Basic Guide to Buying Hunting Arrows

It can be daunting looking through a stockpile of arrows in a store or online to figure out which ones to buy for your first hunting arrows.

Don’t get discouraged or feel overwhelmed. The path to finding the right arrows for you is simple.

If you’re feeling uncomfortable with the task, find an archery pro shop near you and they will walk you through the process.

But if you want to take a crack at it on your own, start by determining if you are looking for arrows for a traditional bow or a compound bow. Modern arrows for the two really aren’t that different from one another in construction, but if you’re shooting a traditional bow, you’re probably going to want arrows fletched with feathers, rather than vanes. And vice versa for compound bow shooters.

Plastic vanes are weatherproof and more durable than feathers, but the feathers will fold up as they slide across the shelf of a recurve or longbow. Vanes are not so forgiving.

The most critical factor in choosing the correct arrow for your bow setup is spine. An arrow’s spine determines how much it flexes. You want one that flexes some, but not too much.

Correct arrow spine is determined by considering arrow length, point weight and peak draw weight of your bow. Don’t worry. You don’t have to do any calculations to determine correct arrow spine. Arrow manufacturers have that covered.

Be sure to choose the right spine for your setup

Every manufacturer will have an arrow spine chart that recommends various spines according to those three variables.

For example, Gold Tip recommends a 400 spine for an arrow that’s 27 inches long, fitted with a 100-grain point and is shot from a bow with a peak draw weight of 50-54 pounds. Cut that arrow to 26 inches, and the spine recommendation changes to 500.

How long should your arrow be? That’s an easy determination for compound bow shooters, whose bows have a defined draw length.

Put a full length, uncut arrow on your bow and draw it back. At full draw, mark the arrow for cutting anywhere you want in front of the rest.

If you plan to use a big fixed-blade broadhead, you might want to mark the shaft for cutting at the point where the arrow meets the front of the riser. That way, the broadhead will always stick out in front of the bow, eliminating any clearance issues that could be created by drawing it inside the shelf area.

At an archery pro shop, technicians will cut your arrows to the proper length and install arrow components.

But that’s all personal preference. What’s most important is that the arrow be long enough to stay on the rest at full draw.

With traditional bows, determining correct arrow length is a bit trickier because these bows don’t have a set draw length. There is no back wall beyond which you can draw the bow no further.

It’s best to be generous when you cut a traditional arrow. Leave plenty of room for inconsistencies in your draw length.

At an archery pro shop, technicians will help you determine the correct length for your arrows, cut them to that length and install the point inserts. That’s another advantage of buying from a pro shop.

Aside from specialty wood arrows that are for traditional archery only, hunting arrows essentially fall into three main construction categories – carbon, aluminum or carbon/aluminum combo.

Carbon arrows are the lightest and most indestructible of the three, and they’re primarily what you will see offered as bowhunting arrows.

Aluminum arrows were the standard before carbon came on the scene, and so many bowhunters choose them for nostalgic reasons. The are prone to bending.

The carbon/aluminum combo arrows generally are preferred for the extra punch they pack, since they feature a core of one material wrapped around a shell of the other.

A relatively new trend in the hunting-arrow market is having a variety of arrow diameters to choose from. Diameters among hunting arrows were much more uniform 20 years ago. Now, there are arrows with 4mm diameters, 5mm and 6.5 mm, among others.

Skinny or fat? What’s right for you?

Think of the 6.5mm carbon arrows as “standard.” You’ll find lots of arrows by lots of manufacturers that are about that measurement in diameter. These arrows will perform well from most bows under most conditions.

Arrow diameters – 4mm at top, 5mm in middle and 6.5mm at bottom

Consider 5mm or 4mm when you’re looking for a performance boost. These skinnier arrows are going to be more resistant to wind drift, so they might be a good choice for long-range Western hunters.

