Archery | Bare Shaft Tuning
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Archery | Bare Shaft Tuning

August 18, 2019


One of the most common misconceptions that people new to the sport have, is that you can use any arrow with any bow. The reality is that archers will pick specific arrows to suit their bow, selecting a particular spine rating based on actual draw weight, which in turn is based on bow weight, and the archer’s draw length. I currently use Easton A/C/E’s, rated at 670 with my 40lb bow. For the sake of experimentation, let’s shoot an Easton Jazz 1916, and see what happens. Well… Nothing really. No explosions or splinters; it simply lands left of where I was aiming, and that could just be a sight adjustment. But, looking at it in slow motion, the arrow has this wicked kick as it leaves the bow, and virtually bend to the left. If I shot 6 of those, they’d probably form a grouping, but if I were to shoot from longer distances, the inconsistency would lead to an awful spread. Compare that to my 670 A/C/E’s. Straight as an arrow, but even these arrows aren’t perfect,and there’s a way to find out. There are 2 methods of tuning a bow: paper tuning, which involves shooting through a piece of paper and analysing the pattern and bare shaft tuning. As the name suggests, you’ll be shooting several fletched arrows, followed by a bare shaft. It’s important to consider that arrows flex. However, too much or too little will cause problems If the shaft is too weak, the arrow will wrap around the riser, and fly to the right. If it’s too stiff, it’ll get knocked to the left. The vanes on a regular arrow stabilise it, correcting its flight as it leaves the bow. However, there’s only so much it can do, and when the bow is out of tune, the groupings will not be consistent. The bare shaft basically acts as a diagnostic tool – without any stabilising vanes, the shaft will fly in one direction based on how the bow is currently tuned. I’ll shoot several fletched arrows to form a group. And then the bare shaft. The bare shaft will tell me what I need to change. For a right-handed archer, if the bare shaft is to the left of my grouping, the shaft is too stiff. If it lands right, it’s too soft. The directions are reversed for left-handers. If it is an issue with stiffness, a fletched arrow will show a distinct flight movement called ‘fishtailing’. If the bare shaft hits too low, or too high, relative to the grouping, then my nocking point is too high or too low. A fletched arrow will ‘porpoise’ in flight instead. Let’s look at the bare shaft – it landed to the left of my grouping, which means the shaft is too stiff. There are several things you can do – you can adjust the poundage of the bow, and most risers will allow for 5% adjustment either side of the limbs rating. You can replace the points, using heavier points for making arrows softer, and lighter points to make it stiffer. Cutting an arrow will also affect the stiffness, though that’s usually done to match your draw length. It’s also possible to adjust the plunger button, but it’s a fine tweak, and it’s one of the very last things you do. I’ve pretty much done everything I can with my bow, so my only option is to get new arrows. The tune is close, but not close enough. These are another batch of Easton A/C/E’s, rated at 720 this time. They’re cut to the same length, but I’ve replaced the points with lighter ones- they should allow me enough leeway to bring my bow into tune. Same thing now – shoot several fletched arrows, and then the bare shafts. The bare shafts landed right this time, exactly as they should, as they are softer arrows, and I haven’t made any other adjustments. I’m going to wind my bow down. Most risers work the same way – you need 2 hex wrenches. First, I loosen the rear screw, then I turn the big one on the front. I’m going to do 1 whole turn, then work from there in the next test. I also have to do the same turn to the other end, in order to maintain the same brace height. We’ll shoot our arrows again. Now it’s landed to the left, so we’ve dropped the bow weight too much. We’ll turn it back the other way this time, and then we’ll try again. The horizontal alignment seems fine, but the bare shaft is too high. It’s a simple nocking point adjustment, and after several attempts, we get an acceptable grouping. Ideally, the bare shafts should group with the other arrows. For today, it’s good enough. Not having your bow in tune can be one of the big reasons why your groupings aren’t coming together. It’s good to check to check your tune every now and then. However, it’s not the most important thing to do, especially if you’re just starting out, and you’re just starting to learn good archery form. If you’re trying to tune then, then you probably won’t get consistent groups, and your tune will be rather meaningless. Nonetheless, the more in-tune your bow is with your arrows, the better your accuracy will be. Anyway guys, I hope you found this video helpful. As usual, feel free to post a comment below Otherwise, I’ll see you next time.

