Arrow Noise w/ Field Tips

CodeMonkey

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Feb 14, 2021
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So I finally was able to shoot outside with my new arrows and noticed that they are noisy in flight (this was with field points). Even the shooter next to me said my arrows were "screaming".

Never heard the noise indoors and the noise appears to start at around 30-40 yards. I'm wondering what this could be caused by and if there's something I can change with my set up to correct this. Even with field tips, I feel like these arrows are about as noisy (if not noisier) as my old arrows were with a vented broadhead.

My current arrows are Black Eagle X Impacts with the FOCOS system. They are fletched with three AAE Max Stealth Vanes with a fairly aggressive helical. For comparison's sake, my old arrows were BE Rampages with the standard halfout. These were originally factory fletched with three Blazers with a slight offset (totally quiet). Later (trying to minimize wind issues) I went to a four fletch with AAE Hybrid 23 vanes with a slight helical and offset (quiet, but couldn't really stabilize some bigger fixed blades).

I don't think I have an arrow flight issue per se, since at distance they are grouping extremely well. Bow is paper tuned to a perfect bullet hole (that said, the bow wanted a good amount of cam lean to get there). Arrows are coming out of the bow at around 280 FPS. The one thing I will say I noticed is that even though these arrows are 20 grains lighter than my previous set up, I had to bump by 50 pin down by a hair. I attribute this to more drag from the vane configuration (which is probably a good thing since I want to be able to shoot a wide range of broadheads).

There was a 5-10 mph crosswind that day and I didn't notice the noise on every shot, but it was there about 80% of the time.

The only thing I've noticed so far is that the outserts of the FOCOS system have an extremely shiny finish on them. If I rub my hand against the outsert, I get a "swish" sound that oddly enough is in the same pitch as the noise I was hearing at the range.

Any ideas on what I can do to track this down?
 
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CodeMonkey

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Feb 14, 2021
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Only time I have had arrow noise is with the vanes. Just my vote.

The new vane configuration is 100% on my list of things that could be the culprit. This is my first time experimenting with a fairly aggressive helical and moving to a larger vane. That said, I know that a three fletch helical with AAE Max Stealth vanes is a fairly common go to for a lot of shooters, and I haven't heard of any noise issues.
 

Mighty Mouse

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My money is on vanes, but you could shoot some bareshafts to see if the noise might be coming from another component.
 

WakePraySlay

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Like most have said it’s more than likely your vanes. I’ve had noise problems with vanes before, mostly the quickspins. Did you fletch them yourself? If I were in your shoes this is what I’d do:

1. 80% of the time you’re getting noise. Look for vane separation. Lightly fold the vanes left and right to see if the foot of the vane(s) are separating from the shaft. Common if you have a aggressive helical.
2. If not like MIGHTY MOUSE said strip a shaft and shoot it. If no noise then I would….
3. Take that bare shaft and determine which way it spins off your bow string. Use a silver sharpie and mark a dot at the 12 o clock position by your nock. Shoot it a few feet from the target. If the dot is on the left then your arrows are spinning left out of the bow. In which I’d do a left helical/ offset. And vice versa. Makes sense to fletch a vane in the natural direction the arrow wants to spin.Some people do this some don’t. To me every little bit helps.
4. Too much helical causes drag and can create noise. Also can cause the arrow to parachute. Meaning the back wants to spin faster than the front. I’d do a maximum of 3 degrees pending arrow weight and length.
5. Use a good glue and make sure you get all the oil off the nock side of the shafts. I use acetone for my fmj’s. Glue I use the aae primer pen and their max bond glue for my aae 23’s. Any other brand of vane I like the blue loctite gel control.
6. tip and tail the vanes with a little bead of glue. Adds strength and reduces noise.

Here’s a tip I came up with when gluing vanes. Get wax paper and while the vane is in the clamp add a little extra glue then dab the vane evenly on the wax paper. It spreads the glue on evenly and takes the excess glue off so you don’t have a ton of glue coming off the vane onto the shaft.
 
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CodeMonkey

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Shot again today. Noise was intermittent and I couldn't really track it down. One other shooter said he could hear it, another said he couldn't. This is starting to become like having a squeak in your truck's suspension.

