How to choose arrows for a bow

Shortly after someone purchases a new bow, the conversation quickly turns to choosing the correct arrows. For safety and accuracy considerations, the arrow should be matched to the bow and the intended purpose, be it hunting or target.

Step #1: Determine Your Draw Length

If you do not own a compound bow nor have access to one, you’ll need to follow the draw length calculation method outlined in this article. This approach is surprisingly accurate and very rarely delivers inaccurate results. The alternative is to visit an archery pro-shop in your area and have them measure draw length for you, though I understand this is not possible for everyone.

Step #2: Choose Arrow Length

With older compound bows, choosing the proper length of your arrows was a somewhat complicated process. Thanks to advances in technology and improvements in design, things have become much easier. You simple take your draw length and add 0.5″ up to a maximum 1″ to determine appropriate arrow length. So if your draw length is 28″, you should get arrows with a maximum length of 29″.

arrow length
What this will do is give you an arrow that will be just long enough to clear the front-most part of the arrow shelf. Keep in mind that the length of an arrow is measured from the deepest part of the nock groove, to the end of the shaft. It does not include the length of your field points or broad heads.

Step #3: Minimum Arrow Weight

An important part of choosing the right type of arrow revolves about choosing the right weight.It is tempting to get the lightest possible combination of shaft and point you can tune.However, it is important not to go below the minimum safe weight.If you do, you will, in effect, be ‘dry firing’ your bow and doing serious damage to the limbs.You may even shatter the shaft as you loose. For example, the minimum arrow weight for 40# bow is 280 grain. Below is a chart for Minimum Arrow Weight.Just use heavy (400 or higher grains) arrows and you won’t have any penetration issues.

IBO Minimum Allowable Arrow Weight
For most traditional bows you want an arrow at least 8 or 9 grains per draw weight. Using this formula a 64 lb @ 28″ bow should have at a minimum an arrow weighting between 512 grains and 576 grains. But if you’re drawing to 30 inches then you’re actually pulling about 6 lbs more, or around 70 lbs. With too light an arrow you risk damaging the bow and possibly even injuring yourself.

Step #4: Find your Draw Weight

Draw weight means the “force” required to pull the bow string through a ~28 inch distance.Recurves/longbows are different from compounds in that their peak weight is at full draw length, and the longer your draw length the higher that peak weight will be. Most trad bows have their listed weight measured at a standard 28″ draw. If you draw less than that you will actually have a peak weight lower than what it listed on the bow, and if longer then a higher weight. Generally, a trad bow will increase/decrease about 2~3 pounds for each inch over/under 28″ draw. If your draw length is 26″, then you are probably peaking at about 40 Lbs for the bow marked with 45 Lbs.

Step #5: Different Arrow Type

In our shop, there’s 3 main types arrows, Fiberglass, Wooden, and Carbon.
Different type’s arrow has different draw weight capability.

*Wooden arrow.

Wooden is the traditional material for making arrows. The length of wooden arrows can be customized. Length suggestion: 28″,30″,32″. Wooden arrows are heavier than Carbon arrows, however it can have more momentum. Wooden arrows is best match for Traditional Bow.

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*Fiberglass arrow

The fiberglass arrows is more durable and heavier than wooden arrows.
Fiberglass arrow is usually for practice shooting purpose.

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*Carbon arrow

Carbon fiber is the most popular material for making arrows these years. It’s more durable straighter, and lighter than fiberglass/wooden arrows.

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It’s important to shoot shafts rather than rely on the charts

There’s a lot of chart that tell beginners to how to select arrows on the interenet. Whilst bow weight has a lot to do with the selection, the following considerations also need to be considered – Correct bracing height, nocking point, tiller setting, arrow rest adjustment, centre shot alignment, type and number of strands in your string, the tab you use and not forgetting your shooting technique for example somebody with a good release can sometimes opt for a weaker spined arrow if this is the one that offers a better tunable arrow. The arrow charts will get you 50% of the way but it’s the final 50% is also important.

So there is much more to choosing the proper arrow for you and your purposes than simply matching a couple of numbers on a simple chart.In order to find the most accurate arrow that fit, try and a decent practice is the footstone.

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