They’re also going to offer better penetration into game animals. So maybe an archer with a short draw length – 24-26 inches – or who is drawing lighter weight – 40-50 pounds – would do well with them. The thin diameter can offset some of the penetration problems caused by short draw lengths and/or lower draw weights.

Choosing the correct hunting arrow is critical to your hunting success. But finding that arrow is a simple task once you know what you’re looking for.

Every home archery shop needs a draw board

More and more archers and bowhunters today are learning to work on their own equipment and acquiring the specialty tools needed to do that.

As you’re growing your home archery shop, one piece of equipment that’s a must-have is a draw board. It might seem extraneous at first, but the deeper you dive into archery tech work, the more you’ll appreciate having one.

What is a draw board?

It’s a tool that allows you to attach your compound bow and then draw back the string using a crank. So you can have your own bow locked in at full or half draw right in front of you, without anyone holding it – including you. That’s going to spare your muscles and joints from unnecessary wear and tear.

There are a couple different kinds of draw boards. We make and sell a popular one here at Lancaster Archery Supply.

It’s a long aluminum “board” with a post on one end and a hand-cranked winch on. the other. A sticker on the face of the board has incremental measurements printed on it.

LAS Pro Shop Draw Board

The LAS draw board is intended to be attached to a table.

Another popular style of draw board is one that attaches to a bow press. These types don’t actually include a “board” as part of their construction.

Draw board mounted to bow press

You attach a receiver arm that holds the bow to one end of a bow press and the winch to the other end.

To imitate your own draw as closely as possible, the winch straps for all draw boards include a hook that attaches to your D-loop. That hook is like your release.

For safety though, it’s always best to add a safety loop, just in case your D-loop fails. A safety loop can be just as simple as a tied circle of D-loop material that connects to your winch hook and wraps around the bowstring.

Use an extra length of D-loop material as a safety

It should connect loose in that configuration so your hook pulls on the actual D-loop. The safety loop would only come into play if the D-loop fails to prevent dry-firing your bow.

What would you use a draw board for?

There are several tasks it can help you with, but arguably the most important is to check cam timing.

Making sure your cams roll over evenly and the draw stops hit the cables or limbs at the same time is critical to tuning your bow. Cams that aren’t timed properly will cause arrows to porpoise when shot.

This draw stop is short of the cable

With a draw board, you can crank back the string and closely inspect that cam timing to see if adjustments are needed.

You can also attach a bow scale to the winch hook so you can measure your bow’s peak draw and holding weights using the draw board.

It’s a great tool for checking draw length. Target archers often want their draw lengths to be very specific measurements to fractions of an inch. The draw board allows you to check that yourself, with your bow at full draw.

Other popular uses of draw boards include inspecting cam lean, setting the timing for drop away arrow rests, setting peep height relative to an arrow at full draw and watching peep rotation.

The draw board is definitely a handy tool with multiple uses that you’ll want to consider for your home bow shop.

Why an integrate arrow rest is best

It was 2018 when Mathews machined a dovetail mount into the risers of its bows and introduced the world to the integrate-style arrow rests.

Starting with its 2020 line, Hoyt became the second bow manufacturer to offer this unique rest-mounting feature on its bows.

PSE added it to its flagship bows in 2021.

Is it possible more bow manufacturers will jump on board the integrate train going forward?

It might be a good idea, when you consider the benefits integrate rests offer over traditionally-mounted rests.

“The simplicity of the dovetail mount and the increased security it offers are two really big benefits,” said John Scovil, a design engineer with Mathews.

For years, arrow rests have been mounted to compound bows via a bolt that threads through an arm on the rest and into the backside of the riser, just above the shelf. The threaded hole on the bow that receives the bolt is called the Berger hole.

Standard mount QAD HDX with arm and bolt

It’s a pretty secure connection point. But it relies on a single point of compression to hold the rest in place, and the possibility exists that something striking the rest could move it up or down if the compression isn’t tight enough.

“The mounting block and bolt method works, but the Integrate mounting system is a much better method,” said Kevin Fry, vice president of Quality Archery Designs (QAD) which created the integrate rests.

