Arrows are seen as the simplest component of archery equipment which is actually true as well. However, as you go deeper with the details such as parts of an arrow, how are arrows measured and what is arrow spine, things start getting a bit complicated.
The parts of an arrow include a shaft, fletchings, nock, arrow point, and an insert. While they seem pretty straightforward, they all are designed for specified functions and can vary based on types of bows used in archery. All of these together contribute to a stabilized flight and high accuracy.
No matter why you want to use an archery arrow, it is foremost to understand all about its parts, sizing, and other key factors. These important factors have a direct influence on the performance of an arrow.
There is so much about the arrows apart from their anatomy. To get your hands on the right arrows, you must know about different types. It is also important to understand how to read the spine chart as it guides you perfectly for the best arrow type.
Arrow Guide – Parts Of An Arrow
The anatomy of an arrow is quite easy to comprehend. It will give you all the basic information required to understand the working of an archery arrow. The parts of an arrow include:
The longest part of an arrow is the shaft. It is commonly made out of fiberglass, aluminum, or carbon fiber. In earlier decades, people use to make it out of wood on their own. Some old bowmen still opt for arrows with wooden shafts. However, these won’t match the impeccable speed of a compound bow hence, not best suited for them.
When it comes to compound bows with cams, the most ideal choice would be carbon or lightweight aluminum arrows. These are one of the reasons which alter how far can a compound bow shoot.
Shafts come in a variety of weights and diameters designed to suit lightweight and heavy draw bows. The standard arrow shaft diameters include 5/16 inches and 9/32 inches. Lightweight arrow shafts have an impeccably fast flight rate and usually fly flat. On the other hand, heavier arrow shafts offer tremendous penetration and power which you cannot get with lightweight shafts.
- Shaft Labeling
Every archer should know how to read shaft labeling so that they can pick the right one. Arrows are measured based on their spine deflection. It refers to the consistency in the arrow’s stiffness around its circumference. The smaller the number, the stiffer will be the spine.
The common rating for spine in shaft ranges between 260 to 500. That said, a shaft with a 260 spine rating is heavy and extremely stiff. Whereas, if an arrow shaft is labeled as 500, it is light in weight with the most flexible spine.
Nock is the groove present at the rear end of every archery arrow. The bowstring secures in the groove as you draw the arrow. Generally, nocks are made out of hard plastic however some are also made out of bone. Make sure to tune this point by moving up or down to ensure better accuracy.
- Regular Nock
Manufacturers commonly use wood, plastic, or bone to make regular nocks. The modern ones are easy to push into the arrow’s back. Whereas, the traditional nocks are placed on the arrow using a strong adhesive. These are mostly used on bamboo and wood arrows.
- Lighted Nock
As referred to by the name, these nocks feature a small light. The illuminated end makes it easy to locate locate downed animals in darker environments.
These are responsible for causing the arrow to spin while flying. Fletching enables the arrow to spin in order to maintain accuracy and velocity. It is not a wise decision to use bare arrows without fletching for any purpose because they won’t stay in the direction and will kick off to any random side.
The majority of the arrows come pre-fletched. However, as soon as these get damaged and interrupt the flight, make sure to get them replaced. Fletches usually consist of three or more vanes and are made out of feathers or plastic.
Used mostly for longbows and recurves bows, arrows with feather fletches lay flat. While these offer brilliant flight and accuracy, they cannot be used in rain. The feathers get drenched and are unable to fly.
Commonly known as vanes, these are constructed out of vinyl or soft plastic. These fletches dominate modern bowhunting due to their flexibility, durability, and accuracy. Plastic vanes are highly efficient on carbon, wooden, and aluminum arrows.
- Arrow Point
An arrow point or arrow tip is the end of the shaft that strikes at the target. There are different types with varying flying characteristics. The most common types include broadheads and field points.
- Field Points
Field points feature blunt ends and are mostly the arrow tips used in practice sessions. Bowhunters prefer these points to hunt small animals such as ruffed grouse, rabbits, coyotes, etc. Field arrow tips are not ideal for penetration instead, for impact damage on small animals only.
