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Back to Basics on Tuning

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Old 10-25-2011, 09:48 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 54
Back to Basics on Tuning

I've been on a roller coaster ride for the last few months with this xbow. At some points it is nailing tacks at 60yd and others it is missing completely (I've lost 2 arrows downrange so far)

Anyhow I just had new limbs put on and had it paper tuned from about 5yds out last week. Things were looking good.

Then Jon posted his article on paper tuning back to 15yds so I thought I would do the same to make sure everything was perfect before I started shooting 70yds + with broadheads.

I am using 1 unfletched arrow for the entire process.
My 1st 2 shots were showing about a 1.5" tear at 5yds. I corrected the knock and rest until I was shooting bullet holes. Moved to 10yds and had about a 3/4" tear. Made another slight adjustment to the rest and shot 2 bullet holes at 10 yds. Next to 15yds and while cranking I am hearing the clunk sound as the arrow is kicked off the knock. I'm figuring the string slipped on the spool as usual and take the shot at 15yds. This produced a huge 5" vertical tear. (What the @#$S Happened!) Two more shots at 15yds showed the same. Moved back to 10 yds and the tears are about 2".

I noticed the cams were a little out of sync. So I let down the limbs, adjusted the twist in the lower cables and got them back in sync.

Back on the range my 1st 2 shots were 1/2" tear. Everything happened just as above with it finally shooting bullet holes then all of a sudden I have the clunk sound/Arrow jump again and I'm back to 4" tears again.

Examining the X-bow again and I am noticing 2 things.

1st - Both cams have an inward cant on them. Putting a straight edge to the bottom of the cam shows about an 1/8" gap below the string at the bumper.

Should the cams be level ? Or have a slight cant to them ?

2nd - My bumpers are showing the rip across the center of them (after 1000 shot I would expect that). The left bumper has more pronounced decay than the right. I'll be ordering new bumpers today, but I don't think they are causing the problem.

Now what else can I check or should I do to get this xbow shooting consistantly ??
I'm not an expert on bows by any means, but I'm not exactly a novice either.

Any help would be appreciated.



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Old 10-25-2011, 07:16 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Auburn, PA
Posts: 12
Re: Back to Basics on Tuning


I recently tried paper tuning with unfletched arrows. It did not work for me. It seems the arrows do not stabilize. I tried shots at 10 ,15, & then 20 yards. Similar results to what you described. The flight pattern for the arrow that was shot at 20 yards was so distorted that the arrow broke when striking the block target.

Next I fletched the two remaining arrows and started paper tuning again. With a few adjustments to the bow, as described in the post above, the arrows cut paper as pictured in the PSE instructions.

Both cams on my xbow cant downward toward the barrel .

Concerning the bumpers: I rotate mine slightly after every few shots
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Old 10-27-2011, 01:56 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 391
Re: Back to Basics on Tuning

Hi WildWillie and bloodrock,
For openers, paper tuning is only ever performed at a single distance. The reason for this is to achieve a basic alignment between your arrow rests center and your nocking point. It's not a perfect alignment, but it is a good starting point. Once you have this alignment it needs to be fine tuned on the range during actual shooting using the steps that I've outlined in other threads for tuning your broadheads.

These same steps need to be applied for fine tuning your windage alignment to insure your crossbow is shooting straight at all distances.

Currently you are attempting to over achieve an alignment during the paper tuning process and in doing so, you are causing yourselves more problems and confusion.

Let's simplify the process as follows:

1. Do not shot bare shafts! At 15 yards, shoot one arrow at your paper and each time you repeat the process please insure you are using only that same arrow.

2. Shot one shot and adjust your nocking point only according to the tear that occurs. If you get a vertical tear adjust only your Whisker Biscuits elevation in the direction specified by PSE's paper tuning instructions.

3. Once you have a good bullet hole with clean holes from the arrow shaft and the vanes Stop there and proceed no further. Your paper tuning exercise is over and finished! Now it's time to set up your outdoor target and move to 20 yards to begin sighting in your scope and making a new series of adjustments.

4. Insure your scopes windage is set to approximately it's middle position. This is done by counting how many clicks you have in each direction remaining on your windage dial. (Write This information down). Now bring your scopes windage to it's center. Example: If your scope has a total of 200 clicks of windage, move it so you have about 100 clicks right and 100 clicks left. This is the center.