Integrate rest needs no arm and bolt

Some bows have two Berger holes side by side to allow rests to be connected by two bolts, which eliminates the possibility of the rest moving.

But that setup adds the weight of a second bolt, and, according to Scovil, it can affect the stability of the bow.

“If you’re adding a second hole to the riser in that location, it can weaken the riser,” he said.

Integrate rests attach to the dovetail mount via claws that clamp onto the dovetail rails. Just attaching an integrate rests eliminates one of the leading headaches of attaching a Berger hole rest. As you tighten that bolt, often times, the rest wants to move in the direction you are tightening the bolt, forcing you to pull down on the rest to keep it level.

The integrate rest is slim as it clamps the dovetail machined into the riser

When you tighten the claws on an integrate rest, the rest automatically levels itself as the claws lock into place.

According to Fry, when the rest is attached to a dovetail on the back of the riser, QAD is able to slim down the rest considerably. Fewer parts are needed, since the arm and side bolt are eliminated, and less left-right movement is needed since the rest body is in the middle of the riser, rather than outside.

“Eliminating all these parts and weight allowed us to design a rest for this system that has more features packed into it than any other rest – including the most precision click micro adjustments – and still be the lightest, sleekest-looking rest on the market,” he said.

Additionally, by eliminating rest parts sitting on the wide of the bow, Brian Gold, assistant product engineering manager for Hoyt, sees potential for quivers to be mounted closer to the riser.

“We can slim down bow accessories, now that we don’t have to work around the rest,” he said.

Because of all the weight cuts associated with an integrate, QAD was able to make an integrate drop-away rest with aluminum containment arms, rather than the less durable plastic arms, and still offer a rest that weighs less than competitors’ rests.

True enough, the weight cuts we’re talking about are measured in ounces or fractions of ounces. But to the weight-conscious bowhunter looking for the lightest rig possible, every little bit helps.

And so the question is: Will the dovetail integrate mount become the new standard for arrow rest connection on compound bows?

Fry thinks so.

“As of now, Mathews has had it on their bows for three years, Hoyt for two years and PSE launched with it this year,” he said.

“As you can see, it continues to gain momentum, and to answer your question – yes, there will be more bows launching with the system. There are more companies in the works as we speak for their future bows.

“This is the new standard and most likely you will eventually see this on all bows. You will also begin to see this technology used on other accessories as well. It’s because it is a better system and is what the industry is changing to.”

Gold expects to see some Hoyts continue to offer only the Berger-hole mount option in order to keep costs down, but flagship bows – hunting and target – are certain to have the dovetail mount going forward.

“We see it as a high-end feature, and archers are going to want to have that option available,” he said.

Top 3 Kids’ Bow and Arrow Sets to Give as Gifts

Looking for the perfect kids’ archery set to give as a gift to that special young archer in your life? We’ve got you covered, whether you’re looking for a compound or recurve bow for a beginner or someone with a little experience.

Bear Titan Youth Recurve Set

Bear Titan Kids' Bow Kit
For an archery beginner, this is a great first bow set at an affordable price that has nearly everything your archer will need to shoot. Recommended for kids age 12 and up, the kit comes with a 60-inch bow intended for draw lengths of 22-28 inches and draw weights of 20-29 pounds, depending on how far the bow is drawn. The bow can be shot either right- or left-handed. You’ll also get a sight pin, two arrows, a quiver, an armguard and a finger tab.

DIAMOND INFINITE EDGE PRO WITH R.A.K.

Diamond Infinite Edge Kids' Bow Kit
Here’s a compound bow setup that is perfect for beginners or advanced archers. And it’s suitable for slinging arrows in the backyard, on the target range or while bowhunting in the woods. Best of all, the bow is one your archer can grow with. It’s a 31-inch bow, with an adjustable draw length from 13-31 inches and adjustable draw weight from 5-70 pounds. With those specifications, the bow can be adjusted to take an archer from pre-teen through adulthood. And it will perform for a beginner or an advanced archer. Besides the bow, the R.A.K. set also includes a 3-pin sight, peep sight, a full-containment arrow rest, a five-arrow quiver and a wrist sling. All you need to start shooting are arrows a mechanical release and a target.

