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Hunting Crossbow Setup and Tuning

Hunting crossbow setup & tuning (1)
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Nothing makes a bowhunter happier than using a well-tuned bow.  As it has a much more straightforward accuracy, and its arrow penetration on the game is very impressive. The bow will be quieter to shoot and more forgiving. A crossbow’s reliability, hunting penetration, and accuracy can all be considerably improved by properly setting up and tuning it. As a result, the archer gains confidence in their weapon and his capability to precisely shoot the arrow on target. The procedure is difficult, but it may be completed with the assistance of a professional bow technician or on your own.

In this article, we have listed step-by-step hunting crossbow setup and tuning guidelines for you to follow so that you can appropriately set up and tune your crossbow. Simply follow the steps indicated in this article while being calm and systematic, and you’ll have excellent arrow flight in no time. After all, is said and done, you’ll be stacking arrows and feeling a lot more secure and willing to take on any shooting challenge that comes your way.

1. Set the draw weight and draw length

Before tuning a bow, make sure the draw length is correct. At full draw, you should feel at ease as you concentrate completely on aiming. If you’re anxious or rushing to fire the shot, your draw length is definitely incorrect. Bowhunters frequently utilize an excessively lengthy draw length. A draw-arm elbow that doesn’t get aligned with the arrow at full draw when viewed from the back and a draw-arm hand that doesn’t anchor solidly along the back of the draw bone are unmistakable signs of poor draw length. Experiment with various draw parameters until you find the perfect balance.

The next step is to add draw weight. You should be able to draw your bow smoothly without elevating the top pin above the target by more than just a few inches. Lower the draw weight till the drawing is much smoother, especially if you have to draw high in the air or low on the ground. This will come in handy when the target is in range, and you need to draw undetected.  You will notice when your draw weight and draw length are just right; at full draw, aiming should feel almost as if you’re watching TV; it should be that simple and pleasant.

2. Adjust the Cams on the Bow

Cam synchronization is crucial since it ensures that each camera is working in harmony. The arrow will cycle smoothly and consistently as a result of this. This is a must if you want to tune quickly and precisely.  Before tuning, ensure that the bow’s cam system is set to the manufacturer’s specifications. Also, make absolutely sure that the draw length of the bow is set to your liking. Adjusting any of them after the fact may result in poor arrow flight, necessitating a re-tuning.  To test a bow’s cam timing, just pull your bow back while a family member or friend stands to the side and keeps a careful eye on you. It is their responsibility to determine whether the upper and bottom string harnesses are hitting each draw stop simultaneously.

If the lower cam hits the stop well before the upper cam, you’ll have to twist the bottom harness’s string cable till it bisects the draw stop at the very same time as the top one. The cam system is synchronized using this adjust-and-check procedure. This procedure is time-consuming and difficult, but it makes a significant difference in how smoothly and quickly the arrow exits the bow. To modify these string harnesses, you’ll need a bow press.   Alternatively, you can also buy a full-size press.

3. Adjust Center Shot and Nock Height

As directed by the crossbows advisor guidelines on hunting crossbow setup and tuning, adjust the arrow rest to the appropriate center-shot position. While bisecting the threaded rest holes, the middle of the arrow shaft should rest about 11/16 to almost 13/16-inch from the bow’s riser edge in most situations. This properly aligns the arrow with the bowstring’s naturally forward-moving direction. For the same reason, the exact nock-height position on the string is critical. It will cause all kinds of arrow flight troubles if it is set too low or too high. The arrow shaft is typically positioned at a 90 ° angle to the bowstring for most bows.

To position the shaft with the bowstring at this angle, make use of a business card as a guideline, then adjust the arrow’s nock height and D-loop placement.

4. Start paper tuning

There are other methods for arrow tuning, but paper tuning appears to be the easiest and most accurate. Simply construct a 16×16-inch frame out of wood or cardboard and drape a sheet of painter’s paper across the opening. After that, place it a few feet in the front of a target butt. That will enable you to discharge an arrow through the taut paper from a distance of 4–6 feet, allowing the arrow to clear the paper entirely before impacting the target butt. When it comes to paper tuning, make sure you’re entirely comfortable and are shooting in nice form. Always shoot with the same grip on the bow, and make sure your anchor point is consistent.

Furthermore, ensure that you have used the right arrows for your bow, which are spun properly. As it cycles through the bow, a weak arrow will vibrate tremendously, generating tears.  Make sure you select the proper arrow spine depending on your arrow length, draw weight, and point weight using an arrow manufacturer’s table. Choose the heavier splined shaft if you’re on the fence between two distinct spine sizes.

5. Consider additional issues

If a major tear persists despite numerous D-loop and arrow rest modifications, you may need to address two additional issues regarding hunting crossbow setup and tuning. That includes pinch and limb-harness adjustment and we begin with the nock fit. The nock should have a substantial “snap” to the bowstring’s center serving for better tuning, but not so tight that it can’t travel up or down or rotate from side to side easily. If you attempt to turn the arrow in the horizontal direction from left to right after it’s clipped to the string and it twists the whole bowstring with it, then the nock fit is too tight.

Nock pinch is completely different.  It refers to the downward force applied to an arrow when it is drawn. Removing the field tip from the shaft and then drawing the crossbow back is an easy technique to see if a nock pinch is present in your setup. There is a pinch if the front of the arrow lifts off the arrow rest. To fix this, tie a threaded nock set within the D-loop right underneath the arrow’s nock location. The pinch will be removed, and the arrow flying and tune will be improved.

6. Check for Accuracy and Make Minor Changes

Verify the crossbow tune by firing from 12 feet and then 10 yards away with the same unfletched tuning arrow after you’ve obtained a clean paper tear from 4 to 6 feet away. There should still be a clean tear. Otherwise, the tune isn’t quite right—Double-check tears from 6 to 12 feet and then 10 yards.  To improve accuracy, even more, make modest tweaks to the nock elevation or center-shot location once your bow has been paper-tuned. “Bare-shaft” tuning from 15-20 yards is appropriate for enhancing such precision as a final tuning approach.  Compare impact points utilizing two fletched arrows vs the unfletched bare shaft as the last tuning change. Compare impact points with two fletched arrows versus the unfletched bare shaft as a final tuning tweak. From a distance of 10-20 yards, shoot a bull’s eye.

The arrows should ideally clash in the same place. If this isn’t the case, make modest changes to your D-loop or arrow rest to get the arrows closer together. Move the arrow rest down or the D-loop up if the unfletched arrow lands just above the fletched arrow. If it hits below, raise the arrow rest or lower the D-loop. If it hits the fletched arrow to the left, adjust the arrow rest to the left. If the impact is to the right, the arrow rest should be moved to the right. At a time, make minor changes of a few inches.


Tuning your hunting crossbow is a simple and quick process. The goal is to take each step one at a time, keeping a calm and deliberate approach throughout. Don’t rush through the procedure. Consider quitting and starting another day if you become frustrated because something isn’t working as intended. Hunting crossbow setup and tuning become considerably more productive and even pleasurable when you adopt a calm and good approach. Bow tuning does not have to be a difficult task.