Drop away arrow rests are a more recent innovation than the open static rests. While they perform their task extremely well in holding the arrow steady during the draw process and then falling away as the arrow leaves, they can be prone to causing problems.

As with any device with multiple moving parts, things can go wrong. And when they do, hunters become frustrated, discouraged and downright angry.

One of the more common problems experienced with drop away arrow rests, and particularly string driven rests, is vanes striking the launcher during release.

One of a number of reasons may cause this problem. Some may be straight forward while others will require some careful adjustment.

7 Possible Reasons Why Your Vanes Might Be Hitting Your Drop Away Arrow Rest

The ideal way the drop away arrow rest operates is to contact the arrow for the first six or seven inches of its forward travel.

The following is a quick visual showing what happens to the arrow rest when the arrow is released.

After this time it should drop clear without making further contact. If this doesn’t happen the reason why could be one of the following:

  • Shooting cock face down
  • The cord is too loose
  • The cord is too long
  • The arrow rest is not properly tuned
  • The launcher spring is too tight
  • Creeping at full draw
  • The arrow rest may be faulty

Shooting Cock Face Down

First things first, are you shooting cock vane down? This is not that unusual a mistake and is the easiest to fix.

In this case it is simply a matter of ensuring your arrow is nocked with the cock vane facing up.

Cord Too Loose

This is really a symptom of not properly tuning your arrow rest. If the cord has been left too long after it is attached to the buss cable it will not activate the launcher properly and this will cause it to fail to properly drop out of the way.

Cord Too Tight

Again, another symptom of the bow not being properly fine-tuned. Pulling the cord too tight throws the timing out leaving the launcher in the path of the arrow for too long.

You can quickly figure out that your cord is too short. If the rest is rising too early during the draw it’s a sure sign that it is too short. The fact is that if the rest rises early it will also drop too late.

In this case it is likely that the length of the cord from the rest to the string is too short and needs to be lengthened.

The Arrow Rest Is Not Properly Tuned

If there is ever a change made to your bow – draw length altered, draw weight, etc. check the launcher timing and, if necessary, adjust it.

Arrow rests such as the QAD rest will be in the capture position before the draw. It will reach the full upright cocked position over the last 1 to 1.5” of the draw.

With some bows the cord attaches to the buss cable at least 3 inches below the rest.

For a QAD arrow rest, when drawing back the bow the rest should start in the down position. It should start to rise as the draw cycle proceeds and shouldn’t be all the way up until the cams begin breaking over into the valley. This should be in the last inch or so of the draw.

Also, make 100% sure the rest launcher is fully up at full draw. It can sometimes be deceiving and look like it is all the way up when there is still some further way to go.

Make sure the cord is attached around 4-5 inches below the shelf which is around in line with the bottom the bow’s grip.

The following video explains very clearly and succinctly how to go about tuning your drop away arrow rest.

In addition, Bowhunting Magazine provides a very nice tutorial on how to go about properly tuning your bow with a drop away rest. Take a look at the article here.

Launcher Spring Too Tight

Some people increase the tension of the spring that controls the speed of the launcher thinking that the faster it drops the better the performance.

This is not necessarily going to be the case.

If the launcher drops too quickly it might not be in contact with the arrow for long enough to control it.

And, secondly, if the launcher drops too quickly there is a risk that it will hit the bottom and bounce back into the path of the arrow affecting its flight.

Creeping At Full Draw

One of the problems that some less experienced bow hunters have is relaxing their arm when at full draw allowing the draw arm to creep forward a little.

This can be enough to throw the timing out. The creep is enough to relax the rest cord enough that it won’t draw.

It is something to be aware of if you are looking for a possible reason why your rest is hitting the fletching.  

Arrow rest May Be Faulty

The final reason, if the problem is not mentioned above, may be that the rest is defective.

In this case, you should contact the manufacturer and return your arrow rest.

In most cases manufacturers offer a lifetime guarantee for their products and will replace the rest with no fuss.

Final Word

The arrow rest should never come in contact with the arrow after release. If it does you have some work ahead of you to fix the problem.

Make sure you check the vanes regularly and remove damaged fletching so they may be replaced. Otherwise flight performance will be affected.

We have given you a few of the most commonly experienced reasons for arrow vane contact and one or more should help you fix things up.

Once doing the necessary tuning (or your faulty rest has been replaced) you should get down to enjoying the benefits that the drop away rest provides.

It should be noted, the vast majority of instances where vane contact occurs comes about with string-driven rests rather than limb driven rests.

If you simply can’t solve the problem with your string driven arrow rest it might be worthwhile switching over to a limb driven rest instead.


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