GALAXY BULLSEYE 54 RECREATIONAL RECURVE BOW PACKAGE

Galaxy Bullseye Kids' Bow Kit
Let’s say you want to establish a program focused on archery for kids. You need equipment that doesn’t cost a fortune, yet can take a beating. This is the perfect kids’ archery set for that scenario. Available in right or left hand, the 54-inch Galaxy Bullseye recurve bow is ideal for kids age 7-12. You can choose between limbs that pull 15 or 20 pounds. In addition to the bow, the set comes with an arrow rest, single-pin bow sight, armguard, rubber finger savers for protection while drawing the string, three arrows, a quiver a bow stringer, two target faces and a bow case. Each of the youth bow packages listed above will be great options for the youth archer in your life. Didn’t find these youth bow kits fitting for the archer in your life? Check out our full selection of kids’ bow kits here.

Scope Size: What’s right for me?

A quick look through Lancaster Archery Supply’s lineup of 3-D and target scope offerings for compound bows shows scopes measuring 29, 30, 35, 39 and 41 mm, among some other sizes.

Recognizing there are different sizes of scope housings available begs the obvious question, “Which size is right for me?”

And the answer is, “That depends on what you want to see.”

Scopes and lenses are married to provide a certain view of the target. Some archers like to really zero in on the arrow’s exact point of impact, while others prefer a more distant view, so they can relax while aiming.

The smaller the scope housing, the smaller your field of view. That field shrinks even further the more you magnify it with a lens.

So let’s say you are shooting at a typical Vegas 3-spot target face for an 18-meter, indoor shoot. A small scope housing will enable you to really focus on each individual spot, while minimizing your view of everything surrounding each spot.

X-Spot 29mm scope

Some archers find it distracting to see much surrounding the intended aiming point. So maybe you start with a 29mm scope housing and then choose a magnifying lens that blows up the target enough to all but completely fill your view of it through the scope when you’re at full draw.

On the other hand, some archers feel “claustrophobic” when they can’t see anything but the target face in their scope. They like a little extra room around the bull’s-eye, which allows them to settle down and hold the bow steadier. So maybe a 35mm scope is a better choice for that archer.

Bowfinger 20/20 35mm scope

Moving outdoors, you’ll have to address the same issues for field archery, 50-meter rounds and other bull’s-eye target rounds. How much area around the target do you want to see? Find a scope and magnifying lens to create that view.

For 3-D, the larger scopes dominate because most archers want to see the whole target in the scope. And those targets might range from a tiny skunk to a life-size bull elk. Being able to see the whole target allows you to find reference spots to aim when scoring rings are not readily visible. Also, for those archers who shoot unknown distance, seeing the whole target allows them to better judge the distance to it. As a result, many archers choose the 40- and 41-mm scopes for their 3-D setups.

Shrewd Nomad 42mm scope

Lighting is another factor to consider for an outdoor scope. The smaller the scope, the less light will get through it to your eye. In an open field, that’s probably not a problem. But if you’re going to be shooting in the woods with a dense canopy, then going with a bigger scope to allow more light in might be the best choice.

Buying Guide to Fletching Jigs

The fletching jig is one of the best tools an archer can own for do-it-yourself arrow building and repair. Whether you shoot recurve, compound or crossbow, with arrows steered by feathers or plastic fletchings, there’s a fletching jig for you.

But they don’t all do the same things. And if you like lots of variety with your fletchings, it’s important you find the jig that can do what you want.

Bitzenburger fletching jig

Here are the factors you’ll want to consider when you are buying your fletching jig.

