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The bow is a ranged weapon that shoots arrows. It allows the player to kill mobs and other players from a greater distance than melee weapons like swords. Bows may be charged back by holding down right click, at which point they will deal and rarely even .
To use a bow, it must be the active item and there must be at least one arrow in the inventory to be used. Simply right-click to use the bow, which will shoot the arrows. Holding right-click will pull back the string and send the arrow flying farther when released. Pulling the string back all the way releases an arrow with a sparkling effect, causing more damage. The bow also shakes when fully charged -presumably from the tension of the bow- which seems to slightly affect the arrow's flightpath. While the bow is being pulled back, the player will be forced to move at sneak speed.
Endermen are impossible to be hit by arrows, or by any projectile for that matter (except splash potions thrown near them), because they usually teleport right before they are hit and therefore most often won't take damage. When an enchanted bow that has the enchantment Flame is fired at an Enderman, although the Enderman doesn't take any damage by the arrow itself, it will be ignited by the Flame arrow.
As arrows are affected by gravity, they shoot in a parabolic arc. This is hardly noticeable at close range, but becomes more apparent with greater distance. One must aim above mobs at a certain distance, or gain higher ground to effectively neutralize the target. Some players have noticed a slight rightward tendency of shot arrows, although this is speculative.
A fully charged arrow consistently deals damage, with a rare chance of dealing . This means that 2 fully charged arrows are often required to kill most passive mobs, while 3 are often required to kill most hostiles. This is true most of the time, but as arrows travel further, their speed decreases, thus leading to lower damage dealt over long distances.
Arrows that cause no damage to targets (i.e.: when you miss) will become stuck in the block they hit. You are able to re-collect these arrows. Bows in creative mode will always shoot an arrow, even if you have none in your inventory. Also, be careful when destroying blocks with arrows stuck in them, as falling arrows also cause damage. At full charge, an arrow travels up to 65 (or even up to around 68) blocks upwards, and it fires with a speed of roughly 52 m/s. Note that normal bow enchantments have no effect on speed or how far it flies.
Bows have a maximum range on flat ground of about 118 blocks.
 As a crafting ingredient
|Ingredients||Input » Output|
|Cobblestone + Bow +
|Icon||Achievement||In-game description||Prerequisites||Actual requirements (if different)||Version restriction||Xbox points earned|
|Sniper Duel||Kill a skeleton with an arrow from more than 50 meters||Monster Hunter||"50 meters" is 50 blocks away.||PC||N/A|
|August 31, 2009||The player did not need a bow to shoot arrows. Instead, Tab ↹ was used to fire arrows. However, arrows still had to be collected to shoot. Launching arrows this way was much slower than the bow that now fires them.|
|0.31(January 22, 2010)||Added bow. The right mouse button could be held down to fire in rapid succession. Each arrow dealt for each hit. They would fly in a ballistic trajectory affected by gravity and drag in air or water and would travel approximately 15 blocks when fired parallel to a flat plane. Arrows also had a maximum range of around 52 blocks when fired at a 38 degree angle on a flat plane.|
|Bows often failed to interact with objects, but would instead shoot. This was very inconvenient when trying to open doors, interact with a Wolf etc. This was due to the fact that shooting arrows was an instantaneous action. Since Beta 1.8, now that players are required to 'charge' their bow, this is no longer as much of a problem.|
|0.31(January 30, 2010)||Bows are now craftable.|
|1.2||Bows are used as recipe for dispensers.|
|1.8||Bow behavior is overhauled; they now charge up.|
|1.0.0||A fully charged arrow consistently deals damage, with a rare chance of dealing .|
|Bows have a durability. Bows do not need arrows for ammo in Creative Mode.|
|The bow could be enchanted via console commands, but no spell would affect it.|
|1.1||Bows can now be legitimately enchanted. Currently, there are 4 enchantments: Flame (shoots fire arrows from bow itself, and is same as passing through lava), Punch (same as Knockback for Sword), Power (same as Sharpness for Sword) and Infinity (gives infinite shots with a single arrow, until the bow breaks).|
|1.2.1||12w06a||Skeletons have a 2.5% chance of dropping a bow. One fifth of the time, this bow will be enchanted with Power I (20%).|
|1.3.1||12w18a||Bows cannot be enchanted (bug).|
|12w19a||Fixed enchanting bug.|
|1.4.6||12w50a||Bows can now be enchanted with Unbreaking using an anvil and an appropriately enchanted book.|
|Pre-release||When a player hits another player from far away with a bow it makes a high pitched sound.|
- If you have Tiny or Short rendering distance and fire outside of the render, the arrow will be stuck in midair.
