Long Range Bow Tuning

Discussion in 'Bowhunting' started by Konrad, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. Konrad

    Konrad Well-Known Member

    Aug 29, 2010
    They can boast to me all day long about lasers and paper tuning but there is nothing like tuning a bow at extended ranges. You can think “It looks good!” during a paper tuning session and then always seem to find a little more accuracy at the long butts. I believe that the added concentration on form and sighting when focusing at long distance is at least half of the story. If you are shooting with a partner and your arrows are numbered, have him make notes about where you think each shaft has gone (i.e. “6 o’clock and low”) otherwise known as “calling the shots”. Then, when retrieving your shafts compare the notes to the actual impacts. There will be some shots you know you blew. There will be others that you also know had perfect form and release. These are the shots and groups that count. Remove all of the known “fliers” and measure the remaining group size. Then making incremental adjustments to one’s rest and/or nock height may reveal major group differences you would never have seen on the torn paper at six yards or at the 20 or 30 yard line. If you get lost, you can always go back to the paper tear method and start over.

    This process can take days if need be. It’s a long time till hunting season gets here and if everything works correctly, you will need only one shot at that buck. A tired archer makes for poor shooting. Stop before you do get tired. Where the groups actually hit is immaterial. Group sizes are what need noting. If you make an adjustment in one direction and groups get better, keep going in that direction until the groups deteriorate, then move that adjustment back to where it was best. Shoot again to confirm your original results and ONLY CHANGE ONE ADJUSTMENT AT A TIME! (I.e. right/left and then up/down on your rest or nock set) After you have found the optimum group sizes you can reasonably expect and have finished polishing your groups, you can adjust your sights to “zero”. Of course, the use of a sight bubble level and making sure the sight has been adjusted for all three axis makes long distance shooting much more accurate. Note how these days levels are showing up on more and more long distance rifles. Even a modest cant will throw impacts out of the main group.

    If you are shooting five inch groups at 50 yards, that’s pretty good but a reduction of just one inch in group size translates into a significant (20% reduction) change.

    I have also found that using a target spot large enough to clearly see around your sight pin is critical for obtaining repeatable groups. For instance, if you are using a .019 pin, use a bull’s eye that shows at least twice the diameter or the pin bead. The human eye will naturally center the two images if both can be clearly seen. If the spot is partially obscured by the pin, the eye has no repeatable reference with which to center.

    Most of you wouldn't hesitate to experiment with the feeding of your pet rifle. Look at this as load development for your bow.

    Remember, small, incremental adjustments and the taking of notes can pay huge dividends.

    Have fun and watch your buds show new found respect for your skills!
  2. sox35

    sox35 Active Member

    Sep 1, 2012
    I have always trusted bare shaft tuning for nock elevation and walk back tuning for windage. Once I get bare shaft perfect at 10 yds I will work back in 10 yard increasements out to 40 refining adjustments. Walk back tuning will be dependent upon the length of the range but 60 yards I find is the minimum for me. Than off to broadhead tuning making adjustments for windage only with poundage. After windage is on, refine elevation if needed with nock height. One thing i have found over the years is that mechanical heads can hide either form flaws or tuning problems. If you can get a fixed head to fly with the field points things are on the right path.

  3. japple

    japple Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    Group tuning mentioned above is great advice. Paper tuning in effect takes a photograph of arrow flight at a single point on the flight of the arrow. This presents a great starting point, but it is only that a starting place. When tuning my bows I start with paper and tune to a 1/4" nock high tear. I then sight in out to 80 yards and group tune. Small adjustments to nock height and the rest will bring the fliers that are outside the group into the group correcting for minor flaws in our shooting and make the bow far more forgiving. If you can effectively group tune at a long distance (80-100 yds). You should never have any problems with broadhead flight and your bow will be more forgiving to shoot.