How to Set a Bow Sight: An Easy Guide to a Successful Hunting and Recreational Experience

bow sight pins closeup
Nick Stucker
Written by Nick Stucker

As a person interested in hunting and participating in recreational archery, do you know that shooting the arrows at the target isn’t an impossible task for amateurs, if they are taught how to set a bow sight properly?

But, most of the time, mistakes during the arrow releasing processes, gravitational force over the area you are located, and defects in the bow itself, can make your arrows fly in the wrong directions. However, learning how to adjust a bow sight correctly will improve the accuracy of your shots at the target.

You can hit the target always, if you adjust your bow sight, according to the shooting ranges measured in yardages and there are 10 yards, 20 yards, 30 yards, 40 yards, and 50 yards respectively. And, this knowledge is necessary if you want to have a successful hunt and enjoy this wonderful recreational experience.

Of course, getting there isn’t easy if you have zero experience in setting up bow sights, and we are here to help you out. The purpose of this article is to teach you from our vast experience in setting a bow sight, and then you will do it successfully and become proud of your achievements.

bow sight featured

Therefore, all you need to know is the secret of winning the games at all times; that is, setting the bow sight with precision using this easy guide will help you achieve your objectives and you will never be a match for your competitors.

Successful Tips on Setting a Bow Sight

Another name for a bow sight is bow scope, positioned on the bow riser to ensure a better shot at a target, and the accessories that can help an archer to fire arrows with precision are the lenses, circle, and pins. Before embarking on this great project of bow sight setting, here are some success tips that will aid your skills.

  • Ensure that the sight is fixed properly to the bow.
  • Streamline the arrows, bowstring, and pins on the sight proportionately.
  • Adjust the device and fire a good arrow at your target.
  • Take a record of the settings and positions of the pins with a pencil and paper.
  • Install a new sight to your bow if you notice inconsistencies during the firing period.
  • Measure or estimate the shooting range between you and the target, then readjust your top pin appropriately.
  • The frame of your sight can be used for an extra pin.
  • Continue to adjust the sight until it gets to an even position on the up or down axis.  

The Kit Required for Setting a Bow Sight

In addition to the tips above, you need some useful tools for a successful bow sighting such as:

bow arrows

  • Arrows – you need enough arrows to fire repeatedly in order to adjust the position of the sight correctly.
  • Bow – the major tool needed for this project.
  • The shooting range – here’s where your arrow is expected to hit the target.
  • Rangefinder – an instrument that can help you set up the shooting ranges for firing your arrows.
  • Allen wrench – a tool for adjusting the screws.
  • Mechanical release – an optional tool that will help you release the bowstring regularly and steadily.
  • Bow sight – a device affixed onto the riser of your bow to facilitate a better shot at your target.

You may encounter difficulties achieving your goal if any of these tools mentioned above are missing in your archery paraphernalia. Therefore, get all this equipment ready and let us practically follow the right steps to help you set your bow sight properly.

The Easy Guide to Set Your Sight

We are going to begin with the basics and groom you until you become an expert in the field of archery. Here are the perfect steps to follow and achieve your goals with ease.

Choose and Purchase a Suitable Bow Sight

The first thing you should do is visit sporting accessories stores or local archery equipment dealers and select a good sight that is suitable for your bow. They come in various sizes and styles and should be useful for the reasons why you desire them such as competitions, recreation, and hunting purposes.

fixed bow sight

Usually, bow sights made for competitions, are expensive more than others used for hunting or recreational activities. Therefore, make a choice and buy the type you need according to your budget.   

Examine the Device for Loose Parts

There could be some loose parts in your new device. One of the best steps to take while setting up your bow sight is to examine it thoroughly and see if there are unattached parts. This could affect the accuracy of your shots if some parts are disjointed; you may misfire at your targets every time.

Inspect the arrangement and position of the bowstring, arrow, and sight to see if there is any wrong structure. Then, you can adjust these parts using the Allen wrench kit already provided. Shake the rest and sight carefully to see if you can detect any fault with the gear.

Are the arrows damaged? Check to see if the arrows are bent or broken in any way.  Assess the fletching of your arrows for any cuts or marks and try to figure out if the practice point is fitted on them firmly. Fix up any defect before you set up the sight and start shooting.


