Warbows: Minimum and Average Draw weights, Examining the evidence

Warbows: Minimum and Average Draw weights, Examining the evidence

Summary of Historical and Archeological Evidence


In the below video, we explore the question surrounding the draw weights of historical Warbows, particularly during the Medieval period.

For quick reference, below is a summary of our findings. For greater details please watch our video where we go into greater depth when delving into historical texts and opinions held by renowned academics in regard to the subject.


English Sources:

Minimum: 65-70b

Average: 110lb

Strong: 155lb*


Professor Clifford J Rogers, Hundred Years War  edited by L. J. Andrew Villalon, Donald J. Kagay The Battle of Agincourt (p35-132)

Thom Richardson (PhD), Curator of the Royal Armouries: https://royalarmouries.org/stories/our-collection/longbows-of-agincourt/

Hardy, Robert. Longbow – A Social and Military History. 1976.

Kaiser, Robert E. “The Medieval English Longbow” Journal of the Society of
Archer-Antiquaries, volume 23, 1980.

Henry Gordon and Alf Webb, “The Hedgeley Moor Bow at Alnwick Castle”, Journal of the society of Archer-Antiquaries 15 (1972), 99. 8-9


Mary Rose Museum Tweet


 Chinese Sources:

Minimum: 65-67lb

Average: 80-133lb (106.5lb)

Strong: 133lb+


Mark C. Elliott, professor of Chinese and Inner Asian History at Harvard University. From: The Manchu Way, Stanford University Press, 2001, pages 179 & 180

Tian and Ma, The Way of Archery, A 1637 Chinese Military Training Manual

Petter Dekker, Historical  Draw Weights of Qing Bows”: http://www.manchuarchery.org/historical-draw-weights-qing-bows#:~:text=%22The%20bows%20made%20for%20the,%2C%20and%20100%20pounds%20pull.%22


 Ottoman Sources:

Minimum: 70lb+

Average: 90-130lb (112lb)

Strong: 130lb+


Adam Karpowicz, Ottoman Turkish bows, manufacture & design, 2nd edition

Korean Sources:

Minimum: 60lb*

Average: 60-80lb*

Strong: 120lb+


Jack Fang: Historical Archery


We have also created a separate related blog article, Firearms vs Armour in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance 



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