Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls
Auriel's Bow
For other uses, see Bow.

Bow is a flexible, bent or curved ranged weapon in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that is strung taut from end to end with a string. Arrows are nocked into the string and then drawn. The arrow is then released and the string pushes the arrow forward.

Bows are found throughout Skyrim and are a common weapon, with many types varying in damage, arrow speed, weight, fire rate, and value. Also they are always a two-handed weapon.

Improvement and damage[]

The damage of a bow varies from bow to bow, with the Long Bow being the weakest and Dragonbone (Dawnguard only) being the strongest. Every bow's damage is governed by perks and the level of the Archery skill, but there are multiple other ways to increase a bow's damage.


Almost all bows can be tempered using grindstones found near or around blacksmiths and other locations. Depending on the material of the bow, a bow may be improved with firewood or the appropriate ingot to increase the damage of the bow. Depending on perks and level of the Smithing skill, bows can be made increasingly more powerful.


Bows may also be enchanted with weapon enchantments for a variety of different effects. The strength of the enchantment depends on the size of the soul used, the number of usages per charge and the level of the enchanting skill. The potency of fire, frost, and shock enchantments can be boosted if the Augmented Fire, Frost or Shock perks from the Destruction skill are chosen.

See here for a full list of enchantments that can be applied to bows.


Fortify Marksman potions can be created or bought from merchants to temporarily increase the Archery skill tree.

Weight and fire rate[]

The weight of the bow also dictates the effort required to pull the string back, or "draw," meaning that the heavier the bow, the longer it will take, and the more damage the shot will do. The lightest bow is 5WeightIcon.png and can fire 0.55 shots every second (1.818 seconds before 1 shot).

Starting at 5WeightIcon.png, each additional unit of weight added to the bow subtracts another 0.0125 shots/second, so a bow weighing 6WeightIcon.png fires 0.5375 shots/second (1.86 seconds/shot).

The fire rates between 5WeightIcon.png and 6WeightIcon.png may seem insignificant, but the difference becomes much more noticeable with heavier bows. The Dragonbone Bow, for example, is the heaviest bow weighing in at 20WeightIcon.png; and fires at a rate of 0.3624 shots/second (2.759 seconds/shot).

The overall draw speed can be calculated by the equation:

full draw time = 0.4s + 1.66s / (weapon speed * (1 + Quick Shot perk))

As weight and quality of the bow's construction material are directly proportional, it is important to note that the better the material (i.e., Glass, or Daedric), the slower the draw speed, and thus the lower the fire rate.

The three fastest bows in the game in terms of draw speed share a common speed of 1.0, the fastest speed: Zephyr, from the Dawnguard quest "Lost to the Ages"; Auriel's Bow, acquired at the end of the Dawnguard quest "Touching the Sky"; and Froki's Bow, a unique long bow found in Graywinter Watch that is obtained at the end of Kyne's Sacred Trials.

Arrow velocity[]

The velocity at which a bow shoots an arrow is inversely proportional to the bow's fire rate. In other words, the greater the fire rate of the bow, the lower the velocity.

Usually this means that the heavier the bow, the greater the velocity of the shot. However, there are two exceptions to this rule. In the case of Zephyr, a unique bow weighing 10WeightIcon.png and which fires 30% faster than other Dwarven Bows, arrows fired from this bow will travel slower than even a Hunting Bow which weighs 7WeightIcon.png. This is due to Zephyr's previously mentioned unique enchantment. Also, the Dragonbone Bow weighs 20, which is one more than the Daedric Bow, however the arrows have a lower velocity than those fired from a Daedric Bow.

Though the velocity depends on the fire rate, the velocity is not hindered by the Quick Shot perk.


Bows have two types of range, arc range and maximum range. The former varies from bow to bow and is directly proportional to the bow's firing velocity. Arrows fired from a low velocity bow will come down in an arc earlier than arrows fired from a high velocity bow. To compensate for this shorter range, low velocity bows must be angled higher to hit targets at range.

The latter type of range, or maximum range, is a universal range between bows. After traveling a certain distance, somewhere around 60–65 yards, all arrows have a damage of 0. Arrows at this distance will most of the time clip through (pass through) enemies and land on the other side having done no damage. This will still cause animals and characters to become aware of the Dragonborn's presence and search for them, however this will not cause friendly characters to become hostile.

Differences with crossbows[]

If Dawnguard is installed, the player will gain access to crossbows. Crossbows, similar to bows, are ranged weapons that benefit from sneak attacks, and can be enchanted and upgraded. Compared to the crossbow, a bow is much lighter and faster to reload, and arrows are much easier to acquire than their counterpart. However, its base damage is generally lower than the crossbow, and is slower to fire arrows, compared to the crossbow firing bolts.