On a few groups, I could swear my bareshaft was dead silent, but my fletched arrows were making the noise. Then later on, I could swear I could hear the same noise (maybe slightly fainter?) coming from my bareshaft. Then at another point, I was convinced the birds at the range were messing with me and singing right when I let go of an arrow.

The good news is that I got in a crap ton of practice at 80 yards and am feeling really confident in my form. The bad news is I still can't source/locate this annoying ass sound. Part of me wants to ignore it, but I feel like if I can hear it, so can the animals I'm shooting at. I went with "Max Stealth" vanes for a reason.

I also noted that the noise is way different than "normal" arrow noise. I had two shooters with Blazers next to me. The Blazers made more of a "woosh" whereas my arrows make a high pitched whine/whistle.

Here's a summary of various clues/notes:
1. The noise is range dependent, or at least I think it is. I only really notice it shooting 60+ yards and it's there for the last split second of flight. This could just be because the noise of the bow is masking the arrow noise though at shorter ranges.
2. I think the noise might only be there when the arrow is fighting something. What I mean by that is that it seemed that if my form was off (torqueing the grip, rushing my shot, etc.) the noise was more pronounced. On shots that I felt really good on the release, it seems quieter/not there.
3. Arrows were fletched by my shop. I think they use a Bitz with a helical clamp and a good amount of offset (if I had to guess 3 degrees+ or so). That said, my arrows look far less radical than something out of an Arizona EZ Fletch.
4. Once I received my arrows, I proceeded to shoot into a highly suspect target. At times, my arrows were being stopped by the vanes, so I'm thinking I might have compromised the base.
5. When stripping an arrow, I noticed it was pretty trivial to get my fingernail underneath the front of the vane. I was able to strip the arrow using only my talons.
6. I inspected the bases of all my arrows and they seem OK, no gaps that I can see. I stopped at seeing if my fingernail could get underneath.
7. I have yet to find an arrow that doesn't make this noise intermittently.
8. Bareshaft spins right. (ABB strings tend to do this). Arrows are fletched right helical/offset.

Possible Problems:
1. Fletching configuration. I'm wondering if I just have too much offset. That said, I'm grouping very well (for me) at 80, easily within a 6'' circle. I'm honestly hesitant to mess with things because of how good the arrows are flying.
2. The front of the vanes are compromised and air is getting trapped between the vane and shaft (hence the whistle). This is easy enough to test/fix with a drop of glue at the front of each vane. Since I'm using AAE Max Stealth vanes, I'm wondering if I have to use their glue and if I should prime the front of each vane accordingly with their pen.
3. This is going to sound weird, but I feel like the dirtier the arrow is, the more pronounced the sound is. Basically, as I shoot more, the arrow collects those nasty fibers from the bag target. I wonder if what I'm hearing is that material catching wind.

I'm planning on trying two things. First, I'm going to clean an arrow of any fibers/target debris to where I can eat off of it. If that fails, I'm going to try adding a drop of glue at the front of each vane. If that fails, I'm going to rip off these vanes and redo them.
 

WakePraySlay

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Hey another thing I thought of if you’re hearing the noise with your bare shaft try looking at the nocks. If you have a different brand or one different from the ones your shooting try replacing one of them or feel/look for anything that would displace air to make a “whistle” sound
 

kcm2

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Loosen the nocks a bit. If tight, they pick up vibration from the string.
 
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CodeMonkey

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Loosen the nocks a bit. If tight, they pick up vibration from the string.

Nocks are fairly loose. They pass the test where I can draw the bow back an inch, let it go, and the arrow comes off.
 

wa_archer

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Jan 23, 2018
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I always put the drop of clue and sweep it back with cotton swap when i fletch my arrows. I would strip an arrow and try a different fletch could be a vibration in that brand of fletch with your arrow speed at different ranges.
 

Wheels

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Have you tried video recording the flight of your arrows? I would record it from behind, from the side and from the target and see if the noise is as bad as you think it is. Sometimes our ears can play games with us, especially if we are actually looking for a reason to make a small issue a big one.
 
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CodeMonkey

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Have you tried video recording the flight of your arrows? I would record it from behind, from the side and from the target and see if the noise is as bad as you think it is. Sometimes our ears can play games with us, especially if we are actually looking for a reason to make a small issue a big one.

