How To Set Up A Compound Bow? ( First To Last Guide )

If you’re an avid hunter or archer, setting up a compound bow is a must.

Though for beginners, it is hard to maintain all the steps, you should do that.

Not only that, you have to set it up accurately for the utmost accuracy and versatility.

As per my own experience, the more you go over ranges beyond 40 yards, the accuracy will decrease in a cumulative way.

So, to prevent accuracy while shot, the setup process is a key option.

Here is how you can do that –

  • Attach the bow’s limbs to the riser.
  • Adjust the draw weight and length according to your preference.
  • Install the arrow rest and nocking point.
  • Mount the sight and align it with the bowstring.
  • Attach and adjust the stabilizers.
  • Tune the bow by adjusting the peep sight and rest for accuracy.
  • Finally, test and fine-tune the bow’s performance through practice and adjustments.

Setting up a compound bow may seem intimidating at first, but with the right tools and a bit of patience, it’s a straightforward process that can be done at home.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of setting up a compound bow in different easy steps.

What Are The Basic Tools Need to Set up a Compound Bow?

To set up a compound bow, you’ll need several basic tools and equipment. Here’s a list of the essential items:

  • Compound Bow
  • Bow Press
  • Allen Wrench Set
  • Bowstring Wax
  • Serving Thread and Serving Tool
  • Nocking Pliers
  • D-Loop Pliers
  • Arrow Rest
  • Peep Sight and Serving Thread
  • Sight and Stabilizer Adjustment Tools
  • Bow Scale
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Setting Up Your Compound Bow: A Step-by-Step Guide

We know you’re in a hurry to read the whole article, But I consider the answer to every step, therefore-

Step 1: Measuring Draw Length

Determining your draw length is crucial for proper setup.

To measure it, extend your arms and measure your wingspan from fingertip to fingertip.

Divide the result by 2.5 to calculate your draw length.

Step 2: Setting Draw Weight

Adjusting the draw weight involves tightening or loosening the limb bolt with an Allen wrench.

Consult your compound bow’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for specific guidelines on draw weight adjustments.

Step 3: Cam Timing Adjustment

Check the timing marks on both cams using a bow press.

If the cable is favored on top of the marks, shorten it; if it’s on the bottom, lengthen it.

Twist the cable strands in the corresponding direction to achieve the desired timing.

Step 4: Installing the Peep Sight

Mount the peep sight on the bowstring to help align your anchor point and sights consistently.

Since every individual is different, the peep sight cannot be set at the factory.

You can either set it up yourself or seek assistance at a shop.

Step 5: Determining Arrow Length

Based on your draw length measurement, stand straight and measure the distance from the front of your hand (pressed against a wall) to the corner of your mouth.

Avoid choosing arrows longer than your measured value to maintain accuracy.

Step 6: Arrow Rest Installation

Follow the manual instructions provided by your compound bow manufacturer for setting up the arrow rest.

Use a bow press and adjust the elevation to ensure proper positioning of the arrow.

Step 7: Finding the Nock Point

Utilize a T-square to locate the parallel point of the string to the cushion buttonhole, whether using a brass nock set or a string loop.

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This tool guarantees accurate placement of the nock point.

Step 8: Tying the D-Loop

After determining the nock point, create a D-loop using a cord. Cut the cord to a length of approximately 4.25 to 4.75 inches, burn the ends for a neat finish, and tie it into a D-shape at the nock point on the string.

Step 9: Paper Tuning

Perform paper tuning to assess arrow flight and make necessary adjustments.

Shoot arrows through a sheet of paper and analyze the tears in the paper to identify any inconsistencies or tuning issues.

Can You Setup A Compound Bow Without Tools?

Setting up a compound bow without any tools can be quite challenging and may not yield optimal results.

While it’s possible to make some basic adjustments without tools, having the necessary equipment greatly facilitates the setup process and ensures accuracy.

Here are a few steps you can take without tools, although it’s highly recommended to use the appropriate tools for a proper setup:

Adjusting Draw Length:

Unfortunately, adjusting draw length without tools is difficult since it requires measuring and making precise changes.

It’s best to consult a professional or use a bow press and Allen wrench to make the necessary adjustments.

Setting Draw Weight:

Changing draw weight typically involves using an Allen wrench to tighten or loosen the limb bolts.

Without this tool, adjusting the draw weight becomes challenging, and you may not achieve the desired weight accurately.

Cam Timing Adjustment:

Correcting cam timing without a bow press and the appropriate tools is nearly impossible.

The timing marks on the cams require precision adjustments, which can only be achieved using the recommended equipment.

Installing Accessories:

Installing items like a peep sight, arrow rest, or D-loop usually requires specific tools like pliers or Allen wrenches.

Without these tools, it becomes difficult to securely and accurately install these accessories.

While it may be tempting to set up a compound bow without tools, it’s highly recommended to use the appropriate equipment.

Why compound bow setup is more expensive than recurve?

While it’s difficult to provide an exact cost breakdown without specific data, there are several factors that can contribute to the perception that compound bow setup is more expensive than recurve bows.

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Here’s an analysis comparing some potential cost factors between compound and recurve bows:

Bow Price Range: Compound bows generally have a wider price range compared to recurve bows.

Compound bows can range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars, depending on the brand, model, and features.

Recurve bows, on the other hand, often have a more limited price range, with entry-level bows starting around $100 and high-end Olympic-style recurve bows averaging around $500-$1000.

Accessories and Attachments: Compound bows typically require more accessories and attachments for optimal performance.

These may include sights, arrow rests, stabilizers, releases, and specialized quivers.

These additional components can significantly add to the overall cost of setting up a compound bow.

Recurve bows, while also requiring accessories like sights and stabilizers, generally have fewer specialized attachments, making the setup less costly.

Technology and Engineering: Compound bows are known for their advanced technology and intricate engineering.

They incorporate features like cams, cables, and pulley systems, which require precise manufacturing and assembly.

The research and development invested in these technologies often contribute to the higher cost of compound bows compared to the simpler design of recurve bows.

Customization and Tuning: Compound bows offer a high level of customization and tuning options to match an archer’s individual preferences and shooting style.

This customization often involves additional costs, such as purchasing different modules or cams to adjust draw length and draw weight.

Recurve bows, while customizable to some extent, generally have fewer options for customization, resulting in potentially lower setup costs.

Maintenance and Equipment: Compound bows may require specialized equipment like bow presses and tuning tools for adjustments and maintenance.

These tools can be expensive and add to the overall cost of owning and setting up a compound bow.

Recurve bows, on the other hand, often require fewer specialized tools for basic setup and maintenance.

It’s important to note that these cost factors can vary based on individual preferences, brand choices, and the level of competition or recreational shooting one is involved in.

The table below provides a general comparison of potential cost factors for compound and recurve bows:

Cost FactorsCompound BowRecurve Bow
Bow Price RangeWide rangeLimited range
AccessoriesMore attachmentsFewer attachments
Technology/EngineeringAdvanced featuresSimpler design
CustomizationHighly customizableLimited customization
Maintenance/EquipmentSpecialized toolsBasic tools