A Guide to Choosing Hunting Arrows

The great debate - heavy and slow or light and fast?

It is common for amateur hunters to question, regardless of whether you hunt with a compound bow, a longbow or a recurve bow - selecting the best hunting arrows are crucial to your success. The best possible arrow should be straight, of an ideal length and sufficiently stiff to fly well from the bow. It is equally important to consider arrow weight as it affects the penetration. Over the years, many opinions have been exchanged in regards to hunting arrows - should I use heavy and slow or light and fast? The answer is in fact simple, since heavy arrows have better penetration and when selecting your arrows it is important to remember that it is all about the force and the speed of the arrow.

As soon as your arrow leaves the string, it is no longer being propelled. An alternate force immediately begins working against the arrow; therefore decreasing it’s speed. The same force has a greater impact on a faster arrow, meaning that it will decelerate significantly faster than a slower arrow. Once the arrow hits a target, the difference in deceleration can be quite dramatic and the heavier arrow will have a lesser deceleration rate, hence deeper penetration. It is unfortunate that often hunters are sent on an ill-advised quest after being instructed to concentrate on maximum arrow speed.

Most bow hunters will refer to kinetic energy when talking about the potential penetration of a bow set up, but realistically it is actually momentum that determines how profoundly an arrow will drive through a target. A high-speed arrow setup will generate a substantial amount of kinetic energy, in comparison to a bow shooting a heavier arrow, however the momentum is considerably higher in a heavier, slower setup. A traditional slow and heavy arrow will generate a lot less kinetic energy, yet it will still create more momentum when compared to a bow setup with a light, fast arrow.

The ideal weight for hunting arrows will be determined by the archer’s draw length, draws weight and the type of animal being shot at. For instance, someone hunting deer can be successful with a lighter arrow if the shot is perfect. If however, the shot is not perfect, the archer will need all the momentum her or she can muster. An ideal hunting arrow/ broad-head combination will weigh no less than 400 grams. Typically, arrows used in Australia for hunting, are suitable for most animals, while only weighing about 450 grams.

For those who require a shorter draw length, or perhaps those who shoot with less draw weight - selecting a lightweight arrow shaft in order to attain speed is actually counterproductive with respect to penetration. It may not sound logical, however, it is worth considering that a traditional archer shooting with a heavy, slow arrow can take down a 1500-pound animal. Therefore, if a hunter is not confident that his or her lightweight fast arrow can do that, then they are not shooting with the best hunting bow.

It is possible that the only shortcoming of a heavier shaft is the arrow’s increased trajectory during flight, and although using a good quality rangefinder can mitigate this problem, yardage estimation is still important. Experienced bow hunters who shoot animals at longer distances will often go for a heavier shaft since it is less prone to wind drift, and hits harder once it connects. There is no denying that numerous factors such as bow tune, broad-head design and fletching usually determine how an arrow will perform in flight and when it hits the target. The best hunting arrows are chosen not for their capability when the shot is perfect, but what they can do for the shooter is not perfect.

An amateur bow hunter will soon learn that hunting with a bow and arrows is much more than a lucky shot. In fact, it is science that has moulded this sport and aerodynamics, energy transfers and physics all play major roles.

The archer’s form, decision-making and mental state all contribute to a perfect shot and while archery and bow hunting terms can get rather technical - one of the terms that you will hear frequently is arrow spine and it is worth knowing what the term means and how it can affect a hunting arrow’s flight.

A hunting arrow’s spine rating is simply a measure of how rigid it is. The lower the number is, the stiffer the arrow. The two types of spine - static spine and dynamic spine, both affect the way an arrow reacts once it has left the bow.

Static spine is the way in which an arrow reacts if a weight 880 grams is suspended from its center. For static spine to occur, an arrow must have a length of 29 inches, supported by two points that are 28 inches apart. The arrow’s spine size or measurement is the number of inches that the arrow bends or deflects due to the weight, multiplied by 1000.

Dynamic spine describes the way that an arrow reacts from a bow’s stored energy while it is being shot, however there are numerous factors that determine the way an arrow reacts once it is shot out of a bow. It is possible to manipulate an arrow’s dynamic spine and make it act stiffer when being shot from a compound bow. This is done by reducing its point weight, peak bow weight or the insert/point combination with the use of a heavier bowstring material.

A lack of correct arrow spine in a bow setup can cause the hunter to receive poor shooting groups and erratic arrow flight. In order to be as accurate as possible, it is crucial to have the correct arrow spine when optimizing the grouping of arrows. Firing an arrow that is not sufficiently stiff can ultimately cause decreased accuracy.


How to Choose the Right Hunting Broadheads for Your Bow

When one is planning to go hunting, bow-hunting broadheads are an important tool to have in your toolkit. There are many types of broadheads on the market, ranging in price and uses.
It is important to know what makes a good broadhead arrow before making your selection. Selecting the best-suited bow broadhead is a game changer.

Since there are bow broadheads designed for specific hunting games and preys, making sure that the broadhead you buy is meant for the right kind of game and prey you want to hunt is essential to a good outcome.

The broadhead should always be of superior quality and must give the feeling of bowmanship to the archer or hunter.

