What is your process for choosing an arrow?

RogerNH

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Joined
Feb 23, 2020
Messages
72
With so many options for arrows out there, I am overwhelmed with information when looking at arrows to buy. I'm curious what your thought process is when you are shopping for a specific arrow.

Would you use the same arrow for deer and elk?

How do you decide on thickness and weight? What inserts do you use?

Would you pick the same arrow for a fixed-blade broadhead vs. a mechanical broadhead?

Is your draw length and draw weight a factor in choosing an arrow?
 

KyleR1985

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Joined
Jul 28, 2019
Messages
329
I go to spine chart for my draw weight and length for normal point weight (100gr). Select next stiffest spine. Buy any brand, diameter, used/unused arrows I feel like in that spine. Cut them as short as possible. Square both ends of the arrow. Install 100gr SS ethics halfouts. I don't care about brand of inserts, these are just the first ones I found, and they work. Use any cut on contact 125gr two blade small diameter fixed head, or qad exodus. 3 fletch with anything for whitetail hunting 30 yard and in shooting. Four fletch with blazers or something similar for longer range hunting.

Go hunt.

Consistency = precision. There are layers upon layers of equipment and technique that lead to consistency in archery. Randomly picking one to obsess about makes sense if the other dozen inputs are optimized. If you are sloppy with everything, randomly choosing arrow selection to be sharp on will not lead to any measurable difference in shooting precision/hunting results.

TLDR - If you are optimizing all aspects of your archery journey, you already know what matters in arrow selection. If you aren't, there's no point in obsessing over arrow selection. Make it simple - don't focus on component brand or type - just make every single arrow as much like every other arrow(see above) as you can.
 

Jstumbaugh

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Joined
Jan 12, 2021
Messages
342
Following. I have always shot GT Hunter Xt 400's 29" on a 29" draw 70lb 100gr tip on my last three bows (Bowtech Allegiance, Bowtech 101lst and now a Bowtech Realm). Ive gotten them all to tune however looking at current Gold tip charts it puts me at needing a 300 spine shaft. Have arrow spine charts changed? Not trying to highjack the thread but in the same boat with shaft selection.
 

Dylan Sluis

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Joined
Nov 8, 2021
Messages
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Location
Minnesota
I just finished building some new arrows. My arrows came out to 515gr with 13% FOC. I hunt whitetail with majority of shots under 40 yards so I went a little heavier, but I am comfortable out to 50 yards, so that's why I didn't go extremely heavy.

The first thing you should determine is what spine you need for your arrows. Then determine about what you want as an arrow weight, and determine what size arrow and how durable of an arrow you want. Research is very helpful for these steps. Once you find a few shafts that you like that will get you close to your desired TAW and FOC, start using an arrow weight and FOC calculator, I used the one on gold tips website. Research components and start doing mock arrows build on their website. Find the components you would use for each shaft and plug in all the information on their website and see what your TAW and FOC comes to. Do this with all of the shafts and once you find the shafts and components that get you the TAW and FOC you want, then order them.

If you build a good arrow you could use the same arrow for elk and deer. That depends on your personal preference for speed vs momentum when going out west.

You can use the same shaft for a fixed and mechanical broadheads. The type of broadhead you put on the front(as long as they are the same weight) won't mess your spine drastically, maybe a tiny bit.

Draw Length and Draw Weight will affect the spine that you need for your arrows. I shoot a 29" DL and 72lbs which puts me at a 300 spine arrows. You can use a arrow spine chart for this.
 

Mighty Mouse

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Joined
Jun 21, 2019
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1,420
Location
Oklahoma
Would you use the same arrow for deer and elk?
I do, although I understand the reasoning of those who shoot different arrows for different species. I personally don't want the hassle of re-tuning and re-sighting to a different arrow partway through hunting season.

How do you decide on thickness and weight? What inserts do you use?
Carbon hunting arrows are offered in 3 typical diameters (I assume that's what you mean by "thickness"): standard (.245"/6.5mm nominal ID), small (.204"/5mm), and micro (.166"/4mm). Standard is generally the cheapest, easiest to find, and easiest diameter to work with. The benefits of smaller diameters are less wind drift in flight and (supposedly) better penetration due to the reduced surface area of the shaft; the downsides are higher cost and limited selection of compatible components. IMO these costs outweigh the benefits, so I generally stick with standard diameter shafts.

