Each year after our annual pilgrimmage to the ATA show I usually return home with a rather lengthy list of "must haves" for the following season. Although there's usually nothing wrong with the gear I already own, as an archery addict I simply enjoy getting new stuff. I liken it to my wife's obsession with shoes and jeans. Each pair does the same thing as the others, but it's always nice to have new ones.
At the top of my list for this year is the new Gold Tip Kinetic arrows. I began shooting Gold Tip arrows a few years back when Easton discontinued the A/C SuperSlim and have been very pleased with their performance. To date I have shot both the Pro Hunter and Velocity Pro arrows with much success, having harvested several animals with each flavor. With an upcoming trip to Colorado to chase elk around the Rocky Mountains I decided I wanted a slightly heavier arrow for this year, and the Kinetic fits that bill wonderfully.
The Kinetic Pro shafts have a distinctive yellow label so you can easily tell them apart from the Kinetic XT (Green) and Kinetic Hunter (Orange) which have different weight and straightness tolerances.
With a 28" draw shooting roughly 65 lbs a 400 spine arrow seems to fly the best for me, and the Kinetic in that size weighs in at 9.5 grains per inch. Compared to the Pro Hunter 5575 at 8.2 gpi and the Velocity Pro 400 at 7.4 gpi the Kinetic may be slightly slower but it's going to pack a bigger punch when it impacts the target. With Gold Tip's Accu-Tough Nock and Insert along with an NAP Quikfletch and 125 grain tip my finished arrow weighs in at right around 450 grains with a 13.5% FOC. All things considered that's just about the perfect hunting arrow if you ask me.
Cut, fletched with NAP Quikfletches and ready to shoot.
Now if you're asking yourself what's so special about the Gold Tip Kinetic other than it's weight, I'll tell you: the Kinetic is Gold Tip's first small diameter carbon arrow. With an outside diameter of just .270" the Kinetic is smaller than the Pro Hunter at .285" but not quite as small as the Easton Axis 400 at .265" or the Victory Archery VAP 400 at a mere .225". The reason many hunters have come to prefer today's smaller diameter arrows is for their excellent penetration. The smaller surface area of these arrows generates less friction on it's way through the target, which means your arrow will not slow down or lose energy as quickly as a larger diameter arrow.
Looking at the end of an unfinished shaft you can see the Gold Tip Kinetic arrow has a thicker wall than most carbon arrows, which creates the toughness and durability that bowhunters are looking for. As with any carbon arrow shaft, make sure you square off the ends with something like the G5 Arrow Squaring Device (ASD) before installing your inserts or nocks.
Compared directly to the Easton Axis 400 and the Victory Archery VAP 400 here's how the Kinetic Pro 400 matches up.
Kinetc Pro 400 - 9.5 gpi
Axis 400 - 9.0 gpi
VAP 400 V1 - 6.8 gpi
Kinetc Pro 400 - +/-.001"
Axis 400 - +/- .003"
VAP 400 V1 - +/- .001"
Kinetc Pro 400 - +/-0.5 grains/dz
Axis 400 - +/- 2.0 grains/dz
VAP 400 V1 - +/- .5 grains/dz
One big difference between these hard hitting arrows is the insert technology. Easton pioneered the Hidden Insert Technology (H.I.T.) that many of their arrows use. This technology actually places the insert completely inside of the arrow (hence the name Hidden) and the base of your point rests directly on the arrow shaft. Both the Kinetic and the VAP on the other hand use an insert which is essentially a hybrid of an insert and an outsert. The majority of the insert does slide into the arrow shaft, however about 1/2 inch remains outside of the arrow with the base of the insert resting flush against the arrow shaft. The jury is still out on this particular insert technology, but so far I haven't had any troubles with it at all.
Here you can see the Accu-Tough insert, which sticks out of the shaft by about 1/2 inch.
This is what the Accu-Tough inserts and nocks look like before being installed into the arrow shaft. As you can see, the majority of the Accu-Tough insert actually resides on the inside of the arrow shaft.
A big plus for all Gold Tip inserts, not just the Accu-Tough series used in the Kinetic arrows, is the compatibility with Gold Tip's brass weight system. These tiny screw-on weights are available in 10, 20 or 50 grains and allow you to fully cusomtize your setup for precise FOC. There's been a big push lately for a higher FOC in hunting arrow setups, especially those with fixed-blade heads. Studies have been showing a higher FOC (around 15%) can actually increase your down range accuracy. When hunting in areas where shots of 30-50 yards are common, this can be critical. Additionally, many people believe that a higher FOC will help increase penetration as your arrow will not have as much flex when impacting the target, thus retaining more of it's kinetic energy.
Here's an example of a 20 grain Gold Tip brass weight, which screws directly into the back of your insert. If you need to add more or remove them once your inserts have been installed Gold Tip sells a really, really long allen key that you can use to screw them in and out.
I will personally be experimenting with the 20 grain weights to see how they effect my accuracy using both 100 and 125 grain broadheads. The thing I like the best about these weights is that they open up the window of opportunity to use a lot of broadheads that aren't available in 125 grains. So I can still shoot a 100 grain Spitfire Maxx and using a 20 grain brass insert weight achieve virtually the same finished arrow weight and FOC as if I had a 125 grain broadhead. Genius!
If there was one thing I'd like to see changed about these arrows it would be an additional size/spine offering in the 340/350 range. Many of today's bows are really cranking out some impressive speeds and requiring a stiffer spine than bows of the past. Although Gold Tip offers the Kinetic in a 300 and even a 200 spine, a 340 or 350 would definitely be a welcome addition. I myself prefer a slightly stiffer spined arrow with a heavier tip. For now the 400's seem to be working out alright. If I run into weak spine issues while paper tuning I can always chop and inch or so off the back and stiffen them up a bit.
So far the results of my initial testing have been positive. The Kinetics are performing flawlessly out to 30 yard using my 125 grain field points with no brass weights. As I continue to shoot longer distances I'll make sure to keep you updated on my findings. And of course provided things go well this fall you'll see me shooting either an elk, some whitetails or both with these new arrows.
One of my first groupings at 20 yards. Look close - there's 3 arrows there, not just two. This is coming from my brand new z7 Xtreme which I haven't even tuned yet. Not too shabby!
I'll be sure to continue reporting in on the performance of these new arrows as I get the opportunity to shoot them more in coming months. Provided they tune and continue to fly well they will most likely reside in my quiver come September.