Digital grain scales

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.


Literature review – Shooting the Stickbow

Shooting the Stickbow

Finally got round to writing another one of these literature reviews, sorry for the delay. So this one will be on

Fellow archer and blogger (Charles’ Archery blog) has written a great review of this book too and you can find it here.

So why did I go for this book over others?

I bought this book following a recommendation from a fellow archer (Chris Smith) He had been lent a copy and had said how informative he found it. Chris is also a NFAS coach and we had both been reviewing different books for coaching tips and as a good all round resource. This book ticks many of these boxes.

It is a very comprehensive guide for archers, covering the basic very well, more importantly you will find it an easy read, not too technical or complex. On this point I would say it is more technical than many of my other reads, but it is still an easy read. It covers the basics well and what any archer needs to know to progress.

Shooting the stickbow - internal pages

Shooting the stickbow – internal pages

In short I think what makes it a good read is its chapter structure. It  enables you to pick up a copy and read a chapter or two and get something worth while out of it. So if you have a busy life style and find the time very limited it is ideal.

the book  is broken into 4 sections

  • Basic Shooting the Stickbow
  • Equipment – a detailed view
  • Making the shot – theories and practice
  • Memories and musings

Think it maybe of limited use for compound archers as it is aimed at those archers shooting recurve and afb, but I guess the clue is in the title “shooting the stick bow”. I’ve shown this to a number of other archers and everyone whether shooting barebow or longbow have found it of interest. I’ve also recommended it to anyone thinking of either becoming a coach or simply want to expand their knowledge.

Shooting the stickbow - internal pages

Shooting the stickbow – internal pages

Unlike some archery books I have which are pocket-size this is more of a tome, providing a wealth of information, experience and advice. I think it is a massive achievement of the author to produce such a weighty read but still make it easy to follow. The only downside I can give on the book is the quality of some of the photographs that are “showing their age”. Otherwise I would say its a 9 out of 10.

Here are the ISBN number etc I bought my copy from Amazon and received it within a couple of days.

Shooting the Stickbow” 2nd Edition, by Anthony Camera

Author : Anthony Camera
Paperback: 438 pages
Publisher: Publishing (13 Oct 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602642443
ISBN-13: 978-1602642447

Thanks for reading and hope you find this of use.