Selecting Arrows and Broadheads
Choosing Your Arrows and Broadheads
by Brian Wensel
Arrow selection should be done carefully and with the assistance of a pro-staff professional. For a compound bow, whether you choose to shoot aluminum, carbon fiber, or carbon/aluminum-composite shafts, you must ensure you get a properly built arrow from a skilled arrow builder. There are a few factors to consider when choosing an arrow. I make all my own arrows, and can go on for pages on the art of building arrows. I will spare you at this point and only hit the highlights.
As a rule your total arrow weight should not be less than the 5 grains per pound rule. Simply stated, if you shoot a 60-pound bow your arrows should not weigh less than 300 grains (60-pounds x 5-grains), any less and the arrow is too light for the energy your bow produces and can become dangerous. For hunting equipment I shoot a total of about 6 grains per pound, or a 360-grain arrow for a 60-pound bow, 420-grain minimum for my 70-pound bows.
The other key factor that affects arrow flight is the balancing point of the arrow, also known as the FOC (Front Of Center). FOC is the location where the arrow balances, and for effective arrow flight, should be between 10 and 12% of the total arrow length? As an example: a 30-inch arrow should balance just over 3 inches in front of the center point. 3 inches is 10% of 30 inches.
Why you ask? Think about the flight of the arrow, it flies truer if the weight is pulling the arrow through the air not pushing it, allowing the fletching to steer. If the majority of the weight was in the back of the arrow it would flip and fly erratically after the bow is shot. This is an aspect of arrow construction that many beginner archers are unaware of (and some experienced archers) that can dramatically change the flight and consistency of their arrows. As an example, by simply going from a 100-grain broadhead to an 85-grain broadhead it moves the balancing point towards the rear, reducing the FOC.
Nocks, inserts, feather vs. plastic fletching, broadhead weight, and the arrow shaft itself all contribute to the total weight and FOC of an arrow. I will not get too long winded on this topic. I point these details out as a point of caution. Do not just go out and buy any arrows and throw on any broadhead and expect to get good arrow flight. There is an art to creating perfectly matched arrows and you should make sure you purchase arrows from a reputable pro-shop like Dewclaw Archery. Poorly built arrows can and will cause erratic and inaccurate shooting results.
Itís simple. If your arrows are built and balanced using 100-grain practice tips, then you purchase 100-grain broadheads. If you choose to increase or decrease the weight your arrows, they will not fly the same and will have considerably different results. Broadhead weight and practice tip weight must match; if you change one change the other.
There are two primary types of broadheads on the market today, fixed blade and mechanical. For years I have shot mechanical broadheads simply because in most cases, they fly exactly like practice tips. In the past, fixed blade broadheads had a tendency to fly slightly different than practice tips. But I have tested out a few that have proven to produce excellent results, requiring little, if any tuning.
With that said, broadheads are also a matter of preference. Just be aware of the weight and ensure you take a few practice shots with your broadheads to ensure they hit in the same spot as your practice tips.