Check Cam Lean On A Compound Bow? (Hack that actually works)

As a beginner compound bow archer, I didn’t know much about how things really worked. To me it was just pull and shoot. But now I’m looking into every detail. I noticed on my old bow the cam lean was off. Who knows how much better I could have been shooting if it had been straight.

So , how do you check cam lean on a compound bow? To quickly check cam lean on a compound bow, place an arrow shaft on the cam wall and compare its angle to the string. An arrow that runs parallel to your string, means your cam is true.

In this post you’ll learn how to quickly evaluate your cam lean, you’ll learn how it effects your shot and you’ll also learn how to adjust it.

How To Check Cam Lean

Cam Lean, to put it simply, is – Cam angle relative to your drawstring. But why does Cam Lean matter? Here’s why:

  • Loading
  • Tuning
  • Groupings


When you pull back your bow, the energy in the limbs causes them to bend. The further back you pull, the more draw weight there is.  At full draw, the string doesn’t have much tension, but the cables (buss and yoke) do.

Then vice versa, at the resting position, the string is under a lot of tension, but the cables are not.

On a right-handed bow, the yoke on the right will always need more twists than the left, simply because of the way the bow is built and the way the cams are put on.

A left-handed bow, the yoke on the left will need more twists than on the right. That’s just a quick intro as to what it is now. Let’s look at what it does.


To bare-shaft tune, a compound bow, let’s talk about what you will need. I like to put up two three-spot targets. I’ve got my fletched arrows and bare-shaft arrows. I like to shoot and find a sight-mark for my fletched arrows at 18m or closer if you wish.

When I am happy with my fletched sight-mark (Your sight should not move!) I then shoot three fletched arrows into my three spot. Without moving my sight, I shoot my bare-shafts into my other three spot

Here’s an info-graphic you might find helpful. It covers a few different scenarios.  As you can see, for your left and right, you can move your rest or add twists to your yoke.

If you move your rest and you’re happy with the way your arrows are hitting the target,  go ahead and check your Cam lean.  If it’s off and you adjust it – it will affect your tuning. A little Cam lean is OK. I would say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…!

Excessive Cam Lean can be dangerous. If your Cam Lean is very bad, I would strongly recommend that you don’t shoot the bow. It can cause the string to catch on the side of the cams, causing the bow to derail. Which is not only bad for your bow but dangerous for you and anyone standing near you


Bow tuning plays a large part in your arrow grouping. I would suggest that you try to set up your Cam Lean to where it is perfectly straight. I check if my Cam is straight or not by putting an arrow up against the Cam and checking the arrow relative to the string.

When Cam lean is off, the arrow angle will show you which side of the yoke you need to add or take twists from. But like I said, if you have a little Cam Lean, that’s OK. You only need to worry if the Cam Lean is way too much.

At the start of the outdoor season, I had an old set of carbon ones, with a new set on the way, so I didn’t tune my bow. I had to work hard for every 10 I got. It wasn’t forgiving at all, and I couldn’t think why. I didn’t think tuning my bow could make a difference, but it sure can!

After a day of bare-shaft tuning, getting the rest in the correct position, and getting the bare-shafts to group, my bow was finally where I wanted it to be for the outdoor season. I found out very quickly that tuning your bow makes a huge difference. It was shooting well. Even some of my bad shots were catching the edge of the 10. My groups were the tightest they have ever been.

I’m not saying by tuning your bow that you are suddenly going to be the world’s best archer, but if you tune your bow, it’s going to work with you and not against you. And that is going to improve your score.

Related Questions

How long do compound bow limbs last? If you take care of your bow and are shooting it on a regular basis, it can last up to 15-20 years.

When should I change my strings? Strings can last from one and a half to two years, but it is advisable to change them every year.

You may find the following posts helpful:

How to adjust draw length on PSE

Compound bow string strand count

Bare shaft tuning

Rogan Cunningham

Rogan Cunningham is an archer and writer for He's a proud member of the National Archery Squad. He writes about his archery training, shooting, and traveling with the national archery team, and he also reviews all kinds of archery kit. He only writes about archery, what can I tell you?..... He's an Archer!

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