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Understanding the Difference Between Single Cam and Dual Cam Bows for Hunting

We recently had a discussion with one of our readers as to whether a single-cam bow or a dual-cam bow is ideal for hunting. There are a few key differences between these two types of compound bows that are important to understand when deciding which one is right for you.

We can all agree that, as a hunter, choosing the right equipment is crucial for your success in the field. One of the most essential pieces of equipment is, of course, your bow.

When it comes to selecting a compound bow for hunting, one of the main decisions you’ll need to make is whether to go with a single-cam or a dual-cam model. Of course, there are many other factors, but this is the big one.

FeatureSingle-Cam BowsDual-Cam Bows
Cam MechanismSingle cam on one end of the bow, with an idler wheel on the other end.Two cams on both ends of the bow, working synchronously.
Bow MovementControlled by the single cam.Controlled by both cams working together.
Stealth and SmoothnessQuieter and smoother, making them ideal for stealthy hunting.May be less quiet and smooth, but offer better speed and accuracy.
MaintenanceRequire less maintenance and have fewer moving parts.May require more maintenance due to more moving parts.
AdjustabilityLess adjustable compared to dual-cam bows.More adjustable, allowing for fine-tuning of shots.
PriceGenerally less expensive.Generally more expensive.
AccuracyCan still hit long-range targets, but may not be as consistent as dual-cam bows.Known for their accuracy, making them popular for longer-range shots.

Each type has its own unique features and benefits, and understanding the differences can help you make an informed decision.

Understanding the cam mechanism.

Comparison of Single and Dual Cam Bows
This side by side comparison shows the main differences between the two styles of compound bows.

If you’re new to archery or hunting, you may wonder what exactly single-cam and dual-cam mean. Single-cam bows, also known as one-cam or solo-cam bows, have a single wheel on the bottom limb of the bow. The top limb is usually equipped with an idler wheel that guides the string in a circular motion around the two cams.

On the other hand, dual-cam bows have two cams on both limbs. These cams work synchronously, meaning they rotate simultaneously to create equal tension on each limb.

The cams are an essential part of a bow as they determine the arrow’s speed, power, and accuracy. They essentially control the movement of the string and how much force is exerted on it.

Single cam bows.

Single-cam bows have a single cam on one end of the bow, which controls the bow’s movement.

These bows tend to be quieter and smoother than dual-cam bows, making them a popular choice for hunters who need to be stealthy.

Single-cam bows are also less maintenance than dual-cam bows because they have fewer moving parts. They are also less prone to wear and tear compared to dual-cam bows.

Sure, this sounds like it checks all of the blocks for being a fantastic bow, which it does. Dual-cam bows are excellent options as well.

Dual cam bows.

Dual cam bows have two cams on each end of the bow, which work together to control the bow’s movement.

These bows tend to be faster and more accurate than single-cam bows, making them a popular choice for hunters who need to make longer shots.

Dual cam bows are also more adjustable than single cam bows, allowing hunters to fine-tune their shot to their specific needs and preferences.

See the differences now? But which is best for you?

How to choose between single-cam and dual-cam bows.

When deciding between a single-cam and a dual-cam bow, there are a few factors to consider.

Consider the type of hunting you’ll be doing, your skill level with a bow, and your preferences. If you’re doing a lot of close-range hunting and need to be stealty, a single-cam bow may be the better choice. a

A dual-cam bow may be a better bet if you’re doing longer-range hunting and accuracy is a top priority.

However, if you’re looking for an excellent all-around bow that can handle various hunting situations, you may want to consider a solo cam. They can still hit long-range targets, perhaps not as consistently, but they can still hold their own. Half of the battle is your style of hunting. We’ve seen some skilled hunters hit 60-70m shots with a single-cam just fine.

Price and maintenance.

Price and maintenance are another factor to consider when choosing between a single-cam and dual-cam bow.

Single-cam bows tend to be less expensive and require less maintenance than dual-cam bows.

However, dual-cam bows offer more adjustability and better accuracy, making them the preferred choice for many experienced hunters. Ultimately, the choice depends on your budget, preferences, and hunting needs.

Which type is the one for you?

Choosing between a single-cam and dual-cam bow ultimately depends on personal preference and hunting needs.

Both types have unique benefits, so it’s important to understand the differences between them before making a decision.

Consider what type of hunting you’ll be doing, your personal skill level and preferences, and your budget when choosing between a single-cam and dual-cam bow.

With the right bow in hand, you’ll be better equipped to succeed on any hunting expedition.

What do you think about this?

About the Author

Matt Johnson Avatar

Matt Johnson

Master Outdoorsman

Matt is a seasoned outdoorsman with expertise in fishing, hunting, and wildlife. With a Master's degree in Wildlife Science, he combines his passion for nature with conservation efforts, sharing his knowledge through his writing for Fish and Game Report.

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