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Old 05-17-2017, 07:24 PM   #1
RickBarbee
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Default Brace height effect on arrow spine & tune

I actually posted this in a topic on another forum, but would love to see it discussed here:

"Brace height adjustment (assuming you aren't way off with it), in reality is simply a fine tuning practice to an already fairly closely tuned setup.

Once the brace height of a bow is set within the optimum window of the bow's preload, changing of the brace height within that window of setting has no significant effect on performance, therefore has no significant effect on the spine requirement of the arrow due to performance shift.

Going outside that brace height window of optimal preload (either up, or down) will decrease the performance of the bow, so if changing the brace height does have some significant enhancement to performance, it is highly likely you were way off with the brace height to begin with.

The only power stroke length, that has any significant effect on bow performance, and arrow spine requirement is draw length, and obviously the longer the better.

What changing brace height "does do", is change the angle of the arrow in relation to the strike plate, which in effect has the same outcome as changing the center shot of the bow.

The lower the brace height, the lower the spine requirement of the arrow will be, which is similar to moving the arrow more outside of center. SO, if your arrows are shooting a bit weak, lower the brace height. If a lot weak, then you need to revisit your arrow build.

The higher the brace height, the higher the spine requirement of the arrow will be, which is similar to bringing the arrow closer to center shot. SO, if your arrows are shooting a bit stiff, raise the brace height. If a lot stiff, then you need to revisit your arrow build."


Throw in your 2 cents.

Rick
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:34 PM   #2
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Very good info. That is exactly how I was taught to think about spine adjustment with brace height. I agree that a bows brace height dictates its performance. If mine has creep 3/16" I notice it. It's almost like it shoots every where when it has creeped out of its optimum "window".
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:42 PM   #3
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I've done a lot of testing of brace height effect on performance with a lot of different bows. Without exception, every one of them performed best, were the most stable, and the quietest when the brace height was set where the inline load of the string (preload) was at it's highest point.

You generally have some wiggle room/adjustment either side of that optimal point, but once you get outside that "window" of adjustment, the bow's performance, and overall behavior starts to degrade.

What's interesting also is - two otherwise identical bows will sometimes require a different brace height to achieve their best performance.

Rick
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:05 PM   #4
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I've done a lot of testing of brace height effect on performance with a lot of different bows. Without exception, every one of them performed best, were the most stable, and the quietest when the brace height was set where the inline load of the string (preload) was at it's highest point.

Rick
How would a person know where the inline load of the string was at its highest point???

An inquiring mind want to know!

Bisch
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bisch View Post
How would a person know where the inline load of the string was at its highest point???

An inquiring mind want to know!

Bisch
I used a cable tensiometer, but they are expensive, and most folks won't have access to one,

BUT

through my testing I discovered, that a chronograph will get you close if not spot on, because the best speed will always be right at the point of highest preload. You may not know the exact preload measurement, but you'll know you are there, or very close.

Worthy to note: You're not always looking for big changes in speed. If you are already within an acceptable brace height for the bow, the changes of speed may (usually are) only slight from one brace height to another. You may have to shoot a lot over the course of a lot of changes to find that "sweet spot", but once you do you will appreciate it.

Rick
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:46 PM   #6
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This picture is an over illustration, yet good explanation of what happens to the angle of the arrow, and it's deflection due to brace height changes.

Note, that the lower the brace height, the more the arrow will need to flex (be weaker in spine) to come back on center when shot.

Rick
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:25 PM   #7
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Did you ever see Better off dead? That sounds just like the punch line in the movie. The star states I don't know what to do. Twice he's told "Go this way really fast. If something gets in your way, turn."

Same thing with this. If you don't start out with an arrow set up that is close to right then you'll never be able to reasonably find that peak performance. It's fine to paper tune and bare shaft tune and have spine testers and what not. From what I've gathered most don't.

A wise man told me if I get arrows that shoot well for me and my field points and broadheads hit in about the same spot I'm doing good.

8 months into this obsession I'm just recently able to realize my subtle form issues and the havoc they reek on my shooting. Up until now I have not believed it possible to even try to paper tune.

