Whether you are training for the national professional World Archery or IBO circuit, hunting deer and elk deep in the woods, or just shooting once a week at your local range, having the right arrow setup is critical to any archer. While the most scientifically complex element of arrows is their spine (either static or dynamic), one of the most important parts of the arrow composition, and one thing that is often not discussed enough, is the overall mass weight of your arrows.
We hear the debate about once a week in our shop:
"You want a light arrow, man! You'll lost all your speed otherwise and then your deer is gone by the time it gets there!
"No way- you need that high mass weight to get a lot of kinetic energy. Without it, you can't get a good pass-through shot and the deer can survive longer!
So, which is it? Does an archer need light, fast, arrows or heavy arrows with a high kinetic energy rating? The truth is that sometimes, and archer wants both!
Fast, lightweight arrows are best for getting your arrow out toward targets that can react quickly (in the case of hunting) like an axis deer.. The lighter arrow is also advantageous in the event that you are shooting at distances that are not clear or that you have to estimate, because the lighter arrow will have a more stable/flat flight trajectory at the longer distances. When you get a light, fast arrow, it will get to your target quicker and give you some vertical forgiveness for longer range, but it will also cost you in flight stability and kinetic energy. Light arrows get there quickly but often do not punch as deeply into the target, creating smaller wound channels without passing through the target and increasing the distance that you must go to find the animal you were hunting,
Heavy arrows are excellent for taking down large targets or targets with a thicker hide that cannot be penetrated with lightweight arrows. Additionally, given their higher inertia and kinetic energy, these heavy arrows are less effected by wind and more likely to pass through a target upon impact, creating a larger wound channel for a quicker kill. Furthermore, these heavy arrows take so much power for your bow to shoot that they significantly quiet down your bow! So, in short, you get a heavy, powerful, silent shot. A moose is a good example of a target that would be better suited for a heavy arrow build, since they are one of the largest ungulates in the world and have thick hide and bodies. But keep in mind that these arrows drop much more quickly due to their weight, and thus are not forgiving for estimated distances, nor at longer distances where you'll have to have a specialty sight to be able to aim at the target.
So, what should you do? Well, the answer is not a simple "this one is better." What you should do is ask yourself what your goals are and how you will be using the arrows you are building. If you hunt shorter, known ranges and distances, if you are hunting larger game, or if you are looking to kill an animal as quickly as possible, it's time to get some weighty arrows like Easton FMJs or Black Eagle Deep Impacts. Conversely, if you are shooting at animals at distances you frequently must guess at, shooting at animals with quick reaction time, or shooting at animals with lighter hide, a lighter arrow such as the Victory V-Force or the CarbonTech Whitetail might be best for you.
Additionally, in the event you have arrow shafts whose weight you want to manipulate, keep on checking back to this blog where we will later show how to use brass inserts, heavy broad-heads, and lighted nocks to affect the arrow's dynamic spine rating and FOC.
In other articles, we will tackle many more parts of arrow information such as FOC (front of center) on arrows, setting up arrows with the correct spine rating, manipulating arrow spine, arrow diameter and friction, and more. However, for this week, use this information to end the debate- archers can make use of both types of arrows, and you should determine your goal before making your selections. Check out this video below for a summary of this information from Easton.
Archers everywhere use stabilizers for both hunting and target archery, but many don't know what a stabilizer is for and what makes a good stabilizer.. In Deer Creek Archery's opinion, stabilizers are best used to reduce vibration and to increase rotational resistance so that the bow holds steadier during the execution of your shot.
First, stabilizers are about adding stability (who would have guessed?) to your shot. This is accomplished by adding weight to the end of a rod that points away from the middle of the bow. The basic rule of thumb is that the further the weight is away from the pivot point of your bow (your handle), and the more weight is on that stabilizer, the steadier your hold and the more accuracy you achieve. So, how long should your stabilizer be? The answer is that it should be as long as you are able to comfortably maneuver, control, and balance at full draw, given your application. By no means does that mean you need a 32" rod with 15oz. on the end. In fact, while you do hold steadier with more weight, you should never have so much weight that you sacrifice technique. If you can't hold your bow and maintain a perfect body alignment like a "T," then that bow is too heavy! But don't worry, even a few ounces just 6-8" from your riser can dramatically increase your performance. We would encourage you to test a stabilizer before you buy it to ensure that you are getting a good fit.
The second reason to use a stabilizer is to reduce the noise and vibration of your bow. The bow's resonance after a shot breaks can be largely eliminated use rubber or other sound and vibration dampening elements such as gel, sand, etc. This quieting effect makes your bow have that much sought after "dead in the hand" feel and reduces the sounds that animals might hear when your shot breaks, thus giving them less time to react and evade your shot.
Whether or not to use a rear bar is also a matter of preference. Many hunters use them, and just as many hate them. The trade off is about balance and maneuverability. The more weight you have on the bow makes it hold steadier, and adding weight to the rear of your bow to counteract the stabilizer in the front absolutely keeps the bow more balanced, but if you can't crawl toward an animal you're stalking or climb into your tree stand because your stabilizer is digging into things, it's worthless! What works for you may vary from your friends, so come on in to Deer Creek Archery and test some out. We have some of the best stabilizers on the market from Stixx to Axion, and a host of accessories for your convenience.
For a more detailed look at stabilizers from one of the most renowned coaches and instructors in the archery game, George "Griv" Ryals, we would send you to his website at this link to read his article on the topic
There are many different kinds of stabilizers out there, and which one you like best is a matter of personal feel. We hope that this Technical Tuesday article has given you some things to consider when buying a stabilizer.
It is well known that in the recurve or compound archery game, archers are looking for consistency. One of the best ways to establish a consistent and repeatable shot is to have the shot execute not by your command, but rather with a "surprise shot" using back tension. (We will be going more in-depth with what that really means and how it works on another post.) However, many target archers and bow-hunters don't properly position their releases in order to create this consistent style. So, today, we bring you John Dudley (@nockontv), one of compound archery's most renowned coaches and hunters, explaining the basics on how to shoot your release.
Stay tuned next week for another Technical Tuesday tip. See you on the range!
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Deer Creek Archery will use this to archive articles and videos with tips from our team and the professionals on how to shoot and set up your bow more effectively.