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I recently did a search on brace height info, because I never fully understood its importance or influence on a bows performance. I found most of this from another site (the first part is originally from HF)
The rest is from other archers own observations. And the final bit is my own. I realize it is a long piece. But I found it quite an interesting read.

Brace Height

Brace height is yet another important factor in the energy storage equation. A bow's brace height is simply the distance from the string to the pivot point of the bow's grip. You can kind-of think of brace height as how close the string will be to your wrist when the bow is at rest. The closer the string is to your wrist, the more work you have to do to get the bow drawn back. If you're drawing a 6" brace height bow back to a 30" AMO draw length, you'll have to pull the string back a total distance of 22.25" before you reach full draw*. But if the string rests farther back from your wrist to start, say the bow's brace height is 8", then you'll only have to pull the string back for 20.25". So the bow's brace height also figures into how LONG the bow's powerstroke will be. And as you know, a longer powerstroke generates more energy.

As a matter of energy storage, brace heights are analogous to the length of the rubber-band on a slingshot. If you hold a slingshot at arms-length and pull it back to your cheek, a shorter rubber-band would be stretched for a longer distance (and shoot faster) than the same slingshot with a longer rubber-band. In much the same way, a short brace height bow stores more energy and shoots faster than a tall brace height bow (all other things being equal). So brace height has the same affect on total powerstroke length as does the bow's draw length setting. The only difference is that the brace height determines where you start and the draw length determines where you stop. But unlike draw lengths, brace heights aren't adjustable. So you have to get this one right the first time. You can't change your bow's brace height later, should you change your mind.

If you compare brace heights and IBO speeds, you'll find an obvious correlation. Shorter brace heights tend to make for faster bows. Easy enough. Then it would seem that in order to get better performance from a compound bow, all you have to do is look for a model with a short brace height, right? Well, not so fast! Short brace height bows may be hot-performers, but they will come with a few drawbacks you should think about
*A bow's AMO draw length is measured 1.75" beyond the grip pivot point. So a bow's powerstroke distance is found by subtracting the brace height and 1.75" from the AMO draw length.

Brace Height - Speed vs. Forgiveness

If you've been shopping for a new compound bow, you've certainly noticed a variety of advertised brace heights, generally ranging from 5-9". But if shorter brace heights result in faster bows, then why aren't all bows designed with short brace heights? Trade-offs! That's why. Short brace heights aren't automatically favored because a bow's brace height has a profound effect on the bow's forgiveness and shootability. Short brace height bows are generally less forgiving and require more skill to shoot accurately. Since the arrow is in contact with the string for a longer distance and period, there is more opportunity for any glitches in your shooting form (hand-torque, trigger punching, etc.) to have a detrimental effect on the arrow's flight. Longer brace heights have the opposite effect, limiting the effects of form glitches. In addition, very short (sub-6") brace height bows tend to yield more string-slap on the shooter's forearm (ouch!). So there are some trade-offs to consider here.

If you shoot with absolutely perfect form and technique, a short brace height bow will be just as accurate as it's longer brace height cousins. But if you have average skills and are prone to occasional goof-ups, a bow with a little longer brace height will yield better accuracy in most shooting situations. The average new compound bow has a brace height of approximately 7". Bows with shorter brace heights (5-6.5") will be faster but less forgiving to shoot. Bows with longer brace heights (7.5-9") will generally shoot slower but will be more forgiving to your errors. Consider this carefully when choosing your new hunting or 3D bow. Unless you have a specific need for a blazing fast bow, you may find that a more moderate brace height will increase your enjoyment of archery and your success in the field. SPECIAL NOTE: Tall guys with draw lengths 30" and above should be especially conscious of brace height - as a long draw length and a short brace height are a particularly bad combination, especially for new shooters.

