T-Bone Builds a Hunting Bow (Hoyt RX-4) From Scratch

Start to Finish 2020 Hoyt RX-4 Build

Whether you’re a new bow hunter or you’ve been doing it for years, the thought of working on your own bow has probably crossed your mind from time to time. Maybe you don’t have a huge garage decked out with archery tools and equipment, and maybe you don’t have the first clue how to go about it. But if you’re interested in building a hunting bow on your own, there’s one man who’s very qualified to help…and that man is “T-Bone” Turner himself. In this article and video, T-Bone shows you how he modifies and adjusts a Hoyt RX-4 from start to finish. Given his prior archery shop experience and the hundreds (likely thousands) of bows he’s worked on, he knows a thing or two. So if you want to learn some basic archery setup and bow maintenance tips, get out your pen and paper and start taking notes.

Accessories for Building a Bow

First, it’s important to realize that regardless of what kind of bow you get (and the Hoyt RX-4 is a great bow, by the way), bow accessories can make a big difference in terms of your shooting performance.

  • Arrow Rest – this is one item that T-Bone highly recommends you go top shelf for. For this Hoyt RX-4 build, he’s using a HHA Virtus bow rest, which is covered in micro-suede to ensure a smooth arrow transition. Note that it’s also tied in place so the weather and conditions you hunt in won’t affect it.
  • Release – this is another bow accessory where you should get the best quality you can. In this case, they’re turning to the T.R.U. Ball Bone Collector Beast release, which features a swept-back trigger and buckle strap (instead of Velcro). A release should feel a little tight/cramped when not under tension, as the bow string will stretch the release out in front of you, putting the trigger at the optimum finger position.
  • Bow Sight – you should get what works best for you. The Dead Ringer Tack Driver bow sight is a great and affordable option for anyone, and offers some excellent low-light shooting capabilities due to its glow pins and aperture.
  • Stabilizer – T-Bone stresses that a stabilizer should make direct contact with your bow, and it can do a lot to reduce the vibration. For this build, they use a Fuse Carbon Torch stabilizer, which is fitted with a Tactacam on the end for easily filming hunts.
  • Quiver – this build uses another Fuse Archery product, in this case, the Fuse Quiver.

Steps to Modifying a Hoyt RX-4

The Hoyt Alpha RX-4 is a high quality, flagship bow that is built for some great hunts. It features a super lightweight carbon riser, composite limbs, and shock pod vibration damping system, which all optimize the stiffness of the bow and offer superior vibration control. The ZTR cam system offers a modular adjustment system, which makes it very easy to adjust to your ideal draw length. In fact, the bow offers up to 4 inches of adjustment in ½” adjustments, so there’s no need for additional modules – simply adjust the top and bottom cams.

Despite all this, T-Bone recommends personalizing the bow for your own body and shooting style. With that said, here are some of the steps he takes to “build a bow” at home.

  1. First, he recommends going over all the screws and making sure they are snug. Don’t overtighten anything, but you don’t want some inadvertent loose screw to mess up your whole setup either.
  2. Next, he adjusts the draw length specific for the shooter of the bow (in this case, 28.5 inches). As mentioned above, the Hoyt RX-4 comes with the modular adjustment system, so literally with the adjustment of two screws, you can dial your draw length in easily. It’s important to adjust the length to be at or slightly shorter than your draw length, so that you don’t have to over-extend yourself, which gets especially tough in hunting conditions and cramped situations.
  3. The next item that T-Bone tackles in the video is the arrow rest. Importantly, he notes that an arrow rest should always have two points of contact to the riser. In addition to the main button, you should always use a smaller set screw to ensure the rest does not shift over time. As far as how to choose an arrow rest, the HHA Virtus drop-away rest provides great clearance when shooting, but T-Bone also makes sure that it is set as low as possible (without contacting the riser) when in the dropped position.
  4. While not completely necessary with modern bows, T-Bone recommends using a sling to ensure you get a relaxed grip with no torque. He even offers some of his own bow shop advice on how to tie a homemade wrist sling. Check out the video for that industry insight.
  5. Now it’s time to deal with the bow string. While a D-loop is a great option to reduce your influence on the string, a D-loop used exclusively as a nocking point can move out of place up or down the string over time. To combat that, T-Bone recommends tying soft nocks to guide and anchor your D-loop placement. In this video, he uses 130-pound-test Dacron fishing braid as the soft nock material. Just don’t space them too tightly together that pinches the arrow nock.

  1. After that, you need to know how to tie a D-loop. T-Bone offers a great tutorial in the video. Tie the D-loop above and below the soft nocks. Importantly, the loop knots should come off opposite sides of the string to reduce torque. So for a right-handed archer, the top knot should come off the left side of the string, and vice versa for a left-handed shooter.
  2. Moving further up the string, it’s time to install a peep sight. A larger peep sight means there will be more light transmission in dark conditions, while a smaller peep will reduce that. Since a lot of deer hunting situations occur right at dawn or dusk, you can’t beat a 1/4” peep sight for the best light transmission.
  3. At this point, T-Bone reiterates that you should always strive to have four points of contact when shooting your bow to produce the most accurate and consistent arrow groups during archery practice. Those points of contact include: your hand or a knuckle against your face, a kisser button at the corner of your mouth, your nose touching the bow string, and aligning the peep sight correctly. Make sure you keep very light pressure (barely touching) on these points, and you will produce the best shots you can.
  4. As far as adjusting the timing of the Hoyt RX-4, T-Bone has some specialized equipment in his shop to accomplish this. If you have some of this gear, check out the video for an in-depth look at how he does this himself.

T-Bone’s 2020 Bow Hunting Setup

For the 2020 hunting season, T-Bone is shooting the Hoyt Axius Ultra. He enjoys shooting the larger axle-to-axle bows, which the Axius Ultra accomplishes with a 34” axle-to-axle measurement.

While it is very similar to the Hoyt RX-4 in most aspects, it features an aluminum riser rather than composite. The Axius Ultra also has the adjustable modular cam system, making it easy to adjust. The Specialty Archery Verifier peep sight contains a lens inside so T-Bone can see the pins very crisply. Another difference with T-Bone’s 2020 bow is that he uses an offset stabilizer for better stability and to reduce the tilt of the bow when the quiver is attached. Otherwise, the HHA Virtus arrow rest, Dead Ringer sight, T.R.U. Ball Beast release, soft nocks, and D-loop are as described in the video above. We hope you can use this guide to work on your own bow this season.

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