arrow weight for elk hunting
going elk hunting next year for the first time. Is an arrow that weighs 8gpi heavy enough for this. Arrow is 27 1/2" long and I shoot 100 grain broad heads.
yes, people are about to tell you it has to be x number of grains from 450 to 3000 or so. I say shoot what you are confident in because it works best for you set up. You are fine.
What worries me is the broad head you picked out. Weight forward is a very important part of good arrow flight. You first need to hit your mark. you say your arrow lenght is 27 1/2 inches. You need around 10% forward. So hunters that pick that weight of board head according to what they like, have it all wrong. I just came back from a sheep hunt in Colorado where I found my shot was 73 yards. With the correct setup ( not what I thought I wanted to shoot) I was able to place the arrow where it needed to be. Bow tuning is the most over looked , misunderstood , part of bowhunting. I agree bow tuning is boring , when you do not understand it. Understand arrow flight and bow tuning, and the game well begin to hit the ground.
PM me for more info , we call also talk on the phone.
You also need to be aware that some states hav minumum weight rules. Check before you commit.
My arrows are 28 inches long and have a total weight of 350 grains with a 100 grain head. These arrows have taken 3 elk, several deer and 1 bear with no problems ever. And every shot went through rib bones, they will do fine
Ive killed a bunch of critters with my bow. I am currently shooting a 450gr arrow out of a 70lb Mathews with a 30" draw, and though it seems to kill just fine I am thinking I am a little light...... but thats just me.
Is it heavy enough? Yes. Would you be better served going heavier? IMO, yes.
I am shooting a 80lb Maxxis, with 30" draw, 520gr. arrows at just under 300fps. IMO, the higher the better in the elk woods.
Easton N-Fused Axis 300 (11.5gpi) tipped with a 125gr.
I personally don't know of an experienced elk hunter using an arrow under 420gr
Come to Idaho and hang out with some of the speed freaks. :0)
A lot of great suggestions. None have addressed the accuracy issue. All these guy are right with the weight of the arrows. What size groups do you get at 80-100 yards. How is your arrow fight?
Accuracy is most important. Arrow flight is also crucial, but with BH's I think it can be included in the accuracy category.
Kinetic Energy is more important than total arrow weight. Figure your KE (use the tools on this site) and you'll know where you stand.
I like 500 Gr to 5450 with a 64 lb D and r longbow. Same if I was shooting a compound which I'm not.
What does how you shoot at 80 to 100 yards have to do with hunting with a bow. I can shoot about as well as anyone at that range buttttttttttttttttt. Thats really stretching it. If a person keeps their shots within their effective , comfort range then arrow weight is important.
I was worried that my 372 grain arrows were too light, so I started playing around with 400 and 430. The 372 grain arrow tuned best, shot the best, most consistent groups. The more I shot all three arrows, the more I realized, the lighter arrows were penetrating deeper into both broadhead and fieldpoint targets (not to mention flatter shooting). It may be on the light side, but I'm hunting with the 372 grain arrows. If they blow through an elk the way they blow through a McKnezie shot blocker, I won't have any problems. My point is, an accurate, well tuned arrow is more important than a few grains of weight.
My tests, using three different arrows, show zero increase in penetration with a 150 gr increase in weight with each arrow . I shoot just enough weight to keep the noise down.
Purdue, did you shoot all those arrows from the same bow without re-tuning?
KW....you trolling for an elite status recognition ???? Who friggin cares what groups anyone shoots at 80 to 100 yards. Get real, these guys are talking elk hunting. You get lost here from AT ????
I thought that accuracy with a well tuned bow shooting the correct arrow. Trumps all this talk about how heavy a arrow should weigh. If kids and ladies are putting elk down with light rigs in the 40-50lb draw wts. What's this discussion really about? How macho a rig you shoot or how effient you are with your setup. If you can shoot 3" groups out to 40yds stick with your setup and pick a spot , and put them down!!! Best of luck and Shoot Straight...
If I did my math right, that puts you at 320gr total weight. With a short draw length, I am assuming you are going to struggle to be in the super speed crowd but that totally depends on what bow you're shooting.
