How To Tame Spiral Cams

Several years ago I had a discussion with Hoyt Pro, Steve Anderson when he was also working at the Hoyt factory. I called to ask about ordering a bow set up with Spiral Cams and what number cam to order. At the time, I didn’t fully understand all that was being told to me and I ended up ordering the bow with the number cam corresponding with my draw length setting. This is something many archers do and what is normally taught. If you’re a 28 inch draw, you purchase a 28 inch cam set up for the bow. This leads to the stereo-typical Spiral Cam feel. Aggressive, low let-off percentage, high holding weight, and you have to make sure not to creep forward or you’ll have the string ripped from your anchor point. But what if I was to tell  you that you can get a smooth feeling cam that is more forgiving, doesn’t have to be held so firmly at full draw, and still had the smoothness of a Spiral Cam that you love? 

Which leads me to the present. I have always liked the forgiveness and feel of a RKT or Z5 Cam, but at the same time did not like the parallel or beyond parallel limbed bows they were attached to. I like the jump and feedback of my target bows. (Vantage Elite, Pro Comp Elite, Podium X Elite) I like the energy having a direction forward that can be tuned to achieve more repeatability. This left me with options of the GTX Cam and Spiral/Spiral Pro Cams. Well, the GTX cam has a spongy back-wall and I do not prefer that. So that led me to the Spiral Cams. Not a bad option obviously. Firm back wall, ultra smooth cam to draw into the valley, and are very efficient. There was just always the fact that I’d be so worn out after shooting for a day and I had to be so spot on, perfect with my execution to keep good scores. This was contributed to the aggressive pull into the back wall to keep from creeping and having the cams take off on me.

In comes a reminder, in the form of a video done by Steve Anderson. (Click “video” for Steve’s video) This video talked about long stringing his bow to achieve a different feel. A more forgiving Spiral Cam with more let-off and an easier draw. So this got my mind moving again. I believe it had been 5 years in between the initial conversation and this video and my understanding of the cam system and how it worked had grown a lot. I was able to understand and see what was happening and want to try things for myself.

In my first attempt, things didn’t quite go the way I wanted them to. I documented the experience in the linked video, so I won’t go into detail, but the good from it was the knowledge on where to go from there. I had a plan!

My draw length on the PXE is 28 3/16, or really 28 7/32 if we’re technical. Peak weight I shoot has been 56 pounds (using a 60 pound max weight bow, backed off) and with a typical Spiral Cam set up for this I was netting roughly 64% let off with holding weight coming in right at 20 pounds. My plan to get this draw length and peak weight on my new bow, was to use a 50 pound max weight set at 27 1/2 on the draw length from the factory. Then go to work with cable and string manipulation to net 56+- pounds peak weight and 28 7/32 draw length, but have a more forgiving set up with a higher let-off percentage. With this plan, I was able to achieve just that. I put twists into the buss cable to bring up the peak weight to just at 55 pounds and lengthen the draw length some in the process, I put twists into the control cable to keep my cams timed correctly, and then took twists out of the bow string to lengthen the draw length out to its final setting and get my peak weight to just below 57 pounds. I am netting right at 70% let off-now and have a completely different feeling Spiral Pro Cam set up! (these numbers are updated from what you will see in my video)

I’ll leave my video to explain the details on feel more in depth, but in short explanation, the forgiveness is much greater now. I am able to shoot for as long as I want and not worry about less than 100% perfect shot execution biting me and I do not have to be as aggressive holding against the back wall of the cams now. The draw cycle from this is also much more manageable as well. This is possible because the starting position of the cams being rotated further than with my previous set ups. This moved the higher weights of the draw cycle closer to the beginning and makes the bow easier to pull where your body has more leverage. This also gives the already smooth Spiral Pro Cam a much nicer feeling, and as an added bonus, I can now relax a little more at full draw and concentrate on my shot execution process because the cams do not feel like they want to take off on me now. This is a huge plus for me when it comes to shooting consistent scores!

Here is a picture of the draw force curves I mapped out with both of my bows, showing the standard set up and my new set up side by side. I measured the weight as I was drawing the bows in 1 inch increments from brace all the way to full draw.

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At the end of my project, I have to say I’m grateful that Steve Anderson did his video. This served as a reminder to me and spurred me on to tackle the job. Steve isn’t the only pro Hoyt shooter to do this with their Spirals, and I can definitely see why! If you’re looking for a different feel on the Spiral Cams and want a more forgiving set up, this is the way you want to go for sure!

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