How well can a compound bow operate completely submerged underwater?
That is likely not a question you ever asked. We know we never did. At the same time, it is one of those questions that we never knew we needed to know the answer to either. When thinking logically, it seems like a compound bow should have some degree of effectiveness underwater. After all, bow fisherman use them to harvest thousands of fish every year.
The thing to consider is that there is a big difference between a bow being above water and being below it. YouTuber Full Mag decided to find out just how much water would affect a bow shooting underwater.
Obviously, the speargun was going to out-perform the compound in this instance. The entire design of the device is made to overcome the obvious resistance of water to launch those spears at their intended fish targets. In this instance, it appears the arrow did not have a ton of penetrating power on the target. It does make us wonder if by tweaking the setup slightly what kind of performance one could get out of arrows shot completely underwater.
The most fascinating aspect of this experiment was simply in the slow motion footage. You will often hear archers talk about things like energy and how it is transferred from the cams and limbs to the bowstring. You might also hear about how the bowstring affects the arrow's flight through the air. These things are difficult to describe in technical terms. In this video though, you could clearly see the transfers of energy as the limbs and bowstring moved forward. You could even see the flex of the arrow a little in flight.
It is always fascinating to see how firearms and arrows overcome the resistance of water in these types of experiments. We would be interested to see how a crossbow operates underwater next!