Should I Shoot Heavier Arrows?

should I shoot heavier arrows

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Should I Shoot Heavier Arrows – The Great Debate

In the world of bowhunting, the choice of arrow weight has sparked a significant debate. “Should I shoot heavier arrows?” has become a very common question among bowhunters.

Heavier arrows, with their touted benefits for big game hunting, have been gaining popularity in recent years.

However, this trend has also permeated the hunting of the smaller big game animals, namely whitetail and mule deer.

Central to this discussion is the concept of FOC (Front-Of-Center) – a factor gaining increasing recognition for its influence on arrow performance.

The Benefits of Heavier Arrows

Heavier arrows carry the advantage of deeper penetration and greater kinetic energy – crucial attributes when hunting larger game like elk, caribou, and moose.

Arguable, it’s just as important when hunting whitetails, mule deer, and black bears.

This increased penetration ensures that the arrow can effectively reach the vitals, even through thick hide and muscle.

In the context of smaller game, such as whitetail and mule deer, heavier arrows offer similar benefits, though the trade-offs with arrow speed and distance may be more noticeable.

In the context of this conversation, we need to remember that hide and muscle really aren’t what we’re concerned with. When you and I make marginal shots that bring bone into the picture – that’s really when we care a lot about penetration and kinetic energy, regardless of the animal size.

Understanding FOC: More Than Just Weight

FOC refers to the balance point of the arrow, specifically how front-heavy it is.

It’s calculated as a percentage, with a higher FOC indicating more weight towards the arrow’s front.

This front-heaviness aids in stabilizing the arrow in flight, leading to more accurate, consistent shots.

It’s not just about raw kinetic energy and penetration; FOC plays a crucial role in ensuring the arrow flies true to its target.

The Hunting Public guys did a great video with an aerodynamics expert that revealed just how much FOC plays a part in a heavier arrow flying true. It can be found on their YouTube channel.

The Physics Behind Penetration: Kinetic Energy and Momentum

The interplay between arrow weight, speed, and kinetic energy is foundational in understanding penetration.

Heavier arrows, while slower, retain more momentum downrange. This momentum, coupled with the kinetic energy, contributes to the arrow’s ability to penetrate deeply, which is particularly essential when hunting big game.

When Heavier Isn’t Better: The Case for Lighter Arrows

With all the benefits of heavier arrows, they aren’t always the optimal choice.

In situations where longer range shots are common or when a flatter trajectory is needed, lighter arrows can be more effective.

They offer greater speed, resulting in a flatter trajectory over distance – a vital factor in some hunting scenarios, such as hunting mule deer or pronghorns in open country where the shots can be longer.

Building a Heavier Arrow Setup

Creating a heavier arrow setup involves more than just choosing heavy arrow components.

It’s about finding the right balance between the arrow’s total weight and its FOC. This often involves selecting heavier broadheads, adding weight to the front of the arrow, and ensuring the spine of the arrow is appropriate for the increased weight.

Testing different vane configurations is also a great idea when creating a heavier arrow. You might find that a 4-vane configuration levels out faster than a 3-vane configuration.

Weighing and Measuring: Ensuring Optimal FOC

Accurately weighing and measuring arrows is essential in achieving the desired FOC. As you can probably already tell, the question, “Should I shoot heavier arrows?” is a complicated one to answer, with many variables to consider.

Consistency is key – even minor variations in arrow weight can significantly impact FOC and, consequently, arrow performance.

We have to invest time in carefully weighing each component (shaft, insert, point, fletching, and nock) to ensure consistency.

Bow Setup vs. Arrow Setup 

Keep in mind when building a heavier arrow that it all hangs on your bow’s setup.

Your draw weight and draw length have everything to do with the spine of the arrow you shoot, which has everything to do with the length of your arrow, which affects your FOC – are you getting the picture?

It all starts with your bow setup. So, you’re going to want to set your bow up for whatever game you’re going to be shooting heavier arrows at before building out the arrows.

I’m not going to build my arrows based on a bow setup for turkeys at 57 pounds with a 350-spine arrow. I’m going to max out my bow at 70 pounds with a 300-spine arrow. Then, I can start my build.

Hunting Scenarios and Arrow Choices

The choice between heavier and lighter arrows should be influenced by specific hunting scenarios; not by hunting celebrities and trends.

For instance, in dense woods with shorter shot opportunities, heavier arrows might be preferable for their penetration and impact.

Conversely, in open areas where longer shots are common, the flatter trajectory of lighter arrows could be more beneficial.

We have to choose based on our own personal hunting situations.

Final Thoughts: Making an Informed Choice

In conclusion, the decision to shoot heavier arrows should be a calculated one, taking into consideration factors like hunting terrain, target game, and personal shooting style.

While the benefits of heavier arrows, especially in terms of penetration and FOC, are clear, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution.

You and I should weigh these factors against their specific hunting scenarios to make the most informed and ethical choice.

What Do You Think?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Should you shoot heavier arrows, given your individual hunting style?

Do you shoot heavy arrows already? Are you thinking about making a switch? Do you think it really matters? Let me know below!

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