Before we can start tuning, you got to have arrows
to shoot. Wood, aluminum, or carbon arrows will shoot well and is personal choice. The most important consideration with arrows
are spine, straightness, and weight. Spine and straightness are of primary importance. 30 or 40 grains weight variation at
hunting ranges will make little difference in point of impact so is #3 in importance.
At 20 yards, most folks
would see little if any difference with 100 grain variation, however....If the weght variations cause variation in spine,
you've got problems. Spine and straightness, however, can not be compromised especially with broadheads. Be aware if you
are going to shoot competition that arrow material restrictions may apply in certain classes. Arrow length should be your
draw length plus 3/4", but......For tuning purposes, we want to start with shafts about 2" longer than needed in
the finished arrow.
Arrows that are going to be shot off the shelf, as
most folks do, need to be fletched with 5" or 5 1/2" feathers if broadheads are going to be used, and in either
a left or right helical twist. The twist doesn't make any difference but all your arrows should be the same.
Wood arrows are considered by some to be more traditional, especially with
longbows but they have their drawbacks. Good wood arrows are not cheap, even more expensive than aluminum. Building them yourself
won't help much if you are as picky with them as I am. If I get 18-24 arrows out of 100 shafts, I'm lucky. First they
must be matched closely in spine and weight, second they must be straight, and third they must be sealed well so they do not
warp from moisture! A source I recommend for quality wood arrows is Old South Traditional Arrows.
Aluminum arrows are great, very straight and consistent spine. Spending
a little more on XX75 or XX78 shafts will save you money in the long run as they do not bend or break as easily as cheaper
aluminums. Carbons are straight, tough, and can be expensive! Lots of people really like them. For the safety of your bow
and to absorb enough energy from your bow, your arrows need to weigh 8 to 10 grains per pound of draw weight. Up to 12 or
14 grains/pound for hunting larger game. This can be a problem with carbons and some aluminums. Weight may need to be added
or a different arrow chosen.
ARROW SELECTION CHART
Arrow Length Aluminum/Wood
groove in nock to back of point
Once you have decided what arrow material you want
to shoot, it's a good idea to get 3 or 4 of the recommended size off the chart plus 3 or 4 above and below for tuning
purposes. Once you find the size that flies best, then spend the big bucks for a dozen or two. You need to think about what
weight tips you want to shoot. The chart is averaged for 125 grain tips.
Fine tuning of arrow spine can be done
by going up or down in point weight, arrow length, and adjusting the side plate thickness on your bow. A heavier point will
make the shaft weaker and a lighter point will make it stiffer. If you get arrows that are too stiff or weak in spine, you
may be forced to either shoot a heavier or lighter point than you wanted or have to buy new shafts. It is better to err on
the stiff side as it is easier to go up in point weight to correct a stiff condition than it is to go down to correct a weak
Practice field tips need to be matched to the weight of the broadheads you want to shoot. Most broadheads
suitable for hunting with traditional bows are 125 gr, 145 gr, 160 gr, or 190 gr. For tuning purposes, I'd recommend at
first buying an assortment of 125 grain, 145 grain, and 160 grain field tips to be used in the tuning process. Don't buy
your broadheads yet until we find out what weight is going to fly best with your arrows.
Arrow nocks should fit the string without being too loose but at the same time, too tight can cause all kinds
of arrow flight problems and you can lose as much as 10 feet/second! When nocked, you should be able to point the arrow straight
down without the arrow falling off. It should fall off with a light tap on the string. If your nocks are too tight, fold up
some 150 grit sandpaper and run it through the nock until it fits properly.