1. Why do we use a peep?
2. How do we use the peep?
3. How do we insert and fix the peep?
4. How do we know where to place the peep in the string?
5. How do we make the peep align at full draw?
6. How do we choose the peep size?
1. The peep is our rear sight, it allows us to use a constant height from which to view the scope, if you hold your index finger and thumb in a circle at arms length, (this simulates the scope) and look at a remote point, now tilt the circle in an up/down movement, you will find you can keep your target in the centre even when tilted, but if this were the actual scope on the bow, you would be raising and lowering the bow causing extreme vertical variation in impact point.
2. We use the peep by centring the scope within the peep, this is very important and relates to peep size discussed later.
3. I have tried using those tools that claim to safely separate the string allowing you to install the peep but have found that it is very easy to damage the string and so do not recommend them. The easiest and safest way, is to use a press to loosen the string. Once loosened, separate the string at the marked place into equal numbers of strands and insert the peep. These are tricky little bastards and it’s easy to get it the wrong way around, just hold the peep up to your eye and note which way the grooves run.
4. To correctly position the peep in the string, nock an arrow and point it in a safe direction, using your regular release aid with your finger firmly behind the trigger, bring the bow to full draw and settle into your anchor, have a helper eyeball a horizontal line from your eye to the string and make a mark or stick a bit of masking tape on the string. This will be the initial peep placement, after installing the peep test for final adjustment by (observing safety precautions above, arrow nocked, safe direction, finger behind trigger)
taking your normal stance, close your eyes and come to full draw and anchor.
Open your eyes, you should be looking through the peep at the scope, * repeat this a couple of times, if not correct move the peep up or down as required. If while shooting you have to “look for” the peep, it is not in the best position.
* After opening your eyes you should not only be looking through your scope but your scope ideally should also be centred on the target, if not and you have to bring the scope left /right to “find” the gold, try adjusting your stance slightly (move left foot back or forward 2 inches) right hand shooter.
After finding the final position for your peep it needs to be tied in, there are a few ways to do this but I use a series of simple overhand knots, one over one under one over and so on. After the first two you can slide it close to the peep and continue, I use about 5 or 6 knots above and below. When finished, to keep it neat I don’t tie a double knot but hold pressure on the last one and apply a single tiny drop of Thin CA. I have never had a knot come undone using this method although it can be a little tricky removing it later. For an alternative way (better?) see the video posted by vnhill1981 on youtube, I like this and will use this method next time.
5. If after installing your new peep and taking a few settling down shots, you find it doesn’t line up with your eye at full draw, (quite common) the best way to fix this is to press the bow enough to loosen the string, unhook the string at one end and add or subtract a half twist. You may have to repeat this after a few dozen shots.
Some say you can move individual strands from one side of the peep to the other and in this way cause the peep to move around and line up, I advise against this method as it is very tricky to do and the risk of damaging the string is very high, especially with the thin material that uses 24 or more strands. I say this from experience.
6. Now, choosing peep size, first as in all things to do with archery, there are no rules, it’s whatever works for you. Having said that there are some things that have proven to work for most, certainly for me. The most important thing is to centre your scope in the peep, this means your peep should be large enough to see the body of the scope within the circle of the peep, I also like a very thin ring of light around the scope as well, this gives me another circle within a circle, if I cannot see the complete circle of light around the scope body, I know I have twisted or torqued the bow. The thinner the ring of light, the finer the aim, it is also a very good indicator of variations in anchor as the light ring will disappear or get larger. So you can see that peep size depends on the distance of your scope from the peep, some like the scope all the way out, this will allow a smaller peep therefore a sharper image but also a darker image, some like the scope close to the bow which will require a larger peep in order to fit the scope within the peep circle but the image may be less sharp. Somewhere between the two is a place that will work for you.
Tip: Don’t buy a lens that is too strong thinking to make the target bigger, it doesn’t work like binoculars or a telescope, a lens that is too strong will result in a blurry target and too much perceived movement, most start with so called .5 diopter or 4x (see my article “Scope magnification” )
We will touch on the subject of clarifiers and verifiers later, if there is any interest. As always, let me know.