The problem is not you; it’s you improperly tuned, or unmatched equipment. Please read on , and you will be able to shoot your practice and hunting arrows at any distance, and they will all hit virtually the same .
Depending on what kind of bow you have, be it double cam (Cam on top and bottom limb), 1 ½ cam, or the newer one cam bows. The first thing you should do , is call the manufacturers Tech Line, ask them to send you tuning info , or go to a good pro shop, on how to match the cam timing which is critical to bow performance.
Also take your bow into your local Archery Pro Shop; they check brace height, draw length, limb measurements. One of the most important things is draw length, if you use a release or shoot with fingers, most pro shops ,have a light weight recurve bow , with an arrow that has inches marked off on it , snap on your release , and draw it back to your natural anchor point , and have someone take down the measurement, as a lot of bow hunters are shooting bows that don’t fit them, which hinders there shooting ability, as the bow isn’t being shot at it’s optimal draw length. Most bows can be quickly adjusted an inch or two either way to fit the archer.
Archery Tuning Tips
Over the years, a lot has been written on bow tuning, arrow matching, broad head arrow combinations. Hopefully I can explain some of it in terms that is a little easier to understand, as I think most hunters would be surprised by how bad their arrows actually fly ,not only when shooting field tips , but when switching to broad heads, most tuning problems are multiplied, some to the degree that most hunters actually have to start adjusting their sight pins , just to get the arrows back on target , not only up and down , but also right and left adjustments, then when they want to practice again with field points , they have to re sight in , does this sound familiar to you?
Now we have a bow that is in time, and also being shot at the proper draw length. Now we can address arrows, there are a lot out there, most all will work, but for speed and accuracy you can’t beat the new carbon arrows, I shoot 200 Carbon Force arrows, 29 “long, I shoot either 3 fletch, 3” helical feathers, or 3” Quick Spin Vanes, depending on weather, both shoot equally well, I still give the nod to natural feathers, as the are a little more forgiving if they happen to contact the arrow rest. Also important is picking a weight for your broad head, field tip combination, here’s how you do it.
We will use a 30” over all length arrow for reference. So the first thing we do is measure off 15” from the nock end, which would be the exact center of the overall length of the arrow, now that we have that as a reference point, you will need either a small ½ diameter dowel, or what I use, is one of those triangle shaped wooden 12” rulers, for wood working. What I do is lay the ruler on a nice level surface, so That the pointed edge is up, and I then slide the arrow back and forth until it is balanced perfectly on the ruler’s edge. I then mark this spot which should be approximately 3” forward of the 15 “ reference mark, this will get you in the 10% F.O.C. which means the arrow has approximately 10 % of it’s weight on the tip of the arrow. There is no magic number, but 7-15% seems to work. If your less than 7 % , the arrow will start to fly erratically, as it doesn’t have enough weight forward to keep it flying true , and if the balance point is toward the nock end , your arrow will actually try to swap ends ,and hit nock first!!
That’s where your Pro Shop can help you , as there are many arrow rests that work , including the newer drop away rests , which I have tried, but don’t like all the complexities of them, all the moving parts and strings etc…I feel that’s just more things that can fail at the most in opportune time. I use a simple 2 prong Micro adjust arrow rest, it has nice fine adjustments, with reference numbers, similar to micrometers.
Now we have our bow , arrows , nock point , and arrow rest all set ,I usually start by using a bow square or just snap the arrow on the nock , and while it’s sitting on the arrow rest , look at it from the side , the string should be as close to 90 degrees(square) to 1/8” above square, as possible , this is just a starting point , adjust the rest , so that you have the 90 degree, now look straight down the arrow, so that the bowstring and arrow are on the same plane, without moving your head , look up at the top and bottom cams or wheels , the wheels should be on the same plane as the string/arrow , if they are not , you will have to adjust the arrow rest to the right or left so that everything looks in line with the bow string and cams or wheels depending on what kind of bow you have, your bow maker , can give you a measurement to check the position of the rest. Now our bow when fired will be pushing directly behind the arrow.
