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.

How to Match Limbs and Risers for Your Takedown Recurve Bow

Takedown recurve bows are favorites among hunters, target archers and backyard archers alike. They break down and pack easily. You can often get different weight limbs for different applications. They’re the Swiss Army knives of recurve bows.

But not all takedown recurve bows are built the same. That is, you need to know what kind you have if you want to get multiple sets of limbs for the different games you play with your bow.

ILF

Arguably the takedown recurve bow with the most options for limbs is an ILF bow. The ILF stands for International Limb Fitting. It’s a uniform attachment system that allows limbs from many manufacturers to be matched with risers from many manufacturers.

ILF riser and limb

As long as you have an ILF-compatible riser, you can use any ILF-style limbs. Hoyt makes a series of ILF-compatible risers and limbs under their Grand Prix name.

On an ILF riser, you will see a limb bolt and a dovetail receiver. ILF limbs will have a U-shaped end that fits under the riser’s limb bolt, and a detent assembly that fits into the dovetail receiver.

FORMULA

Formula limbs and risers look similar to the ILF versions. They are not compatible with each other, however, since the distance is longer between the limb end and the detent on Formula limbs. 

At left is a Formula limb, while at right is an ILF limb.
Notice the difference in distance from the limb bolt to the dovetail between the Formula riser at top, compared to ILF riser below.

BRAND SPECIFIC

There are several manufacturers that make their own risers and limbs, which are only compatible with one another.

The Galaxy Sage, for example, is one of the best-selling takedown recurve bows on the market. It employs a screw-in bolt to connect the limbs to the riser. Only Galaxy Sage limbs will work with Galaxy Sage risers.

Galaxy Sage limb, riser and connection bolt

Cartel is another manufacturer that employs a unique limb-bolt connection system. Only certain Cartel limbs will work with certain Cartel risers.

Manufacturers of takedown bows with unique limb-connection systems will tell you which limbs work with which risers. Stick to their information to be sure you’re getting the right gear.

Know Your Archery Glues

Stick it, for the win!

Archery is a game that requires lots of glue.

We glue points, inserts and nock bushings inside arrow shafts. We glue vanes, feathers and certain nocks onto arrow shafts.

Sometimes you want bonds to be permanent. Sometimes, you want to be able to separate parts later.

To get the right parts to stick the right way, you’ve got to know your archery glues.

CYANOACRYLATES

This is a family of fast-setting gels and liquid glues commonly used for fletchings, point inserts and sometimes nock bushings and nocks.

You’d use a cyanoacrylate for anything you want to stick permanently and quickly. Let’s say you’re putting a point insert into a hunting arrow to receive screw-in field points and broadheads. You’d use a cyanoacrylate because these inserts typically are intended to be permanent.

Attaching fletchings to arrows is a common use for cyanoacrylates because the glue enables the fletchings to stick where you put them very quickly. Pay attention to the type of cyanoacrylate you choose for fletching. Not all work equally well on both plastic vanes and feathers. Likewise, if you’re working with wood arrows, some of these glues work better on wood than others.

HOT MELTS

These glues come in stick form. You apply a flame to the glue to melt it into whatever you want to stick to another surface.

Hot melts are great for products you might remove, such as points and nock bushings. Should the time come, you can heat the point or bushing, which will loosen the glue, and that component can then be easily removed.

Understand, however, that you should never subject carbon to high heat, like an open flame. That will cause the carbon to crack.

Another method for softening hot melt that’s already holding components in place is to use hot water. Let’s say you want to remove a point that’s glued in place inside a carbon arrow. Submerge the arrow end into a pot of hot water for a few seconds, and the glue will soften so you can remove the point with a pair of pliers. (Don’t use your hands or you’ll burn them.)

This is a safe way to remove components from carbon arrows without damaging the carbon.

COLD MELT

Cold melt glues also come in stick form, and are applied by heating them. They require less heat than hot melts to liquify the glue, however.

Cold melts are great for gluing components where you don’t want to use high heat – such as anything being inserted into a carbon arrow shaft. The lower melting temperature required to liquify these glues minimizes the risk of damaging carbon.

They’re great for nock bushings, since these bushings sit so close to arrow shafts. So let’s say you want to remove a bushing. You’ll have to heat it to liquify the glue holding it in place. Since the bushing is so close to the shaft, if it were held in place with hot melt, the amount of heat required to loosen the glue might be enough to damage the carbon, where the lesser amount of heat required to loosen a cold melt would be safer.