IMO, you're a little light - you could do the trick with those arrows, but you could certainly stand to go a little heavier. I'd try something in the 10+gpi range and see if you can get it to tune and are comfortable with the results.
Elk aren't deer, or foam targets for that matter. It is well documented that there is a positive correlation between arrow weight and penetration in dense animals.
372 grs. will work if everything goes right (heck, 300 grs. will too), but why work up an arrow that is positioned for when everything goes right? Put some thought into what arrow will work when something goes wrong (i.e. animal movement, heavy bone, or just thick hide/muscle).
At the risk of repeating myself on this forum, I shot a big bull last year and got 16"-18" of penetration with a good flying COC BH-tipped 440 gr. arrow at around 275 fps. The arrow had to push through a mud-caked hide and the full thickness of the shoulder muscle, and did not even protrude through the far side of the heart. The elk dropped within sight, but 4" less penetration would have resulted in 1 lung and presuimably a long tracking job. Who knows what result 75 grs. less arrow weight would have yielded? Maybe 4" less penetration?
Well said Matt.
"Learning the hard way is the slowest approach to learning anything."
I am going to use that, and will send you a nickle each time I do.
I only wish I had the benefits of some of the comments above by guys like Woody many many years ago
I'm with Beendare/ Matt/Woody on this one.
When I stared shooting a bow , speed was everything , but I had not killed S#!T to speak of, but I was positive my 350 gr arrow would go through anything!!!
Now I shoot a 590gr arrow and have killed over 100 animals. The arrow weight keeps going up every year:)
Sarge, after reviewing my data I see that I made a misstatement. Actually two of the three arrows tested showed no increase in penetration with an increase in weight of 150 grains.
The test I ran certainly would not be considered "scientific" nor would any tests on real animals where no two shots can be duplicated. Bone and tissue density variables, blade orientation to bone, rib flex and may other variables can not be duplicated to give a scientific test on real animals.
My test in foam was able to control these target variables, but other variables were NOT controlled.
I used three different brands of arrows, the Martin Cougar Graphlex XT 17-8, Carbon Express Maxima 250, and the Cabela’s SST 240 pultruded shaft. Total arrow weight varied from 346.7 grains for the Maxima with a 100 gr tip to 658.7 grains for the martin with a 150 gr tip.
None of the arrows used were exactly like those for which my bow was tuned. I changed only one variable with each arrow brand, that was the weight of the point. By doing so the dynamic spine of each arrow changed as tip weight changed, thus changing the "tune" requirements. Changes in arrow diameter also effected the tune.
Also, all of the arrow were shot at about 2 yards to ensure that I would not hit a previously hit spot on the target and also no hit my chronograph. Even a tuned arrow would not have stabilized from parallax at that range.
Since the bow was never perfectly tuned to any of the arrows, but all were close, yet the results from three shots were consistent for each arrow brand, I consider the results worth noting.
The penetration varied from 11.75" for the 100 gr tipped Martin to 13.97" for the 100 gr. tipped Cabela's skinny pultruded shaft. Even adding motor oil to the shafts did not meaningfully effect penetration.
Actually a slight reverse correlation for penetration was seen by adding weight to all but the Cabela's pultruded shaft. (more weight actually lessened penetration)
Only the Cabela's pultruded shaft showed and increase (10 % ) in penetration with a 150 gr increase in weight. The Martin lost 2% in penetration despite a 15.77 % increase in momentum and a 3.16 increase in KE. The Maxima lost 2.38% in penetration despite a 22.84 % increase in momentum and a 5.05 % increase in KE.
This is why I continue to say that KE is a better of indicator of penetration than momentum. But more and better tests need to be ran.
None of the tests were double blind. I've never seen a penetration test that was.
Different results may be seen by using weight tubes or by changing arrow spine. I highly recommend that each of you do your own penetration tests to see if the trade-offs in penetration, noise, trajectory, etc, are what you are willing to pay. Each set-up can be different.
If it ever cools down around here I would like to redo the test at a greater range and re-tune for each arrow brand and weight.
If all you did was to add weight to the point, I would be the decrease in penetration was due to spine degradation/arrow flight and not a commentary on the relative merits of KE/momentum.
