Paper Tuning 101

Steve Sheetz

  • Keywords How to Paper Tune, Paper Tune a bow, Paper Tuning
  • Category Deer Hunting
  • Region Virginia
  • Prostaff Member Steve Sheetz

Is Your Bow Ready?

As the 2013 hunting season approaches, it is now time to make sure your bow is tuned and ready to hit the woods. One of the easiest, least expensive and most important options when it comes to getting your bow ready for this year is to have it paper tuned. This is something that you can do yourself, or you can take it to your local proshop and have one of the professionals do it for you. However, when you take it to the proshop, unless you are the one shooting the bow, it will be paper tuned to the technician that worked on your bow, not to your actual shooting mechanics. Paper tuning your bow is a very simple but time consuming process, and it is something that every archer can and should learn how to do at home. Here are some of the basics of paper tuning a bow.

You begin by shooting a series of arrows tipped with field points through a piece of paper, at a height of four to five feet off the ground from a distance of five to seven yards. I use butcher paper suspended from a PVC pipe frame and tape the four corners of the paper in place, so the paper doesn't move when the arrow passes through. You can also make one from a box by cutting out a seven by ten inch rectangle, and tape a piece of notebook paper in the opening. You will need to place a target about six feet behind the paper to stop your arrows. I know that seems obvious, but I have heard too many stories of guys forgetting to the put a target behind the paper and shooting holes in their garage walls. You can also use construction paper and just tape it to the frame: anything stronger than that and you will not get a true reading of your arrow. After you shoot each arrow, note the how the paper tears. I keep a journal of each arrow and sketch out what the tear looks like, noting the tear's direction. It allows me to have a visual comparison of my adjustment and how each arrow reacts to the adjustment.
I generally repeat the process until I can get the perfect tear ten times in a row. This is a very time consuming process, and it can get very frustrating. However, by being patient and making small micro adjustments one at a time, you can achieve the results that you desire, and this will pay big dividends in the field.

Once I get one arrow to tear perfectly, I find five more that will leave the exact same paper tear. That way, I have six arrows in my quiver with the exact same performance characteristics. Another important tip is to label your arrows while doing this. If you cannot get an arrow to tune the same as the other arrows in your group, mark an X on it and only use it on the range. If it's not going to paper tune in a controlled environment, it's not an arrow you can count on when the deer of a lifetime is 15 yards away. I realize that this can be expensive, but most high quality arrows coming out of the same box of six should perform identically, as that is the way they are sorted by the manufacturer.
In order to get the best results possible, you should use a release and string loop on your bow. If you are not using a release and a string loop, you are behind the technology curve, and you are sacrificing accuracy, consistency, and ultimately more reliable tuning. If you are not using a string loop and a release, there is a good chance that you are still playing tapes in your Walkman and playing video games on an Atari 2600 gaming system.

Despite the time and the frustration that can be associated with the paper tuning process, I would encourage everyone to take the time to paper tune their bow. While it can be tedious, it can also have unlimited rewards only found by shooting the most accurate bow possible.

Below is a chart put out by Gold Tip arrows that offers some excellent options for getting the perfect tear:
Perfect Tear

High Tear -looks like the letter Y
Possible Corrections :
• Move nock point down
• Move rest up
• Decrease launcher stiffness
• Shorten arrow length if possible

Low Tear -looks like the letter Y, but upside down
Possible Corrections :
• Raise nocking point
• Stiffen launcher stiffness

Left Tear -The forks of the letter Y are facing to the left
Possible Corrections :
• Move rest/center shot towards riser
(right-handed bow)
• Move cable guard towards arrow (decrease load on cable guard)
• Adjust wheel lean
• Use stiffer arrow
• Decrease draw weight

Right Tear -the forks of the Y are facing to the right
Possible Corrections :
• Move rest/center shot away from riser
(right-handed bow)
• Move cable guard away from arrow (increase load on cable guard)
• Adjust wheel lean

Posted by Steve Sheetz under Bowhunting, Deer Hunting on August 3, 13 07:35 PM | Permalink

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