How to Level a Compound Bow Sight – you need to know this!


I know I say this a lot, but this is one of the most overlooked things to check when tuning your bow. If your sight isn’t leveled when you shoot different distances, your left-right windage will be off.

Now, if you are primarily a target shooter, you mightn’t think twice at the fact there’s a difference between your 50m and 18m sight mark. However, it becomes an issue when you go to shoot at 1440 (90m,70m,50m,30m) or a fita 900 (60m,50m,40m) and even the obvious field and 3D shoots.

But don’t worry, by the end of this post, you’ll have learned exactly how to level your sight.

By the end of this article, you will have learned how to level your:

  • 1st Axis
  • 2nd Axis
  • 3rd Axis

To level your sight, however, you will also need some equipment; they are as follows.

  1. String level Combo Set / Torpedo level
  2. Hamskea 3rd level axis tool
  3. Bow vice
  4. Alan Keys

I understand archery ain’t cheap, so instead of the strong combo set ( which is relatively cheap ), you can achieve the same results with a torpedo level. It’s just easier with the string-level combo set.

The same goes for the bow vice, which you could end up paying the guts of 500 dollars for. I just use a bicycle vice which you can pick up in Walmart for less than half the price of a new bow vice.

However, there is no replacement for the Hamskea 3rd-level axis tool, but trust me, it’s worth every penny!

And, of course, we’ll be using our trusty Alan keys ( but you already knew that )

1st Axis

To level your 1st axis, you will need to level your bow in your vice first. To do this, you’ll put your bow in the vice and attach the string level to the top of your string. You will know when your bow is leveled when you can rotate your string level around the string 360 degrees, and the bubble stays true no matter what.

To do this, you must level your bows on the vertical and horizontal axis. Manipulate your bow vice until your string level reads true in its given position, then rotate the string level 90 degrees around the string to level your bow on both axis. Again manipulate the bow vice until the string level reads true.

By doing this, you are leveling your bow to the earth; this is why you have to do this first. If your bow isn’t level to start with, your adjustment will be made incorrectly.

Now that your bow is leveled, take your Hamskea 3rd-level axis tool and attach it to your sight block. If your 1st axis is off, then the bubble from your Hamskea tool will be off.

Now to level your first axis, loosen the bottom 1st axis screws ( Screws that hold the sight block ), as seen in the photo below. Once loosened you’ll notice the sight block swivels.

Adjust the sight block until the Hamskea tools bubble reads true. Then tighten your 1st-level axis screw back in, and it’s as easy as that for the 1st axis

2nd Axis

If you manage to level the 1st axis, then this will be a walk in the park for you. Now that your 1st axis is leveled, we can now use that as a reference as we know it is true. So to level your 2nd axis, you’ll loosen your bottom 2nd axis screw (as seen in the photo below), and once you do, you’ll notice your sight will be able to move up and down slightly.

All you’ll need to do here is move your scope housing until the bubble in your scope reads true / matching the bubble on your Hamskea tool. Once they match, tighten your 2nd axis screw back down, and then your 2nd axis is set!

3rd Axis

The 3rd axis is by far the trickiest to adjust, but don’t worry; it’s not as hard as people may make it out to be.

I will state this boldly and for the record here: You have to adjust your 3rd axis by checking it at full draw! Anyone who tells you you’re able to adjust it without being at full draw is simply wrong.

With your Hamskea 3rd-level axis tool, you will get an alignment rod. Thread the alignment rod into your tool now. Note: for this next part, you will ignore the bubble in the Hamskea tool.

To set your 3rd level axis, you will also need a plumb bob line. What I like to do is stick a big sheet onto the wall and use a carpenter’s level to draw a plumb bob line.

Next, put all your attachments onto your bow (stabilizers), as without them; it will affect how much torque there is at full draw. Next, draw up your bow and place both ends of the alignment rod on the plumb bob line. Then start to aim at an extreme downward angle and note where your bubble in your scope housing goes.

Loosen your 3rd-level axis screws and follow the table below to know which way to adjust your scope to fix your 3rd-level axis.

Position of Bubble at an extreme angle at full draw Adjust your scope housing:
Bubble to the rightPush the scope housing towards the riser
Bubble to the leftPush the scope housing away from the riser

Once happy with the amount that you’ve adjusted, tighten your 3rd level axis screws back on and recheck your bubble at full draw again until when you aim at an extreme angle and your bubble stays true.

And that’s it. You’ve now leveled every axis of your sight. If you were just an indoor target archer, this might not apply to you as much, but for the vast majority of archers who will be shooting different distances, this will now eliminate all those pesky left and right differences between different distances, even if it is aimed at an extreme angle.

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Rogan Cunningham

Rogan Cunningham is an archer and writer for shootingcabin.com. He's a proud member of the National Archery Squad. He writes about his archery training, archery shooting, travelling with the national archery team, 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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