Thursday, July 19, 2012

Know Your Archery Gear and Record Your Settings

Learning things the hard way, or long way, is something that I have learned to tolerate and accept. I don't always like it, but things happen. By sharing my experiences it will hopefully help you avoid the same mistakes. It's how you deal with them makes all the difference. 

Have you ever become too comfortable with your gear? Complacency can set up shop if you aren't careful. You take it for granted and then when the time comes for a piece of gear to be fixed you forget what the original settings were. In turn, this makes it harder for you, makes the process longer than it has to be to fix and can be very frustrating. This has happened to me.

Please keep in mind before reading further that I am NOT pointing fingers at anyone but myself. This is not about what someone else did or didn't do.
On the contrary, this is about what I SHOULD have done. 

Normally, I take note of all my compound bow settings. My draw length, arrow length, draw weight of my bow, etc. What I failed to do was something very simple and drove me nuts. I had failed something simple and something we probably all overlook from time to time. Read on to find out what it was.

A few weeks ago, I noticed my serving was worn and slightly unraveling on my buss cable. It was right at the point of contact on my lower cam of my bow. It is not sharp, but the constant friction of cam to string wore it a bit. No matter what happened, I knew I had to get a new one. Why was this wearing away? A quick phone call and I had an answer. This sometimes happens on the lower cam of the single cam bows. Upon inspection I saw that was exactly what was happening. Three days later I had a replacement cable in my hands.

I took my bow over to my local pro shop and asked them to put the new cable on. A few days later it was ready for me to pick up. When I went over we talked about the fix, I paid my fees and left. My first mistake was leaving right away and never drawing the bow back or firing any arrows. That would have been the way to go, but no, I took the bow home and put it away. It wasn't until two days later when I went to shoot it that I noticed something was off. Shame on me for being hasty.

My first two rounds at the range were 6" high. I was at the center of the target, but I wasn't pegging the X. At first I thought my sight got jostled. I am using the IQ Bowsight and the little black dot was slightly off. I won't go into detail about the sight, but I knew it was off. So, without thinking too clearly, I adjusted the sight. I was still off and growing more frustrated. Dejected, I put the sight back to the original setting, packed the bow up and took it home to think about it.

Then, I got busy during the week and didn't take the time to try and figure out the issue. Nor could I hit the prop shop during the week. Or Friday get together at the archery range came. Brett and I met at the range and we shot our first set at 60 yards. My arrows were hitting 6" high once again. Nothing had changed, which was good to know. At first I thought maybe I was anchoring incorrectly, but after testing that out I was in the same place I always am. Brett confirmed it and we scratched our heads bewildered.

Suddenly, it hit me that my peep was off. I realized that I was adjusting my head and eye to the peep setting and not my normal setting. My peep was a half inch high. In turn, it was making my groups hit 6" high at 60 yards. Interesting, right? How about more frustration. What was wrong? I drew my bow, had Brett look at my form, drew again and we couldn't figure it out. My peep hadn't moved, the serving hadn't slipped, but it was off somehow.

I flipped the bow over and looked at the cam, cable and string. Now, when replacing a cable on a PSE Bow madness, you don't have to take the string off of the peg. You just replace the cable and you are done. I inspected the string loop, the peg and went back and forth calculating in my head. Then it dawned on me. My string seemed to be on the wrong peg! My draw seemed slightly long, peep was high, and I was shooting high. It was on the wrong damn peg! For me, it should be in the MINUS peg and not the normal/original peg. I put the bow away and plotted a time to hit the prop shop with my findings.

You can see the PLUS and MINUS pegs, along with the normal peg the string was on.

At the pro shop, they noticed I was slightly overdrawing my bow. Subtle as it was, it was enough to let them see that something was most definitely off. After some discussion regarding logic and the set up, we made an educated guess as to what had happened. The bow was on the press to get the new cable on. Something happened... a phone call, distraction, whatever. Then my string either came off the peg or was pulled accidentally. Someone was trying to be helpful and put it back on the peg. It just turns out that it was the wrong peg. So, we put it on the peg I thought it should be on and low-and-behold my peep was in the right place. My sight also lined up perfectly. Success at last!

In retrospect, I blame no one for this turn of events except myself. Now, you are going to be asking me why, right? First off, we have no idea how it happened. We can guess, but it would have gotten us nowhere. Secondly, if I had recorded what posts my strings were on I wouldn't be writing this. I would have been able to tell them right away what had happened. If I had taken the time to really know my set up intimately I think I'd have been hitting bullseye after bullseye for the past two weeks instead of checking my set up over and over.

To be completely honest, I am actually glad it happened. I am glad because it has taught me to not take things for granted (once again, thank you God) and to work WITH my local pro shop instead of against them. There was nothing to be gained by pointing fingers. What I gained was knowledge and understanding. We figured it out the long way, but at least we figured it out. I'll be hitting the range again on Friday and my confidence level is already high. I learned something new this week and for that I am grateful.

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