Arrow build considerations

A.Grift

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Apr 21, 2020
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Hi all, I have spent some time reviewing previous arrow build threads, messing around with various calculators, and reading articles, but would appreciate some guidance specific to me (I was unhappy with my previous arrows, and I think that was largely because I didn't know what questions to ask). I understand that a lot of this is subjective, so I am looking for two things:
  1. What questions do I need to answer? Spine, length, total weight, FOC, diameter, tolerances, vanes and vane configuration, etc. I know some of that will be about shooting a few different setups and seeing what works best for me, but would appreciate initial thoughts.
  2. What are your recommendations for a starting point considering the specs of my bow and what I am hunting? I am happy to hear specific brand or product recommendations if you have them, but I am mostly trying to understand whyyou think they are appropriate--so if you would rather just give general ranges that works too.
    1. My bow: Mathews Vertix (343 IBO), 28" draw, 75 lb mods
    2. What am I hunting: Priorities are generally going to be elk and bear, and I have a pronghorn tag this year. I will also do some deer hunting (hopefully some mule deer if I have the time, and definitely a few days of whitetails back East around thanksgiving). Obviously, that is a pretty broad range, but my instinct is to build the arrows with elk and bear in mind and accept that they might be overkill for the speed goats. Does that sound right?
As a jumping-off point, the guy at the shop said he would probably start at a 28.5 or 29 inch Easton axis with stock insert in 300 spine with a 100 gr or 125 gr broadhead.
 
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KyleR1985

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Jul 28, 2019
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How many animals have you killed with a bow?

How often do you practice?

What ranges do you practice at?

Will you be tuning your own bow?

If not, has it been set up by a shop?

Currently, what ranges do you expect to shoot at your target animals (bear and elk)?

In your mind's eye, what level of precision at 50 yards, single shot, cold arrow, do you think is acceptable for hunting elk? Hitting within 2" of where you've aimed? 6"? 10"?


I can give some advice based on your answers to the above.
 

Beendare

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My primary considerations for a compound arrow: Quiet bow, durable, decent trajectory, perfect arrow assembly, not underspined

I shoot a very efficient 2 blade head so pass throughs and penetration is never a problem thus I dont need a very heavy arrow or high FOC that the big hole blood on the ground guys need to factor in.
 

Rob5589

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W Sac CA
I use Gold Tip shafts so for your set up; .300 GT Hunter cut to 28-29 inches, standard insert, 100 grain head, 3 fletch Blazer vanes. If you want to run more weight up front, like a 50 grain insert instead, it may put you into a .250 spine but I'd bet a .300 will still shoot out of a well tuned bow.
 
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A.Grift

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
25
How many animals have you killed with a bow?

How often do you practice?

What ranges do you practice at?

Will you be tuning your own bow?

If not, has it been set up by a shop?

Currently, what ranges do you expect to shoot at your target animals (bear and elk)?

In your mind's eye, what level of precision at 50 yards, single shot, cold arrow, do you think is acceptable for hunting elk? Hitting within 2" of where you've aimed? 6"? 10"?


I can give some advice based on your answers to the above.
Thanks for the help Kyle.

So far I haven't killed anything with a bow. I came to bow hunting recently after several years of spearfishing. My first year I primarily spent practicing and a few days blundering around after whitetail. Last year I (ineffectively) hunted elk, and my whitetail season was cut down by injury and work chaos, so I only got about 4 days in the late season in the deer woods. I am in the process of relocating to the PNW, and will have a lot more time to hunt this year.

I typically practice at least 4 times per week, and daily when I can. I missed a lot of time due to the issues I mentioned above, but am getting back in the swing now.

I typically practice out to 70ish yards, but tend to focus between 30 and 60

I will not be tuning my bow, but would like to work towards that in the future. For now I am trusting professionals.

Yes, it has been set up by a shop, and I will be working with a shop to build the new arrows and make sure they shoot well with my bow.

I am focusing on keeping shots to within 40 yards this year. My elk tag this year is for archery in Western Washington, so I would expect that number to be significantly lower due to the terrain if I manage to get an opportunity.

My gut reaction is within a 3-inch radius. I certainly don't think I would consider taking that shot if I wasn't confident that I could put the arrow in a circle with a 3-inch radius, and I would probably want to feel reasonably confident of putting it in a 2-inch radius at the range if that makes sense. Open to feedback there.
 

Mighty Mouse

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Jun 21, 2019
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Oklahoma
Spine: I would personally go with 250, but 300 would be fine unless you're adding a significant amount of extra weight up front. The right spine choice depends on what length you're going to cut your arrows to and how much weight you're going to put on the front end.

