How To Create a Precise Rest Setup for Improved Bowhunting Accuracy

Of all the moving parts of a bow and arrow outfit setting up and tuning an arrow rest is trickiest. Before you begin always read the instructions for your rest. Center-Shot Center-shot refers to launcher arms positioned so a nocked arrow viewed from behind, sighting along the cam flats, rides straight behind the bowstring. If done carefully this is often good enough to start, but I take an extra step to assure perfection. Attach a laser center-shot tool, nock an arrow and align the laser with the nocking point/serving center. Correlating Nocking Point A simple T-square nocking-point tool is then used to assure your D-loop or nocking point is positioned properly. Generally, release aids allow a dead-zero to 1/8-inch high nocking point, while finger shooters might position nocking points up to ¼-inch high due to the added pressure of two fingers under, one over. To fine tune use a bow vice plus bow and arrow level set, as launcher fork depth and arrow diameter can affect how precise readings are with primitive T-square tools. Correct by choosing a stiffer (or shorter) arrow, reducing draw weight, reducing point weight or adjusting launcher windage inward (toward riser). High or low tears are an indication of an improperly positioned nocking point, corrected by moving nocking point in the opposite direction of the tear; lower for high tears, higher for low.
Get everything dialed in for your bow and accessories, and when the time comes to make an accurate shot then it’s all on you!

Of all the moving parts of a bow and arrow outfit setting up and tuning an arrow rest is trickiest. You can leave this chore to a professional archery technician of course but I highly recommend learning to conduct this task on your own.

Learning to tune your own bow saves money, but more importantly assures independence should the pro shop get swamped with work in the heat of hunting season, or your rig break down far from home during an important hunt. Setting up your own equipment also instills confidence that it is done as carefully as possible.

With that spirit in mind, let’s get started.

Before you begin always read the instructions for your rest. I’ve been setting up and tuning bows (including a couple stints in pro shops) for three decades, but still find this step helpful. Every design is unique, and I often glean time-saving advice by perusing instructions. Too, before you begin assure your arrows are properly spined for your draw length and draw weight, consulting manufacturer arrow-selection charts if unsure.

A laser center-shot tool allows checking rest windage alignment from arrow nock to point end, giving you the most precise adjustments possible. If your arrows are properly spined they should then shoot perfectly after setting up in this manner.

Launcher Height
The general rule is to set launcher height so a nocked arrow passes through the middle of the mounting taps/holes when viewed from the side. Nocking an arrow is important, as launcher arms are spaced differently between various models. With a drop-away rest this might require disconnecting the activation cord (limb-driven design, spring continually tensioned upward) or wedging a piece of foam beneath the launcher to hold it in the shooting position (buss-cable operated system, spring continually tensioned downward). Ballpark is fine, as nocking point will be adjusted finely for clean flight.

Center-Shot
Center-shot refers to launcher arms positioned so a…

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