Weight is a tradeoff between the flatter trajectory/smaller pin gaps of a lighter arrow vs. the greater penetration potential of a heavier arrow. IMO total arrow weight in the high-400's to low-500's (measured in grains) is a good range for most hunters.

Insert choice is largely dictated by shaft diameter. For standard diameter, I typically use a lightweight aluminum insert and add weight screws behind it as needed to reach my target total weight. For small and micro diameters, I would only consider a hidden insert (HIT), possibly with an external collar/sleeve for extra strength. The half-outs and outsert systems offered for small/micro shafts are inherently weak and can be difficult to keep aligned during installation.

Would you pick the same arrow for a fixed-blade broadhead vs. a mechanical broadhead?
I've never shot mechanicals, but I see no reason why broadhead choice would/should affect shaft choice.

Is your draw length and draw weight a factor in choosing an arrow?
Draw length and draw weight (among other factors) determine the appropriate static spine rating for your arrows. Other than making sure that your chosen shaft is offered in an appropriate spine, DL/DW shouldn't affect shaft choice. Most shafts are offered in a range of 250 (stiffer) to 400-500 (weaker) spine in increments of 50-100, so generally speaking you should be able to get the appropriate spine in any shaft make/model you choose.
 
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5MilesBack

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Feb 27, 2012
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Colorado Springs
My process has been a long one, but I test a lot of stuff.......because I enjoy it, and because it helps to narrow down my choices. There are many arrows out there that will "work", it just depends on what your goals are, what you're willing to put up with, and how much of a perfectionist you are. Over the years I haven't found a standard diameter arrow that will meet my durability expectations. I also can't stand outserts and haven't found enough benefit to using micro arrows, so I have settled on .204" ID arrows. These smaller diameter arrows have a thicker wall than standard diameter and tend to hold up better on hard hits and angles, etc.....i.e. less likely to be damaged. But that's not always the case. That's where a lot of the testing comes in. Some .204" arrows seem to break as much as the thinner-walled standard arrows.

So obviously durability is high on my list. I know of no other way to figure that out other than testing. That testing may just involve a week of abusing the arrows compared to others, or it may be actual use over the course of several months or years. Either way, I have a pretty good idea how they will perform for me.

But having the most durable arrows in existence doesn't mean squat to me if they won't shoot worth a darn. So precision is actually my number 1 requirement. I shoot a longer draw and higher draw weight so I generally need a stiffer spine. I shoot a long arrow at 30" carbon to carbon, so I want the straightest I can get. But also, with the straightest you generally get the tightest spine tolerances as well. When you have the best spine for your setup and the most consistent, tightest arrow tolerances, and both ends are squared perfectly, then you'll generally have better shooting arrows. But it also makes no sense to put crooked or bent components on those arrows, or components that easily bend or break.

Part of the process of choosing arrows is also choosing those "end" components. Makes no sense to have super accurate and durable arrows, if you're going to throw on some cheap aluminum outsert or halfout. They WILL bend....or break. Sometimes the bend is impossible to see......until you put them on an arrow spinner. And then the end of the arrow wobbles......ruining the consistency that we strive so hard for. I've also bent SS outserts/halfouts.

Part of the arrow selection and component process is determining what your goal is for an end arrow weight. My goal is always somewhere around 500gr, but may be 20gr above or below that depending on the GPI of the shafts and my insert weight. So I always take into consideration the GPI for arrow length, insert weight, and other component weights (nocks, fletching) to get close to my end weight goal.

But as for the arrows themselves, this pretty much sums up my process and thinking in choosing the right shafts. And whatever arrows I put together for the quiver every year, I'm 100% confident that they'll do their job if I do mine. I use the same arrows and setup for all species. These are my processes to meet my expectations and goals. Your goals and expectations may differ. ;)
 
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DooleyVT

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Joined
Jan 13, 2022
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112
Location
Vermont
My process has been a long one, but I test a lot of stuff.......because I enjoy it, and because it helps to narrow down my choices. There are many arrows out there that will "work", it just depends on what your goals are, what you're willing to put up with, and how much of a perfectionist you are. Over the years I haven't found a standard diameter arrow that will meet my durability expectations. I also can't stand outserts and haven't found enough benefit to using micro arrows, so I have settled on .204" ID arrows. These smaller diameter arrows have a thicker wall than standard diameter and tend to hold up better on hard hits and angles, etc.....i.e. less likely to be damaged. But that's not always the case. That's where a lot of the testing comes in. Some .204" arrows seem to break as much as the thinner-walled standard arrows.

