Where to place your side stabiliser – Top Tips

For me depending on what game I’m playing my side rod will be in a few different spots. Let me start by saying stabilisation is universal and no one thing will work for everyone but this is what I’ve found success with and maybe you will too.

The main topics to discuss here are as follows:

  • What mount the side rod is connected to
  • What angle to place the side rod at
  • How much weight is on the side rod

With that covered let’s start talking about it!

What mount to attach your side rod to

Here’s a tricky one because this is the biggest change you can make to your side stabiliser besides getting another one at a different length. There is a massive difference in feeling so if you only have one bracket for your side rod to mount onto I would take down all the measurements you need to be able to go back to where it was. However if you have a spare you can put it on without changing your current set up.

You have two options when it comes to where you attach your side rod to. I’ll refer to them from now on as the upper mount or the lower mount, and as I said for me which one I use depends on what I’m shooting.

Upper Mount

Upper mount is for my favourite season. Outdoor season, outdoors you’ll be fighting with the wind and as I’ll explain later you won’t want your stabiliser on the bottom for when you’ve gotta do this. The reasoning for the upper mount I feel you can have a good bit of weight on your bow if you want but you’ll still be in control. I’ve shot all my best scores with the side rod on this mount. I believe that it’s easier to properly stabiliser your bow with your side rod on this mount.

Now if you’re a field archer then it’s important that your side rod is on the upper mount. I have gone around a field course with it on the bottom mount and it makes shooting extreme up and down hill shots way harder than they already are.

Now this isn’t to say that the upper mount won’t work for indoors. There’s plenty of fantastic archers that use the upper mount for indoors and shoot good scores. Goes back to what I was saying that there’s plenty of things that work.

How do I put my side rod on the upper mount?

Some bows will have a threaded hole for you to just mount your side rod straight onto the bow onto the upper mount, however most bows will not. So here’s how you do it if you don’t have it. You’ll need a quick disconnect mount for your long rod with a long bolt to put through it. Place the long bolt through the quick disconnect and then through the side rod mount. Then with an alan key tighten the bolt into the top mount where your long rod should thread into. This can be tricky keeping both of these level while you’re tightening it. If you’ve got a buddy you could definitely use him for this, if you’re solo then what I advise doing is when you’re getting to the end of the bolt and it’s about to be fully tight make sure both the side rod mount and the quick disconnect are off to the left so when you tighten it down fully they will fall to the right ending up in the right spot. You might not get this first time but play with it you’ll get it eventually it’s all trial and error.

Lower Mount

Now the lower mount. The lower mount I love using for indoor season. The reason for this is that you can get your bow to hold way more stable with your side rod on the lower mount. When your indoors the only real thing you have to worry about is will the lighting be good, there aren’t any other huge factors which is why you can get away with it on the bottom. The reason for this is that because your side rod is further away from your long rod so both rods are off setting each others weight which makes it steadier.

However if you bring that set up outside you’ll definitely struggle more than someone who has their side rod up top. Again nothing stops you form running the lower mount outside and there have been good archers who set up their bow that way this is just personal experience.

What Angle should be side rod be at?

Lets talk angles because it feels like I’ve tried every angle that I could before I settled on something I liked. There’s a range of angles that I feel work best and those angles are slightly different depending on if your running the upper or lower mount.

Upper mount angles

I to this day always believe that you can be way more adventurous with what angle you want to use when your side rod is on the upper mount. When I talk about the angles of the side rod I’ll be talking in terms of both x and y axis (up and down angles and left and right angles). So for the upper mount usually where I like to start is when you have the quick disconnect it’s usually either an 8 degree down or a 10degree.

Whatever the case may be start out by matching that angle with your side rod. If you’ve an 8 degree down for example start out by placing your side rod 8 degrees down as well. If you have a quick disconnect that’s got no angle on it I would recommend to start at about 5 degrees down. Generally for the upper mount you’ll want to run your side rod down anywhere in the range of 5-15 degrees is the broad range where I’ve had success. The reason for this is that your side rod is already high enough so you’ll need to throw some of the weight that’s on your side rid downwards to counter act the weight that’s on your long rod that’s also going downwards.

But what about the x axis. This ones a little trickier to nail but once you do you more than likely won’t be moving it. The trick here is to not only balance how much resistance you want to feel against you while you shoot, but also to have your bubble in the middle when you get back to full draw. Some people shoot with no angle and that is perfectly normal, but others do need their side rod to be out a bit. The inherent reason for this is we all to some degree torque our bows. No one out there shoots their bow with no torque, but some have more than others. So the people with more may need more resistance against them and need their side rod out further. You’ll find the broad range of angles that will work are anywhere between 0-25 degrees. But you’ll know fairly quick if you need your side rod out far. If you put no angle on it and go to shoot it and your aiming pattern is all over the place you’ll need a bit of resistance. The aim is to be comfy and not feel like something is dragging you in the direction that you put it out at and while your at full draw then have your bubble in your scope in the middle. Trust me once you get those two things figure out you’ll have found your sweet spot within half a degree.

