Moving Your Sight

Unless new kit is involved, every archer should have sight marks for each range they intend to be shooting. It’s easy. In practice note down in a notebook or phone app the setting on your sight for each range and after that, straight out of the box, you can hit gold at every distance! WooHoo!
Except it’s not that simple (as if anything in archery ever is).

Today is extremely unlikely to be the same weather-wise as the day you got your sight mark. Colder, heavier air drags on the arrow and they will shoot lower. Warmer, lighter air will buoy the arrow and it will shoot higher. Strong direct sunlight can affect things. Stiffer left/right breezes will blow arrows about. And finally stronger or weaker headwind/tailwinds will change lift and drag. And therein lie-eth the problem. The sight mark number you have is only the starting point for that day’s shooting, even if you have a range of values for differing conditions at that range. You will have to adjust your sight for today’s conditions BUT how you adjust is important.


Nice group … now move your goddamn sight!

Some archers chase the arrows. Moving their sight every end as they constantly adjust to the variance in the group or even just for rogues moving about the face. Others don’t move the sight at all, trusting that their mark is reliable, and they need to stick with what’s written down. And that’s the conundrum. When to move the sight and when not to!

If you are moving the sight every end in a very reactive way, you increasingly have no idea where you are actually aiming. The variables are building up i.e. the wandering aim point, fatigue, conditions, frustration. At this point if you are hitting anywhere consistently, it’s a miracle. Equally if you are not moving your sight to adjust for, say, an obviously too low sight mark, you are leaving points on the floor that should be on your scorecard. It’s something even the best archers can fall foul of!


that sight mark might work today … ps the face is on upside down!

So how do you decide when to move the sight? Be aware of the conditions. A range of values for each distance shot when warm and cold is useful. If you feel a change in the weather, be ready to make a change on your sight. Pay attention to your ends especially over time. A stiffening breeze will affect your arrows no matter the direction. If your arrows are drifting lower, you feel a chill and you thought the shots dynamic. Move the sight down. You’ve just recently taken a layer off, all your arrows are drifting higher, and those shots felt good .. sights up boys!
Just be aware of your own form. Forward releases, dropping the bow arm or flinches might be the problem rather than conditions. Just don’t make change after change after change without at least a couple of ends to let the changes settle in.
Note: Gusting winds necessitate aiming off rather than moving the pin as the gusts are pretty variable and you can always shoot in the gaps between gusts. Cranking the sight pin left or right might not help except in cases of a constant breeze.

Being proactive in archery is good. Just don’t be too proactive with your adjustments or too intransient for that matter. Sight marks are a good starter for 10 but outdoor archery is always at the mercy of conditions that exist right now. The weather gods can be harsh, and you need to be a bit flexible outdoors even when you have “The big book of sight marks” to hand! ;o)

Glasgow Archers

We are an amateur archery club based in the centre of Glasgow.

1 Response

  1. David Cawdron says:

    What happened or rather didn’t happen at Ayr yesterday. The Glasgow contingent did not appear.



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