Arrows – The Series (This time, it’s personal)

Since arrows are extremely important for an archer, I thought I would do a couple of blogs about arrows starting with the various components. I will be focusing on arrows for recurve target archers, since there are a lot of articles about arrows for both compound and traditional archery already. Selecting the correct arrows for your best performance is not simple task. There are tons of things to know and understand and it may require some trial and error. In this first blog we will start with the basic components.

An arrow is comprised of four major components the shaft, the point, the nock and the fletching.

Shaft : The shaft is primary structural component of the arrow and all other components are attached to it. Originally arrows shafts were made from wood however new shafts are made from aluminum, carbon fibre or both.  It is very important to properly match the arrow stiffness (or spine) to the archer for the best groups. Spine, or stiffness of the arrow, references how much or little the shaft bends when compressed through the shot and it typically matched by using the archer’s draw length and the bow poundage.

Fletching : Glued towards the back of the arrow, fletching are the airfoils for the arrows designed to stabilize the arrow in flight. Traditionally made from real feathers, target arrow fletching are now typically either plastic feathers or plastic vanes. Most target arrows have three fletches that are attached with a slight twist to help the arrow spin and stabilize faster in the air.  The quicker and more stabile the arrows is, the more consistent your groups will be.

Point : The point, or arrowhead, is the functional part of the arrow that is inserted and glued to the front end. It provides the weight and is typically made of various types of metal include tungsten.  Target points are usually bullet-shaped and designed to penetrate target butts easily without large amounts of damage.

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Nock : Found at the rear end of the arrow, target nocks are typically made of plastic. They are inserted, capped over or combined with separate medal pins inserts and held in place by friction. Target nocks are designed to gently pinch the bowstring to hold it in place when the bow string is drawn.

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Over the next few blogs we will dive deeper about these components, various discussion concepts like center shot, arrow indexing and numbering your arrows in upcoming posts and help understanding things like spine and Archer’s Paradox.

Remember, this blog is not meant cover everything about arrows. I am still learning and visit my coach regularly to help me develop my understanding about everything archery. I encourage you to share your knowledge and experiences so we can all develop together.

Remember Cartel Doosung offer a wide variety of arrow lines including aluminum and carbon fiber including their new line of Arista arrows for young archers. If you are in the market for some new arrows check my earlier blog about selecting and purchasing arrows.

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Arrows

One of the ongoing costs for archers is arrows, this is especially true for young archers that are still growing, and their draw length is constantly changing. Once an arrow has been cut and sized, you can only make so many adjustments to a clicker before you will outgrow the arrow length and need to purchase new ones.

One of the biggest questions for competition archers is what type of arrows should I use and what will give me the best performance for how much I can afford.

Historically, this was easy since there were only wooden arrows, however nowadays there are real choices, aluminum or carbon fiber.  Aluminum shafts have been  steadily replaced wooden arrows since their introduction in 1939 however in the 1980’s, carbon fiber shafts were developed as the new technology to challenge aluminum shafts.

Which one should you use? There are no easy answers; it is a personal preferences and both have advantages and disadvantages. There are four key areas to examine; durability, flexibility, diameter and price point.

Durability

Aluminum arrows can be bent easily as they collide with obstructions, other arrows and the target itself. Sometimes, bends can be repaired however; the shaft is weakened and more likely to bend again in the same spot.

Carbon fiber arrows remain straight as the day you buy them until they break. If a carbon fiber is damaged it can be extremely dangerous to shoot with and will need to be replace immediately.

As far as durability is concerned, carbon fiber arrows have the biggest advantage.

Flexibility

Aluminum Arrows are more likely to sustain damage from impact because the shafts are rigid.

Carbon arrows resist damage because they are more flexible. They easily adsorb the energy vibrations transferred during impact of the target.

For consistently accurate competition archers, carbon fiber arrows have the advantage. For beginners this is not a real factor.

Diameter

The diameter of an arrow is very important for shooting outside. The larger the arrow the greater the wind effects the arrow, this is called wind drift. Younger archers with shorter draw length can achieve greater distances be more accurate with thinner arrows.  Although aluminum arrows traditionally have a wide range of sizes available thinner diameters can be achieved with carbon fiber because they are lighter.

In my opinion, this is a draw and it depends on the archers requirements.

Price Point

Obviously, this is the most important factor for a young archer, since it depends on your budget. Aluminum arrows are usually more inexpensive and therefore more widely used by young archers. However, the cost of carbon fiber arrows are dropping, such as the new Cartel Triple Arrows which are often compared to Easton’s A/C/E’s in quality however are more affordable.

If you are interested in purchasing arrows, you need to select the appropriate arrows for your draw length and bow poundage. Having arrows that are too rigid or too flexible will yield inconsistent and unexpected results.

Most manufacturers provide a chart to help archers select the correct arrows. For target archers you need to consider the poundage you actually draw and not just the overall limbs poundage. For Cartel Triples (Carbon Fiber) or Cartel X-pert (Aluminum) arrows check out the following selection chart for recommended Cartel Triple and Cartel X-PERT size selections.

Cartel Recurve Arrow Selection Chart

Top number = Cartel Triple & bottom number = Cartel X-pert

Draw 

Weight

Draw Length

23″

24″

25″ 26″ 27″ 28″ 29″ 30″ 31″
23-29 1200 1100 1100 1100
1040
1000
980
900
900
800
820
700
740
600
30-35 1200 1100 1100
1040
1000
980
900
900
800
820
700
740
600
660
500
580
35-40 1200 1100
1040
1000
980
900
900
800
820
700
740
600
660
500
580
400
520
40-45 1000
1040
1000
980
900
900
800
820
700
740
600
660
500
580
400
520
400
45-50 1000
980
900
900
800
820
700
740
600
660
500
580
400
520
400 300
50-55 900
900
800
820
700
740
600
660
500
580
500
520
400 300 300
55-60 800
820
700
740
600
660
600
580
500
520
500 400 300 300