Tag Archives: accuracy

Extending Your Effective Range

Extending Your Effective Range with Compound Bows

Let’s say you’ve mastered the fundamentals of archery, but you’re stuck with an effective shooting range of 50 yards. Any farther and you begin to miss the 9-inch bullseye. At this point, how do you extend your range?

Extending your effective range starts with shooting a flatter arrow trajectory (reducing the arc of the arrow). There are only three ways to do this.

#1.  Increase Draw Weight

First, you need to transfer more energy to your arrow by increasing your bow’s draw weight. Assuming your bow isn’t maxed out already, you can increase draw weight by simply tightening down the limb bolts. Depending on your bow, this will increase draw weight by 3-4 pounds per full turn. Just be sure to tighten both limb bolts equally or it will mess up your tuning.

#2.  Reduce Arrow Weight

The second way to flatten arrow trajectory is by reduce your arrow weight. This should only be considered if your arrows are already overweight for the game you’re hunting. For example, you wouldn’t want to go below 400 grains (total arrow weight) for deer, or 450 grains for elk. If you’re strictly a target shooter, then you can go as light as you want. However, going too light can be hard on your bow because not enough energy is transferred to the arrow.

Now, the only way to reduce arrow weight is by using lighter points, lighter fletchings, and/or shortening your arrows. In most cases it would be best to start with a brand new set arrows from your preferred manufacturer. Look for an arrow with a low GPI (grains per inch). Lighter arrows are generally rated around 8.0 GPI or less.

#3.  Super Tune Your Bow

The third way to flatten arrow trajectory is by super-tuning your bow. Tuning improves arrow flight by removing slight deviations  in your setup, resulting in more efficient arrow flight. The longer it takes for an arrow to straighten out in flight, the more energy is lost due to air friction. Too much wobble also decreases arrow penetration.

Super-tuning starts with a good paper tuning. This involves adjustments to your arrow rest and/or nocking point. Throughout this process you may need to adjust your bow’s cam timing or cam lean. These adjustments require the use of a bow press, so unless you have the one it would be best left to a professional.

Additional Methods

Aside from flattening your arrow trajectory, there are a few other ways to increase accuracy. They include:

  • Regularly practice shooting at very long distances. This makes shorter distances much easier.
  • Practice “surprise release” drills. This is especially important for people struggling with target panic.
  • Shoot smaller diameter arrows that are more wind resistant.
  • Consider using a one-pin sight. Single pin sights provide better target visibility, especially at longer distances.
  • If you are shooting an older bow, consider upgrading to a newer, faster bow, preferably with two cams. Single-cam bows tend to shoot slower because they don’t transfer as much energy as modern two-cam “speed bows.”


There you have it, everything you need to expand your effective range. With today’s fast-shooting, dual-cam bows you don’t have to sacrifice speed or energy to get a flat-shooting arrow. Just make sure your bow is finely tuned.

When it comes to hunting, shot placement is more critical than speed or kinetic energy. Shot placement means putting the arrow in the precise kill zone for maximum damage.

Above all, make each arrow count during your practice sessions. Always shoot for quality over quantity.

Archery Effective Range

range Archery Effective Range

Spring is in the air and that means one thing: archery! It’s time to dust off that old bow and drag your pasty, out-of-shape, winterized carcass outside and do some shooting. Today we’re going to talk about effective range.

What is your “effective range”?

In this post we’ll answer the following questions: At what range are you an effective bowhunter? How do you find out? And why does it matter?

Question #1:  What is effective range?

Effective range–or effective distance–is the distance at which you can get all your arrows within a “kill-zone” size area of a target every time.

Question #2: How Do I Figure it Out?

The kill-zone on an average big game animal–like a deer or elk–is a circle 8-10 inches in diameter. This circle encompasses the heart/lungs area known as the vitals. The easiest way to learn your effective range is to shoot four arrows at a paper plate. A standard size paper plate is nine inches, so it makes a perfect kill-zone target. Starting at close range (say 20 yards), shoot four arrows. If all arrows hit within the paper plate, move back ten yards and repeat. Continue doing this until you miss one arrow. WHEN you finally miss a shot, you will know your effective range: It’s the last place you shot where you didn’t miss! So if you miss at 40 yards, then your effective range is 30 yards. At this point, you should begin working on your form and follow-through until you can consistently get every single arrow in the plate at farther distances. Until then, you should never take shots at game over 30 yards.

Question #3:  Why is it important?

When you don’t know your effective range, you will end up shooting beyond your abilities and either missing or injuring an animal. This will be a horrible experience for you and the animal, I guarantee it!

Shooting at animals is a lot harder than shooting at a paper plate. There are many psychological factors involved–primarily buck fever–which will cause you to miss. For this reason, you should also practice shooting in adverse conditions such as wind and steep elevation, as well as different body positions like kneeling and crouching–anything that will simulate an actual hunting scenario.

Knowing and sticking to your effective range is the most important first step you should take before going bowhunting. Not only is this a fun exercise, but a valuable measure of your skills. Expanding your effective range will force you to set goals and hone your skills.

Happy shooting!

7 Tips for Better Archery Accuracy

7 Tips for Better Accuracy

Advanced archers make shooting look effortless, but it’s only because they’ve put in countless hours mastering the basics. Over time the many components of form become one single subconscious step that happens in the background of the mind. Here are some key tips for improving your shot.