FLETCHING TYPE

Fletchings are either plastic vanes or real or synthetic feathers. Some fletching jigs can handle both types. Some can only handle one or the other. Make sure the jig you want can handle the fletchings you plan to use.

The Last Chance Archery Vane Master Pro is designed for use primarily with plastic vanes

For the tape-on, curly vanes commonly used by Olympic recurve archers, there are a few special jigs designed just for these vanes. More commonly, archers use a fletching tool – such as the Beiter Tri Liner – which allows them to mark their shafts with a pen to evenly space the fletchings, which are then applied by hand.

Beiter Tri Liner

FLETCHING LENGTHS

There are a wide variety of fletching lengths, ranging from just over one inch to just under six inches. Most fletchings will be in the two- to four-inch range, and so basically all fletching jigs will be capable of handling fletchings of those sizes. But if you plan to use the longest or shortest fletchings, you will need to make sure the jig you want can handle those.

FLETCHING POSITION

With some jigs, the distance from the nock to the fletching is fixed and cannot be changed. But maybe you want to experiment with moving that fletching either closer to or farther away from the nock to combat issues like face-fletching contact. Or maybe you like your target-arrow fletchings closer to the nock than your hunting-arrow fletchings.

If you want to be able to change the distance between the nock and the fletching, you will need a jig that allows for such adjustments.

SHAFT SIZE

Arrow shafts run from outside diameters of .176-.422 inches. Some fletching jigs can handle that full range of shaft sizes. Some can’t. Others can, but require additional parts. Know what shaft sizes you will be working with and then make sure the jig you’re looking for can handle those sizes.

This Easton EZ Fletch Tool is designed for larger diameter arrows

CROSSBOW BOLTS

Most crossbow bolts use nocks that are different from traditional nocks with two ears. Most fletching jigs are designed with receivers that hold the two-eared nocks. If you’re working on bolts that don’t have the two-eared nocks, then you need a fletching jig that can handle bolts like yours. With some jigs, you might simply need a special nock adapter that’s sold separately to work with crossbow bolts.

Special crossbow bolt nock receiver for the Grayling fletching jig

OFFSET, HELICAL, STRAIGHT

Here’s where you can get creative with DIY fletching. Offset, helical and straight represent the positioning of fletchings on an arrow shaft. Both promote spin.

Offset fletchings sit straight on the shaft, but the point end of the vane or feather will be to the right of the nock end for right offset, or left of the left nock end for left offset.

Helical fletchings curve around the shaft, and are also set with a right or left offset.

If you set your fletchings without any offset or helical, then they are simply considered to be straight.

This clamp sets fletchings at a right helical position using the Bitzenburger jig

Some jigs let you adjust between straight and left and right offset and helical positions. Some are fixed, and only offer one position. Others might only allow you to switch between a limited number of positions, or require you to buy different parts to achieve different positions.

If you like to experiment with different fletching configurations to figure out what works best for different bow setups, then you’ll want a jig that offers that flexibility. If you like to keep things simple, then a fixed-position jig will probably work for you.

THREE FLETCH, FOUR FLETCH

Evenly spacing fletchings around an arrow shaft is one of the duties of the fletching jig. Every fletching jig will allow you to evenly space three fletchings on a shaft. Some will also allow you to evenly space four fletchings, but that might require the purchase of an additional part. Others will have no capacity for a four-fletching configuration.

If you want to be able to put three or four fletchings on your arrows, make sure the jig you’re looking for can handle both.

How to Choose the Right Recurve/Longbow String

Getting the right size string for your recurve or longbow is critical to getting the best performance out of that bow.

To do so, you’ve got to get a string that’s the correct length for your bow, and has the correct number of strands.

LENGTH

When figuring out the correct length for your bowstring, you’re likely to come across the acronym “AMO.” This stands for Archery Manufacturers and Merchants Organization, and it represents a uniform system of measurement for recurve and longbow bowstrings.

