Selecting the correct arrow for your bow is of vital importance if you want to shoot consistently, but it can be a daunting task if you are new to archery. There are lots of different aspects to consider when choosing arrows and as you progress with your shooting you will encounter many varying views on what works best. On this page we will give a basic outline of what to look out for when choosing arrows. If after reading this section you are still unsure of what arrows to choose, please feel free to email us at email@example.com for further advice.
As we deal in traditional wooden arrows, what follows refers to those types of bows. Whilst the basic information is true of all arrows, higher performing bows such as Compounds and Olympic Recurves will alter the choices made when selecting arrows.
This is probably the most important aspect of choosing the correct arrows for your bow. The arrow spine refers to the 'stiffness' of the arrow shaft. When leaving the bow, the arrow encounters varying degrees of deflection, depending upon the draw weight and performance of the bow. The arrow will need to bend around bows which are not centre shot i.e. longbows, therefore increasing the amount of deflection that occurs. There are many thorough explanations of this process to be found on the internet, simply search for 'archers paradox' and you will have lots of interesting reading (plus some cool videos too).
At the most basic level a good place to start when selecting arrows is to choose arrows which have a dynamic spine rating of around five to ten pound less than the draw weight of the bow. Be sure to select the spine based upon your own draw weight and not just the weight marked on the bow. Many bows are measured at a 28" draw length and the actual draw weight will depend upon your own draw length. If you do not have access to a set of bow scales to test this, a good indication is that for every inch above or below 28 inches, deduct or add two pound of draw weight. For example, if the bow is marked at 40# @ 28, and you draw 27" then the draw weight that you shoot would roughly be 38 pounds. We would recommend 30-35 spined arrows as a good place to start.
When selecting arrows you will need to make sure that you choose an arrow length that is suitable. The most obvious aspect of this is that if you choose too short of an arrow then you will overdraw it and it will fall off the bow. This is a huge safety hazard and should be avoided at all costs. If you are just beginning in archery your draw length may fluctuate slightly as you settle down into a consistent anchor point. Choosing a slightly longer arrow will give you the peace of mind that the arrow is long enough and won't pose a safety issue, allowing you to concentrate on getting a consistent shooting style.
As you become more experienced you can choose a length of arrow close to your actual draw length. The main benefit of this is that a shorter arrow will be lighter which will enable you to reach further distances. Shortening the length of arrow will also slightly increase the 'stiffness' of your arrow (think about holding a plastic ruler over the edge of a table and twanging it, the shorter the section of ruler held over the edge, the quicker the reaction). By the same measure, the longer the arrow the weaker the spine. This fine tuning of your arrows will often depend upon the speed performance of your bow, and is often best done in the company of other experienced archers or coaches so that they can watch your arrows leave your bow from behind you and offer advice. If you are in the North East of England, we will be happy to offer this service, just email us for more details.
The weight of your arrow point can have two main effects on your arrows. The first and most obviously noticeable is that the overall weight of the arrow will be increased, meaning that less distance may be achieved. The second effect is that the arrow spine will also be altered slightly, much in the same way as with arrow length. A heavier point will result in a weaker spine and a lighter point will increase the stiffness. Once again this fine tuning of arrows is best done in the company of experienced archers and/or coaches who can watch the effect of the point weight on your arrows. We recommend a 100 grain point as a good starting point for your arrows (we use this weight on our 'Range Arrows'). This point doesn't slow the arrow down too much and also does a good job of keeping the arrow on course in windy conditions.
There are many different styles of fletching to choose from (as well as lots of interesting colours), all having different effects on your arrow. The main thing to consider is that the longer the fletching and the higher the fletching profile, the more drag will be created on the arrow in flight, which will slow the arrow down. Conversely, the shorter the fletching and the lower the profile the less drag created and the quicker the arrow. The other thing to consider is that a bigger fletching will give more stability to your arrow so it will straighten out of the archers paradox quicker, meaning that it will gain it most efficient and aerodynamic position in flight quicker and will keep more momentum from the bow and will increase accuracy and arrow speed. A good place to start is with either a three inch or four inch standard profile fletching. For something a bit different, try our Raven fletched arrows. These five inch fletchings have a cut away section at the back, which gives excellent aerodynamics. This means that the fletchings give the stability of a five inch fletching with out the excess drag, so the speed is comparable to that of a three of four inch fletching (they also look really good!)
This advice is by no means exhaustive, but should form the basis of a good understanding of what to look out for when buying arrows. If you have a specific question about arrows and would like more advice, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help.