Perfect arrow flight should be every archer's number one priority.
In this how to guide we explain what paper tuning compound bows is, covering what nock high, nock low, nock left, and nock right mean and how to correct them.
What in the world is Paper Tuning compound bows? \
Perfect arrow flight should be every archer’s number one priority. When it comes to accuracy you must have an arrow that leaves the bow string in a perfectly straight line. Paper tuning is the method in which compound archers determine their cams are timed correctly, arrow rest, bow string, nocking points are all in sync and that they are shooting the correct arrow spine.
All you need to start is a simple frame that can hold your paper, and a back stop or target positioned behind the archery paper tuning stand or “paper tuning station” to stop your arrows. Make sure your back stop is far enough away from the paper so the arrow can pass completely through before hitting the back stop, we recommend 4 to 6 feet to be safe. With a little patience and persistence, you will get your bow dialed in, in no time at all!
Pre-Shot Check List \
So, you have gotten your paper tuning station set up. Now what? (Don’t miss this critical step in the Paper Tuning Compound Bows process) prior to shooting arrows through paper there are four things you need to check beforehand:
1. Cam timing: You always want to make sure you have a bow that is in time correctly before you shoot it through paper. Timing issues can cause an arrow to give a nock high or nock low tear.
2. Center shot: Setting the center shot on your rest is crucial for optimum arrow flight. If the arrow is not leveled correctly, or too far left or right, you will never get the arrow to fly true.
Always make sure that the center shot is set to the bow manufactures specs.
3. Nock pinch: When tying nock sets and your D loop, you want to make sure there is enough play between the nock sets so the arrow is not pinched at full draw. This can cause arrow flight issues as well.
4. Arrow spine: Shooting the correct arrow spine is incredibly important when it comes to achieving the perfect arrow flight. An arrow that is too stiff or too weak will not fly correctly.
Always make sure you are shooting the correct spine based off the arrow manufactures specs using your chosen arrow length, point weight and draw weight.
Shooting Through Paper \
Now that you have confirmed that your bow is in time, center shot is set, there is no nock pinch, and you are shooting the correct arrow spine it’s time to shoot an arrow through paper. Before you begin you must make sure you execute perfect shots.
If you have any form or technique issues no matter how perfect the bow is set up, you will still have what appears to be “arrow flight issues.”
The first thing we like to do is build our base. Get your feet set about shoulder width apart. Second, make sure you grip the bow correctly. If you torque the bow because of a poor grip one way or the other, you will get either a nock left or nock right tear.
Finally make sure you execute a good clean shot making sure not to slap the trigger but using proper back tension which will create the perfect surprise shot.
If after your first shot, you get what appears to be a perfect “Bullet Hole” then your bow is setup correctly and no adjustments need to be made! If you did not get that perfect “Bullet Hole” no worries, below are the tears that you will encounter and how you can correct them!
Nock Tears and How to Correct Them \
- Nock Left: A nock left tear tells us that the nock of the arrow is flying left of the arrow point. With this tear there can be multiple factors to consider. If you are a right-handed shooter you can start by moving the rest toward the riser, for a left-handed shooter move the rest away from the riser. Be careful as you do not want to overcompensate for this tear by moving the rest to far out of center. The bow may need to be shimmed or you may have to put turns into the yokes to correct the issue. This tear could also indicate your arrow is too weak. You can cut the arrow shaft down or reduce point weight to stiffen the arrow up or you can switch to a stiffer spine all together.
- Nock Right: A nock right tear indicates that the nock of the arrow is flying right of the arrow point. With this tear there are a few things you need to consider. If you are a right-handed shooter you can start by moving the rest away from the riser, for a left-handed shooter move the rest toward the riser. Same thing here, you do not want to overcompensate for this tear by moving the rest too far out of center. The bow may need to be shimmed or you may have to put turns into the yokes to correct the issue. This tear can also indicate your arrow is too stiff. You can add weight to the front of the arrow to weaken the spine or you can switch to a weaker spine arrow all together.
- Nock High: A nock high tear means the nock of your arrow is flying higher than the point. In this case the first thing you want to do if you are running a drop away rest is making sure your fletching’s are not making contact with your rest and that the rest is timed correctly by making adjustments on the rest’s cable. If those did not fix the issue next, you will want to move your nocking point down or your rest up and re-check timing of your cams.
- Nock Low: A nock low tear means the tip of your arrow is flying higher than the nock of the arrow. In this situation you will want to move your nocking point up or your rest down and re-check timing of your cams.
It can be very frustrating and time consuming when it comes to making sure a bow is tuned correctly. If you are still having issues after following theses Paper Tuning Compound Bows steps above and just cannot seem to get your compound bow to shot straight, we highly encourage you to take it to your local bow shop and have them fix the problem. There is no better feeling than having the utmost confidence in your equipment and knowing your bow is setup and tuned to perfection!