There are a lot of things to consider when choosing an arrow for bowhunting. If you’re new to the sport, it can seem like a daunting task. But, to increase your chances of success, you need to find the perfect balance between speed and power without sacrificing accuracy. Here, I’ll cover the importance of choosing a heavier arrow and what to consider when tailoring it to your bow.
The biggest thing to consider when choosing a hunting arrow is the weight. You want to have enough energy to allow for those pass-throughs. When the arrow goes through the animal it creates two blood trails. So, you want to choose heavier arrows because they tend to be better at penetrating large game animals due to the increased mass and kinetic energy. This is especially important for western big game hunting where good penetration can make or break the hunt—you never want to lose a wounded animal.
A heavier arrow also gives you advantages with a wider range of draw weights. Recently, I had to learn to shoot with a mouth tab because of an injury to my wrist. This caused me to reduce the poundage on my bow to 60 pounds and shorten my draw length to 27 inches. Even though I had a lighter setup, I was still able to get a passthrough shot because of the heavier arrow.
Heavier arrows increase accuracy because the weight increases stability. The more weight at the front of the arrow, the more efficiently it will fly and be less affected by the wind. This happens because weight increases inertia, which allows the arrow to travel through the friction of wind. Also, the additional mass helps with stabilization and minimizes any vibrations or wobbling when released from the bow, which helps keep the trajectory precise.
Heavier vs Lighter
Personally, I prefer to err on the side of heavier rather than lighter. Regardless of weight, arrows move at subsonic speeds. So, gaining or losing a few feet per second isn’t as important as increasing the kinetic energy.
Heavier arrows have increased kinetic energy, which means they penetrate targets better than lighter arrows. However, heavier arrows also require more force to shoot accurately. On the other hand, with lighter arrows, you gain greater speed but may sacrifice accuracy and penetration. Ultimately, understanding your own shooting abilities will help you determine the exact weight that is best for you.
Another thing to remember if you are shooting heavier is the stiffness of the arrow. The heavier the draw weight of the bow, the stiffer the arrow should be so that it can handle the force generated by the draw without being too weak or too flexible. Additionally, longer arrows will require more stiffness than shorter ones due to their increased length and surface area that must be flexed during the draw cycle.
The basic concept behind understanding arrow stiffness rating is simple: a stiffer arrow will flex less than a weaker one when shot from a bow. This means that stiffer arrows will fly more consistently than weaker ones. Generally, a higher number indicates a weaker arrow. A lower number indicates a stiffer arrow. It's important to understand these numbers when selecting arrows.
Draw Length and Draw Weight
There is a minimum arrow weight for certain draw lengths and draw weights. If your arrow doesn’t have enough weight, then your bow will essentially simulate a dry fire. Just as shooting without an arrow can damage your bow, so can shooting with too light of an arrow. So, you want to ensure that your arrow meets the minimum required weight for your draw length and draw weight.
Draw length refers to how far back you can pull your bowstring before releasing an arrow. A longer draw length means more power behind the shot. If you have more power behind your shot, then you will need more weight on your arrow.
Draw weight is the resistance you feel when you pull back a bowstring. The higher the weight the more force it takes to pull the string. Draw weight is important because it drives the speed of the arrow—the higher the draw weight, the higher the arrow velocity. Again, your arrow must be heavy enough to handle the power from your bow.
Usually, I shoot a heavier bow poundage setup—30-inch draw with an 80-pound bow. So, I use a heavier arrow that can withstand the power from the bow, while delivering a lethal shot. My entire arrow weight sits at 620 grains, which includes the broadhead— the Day Six Evo 100 grain Broadhead.
Personally, I go with the Day Six arrow. The technical specifications of the Day Six arrows make it stand out from other arrows on the market today. The thick interior wall provides exceptional strength and durability while also allowing for superior accuracy and flight stability. The centric component system, available in aluminum, titanium, and stainless steel helps to ensure optimal performance every time. This combination of features makes the HD Arrow an ideal choice for hunters looking to take down western big game.
There are many things you must consider when selecting an arrow for bowhunting but one of the main things you want to consider is weight. You want an arrow with adequate weight to ensure penetration as well as accuracy. And above all, practice with your setup so you can make precise shots when in the field. That’s the best way to ensure success during your next hunt.
I am going to be changing my setup this season so I will definitely look into these arrows.
Grate info!! I just need to find a bow shop that can help me finetune an arrow set up for me. I bought my bow from “The Bow Rack” in Springfield Oregon. A very good shop so I guess I need to talk to them about it when I’m ready to get new arrows.
With the heavier arrow do you feel it’s tougher the distance you would normally shoot or do you see no difference in what you would normally shoot for an ethical shot for you. I’ve been kicking around this heavier arrow and going to a 4 vane set up for the upcoming season.
Great article, I am going to give the day six arrows and broadheads a try this year on spring bear as a trial before elk season. On my last 2 elk kills, my easton xaxis arrows both broke on an off shoulder ricochet and an exit rib which really surprised me as my previous dozen plus kills did not have any issues.
Thanks Remi! Do you use a collar / insert and why / why not?
I really appreciate all you do. I’ve been listening to your podcast from the beginning as well as reading your articles. I have tried to soak up every bit of info you’ve put out. It payed off on my mule deer hunt last season. I had an unbelievable stalk on a bedded buck to end with a packout of precious meat for my friends and family. I started tinkering with my arrow builds this year and Day Six Arrows are at the top of my list. Thanks again, Cheers.