged town. This crossbow was capable of firing large rocks and spears long distances.


The discipline of shooting without a bow sight, stabilisers and release aid.

Bass or Bast

The twisted straw back of a straw mat target butt.


The side of the bow nearest the bow string. Now called the 'face'.

Blunt point

Usually a conical rubber arrow point with a flat tip designed not to let the arrow penetrate a target, but rather bounce off.

Bob-tailed Arrow

A arrow that is thicker at the point. It tapers to the nock end.


A medieval type of arrowhead designed to shoot through protective chainmail or armour usually worn by Knights.


A short arrow used in a crossbow.

Bow arm

The arm that holds the bow.

Bow hand

The hand that holds the bow.


A person who hunts animals using a bow.

In Australia, only feral animals may be hunted. Native animals are protected.

Popular feral animals hunted are; wild pig, goats, foxes, deer and water buffalo.

Bow sight

A mechanical device attached to the bow with which the archer can aim directly at the target.

Bow sling

A leather or nylon strap, fastened to either the bow or the archer's hand, which prevents the bow from falling to the ground when the archer shoots without gripping the bow.


A multi stranded string of either Dacron, Kevlar or Fastflight looped to the bow nocks or teardrops.

Bow stringer

Cord with two pockets of dissimilar size or one pocket and one saddle, used to string a recurve bow.

Bow stave

A piece of wood used to make a bow.

Bow square

T-Shaped device to measure brace height and nocking point location.


A person who makes bows.

Brace height

Shortest distance from the string to the pivot point of the bow when strung. (Old English : Fistmele).


A name used for an armguard. Usually used to describe the leather armguard used with a longbow.


A arrowhead with triangular shaped cutting blades used for hunting animals.


See 'level'.

Butt (Target Butt)

Any backstop to which a target face is attached.



The plastic covered steel cables that connect the string via the cams or wheels to the opposite limb of a compound bow. Cables can also be made of Fastflite string material.


The wheels on a compound bow have a 'cam shape' to one side that controls the amount of force and the shape of the draw/force curve of the bow. Many different cam shapes are available to choose from;

eg. Hoyt's 'Accuwheel' = soft cam, smooth shooting for target archers,

'Performa Cam' = radical cam, stores maximum energy for bowhunters.


To hold the bow to the right or left while at full draw. The reference to right or left is determined by the position of the top limb.


The distance a bow can propel an arrow.

Centre serving

The protective winding on the centre of the string where the arrows are nocked.

Centreshot bow

A bow where the sight window has been cut past the bow's centreline.

Classic style

A method of shooting with as little deviation as possible from normal relaxed body position.


Small strip of metal mounted on the sight window in front of the arrow rest giving precise indication of full draw by snapping off the arrow point with an audible "click".


A form of target shooting in which an arrow is shot into the air at a 15 metre diameter target on the ground at distances of up to 180 metres.

Cock feather

The feather or vane set at right angles to the slot in the nock (also called the index fletch).

Composite bow

A Bow made of more than one material. Not necessarily a laminated bow.

Compound bow

A hand-drawn, hand-held bow that for similar poundage at full draw, stores more energy than a recurve bow through the use of two cables and two eccentric wheels. Most modern compound bows have a 65% let-off of the peak draw poundage at full draw, e.g. a compound bow of 60lb. peak weight will have a holding weight of approx. 21lb. at full draw.


Letting the arrow move slowly forward before release (not maintaining draw length). Usually caused by loss of shoulder/back muscle tension.


Coloured bands applied to the arrow shaft used as identifying marks.

These are just some of the terms that you may encounter in the world of Archery.

See for yourself why Archery is the sport that it is, You will be glad that you did.

By: Arthur Archer

About the Author:

To learn more about the history and influence of Archery