Picking the right arrow for what you want to achieve is essential if you want to be accurate, and also crucial for your own safety. If you use too weak an arrow, the projectile of the arrow will be wrong. However, if you use one that is too heavy, it will barely take flight, and the arrow may not even reach the target. Therefore, the arrow spine needs to be perfect. This term is used in archery in reference to the arrow’s flexibility or stiffness. The perfect arrow spine should perfectly match three things:
– Type of bow
– Draw length
– Draw weight
How to calculate your draw length
If you’re reading this and are worried that you haven’t got your hands on a bow yet, don’t worry! You can calculate your draw length in two different ways, without even using a bow!
Draw Length: Arm-Span
While standing straight up, stretch your arms out at shoulder level to either side. Ensure they are both parallel to the floor and you are not pulling your shoulder blades together. Have someone else measure the exact distance between the tips of both of your middle fingers. Then, divide this distance by 2.5, and that’s the most accurate estimation of your draw length.
Draw Length: Wall Measurement
To use the wall measurement method to measure your draw length, face a wall sideways, extend your bow arm and place your fist against the wall, keeping your arm parallel to the floor. Imagine holding a bow and turn to directly face the wall. This will be a similar stance to when you are shooting a bow. If someone measures the distance between the corner of your mouth and the highest point of your fist, then that will be your draw length.
The two methods should calculate to the same length, but if not, just take the average of the two results and use that as your draw length.
How to calculate your draw weight
Your draw weight is the maximum amount of weight you can pull while drawing the bow. Beginners should always start with the lowest draw weight and then work their way up after lots of training and practice.
A great chart to refer to is the one seen below:
This chart just suggests some weights based on the frame and weight of the archer. But remember that it is always best to start with 10lbs if you are new to archery. Once the muscles in your arms and shoulders are used to the bowing action, then you can start to increase the weight.
Picking the arrow length
The calculations about yourself so far will help in choosing arrows for your bow, but now you need to do some calculations about the arrows themselves. The length of your arrow should be quite easy to work out, as you should simply add an inch onto your draw length. This helpful chart found on the Gold Tip website can also guide you.
Picking the arrow weight
Arrows are measured in grains – a British unit where 1 grain = 1/7000th of a pound. The correct weight for an arrow will depend on what you are using it for. Why does the weight affect the shooting? Well, light arrows will fly fast and have better trajectory. They are popular because they will often reach the target faster. However, heavy arrows travel slower, but they will have more kinetic energy when they reach the target and will, therefore, penetrate better.
So, the weight of your arrow will depend on whether you are going hunting or just using them for target practice. Many stick with lighter arrows for target practice, because they are only shooting through cardboard or foam. However, since speed is not a major factor, other archers prefer heavier arrows.
For target practice, we recommend the following arrows:
– 12 pack fibreglass arrows for bows with 50# draw weight or lower
– Allen Company 30-inch carbon arrows for bows with 50-70#, using these field points
For hunting, we recommend:
– Allen Company 30-inch carbon arrows for bows with 40-70#, but using these broad heads
Different Types of Arrows:
Picking the right material for your arrows. Generally, the arrows are made of one of five different materials:
Here are some pros and cons of each material and our recommended arrow of that type:
– Perfect for longbows and recurves
– Break easily
– Not consistent
– Take a long time to make
Recommended wooden arrow: Huntingdoor Wooden Target Arrows
– Stronger than wood and fiberglass
– Cost efficient
– Quiet flight – good for hunting
– Malleable and flexible
– Can be custom-made
– Can bend when hitting a harder surface
– More expensive than wood and fiberglass
Recommended aluminum arrow: Feathered Fletcher Easton XX75
– Flat trajectory
– Custom sizes and spines available – advanced archers often opt for carbon arrows
– Very expensive
– The splinters can be dangerous for the archers
Recommended carbon arrow: Huntingdoor carbon 31-inch
– Good penetration
– Wide range of arrows
– Can be used on a variety of bows
– Heaviest of all the arrows
– Prone to splintering
– Not good for long range shots
Recommended fiberglass arrow: NuoYa001 Archery Fletched Fiberglass Notched Arrows
– High quality
– Very durable
– Rarely splinters
– Impeccable accuracy
– Great for long distance
These are the arrows used by professionals and are recommended if you are involved in competitive archery. They are essentially aluminum arrows, wrapped in carbon fiber. So, they are ultra-fast.
– Very, very expensive
As you can see, choosing arrows for your bow is no easy task. There are a lot of factors to think about. If you’re a beginner, a good place to start is with aluminum and carbon arrows and make sure you start at a draw weight of 10lbs. Even further, you should realize that the task for which the arrow is chosen also goes a long way in determining the arrow type. Because these are purely variables, the general advise would be for you to conduct sufficient research before setting on the best arrow for your bow because needless to mention, what works for you may not necessarily work for another person.