Brace Height Market Trends

Just as 300 fps seems to be the accepted IBO speed-minimum, 7 inches is the generally accepted brace height minimum in today's compound bow market. If you visit our compound bow specification charts, you'll surely notice that a disproportionate number of bows are advertised with exactly a 7" brace height. This isn't by accident. Experienced shooters - particularly bowhunters - tend to avoid short brace height bows, regarding any brace height under 7 inches as "radical" or "unforgiving". So a bow with a 6 7/8" brace height is often a lame duck - at least regarding bow sales. As such, most manufacturers try to aim to hit the market-pleasing 7+ inch brace heights on most of their new bow designs. As a matter of selecting a new bow, we submit there's probably no justification for such an exacting prejudice, as there's nothing particularly lucky about a 7" brace height. But that does seem to be the commonly accepted line-in-the-sand between performance and shootability.
Short-Draw Archers - Built in Forgiveness

If you are a short-draw archer (27" draw length or less), you'll be pleased to know you have a nice advantage regarding forgiveness and shootability on your compound bow. As we noted earlier, a bow which has a 6" brace height and is set for long 30" draw length will have 22.25" powerstroke. This means the during the shot, the arrow will remain in-contact with the string for approximately 23-24" (including string follow-thru) until the arrow finally releases. This would generally make for a rather unforgiving setup. But that same bow in the hands of the short-draw archer will be considerably MORE forgiving to shoot. If a short-draw archer shoots the same bow at - say - 26" draw length, his/her powerstroke will only be 18.25" long. So the short-draw archer's arrow gets off the string in a shorter distance - thus the short-draw archer has some "built-in" benefits of forgiveness. If you are a short-draw archer, don't spend too much time fretting over brace height. Instead, consider shooting a bow that's a little more aggressive. The same bow that might give your 6'4" hunting buddy fits, will be quite manageable when set for your short draw length. And choosing a more aggressive bow will help you to recover some of the speed and power lost in a short-draw setup.

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Some important things to consider when talking brace height.
I'll give you two examples of bows where the arrow leaves the string and nearly the same point.

Bow A, 8.25" brace height no string stopper or STS
Bow B, 7.25" brace height with string stopper

Arrows shot from both bows will leave the string at nearly the same brace height. Why you ask? The arrow will leave the string the instant the string hits the stopper on Bow B. On Bow A the string travels forward, usually to where the cables are at rest. This would be approximately 7" brace.

You would think Bow A would be greatly more accurate. It's almost the same as Bow B.

How do I know this? High Speed video is a wonderful thing

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The farther the limb pockets are in front of the hand (reflex) and the more the letoff of the cam, the easier it is to torque the bow.

I don't think you'll notice any difference in shootability between 6-3/8" and 7-3/8" BH. Generally, bows may look the same, but there are small differences in riser, limb pockets, and sometimes cams to maintain good shootability.

The position of the limb pocket in relation to the throat of the grip (Deflex, Straight, Reflex) and the amount of cam letoff have more to do with actual forgiveness than the brace height. Brace Height was a good indicator of forgiveness for non-parallel limb bows, but not so much anymore with parallel and beyond parallel limbs.

FWIW, I have 65% letoff cams on all my bows, which are harder to torque because of the increased holding weight.
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Now I'll add a few of my own thoughts.

I found all of this quite informative, and it gave me a better understanding of all the constant reference to brace height on today's bows.
I thought the bit on the string stopper, (STS, suppresser) was quite interesting. And it is not difficult to see, how the addition of these devises plays a big role in the "shot to shot" consistency of arrow speed. Not to mention reducing string noise.
I also found it interesting, how the actual "shape" of a riser (limb pockets in relation to grip position)can affect a bow forgiveness as well.
I also can't help realizing how lucky we today's archers are. To be living in the age of the modern compound bow. Today's parallel (and beyond parallel) bow limb design is probably "the" most important change in the archery industry in decades.

The older bows with their more vertical limbs caused a considerable reverse "kick", as both limbs moved forward at the shot.
With parallel limbs, each one moves in the opposite direction up and down at the shot. Thus the reverse forces are in opposite directions as well. This basically cancels each of those forces out. Forcing the bow vibration to a quick stop. This keeps the riser "dead in the hand" at the shot, which of course has far less affect on the shooters form. This technological change is responsible for it being far easier today for a complete novice to pick up a bow, and be shooting decent groups in a very short time. Yes we todays modern archers are very fortunate indeed.

….archerynutNB
 

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Very good read indeed,never really thought about the true effect of the STS and release of the arrow.Thanks for that Archerynut.
 