IMO that is like coming to the conclussion that you proved that by decreasing the weight of a frog you proved that it would jump a shorter distance rather than a longer distance, based on decreasing the weight by cutting off its back legs.
Matt, I fully intended to work up the 430 grain arrows as elk hunters, only got the 372 grain arrows to "play" with flatter trajectories. The 430s I believe are over spined and just didn't shoot well, so I matched the spine to the light arrows (CT white tails) and ordered some CXs Mayhems to finish around 400-405 (with 5 weeks till the hunt). Once again, after a few weeks of testing and shooting, the lighter arrows are proving to be more accurate and more consistent, along with penetrating better.
I guess my point is, what works in theory doesn't always prove out in the real world. I understand momentum, and have always been a advocate of mid weight arrows and bullets, but in this (my) case, the light weight projectile is proving to be the most efficient. One compromise I did make for penetration is moving to a smaller diameter broadhead. I'd rather have a 1" broadhead through and through than a 1.25" half way in.
But Matt, you don't know if the arrows were overspined, underspined or perfectly spined with the increased weight, since I didn't give the other data required to make that determination. Where is your data? I guess it is safer to rest on opinions and nonrepeatable tests rather than consistent repeatable data. You're never wrong that way.
And I already said that even a perfectly tuned bow would not have perfect flight at that range.
It certainly was not a test that will forever settle all disputes about weight and penetration. It did, however, certainly opened my eyes to how little effect that adding even 150 grains can have with my setup, under these conditions contrary to much of the BS that is parroted on this site. More tests are needed, but a trend SEEMS to be establishing for my setup.
Tests in harder media that simulates bone may give totally different results. Again, more tests are needed.
Anyone else care to make an uninformed comment based on pure speculation, or antidotal evidence.
"But Matt, you don't know if the arrows were overspined, underspined or perfectly spined with the increased weight, since I didn't give the other data required to make that determination."
I will be impressed if you added the 150 grs. in a way that did not change dynamic spine, but I can virtually guaranty you didn't.
"I guess it is safer to rest on opinions and nonrepeatable tests rather than consistent repeatable data."
That belies the body of evidence that exists as the result of work done by the likes of Woody (which incidentally contradicts your findings). What it comes down to is whether one places their emphasis on repeatability of testing or the relevnace of the test medium. When the results diverge, I will take the medium.
There is a website Stickemarchery.com. It is an online archery store. On the website it has calculators for calculating arrow speed, arrow weight,kinectic energy,and F.O.C.%.
Kinetic energy is a measure of energy, that's all. It doesn't consider retention or efficiency or applying that energy to an object.
I'd have to look it up again and don't feel like it, but if I remember a .22-250 and a 45-70 were close to the exact same ME. One uses a 405 grain bullet the other 50 or 55 grain. One is a smokin' hot sub 4000 fps laser, the other plods along at 1200 or 1300 in a big ol rainbow some folks claim they can see.
One I wouldn't give a second thought to hunting anything in NA with including dangerous game. It can and has done all that very well in it's illustrious history.
The other I would question your sanity on anything bigger than a deer. OK, probably even the deer. It's hell on groundhogs and prairie dogs though.
Admittedly extreme examples. But the lesson is still relevant. Both examples had the same KE. KE measures KE. Not penetration, efficiency or suitability.
Oh, almost forgot. I'd really give a lot of weight to the experienced elk hunters up above here are saying. Between them they have a few truckloads of elk and other BIG game on the ground. A 40 footer from Bigdan alone.
"Hey, I told you all this stuff years ago but...you were younger then. :-) LOL!"
I'm talking back in the 80's when I was shooting 2213's from an overdraw at 300+ fps. I suppose I could have figured it out on my own when seeing those arrows hit something hard and just disintegrate.
BTW, That was a tactful way to say all of the foam, steel drum etc tests are BS
I shoot a 350gr arrow out of 55# bow and I can kill any elk on the planet.
