How Important Is Bare Shaft Tuning – Helpful tips

The last time I bare shaft tuned, I was genuinely surprised to find a damaged arrow, I just hadn’t noticed any issue with the arrow when shooting, but the arrow just wasn’t right.

Bare shaft tuning is important. A damaged arrow spine or bow issue may cause arrows to fly to the left or right, which the arrow fletches may conceal. Removing the fletches and bare shaft tuning helps identify those issues.

I think I end up saying this quite a lot, but here’s the beauty of archery, there are no abs. There will not ever be one right way to do something. What works for someone else’s setup may not work for yours. 

What I’m saying is there’s more than one way to tune your bow, but is bare shaft tuning the easiest for you? Let’s find out. 

If you want to know how to bare shaft tune, you can look at this article here.

Are Arrows Straight

Plain and simple, if an arrow is not straight while you’re trying to tune with it, you’ll be like a dog chasing its tail. You’ll never achieve the perfect tune with bent arrows.

I would generally tune with three arrows on a three-spot target. Find your best(straightest) arrows and use them to tune. I can’t stress enough how vital it is. 

It’s the difference between having a killer tune or sitting back scratching the top of your head saying, ‘that doesn’t make sense at all’ Ideally, you’d want to have an arrow spinner to check what arrows are near perfect.

But if you don’t have an arrow spinner, you can also spin them on the palm of your hand. This takes a bit of practice, but when you can do it, you’ll be able to feel while the arrow is spinning if it’s straight or not.

I will say as a side note, I find my outdoor arrows that are catching to stay a lot straighter than my indoors that are alloys, just simply through use. Wear and tear. 

Breaking A Clean Shot 

Bare Shaft tuning is partially got to do with you, the archer. What needs to happen is your execution must be perfect, and your shot needs to break in the middle, and that’s a big ask sometimes if you’re outside trying to tune fighting conditions. Sometimes it’s just not possible.

However, if you had a hooter-shooter, I’m pretty sure you would bare shaft tune all day long. For those of you who don’t know, a hooter-shooter is a machine that pulls your bow back and shoots the arrow the exact same way every single time. Bare shaft tuning would be a breeze, but not a whole bunch of people have one. 

So here’s the problem, what I’m saying is I’ll never be able to 100% confidently say that the shot I just took with my bare shaft was absolutely perfect. It’s not repeatable all the time. We are humans, after all. With everything involved with bare shaft tuning, at some point, you’ve got to say to yourself, is it worth all the effort? 

What Distance Your Shooting From 

It took me a while to figure this one out. But in my case, there was this sweet spot where I was fat enough away from the target so I could visibly see the changes I was making to my rest. But I wasn’t too far away that my bow was un-tunable. 

That was somewhere around 10-12 yards. Some people say to do it closer. Others say to do it further away. But in my situation, that’s what worked.

The further away you are from the target, the more that you’ll have to move your rest. Sometimes it gets to a point where you’re so far out from your center shot that you’ll know it’s wrong, and you’re too far away from your target. 

If you’re too close, then almost anything you shoot will look good. So getting back to 10-12 yards is the perfect happy medium. 

I’m not saying bare shaft tuning is a bad thing, but all of the factors involved, I think it’s a lot of work for not a whole lot of payout. I think I’ll stick to paper tuning. 

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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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