Length: Short as you can. There's no benefit to leaving the shaft any longer than necessary (other than for fine-tuning dynamic spine). I cut mine with a 1/2" of shaft extending beyond the fork of my rest. Rest type/position and broadhead shape will dictate your minimum length.

Total weight: I like to shoot heavy arrows (550-600 gr) to improve penetration potential and am willing to sacrifice trajectory to do so. I would recommend getting a field point test kit and experimenting with different weights before making a final decision and building all your arrows. I would also recommend securing your inserts with heat reversible glue ("hot melt") instead of epoxy if you foresee yourself tinkering with weight later on.

FOC: Build for your desired total weight/point weight with appropriate spine and let FOC fall where it may.

Diameter: I stay away from micros (.166"/4mm) due to durability concerns and limited availability/variety of compatible components. I stick with small (.204"/5mm) or standard (.246"/6mm) shafts.

Tolerances: The vast majority of shooters won't be able to tell the difference between ±.001", ±.003", or ±.006" straightness. If you're building your own arrows, you can cut the shafts from both ends and likely wind up with finished arrows straighter than their advertised tolerance.

Vanes: The larger the surface area of your broadhead, the more fletching drag you need to create. Exactly what combination of vane count, height, length, and offset/helical angle creates the ideal amount of drag is anyone's guess, but it's better to err on the side of too much fletching than too little. I prefer 4 vanes instead of 3 because it eliminates the possibility of nocking an arrow "upside down." I prefer a longer vane with a lower profile over a shorter vane with a higher profile to decrease the potential for vanes hitting the cables/rest/sight.
 

KyleR1985

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Joined
Jul 28, 2019
Messages
270
Based on your current situation, I'd shoot an arrow in the 450-550gr range.

I'd pick whatever carbon arrow you want, with a 300 spine. Anything but FMJ. I don't like Micro Diameter because the components get a little more complicated to get just right. I really like Victory RIP TKO, but they're not cheap. Honestly, pretty much any standard carbon arrow will work for your situation.

I'd get my arrows cut as short as you feel comfortable cutting them (some people are weird about it, but I cut them as short I can so as not to fall off the rest).

I'd buy a set of ethics archery 100 grain stainless half outs. There are other brands, and some arrow companies offer same weight/type components. Ethics has just been easy and consistent to deal with for me.

I'd buy an arrow squaring tool, or make sure your pro shop squares both ends after cutting.

I'd nock tune them, and go with 3 blazers or heat vanes - 4 if you hunt in a lot of wind, or go with a slightly bigger broadhead.

I'd pick whatever small diameter, razor sharp, cut on contact broadheads you like. 100 or 125gr weight, I like 125. I like qad exodus, IW, magnus.

Your shop should be able to tune the bow and you to those arrows easily. They'll fly somewhere in the 260-275fps range depending on where you settle on poundage.

Arrows need to be tuned. Bows need to be tuned. People need to be tuned. All need to be tuned to each other. But I'd start with a simple setup like above. You and your bow will easily settle in with those arrows.
 

KyleR1985

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2019
Messages
270
Spine: I would personally go with 250, but 300 would be fine unless you're adding a significant amount of extra weight up front. The right spine choice depends on what length you're going to cut your arrows to and how much weight you're going to put on the front end.

Length: Short as you can. There's no benefit to leaving the shaft any longer than necessary (other than for fine-tuning dynamic spine). I cut mine with a 1/2" of shaft extending beyond the fork of my rest. Rest type/position and broadhead shape will dictate your minimum length.

Total weight: I like to shoot heavy arrows (550-600 gr) to improve penetration potential and am willing to sacrifice trajectory to do so. I would recommend getting a field point test kit and experimenting with different weights before making a final decision and building all your arrows. I would also recommend securing your inserts with heat reversible glue ("hot melt") instead of epoxy if you foresee yourself tinkering with weight later on.

FOC: Build for your desired total weight/point weight with appropriate spine and let FOC fall where it may.

Diameter: I stay away from micros (.166"/4mm) due to durability concerns and limited availability/variety of compatible components. I stick with small (.204"/5mm) or standard (.246"/6mm) shafts.

Tolerances: The vast majority of shooters won't be able to tell the difference between ±.001", ±.003", or ±.006" straightness. If you're building your own arrows, you can cut the shafts from both ends and likely wind up with finished arrows straighter than their advertised tolerance.

Vanes: The larger the surface area of your broadhead, the more fletching drag you need to create. Exactly what combination of vane count, height, length, and offset/helical angle creates the ideal amount of drag is anyone's guess, but it's better to err on the side of too much fletching than too little. I prefer 4 vanes instead of 3 because it eliminates the possibility of nocking an arrow "upside down." I prefer a longer vane with a lower profile over a shorter vane with a higher profile to decrease the potential for vanes hitting the cables/rest/sight.


