Tuning Your Recurve Bow – Part #2

In Part #1 of our guide you learned how to properly install your nocking point, micro-tune your brace height, and find the balanced limb center on your recurve bow – all of these are important steps to take before you actually begin tuning your equipment. Now, let’s continue.

Centering Your Arrows

As you release the bow string from your fingers, the arrow will tend to “wiggle” to the left and right as it clears the arrow rest. This is what causes archer’s paradox, and it can be clearly seen in action on the 11 second slow-motion video below:

Our goal when centering the arrows is to kind of “make up” for this bending motion that occurs on release of the string. Otherwise our arrow would land too far to the side of where we were actually aiming, even if we had the arrow point or sight aligned for the bulls-eye perfectly.

To center your arrows, you will need to adjust the cushion plunger or your bow’s arrow rest assembly, so that when you draw the bow, the precise center of the arrow point is positioned around 1/12th to 1/8th of an inch to the outside of the string, when looking at it from directly behind the string itself.  Take a look at the artistic image I drew below:

centering arrows recurve bow

Assume that the image above represents what you see as you draw your bow, and if you were to look from precisely behind the string. The red line represents the string, the black line is the arrow rest, and the little green line is the point of your arrow. See how that point protrudes slightly (1/10″) to the outside of the string? It isn’t positioned 100% perpendicular to the string, otherwise the tip of the arrow would not have been visible from this angle (the string would have obstructed our view of the arrow point). Here is another view:

centering arrow recurve bow second

The image above shows what we would see if looking at a drawn bow from an overhead view. The red dot is the tip of the string (I couldn’t figure out how to represent that, other than with a small dot), the green line is the arrow pointed at the target, and the black line is the arrow rest. On the image labeled “wrong” you can see that the arrow is perpendicular to the string. On the “right” image though, the arrow tip is pointing a little bit to the left (the outside – on a right-handed bow; for a left-handed bow, it would need to point out to the right) of the string.

This concept can be a little difficult to explain in text or even on video. If it’s still unclear, please take a moment and try to imagine yourself holding a recurve bow and then look at the images above again and see if you can visualize what I’m talking about. It usually helps. Your goal is to adjust the rest’s side loading attachment or the plunger (if you have one) so that the arrow is positioned 1/10″ to the outside of the string.

What Next?

I do not want to overload you with too much information, so I will end this part here. To continue, go to Part #3 of our recurve bow tuning guide


Add a Comment
  1. This is only if a rest/ plunger is going to be used…right? If the riser is cut past center and the rest material being used is leather;should the arrow be perfectly centered with the string?

  2. I also have a riser that is cut a bit past center and shoot off shelf using a bear hair/leather guard kit so the previous question really interests me. Mainly because my arrows are basically dead center and wonder what affect this has on flight characteristics plus outcome and if I should change something because of this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Privacy Policy