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What Makes A Good Arrow? Straightness & Spine

Unraveling the Secrets As many more companies are attempting to build arrow shafts, it gets more and more puzzling as to what makes a high-quality arrow. Since the majority companies do not actually build their own arrows and others who may construct arrows are not archers of any length of time, it becomes more and more critical to explain the mechanics of an arrow and why it is imperative to choose arrows that are truly the quality you should expect. There are three specific areas that determine a good arrow which are spine, straightness and weight. Weight: Since weight is the easiest category for most consumers to determine accuracy of an arrow, companies focus their attention on it. The weight of an arrow shaft only gives you a hazy picture at best when you have to add glues, vanes, nocks and points/broadheads. How many people weight their broadheads? Few at best. When you switch the broadheads, do you really think they are exactly the same? However, the weight of the arrow shaft is critical? To a point, yes, but if you learn to weigh the broadhead or points and the complete arrow with vanes, nocks and inserts installed, you can get a dozen arrows close to 2 grains apart with no problem at all. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="850"] Carbon Express Surge Crossbow 20" Arrows[/caption] Straightness: The second most highly talked about category that many manufacturers push is straightness tolerances. Straightness has some effect on shooting performance but not as much as one would think. There are many ways to determine straightness and since there is no consistency in the industry, it makes it very difficult to determine what companies are really saying in their advertising. The question still comes up about why carbon straightness is not as critical as aluminum straightness. Let's Aluminum arrows can bend and warp in the air when shot. This will cause aluminum arrows to not impact in the same place every time as carbon arrows can. The all carbon arrow cannot be bent. It can be bowed but not bent. Thus, keep an eye on those aluminum's. Spine: Spine is probably the most important part of the arrow shaft and the most ignored. When an arrow is launched from a bow, the arrow flexes (dynamic spine). This flex needs to be a specific amount and stay consistent among all the arrows in order to carry a group. The smallest mistake made by the arrow increases substantially if the arrow is too weak. If the arrow is too stiff it is not as critical, but does not give the best possible grouping. Thus it is far better for the arrow to be too stiff than too weak. Of course, since most archers are not very good or accurate, they do not realize that the arrow is making them look even worse than what they really are. Spine inconsistencies are due to the material used. Some companies look for the cheapest product they can find in order to keep costs down. This causes huge spine deviations. Also, how the arrow is manufactured can cause spine inconsistencies. Most companies put the spine determining material on the outside and then grind it down to get as close to the weight they can get. However, this causes spine inconsistencies and breaks down the fibers that actually determine the spine. The degree of importance is determined by what material is used. With aluminum arrows, the degree of importance is straightness, spine and then weight. With all carbon it is spine, straightness and then weight. The spine of an aluminum arrow is normally very good to start with. However, this spine breaks down over time. Depending on the wall thickness spines of an aluminum arrow can break down as fast as 10 shots! This has been proven time and again by some of the best archers worldwide. Carbon arrows start to lose their spine over several hundred shots due to wear. As the arrow penetrates the target, the friction microscopically wears down the outer layer of carbon and since most companies have their spine determining layer on the outside, the spine gets weaker and weaker over time. The aluminum arrow breaks down for different reasons. The flexing of the shaft upon impact of the target, pulling the arrow out of the target and the launching of the arrow from the bow continues to flex the aluminum tube constantly and we all know what happens to metals when continuously flexing them back and forth. Now you can understand some of the simple physics of what is happening to an arrow and why it is important to choose wisely when purchasing arrows.    
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