How to Set a Pendulum Bow Sight


Pendulum bow sights are generally accurate for shooting from tree stands at distances of up to 30 yards if you know how to set a pendulum bow sight. Pendulum sights help bow hunters by automatically compensating for the angle of a shot. Without a pendulum sight, a bow hunter must estimate how much to compensate for different shot angles, often causing bow hunters to overshoot their target. Learning how to set a pendulum bow sight will start you on your way to accurate shooting from tree stands.

Things You'll Need

  • Bow
  • 3 arrows
  • Target
  • Pendulum site
  • Utility tool
  • Measuring wheel (optional)
  • Set up your target at a range of 20 yards at ground level. You can use a measuring wheel or other measuring device to measure out 20 yards (60 feet), or you can walk off 20 paces. Mark the 20-yard distance. You will be shooting your arrows from this distance to sight in your pendulum sight. Alternately, you can go to an archery range to sight in your pendulum sight. Archery ranges will have the distances marked for you.

  • Tighten the set screw if your pendulum sight has one (some don't). The set screw is a small thumb screw that holds the pin sight in place (so it won't move up or down) for sighting in or shooting from the ground.

  • Stand ground level at a distance of 20 yards and aim at the center of the target and shoot three arrows. Aim your bow using a pendulum sight by drawing the bow and looking through your peep sight (if you have one) or the center of the bowstring. Line the pin up so that it is in the center of your target. Don't adjust your aim if your arrows miss the target. Always aim for the center, regardless of where your arrows hit.

  • Examine your shot spread. Are your arrows hitting higher than the target, lower or at the right elevation? Are your arrows hitting the right or left of the target? If your spread is not consistent (all three arrows should be within four to six inches of each other), continue to shoot flights of three arrows, making sure your shooting form and aiming points stay consistent.

  • Adjust the elevation (up and down) of your pendulum sight if your spread is higher or lower than the center of the target. Don't adjust the windage (left or right) yet. When sighting in a bow, always "chase your arrows." Chasing your arrows means adjusting the pin in the same direction that your arrows are missing towards, so if your arrows are hitting higher than the center of the target, adjust the pin so it is higher. If your arrows are hitting lower, adjust the pin so it is lower. Fire another three arrows and examine where your spread is now. At this point, you are only considering the elevation (height) at which your arrows hit the target. If your arrows are not hitting the center height of the target, adjust the elevation of your pin again (remembering to chase your arrows). Repeat this process until your arrows are hitting at the right elevation.

  • Adjust the windage (right and left) of your pendulum sight. You should already have an idea of whether your arrows are striking left, right or center of the target based on the arrows you shot for your elevation adjustments. Again, you want to chase your arrows. If your arrows are striking left of the target, adjust your pin sight to the left. If they are striking right, adjust your pin to the right. After adjusting, shoot another three arrows and adjust again, if necessary, repeating the process until your arrows are hitting the center of the target.

  • Loosen the set screw if your pendulum sight has one. You are now ready to shoot accurately from a tree stand or other elevation out to 30 yards.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some pendulum sights can be adjusted without any tools. For pendulum sights that require tools for adjustments, a utility tool such as a Leatherman will generally have all the tools you need.
  • When firing from ground level, tighten your set screw. This will stop the pendulum from wavering up and down.
  • Even though pendulum sights are designed to make automatic adjustments for height, it is still a good idea to practice from a tree stand if you intend to hunt from one.
  • If you are having difficulty placing your three shots within a four- to six-inch spread, consider having an experienced archer help you with your shooting form. No amount of adjustment to your equipment will help you hit a target consistently unless your shooting form is consistent.
  • Always use caution when firing any weapon.

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