5 If using an HHA Optimizer Speed Dial make sure your Speed Dial is set on zero and not used during this process.

6. From a stable bench rested position take a shot at your targets center. I like to use a 1" florescent dot as my target at this and all other distances.

7. Wherever your arrow hits windage wise, you will now adjust both your arrow rest and nocking point in the same direction to compensate. To be clear about this, if your shot was three inches left of center you will move the Whisker Biscuit a tiny amount to the right and you will turn your nocking point serving one and a half turns to the right as well. You are doing this to move the shot to the right, but at the same time to maintain your alignment between the arrow rest and the nocking point.

8. You will continue making these adjustments at this distance until you have it as perfectly centered as possible.

9. Now using your scopes vertical adjustment, make whatever adjustments are necessary to bring your vertical alignment to the exact center of your target.
Please let me know if you find that you don't have enough adjustments on your scope to achieve this. That means that you require shimming on your scope rings and there is a special set of rings made by Burris to fix this problem.

9. Once you complete this at 20 yards, you will now need to move back to 50 or 60 yards and perform the windage alignment at this distance. Remember to adjust your HHA Optimizer Speed Dial for this distance. At 50 yards it should be approximately 13.5 and at 60 yards it will be about 21. These settings will get you on the target and close to the center from an elevation point of view.

What is most important is where your windage is now hitting on the target, so you can make a quick elevation adjustment to put your arrows height where you want it. If using an HHA Optimizer Speed Dial use your speed dial to make the elevation adjustment. If not using an Optimizer pick the correct MOA for the shot.

For the windage, if your arrow is not in the exact center or same spot it was at 20 yards, this means that your windage is walking, which means the nocking point and arrow rest are not in exact alignment with one another.

In these cases you only need to move the nocking point to achieve the final alignment. Move your nocking point either right or left until your arrow is hitting in the exact center of your target at 50 or 60 yards.

10. Once this has been achieved it is very important for you to move back into 20 yards and adjust your HHA Optimizer Speed Dial back down to zero and then shoot another arrow at 20 yards. Your arrow at 20 yards should be in the same spot windage wise as it was when you just finished at 50 or 60 yards. This now tells you that your crossbows nocking point to arrow rest alignment is perfect.

11. The last thing you now need to do is to use your scopes windage adjustment to perform any minor tweaks in windage in the event you need to move it a half inch or less one way o another. When finished you will have aligned your nocking point to arrow rest and then your scope to the path of the arrows alignment.

What the paper tuner says at this point is useless and irrelevant.

Also, please keep in mind that when you are performing this tuning exercise your arrows are being guided by the vanes in the rear of your arrows. Once you put a broadhead on your arrows anything other than a mechanical head will take over flght control and steering is guided by the front end of the arrow and your vanes are acting as flight stabilizers. this means that any windage deviations that could not have been seen during back end fight control will become magnified by the broadhead. This means most of us have had to readjust out windage by moving our nocking point and arrow rest to compensate for flight differences when setting up to use broadheads.

Once these adjustments are made the broadheads should fly as accurately as your field points.

Hope this helps with your paper tuning problems.


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Old 10-27-2011, 08:26 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 54
Re: Back to Basics on Tuning

Jon -

Thanks for the great write up.
Do you have a recommended distance to paper tune from ? I had gotten the indication from one of your earlier articles that you were tuning from 10 to 15 yds. The problem that seemed to be re-occuring was I would get a good paper tune after a few adjustments only to a follow up shot (Same distance) shoot with a large tear. Something was changing in the front end and I could not figure out what it was.

Also how are you moving the Biscuit rest Horizontally ? There is no adjustment other than to cant it one way or the other and that only seems to give you about 1/8" total movement.

After aligning the cams and such I seem to have a pretty good shot. Yesterday I finally got 3 of my broadheads to group about 3" at 60yds. I ran out of good arrows and just fletched 4 more this morning to see if I can get a few more that will group the same.

I had fletched about 8 arrows with the Aerovane II's, but I have a feeling their hard leading edge that was nicking the cables on each shot prematuraly wears out the cables. I had to replace the original cables because the serving had come undone in the middle of the cables.

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Old 10-28-2011, 01:07 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 391
Re: Back to Basics on Tuning

Hi WildWillie,
Re-read item #1 on my thread. It states to use a distance of 15 yards. This is just the usual distance used but there are no hard fast rules that say it's the only distance that can be used.

