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Finding the Right Arrow for Your Set up


Getting the right bow is only part of the equation when getting ready for archery season. A good bow can only do so much, the arrow is arguably more important than the bow when accuracy is the goal. Just like gun writers have said for years, “buy the best optics you can afford and then put it on a gun.” Archery writers say, “Get the best arrows you can afford and find a bow to shoot it.”

A moment of confession if I may. When I first started shooting a bow, I bought the cheap arrows from the big box store because that is what I thought I could afford. They were not perfectly straight, they would bend and break and they were marginally accurate. I stayed with these cheap arrows for years. Finally, after attending the ATA one year I was convinced to try some premium arrows. For clarity, no hunter who is using a compound bow should ever, in my opinion, ever shoot anything other than carbon arrows. Aluminum arrows are cheap and well……cheap. Enough said. It was one of those moments when you have to ask yourself – “what took me so long to make the switch?”

Immediately my tournament scores soared.  My average score increased by almost twenty points per round. I was now winning tournaments, and the only thing that changed was I broke down and bought really good arrows and matched them to my bow set up. There is really no such thing as ‘generic’ arrows. Good archers match their arrows to their bow and their draw poundage and length.

What this means to bow hunters is that when it comes to cutting costs, we cannot cut costs with our arrows. Accuracy is everything in archery and the one thing that controls this more than anything else is the arrow we are launching at game. Every major arrow manufacturer has charts to help you select the right arrow for your set up. The chart matches the spine weight of the arrow with the draw length and draw weight you are using and tells you which size arrow you need. Further charts show the straightness of the arrows for sale. The straighter the more expensive but far worth the costs. You are looking for a straightness of .001 – .003 anything less than this will be less expensive, but will cost you in the end.

The next thing you want to look for in arrow selection is diameter of the shaft. More and more companies are producing what is known as ‘micro-shaft’ arrows. These thins shafts produce far less friction when passing through an animal. The wound channel is so large, the arrow does not impact penetration in a negative manner at all. There is really nothing wrong with micro-diameter arrows, it is really a preference thing to determine if you want a standard size or micro size. I have shot them both and use them both for different set ups. (One problem I find with the micro-shaft arrows is finding inserts and practice tips that are the same size. They are very difficult to remove from bag targets and foam targets alike because the tips are larger than the arrow diameter)

The next consideration in arrow selection is the fletching. Most archers will get arrows that are already fletched and never really consider the size, height or shape of the fletching. But all of this will affect the flight of the arrow in one manner or another. Whether you shoot short 2” vanes, or 5” feathers will all affect the flight of the arrow. Some of the consideration in the selection of fletching is the type of rest you are using, some are just more conducive to a certain type of fletching.     Personal preference on my set up is the 2” Blazer vanes with a right helical. The helical or twist of the vane allows the arrow to spin faster thereby keeping it straight faster and longer. Granted some of the archers out there are shooting straight fletching with good results but with filed tips. When I am shooting a broadhead, the large wind catching blades will try and push the back of the arrow. This is where the helical vanes help to straighten out the flight of the arrow.

I have noticed several great archers going back to feathers for their forgiving nature. And traditional archers have to shoot feathers because they are almost always shooting off of a shelf and the feathers will flatten out when passing over the shelf. I am looking forward to fletching a few arrows with feathers and seeing what results I get in the near future.

Do yourself a favor, now that you have decided to start bow hunting, or if you have been at it for a while, break down and buy some good high quality arrows to go with the outfit you have and you will not look back.


Point of reference: My personal hunting set up is:

Prime Shift Bow set at 61lbs and 28” draw.                                                                                                                                Halo Rest by G5,                                                                                                                                                                                    6 pin Optix Sight,                                                                                                                                                                            Gold Tip Pro hunter 22 cut to 28 3/8”                                                                                                                                          100 grain T-3 Mechanical Broadhead by G5                                                                                                                         Truefire Release