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How to Adjust Archery Sights? | Single-& Multi-Pin

How to Adjust Archery Sights
Written by Catherine Weeks
Last Update: August 11, 2023

First, you need to unlock the sight by releasing its lockout to adjust it. Follow these steps to calibrate your sight for optimum accuracy.

How to Adjust Archery Sights: Beginner’s Guide

Pin-Sights and Their Types

Here we consider two types of sights, one is single moveable pin sight and the other is multiple pin sights.

1. Single pin sight

Single pin archery sight

They have only one single pin to aim at the target. You have to set the position of the sight according to the distance from the target before every shot.

2. Multiple-pin sight

Multiple pin archery sight

They are also called fixed pin sights and offer several pins that are meant to be used for different distances.

For example, a five-pin sight can be set at 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 yards.

These pins are carefully adjusted before going into the field and are used according to their respective distances from the target.

A multi-sized Allen wrench is used to attach sights and adjust aiming pins on multi-pinned sights.

How to Adjust Archery Sights: Single Pin Sights

Due to the ease of use most archers prefer single-pin sight over their multiple counterparts.

It also gives a clear view of the target, unlike multi pin sights.

There is also no chance to aim through the wrong pin when using a single pin sight.

To shoot a range of distances with a single pin sight, you will need to use sight tape.

They stick to the sight and have to label for different distances from the target. You can print them by yourself or buy them from the nearby archery store.

When using printed sight tapes, you first calibrate the sight pins at 40 and 20 yards. Match these two marks to that of printed tapes to decide if the tape works best for you.

Keep the tape attached to your sight and check it to make sure its alignment is accurate.

How to use a Single Pin Sight When the Target is moving?

For moving targets, seasoned archers set the single pin sight for a range of 5 to 10 yards from the targets.

Then they adjust the bow for the desired yardage using a known yard range aiming above or below the target.

So, instead of shooting the exact range with a multi pin sight, you have to compensate for the yardage by aiming higher or lower.

Without the need to adjust the sight skilled archers can shoot accurately within a range of distance from the target.

But, all such mastery comes only with good practice.

Single Pin Sighting Process

First, you have to decide the distance from the target (yardage) you want to set your single-pin sight for.

These sights usually have two adjustments to make, one is windage and the other is elevation.

Windage is meant for horizontal adjustment and elevation for vertical adjustment. You can start by setting the sight for 20 or 25 yards.

Go to that distance from your target by using a rangefinder towards that point or by effectively estimating the correct separation from the target.

Shoot 3 consecutive arrows under the same conditions aiming properly.

You have to make sure that they are grouped to each other close. If not, recheck your arrow and adjust everything perfectly.

Once the 3 arrows are grouped close to each other check the direction they are off-centered. You have to move the sight in the same direction as the arrows are grouped.

If the arrows are grouped to the left of the target, move the sight to the left.

If grouped to the right side, move to the right and follow the same with up and down adjustments. This way you have to adjust both directions of the sight.

In the whole process of the sighting, you will keep your bow still and move the sight relative to the stationary bow.

Now you are ready to shoot your first arrow straight into the target if you have adjusted the sight correctly.

So the arrow you shoot after adjusting the sight will penetrate pretty close to the target.

If there is any minor error repeat the above process to sight the bow as accurately as possible.

How to Adjust Archery Sights: Single Pin Sights

Unlike a single pin sight, there is no need to adjust sight for different distances with multiple pin sights.

So, the same sight is used with different pins for the range of distances.

Using an Allen wrench bring all the aiming pins to the central vertical axis of the sight.

Before sighting be sure you picked a durable archery target as the process will take a lot of shots to sight a multi-pin sight accurately.

Using the rangefinder, locate the position for every ten-yard distance from the target.

The range of pins you choose to set your multiple pins depends on your preference and the area of usage. A popular configuration of it is 20, 30, and 40-yard pins.

Step 1: Adjusting and Sighting at 10 and 20 yards

First, start with 10 yards to make sure your bow is pretty close to the target.

If you start with 20 yards directly, the bow is too high or too low which leads to too much offset of the arrows away from the target

Measure the distance from the target with a rangefinder.

Standing on the point of 10 yards, try shooting a group of 3 shots at the center of the target aiming through the topmost pin.

Observe the distance from the horizontal axis below and above and move the sight in the same direction as the offset and see if the arrows are aligned to the horizontal axis.

If the group is high and away from the central horizontal line, raise the sight above and vice versa.

In this step, you must be keen on only adjusting the arrows to the same horizontal line as the target.

Now move to 20 yards and shoot the other set of arrows aiming through the same pin.

This time the group should not be too far away from the horizontal central axis up and down.

But little adjustment will make them lined with the central horizontal line of the target.

Step 2: 30-yard mark Sighting

Repeat the same steps as above shooting from the 30-yard mark.

If there are any little vertical adjustments of the sight above and below the horizontal central line are needed, do them for more vertical accuracy.

In this step adjust the sight to the right or left depending on the offset of the group from the vertical axis of the target so that they are incomplete lines with the vertical central axis.

After this step there is no need to move the sight in any direction, so make sure it’s as zeroed as possible with this step.

Step 3: 40-yard mark Sighting

Repeat the above process by standing at the 40-yard mark.

But this time if there is an offset from the center too high or too low, adjust the actual pin itself using an Allen wrench, not the sight unlike before.

If there are any left and right corrections don’t make adjustments now, go back to the 30-yard mark and make adjustments left or right according to the placement of the grouping.

Now go back to the 20-yard mark and shoot three arrows.

If your arrows are off-targeted, use your Allen Wrench to adjust the 20-yard pin at this point, not moving the sight box.

Your sight is set to shoot accurately from the 20, 30, and 40-yard range.

If you still want to fine-tune your sight, repeat the above process.

What Is Sight Leveling and How It’s Done?

For an archer who shoots multiple distances, leveling the sight is one of the most important things to do. Leveling the bow brings accuracy to the shooting of the target and also prevents diagonal patterns in long ranges.

Archery sight level

Three axes should be leveled for perfect archery. They are the 1st axis, 2nd axis, and 3rd axis.

The first axis runs from left to right and shows the spinning of the sight in a way that the bottom goes over the top.

It has very less effect on accuracy. Mostly there is no need to adjust it as it comes adjusted when you buy

The second axis runs through the sight from the target to the archer’s eye.

Failing to level the second axis can lead to shots the same as that of canting your bow left or right.

It does not make a huge difference at 20 yards, but the problems will grow the farther you shoot. Especially in competitive long-range archery events.

The third Axis is like a door hinge of sight, swinging in and out. For long uphill and downhill shots, it’s necessary to have third-axis adjustments properly.

It is the rotational axis of the sight level that moves the sight body towards you or away from you when fully drawn.

For a normal archer, this adjustment does not make much of a difference but for a professional, it makes a huge difference.

About the author

Catherine Weeks

Cathy believes that hunting is not about downing an animal; rather, it’s about enjoying the purity of this challenge and making a connection with nature.

She loves country music, horses, shooting, and hunting; and spends her weekends in the great outdoors with her husband and two kids.

Though Cathy has hunted most of her life, it was not until her partner gave her a bow that she realized she had finally found her passion.

She is always determined to share her missed opportunities, dedication, emotions, and small details that people often forget to mention when they talk about their hunting experiences.

Cathy also works to promote wildlife preservation and protect natural resources. She thinks “patience” is the most important thing that can make a big difference.

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