Being accurate with archery equipment requires either luck or consistency. Luck runs out, consistency wins! One of the tools that archers have in their arsenal is the peep sight; a seemingly simple device that when used properly is greatly beneficial. When not used properly, they can serve as a false sense of security and lead to accuracy problems.
There are many different, valid ways to use a peep sight and just as many or more incorrect methods. The peep sight serves the same function as the rear sight on a gun; it is used as a reference to consistently line up the front sight (pin on a bow sight) with the target. Simply looking through the peep sight and the pins is not going to lead to consistency.
There are multiple considerations when picking out a peep sight. What will be the main use of the bow setup? How will the lighting conditions be under use? What bow sight will be used in conjunction with the peep sight?
Picking the right size of peep sight
Picking the right peep size will depend on your theory of use. Some people like to center whichever pin is to be used in the middle of the peep, others will center the entire sight in the peep. I am of the latter. When pulling the bow back and settling in to my shooting position, I want to worry and think about as little as possible.
By using a round sight housing and the right sized peep, it becomes very easy to subconsciously line them up together and have a repeatable shooting position. Elimination of one more factor that has to be focused on results in it being easier to focus on other things, like aiming!
Another consideration is how much light will be let in by the peep sight. Obviously the larger the peep, the more light that can be let in. As with peeps, the sight housing size also is important, depending on how many pins, how far they will be spaced, where you like the pins located within the housing and how much of a field of view you want to see through the housing.
I do not recommend trying to center whichever pin is being used in the center of the peep for a few reasons. First, it can be difficult to judge when a small pin is centered in a much larger peep sight hole. Second, when shooting at between pin distances, it becomes even more difficult to get things centered right. Also, it may cause the shooter to adjust their anchor point to get the pin centered.
If you are going to use the pin centering method, simply pick the peep sight that lets in the amount of light that you feel is necessary and size it small enough so that you can get the pin centered. The biggest problem is that these two requirements are at odds with each other.
My preferred method is to use a large, round sight housing (more field of view, plenty of room to move pins around and accommodate as many pins as necessary) at least 1 5/8″ in diameter, 2″ being even better. The next step is to decide how far the sight will be from the bow riser. The farther away from the riser the larger the pin spread, the finer the sight can be aimed, but also more movement of the pins will be seen against the target.
Once the distance of the sight from the riser is determined, pick a peep that allows a small halo of either light outside of the sight ring, or arond the colored ring on the sight ring. Usually this isn’t possible and the peep will either allow too much area around the housing (or colored housing ring) or the peep will cover up too much. The solution here is to buy the smaller peep to start with.
If a perfect, stock peep size can be found, install the peep and it’s time to shoot! Otherwise install the peep, get it in the right spot and right orientation (see the How to Properly Align a Peep Sight article) and pull the bow back. Take careful note of how undersized the peep hole is. Now, REMOVE the peep from the string; do NOT, I repeat do NOT attempt the next step with the peep installed or you will regret it.
Take the peep and find a drill bit that will allow a very small amount of the inside diameter of the peep to be removed, slightly enlarging the hole. It is definitely easier to do this with a drill press and a good vise. Install the peep, check again and repeat if necessary. Having a good set of drill bits in 1/32″ or 1/64″ increments will make getting the exact size more likely. I do not like to settle for something that is “close enough” and try to be as precise as possible.
With some peep sights it isn’t possible to drill out the hole cleanly. Of all the peep sights I have tried, the Fletcher Tru-Peep has been the best for modifying because of the generous diameter of the thinner section in the center. There is a lot of room to play with enlarging the diameter.
After the peep is sized and ready to go, you may find that where the metal was removed is shiny and a distraction. This is easily fix with a little flat or satin paint of the right color, or even a Sharpie magic marker.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- How to: properly align a peep sight in the bowstring
- How to: Walk Back Tuning
- Review: HHA Optimizer Lite Sights
- Archery and the Mental Game
- Sighting in Your Bow in the Easy Way