How to set up a basic compound bow

Lancaster Archery Supply TechXPert P.J. Reilly sets up a compound bow in this video. Reilly starts with a bare, Hoyt Ignite compound bow, and then adds to it a basic, LAS compound bow package.

The package includes an arrow rest, sight, quiver, wrist sling, stabilizer and five arrows.

Reilly demonstrates how to get a basic compound bow ready to shoot by walking through the steps necessary to properly install the accessories. This process can be generally applied to nearly any compound bow with any assortment of accessories. There might be slight difference in the exact setup of different accessories, but the principles demonstrated here will be similar.

How to change the draw cord on QAD HDX Ultra Rest

The Quality Archery Design (QAD) Ultra Rest is a popular arrow rest used by many archers today.

It’s a full-capture, drop-away rest, that’s triggered by a cord tied into, or clamped onto, the bow cable that pulls down as you draw the string.

From time to time, the rest cord can wear out, or you might want to change it to match your bow’s color-scheme or you might need to change it upon moving the rest from one bow to another.

In this video, Lancaster Archery TechXPert P.J. Reilly shows you how to change the cord on the Ultra Rest HDX.

This process would apply to most of the new QAD Ultra Rests. Some older models, as well as the current Hunter and LD Pro series rests, have a slightly different construction, and so this video can help guide you in changing the cord on those rests, but the process is not exactly the same.

DIY Arrow Repairs

There’s nothing finer than taking home a brand new set of arrows. The shafts are clean. The fletchings are crisp and pristine. They’re visions of beauty.

Spend a couple weeks on the range with those arrows, though, and they might not look so pure. They can take a beating, and get damaged. Learn a few simple repair tricks, and you can keep those arrows flying for a long time.


At some point, whether you shoot arrows fletched with feathers or vanes, you’re going to either lose a fletching, or one or more is going to be damaged and need to be replaced.


Of course, you can take such arrows to your local pro shop, and they’ll take care of them for you. But with a fletching jig of your own, this is an easy fix you can do at home.

Let’s say you take a shot with an arrow, and one fletching flies off or partially separates from the shaft. Some archers like to take such an arrow, strip off the remaining fletchings, and put three or four new ones on. Nothing wrong with that. And, in fact, if your nocks are glued in place, this is the easiest solution. Otherwise, you’ll have to cut off your nock, put a new one on without gluing it, and then follow the steps below.

With movable nocks, you can replace only the missing fletching. Use a stripping tool to remove any remaining vane material and glue. With carbon arrows, be careful not to gouge the shaft with the tool. You only want to remove extraneous surface material.

arrow stripper

When finished, the shaft should feel smooth where the fletching had been. Wipe the spot with a lacquer thinner to remove any remaining glue, followed by 100 percent denatured alcohol – 91 percent isopropyl works too.

Place your arrow in the fletching jig and spin the shaft, while holding the nock in place, until you line up one of the remaining fletchings in the spot it would be if you had just glued it in place in the jig. Now turn the arrow rotation dial one click toward the missing-fletching section. When it stops, you should be in the right spot to glue on a new fletching.

Clamp a new fletching in place without any glue on it to see if the spacing between it and the adjacent fletchings looks equal. Also check the distance between the nock and fletching to make sure the new one will match the others. If everything lines up, you’re ready to glue.


(If you’re using a jig that clamps all of your fletchings in place at one time, simply line up the remaining fletchings in the jig and glue the missing one using the empty slot.)

Those of you shooting the curly tape-on vanes can put your arrow in a jig like you’re going to fletch it. Using a pen, mark the spot where the replacement vane should go, then install the vane by hand.

Or you can use one of the tools specially designed to help line up these vanes. There’s the Beiter Tri-Liner Tool and the Spigarelli Spin Wing Fletcher. Both allow you to mark the shafts where you want to install the curly vanes.



It’s a good idea to get in the habit of checking your arrows for cracks. This can be done by visually looking over the shaft or slightly flexing an all carbon shaft. If your arrow is cracked, there’s nothing you can do to save it in its present condition. Cracks compromise the structural integrity of an arrow.

arrow cracked

Assuming the crack is confined to the end(s) of the shaft, you can cut off the shaft at least 1 inch beyond the end of the crack. That arrow is likely too short for your use now, but maybe you can pass it on to someone with a shorter draw length.


Carbon arrows don’t bend, so here we’re talking strictly about aluminum, and – to some degree – aluminum/carbon combo shafts.

Provided the bends aren’t sharp, aluminum and aluminum/carbon arrows often can be straightened. To do it right, you’re going to need an arrow straightener, such as the AAE Arrow Straightener or the Grayling Perfect Arrow Straightener.


With this tool, you can spin a shaft, and an indicator tracks high and low spots. Set the high spot under the indicator and press down on a lever that bends the shaft back into place. Some straighteners allow you to fix bends all the way out to the very ends of a shaft. Others will only work on bends more than about 4 inches from the ends.


Nocks crack and break frequently. It doesn’t take much of an impact to render them worthless. In most cases, all you have to do is pull them out and put a new one in place. Keep several with you at all times, and you’ll never be in a jam.

Sometimes nocks break off down inside the shaft and there’s nothing sticking out to grab onto with pliers. Pick up a drywall screw with a set of pliers, heat the pointed end and stick it down inside the shaft into the back of the broken nock. You should then be able to pull the nock remnants out.

If your nocks are glued, you’re going to have to cut a damaged nock free. Remove all of the plastic bits from the shaft end before gluing on a replacement nock.

Nocks can be prone to cracking from repeated use. As with checking your arrows for cracks, it’s also a good idea to check nocks periodically. If a nock no longer snaps on the string, it’s a good idea to replace it.