Brace height is critical no doubt. But when the manufacturer gives to a 3/4" or more in window for that setting that's a pretty vague guideline to try to work through.

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Old 05-17-2017, 09:27 PM   #8
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Good info Rick! But I'm curious, will highest pre-load/highest speed be where your bow is at its best "shootability"? As in; quietest, most forgiving in subtle bouts of bad form, etc? This is probably just coming from my thinkin of "faster is not always necessarily better..." If that makes any sense at all! Thanks again for some good intel. Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:29 PM   #9
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So actually raising your brace height is shortening your power stroke of your string correct? A lower brace height puts the arrow on the string slightly longer and since it leaves the string closer to the riser/shelf that's why the angle of deflection increases?

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Old 05-17-2017, 09:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spidermonkey View Post
Good info Rick! But I'm curious, will highest pre-load/highest speed be where your bow is at its best "shootability"? As in; quietest, most forgiving in subtle bouts of bad form, etc? This is probably just coming from my thinkin of "faster is not always necessarily better..." If that makes any sense at all! Thanks again for some good intel. Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
Yes sir. It is where you will experience the best from all aspects.

The point of highest preload is also the point at which the string speed is fastest as it returns to brace when shot. Anything above, or below that point results in the arrow leaving the string at a slower speed, thus a slower arrow.

Rick
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DRT View Post
So actually raising your brace height is shortening your power stroke of your string correct? A lower brace height puts the arrow on the string slightly longer and since it leaves the string closer to the riser/shelf that's why the angle of deflection increases?

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Yes

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Old 05-17-2017, 09:56 PM   #12
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So shooting an arrow that is marginally on the weak side that maximizes your power stroke length should give you optimum speed?

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Old 05-17-2017, 10:06 PM   #13
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For instance if I input my bow info in on the spine calculator and then look at arrow build specs if I should be within two pounds I should look at being a pound or two light on the arrow spine vs the bow spine?

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Old 05-17-2017, 10:07 PM   #14
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Sorry about all the questions this kind of lit something up for me.

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Old 05-17-2017, 10:18 PM   #15
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Rick, I had already read/heard of this somewhere before, can't remember where? Prob from you, who knows! I know how to do the "in depths" of tuning my trad bows, but usually revert to the "seeing nothin but the nock" method for whatever reason. I will shoot at longer distances at a large backstop, concentrating on exact form, release, and not worrying about having to hit an exact spot. And yes I will "look" at the flight of the arrow. Also will have somebody other than me watch as well for anything I may not see. I will always do my dead level best at finding my absolute best spot for my brace height. As far as quiet, forgiving, and best speed. But, with that being said, I dang shore aint no William Tell. I realize all i just said really aint in line with your post, sorry, just got going with the ol diarrhea of the mouth! Long story short, you really got these rusted up gears turnin in this noggin! Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:23 PM   #16
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Exactly. It kind of makes a few things that I sensed but didn't pay attention to come into the light. Maybe another tool to put in the bag.

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Old 05-17-2017, 11:00 PM   #17
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Good info I've been telling my brother in law for weeks same info I'll pass it on to him. He will be able to understand it better the way u worded it. Thanks Rick
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Old 05-18-2017, 05:57 AM   #18
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Gary, if I am understanding your question correctly, then the answer is no.

Gaining, or losing "power stroke" within the brace height optimal adjustment window does nothing significant for speed. The only area where "power stroke" has any significant impact on performance is draw length, and as I said in my initial post, the longer the draw length is, the better the performance will be.

You are looking for that brace height which gives you the optimal preload. That particular brace height could be higher, or lower depending on the bow.

Rusty, you're doing it right. When you don't have the tools to take the measurements/readings, you shoot the bow, and let it tell you where it needs to be set. You make your adjustments until you get to that "sweet spot".

Time, and again I have seen shooters trying to get their brace height as low as possible, because they thought it would enhance performance due to the additional power stroke, when in reality it was doing just the opposite, and making their rig more difficult to tune & shoot.

