Paper Tuning Bow

Paper tuning a bow is when an archer shoots an arrow through a piece of paper in order to study the rip it creates. The rip is a “snapshot” of the arrow’s flight at that distance (around 8 feet) and depending on results, lets the archer know what he has to do to perfect his arrow flight.

When a bow is properly paper tuned, the arrows will be flying true. Paper tuning eliminates porpoising (up and down movement) and fishtailing (left to right movement). When you have perfect flight, you will have improved accuracy and arrow penetration. Several factors can affect paper tuning results. Let take a look at these important factors.

Paper tuning a bow – The checklist

  • Are you shooting with a torque free grip?
  • Are you shooting the right draw length?
  • Are you shooting an arrow of proper spine?
  • Are you shooting with good form?
  • Has your arrow rest been set up properly and is not interfering with the fletchings of your arrows? (if your fletchings show unusual wear, they may be coming into contact with your rest or cable during flight)
  • If shooting a solo cam, have you yoke tuned and checked the timing?
  • If shooting a two cam bow, have you checked the timing?
  • Is your bow to spec? (set up at the suggested specifications set by the manufacturer; brace height, axle to axle measurement, etc.)

If you answered yes to all eight of those questions, we can move on, but if not, revisit those specific links on this website to correct them. If you want paper tuning to be a rather pain free experience, it is best to make sure your equipment and form is not to blame.

How to paper tune a bow

  1. Fix a piece of paper so you can shoot through it. The paper should be fixed to a frame or fashioned so that it is not loose.
  2. Stand roughly 8 feet from the paper.
  3. Draw your bow and level out your arrow.
  4. With good overall archery form, shoot through the paper.
  5. Study the results.
  6. Adjust your bow if necessary and repeat the process until a desirable rip is achieved.

paper tuning a compound bow

Paper tuning results and suggested adjustments

These results are intended for an archer shooting a release and using a drop away rest.

nock high paper tunenock low paper tuning

nock left paper tuningnock right paper tuning a bow

Save and print the image below if needed.

paper tuning chart

Yoke Tuning to Improve your Paper Tune

In certain situations, no matter how far you move your rest, you will see a left or right tear in the paper. What can you do? Well, if you have a bow that utilizes yokes, you’re in luck.

If you getting a left tear with a right handed bow and have moved your rest in as close as you can, try putting a twist or two into the left part of the yoke. In order to maintain axle to axle length and proper timing, remember that if you add a twist to the left side of the yoke, you have to take a twist out of the right side of the yoke.

More information on paper tuning a bow found here.