Bow Tuning Tips and Guide

10 In-Depth Bow Tuning Tips and Guide

One of the popular archery buzzwords these days is bow “tuning,” which is the process of adjusting your bow for the best performance and accuracy. Some archers make too big a deal of it and work themselves into a sweat over irrelevant details, while others overreact against the very idea and refuse to do anything even remotely technical. The ideal attitude lies somewhere between these two extremes.

Most of us are hunters first and archers second. We don’t want to spend all our time fiddling with a tackle. At the same time, we want to succeed and make clean kills. To do those things, our arrows must fly true. That’s the purpose of tuning.

It’s not complicated; a few simple procedures will give you good arrow flight, which is important not only for accuracy but for penetration too. A straight-flying arrow will penetrate far better than one flying crooked.

Bow Tuning Tips and Guide


For tuning, you will need a bow square and Allen wrenches to fit the adjustable parts of your bow. A bow scale, although not essential, can be useful. For gauging arrow clearance, buy a can of spray powder (deodorant or foot powder). And, of course, you need a target butt to shoot into.

Matched Tackle Tuning for Improve Shot Consistency

For your tackle to shoot accurately and consistently, the spine of your arrows must be matched to your bow, and all your arrows must weigh the same. Matched tackle is the starting point for bow tuning since varied spine and arrow weight will change arrow flight significantly

To improve consistency in your shots, your arrows must have the right length and spine for your bow. And also, your heads must all weigh the same. You probably won’t notice a variation of four or five grains in head weight, but you should definitely see the effects of ten grains variance.

Matched Tackle Tuning for Improve Shot Consistency

That much weight not only changes the weight of your arrows enough to make them shoot high or low, but it affects the spine value of the arrow.

Arrow Standardize and Rest Tuning

Try to standardize all your arrows. Once you’ve found a combination of shaft size, fletching style, and head weight that works for you, stick with it.

For easiest tuning, use an arrow rest you can move in and out to adjust center shot. You can use a solid, one-piece rest and get acceptable arrow flight, but one-piece rests have their limitations.

A rest that cushions the arrow both vertically and horizontally offers the most potential. A a flipper/ plunger works best with fingers, a shoot-through with a release aid.

Preliminary Settings

For simplicity’s sake, all directions here are for right-handed shooters. If you shoot left-handed, do the opposite.

Tiller Tuning for Recurve Bow and Longbows

Tiller is the distance between the bow limbs and the string. With recurves and longbows, the bottom limb is a quarter to a half-inch closer to the string than the top. And this is a critical measurement.

With compounds bow tuning it isn’t so critical, so I suggest you start with even tiller.

That is, the top and bottom limbs will be exactly the same distance from the bowstring. You can gauge this by measuring (with a tape or ruler) from the limbs.

Tiller Tuning for Recurve Bow and Longbows

This will happen right where they fit into the limb pockets to the bowstring.

Adjusting the limbs to even tiller

To alter tiller and bring it to dead even, turn one of the limb bolts. After adjusting the limbs to even tiller, anytime you change bow weight turn both limb bolts exactly the same amount to avoid changing tiller.

Tiller must remain constant because changing tiller changes nocking-point height. This is one of the major efficient aspects of tuning up your bow.

Nocking Point Height Adjustment

Equip your bowstring with a clamp-on nockset for easy adjustment. If you shoot with fingers, clamp the nockset about a half-inch above point ninety degrees from the rest (you measure this with the bow square).

If you shoot with a release aid, place the nockset even with the rest. You might move it later, but these are good starting points.

Simplest Arrow Tuning Guide

How do you tune a bow in the easiest way? The question may seem easier, but without proper knowledge of bow tuning, it can become complicated and wrong. However, arrow alignment is a simple and yet very effective way to solve problems initially.

Actually, this one step can solve about 90 percent of arrow flight problems.

Keep the Arrows in Better Alignment

This isn’t mysterious. You can usually “eyeball” arrows into alignment. Golden Key-Futura makes a handy device called a True Center Gauge for centering arrows. But, you can do the same thing visually by first finding the “string center” of the upper limb.

On most compound bows, that isn’t the exact center of the limb, because the string, as it loops around the wheel, is slight to one side.

Keep the Arrows in Better Alignment

To find the string center, measure the distance from the string, where it touches the wheel, to the side of the bow limb.

Let’s say it’s a three-fourths inch. Now, just above the handle, make a mark on the limb three-fourths inch from the side of the limb (this assumes the limb is the same width here as at the tip).

About the Author Joaquin Phoenix

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