Patrick Meitin has degrees in journalism and range and wildlife management. He’s been an outdoor writer, specializing in bowhunting, for more than 20 years. An expert with both traditional and modern archery equipment, Meitin lives in northern Idaho with his wife, Gwyn, and their two Labrador retrievers.
Make Your Bow Shoot Better with a Drop-Away Arrow Rest
If you make only one major change to your hunting bow this summer, make it a drop-away arrow rest. I can think of no other single tweak to an existing bowhunting outfit that will make as big a difference to accuracy and bowhunting efficiency. The drop-away rest makes any bow more accurate. By its very nature such a rest design also makes any bow more forgiving.
Here's why: In terms of accuracy, drop-aways allow more aggressive fletching attitude. The very point of drop-aways -- eliminating fletching contact -- means you're no longer forced to fletch arrows straight-fletched, as essentially required by old-style launcher rests. With drop-away rests you can adjust fletching jigs for maximum helical, or even use bigger fletchings if you wish. This spells maximum broadhead control through faster, more stable arrow spin rates. Translated: Added bowhunting accuracy.
Drop-away rests are also more forgiving. The same drop action resulting in 100 percent fletching clearance also means arrows contact the bow less. Depending on design and adjustment, this can mean 25 to 50 percent less contact -- meaning flinches, bobbles or dropping the bow arm to watch your arrow away are 25 to 50 percent less likely to affect arrow flight and impact. Total-containment arrow rests demand rock-solid and unfailing follow-through after release because rest brushes/arms contact the arrow tip to nock during every single shot. Drop-aways also seem to be more forgiving of slight variations in arrow straightness, spine and tip weight because arrows flexing during launch are less influenced by rigid rest arms.
Besides, the newest drop-away designs offer total-containment assurance and complete fletching clearance combined. Models such as the Quality Archery Designs Ultra Rest, Ripcord, Trophy Ridge Revolution, VaporTrail Pro-V or New Archery Products Apache, provide absolute arrow control plus drop-away action. Even without containment features, the drop-away design is by its very nature is more bobble-proof than conventional rests of old. Extra-deep launcher forks found on the Octane TripWire, Trophy Taker Shakey Hunter or Trophy Ridge DropZone, as examples, make it difficult to bump arrows off the launcher during hurried or bumpy draw cycles. Most also include arrow cradles to hold and position the arrow while waiting for the shot, so you're always ready for action.
To get the most accuracy out of the average drop-away, it should be adjusted to support the arrow as long as possible before dropping from beneath the shaft. In other words, ideally it should support the arrow right up to the very moment fletchings arrive, dropping away to allow fletchings to pass untouched. This is normally a matter of trial-and-error tuning. Set up the rest according to manufacturer's instructions, get the bow rough tuned and sighted and then begin experimenting with activation cord tension and/or length until arrow groups tighten.