The belief, that lowering the brace height in & of itself will make a bow shoot faster is one of those old wive's tales. The optimal brace height (the "sweet spot") can just as easily be higher than lower.

Rick

Last edited by RickBarbee; 05-18-2017 at 06:07 AM..
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Old 05-18-2017, 06:32 AM   #19
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Okay.

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Old 05-18-2017, 06:41 AM   #20
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What's interesting also is - two otherwise identical bows will sometimes require a different brace height to achieve their best performance.


I've experienced the above for sure. I have two Bob Lee recurves that are both 60" set up exactly the same. One of them shoots perfectly at an 8 & 1/16" BH. The other will shoot the exact same arrows erradictly with that same BH setting.
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Old 05-18-2017, 06:44 AM   #21
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So what that tells me is there is no exact science to it. Trial and error is the course.

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Old 05-18-2017, 07:14 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRT View Post
So what that tells me is there is no exact science to it. Trial and error is the course.

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Yes !!!!!

Almost all bows have unique characteristics about them.
Even those bows that are supposed to be "the same" will be different. Sometimes only slightly different, sometimes a lot, but seldom exactly the same.

You have to learn the bow to find it's behavior, and discover that "sweet spot". Then, and only then does the science of it start getting more pointed.

Rick
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Old 05-18-2017, 07:20 AM   #23
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That's kind of discouraging. I would lay odds many bows get sold or traded because an archer without the tools or resources to get it shooting to peak performance just let's it go.

Or maybe even let's the discipline go.

Good thread Rick. Knowledge is good.

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Old 05-18-2017, 07:26 AM   #24
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This is kind of off the topic, but does have it's place.

Your input to the bow will have a direct impact on the output of the bow.
How well you know yourself as in how you are handling the bow, and how well you understand how it wants to be handled goes a long way in getting the most out of it.
Kinda like a lover <--- I know. Corny analogy, but it's true.

Rick
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:54 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickBarbee View Post
This is kind of off the topic, but does have it's place.

Your input to the bow will have a direct impact on the output of the bow.
How well you know yourself as in how you are handling the bow, and how well you understand how it wants to be handled goes a long way in getting the most out of it.
Kinda like a lover <--- I know. Corny analogy, but it's true.

Rick
This is the only part of this whole thread my little pea brain can comprehend!!!!

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Old 05-18-2017, 09:53 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickBarbee View Post
This picture is an over illustration, yet good explanation of what happens to the angle of the arrow, and it's deflection due to brace height changes.

Note, that the lower the brace height, the more the arrow will need to flex (be weaker in spine) to come back on center when shot.

Rick
There is a problem with your picture Rick.

The arrow shouldn't be in contact with the riser by the time it reaches brace.

Look at any slow motion video of a finger released arrow (properly tuned) and you should notice that the initial deflection starts at initial release, builds, until the arrow deflects back... upon which the arrow shaft loses contact with the riser. The riser and the pressure it provides to help create the initial deflection now no longer plays a role... and this occurs well before the string returns back to brace.

Initial deflection should occur during the first portion of the power stroke after the release and the full power cycle, especially the tail end, should really have a minimal affect on dynamic spine requirements.
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Old 05-18-2017, 10:06 AM   #27
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But the dynamics do get interesting at full draw and how much arrow is sticking out... and where that riser pressure actually exists along the shaft during that initial time where the shaft is in contact with the riser... how much and how far the weight is out in front of the point, releative to the force of the string at the nock... and how much lateral movement of the string exists (archer dependant) etc all play into alot of variability in how much an arrow will deflect and how much "spine" is needed to properly dampen that impulse and correct the arrow flight (over damp, under damp, etc.)

I'm guessing in order to really do the math on it... you'd be solving some differential equations and having to rely on Fourier transforms to really get down to it. Gotta love rules of thumbs though in times like this
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Old 05-18-2017, 11:20 AM   #28
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Ugh!!!! My head hurts after reading all that, Scott!

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Old 05-18-2017, 12:14 PM   #29
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When within an acceptable spine match to the bow, and assuming a decent release/loose, the shaft will flex three times during the power stroke.

