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Hunting Arrows
Old 09-22-2009, 05:35 PM
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Default Hunting Arrows

Brithunter was keeping us informed about his latest foray into the world of target archery, and we got to discussing arrow weights and the like. I made few comments in response to queries about arrow shafts, and thought I'd 'flesh out' those comments in another thread. So here we go.

I am including pictures of my hunting arrows. There are three pictures:

1) The total arrow including broadhead, insert, shaft, fletching and nock. The AOL, (for you gun-nazis, that's arrow overall length instead of cartridge overall length), is 32 9/16". Total weight is 462.4 grains.

2) The broadhead in the insert on the arrow. It's a cut-on-contact "Wasp" 4-blade (you can see 'Wasp' on the blades). It weighs 82.38 grains, and its width is 1 1/8" at the maximum.

3) The shaft name and model (Beman 80/95), plastic 4" 3-fletching, the nock insert and nock. Without the broadhead, the weight is 380.0 grains. The shaft length from nock-point to terminus of insert is 30 1/2". Shaft diameter is 0.242". If you can't tell, it's a carbon fiber shaft. Apparently Beman while still selling the "Carbon Flash" model, has a new decoder ring for determining spine, and I can't remember to what 80/95 refers.

I use 4" 3-fletch plastic fletching for these reasons:

1) 4" it weighs more than 3" but it makes me feel 'better'.

2) 3-fletch because 4-fletch weighs more. Here it's 'touch and go' because 4-fletch does clear the riser better, but for me weight "wins". I used 4-fletch helical for a while, but all that really did was 'complicate' matters. Also, the fletching represents the largest cross-sectional area for wind to work on.

3) Plastic instead of feather, because feathers, while lighter most of the time, are actually heavier if they get wet. That extra weight can have a measurable impact on point of impact at any range beyond about 25 yds. And as far as I know, there is no SAFE way to dry out feather fletching in the field. If I'm on a 5 to 10-day fly-in caribou or sheep hunt, wet fletching can shake my confidence in a long shot.

Carbon shafts come in a variety of diameters. I always choose the smallest diameter for the spine I need so the arrow offers the least lateral cross-sectional area for wind to work on.

Broadhead type is chosen again on - you guessed it - weight first. There is a bit of a 'floor' here though. In Alaska, if I remember correctly, the minimum arrow weight you can use for big game hunting is 450 grains (one ounce). Therefore, if your draw length is 'X', and your shaft weighs "Y" grains per inch, and you're trying to be as light as possible, your broadhead will have to make up the difference to get you to the 450-grain minimum. As you can see from the numbers above, my arrows weigh about 460 grains. (I decided to check the Alaska regs, and they've changed them. The minumum arrow weight is 300 grains, and they've eliminated the minimum broadhead max width. ) So... I could go with a 3-blade version, but I prefer more cutting edges. In fact, I have toyed with the idea of a 5-blade, but then weight rears its ugly head again, plus I don't think anyone is still making a 5-blade broadhead any more.

I'll post a picture of my bow next post.


PS - Uh-oh, I went back and checked on the regs in more detail, and there is in fact a minimum broadhead maximum width. It is 7/8ths of an inch.
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Last edited by gitano; 09-23-2009 at 12:16 PM.. Reason: PS and typo
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archery, arrows, broadheads, compound bow, fletching, mathews, spine

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