- If an arrow is shot into a block by a player and the game is exited the arrow can no longer be picked up by the player when the game is re-entered. This also happens with arrows shot before dying.
- Arrows can suddenly lose momentum when they hit the smoke of a dying mob.
- Lit arrows (that have gone through lava) will disappear immediately once they enter the Void, while normal arrows fired by the player do not immediately disappear.
- Shooting an Enderman with a bow enchanted with the flame enchantment will cause the Enderman to light on fire, even though the arrow doesn't always stick. You can light multiple Endermen on fire with this, but you may pre-anger the Endermen before you hit them.
- If you are sprinting then quickly launch an arrow at the block in front of you with no charge on the bow, you will take damage from the arrow.
- In creative SMP servers you cannot pick up arrows after they have been shot.
- Shooting an arrow straight up in the air in creative will cause the arrow to bounce infinitely until it bounces off the player's head.
- If you shoot an arrow at a closed door and then open the door, the arrow will appear to hang in mid-air.
- If you shoot an arrow above the build limit the arrow will disappear, then reappear once it falls into the build limit.
- In the Pocket Edition bows may take the look of an extended version found inside the items.png file.
- In the Pocket Edition, if the player is holding a charged bow and then switches items without shooting an arrow, when the player switches back to the bow it will appear to be charged, when it is actually not. This is fixed when the player charges the bow again.
- In Pocket Edition, when an arrow is shot at a painting, it will bounce off in the direction it was shot. It is possible to shoot yourself that way.
- In Pi Edition, if you attempt to shoot an arrow, it will not shoot. This is possibly because its code makes it require arrows, which are not available in Pi Edition.
- Tilling grass when an arrow is on it causes the arrow to fall to the block below.
- When an arrow is shot at a painting, the painting will break and the arrow despawns, since paintings are entities.
- If an arrow is shot at wheat and then the wheat is destroyed, the arrow falls through the farmland block below it.
- Arrows can trigger wooden pressure plates and wooden buttons. However, they cannot trigger stone pressure plates or stone buttons.
- Shooting a Ghast, Giant or a large Slime with an arrow will cause the stuck arrow to appear huge.
- The Looting enchantment will work with a bow.
- When fully charged, arrows will leave a trail of orange-white particles to represent critical hit.
- Arrows shot through lava will set mobs on fire.
- If TNT is blown up just as an arrow passes by, the arrow is directed opposite of the blast.
- Arrows will slow down if shot through water.
- If the player fires an arrow at an Enderman, the arrow will disappear and the Enderman will teleport away. Sometimes an Enderman seems to be "stuck" and will not teleport himself. In such situations the arrow will not disappear, but it is reflected back to the player instead. If the flame enchantment is present, the arrow will not damage it, as mentioned above, but will set the Enderman on fire, damaging it, and NOT making it hostile.
- Arrows are not washed away by water flowing over them. If water is poured over arrows on the floor the arrows will make a splashing noise as if they are hitting the water.
- In SMP, hitting an armored player with an arrow causes a clanging sound to play.
- In SSP or SMP when you hit a mob or player with a bow, It will play a dinging sound indicating that you hit your target
- If a bow enchanted with the enchantment Flame shoots at a block of TNT, the TNT will detonate.
- Arrows seem to mostly fly slightly to the right of where the player is aiming; this may be because the crosshair is slightly off-centered upwards and to the left by one pixel in the .png it is drawn in, although not enough to affect aim.
- Riding a Minecart and charging a bow use the same arm animations.
- Strength Potion Effect do not apply additional damage in bow shots.
- In Creative mode, a bow can be shot without any arrows in the inventory (similar to a bow enchanted with Infinity, but does not require at least one arrow). The shot arrows can be picked up, but they don't appear in the inventory. The Infinity enchantment has no effect on bows in Creative mode.
- With the new Fishing mechanics in 1.7, you may catch bows with varying enchantments.
- Only unused bows may be used to craft a dispenser.
Proof that arrows did not pass through Sugar Cane prior to Beta 1.6.