[Updated on 1 June 2020] Depending on your bow setup, and whether you compete in 300 or 3-D tournaments or just hunt for whitetails in the Back Forty, finding the arrow that is right for you can be a daunting task. This arrows buyer’s guide will help you understand the differences between the main types of arrows and the fletching that go along with them.
Table of Contents
Aluminum is the most popular arrow shaft material since the 1970s and still the most commonly used material today.
● Inexpensive production.
● Strong constructional integrity.
● Can reboundRebounding from minor bending.
● Weather and humidity resistance.
● Extreme straightness.
Early carbon shafts were lightweight and pultruded with an extremely small diameter. These shafts did produce a lighter arrow but were prone to splitting upon impact and difficult to tune. However, these shafts have changed considerably. Nowadays, shafts are either weaved or wrapped, making them stronger and less prone to splitting than earlier versions.
● Speed factor.
● Lighter in weight, archers are able to gain many feet per second.
● Extremely durable.
● Straight, and capable of transferring energy well.
● Lower price.
While not nearly as common as either aluminum or carbon alone, aluminum/carbon hybrids offer a unique arrow shaft design and have become extremely popular among archers in recent years. Aluminum/carbon hybrids are typically constructed using a small-diameter, lightweight aluminum shaft, covered with a wrapped carbon outer layer. However, with the introduction of the Easton Full Metal Jacket, the construction has been turned inside out, literally.
● For their stiffness, they are very lightweight.
● Efficiently absorb and transfer energy.
● Penetrates well due to their relatively small diameter.
● Very straight and are durable.
● Easy arrow removal from targets.
Wood shafts have been around the longest. Today the vast majority of wood arrows are primarily used by recurve and longbow shooters Traditionally, wood shafts were most commonly made from Port Orford cedar, which is still the most desired material used today.
● Reasonably accurate.
● Heavy enough to penetrate well even the largest big-game animals.
● Reasonably durable.
● It can bend and take a set.
● They can also warp when subjected to temperature and/or moisture extremes.
● They can split upon firing when used with modern, high-velocity compound bows.
Plastic vanes are the most common fletching material. Vanes are also available in a plethora of lengths and styles to suit any need from ultrasmall target styles to high-profile, long, hunting versions.
● Unaffected by moisture.
● Resilient to bending and crumbling.
● Effectively stabilize a wide range of arrows.
● Slightly heavier.
● Does not offer as much wind resistance as feathers.
● Less forgiving when obstructions are hit.
While this type of fletch is the oldest, it is still commonly used today and considered a favorite for traditional archers.
● Faster than vanes during flight and provide the most “drag” or stabilization for an arrow for a given size of fletch.
● Feathers are more forgiving when an obstruction is hit upon release.
● Feathers will collapse and pass by the obstruction while plastic vanes will throw the arrow slightly off course.
● Feathers are not durable
● Affected by wet conditions.
● Can be slightly noisier in flight.
There are several different shaft materials that may work for your individual needs. After deciding what type of shaft material you desire and the proper type of fletching to use, simply select the correct shaft for your draw weight and length to find the perfectly balanced arrow for your setup.Arrow Buyers Guide
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