When you see the arrows flying in zigzag or inconsistent directions, you should know that your device is faulty. However, you may not discover this defect if you are shooting at shorter ranges. If you aim at longer ranges, the arrows will definitely fly to wrong destinations. This will alert you that your gear has some loose parts, which you need to fix up properly.  

Attach the Sight on Your Bow Carefully

Installing the sight to the bow is very easy if you can read and follow the guidelines provided while setting it up accordingly using some screws that can hold it firmly to the device.  The sight has customized holes where you can attach it to the riser without hassles but do not forget that you may damage the system if you overtighten the screws.

Attach the bow sight at a right angle position and align the sighting pins vertically to the bowstring on the sight. Meanwhile, allow the sight to stay for some hours if possible overnight before finalizing the installation process.  

Mind Your Posture and Stance before Shooting

Professionalism in archery is based on three determinants such as your anchor point, posture, and stance, that means, how you stand to pull the bowstring and these factors will definitely influence the distances and ranges your arrows can fly.


Moreover, the anchor point is the area on your face that you must pull the bowstring to each time you want to fire the arrows and it must be consistent; else, there will be variations in your shots. The amount of force and energy driving your arrows will be determined by the distance you can pull the bowstring.

However, it is advisable to learn how to shoot at targets ordinarily before you advance to using bow sights to enhance your accuracy. Stand upright and ensure your feet are erect under your body, and then pull the bowstring close to your nose every time you shoot at targets.

Set the Sighting Pins on Your Bow Correctly

You can use an Allen wrench to set up the sighting pins at the center of the device. This procedure will give you enough space to adjust them in different directions for best results.

Fine-tuning the Position of Your Sight

There are various bow sights with different styles, colors, features, functions, and options; and these are the reasons why you should examine the device carefully before making your buying decision. Can you read the marks and enumerate the turns on your sight?

pendulum bow sight

Assessing these marks and reading the turns on the gear will help you to shoot at a bullseye target and you should move your sight up in ten lines after the topmost arrow if three arrows hit the top of the target outside the ring; then, repeat the firing procedures to fine-tune the position of your sight.

However, if three arrows hit the lower point on the target, it is proper for you to reset the sight backward in five lines, that is, divide the difference between the initial firing process and the adjusted attempts you made to get the number of times to fine-tune the sight accordingly.

Furthermore, raising the sight up will bring down the bow and you will shoot at lower angles of the target while moving it down will raise the bow up and you will fire at the upper angles of your target.  

If you decide to move the sight to the right side, the arrows will fly to the left and when you move the sight to the left side, your arrows will definitely fire towards the right. Continue to adjust and fine-tune the sight until you arrive at your desired target.

Prepare and Set Up the Target

Sighting in the bow can be an arduous task requiring a lot of time, skills, and many arrows before reaching the desired range. We advise you to to get many arrows ready for the exercise because setting up a target, needs a lot of repeated shooting attempts, which will definitely lead to loss of many arrows and some may get damaged in the process.

Moreover, you need to prepare a reliable target that can hold many arrows at a time and after each shot, you should use your eyes to trace the flight of the weapons in order to recover them.  

Mark the Shooting Ranges Correctly

Do you want to estimate very accurate ranges that can be suitable to fire shots at your target? If yes, then you need a rangefinder to help you mark off the yardages to the target. There are several ranges such as 10 yards, 20 yards, 30 yards, 40 yards, 50 yards, and more.

first bow sight pin at 20 yards

10 Yards Range

This is the shortest distance to the target and usually marked at 9.1 m. At this range, you can stand in a perpendicular position to the target; aim your bow and arrow with your eyes looking over the top pin on the sight and fire directly at the target.

You can repeat this exercise with some more arrows for accuracy and mastery, but always mark any point where you hit the target. Reposition the sight box on the bow if the arrows are always flying above the pin indications and you can continue the process until you notice that you are not firing over the upper pin.

20 Yards Range

This yardage is also measured to be 18.3 m. When you move back into this range, you should be prepared to repeat the sighting procedures as in the first stage. However, ensure to raise the sight box if you observe that the firing is not hitting over the upper pin and adjust the sight to your right or left according to the movement of the arrows.

