How to Measure Recurve Bow Length: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding the Perfect Fit

Categorized as Archery Tips
How to Measure Recurve Bow Length

Are you an aspiring archer searching for the perfect recurve bow or just wondering how to measure your current one?

Here’s the quick answer:

To measure the length of a recurve bow, the standard method is to measure its AMO length. Begin at one string groove, follow the curvature of the limb along the belly side of the bow, across the riser area, and follow the curvature of the other limb to the other string groove. Deduct three inches from the AMO length to obtain the actual string length for a recurve bow.

Let’s dive deeper and explore this topic more.

How to Measure Recurve Bow Length: A Detailed Explanation

There are three ways to measure a recurve bow’s length. Let’s talk about them here.

1. AMO Length Measurement (Standard Method)

As an archer, understanding the AMO length of your recurve bow is essential. This standard measurement helps you find the right string length, ensuring your bow performs at its best. Here’s how to measure the AMO length of a recurve bow:

1. Find the String Grooves

The string grooves are the notches located at the ends of each limb where the bowstring sits. To begin the AMO length measurement, you’ll need to identify these grooves on your recurve bow.

2. Follow the Limb’s Curvature

With a flexible measuring tape in hand, place the end at one of the string grooves. Carefully follow the curvature of the limb along the belly side of the bow (the side facing you when shooting). The measuring tape should be flush against the limb’s surface to ensure an accurate measurement.

3. Navigate the Riser

As you continue to measure, you’ll encounter the riser area. This is the central part of the bow where you grip it. While measuring, it’s crucial to maintain the same path as the limbs, cutting straight across the riser without following any angles or curves.

4. Complete the Measurement

Continue along the curvature of the other limb until you reach the opposite string groove. This marks the end of your AMO length measurement. Be sure to note the final length.

5. Calculate the Actual String Length

The AMO length isn’t the same as the actual string length you’ll need for your recurve bow. To find the appropriate string length, simply deduct three inches from the AMO length you’ve just measured.

Tips for accurate AMO length measurement:

  • Use a flexible measuring tape for an easier and more precise measurement.
  • Ensure the measuring tape remains flush against the limb and riser surfaces.
  • Measure at least twice to verify your initial reading.

2 Overall Size Measurement

While it’s not the usual way, this method can still help figure out the bow’s size. To measure the overall size, follow these steps:

1. Locate the Limb Butts

Before you begin, you need to familiarize yourself with the limb butts. These are the points where the limbs of the bow make contact with the riser. They are crucial in determining the overall size of your recurve bow.

2. Align the Measuring Tape

Now that you’ve identified the limb butts, it’s time to measure. Grab a flexible measuring tape, which will allow you to follow the contours of the bow more easily. Start at one limb butt where it contacts the riser, making sure the measuring tape is aligned with the edge of the limb.

3. Cut Across the Riser

As you measure, you’ll need to cut straight across the riser, disregarding any curves or angles it may have. This ensures you get an accurate measurement of the bow’s overall length.

4. Finish at the Opposite Limb Butt

Continue measuring along the edge of the limb until you reach the other limb butt where it contacts the riser. This is where your measurement will end. Take note of the final length; this is the overall size of your recurve bow.

Some tips for measuring your recurve bow’s size include:

  • Use a flexible measuring tape to easily follow the bow’s shape.
  • Make sure the measuring tape is taut to get an accurate measurement.
  • It’s best to repeat the process again just to be sure of your first measurement.

3. Unstringing a Recurve Bow for Accurate Measurement

Unstringing your recurve bow can also provide an accurate measurement of the bow’s AMO length. Here’s how to unstring a recurve bow safely and effectively:

1. Prepare Your Bow

Start by placing the bow on the ground with the string facing you. This orientation allows for better control and visibility as you proceed with the unstringing process.

2. Step on the Midsection

Position yourself over the bow and carefully step on its midsection with both feet. Make sure your feet are evenly spaced and securely planted, as this provides stability and prevents the bow from slipping during the unstringing process.

3. Pull the Top Limb

With a firm grip on the top limb, gently pull it towards you while simultaneously pushing the lower limb away with your leg. Be cautious not to apply too much force, as this could damage your recurve bow.

4. Remove the String

Once you’ve created enough slack in the bowstring, slowly slide the string off the top limb’s string groove. Be sure to maintain control of the limb to prevent it from snapping back and causing injury.

5. Measure the AMO Length

With your recurve bow now unstrung, you can measure its AMO length by following the standard method discussed earlier. This will provide you with a more accurate measurement, ensuring you find the perfect string length for your bow.

Tips for safely unstringing your recurve bow:

  • Always exercise caution and control throughout the process to avoid injury or damage to your bow.
  • Consider using a bow stringer, a handy tool that can make unstringing your bow even easier and safer.
  • Practice unstringing and restringing your bow a few times to build confidence and perfect your technique.

Final Thought

In short, knowing how to measure a recurve bow’s length is crucial for archers. Being familiar with the three methods help you find the ideal size for you.

And remember, when purchasing a string, always specify the AMO length and type of bow to guarantee the right string length for your recurve bow.

Happy archery!


1. How Long Should A Recurve Bow Be For Me?

When picking the perfect recurve bow, go for one that’s at least double your draw length. For example, if your draw length is 28 inches, you’ll want a recurve bow that’s 56 inches or longer.

Generally, a longer bow usually means better accuracy. This is because longer bows have a more forgiving draw cycle, which helps improve stability and aim.

2. Is Bow Length Measured Strung Or Unstrung?

The bow’s length stays the same whether it’s strung or not. When measuring a recurve bow’s AMO length, you’re essentially measuring the distance between the two string grooves, following the curvature of the limbs and cutting straight across the riser.

This measurement doesn’t change when the bow is strung or unstrung. However, it’s important to note that unstringing your bow can help you obtain a more accurate AMO length measurement, as we discussed in a previous section.