Hardest lessons to learn in archery – Watch the weight Or why we need to watch our weight

No not a comment on obesity in archery but a quick look at how weight in many different forms can effect archery, whether we are talking about the draw weight of your bow or the weight of the arrows used.

So when can too light be a bad thing, and again I’m not talking about the archers weight here or anorexic, but in fact arrow weights.

Before I launch into this article though I’d like to thank my guest co-author another Rob, Rob Cook.

Rob Cook

Rob Cook

As many of you know I’m a big traditional archer shooting wooden bows and wooden arrows, so when it came to checking my facts with carbon arrows and so on, so I enlisted Robs help. Rob was also one of the originators of the new Traditional Bow hunter class in the NFAS and has extensive knowledge on the bare bow scene.

Bow International ran an article a few issues back on the effect of arrows weights on arrow flight and I know other sites including The Push have talked about the importance of matching your arrows to the bow.

Too light an arrow and archers can encounter several issues. Light arrows can fly faster and some say further, but they can be affected by wind to a greater degree. also there may not be the mass weight to absorb the energy from the bow limbs on release as effectively. in essence its like a mini dry fire.

Most bow manufacturers will specify an optimum mass weight for your arrow and if you look on just about ever carbon arrow in production will give you an arrow weight in grains per inch

To give you an example of what I mean, a bow maker might say the arrow should be 9 grains per pound of draw weight, so for my draw weight of 45lbs that would be 405 grain arrow weight. Through a lot of trial and error I have found an arrow round 450 to 460 works best from the bow, anything below 420 and the bow becomes noisy  and the arrows don’t perform as well.

Rob has created this table of data on different arrow specs and weights for some of the more common arrows on the market. We’ve used a 100 grain pile in all the arrows below calculations and show two lengths 28 inches and 30 inches, so we can give a total weight. To keep it simple Rob has used a 45lb bow weight for spine as I used that weight in the above calculation. It should all make sense but if you have any questions let us know.

Manufacturer Shaft Type                    spine @28 Arrow Weight gpp spine @ 30 Arrow Weight gpp
Avalon TecOne 600 330 7.3 600 344 7.6
Beman Classic 600 367 8.2 500 434 9.6
Carbon Express Predator II 2040 354 7.9 2040 370 8.2
Carbon Express Heritage 75 388 8.6 90 424 9.4
Easton Carbon One 660 325 7.2 550 347 7.7
Easton Axis 600 340 7.6 600 355 7.9
Easton 5MM Axis Traditional 600 357 7.9 600 373 8.3
Easton ST Axis N-Fused Camo/Axis Trad 600 360 8.0 600 376 8.4
Easton Apollo 610 367 8.2 560 392 8.7
Gold Tip Traditional 600 373 8.3 600 388 8.6

 

So why is this so important and why am I bringing it up here on this blog?

The NFAS has seen a new bow style recently, that of Traditional Bow Hunter. This style allows archers to shoot carbon or aluminium arrows off the bow shelf (no arrow rests). It is seeing a number of traditional archers that shoot flatbow or hunting tackle which uses wooden arrows giving it a go. They are buying carbon arrows of the right spine but I wonder if they are considering the effect of shooting lighter arrows on their bows? I was discussing this with a couple of people including Rob, so we thought we would put this together.

It is worth remembering that a lot of traditional wooden bows have not been constructed to take ultra-light carbon arrows often used in target archery or are sold as cheap alternatives to wooden or aluminium arrrows. Please don’t get me wrong some bows have been constructed to take such arrows but not all.

N.B. Adding a heavier pile to the arrow will increase the overall weight but it will also change the dynamic spine of the arrow, making it more flexible or weaker.

So what can you do?

  • Check the weight of your wooden arrows and carbons so you know the difference.
  • Check what your limb / bow manufactures recommended weights are. Most if not all will have this information on their websites or would be happy to share it with you. After all they don’t want to see you trash your bow as it reflects badly on them.
  • Going for slightly longer arrows as this will increase the mass weight too, this is why we have included two sizes in the above table.

I hope this has proved interesting and helpful. I would like to say thank you to Rob for all his help and number crunching with this. He produced a load of data on different arrows in a long excel document, as well as speaking to several bow manufactures to check minimal weights.

Thanks for reading.

 

What arrows for beginner?

Early this week Sharon was asked by an archery friend what arrows she thought would be good for her brother. What an easy question to answer … NOT 😉

She asked me and my response was to suggest she found out some more information first

The type of arrow is dependent on numerous factors many of which I’ve covered but in short

  • Draw Length
  • Bow weight
  • Club rules
  • Bow Style – compound, recurve, longbow etc
  • Purpose – hunting/target/field etc

Shooting an arrow that is not matched to your draw length and poundage can be dangerous as it may snap under the pressure if the wrong poundage, or you might draw it off the arrow rest if too short. Beginners often find their draw length increases as they get more used to shooting, so make sure any arrows allow for this.

Likewise too light an arrow can damage your bow as there is insufficient strength and weight in the arrow to cope with the energy from the limbs, resulting in damaged limbs.

General rule of thumb is the longer the draw length and the heavier the bow draw weight you end up going for stronger arrows ie the numbers higher. This is explained best here, taken from the Easton Arrow site

The four-digit number refers to the outside diameter and wall thickness of the shaft. The first two numbers are the outside diameter in 64ths of an inch. The second two numbers are the wall thickness in thousands of an inch.

For example, a 2514 shaft would be 25/64th of an inch in diameter and .014 of an inch wall thickness. OD and wall thickness are the two variables in controlling spine for aluminum arrows.

http://www.eastonarchery.com/frequently-asked-questions

Quick point on club rules. Some clubs do not allow archers to use carbon arrows, others ban beginners from using them. Personally I am not a fan of beginners using carbon arrows simply because I prefer them to use alloys. Alloys are easier to find if lost, if they glance off a tree they might be slightly bent but can’t be straightened, they don’t break / shatter leaving carbon shards. This topic is covered in the recent stick and string podcast

For complete beginners I tend to use Easton Neo alloy shafts, they are 1618 and at full length 32 inches. They are great arrows for low poundage bows, up to about 24-26lb at 28″ above that they get a bit whippy.

Easton Neo

Easton Neo

Another good arrow for a slightly more experienced archer is the Easton Jazz.  They range from 14130  to 1916. I tend to find most beginners find the 1816 work well from their first bows that come in about 26lb-30lb.

Easton Jazz

Easton Jazz

Here is a link to Easton Arrows selection chart http://www.eastonarchery.com/uploads/files/52_target-sel-chart.pdf  this will help work out whats best for your bow.

As the archer progress good alloy arrows are the Easton x7  (think they are 1614 going from memory) which Sharon uses (recurve 38lbs and 26″, yes 26″ not 28″) and work well for the field archery we do. I’ve got some XX75 that are pretty robust too, but I tend to shoot wooden arrows more.

There are loads of really useful sites out there and a wealth of help in local clubs, so do a few searches and if you can try different arrows before you buy. Jordan Sequillion blog site covers this well as do others like Charlies

Please note I have no alliance or connection with any of the shops or manufacturers I mention here, other than being a customer. So I have no vested interest in this other that trying to help an offer my opinion.

I hope this is of interest and if you have any questions drop me a line. Always happy to help if I can. Thanks for reading.