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Brace Height

2390 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Thin Man
Rookie question: I bought my first bow, a 60", 40# PSE Stalker, two months ago. The bow salesman, a person who specializes in trad archery, through a lot of terms and phrases at me which I am just now beginning to understand, the first of which is "brace height." He stated that, in time, I would learn to tune my bow and, once I had, to record these numbers.

Not knowing anything about brace height, I merely strung the bow (what I now know as "very loosely"). The brace height was at 6 7/16". For reasons not important to the discussion, I had to the replace the bow. When I got my new one (a PSE Stalker), even with no twists, I couldn't get the height down to 6 1/2.

I then watched some YT vids and realized I was shooting well under the recommended height for the bow (7 1/4-7 1/2). HOWEVER, when I was shooting at 6 7/16, I was getting real consistent 4-5" groupings.

That said, I set my brace height to 7 1/2. It seems to have more poundage (a concern, because I am more concerned with accuracy then force) and my question is: Will this increase my accuracy and/or how important is brace height? If 6 7/16--though well below recommendations--felt right, should I got with instinct and shoot 6.x or is the recommended setting there for more reasons then a merely guidepost to follow (aside from quieting the string)?

NOTE: Should it matter, my draw length is 29 1/2".
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m -

Brace height is a tuning parameter as you know.

A taller brace height will allow for a stiffer arrow and a shorter one will allow for a weaker arrow. That's the tuning part.
A taller brace height will also make the bow a little slower, but with modern equipment the difference may be unnoticeable .

A taller brace height will also make the bow slightly heavier, due to the greater bending of the limbs, but the optimal word is again, slightly. It's actually odd you could feel/see the difference without a very good bow scale. If you could feel something, it's possible that the taller brace pushed you into the stacking point of the limbs, but again not likely.

Viper1 out.
 

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m -

Brace height is a tuning parameter as you know.

A taller brace height will allow for a stiffer arrow and a shorter one will allow for a weaker arrow. That's the tuning part.
A taller brace height will also make the bow a little slower, but with modern equipment the difference may be unnoticeable .

A taller brace height will also make the bow slightly heavier, due to the greater bending of the limbs, but the optimal word is again, slightly. It's actually odd you could feel/see the difference without a very good bow scale. If you could feel something, it's possible that the taller brace pushed you into the stacking point of the limbs, but again not likely.

Viper1 out.
Please check brace height effects above. They are reversed.
 

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No they're not ;).

If you're going by Mr. Ferguson's book, you may want to check other sources, or test them for yourself.

Viper1 out.
 

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A lower Brace bow has more draw curve at a lower poundage. A higher brace bow has less draw curve at a higher poundage. Simple means of tuning a arrow. Increasing Brace height will make the arrow shoot weaker, and decreasing brace height will make a arrow shoot stiff. It's a matter of adjustment until the arrow disengages straight with the bow string at Brace. This will be the quietest setting for a individual archer.
Dan
 

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I'm not sure about any danger using a brace height lower than recommended by the manufacturer but I also don't see any advantage.

The increase in draw weight you feel may just be because there is slightly more tension on the string at brace and the bow feels a little stiffer as you start to draw. The bow should feel a little "crisper and snappier" at the higher brace height. There will be a slight increase in draw weight at full draw since ultimately you are bending the limbs more, but it should be a small increase unless you have a relatively long draw length, then refer to Vipers comments above.

Noise and vibration is another issue, lower brace height is almost always going to be louder and leave more vibration in the limbs than the recommended value. I usually set my bow to the upper side of the recommended range, even slightly over, and just leave it there. I tune with other variables. I favor a quiet bow and always find a brace height on the high side works best for me.

A low brace height can also create problems with string/wrist contact at the shot. The lower brace and lower tension in the string lets the string move forward further than if the brace were higher.

Brace height isn't a critical issue in the long run, I'd just set it somewhere in the recommended range and forget about it until you find a reason to change.
 

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Ok, to set for noise and vibration. Start shooting at the lower recommended setting as you shoot raise the height by 1/4" per shot or two. the bow should get quieter then get noise after that. Record as you go. Set at the quietest or vibration free. This also should be the most forgiving setting, as stated above. Make sure to check and reset nock point each time.
Dan
 

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Shifting the height from 6 7/16 to 7 1/4, will there be a noticeable difference in the nock setting, i.e., will the 1" difference require me to reset the nock?
The most likely reason a nocking point is altered when brace height is changed is because the string wasn't made properly. When the body of a string doesn't have any twists in it, the strands that make up each bundle should not be wrapped around each other. This helps the string lay "round" once the body is twisted. If the bundles are already wrapped/twisted themselves prior to adding twists to the body, then when you twist the body it is unlikely those twists would be evenly distributed as they are going to be distributed in a manner that works in a manner that offers the least amount of resistence against the "pre-wrapped" up bundles.

The way one can confirm this is by removing all the twists from the string and holding it straight. When this is done, not only should the bundles be easily seperated, but the strands within the bundles should also be easily seperated. If the bundles are wrapped, the string was made wrong and it is possible that these bundles have more twists on one side of the string's serving than on the other side as it is unlikely those twists were evenly distributed prior to serving the string (since it was made by someone that doesn't know how to properly make a flemish string).
Dan
 

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Most of the time the nock setting will remain the same as you twist the string to various brace heights. I've had some nock settings shift on a radical change in BH, but more often than not the setting seems to stay put.

If you find nock shifting hassles during your experimentation, just dump the permanent nock and go with a temporary strip of masking or painters tape (cut it 'bout one inch long by 1/8" wide rolled tightly upon itself at the desired location) and use that during the changes. Easy on - stays put quite a while - easy switch for a new one if needed.

After you've got your final nock setting nailed down, you can live with the tape-nock for a while just to be sure, and then go ahead and place your permanent nock in position.

Don't let a nock hassle prevent you from experimenting. The tape is a fast and liquid way to establish "the truth", followed by a one-time permanent placement. I've run tape as nocks for months due to sheer laziness with no ill effects on the shooting. Just check the location with a bow square frequently, since at a point the tape may start to slip.

Hope this helps.
 
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