LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015
When it comes to your bow, it’s all about the little things. How often have you found yourself shooting a bunch, when all of a sudden you notice some rattling on your bow and a few shots later you find out that you have a missing bolt in your cams or a bolt in your sight has fallen out? How about bolts rusting and seizing up over time? I bet both of those scenarios have occurred a lot over the years and possibly at the worst times like during a hunt or a tournament. Personally, I would be really nervous being deep in the backcountry and having a cam module bolt fall out, potentially wrecking the hunt. Like any bowhunter I would try to find something on the mountain to make it work. But why not do something back home during the spring to prevent this from occurring in the first place? Your bow is the main factor after you close the distance for a shot in determining whether you come home with a punched tag or a bowl full of tag soup. So take some extra time and apply a few steps to keep your bow running smooth through the season.
A trip to the local hardware shop is all you need to make sure your bow accessories won’t let you down at the most inopportune time.
Changing Out Screws
You may notice that the screws on every bow, rest, and sight are made from some type of carbon steel. While factory screws are fully capable of being used, I just like to take extra steps to ensure that my setup will be performing to the best of its ability. When setting up a bow, I will replace all of the factory screws to a high grade stainless steel. As its name implies, stainless steel is very resistant to corrosion, so it will resist rust and hold better since it is stronger than most grade 2 steel screws that are commonly used. Since we all bowhunt in everything Mother Nature throws at us, using stainless steel becomes a huge benefit if a bow is routinely faced with moisture and varying weather conditions. I would have to guess that cost is a big reason why you don’t see bows and accessories fitted with stainless steel screws, even though their benefits are easily seen due to the varied environments bowhunters face. Stainless steel accessories should only be used on parts that are not under tension, such as limb bolts and axle pins.
This image shows the differences of the stainless steel socket head screw on the left and a button screw head on the right.
Since there are a lot of different screws on a bow and accessories, I find it easiest to remove the screws and take all of them to a local hardware store to see what diameter and threads per inch each screw is. I do this by using a thread gauge at the store by threading each screw into them. I make notes on a piece of paper to record each screw’s size.
Button Head vs. Socket Head Screws
When switching screws, I utilize socket heads rather than the standard button head screws for all applications. Socket heads will enable you to get a deeper bite without stripping the head. I find this especially useful when attaching my rest to my bow because I do not want my rest to move easily if it gets bumped. Keep in mind this work is for my personal bow, so I know the inherent risks of trying to get the screws out at a later date if I put a little too much tension on them. But I’d rather know they will not come loose while on a hunt, rather than having a loose screw cause me to miss the animal of my dreams.
There is a certain satisfaction, not to mention added confidence, when you do things yourself in order to improve bow performance.
Other Enhancement Methods
I will even go a step further by purchasing stainless steel lock washers for each screw to ensure nothing comes loose. I find these especially useful in cam modules and on the rest. Another thing I have done in the past is use Teflon tape or some anti-seize to ensure I can remove the stainless steel screws after the season is over. But after using stainless steel for the past three years, I have never had an issue trying to remove the uncoated stainless screws.
The main disadvantage to using stainless steel would be the cost of the screws. But when you think about it, it could save your hunt and most people spend a lot more money on other accessories that don’t aid in promoting a consistent bow setup. This is just one small but, in my opinion, necessary adjustment to ensure that a bow can take the abuse that it goes through all season long and produce an accurate shot.