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.


Equipment Review – Bohning fletching tape

With the stormy weather hitting the UK at present, many archers are retreating to the indoor ranges or their making and doing rooms and sheds, fletching arrows and sorting gear for the new season. It’s been not so much of a white Christmas and New Year as a very, very wet one.

Here is hoping everyone is safe, warm and dry.

I thought I might take this opportunity to post my findings on using Bohning fletching tape. Been a while since I’ve written a review so here goes.

Just to make this clear from the outset. These are my views and opinions. I have no commercial interest in these products I review or the companies.

Double sided tape

Bohning Double sided tape

For years I have been using fletching glue to attach my feather fletching to the wood shafts. HMG has been my glue of choice. The only issue I’ve had is the time it takes for the adhesive to cure which is 15-20 minutes depending on air temperature.

For plastic vanes I’ve used simple bostic glue from local hardware shop which seems to work well on Sharon’s aluminium eclipse arrows.

At a shoot last year I was mentioning this and Bob one of our old club members from Black Arrow mentioned he used double sided fletching tape for all of his arrows and had never had any problems. Bob shoots longbow for both field and roving so his arrows can take some abuse. No offence Bob if you are reading this.

Initially I found applying the tape a little fiddly. Not so much when taking it off the roll and applying to the feather, but when trying to take the second covering layer off the tape when applying the fletching to the arrow shaft, but you get used to it.

Make sure you have aligned the fletching right as the tape adheres fast so you don’t have the time to re align if you make a mistake.

Quick tip. Ensure the shaft is dry and free from any dust which would cause poor adhesion. I don’t oil or varnish the shafts prior to fletching them.

Using the tape saves a lot of time as I found it quick and easy to use once you got the hang of it. I was able to fletch half dozen arrows in 15 minutes a significant time saving as it used to take 45-55 minutes using the glue to fletch one arrow.

Allow a little more at each end

Allow a little more at each end to make it easier to apply.

Leave a little extra at the front and rear of the fletching as it makes it easier to remove the second side of the tape and easier to apply the fletching to the shaft.

Extra length at front

Extra length at front

I was concerned the tape might come off in the rain but so far so good. I’ve been using the arrows for a little over six months and they seem okay.

My other concern was if the fletching might peel off the shaft, but this hasn’t happened either. I don’t know if this might be different if you varnished the wood first.

They have stood up to all the normal abuse I can throw at them, from being soaked in the rain, to encounters with trees and other vegetation. I’ve also used the tape for a new set of wooden arrows for Sharon and they seem to eb working well for her too.

Not sure how well it would work on plastic fletching but I am thinking of testing this shortly so it might be an update in near future.

The tape is available from most good archery shops, I got mine from Merlin in Loughborough. (http://www.merlinarchery.co.uk/bohning-feather-fletching-tape.html) I’ve used less than half the roll so far and produced a couple of dozen arrows so its pretty good value for money at just under £7 a roll.

So in short my verdict is thumbs up for Bohning tape, a good product that can save you a lot of time. 9/10 (could be higher if I had chance to try it on shafts other than wood)

Let me know if you have any experiences with this or anything else.

Happy New Year and as always thanks for reading.