To get the two to balance is not too difficult. If you feel like you’re being pulled too far out then chances are your bubble will also be out the same direction.

Again this is all trial and error but what I will say is once you’ve found a spot that works for you you won’t end up changing it for a while. I play around with my y axis a lot but my x axis has stayed the same for quite some time.

All this is from my personal experience if you find something that works for you at some crazy angle then I can’t dispute that, it’s the beauty of archery there’s no wrong answers

How will I know where to place the angle of my side rod?

This again is a lot of trial and error. As I said you will more than likely be in that range of angles. Now there’s nothing to say that you can’t have success outside that range I’m only saying for the people I have helped they have also been inside that range as well. I’ll try to break it down for you, the lower down you place the side rod using the angles the heavier the weight on your bow is going to seem. What will also happen is the grip of your bow will also want to press against your hand more as the bow will be more balanced backwards. Some say having the bow press against your hand fully is a bad thing but I never felt like it was.

Have you ever felt like the bow was aiming just a little low. Like it was aiming rick steady 6 o clock in the 9 ring. That is a y axis problem. When that happens here’s what you do. Very carefully know what angle your at and go up half a degree. When you do this you’ll make your bow seem ever so slightly lighter and it will still aim super solid but you’ll be able to keep it in the 10 ring no problem. Took me a while to figure out how much of an angle I needed to make that happen but once I figured it out it’s saved me from a lot of days that my bow just felt a tiny bit too heavy.

Lower mount

The lower mount is definitely a bit easier with the angles. For the y axis you generally don’t need anything crazy because your side rod is already lower than it was on the upper mount. Generally anywhere between 0-5 degrees downwards will do the trick. A lot of the y axis is done for you because of the mount that it’s on. It generally wouldn’t matter if you have a quick disconnect on your front rod going out at 8 degrees downwards it will still be within that 0-5 degree range.

Again because your side rod is already lower your bow will want to sit into your hand no matter the angle you put it to so you won’t need to worry about that if you are changing the angle of it.

The x axis again is a little bit trickier. The range of angles you’ll generally have success in is anywhere between 0-10. It’s the same principle as the side rod on the upper mount you don’t want too much pressure pulling against you and you want your bubble in the middle. However, a problem you may run into depending on how much weight is on your bow, you may have to run your side out a little further than you thought you would. This is a problem for me as I shoot with a 15″ side bar and have about 30oz on it. So you can imagine it’s quite long. This next part is important. It is illegal to have any other part if your bow touching any part of your body as this is seen as another reference point. So if your side rod is close to you there could be a chance that a judge would call you up on it. So you’ll need to run it out far enough so that it’s not ever touching your body.

How much weight should be on my stabilisers?

Now here’s a touchy subject. I know I’ve said this before every topic but weight is personal to everyone, what is perfect for me may not be perfect for you. You could generally know if you like to shoot with a lot of weight or not a lot of weight, and either way is completely acceptable.

Upper mount

On all my set ups I generally run a fair bit of weight so instead of talking about how much weight I would have on my bows I’ll talk about the ratio of which that weight is distributed. For the upper mount I have found that a ratio of 1:1.5 is the best weight set up to run. This simply means for every 1oz you put on your front rod you’ll put 1.5oz on your back bar. Last year for outdoor I shot with 16oz out front and 25oz on back and it held solid. Having your weight set up like this means your bow isn’t nose heavy because of the weight offsetting the length of the long rod. You see some guys when the shoot they let their bow swing like a recurve bow that means their upper mount set up ratio is around about 1:1. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a 1:1 ratio either, with the amount of weight on your bow it is a very personal choice. You may be close to 1:1.5 but it might not be exactly that.

Lower mount

The lower mount works a little bit differently. If you think about it when you have your side rod on the lower mount it is further away from your long rod. When you add weight to your long rod your then offsetting it with any weight you add to your side rod. So you can generally get away with putting on more weight because you are offsetting the weight on your long rod. The ratio on the lower mount is usually about 1:2. This makes for a slower moving sight picture just simply because you can have way more weight on your bow without it feeling nose heavy because the side rod is offsetting so much of the weight out front.

There it is just about everything I can share about setting up your stabilisers. I’m sure you picked up on a thing or two. The best way to decide if your going to go with upper or lower mount is to get out there and try it. No two people will shoot the same so it’s important that you find out what works the best for you with your set up.

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, 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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