Archers and bowhunters often find it difficult to get their peep sight perfectly straight on the bowstring so that it lines up properly with the sight. Here are a few tricks to help you get that perfectly alignment.
The first rule of setting up a bow
It is of utmost importance that the archer NOT conform to the bow, but that the bow conform to the archer! Do not ever do anything unnatural or forced to fit to the bow. You should always make the bow fit you!
Initial peep installation
Along with installing the peep, usually a d-loop of sorts will be installed. If you are using a traditional d-loop, install it so that it sits straight back on the string, not being twisted to either side. If you are using a torqueless loop that can rotate about the string, install it and forget it as it will self align every time. Don’t know what a torqueless loop is? Read the “How to tie and install a torqueless bowstring loop” article.” Not sure which loop style to use? Check out the “Bowstring D-loops” article.
The first step is to get the peep into the string, roughly aligned and centered. By far the best way to do this is to use a bow press to relax the string to separate the strands. Any other method risks damaging or possibly breaking the string, therefore I will not describe nor recommend other methods. Use them at your own risk!
On a two color string it is usually preferable and more visually attractive to split the colors evenly with the peep. Pick the approximate height of the peep (usually best accomplished by measuring off of another setup for reference) and slip it in between the strands. If you have a single color or more than two colors, evenly divide the strands. That’s it!
Set the proper peep height
The second step is to get the peep set to the right height. To do this, I find the easiest thing is go get some help from another person, though you can do it yourself if no one is available.
Once the peep is set in the string, pull the bow back with your eyes closed and settle in to your natural anchor point. Open your eye and do not move! If you have someone helping, have them rotate the peep to perfect alignment and move it up or down the string until it aligns perfectly with the sight aperture. If you do not have anyone helping, note the position of the peep, let the bow down, move the peep up or down and repeat until it is in perfect position.
This assumes that the sight ring is set where you want it. At this point, I will take a few shots to make sure the sight aperture is where I want it. If it isn’t, move it and reset the peep accordingly.
If you set the peep height to the sight aperture position, but then later move the sight, it can cause you to have to “tweek” your eye up or down to get the sight to center perfectly in the peep. Don’t do this! If you have to, it is better to move the peep into the correct location and use your most natural position and form to shoot.
Aligning the peep
If these are new strings you are shooting and you have not done so yet, I highly recommend putting at least 12-20 shots through them at this point. Don’t worry about being sighted in or if you peep isn’t rotated quite right; the idea is to get the strings/cables and their twists settled.
Once you are sure that the peep height is set properly and you have a few shots through the strings, the peep will most likely not be rotated to sit perfectly aligned with your eye. At this point I will add to or subtract from the string 1/2 turn or one full turn to get the peep to be closer to centered. I prefer to only stick to 1/2 turn at a time and then check the bow’s ATA and brace height to make sure that the twists do not change the specs. I will never go more than this as it will change the specs of the bow which in turn can cause other issues. If you are using a static d-loop, I prefer to loosen it and reset it so that it is aligned with the bowstring again after rotating the strings.
Sometimes adding or removing a 1/2 or full twist will perfectly align the peep into the proper rotation and you’re done! This is ideal and if it happens, congratulate yourself and enjoy shooting! Take your bow to the range, and shoot a few shots to make sure everything settles in and stays where it is supposed to.
Often, however, the peep will still not quite be aligned…
This final step requires a little work and patience, but will result in the perfect rotation and happier shooting. The trick is to put the bow in a bow press and press it just enough to barely slacken the bowstring. Depending on the the position of the peep, remove one string strand from one side of the front of the peep and to the other side. From the back side of the peep, remove one strand from the second side and place it on the first side. What this does is rotate the peep within the natural twists of the bowstring and rotate the peep into the proper position.
Remove the bow from the press, inspect the peep, and repeat if necessary. Sometimes it only takes one pair of strands and other times it can take a few pairs. By carefully adjusting the strands (be patient and take the time to do it right) you will eventually get a peep that is perfectly rotated!
The final step is to serve the peep into the string; here is my favorite method: How to: Tie a peep sight into a bowstring
There is one other way to help align the peep if you don’t want to fine tune by moving strands or don’t have immediate access to a bowpress. If you use a static d-loop (one that is tight on the string and doesn’t freely rotate) then you can loosen the d-loop, rotate it to be aligned with the peep, then tighten it back down. When you hook the loop up to your release and pull back, this will twist the entire string and rotate the peep. It may take some experimentation to get it centered right, but it can be done.
The reason why I don’t like this method is that I prefer not to forcefully rotate the string out of its natural position. Also, over time the d-loop can naturally shift and rotate itself to be aligned with the direction of pull. This method is more of a “bandaid” and only treats the symptom, but doesn’t cure the cause.