EPOXY

Epoxies used for archery purposes usually require a mix of two liquids at the time the glue is applied. Epoxies don’t set up fast, so you have time to work with your products to get them in position, before they stick. Once an epoxy cures, it usually forms one of the hardest bonds you’ll find. Epoxies are great for hidden inserts that can take some time to position correctly inside arrow shafts, and for bow grips.

Mathews VXR Series 2020 Compound Bows Review

Mathews Archery launched the VXR Series bows as its flagship hunting line for 2020.

Watch here as Lancaster Archery Supply’s P.J. Reilly runs through the features and technologies built into these bows, which are the VXR 28 and the VXR 31.

Mathews took a lot of the technology built into its 2019 Vertix line, such as the Switchweight Mods, and put it into the VXR line. The Switchweight Mods allow an archer to change the weight range of a particular bow simply by changing mods. Previously, changing the weight range required changing limbs.

The VXR 28 is sure to be a hit with bowhunters, while the VXR 31 will be a great choice for bowhunters or 3D archers as well.

2020 Bowtech Revolt Series Compound Bows Review

New for 2020, Bowtech introduced its Revolt Series of compound bows. The series includes the Revolt X and the Revolt.

Watch here as Lancaster Archery Supply’s P.J. Reilly reviews the features and technologies built into the 30-inch Revolt and the 33-inch Revolt X.

No question, the most significant feature of these bows is the Deadlock Cam system. This is a feature Bowtech introduced early in 2020 in the Reckoning target bows. It allows the archer to use an Allen key to move the cam left or right while tuning to get perfect arrow alignment.

The Revolt bows mark the first hunting bows by Bowtech to include this new technology.

Hoyt 2020 Alpha Series RX-4 and Axius Compound Bows Review

For 2020, Hoyt has introduced the Alpha Series compound bows, which include the carbon RX-4 and aluminum Axius models.

Watch here as Lancaster Archery Supply TechXpert P.J. Reilly runs through the features and technologies built into these 29.5-inch-long bows.

These are the shortest bows Hoyt has ever offered in their premium line. They are designed with the hardcore hunter in mind, who will use them in ground blinds, tree stands and in the deep backcountry.

Light and maneuverable are the calling cards of these bows.

Prime Black 9 2020 Compound Target Bow

Prime Archery for 2020 launched the Prime Black 9 compound bow, which is built mainly for target archers.

Watch Lancaster Archery Supply TechXpert Dustin Cimato as he walks through the features and technologies built into this 39-inch-long bow.

Arguably, the most noted feature of this bow is the Roto cam, which includes a rotating module for changing draw length. In the past, Prime bows employed draw-length-specific cams, which required changing the cams in order to change draw lengths.

With the Black 9, the draw length can be changed simply by rotating a module.

2020 Prime Archery Black Series Compound Bows Review

For 2020, Prime Archery has introduced its Black Series of compound bows, which has offerings for both bowhunters and target archers.

Watch here, as Lancaster Archery Supply TechXpert Dustin Cimato runs through the features and technologies offered in this series of bows, which includes models that measure 31 inches, 33 inches and 35 inches long.

Arguably the most noted feature of these bows is the rotating module for adjusting draw length. Previously, Prime bows were cam specific, which meant that to change draw lengths, the cam had to be changed.

With the Black Series bows, changing draw length is as simple as rotating a module.

 

2020 Elite Rezult Compound Target Bow Review

Ahead of the 2020 indoor target season, Elite Archery has introduced the Rezult compound target bow.

In this video, watch Lancaster Archery Supply’s P.J. Reilly interview Elite engineer Josh Sidebottom and Elite pro archer Nathan Brooks about the unique features and technologies offered in the Rezult.

The Rezult is a 38-inch-long bow, with the most significant feature being Elite’s all-new S.E.T. technology. With S.E.T. technology, an archer can adjust the limb pocket while tuning to achieve proper arrow launching.

To work in conjunction with this technology, Elite built a beefier, more stable cam and cable system to help reduce cam lean and increase consistency.

With the advancements built into this bow, it seems likely the Rezult will help some of Elite’s top archers climb up on podiums in 2020.

2020 Elite Kure Compound Bow Review

Elite Archery introduced the all-new Kure compound bow as its flagship hunting bow for 2020.

Lancaster Archery Supply’s P.J. Reilly talked to Elite engineer Josh Sidebottom and Elite pro archer Nathan Brooks about the technologies built into this new bow.

An all-new cam powers this bow, with beefier axles and a different configuration – both of which help to eliminate cam lean and provide for more stability at the end of the limb tips.

But the real advancement Elite brought to this bow is S.E.T. Technology. Brooks explains this system allows an archer to adjust the limb pocket while tuning, without needing a bow press.