Last week I talked about The Perfect Bow Sight, which for me is a 3-pin slider. In this article I am going to talk about an easy way to setup and sight-in a slider-style sight.
The following instruction will walk you through setting up an adjustable, slider-style sight, regardless of how many pins it has. We are going to “pretend”, for now, that we are using a single-pin sight. For those of you, like myself, that are interested in multi-pin sliders, use these same instructions, but see the special section at the end of this article.
The “manual” process of setting up an adjustable sight for various distances would be to simply start at a close distance, say 20 yards, and dial-in your sight’s “home” position. From there you could manually walk back and sight-in at distances of 30, 40, 50 yards, and beyond, making a mark of where your adjustable sight housing is located for every distance. This process would obviously take a lot of time and be prone to shooting inaccuracies along the way. Luckily, we have technology on our side.
There are several software programs that can help you generate sight “tapes”, which can be customized to your exact bow and arrow setup and give you an accurate scale for setting your moveable sight at all distances. Some of these programs are fairly expensive and involve precise data input – such as a careful calculation of your total arrow weight and well as its exact velocity in feet-per-second. Fortunately there is a software program that is both affordable and extremely simple to use.
“TAPes” – The Archery Program Easy Sight
The TAPes program makes it very to create a custom sight tape for any adjustable sight, and doesn’t require any data input about your bow, cam type, draw length, arrow weight, etc. Building a custom sight tape with this software can be done in three steps…
- Print a scale and attach it to your sight
- Shoot at two distances, marking the position of your sight on the scale
- Enter the scale markings into TAPes, customize your sight tape, and print
As you will see, the TAPes program uses a scale to record and calculate the amount of sight movement necessary between two distances. This numerical scale does not represent yardage, feet-per-second, or any other data element; the numbers on this scale are simply reference points that we will enter into the software in Step 3.
Step one is simple. Print the scale and affix it to your sight. (See the example scale image on the right.)
This is where the real work is done. What we are going to do is use one pin to shoot at two distances, marking the position of the sight housing on the scale for each distance. If you are sighting-in a multiple-pin sight it is imperative that you use the same pin for both distances.
So, for example, on my 3-pin sight I set the housing to its “home” position and adjust the top pin of my sight for 20 yards. I note that location, “Point A”, on the scale. I then step back to 60 yards, and without adjusting any of the pins, move the sight housing so that the top pin is now hitting perfectly at 60 yards. I can now mark this location, “Point B” on my scale.
We now have two points marked on the scale that the TAPes program has generated, each of which will correspond to a number on the scale. The TAPes program will now ask us to enter the scale numbers of the close distance (“Point A”) and the long distance (“Point B”), as well as the yardages shot at those points. (In our case it would be 20 and 60 yards.)
TAPes can now, with the bit of data entered, work its magic and generate a custom sight tape for your setup. The sight tapes can be customized in a number of ways, allowing the user to select the starting and ending yardage, the line styles, the line colors, the position and size of the labels, and more. Here are just a few basic examples…
What about multiple-pins?
When the sight is in the “home” position, our top pin is already sighted in for 20 yards (Step 2). Keeping your sight in the home position, continue to sight in any additional pins by making adjustments to the individual pins. I have a 3-pin sight – setup for 20, 30, and 40 yards.
When using a multiple-pin adjustable sight it is vital to remember that only one pin can be used once your sight leaves the “home” position. It is best practice to use the bottom pin. The general rule here is that you print your sight tape to start at the yardage of your bottom pin. So, even though we built our reference points (Step 2) using the top pin at 20 yards, I can still use those same reference points to build a custom sight tape for my bottom pin at 40 yards.
When my sight is in the home position I have 3 pins: 20, 30, and 40 yards. My custom sight tape begins at 40 yards (see the first image in this article), and as soon as my sight leaves “home” and I dial down to 50 yards (or 63, or 76, or 89,etc.), I can use my bottom pin to shoot that distance.
I like the TAPes program because it is simple and affordable. I love that all I have to do is sight in two yardages and I receive a custom sight tape that will have me hitting the bullseye from 20-100+ yards. (At least when I do my part.)
I have also found it very effective to use TAPes to build custom sight tapes for various types of arrows. All I need to do to switch from a light carbon arrow to a heavier Easton FMJ is shoot my new arrow at two distances and then print a new sight tape. Once I have the reference points recorded for a particular arrow type I can easily print new tapes at any time.
TAPes is available from TheArcheryProgram.com