“Paper tuning” is the process of shooting an arrow from your bow through a piece of paper. The tear created by the impact and travel path of the arrow can reveal key factors about how your bow and arrow combination are shooting. By shooting an arrow through paper, you will be able to see where the arrow’s point makes an initial impact with the paper, how the arrow shaft continues to tear the paper as it flies, and then is torn further by your arrow’s vanes or feathers that make a final tear. What you want to see is one hole, which happens when the front of the arrow tears at impact, and then the rest of the shaft passes through so straight that there is no additional tear through the paper.
I hope that the very first arrow to leave the bow after setting it up will fly perfectly. There is only one way to know for sure, and that is to shoot an arrow or two through paper to see how it tears. Here are what some of the different paper tune tears represent. After shooting through paper, you can use the following information to help you determine the best course of action.
Tail high: To fix a high tear, lower the nocking point or adjust the rest set up. If you can’t stop the high tear, try a lower shooting poundage. If that has no effect on the tear, see cam rotation problems.
Tail low: To fix a low tear, raise the nocking point or adjust the rest down. If you can’t stop the low tear, try a higher poundage. If that has no effect on the tear, see cam rotation problems.
Tail left: Arrow spine may be too weak; try using stiffer shaft, lighter point, or reduce draw weight. Or move the rest toward the arrow vanes.
Tail right: Arrow spine may be too stiff; try using a weaker shaft, a heavier point, or increase your draw weight. The perfect tear will result in a bullet-like hole.
To ensure the arrow is flying straight, test at 6 feet and at 10-12 feet from the suspended paper. Only after your arrow is flying clean do we go on to the next step, which is sighting in your first pin at 20 yards and extending ranges after 20 is solidified.
Basically, no matter which adjustment you will do, the arrow will have a nock tail rip or a snapshot due to its natural flex. For that reason, other techniques like bare shaft and walk-back tuning would be complementing options for group testing arrows and most likely to give you more relevant results about your shots. Also, take into consideration proper grip and stance are executed during the tuning process.