How to set up a basic compound bow

How to set up a basic compound bow

Your bow takes little setup to get started shooting. Please read and familiarize yourself with these starting procedures before shooting. Many of these procedures will have been completed by your dealer. After completing these simple steps, you will be more accurate and will have greater success from the start. A careful and thorough initial setup will make the tuning process much easier.

Your bow normally comes with a lower mount cable guard. The lower mount cable guard is attached to the back of the riser below the grip section. The cable guard styles feature an offset carbon rod or a steel “dog-leg” rod. Both rod styles are mounted into the lower cable guard mounting hole. Once the cable guard is mounted on the riser, the guard rod should be rotated towards the center of the bow. The cables need to be offset only 9/16″ from the bowstring, for minimum fletching clearance. Excessive cable clearance is unnecessary and will only increase stress on the limbs and cam bushings.



Tri-Draw Wheels
The draw length is adjustable plus or minus one inch from the factory setting. By moving the cable to the slot that is closest to the axle (-), you will shorten the draw. If you move the cable to the slot that is farthest from the axle hole (+), you will lengthen the draw.
Changing draw length on Tri-Draw Wheels will cause a change in the draw weight. Shortening the draw will reduce poundage and lengthening will increase the poundage. This weight change can be compensated for by adjusting the limb bolts.

Z Cams, Ultra Sonic Wheels, and Classic Wheels
All of these cams use draw change modules to adjust the draw length. The size of each module is designated by a number followed by an “X.” These modules are sized from 2X to 9X. The 9X makes the longest draw, and the length decreases one inch for each number. To change the draw length on these cams, simply remove the two screws holding the module to the cam. Take a look at the module number and select a new module that will give you the correct draw length. Install the new modules, making sure that the numbers on each module match.
Note: Do not draw your bow without the modules installed. It will cause damage to your cables.

Martin bows have a fifteen-pound weight range. Using the 3/16″ Allen wrench supplied with each bow, you will turn the limb bolts clockwise to add weight and turn counterclockwise to reduce weight. One complete turn on each limb bolt is about 4 pounds.
(Tip: mark a line on each limb bolt in the white-out or white paint marker to make it easier to keep track of how far you are turning each bolt.)
Note: Do not shoot your bow with the limb bolts more than 5 1/2 turns out from the riser.

After setting the draw weight on your bow, you will need to set the tiller measurement to make sure that you have adjusted your limbs properly. On all compound bows, “0” tiller will shoot perfectly.

However, the tiller measurement can vary up to 1/4″ closer at the bottom. There is no set measurement for every shooter. To measure your tiller, simply measure from the limb pockets to the string on both ends of the bow. You can custom fit the feel of your bow by experimenting with the tiller setting. To begin custom tuning your tiller, start with even tiller. Before adjusting your limb bolts, mark a white line from the center of the limb bolt to the outside.

This will help you keep track of your turns. By tightening one bolt a quarter turn at a time, you will begin to affect the steadiness of your setup. If the bow begins to become unsteady, move the tiller back to even and tighten the different limb bolt. (Note: your peep sight position and your nock point will change as you turn one limb bolt. Take measurements and correct your nock and peep each time you turn your bolts). After finding the best spot, make a note so if you ever change the draw weight you can reset the tune where you had it shooting best (i.e., 3/4 bottom would mean three-quarters of a turn on the bottom limb bolt).

It is important for consistency and accuracy, that your bow’s eccentrics “roll over” at the same instant and are in the same position when you are at full draw. Your eccentrics should be synchronized or “timed” to your particular style of shooting. To check the wheel timing, draw your bow with your fingers or release just as you would while shooting. Different drawing methods will affect the rollover of your wheels. Draw the bow using your exact shooting method.


Adjusting wheel time using the patented Micro Tune Yoke System (steel cable system).
With the Micro Tune Yoke System, you will not need a bow press to adjust your timing. The Micro Tune Yoke System is adjusted by turning the set screw located at the top of each harness. Tightening this set screw will, in effect, shorten the cable and change your wheel timing. If your top cam is ahead of your lower cam, tighten the top yoke screw (loosening the bottom yoke will achieve the same results). Use a 3/32 Allen wrench or the Micro Tune Adjustment tool (part #BP-30) to make these adjustments.


Adjusting timing using the Split String System (synthetic cables).
This procedure can be expertly performed by your local archery professional. You will need a bow press or a bow stringer to adjust your timing using the Split String System. Note: Back your bow limbs out five turns from the riser before using a bow stringer or a bow press. Only let a qualified professional put your bow in a bow press. First, determine which cam is ahead or out of sync. Then, while the bow is relaxed, remove the appropriate Split String off its outside posts and twist in a direction that shortens or tightens the cable. A few turns will go a long way so proceed sparingly. If your top cam is ahead of your bottom cam twist the top Split String, do the opposite if the bottom wheel is ahead. After these steps are completed, make sure that all of your string loops are firmly secured on their appropriate pegs before the pressure is reapplied to the bow.

After your arrow rest is installed on your bow, you will need set the rest to the best-centered location to begin tuning. The easiest way to do this is to visually align the bowstring in the center of the grip section. Then, if you are shooting your bow with a release aid, the prongs or blade of your shoot through rest will need to be centered with the bow string. This is a good starting point for tuning. During tuning, your arrow rest may need to be moved in or out from its centered location. This is normal because different shooters apply different pressures to the bow. Finger shooters will need to position the rest so that the point is about 1/8″ outside the string. This is to compensate for the horizontal bending of the arrow upon release. An arrow rest that provides some side support, such as a cushion button, for the arrow is best for finger shooters.


Place a bow square on the string and slide the square down until it rests on your arrow rest. Then place a moveable nock set on the string. Using the measuring scale on the bow square, set the nock set at the proper location on the string. A good starting point for fingers is 1/2″ high, measuring from the bottom of the nock set to 90s on the bowstring. Start at 1/4″ high if you are using a release aid. If you do not have a bow square, you can snap an arrow on the string and visually level the arrow. Then crimp your nock set. In a pinch, this will get you to a good starting location.

Should your string need replacing, it is best to go to your dealer and have it expertly done. It is recommended that you replace your string once a year or anytime it shows wear. Always be sure that the string you replace it with is the correct length for your bow.


When properly cared for, your new bow will give you years of trouble-free service. When your bow is new it will require no lubrication. Over time you will need to lubricate your cams or yoke system to guard against friction and noise. Use a dry lubrication such as Teflon spray powder or graphite powder. Do not use wet or oily lubrication. Using a wet type lubrication will attract grit and dust that may cause premature wear in wheel bushings and yoke assembly.

A good rule of thumb when caring for your bow is keep it as comfortable as you are. If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your bow. If it gets wet, dry it off completely.

Periodically clean your bow with a wet rag and mild soap to remove mud or dust (caution: do not store until completely dry). Prolonged exposure to extreme heat may cause failure in your bow limbs and excessive stretch in your harness system. It will not hurt your bow if it is rained on while shooting, but make sure it is completely dry before storing in a bow case to guard against rust or corrosion.

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