Single vs Dual Cam Compound Bow: Which One is Better?

Buying a compound bow? You’re presented with two options. 

Either go for a single cam bow. Or go for the dual cam compound bow. 

But apart from the number of cams, what’s the difference between single and dual cam bows?

Why should you consider single vs dual compound bows?

Single cam compound bows require less tuning than Dual cam compound bows. On top of that, single cam bows are quieter and more precise. Dual cam bows shoot faster arrows and have a more solid back wall compared to single cam bows.

Hmm…Doesn’t sound much. 

Let’s take a deeper dive and see what more the two bow types have in store.

Single and Dual Cam Compound Bow: A Quick Overview

Modern compound bows feature a cleverly engineered Cam system that efficiently stores energy in the cables and limbs. This reduces the effort required by the archer when drawing and holding the bow, and a crucial element of this system is the cam.

The cam, a small wheel mounted on the limb, plays a vital role. Compound bows come in two primary cam configurations: single cam bows with one cam, and dual cam bows with two. Single cam bows typically have one power cam and one idler wheel, often located at the bottom, while twin-cam bows feature two symmetrical wheels.

When compared to recurve or traditional bows lacking cams, holding a bow at full draw can be challenging. Without cams, you must continually exert force to support the entire bow weight. 

Compound bow cams are intelligently designed to alleviate this strain. The maximum bow weight is reached early in the draw cycle, and reduced weight is maintained at full draw.

Single vs Dual Cam Compound Bow: Key Differences

So, what sets apart Single cam compound bow from dual cam bows?

Well, obviously they have different numbers of bows. But other than that, here’re are the differences between single and dual cam compound bows:

Comparison FactorsSingle CamDual Cam
Shot SpeedSlowerFaster
Draw Cycle SmootherSlightly less smooth
NoiseQuieterNoisier
AccuracyGood Excellent
MaintenanceLess MaintenanceRequires frequent maintenance
Back WallStandardSolid
PriceLess expensiveMore expensive

Looks like the two systems offer two entirely different sets of experiences to the users.

Let’s delve in more and find out how different users with different preferences can benefit from them.

Single vs Dual Cam Compound Bow: Detailed Differences

Here, we’re going to compare the types of compound bows based on 7 criterias:

  1. Shot speed
  2. Draw cycle
  3. Noise
  4. Accuracy
  5. Maintenance/Tuning
  6. Back wall
  7. Price

Shot Speed

Dual cam compound bows are faster compared to single cam bows. 

Double cams help the bow exert more transfer force over a short distance, resulting in faster shot speed compared to single cam compound bows.

Draw Cycle

Single cam bows generally offer a smoother draw cycle compared to dual cam compound bows. 

This is because single cam bows have a single cam and an idler wheel, which work together to provide a more consistent and gradual increase in draw weight as you pull the string. 

Using a release with the compound bow makes the process a lot easier and comfortable.

In contrast, dual cam bows require precise synchronization between the two cams, and any deviation can result in a less smooth draw cycle with a slight “hump” in the middle. 

The simplicity of the single cam system reduces the likelihood of synchronization issues, leading to a smoother and more user-friendly draw cycle, which many archers find more comfortable and enjoyable.

Single cam compound bow info

Noise

Dual cam bows tend to create more noise and vibration than single cam compound bows. And there’s a good reason for that. 

You see, with dual cam bows, you have an additional cam that vibrates and applies extra force across the two limbs, creating louder noise and more vibration. 

This definitely becomes a problem for hunters who require stealth during hunting. The constant noise and vibration during drawing can also impact your concentration during archery.

Accuracy

Dual cam bows require precise synchronization of the two cams to ensure that both draw and power cycles are perfectly aligned. This can be challenging and requires more tuning. 

Single cam bows, on the other hand, have a simpler design with only one cam, reducing the potential for timing issues and simplifying tuning.

Additionally, single cam bows typically have reduced string travel during the shot cycle, leading to improved accuracy and arrow flight.

Moreover, the more noise and vibration of dual cam bows make it difficult to achieve perfect accuracy. Single-cam bows tend to be quieter and smoother in operation, which can lead to better shot consistency and accuracy.

Maintenance

Cam systems are more prone to break down and are complicated to look after. So having more cam in a bow only leads to more complications in maintenance.

Dual cam compound bows require a lot of maintenance to maintain perfect sync between the two cams. 

Single cam bows on the other hand require less maintenance, thus less hassle. 

Back Wall

Once you reach the full max draw length of the bow, the back wall hits and makes it difficult to draw the bowstring anymore. It’s nearly impossible to pull the bowstring any further once you hit the back wall. 

The Back wall of a dual cam compound bow is much solid compared to single cam bows. 

This usually means that the dual cam’s back wall is harder to pull beyond its let off and more abrupt. 

Dual cam compound bow info

Price

Dual cam bows come with two cams, making them more costlier than an average single cam bow. 

Though there are advanced single cam bows that cost more than standard dual cam bows, it’s generally the dual cam bows that cost more. 

However, whether the price is worth paying rests solely on the user based on their shooting preferences. 

Final Verdict

Single cam bows are more reliable in hunting situations where you need less noise and more precision in shooting. It also requires less tuning, making it a great choice for casual archers. 

Those who’re up for faster shooting and the solid back wall should definitely go for Dual cam compound bows. Its more restricted back wall makes it comfortable for many to maintain a good form. 

FAQs

Is a dual cam bow better than a single cam?

Dual cam has a faster shot speed and better back wall than a single cam compound bow. 

Do you have to time a single cam bow?

You definitely need to time your shots while shooting with a single cam bow. The single cams must rotate a specific amount for a fully optimized shot. Less-than-ideal optimization will lead to a dip in performance. 

Should you dry fire a compound bow?

Definitely NOT! Dry firing a compound bow can heavily damage your cams beyond recovery. It can also end up injuring you in the process. So avoid dry firing your compound bow. 

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