Tuning & Setup Tips

Learn How To Setup & Tune Your Fedora Custom Bow

Tuning Tips

The following are steps we use to tune our bows/arrows/broadheads for optimal performance in hunting situations. Please keep in mind that we are bowhunters, first. Although we do partake in target archery, and also attend ever-popular 3-D shoots. These last two types of Archery necessitate different techniques and mindset to excel, or even enjoy. The late, great Howard Hill always stated that one needed to make up their mind whether to be hunting or target archer. The necessary attributes are so vastly different that attempting to do both only confuses oneself and causes one to not obtain the potential they are capable of obtaining in either.

The following are the essentials needed to tune your equipment.
Brass nock points, nock point tool, bow square, 2-3 differently spined arrows fletched up just as you would use while bowhunting tipped with your favorite broadhead. In addition, some sort of backstop capable for use of broadheads, like a pile of sand or rock free dirt, large piece of foam, or large, loosely packed round bale of straw or hay.

Since we are bowhunters and use broadheads while hunting, we tune our equipment with broadhead tipped arrows. Once we find the perfect flying broadhead tipped arrow, we than can use any other type of point for practice with no ill effects. It has been common knowledge for many decades that an arrow tipped with field points, which flies straight and true, may or may not fly true with broadheads. For years, bowhunters were taught to shoot all their broadheads to weed out the “flyers”. Conversely, we know that an arrow which flies true while broadhead tipped will always fly true with any other type of point, be it field, Judo or blunt.

It makes absolutely no sense to go through all that is necessary getting good arrow flight with field point tipped arrows, or for that matter, bare shafts and then still not know for sure whether broadheads mounted on these same arrows will fly true. Rather, we choose to eliminate this difficult, lengthy effort and waste of time, and tune with equipment exactly as it will be used in the field, Bowhunting.
Ok, here goes.

1. Make sure your arrows are straight and that your favorite broadhead spins true one each one.

2. Make sure the brace height is set at bow manufacture’s re commendation.

(All Fedora Bows are 6 7/8” to 7 7/8”)

3. Set nocking point at 1/2” above square. We nock under the nocking point, but if you nock over (Howard Hill Style) then set nocking point at 1/8” above square.

4. If you will use a bow quiver while bowhunting, make sure it is attached to your bow. Fill it with arrows of similar weight, same as will be later used. Bows definitely do shoot different and require different combinations when using a bow quiver, compared to not using one.

5. Proceed to your target/backstop area and position yourself approximately 20-25 yards away. This will give ample time to follow the arrow flight. It is crucial that one be able to see an arrow in flight in order to make necessary adjustments to brace height, nock point & spine.

6. Nock an arrow, pick a spot, draw and hold, aim but do not shoot/release, then let down. Repeat this as many times as is necessary to limber up the muscles, obtain great concentration, as well as the proper sight picture. I must add here that seeing the pointed arrow, directionally speaking, in secondary vision while at full draw is necessary for accuracy. Without this, the computer that sits atop your shoulders will be unable to unconsciously direct you to consistent accuracy.

7. Now, you are ready to tune. Nock an arrow and repeat all of the above steps, but this time release the arrow and watch the arrow in flight. This is where it is so important that one sees the arrow flight, but don’t look for it before, or just as you release. (This is called peaking.)

The optimum arrow flight we are trying to obtain is that of just a ball of feathers spinning around a nock as it goes towards your chosen target/backstop. If this should happen on your first shot (Many times this is what we experience.), or any future shots, you are basically, finished. You now have successfully tuned your equipment for perfect flight, while bowhunting and for any other use.

If not, then some changes need to be made to brace height, nock point shaft spine or a combination, depending upon what is seen of the arrow flight.

A. If, back end of arrow flip back and forth sideways (horizontal), the spine is too weak. Use a stiffer spine until this characteristic disappears.

