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Fine Tuning Your Bow Part 2

Fine Tuning your Bow:

Part 2 : Choosing and Setting your Sights.


There are about as many sight configurations available for archers as there are archers. Looking through a Lancaster’s Archery catalog and it can be very overwhelming which type of sight to try. And sadly, many of us can’t try them without spending a ton of money only to discover we really don’t like the one we chose.

Hopefully, this will help to answer some of the questions you may have when selecting a new sight for your bow, and to help you make your sight as efficient as possible.

Basically for hunters there are really three style of sights. Fixed pin sights, which will have between one and seven pins. One moveable pin sight, and the pendulum sight. Admittedly the pendulum sight is not very popular but does have some die hard fans. Therefore I will not discuss it here. The most popular is the fixed pin sight, but the moveable one pin is gaining in popularity.

The fixed pin has been around the longest. It consists of fiber optic pins of different sizes (largely based on preference and vision needs) that are preset at known distances. Setting these can be a test of patience but once done they are pretty fool proof. For this discussion we will be talking how to set a fixed four pin sight. The same process is used for three four or five etc.

Normally the top pin on these sights will be set at 20 yards. The easiest way to begin is to set the top pin at a location that is easiest to see through your peep. Now walk close to your target – at least ten yards, maybe closer to ensure you won’t miss the target. Get the arrows hitting close to where you want it, now back up. Shoot three arrows from twenty yards – if the arrows are hitting low, move your sights DOWN. If your arrows are hitting high move your pin UP. The key for archery sight is if shooting high, move high. If shooting low move down. I prefer to get my elevation close before I adjust my windage. However if you have a laser, use it to set the center of the pins along the center of the arrow and you will be very close on your windage.

Once your 20 yard pin is set and you are satisfied with your groups, simply move the second pin a suitable distance from your twenty pin and set it at the distance you choose. My personal set up is in ten yard increments – 20,30,40,50. Once the twenty yard pin was established, I simply put the thirty “approximately” where I thought it should be based on my arrow speed and shot at thirty yards. Shooting some and making the adjustments. Doing this for every distance I want my pins to be makes it easier to finalize the set up.

Once all of the pins are set, finally make the final adjustments by moving the whole rest when needed. Once these pins are set you should never have to move them individually. I sometimes have to make some micro adjustments, but when I do this, I will move the whole set up to make the adjustment.

If you prefer the one pin moveable sight this is a bit more challenging but thanks to some programs and tips that come with the individual sights it can be a bit easier. It begins however with setting up the first or closest distance you choose to shoot. For most this will be at twenty yards. Once this is set, there are several “tapes” that come with your sight that you place along the slide or wheel that will correspond with your adjustments. There are some sights that actually come with a website that has places where you place the specs of your bow and arrow – Pounds shooting, FPS, draw length, arrow weight, tip weight etc and it will give you the proper tape to print and place on your slide or wheel. Align it as needed and you will then be able to shoot practically any distance.

Target archers and 3-D tournament archers prefer the adjustable sights due to the nature of the competition. These sights are able to be set for shooting at variable distances that fixed pins cannot. If a target is at 28 yards, the single pin can be set to that distance and simply aim at the location and shoot. Hunters however may not have the time to range, adjust and still get the shots off. Some however say that it can be done in seconds. Since I personally shoot fixed pins when hunting, I have no experience in shooting an adjustable pin sight under hunting conditions.

Which ever you choose, remember that when the shot comes, whether it’s a mature buck or target, confidence in your equipment is critical to execute the shot. The time you put in now will build confidence when the moment of truth comes.

As a general rule, I try and shoot five hundred arrows a week during the summer. Some weeks I will shoot more, others less depending on the weather and other factors. But by shooting this much, I know when the time comes I will be able to execute.

Next we will discuss choosing the right arrow and broadhead for your set up and targets or quarry.