First flex - Occurs at release/loose of the fingers from the string, and forces the shaft inward toward the strike plate. This flex is initiated by a combination of the roll of the string from the fingers, and the forward force applied to the tail of the arrow.

Second flex - Occurs during mid power stroke, and is simply recovery from the first flex, and springs the shaft outward, and away from the strike plate.

Third flex - Is a recovery from the second flex, and once again is forcing the shaft inward toward the strike plate. This flex occurs right at the point where the arrow is exiting the string. The lower the brace height is at this point, the closer the proximity of the shaft is to that of the bow/strike plate during the pass, thus the stiffer the shaft the more likely it, and/or the fletching will make contact at this point.

Side note to this point:
Aside from dragging the string & limbs forward creating shock, and vibration, one of the reasons why nocks that are to tight create arrow flight problems is they straighten out the 3rd flex, and jerk the arrow back into contact with the bow.

Rick
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Old 05-18-2017, 12:30 PM   #30
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Uh . . . I'm a hunter not a lover. I just want to make sure I build the right arrows for my bow.

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Old 05-18-2017, 02:40 PM   #31
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When I recall WAAY back when I first started shootin traditional, it was for the SIMPLICITY of it... THANKS a lot Scott! Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
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Old 05-18-2017, 03:30 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickBarbee View Post
When within an acceptable spine match to the bow, and assuming a decent release/loose, the shaft will flex three times during the power stroke.

First flex - Occurs at release/loose of the fingers from the string, and forces the shaft inward toward the strike plate. This flex is initiated by a combination of the roll of the string from the fingers, and the forward force applied to the tail of the arrow.

Second flex - Occurs during mid power stroke, and is simply recovery from the first flex, and springs the shaft outward, and away from the strike plate.

Third flex - Is a recovery from the second flex, and once again is forcing the shaft inward toward the strike plate. This flex occurs right at the point where the arrow is exiting the string. The lower the brace height is at this point, the closer the proximity of the shaft is to that of the bow/strike plate during the pass, thus the stiffer the shaft the more likely it, and/or the fletching will make contact at this point.

Side note to this point:
Aside from dragging the string & limbs forward creating shock, and vibration, one of the reasons why nocks that are to tight create arrow flight problems is they straighten out the 3rd flex, and jerk the arrow back into contact with the bow.

Rick
Agreed, but the relationship between braceheight and the riser doesn't affect the launch angle as your picture shows or suggests. Adjusting brace height doesn't have that impact. The shaft should never touch the rest again after it comes off of it when the shaft rebounds from the initial flex... or, as you know, you get kicking. There is no soft landing on a riser



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Old 05-18-2017, 04:13 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spidermonkey View Post
When I recall WAAY back when I first started shootin traditional, it was for the SIMPLICITY of it... THANKS a lot Scott! Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
No **** right!? I'm more lost now.

Richard
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Old 05-18-2017, 04:14 PM   #34
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Thanks a lot guys. Just when I have pretty much broken my habit of overthinking/over-tinkering you guys give me something else to think about/tinker with.
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Old 05-18-2017, 05:08 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by SwampRabbit View Post
Agreed, but the relationship between braceheight and the riser doesn't affect the launch angle as your picture shows or suggests. Adjusting brace height doesn't have that impact. The shaft should never touch the rest again after it comes off of it when the shaft rebounds from the initial flex... or, as you know, you get kicking. There is no soft landing on a riser



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You are absolutely correct, and now I am scratching my head some.
That's a good thing.

As I stated though, the picture is an overstatement (pretty extreme overstatement).

The fact remains however, that the lower the brace height the lower the spine requirement will normally be, and I can now see, that the relevancy could only come at return to brace during the shot, and not at resting brace. This is why I love discussing these things.

That's not my picture by the way.
Came from a book called "Shooting the stickbow" by Anthony Camera.

Rick
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:10 PM   #36
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OK guys.

I went straight to the source - Tony Camera, author of "Shooting The Stickbow" with the following question:

How could this diagram be relevant at resting brace height?
The arrow is, or should be clear of all contact long before the arrow returns to this spot during the shot.