No one seems to be talking about draw weight. It's one thing to pull weight on the shooting range, and another in hunting conditions. Yes, heavy is good along with speed, but you have to be able to pull the bow with ease in hunting conditions. Bowhunting is full of many variables to consider which is one reason I love the sport.
there you have it, just like i said in the first response.....everyone wants you to beef up your arrow. I have killed the last three elk with 350, 380 and 380 grain arrows. Last year at 62 yards, quartering away, missed a rib on way in but stuck 4 inches out of the off shoulder....PLeNTY to kill. Yes, if it comes down to "which one of these arrows that i have set up for MY bow and shoot great out of MY bow should i shoot at elk???"...pick the heavier.
but if it comes down to "should i goof with my set up 3 weeks before the season to mess with arrow weight and not shoot these 375 grain arrows that shoot GREAT for ME and i have TONS of confidence in???" NO BODY would say YES. period.
i dont get caught up in this hype much, because i have in the past....i have seen/heard/known of TONS and TONS of elk that have been shot with gt5575, most people shoot those right at around 400 grains.....perfect in my opinion. Just about every guy i shot with or hunted with for 4 years in oregon shot gt5575 at the BIGGER bodied rosey elk.....and every year DOZENS of pictures were being placed on the wall behind some very nice elk.
I love the stories about "a buddy shot one with an arrow that was 400 grains and it got away.....now he shoots 500 grains." Look, if you really think that even a huge difference....100 grains....is going to make a difference in kill vs no kill in a bad shot you are crazy.....it is mostly an excuse for a poor shot.
another factor that CANNOT be ignored is the broadhead selection. Shoot a dull, untuned, poorly aligned, weak or otherwise flawed head....and it doesnt matter how much thought goes into this argument.
i will leave it alone, but shooting huge cut EXPANDABLES rob a huge amount of penetration as well.
Skueekieslayer, I think maybe you missed my point. I agree with you and Mouse. The point is that you should shoot with a set up that is right for you. I'm not a really big guy and only shoot 65 lbs., 375 gr. at 27.5 draw. Would I go for more kinetic energy if I could? Yes, but only if I could shoot with accuracy in hunting conditions. Accuracy kills, everything else is endless debate.
I don't see anyone mention arrow deflection with light vs heavy arrows....hmmm
"If you can't build up a heavier arrow that shoots accurately, stop telling us how much of an expert you are and get out of the deabte."
You are completely correct.
"I love the stories about "a buddy shot one with an arrow that was 400 grains and it got away.....now he shoots 500 grains." Look, if you really think that even a huge difference....100 grains....is going to make a difference in kill vs no kill in a bad shot you are crazy.....it is mostly an excuse for a poor shot."
If loosing or gaining 100 grains in arrow weight was not a big deal (starting at 350 grains), then someone should shoot a 250 grain arrow against a 450 grain arrow and see how the tests come out.
I'm thinking that 100 grains is gonna make a big difference in that test.
give me a break, i can shot a heavier arrow. I could shoot the lights out with it....i dont care, i like my set up, i like the way it shoots. Dont act like i am bad hunter or that you are automatically right because i dont shoot heavy arrows.
I am not saying heavy arrows are bad, i am just saying it isn't necessary to start over with your set up just because some guy says so.
I am not saying i am right, i am just a big fan of shooting a well tuned, fast, sharp, efficient coc head rather than beefing up my arrow. thats all
Besides my indoor arrows are somewhere around 750 grains.....and i shoot the lights out with those babies....so i guess i do know how to set up a heavy arrow huh?
ELK REAPER: I am not debating whether a 250 arrow would work as well as a 350 grain arrow, i see your point. I am not saying that rather than going heavy you should go ligher...i am simply saying that if you are set up and shooting well at 350-400 grains, you are fine.
I was just replying to the "I'm crazy comment", other then that, go kill them with a rock (if that is what makes you happy).
I shot 350-400 grain arrows for a few years, and I killed a bunch of animals with that arrow weight. I now am shooting a heavy arrow (for about 6 years), and the overall damage and penetration is much better with my heavier arrows. So I agree with you 100% about an animal will die with a lighter arrow, BUT I don't agree with you on the statement about 100 grains not making a big difference.
