How to Tune a Recurve Bow – The Definitive Guide

how to tune a recurve bow

For a better penetration and straight arrow flight, tuning a recurve bow perfectly is necessary! If you are a seasonal bow hunter and concerned with your recurve Bow’s performance, then you must be worried about tuning your Bow too. However, do not worry now; you have landed on the very right page.

Tuning a recurve bow is an important additional issue though it needs a little guidance and proper way to perform the procedure. Most of the time, bow retailer bets that the Bow is already tuned, but in reality, the outcome doesn’t prove to be that good. This minor issue sometimes demoralizes a hunter. Moreover, foul shooting and failed attempts make it much worse!

If you are a total novice and don’t know anything about bow mechanisms, you should go to a bow maintenance shop to get your Bow tuned. However, you can easily tune a recurve bow at home. Just go through these simple methods, and you will find it easier than fastening your seat belts!


Why Tuning a Recurve Bow is so much Important?

If you are associated with bow hunting for a while, you might know that the fletching has a great deal of impact on your arrow flight. But big fletching sometimes can make a real mess. Long fletching can create quite a drag on your arrow and emerges thin noise while flying. However, if your arrow is perfectly tuned, you can relatively get away with smaller fletching. 

You won’t have to cover up your arrow performance with heavy and noisy larger fletching if your Bow is finely tuned. So, it’s a win-win situation for you. 

Step by Step Strategies to Tune a Recurve Bow

Cost: Zero

Time Needed: 5 to 10 minutes

This method requires super easy guidance and very little physical works. However, you will get it done in less than 10 minutes if you go step by step! So without any further ado, let’s get started!

Fully Install Your Recurve Bow with the Best Components

Before getting started, the first and most crucial part of tuning is to install all of your bow components. Because you will need to get it to the point and best of it when all the features will be there to take every contribution they have on your Bow’s performance. Things to check for are-

  • Bowstring
  • Stabilizer
  • String Silencer
  • Bow Sight
  • Quiver

And any additional component you prefer to take along to your hunting. Set up the entire set of them before you test your bow tuning, as with every adding or adjustment you will make, you will have different results every time. So it’s better to check everything after you finish installing them up.

Set Your Nock Height

Nock height, also known as brace height, refers to the measurement between the middle point of your bow riser and the loose end of the bowstring. So first, you will have to look for the best brace angle and height and measure the gap between these two components to tune your Bow nicely.

Nock height is a significant factor for a successful bow hunter. Most recurve bow companies recommend a setup nock or brace height for their Bow, which tends to revolve around five to eight inches. But shooting from six and a half inches, which is considered a little low, can be very effective. 

However, indeed, it differs from person to person. For example, if you are right-handed, you will have a totally different reading than a left-handed bowhunter. 

You will have to take your recurve Bow and grab it on the middle point of it. Take it in shooting position, then check the most comfortable nock height for you, and mark it. Make sure whether you are a nock left or nock right. Check if you are comfortable in a lower or higher brace position.

Learn how to nock an arrow quickly!

Test with a Bare Shaft

The arrow people regularly use for target practicing or real-life hunting has fletching sitting on its back. The fletching helps the arrow to fly straight and reduce vibrations. However, to check if your arrow needs further tuning even after setting perfect nock height, you will need bare shaft testing.

A bare shaft simply means an arrow without fletching and broadhead. You can find a few bare shaft variants available online, or use your regular arrow and merely remove the fletching from them.

Now take a bare shaft, set a goal, and check if your arrow flies in proposing or fishtailing way. Either way, it indicates that nocking point needs to be adjusted a little. But, don’t worry, you will just have to presume which little way to move and try again. After a short while, you will get the perfect point, and marvelously tuned recurve Bow.

Take a Paper-tuning Test

Hunters first applied the paper-tuning test a long time ago. This was the improvised version of the Max Hamilton test. This test generally ensures a good arrow flight. For example, you might want to know if your arrow will be flying straight and have good penetration. This test will help to eradicate those doubts for you.

Firstly you will need a setup for the testing. You will need a board attached with paper that will have free back to shoot through. You should place a field point behind the paper for safety. Now you can shoot some bare shaft as well as an arrow with fletching and broadhead. Check out the tear point to know either your Bow needs further tuning or not.

If the paper tear is done with a middle hole and torn from sideways, you can rest assured as your arrows have a good flight which means your Bow is perfectly tuned.


If you are out on a hunting trip, you won’t have any spare time concentrating on your bow tuning. So, it’s always better to tune your Bow when you are practicing. Otherwise, take some time to tune your Bow before you take it out on a trip. Unfortunately, people often make this mistake and presume that they have bought a perfectly tuned bow. You need to understand that tuning may differ from Bow to Bow and person to person. So it is wiser to tune your Bow beforehand!

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