If you know anything about archery, you’ll know the steadier you can hold the bow, the better your shot. There’s really only one way to achieve that. What configuration of weights do you run on your bow? There’s no right or wrong answer (that’s the beauty of archery), but I’m going to try to help you understand and visualize what your stabilizers are going to be set up like.
For weights on your stabilizers, you should consider the following:
- Length of stabilizers
- The angle of your back bar
- Mount that your back bar is on
- Bow reaction
- Center of gravity
In this article, we’ll look at differences in weight and the setup that will be best for your bow.
Length of your Stabilizers
When exploring how long your stabilizer bar should be in relation to the weights that you’re going to add, I always go with this example or experiment.
- Go grab a 5-liter full water bottle
- Hold the bottle close to your chest and feel the weight of it
- Fully extend your bow arm
- Note the difference in how much heavier it feels
What I’m trying to get you to understand with this exercise is the longer the bars are, the heavier any amount of weight is going to feel. That being said, for your front bar, the length should generally be the same as your draw length (or a little longer). Your back bar is pretty much up to you, but unless you’re very tall, anywhere between 12″ and 15″ is the sweet spot.
Using the example I just gave and a bit of thinking, you should be able to piece together the optimum length for both of your bars.
If you prefer a relatively heavier setup, then without spending a lot of money on weights, you should consider longer bars.
The opposite of this is true; if you’re looking for a lighter setup, get shorter stabilizers.
There are a bunch of different ways and combinations for setting up your stabilizers, but before you run out and buy, think about what setup is best for you.
The Angle of Your Back Stabilizer Bar
In the above paragraph, I explained how weight works/feels with a 5-liter water bottle. We’re also going to apply that principle here and throughout the article. The angle of your back bar has a lot to do with torque weight. The further you push out your back bar, the more torque you’re going to feel. The more weight you have on your back bar, again, the more torque you’re going to feel. However, this can be explained a little better.
Think of the angle of the ‘Base’ amount of torque you’ll get the further out you put the bar. Now think of the amount of weight multiplied by that base angle.
That is how much torque you will have. Now that’s not an actual formula; it’s just to give you an indication.
What I’m trying to get you to understand is if you run your back bar fairly straight and stack a bunch of weight on it, you’re still not going to get a whole load of torque.
It starts with what angle the back bar is at, then the weight that you stack from there adds to it.
If you kick your back bar way out to the side, with 2 ounces added, you’re going to feel torque, but now try it with 15 ounces.
So the point I’m making here is that usually, the closer you have your bar into the bow, the more weight you’re going to need to stack for you to feel that back bar stabilize.
The Mount that Your Back Bar is On
There are really only two places that you can mount your back bar on the lower part of your bow or on the same level as your front bar. Believe me, I’ve tried and tested both of them. This, again, has a lot to do with that water bottle trick.
The majority of people want their back bar on the lower mount. (I want you to think about this as if the center of your bow is where your rest is). This means more of your back bar is going to be affected by gravity because it’s further away from the center of your bow.
Now, if you took on board what I said in the last paragraph, you’ll know where I’m heading with this.
The further out your stabilizers are from the center, the heavier those weights are going to seem. Meaning if you mounted your back bar on the same level as your long rod (mounted on the front), those weights simply aren’t going to feel as heavy.
But because of this, you can play with your bow to make it feel whatever way is best for you.
I’m talking about making your bow-nose heavy or balanced. You can change your bow from being balanced to being nose heavy without changing any weights.
Simply move your back bar from the lower mount and put it on the upper mount with your front bar.
Now, of course, if you don’t want to run your stabilizer on the upper mount but you want your bow to be nose heavy, remove some weight from the back bar and add some to the front.
Just keep in mind it’s much easier to balance the bow on the lower mount than it is on the upper mount.
This heading really refers to how much weight you want to stack on both stabilizers. Either a heavy or a light setup. So let’s look at both:
We’ll start by putting a number on the weights. I can’t say this is 100% for everyone because some people are at different levels than others. However, anything that’s 5 ounces or below on the long rod and 10 ounces or below on the back rod is a light setup.
The main difference between light and heavy setups is sight pictures.
For a light setup, your sight picture is going to be very active. Your pin is going to float, but if you have your setup correct for you, that ‘floating’ movement that your pin is doing should be a pattern. An example might be bobbing from halfway of the nine ring on the left to the exact other side of the 9.
So there is a window there where your pin is floating in the ten ring. That’s when you really need to drive your execution.
That suits quite a lot of people. Even a pro like Jimmy Lutz shoots like this. But some people, myself included, like to shoot a heavier setup.
Again I’ll start with an example. A heavy setup is somewhere around 20 ounces on the front and around 20-22 ounces on the back. With a heavy setup, the main difference is everything is going to be slow-moving. Your aiming is going to slow down a lot. Your pin will no longer be floating. It will sit wherever you aim it. However, that’s only if you can handle it.
If you’re struggling to hold the pin in position, you’re going to notice big dips. Because you have so much weight on the bow, it’s much harder to get your pin back up into the middle.
Compared to a light setup, it’s easier to move back up because the weight is less. It’s a balancing act. You’ve got to be able to handle the weight you put on.
I’m personally shooting 22 ounces out front and 24 ounces on the back, and it’s aiming fantastic. However, if my fitness and training drops, I lose that muscle and wouldn’t be able to handle that setup, and I’d have lots of dips.
It’s about what works for you personally. I can’t tell you how much weight to run, but I can tell you what happens when you stack a certain amount of weight on your stabilizers.
Center of Gravity
The center of gravity ties everything together. Again with the water bottle trick. There are a couple more steps you can play around with. Quick disconnects play a huge part in lowering your center of gravity.
I am currently shooting an 8-degree down from Shrewd Archery, but they also offer a 20-degree down if you want to lower it even more.
Very simply, when you lower the stabilizer, you’re going to make any amount of weight you stack feel heavier.
The other option for doing this is the 20221 PSE Citation. It offers two positions for your front bar. So you can have a lower front bar without even using a quick disconnect.
Lowering your center of gravity is something I would look into if I were you. It gives the bow a different feel and different aim. For me, it definitely got rid of my high misses. For me, to be able to eliminate one type of ‘miss’ is huge.
So if you’re struggling with something similar to that or just looking to give your bow a new feel, definitely check them out!
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