If your bow sight is bottomed-out, check out this list of bow tuning tips to correct a bottomed-out bow sight and five tools to help you along the way.
If you regularly shoot a compound bow, you are probably familiar with the common problem of having a bottomed-out bow sight. Have no fear! There are several causes for this, none of which make you a bad shot. The first time my sights were bottomed out, I feared the worst. The truth is, the fixes are simple, and, with a little bit of time, you can figure out why your sights have bottomed out and fix them. First, let’s have a look at some common causes and then we’ll explore bow tuning tips to correct a bottomed out bow sight.
Why is My Bow Sight Bottomed-Out?
If you find that your bow sight has bottomed out, the first thing that you should check is the rest. If your rest is positioned too low, you will find that you have to ‘chase’ your arrow with your sight pins. The result? Everything keeps moving right-on down. If you fear that this is your problem, have a look at how to set up your rest position. Since the vertical rest position is the crucial point here, we will only omit a horizontal rest positioning for now.
When dealing with newer compound bows, the plunger is set up to ‘accept’ or ‘receive’ the arrow straight through the middle. A problem that is often overlooked is when the arrow is resting on the cushion of the plunger hole or is ‘off-center’ from the middle of the plunger. When you start off tuning the arrows’ rest, be sure that you hold the bow in such a way that the plunger is as close to exactly eye level as possible. This will ensure that your starting point is as accurate as possible. From here, the process is fairly straightforward. All you have to do is adjust the rest upwards or downwards until the arrow rests in the exact center of the plunger.
The next thing to check is your peep sight. You should ALWAYS reset your peep sight after you tune your rest, anyway. Your peep sight should be aligned to your line of sight. This is where it is important that your form is being practiced correctly. The best way to tune your peep sight is to start with the bow at full draw. Once the bow has been completely drawn, shut both of your eyes while you anchor the string into place. Once it is anchored, go ahead and open your eyes again. If, at this point, you are not looking directly through the peep sight, go ahead and adjust it then try again. Do this until your peep sight is directly aligned with the line of your sight.
Another place to check is the nock-point. The nocking point can be adjusted or tuned in many ways, it is up to you as to which method should be used, just remember that it is one of the three points that make up the line between yourself and the head of the arrow. This line has to be tuned to create a straight path between yourself and the target.
It would also be advantageous to check your form. Your eyes and muscles should always be consistent. Another problem that often causes ‘bottom-out’ is when you try to compensate with your muscles to achieve a good line of sight. If you squeeze your shoulder and chin together (a natural reaction when adjusting your eyes, you will end up ‘chasing’ your arrow down with your pins, thus over the next ‘few’ shots, bottoming out your sight. Practice makes perfect, but perfect doesn’t always stick. It is easy to become complacent throughout your bowhunting hobby. In one aspect, your compact bow and your body are much alike: They need constant tuning and repair. Just because you have tuned your bow to precision does not mean that it will stay that way. It is never a bad idea to check your bow’s alignment and optimal tuning before you go out to the range or when making use of your at-home shooting area. In the same way, you should always double-check your form. It can also help to take note of any soreness or discomfort before you go shooting. If you are favoring any part of your body or overcompensating for any weakness or injury, it can greatly diminish your form and lead to bad habits or further bodily harm.
Some Tools to Help You Tune Your Compound Bow
There is a lot of maintenance to be kept when it comes to shooting a compound bow. As well as keeping your mind and body sharp, you will always need to tune your bow and keep up general maintenance to ensure that your bow is always operating at optimum precision. There are quite a few tools out there to help you. Below are some invaluable tools to help you tune your compound bow.
Having to figure out all of the ‘is and outs’ of tuning a compound bow on your own could take years. The good news is that there are so many resources available out there that have been compiled by those who have mastered the craft of bowhunting. On Target for Tuning Your Compound Bow, by Larry Wise is an excellent resource when it comes to tuning your compound bow. This book covers the tuning of a single cam and super cam bows, troubleshooting cables and bowstrings, and so much more. Many see this book as the ‘bow tuning Bible’. It is a must-have for those who are serious about shooting compound bows.
