At our shop, we see customers on a weekly basis come in with bows purchased at a garage sale, online or from a friend, etc. Quite often we have to give them the bad news that the bow they just purchased at a “great deal” cannot be setup for them or has been damaged by the previous owner. Here are some tips to save you a lot of grief.
Purchasing online or garage sale and possible damage
We see a lot of bows come into the shop to get setup that have been dry-fired. A dry-fire means someone drew the bow without an arrow in it and let the string go. This can cause a tremendous amount of damage to the bow. As someone new to bows, you would not know where to look or what damage to look for. So, what sounded like a good deal will now cost quite a bit to fix just to be shootable. We had a customer bring in a bow that was purchased on craigslist and we had to tell him that it would be $290 to get his bow in shootable condition.
The average string life on a compound bow is about 3 years. A lot of garage sale bows will be 10+ years old and many have never had the string and cable set changed. This can be very unsafe. If you don’t know when the string set was last changed, you should probably have it done. On most bows, this will be around $120 or more. So again factor these costs when deciding if it is a good deal.
Wives, girlfriends or daughters
Be aware that most female archers cannot pull more than 40 lbs. You can’t take your old 70 lb bow and turn it down to 60 and expect them to be able to shoot it. Most women start off at about 25-35 lbs of draw weight. It’s all they can handle. We’ve only had a few that ended up shooting above 45 lbs. and that was after many months of shooting.
Most that are new to the sport of archery do not understand that buying a bow is like buying a pair of shoes or golf clubs. The bow must be fit to the shooter. Some older bows do not have any built in adjustments. So that may mean you need new cams or modules. If the bow is too old or the company is out of business, these items will not be available. So you your only option is reselling the bow, usually at a loss.
Most bows only have a 10 lb draw range. Meaning if you purchase a 70 lb max weight bow it will only get down to 60 lbs. Don’t expect to buy a 70 lb bow and be able to turn it down to 40 lbs for your child. The exception to this is the newer modern youth bows. Some of them are capable of a range from 5 to 70 lbs.
Draw Length Adjustment
Some bows require a cam change to change the length. Some will have adjustments built right into the cam and other will require a module change to change the draw length. Remember if your bow is older than 5 years old, you may not even be able to purchase the parts to change the length.
Fees you may encounter
After you buy your used bow, you will most likely have a setup fee to get everything adjusted and fitted to you. This usually runs about $45. If you need new a new string and cable set, this can be $120 or more. This is assuming it doesn’t have any other damage and the bow has the ability to be adjusted to you.
Just remember sometimes cheaper will not be cheaper in the long run. At our shop, all setup, fitting and a basic lesson is free when you purchase a new bow from us. We also provide a free four visit range pass with the purchase of a new bow. We are happy to setup your used bow, but we do charge a service fee when you purchase a bow elsewhere. We have bows starting at $299 that are brand new and come with a factory warranty.
Used bows purchased from Obsession Archery
Occasionally, we will have used bows that customers have traded in on new bows. We only take bows on trade that are in great shape. You can be confident in your purchase from us.
If you have more questions, stop in or call us at 815-877-1212