30 Yards Range

After perfecting your skills at the 20 yards range and adjusting the pins accurately and suitably at that level, it is time to move back to the anchor of the device, that is, the 30 yards point that is also measured at 27.4 m. Adjust the entire sight box using the second pin on the sight and shoot some arrows at the target to check your skills and accuracy in this range.

adjustable brightness bow sight

If you notice some inconsistencies in the flight of your arrows, reset the bow sight and continue shooting while you make regular adjustments to the pin. However, this is the central part of the range; ensure that the sighting of the pin is correct because it may not be altered afterward.

40 Yards Range

Do not adjust the entire sight box at this range, but you can shift the pin itself because you will not move the box to the right or left again, but if you want to move it, you should return to the 30 yards range and adjust the sight box before proceeding to the 40 yards range.

This range is measured to be 36.6 m; however, when you fire the arrows at the target here, focus on the pin in the sight. Remember that the space between the 30 yards and 40 yards ranges will definitely be longer than the distance between the 20 yards and 30 yards ranges respectively.

50 Yards Range

Before proceeding to the 50 yards range and other ranges depending on the size of your sight, when you have concluded adjusting the 30 yards range and 40 yards range, you should return to the 20 yards range and fire some arrows to see if you still need to adjust the sight.

five pin bow sight

If you notice that the arrows are having irregular flights to wrong directions, reset the pin alone and not the entire bow sight. The 50 yards range is measured to be 45.7 m, you need to repeat all the procedures stated above in other ranges at this point and make the necessary adjustments accordingly.

However, there is 60 yards range measured to be 54.9 m and other yardages where you can adjust your bow sight and remember that the longer the range the better the test of your archery skills.

Use Pencil and Paper to Record the Settings

It is ideal for you to record all the various adjustments made on the sight and the different positions of the pins on a paper using a pencil. This will help you to refer to the guide whenever you want to install a new sight, or set your current one accurately for shooting exercises.

Continue Sighting Other Pins Accordingly

“Follow the arrow” is a popular slogan in archery; therefore, you should chase the arrows with your pins. If the arrows fly to the right and top of the target, you should move your pin high and to the right. Continue sighting other pins accordingly and repeatedly until you are hitting the bullseye consistently with every shot.

how to sight in a bow featured

Whenever you hit the bullseye at a 10 yards range, reset the top pin, move back to 20 yards range and sight a new pin for a shot that can cover the new range. The top pin will be a 20 yards pin and it is advisable that you sight a new pin every 10 yards beginning from the 20 yards. This process should be repeated with all your pins, therefore, 20 yards pin, then 30 yards pin, 40, and so on.   

Repeat the Processes

Practice makes perfect is a common saying and a good advice for a person that wants to excel in a career like archery and any other good endeavors. For perfection and professionalism in this field, you need to repeat these firing processes continuously until you have become a master archer.

What is the Big Secret about Setting the Sight of a Bow?

The big secret about setting the sight of a bow, is your ability to learn the skills from seasoned professionals like us and this will help you to adjust the sight with precision and shoot your arrows at your target from different ranges without missing.

Wrapping It Up

The bow and arrow are indispensable weapons to the hunter and invaluable accessories for the sports and outdoor enthusiast. Are you keen about firing at your targets with precision? Then, you need to set your bow sight, according to the desired ranges measured in yards beginning from 10 yards until you have adjusted your sight pins accordingly.

view through bow sight

Some of the necessary tools you need in order to learn how to adjust your bow sight accurately are a bow, bow sight, an Allen wrench, arrows, rangefinder, mechanical release, and a shooting range. Finally, check the sight for loose parts and ensure that it is installed properly on the bow before you begin firing at your target.

After firing the initial shots, adjust the sight and continue shooting until you are hitting at the bullseye consistently, then, you can proudly call yourself a brave archer.

Nick Stucker
Nick Stucker

Nick is passionate about weapons. He likes history of companies like Colt or Lockheed Martin, but also latest scopes, binoculars and laser sighters on the market and everything in between. Nick writes about different gear that could be useful during hunting, astrophotography, night vision or just for self-defence.