The Allen 5 Piece Compound Bow Tuning Kit is a great, affordable kit that is simple and effective. It comes with a folding bow square for convenience, nocking pliers, and three nocking points. This kit is small and easily fits into any bow case. This is great if you need to make adjustments ‘on-the-go’. Keeping around a kit like this is great if your shooting affects your nock points. People do not often realize how often nock points are shifted downwards while shooting. This is often due to very slight deviations from what is considered to be good form. When the nocks are moved down a considerable distance, people tend to adjust the pins, rest, etc. to follow the arrow. This is a surefire way to bottom-out your bow sight fairly quickly.
The PSE Bow Tuning Fixture is another great tool to keep around. It is made with quality materials and is simple to use. One of the best things about this tool is that it threads into your stabilizer bushing. This way, you have a physical object to help guide you through your tuning routine. Having this eliminates guesswork and ensures a true and precise tuning every time. If your sight is not attached to your bow, this tuning fixture has two sight mounting holes to help level your sight. It comes with two built-in levels. The PSE Bow Tuning Fixture can be tipped or tilted side to side or frontwards so that it can be locked in at your preferred angle.
Another great and inexpensive tool to have that is effective and easy to carry is the Bow Tuning and Mounting String Level Combo. This is a small utensil made of bright, highly visible plastic that has a built-in bubble level. This mounting and string level will allow for the checking and adjustment of the sight and nock on the vertical and horizontal axis. This is a small and simple tool and, thus, is recommended to be carried in a small bag while in your bow case.
The last tool that we will be looking at is the Easton T Bow Square. This is yet another inexpensive tool that is well worth the small investment. The Easton T Bow Square is made to be adhered to or attached just below or above the nock. It can be used for measuring the nock position and/or the height of the brace.
Keeping Good Form
Although your good form will not fix every problem that you encounter, it is a good place to start when your bow is all tuned up and ready to go. The name of the game when you are striving for accuracy and consistency is ‘control’. The whole idea is that you should be consistent with every phase of the practice. This allows you to learn how to maintain control of every variable that comes your way. The backbone of this control is good form, coupled with correct habits. Every person has his or her own way of doing things. The important thing is that you should do the same thing every single time. No matter your stance or breathing pattern etc., couple your preferences with the correct form and execute it consistently. Don’t ever forget to practice safely and tune your bow at any time if something doesn’t feel right.
Another thing that can cause problems in the long run (with your body or your equipment) is the use of products that are not made to be used for your specific bow. Always check that your equipment is compatible.
Your body and your bow are both machines. You must maintain both and practice correct and safe habits. Remember that the goal is straight lines– your arrow should rest along a perfectly straight line. If it does not, even if it is only a slight deviation, it will not fly in a straight line. A single degree of deviation at the bow will grow to a larger one exponentially along the arrow’s flight path. If your bow sight is bottomed out, it means that you have been shooting at a slight deviation that has caused you to tune your bow to follow the arrow’s faulty downward pitched path to correct it.
If you are meticulous about tuning your rest so that it holds the arrow in the exact center of the plunger, your peep sight so that it is in an exact line of sight, and your nock point so that it stays in the same alignment, you are well on your way to correcting the problem of having a bottomed-out bow sight. Also do not forget your best sighting tool– your eyes. If your form is correct, your eyes should be in a straight line with all the components involved with sighting-in your shot. If one of those points along the line of trajectory is askew, your arrow will, of course, not be inclined to follow a straight flight path. Another thing that can help you greatly is to remain composed. For most people, frustrated shooting is inaccurate shooting.
It is nearly impossible to tune all of the necessary components of your compound bow without some tools for measurement and calibration. The Allen 5 Piece Compound Bow Tuning kit can help you keep your easily-shifted nocking points positioned correctly. If you feel as though the mount upon which your sight is affixed might be the culprit, the PSE Bow Tuning Fixture can help you place it where it needs to be. The Bow Tuning and Mounting String Level combo can help you determine whether the sight or nocking point is out of alignment. Also, do not forget to check out the Easton T Bow Square. It can help you check your nock and the height of your brace. If all else fails, you can consult the book On Target for Tuning Your Compound Bow, by Larry Wise. Even if you feel as though you are ‘stuck in a rut’ with your shooting, there is always a solution and sometimes it is necessary to consult the professionals.
Hopefully, you have found these tips for a bottomed-out bow sight to be somewhat helpful on your quest for a perfect shot. Remember to keep confident and always double-check your alignment. Happy tuning!