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  1. Hm. There's not much to say about plungers. Are you asking about adjusting the plunger or using the plunger to tune the bow?

  2. I can do a video on plunger buttons. There's no real trick to it though. Generally, you want it to be on the stiffer side rather than softer, but obviously not too stiff. If you're having trouble with the arrow's spine or clearance, it may be that you need to change your arrows.

  3. i've read that for your method of finding the correct spine to be valid you have to shoot from a completely stiff plunger. some recommend replacing the spring with a match stick

  4. Hi from finland. I just wached all your archery related videos and I just wanted to say that I find them informative and well made. Audio and video are good, stable. Your caracter is informative, dosnt pring personality in too much. I can see that your profession as a teacher might have helped you to do these good videos. Cheers.

  5. you really should shoot several bare shaft arrows mixed in with fletched shafts to get a more accurate result, randomly selecting them from your quiver, plunger tuning is also very important as is centre shot

  6. Hi good video!! You should try the turbo nock they are great. They spin the arrow around 9000 rpm keep up the good work

  7. I have been shooting for 10 years and have never bare shaft tuned, I think it is time I give it a go. Thanks for the video, you described it well. Maybe my groups will shrink some. Does it make much of a difference within 30 yards? I rarely go further than that. I am pretty good at tuning with fletchings, and I shoot 4 inch helicals, so they get a very good spin. Still hoping it helps.

  8. Great vid nu can ya help me I have winact mk1 riser on the power nut front limb side I have no alan key hole in tiller two holes eithernside for folk wrench how do I adjust please

  9. You mention that a heavier tip will give you a "soft shaft" and a Lighter Tip will result in a "Stiffer Shaft". Can you please clarify/explain/sum up/ clear up, etc?

  10. Can I make a normal arrow into a bare shaft arrow? How do I take the fletchings off? I don't want to buy a dozen of each part just for 1 bare shafted arrow…

  11. hai
    i been archery for 5 year… i like your video
    after i saw your shooting skill I felt very weird mainly because after you release, your bow arm didn't stay complete straight.. other than that couple times your bow arm went to the right and couple times your bow arm went to the left. I'm not saying that i am a great archer but my bow arm didn't went to left or right as terrible (sorry) as you didn't. but i thing you can fix that very easily.. and also You are a great archer.
    i hope maybe you can reply to my comment.

    p.s. Sorry for bad english. I'm from Malaysia

  12. Very interesting!!!! And thank you so much for sharing…. Please i have a question…. If you arrows weigth 85 grams and 100 grams How to tunne a 85 grams arrow or a 100 grams arrow With a recurve bow ?? Thank you so much for your guidance !!!

  13. I started to shoot for first time, my bow is new and the seller tunned , but when I arrived home all the arrows went to left even when I targeted to the center athe arrows went at the distance of the target but 10 cms to the left. What do you think is the problem with the bow ?

  14. Hi hav a kap 25 riser with sf elite fiber feom limbs 66,36 do you no a good arrow I can shoot out the back yard have easton jazz 1916 ther allrite someting better 4 recurve thanks

  15. hi Nusensei, I m new to archery, just one quick question…if you can get your fletched arrows to the 10/X already, what's the point of doing the bare shaft tuning? Ths a lot…

  16. Hello nusensei, seen most of your archery videos to learn useful information that i couldn't myself. However, i do see that your shooting form is a little incorrect (seen from your release and bow breaking). You have the same follow through as Jake (fingers to the shoulders) however you do seem to be plucking the string upon release. And your bow breaking is inconsistent (Different bow swing after shot)

