Today’s high-tech, high-speed bows can be a fickle lot when it comes to the arrows they like best. You wouldn’t jack a .270 shell into a .22, so why do that with your bow? Choose the wrong arrow, and the best-case scenario is it won’t hit where you aim. Worst case? A carbon arrow could shatter as it leaves the rest. We’ll give you the most basic knowledge to get you started making a match, but the best advice? Make friends with the folks at your local archery shop who live and breathe this stuff.
What’s your Spine?
On every box of arrows, there is a number that indicates its spine, which is simply the measure of an arrow’s stiffness. Depending on the arrow, it can range from 250-625. The lower the number, the stiffer the arrow. Typically, if you have a longer draw length and shoot more than 60 pounds, you’ll need a stiffer arrow to reduce the amount of ex that occurs in the arrow shaft when you shoot. So why not make all arrows as stiff as can be? Speed is one issue. Stiffer spines typically mean heavier arrows, resulting in reduced feet-per-second (fps). In addition, shaft ex rate is too rapid and affects accuracy. Finding the happy place between arrow weight and stiffness for your particular bow is where the pros at your archery shop excel.
Get the Stats
Just as factory boxes of ammo have impact charts at 100, 200, 300 yards, boxes of arrows have, or should have, an arrow selection chart on it. This is a helpful place to start the tuning process, but you’re going to need to know a few key things: draw weight, arrow length (not draw length), and, if possible, speed (fps). Don’t know these numbers? Take your bow to the archery shop and find out. And don’t wait until August. Once you have the numbers, the real fun begins deciding which arrow you want to shoot.