Walk-Back Tuning Vs. Paper Tuning: Can You Name These Differences?

There are multiple ways to tune your bow. They have the same purpose and aim for the same result. However, depending on your needs, one may be more suitable than the others. 

Walk back and paper tuning are two popular methods. This article will help you compare them side by side. Let’s follow it to decide the better one between walk-back tuning vs. paper tuning

What Is Walk-Back Tuning? 

This tuning technique is perfect for fine-tuning your bow after you have paper-tuned it. We will discuss the paper tuning in the next section. 

Walk-back tuning will begin with shooting from 20 to 40 yards, then a stroll back to strike from further distances. You will shoot at a vertical line extending from your target’s top to bottom.

Masking tape is quite helpful for this method. Besides, hunters also hang a string with a weight to secure it and keep it straight. 

The ultimate of this method is to look for slight inconsistencies in your arrow’s right/left contact points. 

Those inconsistencies will become more noticeable when you move farther from your target. Then, you can correct them with proper adjustments.

walk back tuning vs paper tuning

What Is Paper Tuning? 

Paper tuning involves shooting an arrow through a piece of paper to see what kind of tear you have. The rip can help you tell if your arrow is going straight or not. If the hole resembles a clean bullet hole, your arrow is likely flying pretty straight.

However, if you notice a slight tip in the center of the hole, you will know your arrow is actually not flying straight. Hence, you need to adjust it. 

It would be best to start your tuning process using this paper tuning method. It works like a rifle bore aiming. Although this technique won’t make everything perfect, it can put you on the correct path.

Difference Between Walk-Back Tuning Vs. Paper Tuning

The walk-back tuning and paper tuning techniques differ in terms of the required items to execute the process, distance, and how to make adjustments based on the results. 


Tuning your bow is a straightforward process. Thus, you only need to gather simple tools for it. The items require for walk-back tuning and paper tuning are different as follows:

  • Walk-back tuning

This method calls for a string or duct tape. If you use a string, you need to hang it from your target wall. Then, attach a weight to the string to form a plumb line. 

If you use duct tape, you will make a T shape on the target wall. The vertical line of the letter T can be short or long, depending on your bow’s speed. 

  • Paper tuning

As you can guess from the name, you need a piece of paper for this tuning method. You will also have to fix the paper to a frame.  


You won’t tune your bow at your usual practice range. Instead, set a proper distance from the target. The backstop should be at a reasonable distance too. 

You need to stand about six feet away from the paper placed four to six feet in front of the backstop. This distance range allows the paper to capture a shot of what the arrow does during its flight. 

Things are different when it comes to the walk-back tuning. This method involves experimenting with different distances, which are very far away from the target. 

You will start at a 20-yard pin. Then, walk back to take a new shot at 30 yards, and then 35 and 40 yards.

walk back tuning vs paper tuning

How to tune your bow?

The steps needed to turn your bow are simple. If you choose the walk-back tuning technique, the instructions are as follows:

  • Attach a weight to the string and hang it from your target wall. The goal is to form a stable plumb line. 
  • Set a bullseye in the middle of the string and at the top of the wall. 
  • Take the first shot at the bullseye with a 20-yard pin. 
  • Move back to the 30-yard pin and take the second shot. The bullseye is the same as the one you use for the 20-yard pin. 
  • Repeat the same steps with the 35-yard and 40-yard pins. 

If you want to try the paper tuning method, please take these steps:

  • Fix the paper to a frame and fasten it so it won’t get loose while you are shooting through it. 
  • Stand about six feet away from the paper. 
  • Draw back your bow, then align your arrow.
  • Aim for the paper with a strong overall archery posture.
  • Analyze the results on the tear of the paper. 
  • Repeat the technique while making any necessary adjustments to your bow until you have the desired tear.


In the walk-back tuning method, you will adjust your shots after considering the inconsistencies every you shoot. As you walk back to take the shot, if the arrows drift to the right or left, you should adjust the arrow to the opposite way. 

You will see that the arrows stack differently throughout the multiple attempts and adjustments. Keep fixing them until they rest within the string line. 

How about the paper tuning results? The direction and amount of the tear can tell how to tune your bow to achieve a perfect hole. Here are the adjustments you should make for some instances:

  • Tail left: Move the rest slightly to the right. 
  • Tail right: Adjust the rest to the left. 
  • Tail low: Lower the rest or raise the nocking point. 
  • Tail high: Raise the rest or lower the nocking point. 

Comparison Table

walk back tuning vs paper tuning

Pros And Cons Of Walk-Back Tuning And Paper Tuning 

Both methods have pros and cons. So before deciding on the more suitable approach for your shoots, consider two sides of each. 

Walk-back tuning:

  • Pros: This method allows you to experiment with different distances and directions. The target is a thin line, increasing the accuracy of your shoots. 
  • Cons: You need a large space to tune your bow in this manner because it calls for up to a 40-yard distance. 

Paper tuning:

  • Pros: This tuning method is easier to set up. Moreover, you can do it in a limited space. 

Cons: Checking the tear is more challenging than it sounds. Make sure to choose a thick piece of paper so the rests are clear.

walk back tuning vs paper tuning

Which Should You Choose? 

Walk-back tuning is one of the best do-it-yourself tuning techniques for beginning bowhunters. It helps determine if the rest is causing your arrows to fall to the right or left of the center.

On the other hand, paper tuning is a fantastic overall technique, regardless of skill level. But if you’re a novice, we’d strongly advise having an experienced archer around to assist with the adjustments.


Both walk-back and paper-tuning methods can help with your bow adjustments. 

The effect will be better if you combine them. Start with the paper tuning first, and your compound bow flies straight with the walk-back technique afterward. 

Hopefully, you can choose the best tactic for your hunting experience. If you have any problem tuning your bow, get in touch with us.

Thank you for reading!

Leave a Comment

Read more