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Setting up your Bow.

Introduction. (A must Read)
Getting Started Bow Setup.
Tools You'll Need.
Determining your "Draw Length."
Setting the Tiller for your Bow.
Setting Up Arrow Rest.
Line Up Arrow Rest For Center Shot.
Setting up Knocking Point.

Before You Tune It Up, You'll Have To Set It Up !

We want to have as many well tuned bows come hunting season, as we can. We owe it to the game that we hunt, to make as clean a harvest as possible.

If you're confident in your equipment, then you’re on your way to that goal. We should note that you should NOT attempt to tune a new bow straight out of the box, or a bow that has just had a new string or cable installed. The strings and cables will stretch as you start shooting. Any tuning you do will go right down the tubes after 1 or 2 dozen shots. Shoot the bow and break it in first. To be safe, about 50 shots spread over 2 days should do it.

The following instructions are aimed at properly setting up your bow. Fine-tuning your bow will come after your bow is set up. The final steps will be Paper Tuning to achieve very accurate and consistent arrow flight as it leaves the bowstring, and Tiller Tuning if you’re interested in competitive 3D shooting.

Getting Started Bow Setup.

Bow broken in ?

Got those 50 shots fired? You did 75...good.

Is your Draw Weight at a comfortable poundage?

If the draw weight is too much for you turn it down. It does not make sense to burst every vein in your face struggling to hold the string back while your aiming. Turn the limb bolts counter-clockwise 1/4 turn EACH until reaching the desired weight.
Please note, adjust each limb the same.

How’s the Draw Length?

The bow has to fit YOU! You will have to anchor in the same spot on every shot with the bowstring stopped at the back wall.
Information on Determining your "Draw Length".

Got the right arrows?

You'll need them. Depending on what type of arrow your going to use, arrow spine (stiffness) will be the key issue here. The right arrow for you is determined by many factors. You'll need to know quite a bit about your bow. If your going to shoot with a release, you'll have an advantage in using more sizes.

Tools You'll Need.

  • Bow Square
  • Allen Wrench Set
  • Knocking Pliers (crimp tool)
  • Spare Nocks
  • Flat Ruler (12") or Tape Measure
  • Bow Vise (very handy but not necessary) or Something to hold your bow upright, String (for single cam bows).
bow tuning tools

Lets Begin

Setting the Tiller for your Bow.

Set The Tiller:

Begin the setup process with the tiller. This is a simple measurement taken from the point where the upper and lower limbs meet the riser.... out to the string. The actual distance is not important. What is important is that the distance is the same on both upper and lower measurements, at least for setting up.

If you have an owner’s manual for your bow, there may be a recommended setting for your bow's tiller. If not, make the distances the same by turning the limb bolts. Try to equalize the distance by adjusting both limbs about the same amount.

Special note: Many companies have been recommending stretching a separate string to each axle and measuring to that string instead of the bowstring. Especially on SINGLE CAM BOWS!! The radical shape of these lower cams throws the bowstring way back away from the riser.

Remember: These measurements are all starting points. You may have to make some minor changes to gain optimum arrow flight.

Setting Up Arrow Rest And Knocking Point.

Setting Up Arrow Rest:

The main objective we are going to do here, (depending on the type of rest you are using) is to set it up so; When the arrow is riding on the rest, the center of the arrow lines up with the center of the pre-tapped hole in your riser. This is the hole that you mount the arrow rest to. If you are using a plunger type rest. You want your arrow riding on the plunger at the middle of arrow.

TM Style Rest:
Recommended for Release Shooters:
Arrow rest tuning
Plunger Style Rest:
Recommended for Finger Shooters:
arrow rest plunger type

Once we have the arrow rest mounted to the bow and set up vertically that your arrow is intersecting the pretapped hole or plunger the next step will be to set up the knocking point and setting your rest horizontally for center shot. Remember these settings are only a starting point and may need altered a little to achieve best arrow flight.

Here we are going to line the arrow rest up horizontally or what is called center shot. To do this we will need a little bit of masking tape or two mailing labels will work well if you have them. Also a tape measure or ruler will be needed.

The first thing we want to do is, just above and below the riser on your bow place the masking tape or the mailing labels across your limbs. Then at that spot on the limbs measure what the total width of the limbs. Take and put a mark at exact center of the limbs on the tape or label whichever you are using.

Now if you are right-handed put another mark 3/16" to the left of the center mark. If you are left-handed put a mark 3/16" to the right side of the center mark. The reason we are going 3/16" off of center is because the string on your bow does not ride true center on the cams. It is offset on the cams from exact center.

Here is where if you have a bow vise, it will come in handy for lining up the rest, but it is not necessary to have one. Place an arrow on the string and rest. With the arrow on the rest look with your eye and line the string up with the marks on the tape that are offset 3/16". The string should also be in line with the center of the arrow shaft. If it does not run center on the arrow shaft you will have to move the arrow rest out or in from the bow till string is lined up center with the arrow shaft as well as the marks you have placed on the tape.

To set your knocking point you will need a bow square, knocking pliers and one brass nock set. I like to start my knocking point at 1/8" above square; this is a happy medium to start and may need changed when you go to fine tune.

For a Tm hunter style set you bow square so that it swings across the prongs but stays inside of them. Once you have Bow Square set to that point, put the nock set on serving that the bottom of the nock set is at 1/8" above center. Take knocking pliers and crimp the nock set snug.

For a plunger style rest set the bow square that the bottom of the square is intersecting the center of the plunger. Place nock set on serving that the bottom of nock set is at 1/8" above center. Take the nock pliers and crimp the nock set snug.

Remember: These measurements are all starting points. You may have to make some minor changes to gain optimum arrow flight.

By Ron Beasom

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© 2007 John Hodgdon
Deer Hunting.

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