When choosing a rest, make sure you purchase one that is extremely durable and easy to tune.
Choosing a bow is the first of many decisions an archer has to make when setting up a new compound bow. Another important, yet often overlooked, decision is the type of rest that will go on the bow. There are more rests on the market to choose from than there are days in a month, which can make choosing the right one difficult.
For many, price is a major factor playing into the decision making process. Some bowhunters spend the majority of their money on a new bow and scrape together another hundred dollars to buy a few of the needed accessories. If you fall into this category, remember that you can get a great rest without breaking the bank; it just takes a little research to find the right rest with most the features found on high-end rests, but without the high price tag.
When choosing a rest, make sure you purchase one that is extremely durable and easy to tune. An inexpensive, poorly built rest could break in the field, turning a good day of hunting into a bad one. Inexpensive rests can be difficult to tune. The last thing that touches the arrow before it leaves the bow is the rest. Having a good one can help increase your bow's overall forgiveness and accuracy. A good rest combined with an accurate shooter can be a deadly combination.
Sometimes referred to as fall-away rests, the drop-away has been the most popular selling rest style over the past decade. Dan Evans of Trophy Taker was one of the innovators of the drop-away rest style. Since Trophy Taker appeared on the scene, many quality rest companies have emerged, building drop-away rests that work great and rarely break.
Trophy Taker Pronghorn Fall-Away Arrow Rest
Drop-away rests are very popular because they drop out of the way the moment the arrow is fired. With other styles, as the arrow leaves the rest, the vanes and shaft often come in contact with the rest if it isn't tuned properly, causing the arrow to kick and fly erratically as it leaves the bow. Because of this, many bowhunters use drop-away rests. Tuning them is easy, even for someone who doesn't have a lot of experience.
Over the last several years, many arrow rest companies started making drop-away rests that contain the arrow while the bow is being drawn; some are even built in such a way that they contain the arrow the entire time the arrow is nocked. Some companies that are making such rests include Trophy Taker, Ripcord, G5 Outdoors and Quality Designs. If you are on a tight budget, you may want to consider the Alpine Archery WhisperFlite drop-away rest. Many hunters have fallen in love with this style of rest because they don't have to worry about their arrow falling off the rest when they are trying to draw on an animal. I'm a bowhunter who prefers this style. With a full-containment drop-away rest, it doesn't matter how much I shake; the arrow will always be ready to fire when I get to full draw.
Most drop-away rests have a thin cable that is attached to the buss cable. Many companies include a small clamp with the rest, so attaching the thin cable to the buss cable is fairly easy. Some fall-away rests must be attached by serving the thin cable into the buss cable. Either way, once the two cables are attached to each other, the launcher will raise the arrow up as you draw the bow. Once you fire, the buss cable returns to its original position and the rest drops. Some bowhunters don't like the idea of having a thin, fragile string that could stretch or break attached to their rest and buss cable. If you fall into this category, there are fall-away rests on the market that don't require cables or strings. One example is the QuickTune Flipper Arrow Rest from New Archery Products.
Octane Hostage Arrow Rest
For some, setting up or using a drop-away rest is intimidating. Some bowhunters prefer to keep things simple. If you fall into this category, there are arrow rests out there that are durable, easy to set up and are known to have few tuning problems. One example is the new Octane Hostage Arrow Rest. This full-containment rest cradles the arrow while it is drawn. As the arrow is drawn, three small brushes hold the arrow and keep it from bouncing around and making noise. The Hostage rest is easy to set up and doesn't cost a lot of money. Another popular full-containment rest is the Whisker Biscuit. This is one of the easiest rests to tune. The arrow is held in place by several super thin bristles. What many bowhunters like about the Whisker Biscuit is its ease of use and its reasonable price.
If you are just getting into archery or want an easy-to-use arrow rest, there are a few simple, inexpensive rests on the market that cost less than $30. One example is New Archery Products' QuikTune 800 Arrow Rest. This prong-style launcher has two metal arms that hold the arrow in place as it is being drawn. This rest is simple, straightforward and gets the job done.
A shoot-through (or prong-style rest like the NAP rest listed above) is what many bowhunters started with years ago. Prong-style rests help contain the arrows as the bow is being drawn, keeping the arrow in place even if you are shaking a little. One drawback of the prong-style rest is the cock feather must always go in the upright position to cleanly pass through the rest. This isn't a big deal most of the time, but if hunters load an arrow in a hurry, they might forget this small detail.
Many hunters start out with a shoot-through/prong-style rest because they are inexpensive and can be setup quickly, even by a beginner. Some prong-style rests can be adjusted vertically and horizontally so they can be fine-tuned before you head to the woods and hunt. Another suggestion would be to purchase mole skin or sleeves for the prongs. This allows the arrow to remain quiet as it slides through the rest and the sleeves available from NAP and others. It also helps eliminate vibration. If money is tight and you have spent your hard earned money on a bow, you can save a little money by purchasing a prong-style rest. After a few years, though, most bowhunters upgrade to one of the other styles listed above.
Tuning Your Rest
Regardless of the type of rest you choose, it must be tuned before you start throwing darts at 40 or 50 yards. When choosing a rest, there are a few things to consider. Does the rest look like it may be complicated to adjust and tune? If the rest requires a Masters Degree in Engineering, maybe you should consider another.
NAP QuikTune 800
The first drop-away rest I used worked great, but while I was hunting it got bumped and was out of alignment. Adjusting it took me hours and destroyed my confidence for the entire week-long elk hunt. Having a rest that can be adjusted by hand or by using a small wrench is vital. If a rest looks complicated to set up or use, stay away from it. The KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) rule is one to live by when choosing an archery rest, because the last thing you want to do when you're several miles from the truck on an expensive hunt is work on equipment. Rests that are simple in design and easy to adjust are what you want.
Also consider how easy the rest can be loaded with an arrow. If it only takes a second to nock and load the arrow, great. If it takes several seconds and a lot of fooling around to get an arrow loaded, consider another rest. If you ever need a second shot or an animal sneaks in on you before you're ready, the last thing you want to worry about is getting an arrow loaded and ready to shoot.
After you choose a rest, consider purchasing some mole skin to put on the prongs of the rest and on the shelf of the bow. These items are very inexpensive and can help make the rest even quieter.
After the rest is attached and seems to be firing well, another option is to put baby powder on the vanes of the shaft and shoot a few arrows. If the arrow is coming in contact with the bow or the rest, you'll find powder on the rest or bow. If the arrow is flying perfectly without coming into contact with the bow or rest, everything should be powder free!
Grabbing a cheap rest off the shelf and hoping for the best is a mistake. Rests should be chosen carefully. A quality rest works great for years and helps you shoot better in the backyard and in the field.