Out there somewhere is the perfect arrow for your bow – that ever-elusive matched and tuned system that’s perfect for the game you hunt under the conditions in which you hunt it. Finding the perfect shaft is great way to spend the off-season, and experimenting with arrows is just plain fun – it’s just another excuse to get out and shoot your bow. And there’s no better way to stay in touch with the sport you love.
A different arrow turns a looping trajectory into a bullet, or a bullet into a hard-hitting sledgehammer. Shaft selection is one of the most intriguing aspects of equipment selection. With a different arrow we have the power to make an immediate impact on the way our bow shoots.
Tradeoffs abound in the shaft selection process. You’re trading speed for penetration and speed for silence. And when it comes to diameter, you’re trading penetration for easy tuning. You’re trading price against quality. Understanding these tradeoffs is at the heart of your ability to arrive at the perfect arrow for your hunting goals.
You have many options when selecting arrows. The very best route for the avid bowhunter is to learn to build his or her own arrows so that they can experiment easily to find the perfect setup.
UNDERSTANDING THE TRADEOFFS
There are three categories of arrow shafts: lightweight, mid-weight and heavyweight. For our purposes, a lightweight arrow will be one that has a finished weight of between 5 and 6 ½ grains per pound of your bow’s maximum draw force. For example, a lightweight arrow for a 70-pound bow would have a finished weight (including broadhead) between 350 and 455 grains. A mid-weight arrow weighs between 6 ½ and 8 grains per pound of draw force (455 to 560 grains for a 70 pound bow) and a heavyweight arrow is anything weighing over 8 grains per pound of draw force (over 560 grains).
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