I doubt that my cell phone mic would pick up the noise, but I'll try. That said, one shooter described it as "screaming" and the other as "whistling". The overall noise doesn't necessarily bother me, it's the fact that the pitch is higher than what I'm hearing come off of Blazer vanes.

I do remember from my Human Factors class that there's a reason why the audio cues for aircraft are in a female voice. Married males pick up on higher pitched tones much better because we're used to getting nagged by the wife. So when we hear something higher pitched, it's something that needs attention right away. Don't shoot the messenger, this is what the prof said and this was years before people got butthurt all the time about sex/gender.

Hope to shoot again tomorrow and/or Saturday. If I hear it again on my fletched shafts, but not my bareshafts, I'll re-fletch a few arrows differently to have a true A/B comparison.
 
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CodeMonkey

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Shot three different arrows today on a calm day:
1. An old Rampage I had (build from last year).
2. X Impact bareshaft
3. Several different fletched X Impacts

The Rampage was dead quiet. All X Impacts had the whistling noise. The bareshaft was actually more noticeable and a slightly different pitch. It's almost like the vanes are attenuating the whistle. Noise is always there, regardless of range. I can duplicate it 100% of the time with any arrow in my quiver. The only weird thing is that volume seems to change from shot to shot. That might also be a function of the background noise increasing/decreasing.

That leaves a few possible issues, all of which I'm going to explore next week:
1. The FOCOS system. It would suck if this is the cause, since I have a dozen arrows built up with this system. I'm starting to think this might be the case since the outsert doesn't sleeve over the shaft perfectly. There's a slight gap between the outsert and shaft where I could imagine air getting between. I've even found target material between the shaft and outsert. To test my theory, I'm going to glue in an outsert (defeats the reason I went with the FOCOS system) to get rid of the gap.
2. The nock. I'm going to try a different 4mm nock and I'll see if the problem goes away. This is easy enough to test. I'm hoping this will do it.
3. The field point. This is a weird one, but my old points were the "EZ pull" kind and these are much blunter ("bullet" style). Another easy thing to test.

The only silver lining is all this arrow testing has led me to get my form dialed in. I think my MER is now 70 yards.
 

deebs17

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Sep 19, 2019
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Interested to see what you find out. I have been having a similar whistling noise when shooting from 50+ yards. I had been trying out some bloodsport onyx arrows. Don't have the same whistle with the gold tip hunter or easton axis that I have used. I was thinking it was the outsert vs the fletching.
 

Zac

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Interested to see what you find out. I have been having a similar whistling noise when shooting from 50+ yards. I had been trying out some bloodsport onyx arrows. Don't have the same whistle with the gold tip hunter or easton axis that I have used. I was thinking it was the outsert vs the fletching.
Easiest way to tell may be to cut the vanes off the shafts and shoot them bare. If your not getting any noise there it may be vanes. Also if one arrow isn't flying straight you may get noise due to the vanes fighting the atmospheric pressure. I believe for this to be a fair test all the shafts would have to be tuned perfectly.
 
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CodeMonkey

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Interested to see what you find out. I have been having a similar whistling noise when shooting from 50+ yards. I had been trying out some bloodsport onyx arrows. Don't have the same whistle with the gold tip hunter or easton axis that I have used. I was thinking it was the outsert vs the fletching.

How fast are the arrows leaving the bow? I'm at over 280 FPS.

I got in some new nocks on Wednesday (AAE IP nocks) but they don't fit my string. Planning a shop trip early next week to hopefully track down the issue. In the meantime, I have a new arrow build planned out just in case I can't fix this issue.
 

deebs17

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Sep 19, 2019
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To be honest, I haven't chrono'd them. My guess would be around 250-260 FPS based on my shorter draw length. My brother-in-law shot with his and had the same whistle. I would guess with his set-up he would be over 280 FPS.
 

Sled

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why not heat shrink or put a wrap of electrical tape over the gap on your outsert. it'd be worth a test to see but after all you've done it is the likely culprit. that is, unless you have some bad carbon on the shafts...it seems all other variables are accounted for.
 

7-Pointers

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My son and I recently started a small 3D printing project to help guys put hard angle fletching (e.g. 2-3 degrees) on skinny arrow shafts with better vane to shaft adhesion than I've been able to achieve with other systems. Feel free to check out the detailed post below if you figure out that poor vane to shaft adhesion is causing the noise.

 

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