Large diameter arrows for indoor target shooting

The indoor target season is officially here. Leagues and tournaments are popping up all over as the cold winter months set in.

If you’ve never shot an indoor league or tournament before, you ought to give it a try. It’s tons of fun, and you’re sure to meet plenty of great people.

In most cases, indoor tournaments or league shoots involve shooting a round of arrows – often 30, 45 or 60 – at bull’s-eye targets from 20 yards away. Everyone involved shoots three or five arrows at a time, and then you go pull them and record your score.

One thing you’ll notice among the compound archers is many of them shoot fat arrows – fatter than any other arrows you’ll see. There’s good reason for that.

Large diameter arrows cover more space on a target, which means you’ve got a greater chance of hitting a higher scoring ring than you would with a skinnier arrow. And in any archery event, all you have to do is touch the line of a higher scoring ring to earn those points.


The difference in size between a typical hunting/recreational arrow, top, and a large diameter target arrow, bottom, is easy to see.

Be sure to check the rules governing the league or tournament you’re shooting in. Some have limits on the size of an arrow’s diameter, and those limits can vary from shoot to shoot.

Events following the rules set by World Archery, for example, limit arrows to no more than 9.3 mm, while National Field Archery Association allows up to 10.7 mm.

Our own Lancaster Archery Classic, held each year in January, follows NFAA rules.

Indoor target arrows can be either carbon or aluminum, and they’re often tipped with heavy points. Some weigh 300 grains, where the most common point used for hunting and recreational arrows weighs 100 grains.


That heavy weight at the front of the arrow is great for consistent accuracy.

And although these points are pretty hefty and round at the shaft end, the nose is often sharply pointed. That helps guide the arrow into existing holes in the target, which hopefully are in the center of the 10 ring.

At the other end, you’re likely to see 3-, 4-, or 5-inch vanes or feathers attached to the shaft in a twisted fashion. That’s called a helical configuration, where the curved fletchings force the arrow to spin, which stabilizes its flight.

There are nocks made to fit directly into the back of some of the large diameter arrows, but many archers use a bushing that slides into the back and accepts a smaller diameter nock.

The smaller nocks are considered to be better for accuracy, and the bushing helps protect the arrow from being damaged by other arrows.

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