Do I Re-Sight My Bow After Changing Arrows?

Do I Re-Sight My Bow After Changing Arrows?

The Subtle Dynamics of Arrows and Bows

When it comes to archery, precision is paramount. Whether nailing that deer from a distance or hitting the target dead-center at your local range, the tiniest of details can mean the difference between success and disappointment. And a question that has nagged at the heart of many hunters, including myself, is: Do I re-sight my bow after changing arrows? Well, the short answer is yes. But the reasons behind this ‘yes’ are deep-rooted in the intricacies of bow mechanics and arrow dynamics. Allow me to guide you through it.

The Harmony of the Bow and Arrow

Every bow and its arrow share a unique relationship. Just as you wouldn’t pair high-performance tires with a regular family car, certain arrows work best with specific types of bows. I quickly realized this was not a one-size-fits-all game when I first started hunting.

Anatomy of an arrow
Arrow with hunting broadhead for compound bow and crossbow isolated on white background
  • Spine Stiffness: This refers to the flexibility of an arrow. Depending on your bow’s draw weight and length, you’ll need arrows with the right spine stiffness to ensure a straight and true flight.
  • Arrow Weight: A lighter arrow might fly faster but not have the desired impact or accuracy, especially at greater distances. Conversely, a heavier arrow can offer more kinetic energy but might lack the speed.
  • Fletching & Nock: The tail end of the arrow also plays a vital role. Its design affects the arrow’s flight and its interaction with the bowstring.

So, Why Re-Sight After Changing Arrows?

When you decide to switch arrows for their weight, spine stiffness, or any other factor, you are essentially altering a piece of this harmonized puzzle. The flight path changes, the speed may vary, and so does the point of impact. Thus, to ensure accuracy and safety, re-sighting becomes a necessity.

The Broadhead Consideration

Sighting in compound bow

Adjusting the sights on your bow when changing broadheads is important in ensuring accuracy and effectiveness in your shooting. Different broadheads can have varied flight characteristics, weight distributions, and aerodynamics, which might alter the trajectory of your arrows. Especially if you switch between mechanical and fixed-blade broadheads, or even between different brands or weights, you may observe discrepancies in your shooting patterns. Failing to resight your bow can lead to misplaced shots. It is frustrating and unethical if you are hunting, as it might result in wounding an animal rather than efficiently harvesting it. Taking the time to thoroughly test and adjust your sights when you change your broadheads will facilitate accurate, consistent, and ethical shooting.

Steps to Re-Sight Your Bow After Changing Arrows

Before you start adjusting your bow sight, take a moment to run a few preliminary checks:

  • Examine the Bow: Ensure everything is right, from the limbs to the string.
  • Check the Arrow Rest: Ensure your arrow sits comfortably without any wiggling.
  • Test Fire: Take a few test shots to see where the arrows land compared to where you aim.

Adjusting the Bow Sight

  • Vertical Alignment: If your arrows hit too high or low, adjust the pin vertically until your shots match your aim.
  • Horizontal Alignment: Should your arrows stray to the left or right, make the necessary horizontal adjustments.
  • Test and Fine-Tune: Always take test shots after each adjustment. It’s a game of patience, but it can be the difference between harvesting game or not.

Practical Tips for Bow Sight Adjustments

Re-sighting can be a testing process, and there might be times when you second-guess your adjustments. My advice? Trust the process and stay patient. Small tweaks can make a massive difference.

Archer shooting arrow over a black background

Use Consistent Anchor Points

Your anchor points (where your hand or string touches your face) should remain consistent. It ensures that the only variable tested during the re-sighting process is the arrow change, not your stance or form.

Keep Notes

As a hunter, I’ve found it invaluable to journal my equipment changes and sight adjustments. It serves as a reference for future tweaks and helps me understand the behavior of different arrows with my bow.

Do I Re-Sight My Bow After Changing Arrows? Conclusion

Precision is an amalgamation of skill, understanding, and the right equipment in archery and hunting. When you change a component as vital as your arrow, you inadvertently tweak the formula that makes your shot perfect. So, the next time you ponder, “Do I re-sight my bow after changing arrows?”, remember the delicate dance between the bow and its arrow. And as I’ve learned over the years, always choose precision over assumption when in doubt.

Arrow Change FAQs

How often should I re-sight my bow?

Apart from when you change arrows, it’s good practice to check your sight settings at the start of every hunting season or if you’ve made any modifications to your bow.

Can I use different arrows without re-sighting?

While you can, it’s not recommended. Different arrows have varied flight characteristics, which can impact accuracy.

How do environmental conditions affect my arrow’s flight?

Factors like altitude, humidity, and temperature can influence your arrow’s flight. While these might not require a full re-sight, being aware of them helps make minor field adjustments.

Is there a universal setting for all arrows on my bow?

No, each arrow type and brand can have distinct characteristics. It’s always best to sight in for each different arrow you use.


  • Michael Hodgdon

    A firearm, shooting, outdoor, and hunting enthusiast for over 35 years. Thank you all for the suggestions on topics you would like to see; we'll keep posting as you keep sending them in. Please comment; we will try to answer all comments quickly.

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