Let’s say you have a 68-inch recurve bow. You might think, “Well, I need a 68-inch string.” What you need is a 68-inch AMO string, which will actually measure 64 to 65.25 inches long depending on the bow and the string material. 

According to AMO standards, the correct bowstring length for a particular bow is three inches shorter than the stated bow length. That is a good rule of thumb, but it’s not guaranteed to be optimal in every case.  The latest modern materials (such as BCY DF 97 or 8125 Dyneema) and string-building methods give us bowstrings that do not stretch nearly as much as Dacron B-50 or Flemish bundle-made bow strings. 

Dacron bow strings can measure up to one inch shorter untaught then they would under 100 pounds of tension, while a new material, such as BCY DF 97 or 8125, may only vary by a quarter-inch. 

Using the correct string length allows you to achieve the correct brace height to ensure quietness and maximum performance for that bow once it’s strung.

Brace height can be easily adjusted by increasing or decreasing the number of twists over a wide range in your bowstring.  For example, on a string for a 68-inch bow, anywhere from 20-60 twists will produce world-class results in order to get your bow’s brace height correct.

Usually, the bow will have its length measurement printed somewhere on it. But what if you have a bow that doesn’t indicate its length anywhere? You can measure it for yourself.

Set the unstrung bow on its side on a flat surface. Now measure a longbow from string groove to string groove on the belly (grip facing you) side of the bow. For recurves, your groove-to-groove measurement should follow the curvature of the top limb, run straight over the riser, and follow the curvature of the bottom limb.

That measurement is the length of your bow, and the string you put on it should have an AMO measurement to match it. Again, a 68-inch bow gets a 68-inch AMO string.

By understanding this standard, you can then match a string that doesn’t have an AMO designation with the proper bow. If a string measures 65 inches long, then you know it should be used on a 68-inch bow.

STRAND COUNT

A bowstring is a collection of individual fiber strands bound together by serving. Generally, you’ll find recurve and longbow bowstrings with anywhere from 10-20 strands. The number of strands needed in a bowstring depends on the draw weight of the bow.

Modern bowstrings for recurves and longbows are generally made from one of two types of material – Dacron(Polyester) or Dyneema/Spectra (HMPE- High Molecular Polyethylene). 

If your bow was made prior to 1990, only use a Dacron bowstring to avoid damage.  Dacron is more forgiving on limb tips and string grooves as it elongates, or gives a bit, on each shot. Dyneema or Fastflight/Spectra bowstrings offer very little creep/stretch and higher arrow speeds on newer bows.

Dyneema materials such as BCY’s DF 97 and 8125 offer even less creep than Fastflight strings made of Spectra material. 

Bowstrings made of Vectran or Vectran/Dyneema blend are rarely used on recurves and longbows due to the harshness created by zero creep or stretch. 

The number of strands required for your bowstring can vary depending on string material and serving thread.  Be careful to check your arrow’s nock fit onto the center serving. It should lightly click onto the string, but not require more than a tap on the bowstring to dislodge.

Here’s the strand guide our recurve and longbow experts at Lancaster Archery follow:

For bows with draw weights from 10-30 pounds, use Dacron strings with 10-12 strands or Dyneema/Fastflight strings with 12-14 strands.

For bows with draw weights from 30-40 pounds, use Dacron strings with 14 strands or Dyneema/Fastflight strings with 16 strands.

For bows with draw weights over 40 pounds, use Dacron strings with 16 strands or Dyneema/Fastflight strings with 18-20 strands.

Finding the “perfect” bow string for your bow can make a huge difference with accuracy, quietness and performance.  The most important factors are brace height and proper nock fit on the serving.

Easton Arrows: Built for Precision, Made in the USA

Since 1922, Easton Archery has been designing, testing, building, selling and shipping arrows.

All from within the United States of America.

“When you can engineer something, build it and then test it all in the same place, that’s when you are able to build the best products possible,” said Gary Cornum Easton’s director of marketing.