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Thanks Archerynut!
Great read!

Being a newbie, I really didn't know much about BH...other than being told I should look for a bow with at least 7"BH. And knew 7+ would be more forgiving.
 

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Thanks Archerynut!
Great read!

Being a newbie, I really didn't know much about BH...other than being told I should look for a bow with at least 7"BH. And knew 7+ would be more forgiving.
Your welcome also CG!

Well according to this article, you are at an "advantage" being a short draw. With a shorter power stroke and the arrow leaving the string sooner. Who woulda thunk it? Now don't you feel better being a shorty?
 

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I was at Atlantic Archery today and there was a guy there trying out an axe6 with probably a 27" DL and he was worried about the BH and I tried to explain your article,but to no avail.I always thought the longer DL guys were at an advantage but you shed new light on this for me.you can never stop learning,thx again.
 

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Your welcome also CG!

Well according to this article, you are at an "advantage" being a short draw. With a shorter power stroke and the arrow leaving the string sooner. Who woulda thunk it? Now don't you feel better being a shorty?
haha...feelin' a bit better about being vertically challenged!!!


Now if my darn bow would just get here, I'll feel ALOT better about being a shorty!!
Guess it'll still be recurve shooting for another week.
 

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haha...feelin' a bit better about being vertically challenged!!!


Now if my darn bow would just get here, I'll feel ALOT better about being a shorty!!
Guess it'll still be recurve shooting for another week.
Didn't you say a week ago that in a week you'd have your bow? That's too bad
 

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Didn't you say a week ago that in a week you'd have your bow? That's too bad
ya, today was suppose to be the Big Day of becoming a proud compound owner!lol
Not sure what happened?
AA had hoped to receive it Thursday...but as of last night it still wasn't there.


But that's ok...it'll get here eventually...
In the meantime, I'm learning tons of new stuff from informative posts like this...

Thanks Mister November for hooking me up with the club in Memramcook. I shot with them twice this week & have been taken under the wing of a great shooter who is taking the time to teach me how to do everything properly. Heck, I didn't realize when I turned my head, my shoulder was slightly coming out of line.
Nor, did I realize how natural it is for shoulders to raise when lifting your arms...
by the time Megan got done with me Thursday night, I was getting pretty stiff!!

So, keep the informative posts like this comin for the next week while I anxiously wait for my new bow...
gives me something to read & think about while I'm working on the "excercise" for my arm that naturally hyper-extends!


Thanks again for the great topic, Archerynut! BH is something that I didn't really understand until reading this!!
 

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ya, today was suppose to be the Big Day of becoming a proud compound owner!lol
Not sure what happened?
AA had hoped to receive it Thursday...but as of last night it still wasn't there.


But that's ok...it'll get here eventually...
In the meantime, I'm learning tons of new stuff from informative posts like this...

Thanks Mister November for hooking me up with the club in Memramcook. I shot with them twice this week & have been taken under the wing of a great shooter who is taking the time to teach me how to do everything properly. Heck, I didn't realize when I turned my head, my shoulder was slightly coming out of line.
Nor, did I realize how natural it is for shoulders to raise when lifting your arms...
by the time Megan got done with me Thursday night, I was getting pretty stiff!!

So, keep the informative posts like this comin for the next week while I anxiously wait for my new bow...
gives me something to read & think about while I'm working on the "excercise" for my arm that naturally hyper-extends!


Thanks again for the great topic, Archerynut! BH is something that I didn't really understand until reading this!!
Not to steal any of AN's thunder, but let's face it, he's got a lot of thunder to throw around with his writing skills


There is TONS of great information on the Huntersfriend website. Great information for Archery newbies like us!
 

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Shooters with good form can shoot whatever they want and it's all the same except when you get into hunting situations
but the average shooter (28")is still gonna be looking for something around 7"BH string suppressors or not. The idea is to make it more forgiving and still have some speed not how low can you go. The STS is always a good idea for a number or reasons. CG is the exception she can go shorter ATA and BH and it still have forgiveness.
 

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lol, I still love to hit where im aiming lol. But like ya said good form is key. Until ya have your form down and have a little bit of experience, I wouldnt really suggest a 6 inch bh
 
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