Wondering how to tune a compound bow? After you put your compound bow together, you will need to tune it. While not a hard task, if not tuned carefully, the bow will never shoot correctly. There are two methods of tuning the bow: paper tuning and grouping. It would be impossible to describe both methods in one article so this article will focus on the initial tuning phase.
Tools which may be needed needed to tune a compound bow:
- Newspaper or white butchers paper
- Nocking pliers
- Allan wrenches
- Board to hold paper
- Set up paper. Pound two support boards into the ground about ten feet from your shooting area. Attach a sheet of paper to shoot through.
- Shoot through paper. It is important to perform this exactly the same way each time because uniformity of execution will effect results. It cannot be stressed enough how important technique and consistency is; it can mimic every single possible problem that can effect tuning a compound bow. Some issues–such as arrow spine weight issues–can normally be avoided by buying from a reputable archery shop initially which matches all gear properly, but they can still occur.
- Read results. If the results are a perfect Y shape with all legs the same length–called a bullet tear–move on to fine tuning. If not, follow next steps.
- High tear results. If the results look like an elongated Y with a long bottom, it may be one of the following issues. If you have poor vane clearance, your nocking point may be too high, wheel timing may be off, arrow rest problems being either too stiff or coming up too early, shooting form/technique problems or tillering problems. This is where trial and error comes in; each section will have to be investigated and fixed. You will have to go back to step one and restart after each fix.
- Low tear results. If the results look like an inverted Y with a long tail pointing upwards, it may be one of the following issues: nocking point too low, wheel timing may be off, tiller may be off or inconsistent shooting form. Again, you will have to investigate each possible issue one at a time and if making a fix, return to step one to restart the process.
- Left tear results. If the results look like an elongated Y laying sideways with the base pointed to the left, it may be one of these possible issues: arrow rest adjusted too far left, improper too stiff spine of arrow shaft for a right-handed archer, for left handed archer improper too weak spine of arrow, arrow contacting cables or cable guards, inconsistent shooting form or technique. Investigate each possible cause, fix and return to step one.
- Right tear results. If the results look like an elongated Y laying sideways with the base pointed to the right it may be one of these possible issues. Arrow rest adjusted too far right, improper/weak spine of arrow shaft for right handed archer, improper/stiff spine of the arrow shaft for left handed shooter, cable guard adjustment too far out or improper shooting form and technique. Investigate causes, make any adjustments and return to step one to restart the process.
- Angular tear results. If the results look like an elongated Y with the ends angled to each other, meaning the fletched end of the arrow is angled out from the point, it usually means that it could be any combination of the above issues working in conjunction. This will require the investigation of all possible issues which effect the arrow flight. After each is fixed, return to step one and restart the entire process.
Once you get past this point, you can perform the fine tuning to get the bow to group consistently. As you can see, the entire process is very long and involved. It is often a good idea for the new shooter to take his bow and have it tuned by a professional.