So shoot whatever you like best, but calling someone crazy about 100 grains not making a difference is...well....not making any sense to me.
i was simply saying that when it comes to kill vs no kill on an elk, i dont feel like beefing up from the discussed 350ish arrow to 450 grains is going to make an elk die that wouldnt have. thats my opinion, thats all. maybe wrong who knows.
That about covers it, huh guys?????
this guy has some articles if your into reading
I guess the epilogue then to this discussion is. If you feel comfortable with a heavier arrow and it shoots great with your bow shoot it. If you feel comfortable with a light arrow because it's the perfect arrow for your bow. Shoot it. If you like Ford trucks over Chevy trucks well then your plain nuts! Ahh JK... But to all who took part in this discussion, and those that read the post. Best of luck to all this Elk and Deer season... Pick a spot and shoot straight... :o)
A 450 arrow is every bit as accurate as a 350 arrow out of any bow. Likely more mechanically efficient out of nearly any bow too. A big difference though in both effective penetration and a rarely mentioned component durability issue also.
These are not deer. And it's been proven time and time again, light weight does not retain energy though initial impact (penetration) nearly as well as heavier weights. Or trad guys would be going to lighter and lighter arrows and wind up with better penetration.
Honestly, the only reason I could think of for anyone actually ADVOCATING a 350 arrow for elk is they think they are going to be forced to make 70, 80, 100 yard shots on elk, as was mentioned earlier in a few posts. You really want to debate that?
I have debated with elk "experts" that have even told me you can shoot farther at elk because they have a bigger kill zone. IMO that is not true in the real world. In the real world you have to make a very good shot on elk or you are in for a very long day. Or three. Not they might go a few hundred yards, or into the next field, they may go a few miles over a few days. I've seen it personally with fairly decent shot placement.
Even the rifle guys put the 243s and the 25-06 back in the cabinet and pull out the 300 and 338 mags in elk season. Must be a bunch of morons, don't they know they could just use their deer rifles?
I can't wait to hear what some folks recommend for cape buffalo. After all KE is the answer, speed the equalizer. Unless of course you get into the real world of BIG game penetration where weight is master.
TD....You're making waaaayyyyy to much sense here for many.
I agree as would most guys who know would....that speed is not the key, KE is far from being the key (due to adding speed and loosing weight gives the same KE...BUT LACKS MOMENTUM), and what brand bow means crap...unless you use a Mathews...they kill by making elk just die of fear!!!.lol
What many here are saying is simply this...two bows shooting the same KE and one has a much heavier arrow.....penitrates much better.
Well JASONDWHITE, you started this thread and now you have just about heard it all. Everyone has good points so you have to decide what is best for you. Heavy is good but you have to consider other things. I have seen guys up their draw weight to go heavy and fast. On the range is one thing, but when hunting you need to pull quick and silent in most situations. If you can hold horizontal and pull straight back, that's good. Yes, you can build a heavier arrow and learn to shoot accurate, but in the field you may have to judge distance accurately. No problem on close shots, but at distance accuracy becomes critical. Most of my shots have come quickly and I did not have time to use the rangefinder. Enjoy your hunt and may your arrow fly true.
Serb is right on when he says to use a Mathews bow as they will install fear in any elk! Now to the heavy vs light shaft discussion. On a perfect broadhead shot, double lung shot, any weight arrow will do. In fact a ST on a strand of linguine will do the job. However, if you have a quartering away shot where you have to go thru last nights dinner and todays early AM breakfast to reach the lungs a light weight shaft will not have enough momentum to get deep into the the lungs. You need and want a heavier shaft to get the job done. What you want is an arrow with enough weight and momentum to get the job done in "all conditions".
Autumn_Archer's Supporting Link
This is always an interesting debate. Speed vs. weight. Sure, a faster arrow shoots a flatter tragectory, thus more margin for error as far as range estimates, which pin to use etc. This was borne out of the 3D archery competitive shooting, and has carried over into the woods and mountains where we hunt.
I teach IBEP/Bowhunter ed, and I use this analogy when it comes to arrow weight. Picture a small car, traveling at 70 mph, crashing into a house.
Next, picture a large delivery truck, traveling at 50 mph crashing into that same house.