And lastly, practice, practice, practice. Bowhunting is a very precise and exacting, patient, sport. You must face the fact, that if you get even one good shot a season at a mature buck, you are doing well. I hunt a few various states, and in my home state of Michigan I always shoot a doe or two, just to stay sharp. As shooting targets and shooting at a live animal in low light are 2 different stories , I hardly ever practice at mid day in the bright sunlight , instead I wait until it is almost dusk to begin shooting ,I practice equally shooting from a tree stand I have behind my barn , standing, kneeling , and also shooting from inside of my Ameristep portable blind , which I find I use more and more every year, as with some natural cover you can hunt almost anywhere, and deer don’t see you draw .I figure I shoot an average of 20,000 arrows a year , and have probably done that for perhaps 20 years now, probably approaching a half a million arrows, and I’m not even a serious 3-d shooter!!!!! But if a big buck walks by , I can 999 times out of 1000 , hit the spot I’m aiming at , I feel due to the aiming, shooting process which is pretty much automatic these days. And the biggest key is performing in a pressure situation be it at work , on a golf course , or in a deer stand , expect more from yourself , push yourself mentally and physically to improve at what you do , I feel you will enjoy it all that much more.
Now you are a very dangerous bow hunter to any game animal! As you have a perfectly tuned bow/arrow, broad head combination. Now you will find if you choose a broad head that weighs the same as you field tip that makes your arrow balance out to 10% F.O.C., you will find they will impact exactly the same as your practice arrows, now you can shoot both broad heads and field tips with out altering your bow sight.
I hope these tips help you.
Now if you have say too much weight forward , you will lose trajectory, as the arrow , instead of flying nice and level will have a tendency to nose down as it is flying , causing it to shoot low, which is undesirable, so start at 10 % F.O.C.
So you will find a 70-80 grain Broad head ,may be too light , and a 120 grain head may be too heavy , just get a bunch of different weight field tips , and keep experimenting until you get the 3 “ forward balance point on a 30 inch arrow , there are many websites , that have a FOC calculator on their websites, just type in “Arrow F.O.C.” and hit “search “, you will get a few different arrow maker websites , that all you have to do is type in your 2 measurements and it automatically gives you the percentage.
Now we have a bow that is shooting properly, and a good arrow/arrowhead weight combination, next is having a nock point installed and picking out an arrow rest.
Set nock point so that nock on arrow is 1/8" above 90 degree, which is a good starting point
Also make sure that you’re fletching passes across your arrow rest without contacting the rest, you can simple turn the nock in the end of most carbon arrows, looking from the end you will see the bottom fletch should be straight down between the 2 prongs of the rest. I set the spring pressure on the rest (That holds the arrow up), so that is has just enough to hold the arrow in position , that way if the fletch does contact it slightly , it is easily flexes out of the way.
The last step will be paper tuning, which I do all the time to check my set up and also to check my shooting form. I have a little 24” square PVC frame that has clips on the corners, to hold a sheet of newspaper. I put the frame 4 feet in front of my target, and stand 3-4 yards from the paper, and shot an arrow through the paper into the target, I then inspect the hole in the paper. You will be able to see where the tip goes through and where the fletching goes through. If I have a tear of say 1 ½ long , and the fletching is high , that means the arrow rest must come up a little, If I have a tear that has the fletching low , the rest will be lowered a little. The same thing applies to a tear where the fletching is to the right, you move the rest to the right, if the tear is to the left, you move the rest to the left.If yoou can’t get rid of the tear ,chances are your fletching is contacting something , a quick way to check is take a little of your wife’s lipstick , and coat the edges of your fletching , then take a shot , the lipstick will stick to whatever it contacts ,showing you exactly where the contact is , and then you can adjust your rest accordingly. What you want is a nice small bullet hole, with the 3 fletches perfectly centered.
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