His reply:
"Rick -

It's relevant because the string has to get to the "resting" brace height from the anchored position. The lower brace height has a similar effect as a taller rest (distance from center) just BEFORE the arrow disengages - that's due to the angle off at that point. The fact the arrow is no longer on the rest is irrelevant, because it's own inertia is still a factor.

And no, I didn't draw that picture to scale "
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:08 PM   #37
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For anyone who doesn't believe this method is correct try this. Twist your string up and add about an inch to your current brace height. Right handed shooters will impact right (lefties, left) now untwist and drop your string an inch lower than your normal brace height and notice the arrow impacts left for right handed shooters. This is all assuming your arrows are at least close to correct in the first place.
If nothing else it makes for micro tuning to get the arrow to impact exactly where you are looking.

Thanks Rick.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:23 PM   #38
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OK guys.

I went straight to the source - Tony Camera, author of "Shooting The Stickbow" with the following question:

How could this diagram be relevant at resting brace height?
The arrow is, or should be clear of all contact long before the arrow returns to this spot during the shot.


His reply:
"Rick -

It's relevant because the string has to get to the "resting" brace height from the anchored position. The lower brace height has a similar effect as a taller rest (distance from center) just BEFORE the arrow disengages - that's due to the angle off at that point. The fact the arrow is no longer on the rest is irrelevant, because it's own inertia is still a factor.

And no, I didn't draw that picture to scale "
Funny, as I was walking last night, I had typed up a response that pretty much stated "if I had to guess, it would have more to do with string path - ie the string has a compressed path to get from point A to point B and the angles will be different due to the fact that the same, if not a little more, force is being applied over a compressed string path."

With that being said... I would hypothesize that the impact of BH likely has more to do with the steering and force vectors placed on it by the string over the string path than it has anything to do with angles of the arrow relative to the strike plate at rest. And beyond that, there are likely just a bunch of little "in the noise" differences that add up to play a bigger role. For instance, the increase in draw weight when you up the BH is very small, but it is a small contributing factor that has no other factors that negate it and likely a bunch of other factors that build off of it.

Again, just my opinion that somebody is explaining a proven relationship using a causality that isn't an actual factor.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:32 PM   #39
SwampRabbit
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... and with that... I am gonna check out on this conversation. Probably shouldn't have even dived in because it can ruin it for me. Sometimes I like to not think too much about certain things.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:39 PM   #40
DRT
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My brain hurt just reading that.

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Old 05-19-2017, 03:51 PM   #41
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When my brain is hurting it means I "might" be learning something.
I love learning, and very much appreciate everyone's input to these type discussions.

Rick
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Old 05-19-2017, 04:31 PM   #42
SwampRabbit
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They are definitely fun discussions as long as you have the right attitude about it and it isn t about proving people right/wrong. I knew that was tge case here so I weighed in.

I am a whiteboard talker though so sometimes the forums make it hard to communicate my points.

My role as an engineer, I am expected to know and understand things. In my field, I am expected to dive deep into various areas and close the knowledge gap for our company AND innovate based off my knowledge of how stuff works.

There is so many things to learn and not enough time to learn them all, and I have learned that I need to ask myself "to what end" do I need to keep digging deeper to satisfy my desire to understand vs just wanting to enjoy an activity... the struggle is real