Which one might you think would take longer to slow down from its speed of travel before coming to a stop? And how far into that house would it go?
It is a simple rule of physics. Many get hung up on kinetic energy, but the real determining factor in penetration is momentum. A heavier arrow simply has more momentum, and will have far more penetration potential. We all know that the further the shot, the higher the odds of "perfection" going out the window. Animals move. Arrows hit unseen obstructions to its flight path. We make a less than perfect release. So why, in fairness and respect for the animal we pursue, would we shoot an arrow that pushes the limit as far as light weight?
I've read studies done by Dr.Ashby who has extensively tested penetration and arrow flight characteristics. These were done with traditional archery gear, but the physics remains the same regardless of bow type. Once the arrow is released, the physics of its flight, momentum and ability to penetrate arethe same. The only difference is arrow speed.
I will say that if you do read these, they are dry reading. But, you will learn a tremendous amount of info concerning arrow weight, penetration, broadhead design, and arrow setup such as FOC.
I shoot a 620 gr arrow, with 200 gr at the tip from my 57# longbow. I can tell you my arrow isnt gonna break any sound barriers. My bow is dead quiet, my arrows fly like darts, and when they hit, they hit hard, and pentrate deep.
Here are links to his studies. The first one is an article written about Momentum, Kinetic energy and Arrow Penetration. Its dry reading, but very informative and educational.
The 2nd link is to the entires series of his studies. There are several.
As responsible bowhunters, we should always strive to make sure our setup is adequate for the game we pursue. Razor sharp broadheads on a properly tuned arrow/bow combination, accurately placed, and taking responsible shots to ensure quick clean kill shots. We owe that to the animals we hunt.
The fact that I can't recall ever having come across an instance where an experienced bowhunter stated that they used to shoot much heavier arrows and now shoot lighter speed arrows sums it all up nicely for me.
Autumn, the problem is the delivery truck is 5x heavier and has greater ground clearance as well as a stronger structure. The center mass is higher hitting the walls in more flexible areas.
TD - Put an FMJ in the 22-250 and watch it zip through any elk, minus the heavy bone of course.
i'm hunting with 389gr arrows and am totally comfortable with it. 340 spine arrow and 87-89 lbs of ke should get it done very nicely.
Wow, now that is quite the thread! Some good stuff in there somewhere I am sure!
A couple things I would consider strongly is the durability differences between light and heavy arrows. Elk are way tougher than deer, don't let anyone tell you any different. I have seen good shots turn into 5 mile tracks. I want 2 holes on every elk I shoot and weight is the best way to accomplish this. You can go up in poundage but why shoot a weight you can't handle well? You are just asking for trouble.
Lighter arrows can do the job if conditions are right or even just good, but I personally don't prepare for good conditions I prepare for the worst and practice for the best. Elk are my favorite big game animal and I owe them all the respect they deserve.
Just another side note and this will vary from bow to bow and setup to setup but there is often less difference in trajectory by dropping to lighter arrows than you may think. On multiple setups I have found that with light arrows at longer distances my pin gap was actually wider with the lighter arrows. They were narrower closer up but not at distance. I switched back to my heavier arrows and haven't looked back. This was only a 125g drop but it shows that if you are looking to go light weight just for a trajectory advantage you may not be gaining much if anything.
The Dr. Ashby articles are very informative if you really want to learn from a gent that has spent decades and 100's of animals studying this stuff. People here talk of scientific proof vs anecdotal evidence. We are all anecdotal compared the the massive amount of information he has compiled.
This link is to one of his short explanations of what makes his idea of a perfect arrow. http://www.alaskabowhunting.com/PR/ATA_Handout_Text_Web.pdf
Hope this Helps!
Arrowsnfoam, the simple fact is the truck has much greater mass, thus much greater momentum. Simple law of physics. It doesnt change whether its an arrow, a truck or a frieght train.
"People who shoot lights out all time,stay in dark" "Animal touched by heavier/slower become lighter/faster"
"Bigdan pull posts faster than Woody pull punches"
"Toto bless rain and Ashby in Africa"
Thank you Genesis 8^)