Arrow Issues

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Lately, I have been noticing an alarming trend involving one of the most important aspects of accurate shooting…….. Arrows!!!!!

Arrows are usually the last piece that we help a customer pick. This is not because they are not important, but because everything about the bow and the set-up will affect what the arrow should be. Arrow size depends on: draw length, rest position, arrow length, draw-weight, cam design, bow efficiency, and point weight.

Arrow Spine

Arrow spine is the most important aspect of choosing an arrow. The spine refers to the stiffness of an arrow. The spine is denoted as the three-digit number on the side of most of today's carbon arrows. To determine the spine of a shaft a 28" shaft is supported at each end. A 1.94# weight is then suspended from the center of the shaft. How much the shaft deflects is then measured in thousandths of an inch. This measurement is the static spine of the arrow. The smaller the number, the stiffer the arrow because it is flexing less. The confusing part is not all manufactures use the same numerical system! Below is a chart of three of the more popular companies and what their numbers mean in terms of spine.

Static Spine Easton Carbon Express Gold Tip
.600 600 90  
.500 500 150 3555
.400 400 250 5575
.340 340 350 7595
.300 300 450  

Under Spined

Weak arrows are the number one issue that I see with bows coming in from other places! An arrow has to have the correct amount of flex as it leaves the bow. An arrow that is too weak will flex and oscillate more than necessary. An arrow that does this will not recover fast enough to shoot accurately. A limber arrow will magnify your mistakes. A weak spined arrow has no chance when you throw a fixed blade broadhead into the mix! A weak arrow will show up as an uncorrectable nock-left tear when paper tuning and fixed-blade broadheads impacting to the right of field-points (RH shooter).

Over Spined

With today's bows, I almost never see this one. With aggressive draw force curves and efficiencies of 85% today's bows like stiff arrows. A stiff arrow will recover quicker than a weak, especially with a broadhead.

Your Old Arrows Won't Work With A New Bow!

Many people come in and purchase the newest and hottest bow on the market only to try and use their 5-year-old arrows. This won't work! Today's bows are far more efficient than bows from a couple of years ago. This means that a higher percentage of the bows stored energy is being imparted back into the arrow. This requires a stiffer shaft. Here is an example. About ten years ago I was shooting between 80-85 pounds of draw weight. The arrow charts for this set-up informed me that I needed to shoot a .300 spine arrow. I chose an ACC 3-71 from Easton. My current bow is set at 70 pounds but shoots that same arrow as fast or faster than my 80+ pounder from ten years ago! Because of this, it requires the same spine even though I have dropped 10+ pounds. So unless you drop draw weight on your new bow like I did, your old arrows probably won't work on your new bow.

What's the Cheapest Arrow you have?

This is one we hear all the time! We even get this after a customer has dropped $1500+ on a brand new set-up. Would you buy a brand new Corvette or Porsche and immediately put re-tread tires on it? Or, an HD 60", Hi-Def, Plasma TV with just a standard cable connection? I didn't think so! So why would you spend all of that money on great equipment only to erode its shootability with cheap, low-grade arrows?

After the manufacturing process arrows are sorted by straightness, spine tolerances and weight tolerances. Typically arrows in the $150+ range are ones that are .002" straightness or better. Arrows in the $100-150 range are .003" straightness. Arrows that are $90-100 are .005"-.006". Below that, you are getting arrows that didn't make the grade for any of those! They are basically culls!

Putting it all Together

arrow and targetWhen the correct arrow is built specifically for your bow's needs it is amazing what it can do for your shooting! Your group will tighten at all distances and broadheads will shoot more accurately and consistently. In our shooting machine we can shoot arrow after arrow in the same exact hole with good arrows. With poor quality arrows, we are lucky to produce 1-1.5" groups at twenty yards. Imagine what that means in human hands. Check out our video on a set-up we built for Brian. Shooting Video

This game is difficult enough without further handicapping yourself with low quality arrows! A good arrow will last you for quite a while unless your losing them or "Robin Hooding" them!

Good luck and good shooting!