#1:  Keep both eyes open

Keeping both eyes open gives you a better sight picture. This is especially important with traditional bows. Because there aren’t any sights on a traditional bow, your focus is on the target. To acquire a more accurate target, keep both eyes open. I still do this with the compound bow, especially if I’m unsure of the distance.

Keeping both eyes open gives me more dimensionality to the target. Everything I do all day requires me to keep both eyes open, so why would I close one when shooting?

Try shooting with both eyes open.
Try shooting with both eyes open.

If you close one eye, you are viewing the world in 2D, not 3D. This is not how your brain sees the world. Because I don’t view the world in two dimensions, I don’t aim in two dimensions either.

#2: Don’t Aim

Proper form begins from the ground up:  feet placement, proper grip, and drawing the string to your anchor point. It ends with aiming, releasing, and following through. Of all these steps, aiming is really the easiest and least important.

In traditional archery, aiming is accomplished by simply pointing the arrow at the target. In the time it takes to master the other fundamentals, aiming will become “instinctive.” Therefore, your focus should be on consistent form and follow through, not aiming. If your form is correct, the arrow will find the bull’s-eye on its own.

Note: Correct aiming happens by aligning the string with your eye. This is done by touching the string to the side or tip of your nose. I won’t even loose the arrow until I feel the string on my nose.

#3: Touch your ear

What does your ear have to do with shooting? After each shot, your release hand should brush past your face and end up touching your ear. If you make this a habit, I guarantee your accuracy will improve.

Follow-through means your release hand continues back as your bow arm goes forward. If you allow your release hand to move forward on the shot, or up or down, then the string will be pulled–or plucked–out of alignment, causing the  arrow to wobble or drift side to side.

The best way to avoid errant arrows is to follow through straight back. Touching your ear means you’ve released correctly.

Follow through by touching your ear after each shot.
Follow through by touching your ear after each shot.

#4: Don’t flinch

Where the bow goes, the arrow goes.

Flinching is a major no-no. The two biggest indicators of flinching are a) dropping or raising your bow arm at the shot, or b) lifting your head to see where the arrow hits.

Neither your head nor your bow arm should move until the arrow hits the target. It’s normal for the bow to rock forward or back on release, but your bow arm should remain up and pointed at the target until the arrow hits. Your head—which is slightly cocked to the side—should also remain in frozen in position as well.

The best way to avoid flinching is to have a surprise release. A common mistake is anticipating the shot by focusing on the release rather than follow-through.

Instead, all your focus should be on form. As you reach your anchor point, the arrow and string will simply pull free as you relax your release hand. If you concentrate the release hand, the string will jerk out of your hand causing the arrow to miss.

#5: Use your back

All the power to draw the bow comes from your back muscles, not your arms. I refer to the arms as “deadposts” or “anchors” because they simply serve to hold the bow. The real power comes from your back muscles.

Your back is much stronger than your arms, and that power is transferred to the bow through your arms. Think of you arms as electric power lines which hang loosely in the air. The lines don’t create the tremendous power that surges through them, the power plant does.

The best way to tap into your back power is to stand up straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Upon release, your shoulder blades will continue pulling together—almost touching—while your arms pull the bow apart in opposite directions.

Harnessing the power of your back is the only way to load the bow with enough power to execute the shot properly.

#6: Don’t pinch the string

The most common problem I see in beginner archery is simply keeping the arrow from falling off the bow. At least half my beginner students have a hard time keeping the arrow on the bow long enough to shoot. This is caused by pinching the nock.

Leave a slight gap between your fingers.
Leave a slight gap between your fingers.

The string is gripped with three fingers: index, middle, and ring. As you draw the bow back, the fingers tend to bunch up and put pressure on the nock, which ends up pulling the arrow off the shelf.

To keep this from happening, simply leave a slight gap between your fingers as you draw. If the problem persists, try tilting the bow farther to the side and letting gravity hold the arrow for you.

As frustrating as this might be, the problem usually fixes itself over time.

#7: Loosen your grip on the bow

Frequent left and right misses are caused by torquing, or over-gripping, the bow. I call it the “death grip.” People death-grip the bow because they feel like they need to control the tremendous energy they’ve loaded into to the bow at full draw.

Heavy bows have so much power that we think they might fly back into our face if we don’t grip them tightly. In reality, all that energy simply leaves with the arrow and the bow falls limp in your hand. If you grip too tight, you’ll force the bow left or right. Remember, where the bow goes, the arrow goes.

Use a loose grip on the bow to avoid torque.
Use a loose grip on the bow to avoid torque.

To avoid torque, simply allow the bow sit loosely in your palm while resting your fingertips lightly on the front of the grip. This allows the bow to settle into its natural alignment.

The best way I’ve found to avoid over-gripping the bow is to simply touch your thumb and index finger together and let your other fingers float in front of the bow (see photo).


With enough practice, anyone can master the art of archery. Just remember that hitting the bulls-eye is a long-term goal. Your short-term goal should to master the basic fundamentals. I promise you, hitting the bullseye will come naturally given enough time.

Enjoy the process and don’t get discouraged. If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment.

Happy Shooting!