Re: yardage tape
Following is a copy of an article written by jon.henry755 (xbow755 on the CBN forum) that explains how to develope your HHA sight tapes.
HHAOptimizer Speed Dial Review
I've been promising for months now to put together an article on how to set-up and get the most out of your HHA Optimizer Speed Dial, but before I do I think it’s only fare to open with a product review to outline for any new comers the strengths and weaknesses inherent in this product.
For those of you who haven’t heard about the HHA Optimizer’s or are new to them, they mount on top of your crossbows Weaver style rail where you would normally mount your scope rings. This unit is designed to fit between the scope rings and crossbows rail or dovetail system and has very clear and simple set-up instructions included in the package.
The Optimizer unit is extremely well made and designed to take all the punishment that normal shooting can dish out. After hundreds of shots, I’ve not seen or heard of anything coming loose or any problems with these units.
I am aware that a small percentage of HHA’s older units had an alignment problem with their mounting brackets. This problem was corrected with the new style mounting bracket and has since never resurfaced. This doesn’t mean that if you have an older unit that you’re stuck or at risk of a lesser unit.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out, when I spoke to both Brian Huff and his dad that they fully stand behind their products. This means that when a customer reports a problem, they address it immediately by replacing the faulty component at no charge to the customer. Brian is the engineer who designed the Optimizer for crossbows and his dad runs the manufacturing facility. They are both outstanding representatives of what the term “Made in America” used to stand for. They make high quality products that are designed to outlast their owners.
The original problem was faulty brackets that did not properly align the Optimizer base with your crossbows mounting rail. This made it impossible to get your crossbow on the target at 20 yards. You would run out of windage adjustment before your arrows would come to the center of the target. The mounting brackets have since been redesigned and replaced last December and the new brackets work nicely.
So at this point many of you might be asking so “Why do I need to spend good money on one of these contraptions” when I would rather get something else for my crossbow”?
Well even if that’s not what you’re thinking, I’ll be the one who will tell you why. Any which way you want to slice it, it’s the only way to obtain pin point accuracy over all your shooting distances.
This is not an opinion; it’s a simple proven fact! There are very few people using the HHA Optimizer in a manner to get the absolute best accuracy out of them, but I’ll explain this below, so if you’ll stay with me for a bit you’ll understand what this method is and why it’s so important to your accuracy.
Using a scope with MOA’s provides some degree of accuracy at certain distances, but it’s limited to the distances that align with certain MOA points. These are close approximations and everything else is a best guess approximate.
Secondly, you can’t change your scopes magnification power or all of the scopes MOA’s are now useless, so your accuracy is fair at best.
Let me ask you a simple question; what does a 1.5” florescent target dot look like at 80 or 90 yards at 3X magnification in your scope? Your crosshair completely covers the dot and blocks it out, so good luck forming any kind of consistent group or even hitting the target at that distance. Been there, done that already, so I know better.
Let’s face it; we live in an instant society these days. This means we want instant set-up of everything we buy and own. We buy fast food, bicycles that are fully assembled and ready to go, we buy rifles and we want them bore sited and on target at 100 or 200 yards. We want our new TV’s set-up and tuned before we plug them in, so it only makes sense that if we only need to shoot 2 distances with our crossbows and we can get a site tape that’s going to give us all of our other distances, why not? Right?
No wrong, site tapes are not new and have been used for years in the archery industry with limited success. They are close, but not exact at all yardages. This is due to the fact that arrows are sealed hollow tubes and subject to different pressures at both elevations and differences in temperature. As pressures change your arrows will carry farther or shorter depending on the conditions. When the site tapes were made, they only took certain factors into consideration. Pressure was ambient at sea level and temperature was around 70 degrees.
These are not always your conditions, so let’s talk about how to do it the right way and get everything we want and more out of the HHA Optimizer Speed Dial system. First of all, it’s not limited to the 80 yard distance that is advertised on the package, so I’ll explain how to set it up for up to 100 yards, but you can take it as far as you feel comfortable shooting.
It takes more time and more shots to perform this process, but it's the single most accurate way to maximize your shooting accuracy with whatever type of scope you choose to use.
Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:
1. You will only be using the manufactures stock scale on the HHA Optimizer Speed Dial. If you have a different tape on the dial, remove it. Starting at 20 yards set your dial to the zero position. Now adjust your scopes windage and elevation until you are in the center of a one inch bullseye. Do not shoot more than 1 arrow at any target or you will destroy your shafts. Adjust both elevation and windage on your scope until both are perfect. The windage is less important because windage should be adjusted at your longest distances, not your short yardages, but this will provide alignment until you move out to long distances.
2. Next, move back to 30 yards and shoot again, but this time you will only use your HHA Optimizer Speed Dial to adjust your elevation until you are shooting the center of a one inch dot. Again, do not shoot more than a single arrow at any dot or arrow damage will occur. It’s best to use the same arrow each time to eliminate arrow differences from your site settings. When finished, you’ll need to record the setting for your HHA Optimizer Dial on a pad next to the 30 yard distance.
3. Continue this process in 10 yard increments up to and including 60 yards. No windage changes on your scope should have been made between 20 and 60 yards after the initial 20 yard adjustments. Your scope should have been set at 3X magnification for these distances and only your elevations on the Optimizer Speed Dial will have changed.
If any target images appear fuzzy, you may need to adjust your focus or your Parallax adjustment on the left side of your scope until your image is sharp again.
You now have an accurate series of settings for 5 distances from 20 thru 60 yards. The other in-between distances for 25, 35, 45 and 55 should be easy to go back, fill in and verify until they are perfect as well.
4. At 60 yards you can use this setting only as a reference for what tape HHA would have recommended. Do not use this tape, it's just for reference purposes. I’ve found it to be close but not accurate for all my shooting distances.
5. Now move back to 70 yards and adjust your magnification to whatever power you are comfortable with. I personally prefer 5X at 70 thru 80 yards, but you can select what works best for you. The extra magnification will cause your crossbow to shoot just slightly higher (about 4 or 5 inches at 70 yards), so pick a spot on your target that allows you a little extra height until you are zeroed in. Record your power setting on your pad or the table I supplied at the bottom of this article and also adjust your HHA Optimizer elevation for the extra 10 yards from 60 to 70 yards. Once you are sited in at 70 yards, record your settings from the Optimizer Speed Dial and continue to move to 80 yards.
6. Continue this process of recording magnification power and Optimizer Speed Dial settings at all distances you wish to ever shoot in 10 yard increments.
7. Always go back and site in the in-between yardages and record those as well until you have a completed table that provides all distances from 20 thru 100 yards in 5 yard increments. Your settings will now allow you to use your scopes variable power as long as you always use the same magnification power for any given distance.
I tape a reduced size version of this table to the butt end of my stock, so it's easy to reference while in the field or hunting. The precision is incredible and it works exactly the same as a site tape on high quality competitive bow sites. We used to place our reference tapes to the inside of our bow limbs during competitions. The same principle applies here except we can't use the limbs, due to the amount of torque involved.
I also use my laser rangefinder when setting up at each distance. This keeps my crossbow aligned at each distance with what I'll use when hunting. Ultimately, you’ll need different settings for hunting than for your target shooting because of different weight arrows or because your broadheads will fly somewhat differently than your target shafts.
Here are two tables that should help you produce a versatile site scale for your TAC15 / 15i. One is blank that you can use to record your own settings and the other is an example of one that I use on my TAC15i, so you can see how it’s built. I tape a finished version of this table to my Buttstock for easy reference when I’m shooting.
Outdoor Temperature __ Degrees
HHAOptimizer Speed Dial Settings
Yardage Power HHA Other
0 - 20 0
Outdoor Temperature 92 Degrees
HHAOptimizer Speed Dial Settings
Yardage Pwr HHA Other
0 - 20 3X 0
25 3X 0
30 3X 3
35 3X 8.1
40 3X 8.5
45 3X 10
50 3X 13.5
55 3X 17
60 3X 21
65 5X 24
70 5X 28
75 5X 32.5
80 5X 37 3X - 35
85 8X 41.5
90 8X 45
95 8X 50
100 8X 55
This shooting tool is every bit as important and essential as having a scope on your crossbow and to use one without the other is like tying one hand behind your back while trying to climb a tree, so if you haven't looked into these devices, I would strongly urge you to do so, since it will greatly improve the accuracy of your shooting by a huge amount.