There is no doubt the technology deployed to build compound bows is more and more sophisticated. The problem is, all this cutting edge technology is useless if you can’t pick the right arrow to match your bow. And it’s a much harder than most archers think. This is especially true if you are new to archery.
Today’s bows and arrows are engineering marvels that incorporate new materials and technologies that allow you to specialize in a certain type of shooting. You can then easily switch from indoor target shooting to 3D shooting.
But, as with all sports equipment, you should the fundamentals are important. So let’s start with a few basics before we start the comprehensive analysis. We will then give you all the advice on how to find the best arrows for your bow.
The different parts of an arrow
A bow arrow has very specific anatomy and can be broken down into several distinct parts. Beginners can opt for bow arrows already pre-assembled but experienced and professional archers will prefer to assemble them themselves by carefully selecting each part of the arrow.
The four parts have different weights and sizes and have many different characteristics. All these differences will therefore have a considerable impact on the overall performance of your shot by the quality of flight of your arrow.
The notch is the element located at the rear end of the arrow and which rests against the rope when wrapping. This element is often made of plastic and makes it possible to channel and transcribe the energy to the arrow during the release.
There are many types of feathers. To be fixed on the tube, the 3 feathers serve as a rudder for the boom and allow it to have better stability in the air. They can be in natural or synthetic material but often have the same shape with a few exceptions.
The tube of an arrow is its main part. It is on this element that you will be able to customize and fix the other parts according to your needs. We can distinguish 4 main types of materials: wood, aluminum, carbon and a mix between these last two materials. Each of them bringing different specificities and advantages depending on the situation and your practice of archery.
Located at the front end of the arrow, the point is the part that will penetrate the target. It must therefore be adapted according to your practice of archery. Indeed, a hunter will not use the same point as an archer practicing indoor shooting.
The power of an arrow is therefore very important if you are looking for performance. The arrow’s course is influenced by many other factors, including its final weight, the length of the shank, and the environmental conditions in which you shoot.
Once you understand these concepts and how they combine to optimize your shot, you can begin to use a system of metrics and charts to define the perfect setup for the situation and your shooting style.
Bow arrow buying guide
Now you know the arrow and its different parts, let’s take a look at the important criteria to consider when buying the best bow arrow.
Like any leisure or sports equipment, the purchase of each accessory or material will depend on its user. Even if you have standard equipment which more or less adapts to all archery practitioners, it turns out that each person is different with their own body type.
Whether it is tube diameter, material, weight and spine, these criteria are some of the factors that affect the speed of fire. Besides colors and technical advantages, other factors are also decisive to be ignored. So what are these criteria that should not be overlooked when choosing your arrow?
The length of the arrow
The first criterion is length, this must be defined according to your length. It is therefore important to know this data in order to be able to precisely define the ideal length of your arrow.
The weight of the point and the final arrow
The next important factor that you need to consider is the weight of the boom. This is measured in grains (GPI for Grain Per Inch) and not in grams. The more important it is, the more its speed will be reduced. However, a heavier weight will have a greater impact on the target, an important factor for archery hunters. This factor should therefore be adjusted according to your practice.
The tip weight is generally between 100 and 125 grains. It also allows the center of gravity to be moved forward, allowing the tail to perform its role, and the tube to be sufficiently flexible.
It is important to know the diameter of your tube if you want to be able to customize it with specific parts. There are indeed several diameters on the market depending on the material and brands. This value has very little influence on the performance of the boom.
Power of your bow
The power of your arc is an important parameter to take into account. It also allows to define the ideal spine. You can find this value on the branches of your bow. It is also calculated according to your draw.
Stiffness of an arc tube
The spine is used to determine the stiffness of an arrow. It corresponds to the capacity of the tube to deform under the stress of a weight placed in its middle. It is usually represented by numbers ranging from 800, the softest, to 250, the hardest. However, each manufacturer has their own measurements and specifications.
- Aluminum arc tube: The invention of aluminum arrows in the early 1940s revolutionized the practice of archery. In general, they are more expensive than wood and fiberglass arrows. They are low resistant to moisture and make the arrows durable and flexible.
- Carbon fiber arc tube: Carbon arrows are more resistant and allow great precision of shooting while flying relatively straight. They can also be woven to make them compact without splitting after being hit by other arrows. The use of carbon is a popular choice for many archers and bow hunters. Their durability is ensured by resistant materials. However, they tend to fray with time and wear.
- Hybrid arc tube: Lightweight hybrid designs appeared after many years of using arrows with simple composite materials. New arrows are made of carbon and coated with aluminum. The strength of the carbon fiber of the aluminum makes them very popular with experienced archers.
In general, hybrid arrows are lightweight and have high kinetic energy transfer.
- Wooden arc tube: Wood was used to make the first-generation models. This simple and inexpensive arrow is the ancestor of the arrow, it is the one you can see in all adventure and history movies. The wooden arrow is more likely to break but is not obsolete. They are still used by longbow hunters and traditional archers.
It is also difficult to find modern compound bows or advanced crossbows that fit wooden arrows.
Bringing good quality bows to the market has caused their prices to skyrocket. However, the price is an important factor to consider before investing in a bow. While favoring a good quality/price ratio, the latter vary for brands of similar arrows. An arrow can generally sell for between 5 and 100 dollars.
The more powerful your bow, the more rigid the arrow must be. If your bow is very powerful, you should buy a very rigid arrow with a spine of 400. And for a weak bow, go for a softer arrow with a spine of. Keep in mind that no matter the distance, an arrow can have a lethal effect. It is therefore compulsory to respect basic safety instructions and to ensure that no one is in the shooting range.