Next, there are two different sets of small hex head screws that allow you to move or adjust your whisker biscuit if memory serves me correct. You have the large hex screws on the front of the crossbow where the Whisker Biscuit attached. These control your vertical movement and only have a slight amount of side to side movement, but you should also have a second set of smaller hex head screws which allow you to actually change the biscuit itself and these provide some additional movement.

For the record, I don't have a Whisker Biscuit on my crossbow any longer. I got rid of it at the first opportunity and changed it out for the QAD Drop Away Rest.
The reason is to eliminate what I believe to be the problem that you're currently experiencing.

My beleif is that every some many shots that you take, the Whisker Biscuit is going to apply a different amount of pressure to your arrow shaft as it attempts to launch an arrow through those bristles. As I've stated in writing numerous times, you have something called the "Archer's Paradox" taking place and with all the violent flexing back and forth, do you really believe the friction from all these bristles can remain consistent and not interfere with the uniform arrow shaft flexing that is taking place. If you do, you are a better believer than I am because my experience says quite the reverse.

Since changing out my arrow rest for the drop away, I no longer have any inconsistencies and no occasional fliers. We could argue that it's because all my spines are perfectly matched and all my arrow spines are aligned to my nocks. This could have a good deal to do with it it, but I am also willing to bet that getting rid of the restrictions and friction caused by the rest you are using goes a long way to correcting these problems also.

If I didn't think so, I wouldn't have changed my own rest out and I wouldn't be recommending it to others. Your front end is very limited as to what can cause these changes? I'm not a believer in the limbs being a culprit in all but the most extreme cases. Possibly one in a couple thousand cases. The biscuit however is an entirely different story.

I believe it can account for these type of deviations in performance in arrow flight in archery regardless if it was this situation or any other, on a very regular basis.

Knowing this was a problem historically and it's potential impact is exactly the reason I dumped the Whisker Biscuit type arrow rest as soon as a drop away replacement became available. The logic is simple; if a rest isn't there it can't interfere or be a problem during launch. Your arrows then have the abiliy to fly the way they were built to fly.

If you want to gamble on what causes this type of a problem you could suspect your limbs and you might be right one out of 50 times or you could suspect your arrows not being spine matched and your nocks not being indexed to the stiff side of each arrows spine and you'd probably be right more than 80 percent of the time. But if your arrows are not the problem, the low hanging fruit in the case of this problem will always be the arrow rest causing these problems, so you can chase it anyway you like, since it's your money, but if it were me, I'd consider the above information.

Once you change out the arrow rest you can also modify your crossbows Weaver Rail so you don't need to shoot 4 vane arrow configurations. You can shoot standard three vane arrows and achieve tighter groups and no more vanes rubbing anything.

If you are hunting, I do not recommend changing anything at the moment because no matter what you touch it's going to change the way your crossbow is shooting and this could affect your accuracy until to have it adjusted and tuned properly.

Wait until you are done with the hunting season and then make your customizations, so you have time to work on it without it affecting your hunting capabilities.


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Old 10-31-2011, 08:08 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 54
Re: Back to Basics on Tuning

Jon -

Thanks for the advice on the rest adjustment. I can believe it is the biscuit causing the problem. I was using the same arrow for paper tuning so I know it was not caused by different spines from different arrows. I used the poor mans way of finding the spine by spinning the bare shafts in water to see if there was a heavy side to the arrow and marked/fletched them consistantly after that. Unfortunatly I have to re-fletch then all due because I used the Aerovane II's and I think their stiff front edge wears on the cables too much. (They just nick the cables when shot)

Do you know when they will have the QAD drop away available ? (or is it still in the prototype phase) I would have an opportunity to change the rest during rifle/Muzzleloader season which runs from after thanksgiving to after X-mas, but would only do so then if the tac is still throwing more fliers than I'm comfortable with.

On a side note, My daughter took her 1st shot at a doe with the tac last Saturday. She pulled the shot at 40 yds and had a clean miss, but I was still excited for her.

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Old 11-01-2011, 06:23 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 391
Re: Back to Basics on Tuning

Frank at Archery Unlimited, Inc., has been producing and selling the fully andonized version of the QAD HDX Drop Away Rest for the past two months. In this time he has sold over 75 rests to forum customers, not including all his local customers who come to his archery shop.

The rest has gone through three changes in it's evolution since inception and is now considered fully tested and ready for general use by the market. I spoke with Frank as recently as today, so I'm very current on where the product stands.

I'm also aware that Longrangehunting.com may soon offer these excellent rests in their website store, so you will soon be able to obtain them directly from Len or Andy.

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