How far away could a longbow be lethal? This video puts a traditional bow to the test!
These guys test a 40-pound longbow and broadheads against ballistic gel, from an exceptionally long range.
Pretty interesting results. A broadhead-tipped aluminum arrow is not an ideal projectile to test in ballistic gel, as mentioned in the video. However, the tests are consistent. As the co-host mentions, real-world penetration with that setup in actual flesh at close range should be somewhere around 16-20″. In gel, the arrow went 5.5″ from 10 yards.
The shooter then backs up to 25, 65, and then 100 yards. Penetration declines, but not by much. At 100 yards, the 635-grain arrow and Grizzly broadhead still gets into the gel. With ideal shot placement, that much penetration would be lethal on medium game.
Obviously, no responsible hunter would shoot a longbow at game at that distance. However, it is interesting to find out!
The aluminum arrows are heavy for such a light bow, which aids penetration. In addition, the long, narrow, single-bevel broadhead is also the best-penetrating broadhead design available.
A 40-pound longbow is close to the minimum ethical weight one would want to use for deer-sized game. As mentioned in the video, the arrow is only traveling 150 feet per second–nowhere near the speeds modern compounds achieve. But clearly, the lightweight longbow is a capable tool the hands of a skilled archer, wearing a goofy hat.