So obviously durability is high on my list. I know of no other way to figure that out other than testing. That testing may just involve a week of abusing the arrows compared to others, or it may be actual use over the course of several months or years. Either way, I have a pretty good idea how they will perform for me.

But having the most durable arrows in existence doesn't mean squat to me if they won't shoot worth a darn. So precision is actually my number 1 requirement. I shoot a longer draw and higher draw weight so I generally need a stiffer spine. I shoot a long arrow at 30" carbon to carbon, so I want the straightest I can get. But also, with the straightest you generally get the tightest spine tolerances as well. When you have the best spine for your setup and the most consistent, tightest arrow tolerances, and both ends are squared perfectly, then you'll generally have better shooting arrows. But it also makes no sense to put crooked or bent components on those arrows, or components that easily bend or break.

Part of the process of choosing arrows is also choosing those "end" components. Makes no sense to have super accurate and durable arrows, if you're going to throw on some cheap aluminum outsert or halfout. They WILL bend....or break. Sometimes the bend is impossible to see......until you put them on an arrow spinner. And then the end of the arrow wobbles......ruining the consistency that we strive so hard for. I've also bent SS outserts/halfouts.

Part of the arrow selection and component process is determining what your goal is for an end arrow weight. My goal is always somewhere around 500gr, but may be 20gr above or below that depending on the GPI of the shafts and my insert weight. So I always take into consideration the GPI for arrow length, insert weight, and other component weights (nocks, fletching) to get close to my end weight goal.

But as for the arrows themselves, this pretty much sums up my process and thinking in choosing the right shafts. And whatever arrows I put together for the quiver every year, I'm 100% confident that they'll do their job if I do mine. I use the same arrows and setup for all species. These are my processes to meet my expectations and goals. Your goals and expectations may differ. ;)
EXACTLY. Well said. With the durability and consistency comes confidence.
 

N2TRKYS

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Joined
Apr 17, 2016
Messages
3,253
Location
Alabama
I want a durable and accurate arrow. The easy button for that is the Gold Tip Hunter or Hunter XT(accuracy has been the same with both). I’ve regularly shot through hogs with the same arrow. Clean off the blood, replace the blades and put back in my quiver.

I don’t want or need to fool around with collars or outserts.

I choose my weight based on testing what gives me the trajectory/velocity that I want. I use GT 50 grain inserts.

I don’t use mechanical broadheads.

I would use the same arrow for deer and elk.

I could pay way more for the same amount of accuracy and durability, but I have seen a logical reason for me to do that.

Good luck with your selection.
 

TheTone

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Mar 4, 2012
Messages
961
Durability, tolerances, ability to build a 430-500 grain arrow simply, lack of complicated components, no outserts
 

406unltd

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Joined
Jul 6, 2018
Messages
652
I have a speed I want to be within
I find the head I want to shoot
Use a shaft that is the gpi I need
Use a shaft that will work with my bh
Use their straightest shaft due to DL
Shoot various vanes with bh
Keep the most accurate setup
Go hunting for anything with same arrow
 

Planopurist

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Joined
Jul 11, 2017
Messages
475
My selection is rooted in my experiences and what makes sense for my goals. I tend towards a few principles - the middle ground, fairly ubiquitous components and tools, good tolerances, good performance, and reasonable prices.

I used to use standard ID arrows, but I wanted less wind resistance and more durability, so I settled up with .204 ID. I tend to like stainless steel half-outs that don’t require much manipulation to get a total arrow weight that will produce about 285-290 fps with a 100 grain broadhead. I carry mechanical and fixed blade broadheads in my quiver. This speed gives me consistent pin gaps/sight tapes while allowing stable broadhead flight. At my draw length and draw weight, this is about 8.5-9.5 gpi 28”-29’ shaft and 50-75 grain half-out. I tail that with 4-fletch low profile vanes (Bohning Heats) and nocturnal nocks.

I’ll be representing Element Arrows this year because I had supply issues with my previous build and their pricing is very good. I was actually just working up the Element build via Archer’s Advantage.
I’ll use this build for any big game.

@StraightWayOutdoors
Straight Way Outdoors, Fulcrum Archery, Elite Archery, Upwind Odor Elimination, Wicked Twisted Bowstrings, Sevr Broadheads, Pine Ridge Archery, Bloodline Fibers
 
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