  17. my oppinion is its better to have a a bit stiffer arow with heavy point than a soft arrow .. my bareshaft on my x7 1914 takes to the left about 50-60 cm from the group..i tride a spine down its the same thing i cant how ever i do get my bareshaft with the group in 18 meters ..and i now use a 9% nibbpoint and the fletched arrows group better they fly straight but my bareshaft wont work with me in my tuning…

    in april im gonna tune my carbon one 660 spine hope they will woek with me… i tried to make my bow stronger and softer no differece on the x7 , tried 1814 its the same thing even tried 1813 xx75 shafts but then the sound in my bow is really loud and the bareshaft is far far away.. even though they should be softer.. one in my club said if you get the fletched arrows to group and fly straight then you are done..

    on my last bow i had x10 550 29" with 110 grains point.. and 41 pounds on my fingers , and they are way to wrong but they worked perfect , i dont understand it they are for much stronger bows and worked perfect with my bow and string,.,, i tried the "correct" spine from easton selection chart and they didnt work at all… this really gets to my head.. sometimes right is wrong and wrong is right…

  18. I can only stress how annyoing wrong spine arrows can be. I had my draw weight measured, but the shop keeper did a mistake, so I was thinking I was pulling 40#, while the truth is mor like 36#.

    At my draw length of 29 1/4" I bought 12 carbon arrows with a spine value of 500. Unshortened they flew acceptable, but as as neat as my aluminium ones.

    When I finally cut them to my length, which made them relatively stiffer, the wrong spine added up so much, that the arrows flew completely erratic. A paper test revealed a tear of more then 2". So the arrows left the bow a good portion sideways. I had to adjust my sights almost all the way to the left to make the bow hit the target. A bare shaft missed the target to the left at 20m. Indicating a way too stiff arrow.

    I then tried the carbon arrows of a team mate. At a spine of 600 they flew way better. So even if you are just one grade of stiffness off – it might mess up your whole shooting.

  19. Don't you mean putting a heavier field point to stiffen the arrow rather than a lighter field point?

  20. I just wanted to tell you that after reading James Park's book called Archery Technology, he noted that changing the point mass down from 120 gr to 100 gr only required an adjustment of bow weight of 0.1 pounds to retune. Therefore the point mass has very little impact on bow tuning, but it is a very important consideration in relation to drift.

  21. NUsensei ive seen in some of ur videos that u have been wearing the green and gold shirt have been selected or represented the australian team for archery?

  22. it just me or other might thought the same. why in every of your video you make it alone? why dont you bring along your partner, friend or student. it will make the video more lively. i dont know just sometime maybe bring someone. your video really helpfull by the way thanks.

  23. Do you need to do both paper tune and bare shaft? I find it silly to tune one and then retune for another and then coming back to the first to only see that the arrows don't behave as it was.

  24. how many yards should I do this at?? is 10 about right? I just bought some stiffer arrows I think they'll shot better

  25. One thing I am not clear on is how bare shafts should line up compared to the fletched arrows. My bare shafts impact within the fletched arrow group but not parallel to the fletched arrows. Is it important that the fletched and bare shaft arrows be close to parallel? If it does matter then what does it mean if the nock end is higher and to the right of the impact point?  Currently I am drawing 35 lb at 28 inches. with victory VAP 700 spine arrows cut to 28 1/4" from the valley of the nock with 100 grain points.

  26. The statement at 1:40 is very informative. I replayed it several times! Sadly, the range where I shoot doesn't help much! When asked a question they reply is short and without detail. When asked what spine arrow I should shoot with my 45#, 27 inch draw compound bow I got three different answers. plan to try bare arrow tuning tomorrow!

  27. Thank you for your easy to understand, highly informative video. I spent several hours yesterday bare shaft tuning my arrows to my bow and with the knowledge I learned from your video, I was able to define the issue (too stiff) and adjust the point weight to bring the bare shafts into the group of fletched arrows. With the new heavier points my groups tightened by about about 30% at 40 yards. Thanks again!

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