Pro Tip – Bow Sights

Here’s a simple tip for a highly effective and simple to use rear sight for archery.

Years ago while trying to decide on the best way to wring the utmost accuracy from my compound bows, and after watching friends struggle with a variety of solutions. I came up with a simple, trouble free method. 

I started in archery with traditional and even primitive gear.  Long bows, self bows, wooden arrows and instinctive shooting.  Simplicity is best with those options, but when shooting hi-tech bows, hi-tech releases and hi-tech sights, technical and mechanical advantage is the order of the day.  Sight pins reign and nowadays it’s pretty rare to see a bow that doesn’t also have a rear sight of one type or another.  Peep sight are the norm.  There’s no two ways about it.  A rear peep sight in conjunction with front sight pins makes for very accurate and consistent shooting!  Back when rear sights were somewhat new, people struggled with them.  They would twist and spin.  People resorted to rubber tubing to force them to line up properly.  They were hard to see through, or around, in low light, (when the deer show up). I never liked em!  For about 20 years now I’ve been using my own method for “rear sighting”.  I use glow in the dark “Flashabou” filaments borrowed from my fly tying supplies.  Flashabou is a strong synthetic string-like, or hair-like material used for tying streamers, salt-water flies and many other types.  I use it for Walleye “buck-tail” jigs, summer and winter.  It comes in many colors, one of which is Glow. 

Using it for a bow sight starts like this.  I first shoot my bow and set a 20 yd pin that I’m happy with.  Then I wrap 3-4 Flashabou filaments on to my bow string to form a small ball about 1/8″ in length and diameter.  I use the word ball but this proceedure is no different than “serving” a bowstring.  Start this “ball”, as close to the point where you’ll want your rear sight to sit, as possible..  Don’t be tempted to thread the Flashabou through your bow-string… it’s not necessary, and won’t work when “adjusting” the rear sight.  Tightly over-wrapping the material to start, and then whip finishing the ball by pulling the tag end under the last 4-5 wraps to end, (I use a loop of dental floss for this), will make a neat ball that won’t come undone.  At this stage the ball can still be slid up and down the string gently.  Taking care to NOT fire your bow yet, draw your bow naturally and look at your first sight pin, THEN focus on your rear sight ball.  Let down the bow and adjust the ball up or down as needed.  Repeat this process a few times to fine tune it.  When you’re satisfied with the location, apply a tiny drop of super glue to the ball.  Let dry.  Now refine your 20 yd pin, making any minor adjustments to the front sight.

Now you have a tiny rear sight that glows in the dark and will never be rendered useless by a twisted string.  Because the “ball” is close to your eye, you can focus “Through” it to your front sight.  It works just like a peep sight.  You can choose to orient it, when aiming, in relation to your front sight, anywhere you like, so long as you consistently do it the same way.  I choose to draw my bow, settle the front sight and then bring the rear sight “ball” to rest on the right edge of my front sight, just because it feels natural.  You can line them up perfectly every time.  You can choose to bring the rear sight up to rest on the bottom of the front sight, or on top, whatever you like.  Just always do it the same way.  Visibility, especially in low light, is much better, than looking through even a large peep sight aperture, and there’s no aperture “body” so there’s nothing to block you view.  I’ve been using this method for over 20 years, on 6-7 bows, and I’ve never had a failure.  It takes 5 mins to install and for $4.00 you can buy a lifetime supply for you and all your friends.  The key is in making a nice small, tight wrap and “whip finishing” the knot.  Be careful to make a neat wrap, and while sliding up and down for adjustment, and it should work great. Go easy with the super glue too.  Use just enough to lightly coat the ball, and even soak up any excess with the corner of a paper towel if you over-apply.  

You’ll never mis-align your rear sight when shooting at last light again. Try this “secret” method of mine.  I think you’ll like it.

By Brandon Vaughan

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