Bow hunting broadheads are manufactured with proper head weight specifications thus giving one the guarantee of a quality product and can be bought from our online store.

Bow hunting broadheads are available in different varieties of which the following three are the basic categories:

  1. Fixed blade broadheads:
    Most of the professional archers prefer using the fixed blade bow hunting broadheads because they are meant for exact wound penetration and clean blood trails. This type of fixed blade broadhead is permanently set in one position and is designed to cut the target on impact. Altogether, this indicates that the archer need not waste power in opening up action when they hunt the target with their fixed blades. This type of broadhead even enables the hunters to produce an open wound on hard-skinned targets like elks, deer or bears thus adding to the already gained popularity of this hunting game. The superiority of the fixed bow hunting broadheads is due to the sharp central tip surrounded by two or four blades that form an arrowhead. People who need an extra cutting power may opt for the additionally attached blades that protrude from the shaft of arrows. These are better and advantageous as compared to their equivalents because they have no moving parts and tend to be stronger and more reliable than their contemporaries.
  2. Replaceable blade broadheads:
    These bow hunting broadheads are sometimes confusingly categorized as the fixed blade bow broadheads so as to differentiate them from the mechanical or expandable bow broadheads, but they actually fall into a separate category. This is a relatively new type of bow broadhead and has been recently used widely all over the world of archery due to the convenience that they offer as well as the light characteristics. The arrow shaft has a steel tip, which is sharp enough and has vertically placed grooves to place a number of blades that need to be locked in place. This gives the archer a facility to replace the dull or damaged blades. The only disadvantage of this type of bow hunting broadheads is the reduced speed that they offer and they are slightly more expensive than fixed blade bow hunting broadheads.
  3. Mechanical broadheads:
    The mechanical bow hunting broadheads can also be named expandable broadheads, impact broadheads or open broadheads. These bow broadheads like their equivalents offer very good flight abilities and high speed too. The model is distinct because it offers a set of bow broadhead blades, which are folded in an upward direction and adhere to the slots until there is any kind of movement with the ferrule until the moment of impact. When this moment arrives the blades are unfolded automatically.

Some of the expandable bow hunting broadheads come with long blades for targeting thus giving a wide cutting edge and a greater speed and provide the cleanest kills to the hunters.

Before you head out hunting, it is essential that you pick a model that suits both your bow and your shooting ability. Make sure it's the right size and weight for the bow you're using, and that it works with the way your bow is tuned and set up. You'll also find that some broadheads are designed for specific types of prey, for example for small game. You should always go for a good quality product; while a superior broadhead won't compensate for poor bowmanship, it will give you an advantage if you're already a reasonably proficient archer.

Combat Australia has broadheads available from several different reliable manufacturers. If you're not sure which brand you want, pick one of the most popular ones. That way you know you'll get a well-made product that flies properly thanks to its consistent head weight and standardized specifications. Hunting broadheads come in a number of different types, which in turn can be broken down into three basic categories.

The following guide will help you determine which kind might be best for you:

Fixed blade broadheads: many traditional archers prefer these types of blades. The superior penetrative capabilities of the typical fixed blade broadhead stem from its configuration with a sharp central tip that is surrounded by two to four blades in an "arrowhead" formation. For extra cutting power, many models feature additional blades that protrude from the ferrule attached to the arrow shaft. Since they have no moving parts, fixed blade hunting broadheads tend to be stronger and more reliable than their mechanical equivalents. They're also the most economical option as they can be sharpened and re-used many times. This model can be hard to control when used with a high-speed bow, and also tricky to tune, but you can compensate for these shortcomings by precisely aligning the blades with the fletching.

Replaceable blade broadheads: Confusingly, these are sometimes also classified as fixed blade models, to differentiate them from mechanical or expandable broadheads. This relatively new type of broadhead is now very widely used thanks to the convenience and good flight characteristics it offers. The ferrule attached to the arrow shaft is equipped with a sharp steel tip, as well as vertical grooves to house a number of blades that are then locked into place. This allows you to simply replace the blades whenever they are damaged or dulled. While the latest models fly nicely, they still don't penetrate quite as well as fixed blades, and of course they're more expensive too.

Mechanical broadheads: These are also known as expandable or open on impact broadheads and offer good flight abilities, especially at high speeds. This model features a set of blades that lie folded upwards and recessed into slots in the ferrule until the moment of impact, when they unfold automatically. Some expendables have long blades, which gives a wide cutting area for a speedier, more humane kill and a better blood trail.

Open on impact broadheads won't always open as intended, however, resulting in game that's wounded but gets away. In order to penetrate properly your arrows need to fly fast when using expandable broadheads, to make up for the energy lost upon opening. You'll need to ensure that your kit is set up and tuned correctly, but even then it's not always easy to use a mechanical broadhead successfully. On the upside, you will find that mechanicals fly straight and hit their targets accurately thanks to the blades' being hidden and largely unaffected by wind resistance during flight.

If you're still unsure about which type of broadheads would suit you, don’t hesitate to contact us and discuss with one of our experts. At Combat Australia we are at your service for all your hunting, combat and archery needs. Contact us today!