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Old 05-19-2017, 06:09 PM   #43
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Well Scott, I'm purty sure you know I was just jackin with ya (as usual)! But , to your point, I also have to do a lot of in depth ciphering at my job as well, and I'm wired that way... BIGTIME! But, I usually don't take that approach with my bow shootin. For some reason, I've always been able to not over-analyze that part of my life. Don't get me wrong, I will not tolerate my arrows to not be flying true, my bow shootin loud, some strange noise, etc. Funny thing is, I either know, have used, or at least heard of a lot of these various "tuning" methods over the years. I guess I just choose to keep it as absolutely simple as I can, I mean we are talkin bout me here! Like I mentioned earlier, that is PART of what drew me to traditional years ago... Simplicity. As long as the center of my nock follows the center of my broadhead/field tip, I can work with that! And... Part of my job is figuring out how to make something work that the engineer(s) guarantees is supposed to work "according to the drawing"... Sorry Scott, couldn't resist! Good Huntin, and God Bless, Rusty
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:35 PM   #44
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Aside from the tech, I start my tuning process with a full length arrow( I can't cut much at 30" of draw). Weak or stiff I find the point where my bow is the most quiet, the least hand shock, and just feels the right. Then I'll add weight or cut what I need to getting a good flying arrow. Is there a measurement I need to take past that to find the optimum brace? I have never adjusted brace to make an arrow work. It's always the other way around. Not saying that I'm right because lord knows I don't know it all.
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:37 PM   #45
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I like the discussion but I won't say it all makes perfect sense or is something I know how to apply.

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Old 05-20-2017, 06:46 AM   #46
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Well, I have to admit - I did have some ulterior motive/was trying to prove something with this topic.

Over the years, I've seen way to many shooters go through excruciating frustrations with their bows & shooting when thinking lowering their brace height was getting them some significant extra performance, when in reality all it got them was a crappy shooting bow, and a pocket full of disappointment.

`````````````
Just recently I went through this with a buddy.

He lowered his brace height (even though he was already at the bottom end of reasonable) a full inch thinking he was going to gain some power stroke & speed.

He went from shooting pretty nice accurate groups to not being able to consistently hit the target butt at 20 yards. He called me to ask what I thought was wrong with his form to cause this to happen. He was convinced, that the extra speed he had gained was amplifying his form flaws.

I argued with him about it for two weeks before finally having to prove it to him with a chronograph.

He borrowed a chronograph, and was actually quite shocked by the results.
Not only was he losing speed at the lower brace height, but his bow was 1.5 fps faster with the brace height set higher than his original setting.

After playing with his brace heights for a couple of days, he wound up settling on one at the upper end of the manufacturers recommendation. Not only was his bow faster there than ever before, but it was vibration free, and a lot quieter. He had found that "Sweet Spot".

He would never have believed it if not for the chronograph, and would have continued to believe it was either flaws in his form, or something wrong with the bow, until his frustration convinced him to get rid of the bow, OR quit archery all together.

`````````````
I thought a discussion about brace height (what it does & don't do) might save a few from unnecessarily torturing themselves.

Rick
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Old 05-20-2017, 06:52 AM   #47
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I know mine being off wore me out earlier this year. I check it regularly.

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Old 05-20-2017, 07:58 AM   #48
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Nice thread Rick, thanks for posting it. You're definitely correct though in that lower is not always better or faster. Dynamic spine is difficult for some of us to wrap our heads around.

How about point weight and FOC? For a different topic; not trying to derail this one but would really like to hear your opinion and explanation.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:47 AM   #49
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I've always wondered. What if the sweetest spot is above manufacturers upper end? I have a couple that are 8 1/2" max per manufacturers recommendation and they seem to work best at close to 9". Will that over time destroy the bow? If you think about it, your flexing the limbs farther at full draw. They are starting out with more flex. I wonder this because I already draw 30".
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Old 05-20-2017, 01:35 PM   #50
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I was behind, saw the thread, tried to read through. My head hurt, I looked at my bow, and said... Nah, I'll just keep shooting what I know works.
-Some people really shoot on a level that is FAR superior to the masses. To those, and I do believe Rick may be there, The small increments of Brace will affect there performance, and I can follow with the "power stroke" of the bow being optimized at a certain point just before the loss. It has a "breaking" point if you will. But I will most likely never know that exact spot as my shooting does not get to that superior level.
When my brace is way out and I have not been paying attention my groups are more erratic then normal. I then look at knock point. If it visually does not look right I check my brace to see if that may be the cause. If all checks out, then I'm shooting poorly due to me.
Rick, Thanks for the post and LOTS of information, I may be fixing to get burned at the stake here, but does that mean that ALL compound bows are then constructed and set at "peak" brace by a manufacture who automatically knows how every archer will draw/ hold the bow, and arrow they should shoot?
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