There is no disconnect between the engineers and the manufacturing, so, if problems arise, they can be identified quickly and improvements can be made on the spot.

The 300 American workers Easton employs in its various divisions, and at Delta McKenzie, are part of the American machine that keeps Easton and the country focused on success.

“In this day and age, there’s a lot of interest from consumers in buying American made products,” Cornum said. “We’ve been doing that for almost 100 years.”

Take Easton’s revolutionary Acu-Carbon process, for example. It epitomizes what happens when an American company employs American workers to build products in the U.S.

Nearly all of Easton’s carbon arrows are made with the Acu-Carbon process, in which carbon is applied continuously to a single mandril, without any seam. When the carbon shaft reaches a certain length, it is cut to produce a single arrow shaft.

By using the continuous, seamless process on a single mandril – and by doing all of its engineering, testing and building with American workers at American facilities – Easton can produce the most consistent arrows on the market.

“Whether it’s arrow number one or number 10,000, you know it’s going to weigh the same and have the same spine consistency,” Cornum said.

The crisscross weave is Easton’s new signature look for its Acu-Carbon arrows, like these 6.5mm Matrix, so customers can see the continuous weave used to make them.

That consistency is critical for several reasons. Archery demands consistency. The archer has to do everything exactly the same from shot to shot to produce consistent results. If the archer’s arrows vary in spine and weight from one arrow to the next, consistent performance is nearly impossible, regardless of the archer’s actions.

Also, let’s say an archer has one dozen Easton 5mm Axis that he’s been shooting for a year or so. A couple get lost or broken, and now it’s time to buy another dozen. That archer knows the next dozen Easton 5mm Axis he buys will precisely match the ones he’s replacing because of the consistency of the building process. So there’s no issue putting the new dozen arrows into his quiver along with the few he has left from his original dozen.

“If there’s a bowhunter out there shooting Easton Axis arrows, and they’re wondering where they came from, they can know that their arrows were made right here in Salt Lake City,” Cornum said.

(Easton makes aluminum arrows in Salt Lake City too. Check out the video below.)

To shop Lancaster Archery’s full slate of Easton gear, click here.

Customizing your bow grip

“Man, I love this bow, but I just can’t get comfortable with this grip!”

Ever found yourself in this situation?

You’re not alone. And no, you don’t just “have to get used to it.”

If you find a bow that you like, but it’s got a grip that doesn’t suit you, there are lots of potential fixes on the market for both compound and recurve bows.

REMOVE THE GRIP

Perhaps the simplest fix is to remove the grip and shoot off the bare riser. This is going to be more for compound archers than recurve, but it’s a simple move that many target archers do when a grip doesn’t feel right.

Often times, the riser underneath a grip is flat and smooth and has a nice angle that fits how you like to position your wrist. Understand that when you remove a grip, you’re going to extend your draw length a bit.

AFTERMARKET GRIPS

There are many companies that make grips for different bows. Usually, these aftermarket grips are made to correct common complaints archers have about the stock grip on a particular bow. Too wide, too thin, too much angle, not enough angle, soft edge, hard edge. These are all issues that aftermarket grip manufacturers try to alleviate with their grips, and they might have just what you’re looking to put on your bow.

You will find many of these grips offered in low, medium and high varieties. These refer to the wrist position, with a low grip requiring the most bend in your wrist and the high grip requiring the least bend. The medium, is in between the two. Viewed from the side, a low grip will be the most vertical, while the high grip will have the greatest angle away from vertical, and the medium will be in the middle.

If you want a grip that fits your hand specifically, there are manufacturers who will make custom grips. These are popular among Olympic recurve and barebow recurve archers.

TAPE

Sometimes a grip issue can be fixed simply with grip tape. The most common tape is similar to what you’d find wrapped around a tennis racket or the handle of a baseball bat. It’s soft, warm and keeps your hand from sliding. Grip tape is what many archers put on their bows after they remove a grip to shoot off the riser.