B. If, back end of arrow flips up and down (vertically) your nock point is too low. Raise nock point until this characteristic disappears. If, back end of arrow drops low (vertically) your nock point is too high. Lower nock point until this characteristic disappears.

D. If, back end of arrow kicks left horizontally, (Opposite is true for left handed shooter.) shortly after leaving bow, but then later corrects itself and flies straight there could be one of two problems. First off, re-check your brace height to see if it has decreased. If so, increase it until this characteristic disappears. Second, there could be a fletch contact problem with shelf and/or rest material. Observation of shelf material usually will indicate a contact/wear point if this is the problem. Remove, shorten or separate the shelf material until this characteristic disappears.

E. If, back end of arrow porpoises (circular motion) it is a combination of low nock point and brace height. Raise nock point and brace height until this characteristic disappears.

F. If, the arrow seems to fly straight, but suddenly veers in flight (planning), there could be several problems. Arrow spine is too weak, fletching too small, or broadhead is not mounted straight. Vented broadheads, whether 2, 3, or 4 blades are the easiest to obtain perfect flight. Wide, non-vented broadheads are the most difficult to obtain perfect flight. In either case, increasing spine and/or feather size or number of feathers are necessary until this characteristic disappears.

Note. I see no reason why anyone would want to scrimp on fletching size. The objective for bowhunting and accuracy is to straighten out the arrow from paradox as fast as possible so the arrows flies true, in order to miss unforeseen objects, like leaves, branches and twigs, which will cause a deflection. In addition, the arrow needs to be flying straight when entering your target (animal) so as not to retard penetration.

G. If, all you see is a ball of feathers spinning around the nock, but the arrow consistently impacts to the left (Opposite is true for left handed.) of spot your arrow is too stiff. Decrease spine until this characteristic disappears.

All of the above Cause-Effect Scenarios are predicated upon the Archer’s use of and awareness of consistent form, i.e. draw, hold, and release. If you pluck the release, one needs to be aware of this so you can disregard what happened to the arrow flight. Likewise, if your bow arm collapses or you move it up or down at time of release be aware of this and disregard the arrow flight. When everything is working correctly and perfectly one will not be consciously aware of anything. It will just happen. This can only happen from the use of properly, perfectly tuned equipment, consistent & repeatable form, and practice.

How do we practice?
Since bowhunting is our only goal, we do not practice with repetition. We do not take multiple successive shots at the same target from the same distance and stance position. Bowhunting, rarely ever offers the perfect shot under perfect conditions. Even rarer is multiple shot opportunities.

Therefore, we practice with our favorite broadhead tipped arrows if the lay of land is suitable. Most likely, though, it is with Judo Points or blunts, like the Ace Hex Blunt. Many call our type of practice “Stump Shooting”, but more appropriately, it is called “Roving”. Roving is the act of wandering through hills, field and forest shooting one arrow at varying distances. We choose objects, like stumps, bushes, a clump of leaves, a spot of bare dirt; or something out of the norm like scattered objects, such as pieces of paper or trash, cans, bottles, etc.; or small creatures like birds, squirrels and rodents (As long as they are legal quarry and in season), while varying the distance. After the shot, we walk up to retrieve arrow and proceed to the next potential target.

Keep in mind that your target should not be large. If it is too large like a stump or clump of brush, concentrate on a very small spot instead of the whole object. One will shoot more consistently and accurately from concentrating on the smallest of spot, rather than the larger.

One arrow “Roving” practice, at varying distances, is absolutely, bar none, the best type of practice for bowhunters. Besides, what greater way to spend time than being a field roving the hills & forest taking in Mother Nature in all her glory. Sometimes, I get so immersed in the pleasures of the Great Outdoors, while roving, that if for some reason I could not bow hunt anymore, or bowhunting was eliminated; I would be perfectly content just watching the flight of an arrow.


Congratulations on your new Fedora Bow, we hope you enjoy your shooting. I you need any help please

contact us at http://www.fedoracustombows.com.