How to Tune a Recurve Bow


What does it mean to tune a recurve bow?

Why is tuning a recurve bow important?

How do you practice recurve bow tuning?

Tuning a recurve bow, which can also sometimes be called fine-tuning, is the process of adjusting the settings and features of the bow until it reaches its optimal performance level. For example, although plenty of archers can easily shoot a bow and hit targets with a bow that has not had its nocking point adjusted, this change can make a huge difference in the accuracy and precision of each shot.

If you’re looking for a way to improve your shots overall and make it easier to replicate quality results when you shoot your recurve bow, then you might need to try tuning it. Tuning your recurve bow can be a somewhat tricky process the first few times you give it a try, but it’s worth it to learn how to do it.

It is always possible to ask the store where you bought your bow, your local archery club, the professional archers at your range, or your archery instructor to help you tune your recurve bow. However, if you can learn how to accomplish this yourself, you’ll be more able to understand your own archery in no time.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the basics of what you need to know in order to tune your bow. This information can make it easier for you to make adjustments and changes to your bow so you can create perfect shot after perfect shot.

Take your time reading through the steps to ensure you understand them, and be sure to accumulate all the items and equipment you’ll need before you get started. This way, you can give yourself an even greater chance of success, even if this is the first time you’ve ever tuned a recurve bow in your life.

Read on to learn more about how to tune a recurve bow.

Equipment and Materials Needed

  • Recurve bow
  • Bowstring
  • Bare and fletched arrows
  • Nocking point
  • T-square
  • Target(s)
  • Dry deodorant


1. First, make sure your nocking point is installed at the ideal location.

To do this, you can use a T-square to measure the 90-degree angle between your bowstring in and arrow rest, and then place your nocking point about ½-inch above that location.

2. Next, work on adjusting the brace height of your bow.

To do this, you can twist your bowstring to tighten the height, or untwist the string to loosen the height. After each small adjustment, shoot an arrow to test. When you find the position that makes your bowstring vibrate the least and make the least sound, you have found the perfect position.

3. Next, prepare a target, preferably a paper one, that allows you to easily see the locations of your shots after you shoot.

Position this target 20 yards away from you.

4. Shoot three fletched arrows and then three unfletched or bare arrows at the target, trying to hit the same spot with each shot.

5. If your bare arrows are hitting higher than your fletched ones, your nock is too low and needs to be adjusted slightly higher.

If the bare arrows are lower, then the opposite is true, and you’ll need to adjust the nocking point slightly lower.

6. Bare arrows that hit too far to the right of the fletched ones mean you need a stronger spine for your bow.

Try increasing the tension or decreasing the brace height. Bare arrows that hit too far to the left are too stiff, so you can try the opposite.

7. Finally, rub some dry deodorant on the bow between the nock and fletching, below the fletching, on the arrow rest, and on the arrow’s fletching itself.

8. Shoot the prepared fletched arrow and check the marks left in the applied deodorant.

This can give you an idea of where your arrow may be connecting too much to the bow, and which areas may require more clearance.

9. Depending on what the markings show you, try rotating your nock very slightly and shooting again until you get the clearance you’re looking for.

Try adjusting the brace height to help with this issue as well. Finally, you can also try recentering your shot, although this may not help with clearance issues.

10. Now that you’ve completed this whole process, your recurve bow should be fully fine-tuned and ready to shoot.

This process can be repeated every few months, depending on how often you shoot your bow as well as the kinds of archery applications you usually use it for.


Do you feel like you learned something useful about turning your recurve bow? With this information, you should be able to better understand the process of recurve bow tuning and put it to work in your own life as well. This process isn’t too challenging, but it can be confusing and tricky if you’ve never done it before, so it pays to familiarize yourself with every step before you ever begin. Don’t forget, too, that there are professional archers all around you who are willing to help out with this experience and explain any confusing elements to you, too.

But is this something you really need to worry about? Isn’t it just something professionals and Olympic athletes do with their bows? How do you know if your recurve bow needs tuning in the first place? Here are a few simple ways to tell:

  • If you are able to make very high-quality shots with exceptional accuracy but you can’t seem to repeat those shots very often, then you may be able to benefit from fine-tuning your bow. Tuning your bow can make it easier to repeat accurate shots and can improve your overall archery precision as well.
  • On the other hand, if your shots are precise but not very accurate, you may also be able to work on your accuracy by tuning your bow. You may find yourself taking better shots in no time when you go through this process with your favorite recurve bow.
  • If you notice your arrows aren’t getting enough clearance from your bow, this may mean you need to tune a variety of components of the bow in order to resolve the problem. Take your time doing this and you should be able to figure out the cause of the clearance issue in no time.
  • Finally, if you are having trouble aiming or feel like your arrows are flying too far in one direction despite careful and considerate aim, then fine-tuning your bow may be able to help. This could be a sign that your bow has simply gotten out of alignment and needs to be fixed.

In the end, the choice is up to you to decide whether or not you want to complete the process of fine-tuning your recurve bow. There are plenty of benefits to keep in mind, but the task can be too time-consuming or challenging for some hobby archers. If this sounds like you, that’s okay! But if you are interested in trying it out for yourself, follow the guide we provided above to help you get started tuning.

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