Hit something hard inside a target, or strike a rock on a pass-through or miss, and you can easily flatten or bend an arrow point.

With an aluminum arrow, you can heat the point to soften the glue holding it or its insert in place, and pull it out of the shaft.

You can do the same with a carbon arrow, but you run the risk of making the end of the shaft brittle, due to the heat. Overheating a carbon arrow can damage it beyond repair. If you’ve got a glue-in point, hopefully you used a hot-melt glue. Just heat the tip and pull the point free with a set of pliers as quickly as possible, using as little heat as possible.


Sometimes points bend inside the screw-in inserts in a shaft, making it impossible to unscrew the point. Slide something relatively heavily inside the shaft from the nock end. (Drill bits work great for this.) Hold the arrow in your hand with the point-end in the air, and then whip the shaft downward, so the drill bit slams into the back of the insert. This should break it free from the glue.

Be careful when you do this. That bit and insert can fly out of the shaft and injure you or someone standing nearby. So wear safety glasses to protect your eyes, and make sure no one else is in the room with you.

Now you can glue in a new insert and install a new point.

Paper tuning 101

Straight as an arrow.

It’s a saying that’s used beyond archery, but archery is its root.

Achieving perfect arrow flight, or, getting your arrows to fly as “straight as an arrow,” should be the goal of every archer. If your arrow flight is true, then the sky’s the limit for accuracy.

Paper tuning is one of the most common ways compound archers using mechanical releases determine whether their arrows are leaving their bows in a straight line.

(Shooting a compound bow with fingers is more like shooting a recurve bow, and Lancaster Archery Supply recommends bare-shaft tuning in such cases. That’s a topic for another day.)

Through paper tuning you can determine that your arrow rest, bowstring and nocking point are all perfectly aligned, and that you are shooting the proper arrows for your setup. It also lets you know if your hand position on the bow and your shooting form are both correct.

So what you’ll need to paper tune is your bow and some arrows, a frame that can hold paper for you to shoot through, a target backstop and a shooting range.

Your frame needs to hold the paper by all four corners, so it is rigid when you shoot through it. And the frame needs to be positioned high enough that you can shoot straight through it. You don’t want to shoot at a steep angle up or down.

There’s a do-it-yourself paper tuning kit made by .30-06 Outdoors that provides a frame and paper to shoot through. All you have to do is set it on a stand holding the paper at roughly chest height.

Place your target backstop 4-6 feet beyond the paper, so the arrow can pass all the way through the paper before it hits the target. You should stand about 6 feet away from the paper.


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Before you shoot, you must make sure your hand position on the bow grip is correct. Check out this article for information on that subject.

If you are torqueing the bow at the shot, due to improper hand position, none of the bow settings will matter. You will have erratic arrow flight.

Also, you must get a smooth, clean release. Don’t slap the trigger or pull your release hand out to the side. Simply pull straight back through the shot with your release.

So you take a good shot through the paper. What you want to see is a round hole with three or four slices extending out from it – depending on the number of fletchings on your arrow.

If you see that, yell, “Bullet-hole!” and don’t change anything. Your setup is perfect.

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Short of the bullet hole, what you’ll see is a tear that features a rounded end where the arrow point went through the paper, and a three- or four-slotted hole made by the fletched end of the arrow.

Think about the layout of your tear to figure out how your arrow is flying. If the rounded end is down and the fletched hole is above it, for example, then you know your arrow is flying nose down, with the point below the nock.

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Nock left tear.

Here’s a list of tears, and the most common remedies for each.

  1. NOCK HIGH – Move your nocking point down, or your rest up.
  2. NOCK LOW – Move your nocking point up, or your rest down.
  3. NOCK RIGHT – Move rest away from the riser on a right-handed bow, toward the riser for a lefty. This tear also can mean your arrow’s spine is too stiff. Switch to an arrow with a weaker spine, or you can increase the point weight on your arrow, which will weaken its spine.
  4. NOCK LEFT – Move rest toward riser for right-handed shooter, away for a lefty. This tear also can mean the arrow’s spine is too weak. Switch to an arrow with a stiffer spine, or reduce your point weight.
To start, the arrow shaft should be level from the nocking point to the shaft.

To start, the arrow shaft should be level from the nocking point to the shaft.

If you’re scratching your head over the fixes to the rest for point-right and point-left tears, know that many archers struggle with solving horizontal tears, because the corrective action is counterintuitive.

Logic would seem to dictate that if the paper tear shows the nock is left of the point – commonly called a nock-left tear – then you should move the rest left, to push the point left. But that’s not the case.

What happens is, the arrow wants to fly in the direction of the string’s travel. So if your rest is too far to the left, the point will kick to the right as it leaves the rest to follow the string path, and your paper hole will show a nock-left tear. Move the rest right to solve the problem.

Now what we’ve listed are common fixes for imperfect tears. If you try the suggested fix and you still get a tear, there could be issues not involving the rest or the nocking point.

Unless you’re shooting a single-cam bow, check the timing of your cams. These cams will have timing marks that allow you to see how they’re rotating. If one is rotating faster than the other, you’ll get paper-tuning tears. To synchronize them, you’ll need a bow press, because you’ll have to twist the cables. Or you can take your bow to your local pro shop and let them fix the problem.

If your arrow is making contact with the rest, that can cause paper-tuning tears. Spray your fletchings with white, aerosol foot powder and then shoot that arrow. If it’s making contact, you’ll see lines in the powder. Rotating the nock often will eliminate the contact problem.

Take three shots through the paper each time you make a setting adjustment. If all three shots show the same paper tears, then you know they’re likely the result of issues with your bow, rather than your form.

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