How an arrow planes through the air without the help of fletching tells us how well matched the arrow and the bow and the archer are to one another. This method, called the “planing” method (from Webster’s Dictionary – meaning to soar or glide) enables the archer to find the center of the bell curve described earlier.
There are several tuning methods out there, however, in my opinion, the bare shaft “Planing” method or the broadhead planing method is the best and here is why…….
In a well tuned/matched bow arrow and archer combination, fletching on the shaft isn’t needed at all with target points. The arrow balances forward of the center so if launched in a perfect straight line, the tail of the shaft will follow the point. Fletching on the shaft has one purpose…to counteract and stabilize errors in the shafts flight path caused by not being launched straight. Not being launched straight can be caused by equipment tuning or flaws in our form and it’s difficult to tell the two apart. The goal here is to eliminate equipment flaws leaving only our own poor shooting as an excuse!
How can you fine tune your bow and arrows with fletching on the shaft designed to correct and hide flaws?! You can’t! Remember the bell curve above? You can get inside the acceptable range by luck or trial and error but our goal is the middle. The broadhead planing method works the same way, broadheads, the bigger the better, magnifies the tuning problems so you can see them and correct them.
The key ground rule in tuning is to only change one variable at a time, then analyze the results. If you change two or more variables, and your arrow flight gets a little better or worse, you don’t know which change caused the results and creates even more confusion. Your shooting form must be fairly consistent, if not, erratic arrow flight will occur even with a properly tuned bow. That doesn’t mean you have to be a great shot, as long as you can shoot a “group”, you’ll be able to determine needed changes and get closer to perfection.
And lastly, never make adjustments based on the flight of just one arrow, base your adjustments on the average between several arrows, especially wood arrows where spine consistency and straightness can be a problem. Basing your adjustments on the average of many arrows helps remove the flaws in our form leaving only equipment problems.
The detailed descriptions below are for a right-handed shooter. Up and down adjustments with the nock point is the same if you are right handed or left handed. Left or right adjustments however are reversed. For explanation purposes, all discussion will be for right handed shooters. If you are left handed just reverse all left/right indications.