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How to Locate Center Shot on your Compound Bow

Posted by: developer
| Jul, 7 2009

Tools Needed:

  • 1 Fine Point Marker
  • 1 Tape Measure or Machinists Rule (Preferred)
  • 1 Bow Vise or other means to hold bow in an upright position
  • Rubbing Alcohol

What to do & How to do it. From the string side of the limb:

  • Measure the full width of the upper limb at the limb tip.
  • Divide that measurement in half and make a small mark on the limb as close to the wheel as possible.
  • Do the same at the riser end of the upper limb.

Repeat Steps 1 thru 3 for the bottom limb. Now that you have the limb center on both limbs you can easily find string center by following the next series of steps:

  • At the very tip of the upper limb (above the wheel) place the ruler across the limb.
  • Locate limb center on the ruler and note the distance from limb center to string center. This is usually about 1/8" (See Note 1.)
  • From the limb center mark made on the limb closest to the riser, measure and mark the string center.
  • Repeat step 5 thru 7 for the bottom limb.

Now that you have the string center marked, use a small amount of rubbing alcohol to remove the limb center marks. This should be done to avoid confusion.

  • With bow held securely in an upright position, nock an arrow and place on the rest.
  • Visually align the string with the marks (string center) on the limb. The marks should be hidden behind the string. If the rest is in the proper position you will see that the string runs down the center of the arrow.
  • If you find that when you look at the string, the marks, and the arrow all three are not lined up, simply loosen your rest and move it left or right until the string, the marks and the arrow are in line with each other. When this is achieved you will be very, very close to exact center shot of your bow.
  • The release shooter may initially want to set center shot with the point of the arrow directly in line with the string. A finger shooter may want to set up with the arrow point slightly outside of center shot. (See Note 2.)


  • Note 1: Right handed bows - string will normally be to the left of center. Left handed bows - string will normally be to the right of center.
  • Note 2: Right handed shooters - arrow point will be slightly left of the string. Left handed shooters - arrow point will be slightly right of the string.

Helpful Hint

  • For additional valuable information on bow tuning and bowhunting, check out the books Balanced Bowhunting by Dave Holt, and Bowhunter's Encyclopedia by Dwight Schuh.