The plunger is a small but very important device because it allows you to configure the position of the arrow at launch. This small device is specific to recurve archery and is more complicated than it may seem.
Sadly, there is not a lot of good information online on choosing the right plunger. Therefore, I have written this article listing the 5 best plungers, depending on your situation.
Just for my international readers, plunger and button refer to the same device. In the USA, plunger tends to be the preferred word, that’s why I will use this terminology.
1. Best cheap plunger
If you are looking for a cheap plunger, I would highly recommend the Shanrya Cushion Plunger. This is one of the cheapest plungers available on the market. In my experience, plungers do not suffer a lot of abuse, so buying an extremely high-quality plunger is not necessary.
This small plunger offers you everything you need when you are just getting started. You will be able to finetune the arrow placement and the stiffness of the plunger. But, if you are not on a tight budget, I would consider buying the next plunger.
2. Best Beiter-like plunger
The original advanced plunger from Beiter was considered the gold standard in archery for a long time. The big benefit of this plunger design is that you can micro-adjust the plunger tension and that it has two screws on the locknut. These were great innovations that made a big difference in overall ease of use.
I have had two of these Beiter plungers, as I bought them for a fair price from a fellow archer. But if you buy them new, you will have to pay upwards of $120. I find that price way too high for such a little device.
Luckily this plunger design is becoming more mainstream, and many competitors have more affordable options. This plunger from Nika Archery offers you the same features for a fraction of the price. I have multiple products from Nika Archery, and thus far they have never let me down.
3. Best advanced plunger
One disadvantage of the Beiter plunger design is that it’s difficult to gauge the plunger tension. This plunger from Tachyon Archery solves that issue by providing a pressure gauge on the side of the plunger barrel.
This not only helps you to see your current plunger tension but also allows you to see how much room you have to loosen or tighten the tension. On a Beiter plunger, this was something you couldn’t see, which can be quite frustrating while tuning your bow.
4. Best plunger and arrow rest combo
Arrow rests and plungers are often sold in packs. So, if you need an arrow rest, or if you want to upgrade your arrow rest, I can highly recommend this package from ZSHJGJ Archery.
Especially if you have a simple stick-on arrow rest, I highly recommend upgrading. The sticky tape tends to come loose after a while, which means that you must completely re-tune your bow. This is extremely frustrating, as I can tell you from experience.
That’s why I always recommend buying a metal arrow rest that you attach with a screw. By buying the arrow rest and the plunger together, you get a great deal!
Why it’s worth spending a bit more
Unless you are on a tight budget, I recommend buying one of the last 3 options. The first plunger will also work, but you may encounter some issues. The problem is that the design is quite outdated.
The design of the locknut (the disk-shaped nut on the threading) can sometimes get stuck on the riser. When this happens, the locknut will get loose when you try to remove it. When this happens you must completely retune your bow, which is extremely annoying.
The other plungers (2, 3 and 4) have a locknut that has a small ridge. This ridge prevents the locknut from getting stuck on the riser when you remove it. Also, there are two setscrews which make the locknut more secure on the plunger. Therefore, it’s worth spending a bit more.
Another benefit is that you can more precisely tune the plunger position and tension. But in all honesty, this is less important in my opinion. You will not configure your plunger every day, so that’s not a huge deal.
If you want to know all the ins and outs of plungers, please make sure to read my detailed article. In that article I explain all the features and how the plunger works.
Tuning the plunger
As I discussed in the previous sections, you can configure both the position of the arrow as well as the tension of the plunger. The main reason why we do this is to compensate for the release. When we release, the bowstring rolls over our fingers which causes some slight deviation in the arrow’s flight path. We correct this by tuning the plunger. I will briefly discuss the plunger in more detail.
Tuning plunger position
The plunger position determines how far the arrow points away from the bow. Whenever you change the plunger position the arrow should always point slightly to the left of the string, if you shoot right-handed. If you shoot left-handed, it should point slightly to the right.
The recommendation is to have the arrow about ½ arrow width pointing away from the string, as you can see in the image below.
Tuning the plunger tension
Tuning the plunger tension is less straight forward, as this highly depends on the draw weight of your bow and the arrows you shoot. If you shoot a bow with a heavy draw weight, you should have a stiffer plunger. If you shoot a bow with a low draw weight, you should reduce the stiffness.
You can also test this on the field by shooting with 3 normal arrows and one bare arrow (without vanes). If the bare arrow shoots within the group, your plunger tension is correctly configured. But if it’s too far to the left you must decrease the plunger tension. On the contrary, if the bare arrow is on the right of the group, you must increase the plunger tension.
This is for a right-handed archer, if you shoot left-handed, it’s exactly the opposite.
Need more guidance?
Tuning the plunger is quite complicated as you see. That’s why I have written a full article on how to tune your plunger. The information I have written here just scratches the surface. So, if you are new to tuning the plunger, I highly recommend reading it:
While doing research for this article, I was quite surprised by the amount of information available for plungers. There are a lot of great bloggers that provide a lot of good information on a lot of aspects of archery. But for some reason the plunger seems to be forgotten. It seems like an extremely simple device, but on the contrary, it’s quite complicated.
I hope I have helped you with my article. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions; please leave them down below. I will comment as soon as possible and let you know (via email) once I replied.