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The bow is a ranged weapon that fires arrows. It allows the player to kill mobs and other players from greater distances than melee weapons like swords. Bows may be charged back by holding down the "use" key or button (right click on PC), and when fully charged cause arrows to deal , or rarely .
The bow can be enchanted, and has a base enchantability of 1. It can be crafted, and is a rare drop from Skeletons, though bows dropped by skeletons usually have their durability highly depleted. If a player would like to create a bow from their bows collected from skeletons, they can repair them through the Crafting Table or an Anvil until they have a high durability bow.
Bows can be crafted, and are a potential drop from skeletons. As of the 1.8 snapshots, the new Fletcher career Villager can sell bows for 2-3 emeralds apiece. Finally, bows can be caught by fishing, as a "Treasure", which the bow caught will be enchanted but slightly damaged.
To use a bow, it must be the active item and there must be at least one arrow in the inventory (in creative mode an inventory arrow is not needed in order to fire). Simply right-click to use the bow, which will shoot the arrows. Holding right-click will "charge" the bow (pull back the string further) and send the arrow flying farther when released.
Charging the bow to its maximum causes it to visually shake as an indicator, and releases an arrow with a sparkling effect, signifying a critical hit that causes more damage. At full charge, an arrow travels up to about 65 blocks upwards, flies with a speed of roughly 53 m/s, and consistently deals damage(as much as a diamond sword), with a rare chance of dealing . Bow enchantments have no effect on arrow speed or distance, but can increase damage nonetheless.
As arrows are affected by gravity, they take an arcing path over distances. One must aim above the target when firing from a distance, or gain higher ground, to effectively make a hit.
Arrows that skeletons have fired become stuck in the blocks they hit and cannot be collected. They will continue traveling if the player mines those blocks away, with the potential to continue causing damage.
 As a crafting ingredient
|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, chests 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.|
|1.4.6pre||When a player hits another player from far away with a bow it makes a high pitched sound.|
|Pocket Edition Alpha|
|0.8.0||build 2||New bow rendering.|
|TU5||Overhauled the behaviour of bows; they now charge up.|
Issues relating to "Bow" are maintained on the issue tracker. Report issues there.
- 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.
- 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 to you.
- 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 player with a bow, it will play a dinging sound indicating that you hit your target. Pew pew!
- 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. This is fixed in most resource packs.
- Riding a Minecart and charging a bow use the same arm animations.
- The strength Potion Effect does 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, the best Power enchant being Power 4.
- Only bows with full durability may be used to craft a dispenser.
- If you enchant a bow with a Level 1 enchantment, it will always get Power I. This is especially useful because if you hit a Ghast with a Power I bow, it will die from one hit. If you enchant with Level 6, there is a 95.6% percent chance of getting Unbreaking I.
- From the third person or other player's perspective or even by looking at a skeleton, the bow is held slightly different to other tools.
- You cannot pick up arrows from skeletons.
- Enchanted bows can be used to craft dispensers.
Proof that arrows did not pass through Sugar Cane prior to Beta 1.6.