On the other hand, broadheads are very common. These feature sharp ends and hence are great for deep penetration. Because of this property, broadheads are extremely efficient target arrow tips for hunting. These are suitable for taking down large game animals such as deer, elk, etc.
It is the part that enables you to attach different arrow tip sizes to the shaft. You can simply screw in and out to replace the tips. These come in numerous types based on the materials used such as aluminum, plastic, steel, rubber arrow tips, etc. Remember, wooden arrows don’t use inserts.
Different Type Of Arrows
When performing archery, you must know what options you have to shoot with the bow. The four different types of arrows help to choose the right one based on your intention of use. The parts of an arrow are the same for all types, their construction makes them suitable for multiple situations.
- Wooden Arrows
Traditional archers or hunters usually go for wooden arrows. These feature feather fletches and lack an insert and a glue-on arrow point. Even though these arrows bend very little and turn back to their position, wooden arrows are extremely easy to break. However, these are a decent choice for big game hunting, stump shooting, and target archery.
- Aluminum Arrows
For a lightweight choice, you can opt for aluminum arrows. Like wooden arrows, these also bend and return to their shape instantly. These work great with lightweight bows and are a lot less expensive than other choices.
- Carbon Arrows
Arrows made from carbon are highly durable and can withstand mighty hits. Because of their impeccable strength and durability, these are quite pricey. Using carbon arrows for compound bow is probably the best choice. Since these are stiff hence, work brilliantly with heavy compound bows.
- Aluminum Carbon Arrows
Aluminum carbon arrows are popular among experienced archers. Having a small diameter as compared to other arrows, these are ideal for shooting in longer ranges. Compound and recurve bows are the best choices for aluminum carbon arrows.
How To Choose Arrow Spine
Before you get into the details of a spine chart, let’s understand what is an arrow spine. In simple words, it measures the stiffness of an arrow and its tendency to bend during flight. In archery, choosing the arrow is based on its spine.
Arrow spine adds to the overall performance therefore, these must be correct. If the spine is unforgivingly weak, it will fly abnormally without correcting its direction. Whereas, if it is relentlessly stiff, it will change its path during the flight.
The key to determining the appropriate spine depending on the type of arrow you have is possible with the help of an arrow spine chart.
Arrow spine chart
These charts serve as an excellent starting point for selecting the right arrow. Before you go through the spine chart, figure out the draw length and peak draw weight (bow weight). Look at the chart for the type of arrow you will be using along with the peak bow weight and arrow length.
Aluminum arrows have a relatively higher spine than wood and carbon arrows. Remember, the following readings are only recommendations. You can get an idea with the chart and choose the one after trying it yourself.
What Size Arrow Do I need?
The best way to know what length arrows do I need and the right arrow size is to first measure the draw length of your bow. Now add 1 or 2-inch max to the draw length, that is how much the size of your arrow should be.
How To Make Arrows For A Bow Using Wood?
Some people prefer making arrows on their own. If you wish the same, collect the important parts of an arrow and start making. Take a wooden shaft and cut it short according to your desired length. Now use a wood sharpener to sharpen one end, apply a strong adhesive and attach the arrow tip.
Sharpen the other end a little as well and add nock to it. Use feathers as fletchings and add them to the arrow using super glue. You can also paint the arrow if needed. Let the glue dry and you have your wooden arrow ready.
Choosing the right arrow for your bow accounts for success in target shooting as well as hunting. The first step to it is understanding the different parts of an arrow, their working, and their importance. An arrow is one of the least complex archery equipment when it comes to anatomy.
However, the wide range of choices can leave the users perplexed. So, make sure to keep in mind the important parts of an arrow. Also, don’t forget to check the materials used and get the right spine for the most accurate performance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
The two most widely used types of arrowheads include field points and broadheads.
In today’s world, numerous materials are used to make arrow tips. These include stone, bone, plastic, wood, and metal.
Understanding how to measure an arrow is quite simple. Place your arrow on a flat surface and start measuring from the tip of the shaft excluding the insert to the nock’s groove. The total length tells how long your arrow is.