Another common tape is traction tape, which has a gritty feel, kind of like sandpaper. This tape usually comes in strips, so you can put a single strip on the face of a grip, where your hand sits. It’s great for keeping your hand from sliding when it’s wet or hot and humid, but without the bulk that can be added by using the wrap-around grip tape mentioned previously.

MOLDABLE PRODUCTS

One way to customize any grip you have is to use moldable putty, rubber or glue. You can add this material to your grip to build it up in specific areas to fit your hand. Usually, the material is pliable when you apply it, then cures into the shape you want after some period.

For a full list of products that can help you get the grip you want, click here.

How to build heavy hunting arrows

Heavy hunting arrows are wildly popular these days.

Whether you want just an overall heavy arrow or you want to add weight specifically to the front of the arrow to boost an arrow’s FOC, there are products that can help achieve your goals.

Let’s start with heavy arrows. Arrow weights vary wildly across manufacturers and individual shafts, but, generally, the typical weight for today’s hunting arrows is between 7 and 9 grains per inch, depending on the spine.

Once you get to 10 grains per inch and over, now you’re talking about some serious heavyweights. Easton’s 5mm FMJ arrow shaft in a 340 spine weighs 11.3 grains per inch, for example.

A 30-inch bare shaft would weigh 339 grains. By the time you add an insert, vanes and a broadhead, you could easily have an arrow weighing more than 500 grains.

Whatever you do, don’t simply increase the spine of the arrow you’re shooting in order to get a heavier arrow. That same Easton 5mm FMJ weighs 10.2 grains per inch in a 400 spine. If a 400-spine arrow is what your setup calls for, don’t choose the 340 simply to get more weight.

Stick to the spine recommendations for your draw weight and arrow length, since that will give you the best performance.

Now let’s take that heavy hunting arrow and add on a heavy broadhead. The 100-grain broadhead is considered standard, so maybe you increase to a 125-grain head, or maybe even 150 or 175. The Northern Broadheads Wide Cuts weighs in at a whopping 175 grains.

Northern Broadheads Wide Cuts 175-grain

But before you install that heavy broadhead into your heavy arrow, let’s swap out the standard aluminum insert that comes with your arrows for a brass one. Gold Tip’s standard, Accu-lite threaded insert for its .246 diameter arrows weighs 11.4 grains. But Gold Tip also makes a brass insert for its .246 arrows that weighs 100 grains. Simply swapping inserts boosts your arrow weight by 88.6 grains.

Gold Tip .246 Brass Insert

Black Eagle offers a stainless steel insert weighing 28 grains for its Spartan arrows to which you can add brass weights that weigh 30 or 75 grains. Those weights are the same diameter as the insert, and they have a threaded post which screws into the back of the insert. And they’re made so you can stack them, one behind the other.

Black Eagle Spartan 30-grain Brass Insert Weight

Other arrow and component manufacturers offer a variety of heavy inserts and insert weights to add weight to the front end of your arrows to boost the FOC. That stands for “front of center,” and it refers to the percentage of arrow weight that’s at the front end of the arrow.

Boosting an arrow’s FOC can help it stabilize in flight and to punch through hide, bone and tissue.

Understand, however, that when you increase the weight up front, you weaken the arrow’s spine. Most manufacturer spine charts make spine recommendations based on 100-grain points. If you use a 175-grain head with a 100-grain insert, you will want to go with a stiffer arrow.

So let’s take that 30-inch, 340-spine Easton FMJ that weighs 339 grains for the bare shaft. We will add Easton’s 75-grain stainless steel insert, and then screw in a 175-grain Northern Wide Cut. Before fletchings, we’ve got an arrow that weighs 589 grains and has an FOC of about 20 percent.

That’s a heavy arrow.

Lancaster Archery Supply has a full line of hunting arrows you can look through to compare weights and find the one that’s as heavy as you want it to be. We’ve also got a full line of arrow components that you can look through to find the inserts and points that will work for your arrow build.