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Shooting compound long distances / adjusting sights



I am a beginner at archery and recently bought a compound bow because I was told that you could shoot long distances using them. But when I went to the archery range and tried shooting at the long range I couldn't even hit the target. The arrows didn't even go half way. When I tried adjusting the sight higher the arrows kept going roughly the same spot. I used the peep sight and everything they said to use in the store, but I cannot figure out what I am doing wrong.

Someone at the range said I was shooting at the 90 yard range, which doesn't seem that far to me. My arrows are flying at 305 feet per second so 90 yards (270 feet) should be no big deal. Why are my arrows only going halfway?

- Geoffrey C."


Oh wow.

#1. Your arrows may be traveling at 305 fps, but they are still arcing downwards as they fly through the air. You need to be aiming higher - which on a compound bow means moving the sight lower. See #4.

#2. You really need to practice at shorter distances first. Especially if you are a complete beginner. Start at 20 yards and sight in the top pin. Then go to 30 yards and sight the next lowest pin. Then 40 yards, 50 yards, etc. If you just purchased the bow it likely came with a 3 pin sight, which means you are very limited in what ranges you can shoot accurately using the pins.

8 Pin Compound Sight
If you get a 5 pin sight then you can sight in 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 yards. Or you could do 20 yard increments: 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100. Obviously having a 5, 6, 7 or 8 pin sight gives you more options.

The Toronto Archery Range has 20, 30, 50, 60, 70 and 90 yards targets - thus a 6 pin sight would be sufficient for every target - with larger gaps between the 30 and 50 pins and between the 70 and 90 pins.

#3. You should stick to the 20 yard range until you can get tight (doughnut sized) clusters that are on target using the top pin. Then move to the longer ranges. Beginners are always trying to shoot at longer distances before they are ready to do so, so you are not alone in this.

When your clusters are tight then you can try the 30 yard range and repeat the whole process until your clusters are on target and the size of a doughnut.

#4. When adjusting your sights, if your arrows are too low then you need to move the sight lower, not higher. If the arrows are too high, then you need to move the sight higher. Whatever you do on the sight, the arrows will do the opposite.

The same goes with left and right. If your arrows are too far to the right, you need to adjust the sight to the right.

Now you might wonder "Why is it the opposite?"

The reason is because you need the arrow to be angled upwards on a higher angle. If you move the sight higher, the arrow goes lower instead of higher. When you move the sight lower - closer to the arrow - then your arrow will be angled higher.

#5. When it comes to shooting really long distances you may need to get an oval-shaped sight with quite a few pins, like the 8 pin sight shown further above.

#6. You might also benefit from some archery lessons. You might even consider getting recurve archery lessons too, just so you understand the physics better. I always recommend people learn recurve first before trying compound, longbow or Olympic.

If you continue to have difficulties you should consider archery lessons as an option. Beginners especially should consider getting lessons because beginners have so many bad habits that need to remedied before they can shoot straight.

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