Name DamageIcon.png WeightIcon.png Gold Speed Upgrade Perk Item ID
Ancient Nord Bow 8 12 45 0.875 Steel Ingot Steel 000302CA
Angi's Bow 7 7 50 0.937 Steel Ingot Steel 000CC392
Auriel's Bow DG 13 11 1000 1.0 Refined Moonstone Elven xx000800
Bow of the Hunt 10 7 434 0.937 Steel Ingot Steel 000AB705
Daedric Bow 19 18 2500 0.50 Ebony Ingot Daedric 000139B5
Dragonbone Bow DG 20 20 2725 0.75 Dragon Bone Dragon xx0176f1
Drainspell Bow 14 6 458 0.875 N/A - 000F82FC
Dravin's Bow 7 7 50 0.937 Leather Strips Steel 0006B9AD
Dwarven Bow 12 10 270 0.750 Dwarven Metal Ingot Dwarven 00013995
Dwarven Black Bow of Fate DR 13 10 1446 0.750 Ebony Ingot Dwarven xx02c01a
Ebony Bow 17 16 1440 0.562 Ebony Ingot Ebony 000139AD
Elven Bow 13 12 470 0.687 Refined Moonstone Elven 0001399D
Falmer Bow 12 15 135 0.75 Chaurus Chitin None 00038340
Falmer Supple Bow 15 20 410 0.75 N/A - 00083167
Firiniel's End 13 12 785 0.687 Refined Moonstone Elven 00017059
Forsworn Bow 12 11 145 0.875 Steel Ingot Steel 000CEE9B
Froki's Bow 6 5 307 1.0 Iron Ingot None 000C0186
Gauldur Blackbow 8 12 253 0.875 Steel Ingot Dwarven Level 1–11: 000A5DEF
8 12 407 0.875 Level 12–18: 000F5D1F
14 18 530 0.875 Level 19–26: 000F5D20
14 18 750 0.875 Level 27–35: 000F5D21
14 18 972 0.875 Level 36+: 000F5D22
Glass Bow 15 14 820 0.625 Refined Malachite Glass 000139A5
Glass Bow of the Stag Prince DR 16 14 375 0.625 Refined Malachite Glass xx018ed5
Hunting Bow 7 7 50 0.937 Leather Strips Steel 0010E2DD
Imperial Bow 9 8 90 0.75 Steel Ingot None 00013841
Karliah's Bow 25 9 5 0.625 N/A - 000DEED8
Long Bow 6 5 30 1.0 Firewood None 0003B562
Nord Hero Bow 11 7 200 0.875 Steel Ingot - 00068C57
Nordic Bow DR 13 11 580 0.6875 Quicksilver Ingot Advanced xx026232
Orcish Bow 10 9 150 0.812 Orichalcum Ingot Orcish 0001398D
Stalhrim Bow DR 17 15 1800 0.5625 Stalhrim Ebony xx026231
Supple Ancient Nord Bow 14 18 235 0.875 N/A - 0005D179
Nightingale Bow 12 9 493 0.50 Ebony Ingot None Level 1–18: 0007E5C3
13 11 838 0.50 Level 19–26: 000F6529
15 13 1409 0.50 Level 27–35: 000F652A
17 15 2240 0.50 Level 36–45: 000F652B
19 18 3405 0.50 Level 46+: 000F652C
Zephyr DG 12 10 670 1.0 Dwarven Metal Ingot Dwarven xx00cfb6


This section contains bugs related to Bows (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  •  360   Sometimes, when an arrow is shot, the arrow takes a couple of seconds to actually shoot after the animation shows it being "fired."
  • It may not be possible to sneak fire an arrow properly. For example, when attempting to fire on a resting dragon, the arrow will fall to the ground a few feet ahead. When aiming to miss it fires normally.
  • Loading an arrow and switching to third person view from first may result in the bow being in unloaded position, even though an arrow appears in hand. Switching back to first person may make it impossible to load another arrow.
    • Fixed by changing weapons.
  • If the Dragonborn is blown back with the Unrelenting Force shout while using a bow, the bow will not be visible in the Dragonborn's hands after getting back up, and they will be appearing to be firing arrows from thin air.
    • Fixed by changing weapons.
  • Sometimes when blown back with the Unrelenting Force shout while crouching, the exact opposite happens. The Dragonborn will then appear to be holding a bow with an arrow drawn, but the arrow will not be visible.
    • Shooting the invisible arrow will fix the problem.
  •  360   Sometimes, even though the string is fully pulled back, the arrow will shoot from the bow as if the string was only partially pulled back. This can result in failed sneak attacks (the target notices the Dragonborn), or less damage than the bow would normally deliver (such as a Flawless Glass Bow). Sometimes the bug rights itself after a few shots, though sometimes it can go on for much longer. Switching weapons can make the bug appear less often.
  • When crouched and aiming downwards (i.e. off a cliffside at a target below) the arrow will appear behind the Dragonborn rather than where it should.
  • Sometimes, if the bow has the Paralyze effect, the target may not take any damage and will only be paralyzed. Even if the arrow missed the target, they may still be paralyzed.

See also[]