To tune arrows, one should shoot bare shafts (so called "bare shaft test") onto a target. If it's left or right of your "aiming-point", you should adjust the dynamic spine accordingly.

I'm afraid that my subconscious will mess up the bare shafts. How can I distinguish "wrong spinned shafts" from just badly shot arrows?

  • How would you 'adjust' the spine of the arrow? Replace the shaft?
    – fgysin
    Feb 23, 2016 at 9:30
  • @fgysin Different methods like shortening the shaft (gets stiffer) or using another point (heavier point -> weaker arrow, lighter point -> stiffer arrow) etc. This is called dynamic spine. More about this topic here: eastonhunting.com/blog/making-sense-of-arrow-spine
    – OddDeer
    Feb 23, 2016 at 11:00
  • Thx, now you mention changing the point I remember having played around with this a long time ago. Shortening shafts however will only work in settings where your arrow length isn't mandated by your setup (as in recurve bow + clicker). Or would some 1-2 cm difference already give you a noticeably different spine?
    – fgysin
    Feb 23, 2016 at 11:52
  • NP :) Yes, 1-2cm help already. Normally you take the uncut shaft and cut off 0,5" (about 1,25cm) until you are satisfied with your result. In extrem cases that's not true of course. If you've a draw length of 26" or something and the uncut shaft is 31", it doesn't make sense at all to go down in 0,5" steps :) It would be cut to about 29" maybe and then shortened step by step.
    – OddDeer
    Feb 23, 2016 at 11:57

2 Answers 2


According to this guide, it is recommended when testing to first shoot with fletched arrows before shooting with the unfletched ones, always aiming at the same point. It gives you a control group to compare with the bare ones.

Defects in the spine or nocking point position should affect the flight significantly enough to be able to distinguish it from bad aim.

When there can be errors, statistics are your friend.


There are table widely available to figure out the ideal spine for the archer/bow.

I don't quite believe in the "bare shaft shooting" because as M'vy said, there are defects in shafts, vanes, nocks, points and even weight difference would affect the grouping. The best thing I find is to fetch them and shoot. Number your arrows and check which ones are off the group.

I believe spines above or below the ideal wouldn't make much difference, at least for barebows or olympic recurves unless you're shooting in the olympics.

I shoot barebow for Field and compound for target and, as a comparison, I don't spend nearly as much time working on my field arrows then I do for my target arrows (specially the indoors).

There are also little tricks you can apply to your arrow tuning like heavier points with smaller vanes, shorter or longer arrows (always leaving some safety clearance) and so on.

  • These tables are for the shaft spine itself. Of course we are talking about the individual spine of a whole setup. Heavier points, smaller vanes and arrow length are things to adjust this individual spine. To know which actions to choose (shorten the arrow [arrow gets stiffer], using heavier points [arrow gets weaker] etc.) you need the bare shaft test. This reply doesn't even answer my question.
    – OddDeer
    Feb 23, 2016 at 7:11
  • I'm sorry @OddDeer but saying I need bare shaft test is a bit to far... I've never done and I usually spot which arrows are flying funny and re work them. Only need rework arrows a couple of times and another opportunity I have 2 defected shafts that the archery shop replaced without problems. So answering your questions, you shoot your arrows and check which ones are off outside the expected grouping but looking at your other questions "What is a long bow?" or "How to carry a bow?" I think you're over engineering the whole thing
    – Desorder
    Feb 23, 2016 at 19:53
  • How do you mean that? The "carry question" is related to hiking. I love to hike and shoot, so the question is quite obvious. How can one attach a bow to his hiking bag etc. However, what I wanted to say is that this is a "Q&A" site. You can't reply to "How do I eat bread?" with "I don't like bread. Don't eat bread!" This makes it different from a forum, chat etc. Also don't be fooled by my archery questions. I just wanted to let the topic/tag roll. I'm not a beginner whatsoever (shooting since 6 years now).
    – OddDeer
    Feb 24, 2016 at 6:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.