Haha sounds like Mighty Mouse and I got our propaganda pamphlets from the same snake oil outlet!
 

OR Archer

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Feb 29, 2012
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Phoenix,AZ
For a very specific build I’d do the following. Something I’ve set up for a lot of customers in the past.
Axis 300 Match cut to 28.5”
50gr Brass Insert
10gr Ironwill Collar
100gr head
4” wrap
4 Fletch with AAE Hybrid 23s
Standard X nock

I’ve tuned a lot of Mathews with those same specs and the above arrow combo will absolutely tune and shoot phenomenal out of that particular bow with those specs.
 

5MilesBack

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Feb 27, 2012
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Colorado Springs
  1. My bow: Mathews Vertix (430 IBO), 28" draw, 75 lb mods
Wow, that's a really aggressive bow. First one I think I've seen over 400 IBO.

But for arrows, the two things I look for first is accuracy and durability. I want arrows as straight as I can get them with good tolerances, that also can handle being shot at and into stuff......sometimes hard stuff. I like to shoot stuff.......all stuff......any stuff......just because it's there stuff......and I feel like shooting stuff. So, if my arrows can withstand all that during the offseason, then they're good to go on mere flesh and bones. I've had the best performance in this regard with .204" ID weaved carbon arrows, so that's what I use. I also only use Bohning A nocks in my arrows.

So for me, minimum .001" straightness, especially with my 32.5"+ draw length. Next thing I look at is a spine somewhat within reason, but also that gets me close to a particular finished arrow weight. If I can't get there with regular weight inserts and 125's, then I'll use 75gr or 50gr HIT inserts to get me there. I always cut my arrows to 30" carbon to carbon, so I always know exactly where they'll finish out for an end weight even before I build them.

Then at that point, I'll fletch a few with my 2" QS's and a few with 4-fletch Q2i Fusion Xii 2.1" vanes and see how they do with BH's. After BH tuning at 60 yards, I'll pick the vanes I want and go from there. Then I'll shoot the heck out of them until the season starts and then pick 5 to put in the quiver. That's about it.
 

MattB

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Sep 29, 2012
Messages
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Based on your specs, I would be inclined to listen to the guy at the shop (or OR Archer) and avoid all the over-thinking and mental masturbation that may otherwise ensue.
 
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A.Grift

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Apr 21, 2020
Messages
25
Thank you guys! This is exactly the type of feedback I
Wow, that's a really aggressive bow. First one I think I've seen over 400 IBO.
Haha I am not sure what happened there, 343 IBO I had too many numbers bouncing around my head.
 
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A.Grift

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
25
For a very specific build I’d do the following. Something I’ve set up for a lot of customers in the past.
Axis 300 Match cut to 28.5”
50gr Brass Insert
10gr Ironwill Collar
100gr head
4” wrap
4 Fletch with AAE Hybrid 23s
Standard X nock

I’ve tuned a lot of Mathews with those same specs and the above arrow combo will absolutely tune and shoot phenomenal out of that particular bow with those specs.
Awesome! Thanks for this, it is great to have an idea of a specific arrow that I know will fly well.

Based on your specs, I would be include to listen to the guy at the shop (or OR Archer) and avoid all the over-thinking and mental masturbation that may otherwise ensue
Ultimately I am going to defer to people that know much more about this than me, but I also want to understand why my equipment does or does not work for me, so it is cool to see how people think about this all.
 

Jbxl20

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Dec 29, 2020
Messages
256
Location
PA
Previous arrows 27” axis 340’s standard HIT

I’m no expert and I’ve built my new arrows with some considerations off info from threads I’ve read on here. I just built these this spring shot this setup at TAC out to 111yds.
29” draw, 70lbs,
28” carbon to carbon Easton axis 300s with 50gr inserts
4 fletch Q2i vanes. Total weight with 100gr head is 492gr.
 

Bowfinn

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Jan 6, 2019
Messages
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Location
Minneapolis
For a very specific build I’d do the following. Something I’ve set up for a lot of customers in the past.
Axis 300 Match cut to 28.5”
50gr Brass Insert
10gr Ironwill Collar
100gr head
4” wrap
4 Fletch with AAE Hybrid 23s
Standard X nock

I’ve tuned a lot of Mathews with those same specs and the above arrow combo will absolutely tune and shoot phenomenal out of that particular bow with those specs.
Thanks! I was looking for an arrow build and I’m gonna use this setup as well.
 
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