Is micro-adjust needed on an arrow rest or bow sight?

Micro adjust on Mathews Ultrarest

Smooth and simple micro-adjustment on the Mathews Ultrarest Integrate MX. Photo credit: Chris Neville

Bowhunters tend to be analyzers. We pay attention to the little things and shoot for big results. Each and every year, our gear and skills are honed in a bit more than previous years in an effort to become or remain successful. Wrapping tags on animals with a bow on a consistent basis is no walk in the park. For great results, a great amount of effort needs to be put in. These days, many hunters are training and shooting year-round because of this. The scales are put to use when weighing gear and each and every aspect of our bows are analyzed. How can we be more effective than before? Can we even do such a thing? Maybe it’s with a different arrow setup? Possibly, it’s something to do with our form? Would adding the ability to have micro adjust on our rest or sight make a huge impact on our precision? This last question is something that I’ve definitely thought of in the past but never put into action. As I said above, bowhunters are analyzers. So, let’s start analyzing. Is micro adjust needed on a bow sight or rest?

So what is micro adjust?

Josh Kirchner preparing for archery practice

All other photo credits unless otherwise noted: Josh Kirchner

Being the tinkerers that we are, having the ability to micro adjust may be something that intrigues some of us. What exactly is it, though? For those who are possibly new to archery or bowhunting, I’ll lay it out for you. Micro-adjust on a bow sight or rest is exactly what it sounds like. When we are sighting in a bow or tuning a bow, there are adjustments that need to be made to these accessories for the desired results. With a sight, we might be moving the entire sight up, down, left or right to get that arrow right where we want it. You can also adjust the individual pins in a sight either up or down. This is usually done by loosening an allen screw and moving the sight or pins by hand. This can be a pain sometimes when sighting in as our movements are not perfect. With a micro adjust, you’d loosen the screw and then turn the dial to move the sight or pins ever so slightly. Having this ability makes finite adjustments a breeze. The same can be said about an arrow rest. When tuning, you’d loosen a screw and pop the rest in the direction you want by hand. With the micro adjust, it is done precisely and accurately via a dial. Is it necessary, though, in either capacity?


Black Gold sight

You’re at the range and ready to sight in your bow. Shot after shot is sent downrange and you start moving your sight in the desired direction. You move it up a tad because your arrow was hitting high. After doing so, though, now your arrow is hitting low. Back to the allen wrench you go. You move the sight down a tad and now the arrow is hitting a tad high again. Does this sound familiar to any of you? I know I have gone through this a time or two while sighting in a bow. The same thing can happen with the individual pins and I’d even say more so with them than the whole sight housing. There are lines on a lot of these elevation and windage bars, but that doesn’t change the fact that none of us are perfect. Granted, archers and bowhunters have been sighting in their bows like this for more than a long time and have been just fine. So, why would you change? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? I think there is always room for improvement, though, and, in this case, it might be more efficient to have micro adjust on a bow sight. Think of the time you might save.


Micro windage adjustment on Spot Hogg archery sight

Micro adjustment for windage on a single pin Spot Hogg sight. Photo credit: Chris Neville

Adjusting individual pins has proved to be somewhat of a pain in the past for me. You are trying to loosen that screw just enough to move the pin a skosh, but not too much to where the pin might move way more than intended, ultimately losing the spot it was in in the first place. That has happened to me more than a few times. Having micro adjust on individual pins completely eliminates this hurdle. Being able to adjust pins right where I want on the spot is definitely intriguing to me. There would be no more “oops” factor involved by accidentally bumping the pin too much. However, once my pins are set, they are set unless I end up changing something drastically about my setup or arrows that would cause a totally different ballistic path of the arrow, of which the likelihood is slim. Keeping that out of the equation, you might not really use the micro adjust on pins that much at all once they got the pins all set up.

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Gang adjustment

The next micro adjustment on a bow sight that might catch your eye is going to be the gang adjustment. What I mean by that is the adjustment you’d make to the whole housing itself. I find myself tinkering with this way more than individual pins. It’s still not a ton, but definitely more often. The times that I have switched arrows or changed point weights, I have had to move my sight housing to reflect that. I’ve also had to move my sight housing when getting a new bow. Arrow trajectory pretty much stays the same as long as the bow isn’t too different from your last in terms of speed. As we shoot and shoot, we can also continue to fine-tune our bows. Maybe I am consistently hitting an inch left. I’d move my whole housing left a tad. With the micro adjustment, you wouldn’t have to worry about over adjusting and that is something that I like the sound of. Efficiency is a time saver and this is no exception. You can spend less time adjusting and more time shooting.

Arrow rests

Elevation micro adjust on Mathews Ultrarest

Micro-adjust is a great convenience when tuning a bow. Photo credit: Chris Neville

Just like with bow sights, you also have the option to go with a rest that has micro adjust. Where would this come in handy? This would really shine when tuning a bow. Getting an arrow to fly perfect is essential for consistency. Popping the rest over a tad to the right or left can do a lot. When I say a tad, I am talking a 32nd of an inch sometimes. Try to fathom that small of a movement. It’s almost not a movement. This minute adjustment is way easier done with micro adjust than by hand. However, people have indeed been doing things like this for a long time and been fine. I’m not going to say that you absolutely need a micro adjustment on your rest just like I’m not going to say that you need it on your sight. However, it does make things a bit easier. With convenience comes a price, though.

The price tag for more adjustability

Range time

Micro adjustment is really a convenience and, just like anything, that convenience comes a price. With some companies, it’s a whole lot more than their non-micro adjust models and with others, it’s a tad more. The fact of the matter is you are going to be spending a bit more money for this slick feature. This should be expected because that’s just how things work. So, you’ve got a question to ask yourself: does the price difference justify the perks? For some, it’s a no-brainer. For others, they might scratch their heads a bit and be willing to “deal” with not having the feature. To give you an idea of the difference in price you might paycheck this out. A Black Gold Ascent 5 pin Verdict goes for around $250 new. The newer Pro sight with all of the micro adjust you can dream about is around $450. For rests, the tried and true QAD hunter rest is about $60 and the micro-adjust version is $129. I know that there are some options out there that don’t have as big of a jump in price, but I just wanted to point out these two companies as they are extremely popular.

Yay or nay?

Practice at the archery range

Photo credit: Brady Miller

And the verdict is? It’s really a personal preference to be completely honest. Do you need the micro adjustment feature? No, you don’t need it. You might want it, though, and that is totally fine. We don’t need slider sights, but many of us shoot them—myself included—and they are awesome. It’s just going to be way easier and quicker to adjust your sight and/or rest with the micro adjust. Another thing to keep in mind, though, is micro adjust adds in more screws and things to possibly come loose out in the field. Personally, I think that is alleviated by just paying attention to your stuff before you go out. That is something that you should be doing regardless of micro-adjust features; however, it is definitely something to consider. We live in a time where time itself is indeed a commodity. Nobody has time and everyone is always busy. Plain and simple, micro adjust is a timesaver. Is it for you? Only you can answer that question.

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