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How does too much brace height affect the trajectory of the arrow?

Q


"Hey Charles,


Probably a dumb question.


How does having too much brace height on your bow affect the trajectory of your shots?"

- Gordon M.

A


Hey Gordon!

Too much or too little brace height hurts the arrow speed, and arrow speed consequently affects the length of the arc of the arrow, the power and accuracy of the shot. It really comes down to the speed of the bowstring and how quickly it stops on the ideal location. The arrow only leaves the bowstring when the bowstring reverses its forward momentum and goes backwards instead. So yes, it definitely affects the arc and trajectory.

To illustrate this in terms of physics, think of three cars accelerating in a drag race and then slamming on the breaks, with each of the three cars trying to stop at a specific line on the race track.
  • The first car speeds up, but then stops too soon, not achieving its full potential speed. On a bow, this hurts arrow speed because it never reaches its full speed.
  • The second car speeds up, but stops too late. It did go very fast, but on a bow that means the bowstring went too far forward because the bowstring was too slack, and that process causes it to slow down on the forward thrust and then bounce backwards in a sluggish manner.
  • The third car speeds up, reaches optimal speed, and then stops at the ideal spot. On a bow, this means the arrow leaves the bowstring at an optimal time to maximize its speed.
There is also a sound difference. If you experiment with different brace heights you will discover that the three different brace heights will cause the bowstring to make noticeably different sounds. A good brace height should make more of a solid thrum sound, whereas incorrect brace heights will sound more twangy.

Notes

You should be able to find the precise brace height for your bow online and then measure it with a ruler or a Bow T-Square, but when a ruler is unavailable you can also use the "Rule of Thumb Method" I showed you previously.

Measuring Brace Height with a Bow T-Square
Rule of Thumb Brace Height
Some archers also file or use sandpaper on the nocks so that they leave the bowstring faster and more smoothly, in an effort to increase arrow speed by a few feet per second (fps).

If you have additional questions feel free to ask.

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca



UPDATE

"Wow, definitely made a huge difference now that it's at the recommended brace height."

 - Gordon M.

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