Should I switch to a heavier arrow for elk?
It seems that the concensus is "heavier is better within reason"
Min. for the experienced guys I know is 420ish
A light one or a heavy one?
It's all white noise anyway. Shoot what you have confidence and experience in, go hunting, have fun.
What we think doesn't matter.
Exactly the reason for more arrow weight. An elk rib should not reduce penetration of an arrow with appropriate weight.
My 26" arrow weighs in at a whopping 402 grains, and is propelled out of a devastating 56 lb bow. I've shot basically the same arrow weight for the last 25 years. I've never had a penetration problem on any of the big game critters that I've harvested, including 13 bulls.
If you shoot a setup that allows you to utilize a heavier arrow then thats great, but there are other options...
The heavier arrow can be tuned perfectly, shot proficiently, built with structural integrity, etc. just like the lighter one...except...the lighter one likes to stop quicker.... And that is a NO NO.
There is not an upside to shooting the lighter of the two arrows.
How about arrow drop? If the arrow shoots flatter, estimating distance is more forgiving.
Everyone says that shot placement is the most important thing. Don't lighter arrows help with that?
For the reason you stated....flatter trajectory... I will actually drop my arrow weight down to about 815 gr. with 32-33% FOC for elk because I don't mind shooting out to 35 yards. (Haven't done it yet though)
But within reason, regardless of weight, any arrow can be shot accurately in the backyard at a stationary target. In the wild, arrows hit in unintentional locations like big bones. Just about any setup will give you good penetration through soft tissue lungs and heart. No issues there.
But the bone busting setup will slide right through the heart and lungs as well as big bones.
Ok I get it hvy arrow equals better success. Heres my Question How many out there have short draw lengths. 24-26 inches??? Whats your arrow weight and draw weight. how fast and maximum effective range???
Thx Merry Xmas
Just a well placed and tuned one. :)
I have a 26 1/2" DL and thought I was always doomed to shooting a relatively light arrow. I killed many elk with a 385 gr arrow, but I always wished I could shoot heavier. I did several things that allowed me to finally accomplish that.
I had always heard that your shaft should only stick out about 1/2" beyond your rest, so that's what I went with. By lengthening my shaft another 1 1/2" and going to a 125 gr tip, I was able to shoot a heavier spined shaft, thereby gaining quite a bit of weight. In addition, by going to the FMJ, my arrow now weighs 445 gr, which is more than adequate.
With a short DL, a 6" brace height doesn't present the problems it can with a longer DL, since our power stroke is shorter. Going to a "speed bow" can recoup some of the speed we lose with our short DL without sacrificing accuracy.
I currently shoot a BowTech 82nd Airborne. At 67 lbs, it shoots my 445 gr arrow @ 270fps. I just ordered a Destroyer 350. The one I shot at the dealer was set at 71 lbs. It shot that same 445 gr arrow @ 280 fps. I now get KE and momentum I used to only dream about!
As far as effective range, I practice out to 70 yds. This makes those 30-40 yd shots much easier. I would take a 50 yd shot if all conditions were perfect, but that's about it. Any further and I might as well go back to shooting a rifle.
Look at this way. Shoot a set-up that maximizes lethality for those things you can't control. No matter how good a shot you are, you can't control where your arrow hits when shooting at a live animal. You can, however control the distance you shoot at. If you can't be sure of the range, use a range finder or pass on the shot. If you're passing on too many shots, maybe you need to work on range estimation - developing a skill, instead of using technology as a crutch.
Mine is shortish at 27.5". I shoot a 435 gr. arrow at 293 fps from a 70# Hoyt Alphaburner. Take 10 fps off that per 1" of DL below mine as an estimate (i.e. 278 fps at 26", 258 fps at 24" if they go that low). Hoyt tends to be fast in the shorter DL's for some reason.
My set up is a SBXT, 70# at 28.5", shooting FMJ 300, cut at 28.25", with 125 grn BH and a 1.5" 'outsert' behind the tip = 536 grn arrow at 238 fps.
As WapitiBob points out, spine and shaft weight are two totally different animals. A stiffer spined shaft requires a thicker wall in order to produce that stiffer spine, so naturally your gpi will increase. Basically, the increased shaft weight is a by-product of the increased spine.
As also pointed out, increasing the tip weight will decrease the spine, decreasing the tip weight will increase the spine. That is why changing tip weights often requires changing which shaft (spine) will tune best out of your bow. Not always, but usually.
But don't over think it! (grin) Most 340 spine arrows in the 27"-28 1/2" length will handle from a 100 grn head wt. to a 175 grain head wt. if you draw from 60# to 66# Now if you need to up the spine to 300 then you could still play with the same length arrows & head wt. but now you get away with 66# to 75# draw wt.
So you do have variance there, it's not like 25 grains will throw your setup way off! Just stay within the parameters, if not then adjusting your arrow spine may be needed?
What I always do first is choose the head wt. I want to shoot or hunt with then build an arrow around that not the other way around! It's by far the easiest to do!
will this same set up work on a hard quartering away shot? or a frontal shot?
although i will continue to strive for making a great shot, after talking to some great elk killers i will be upping my arrow weight next year for elk so i'm not limiting myself to a broadside shot.
I am now using the GT Ultralight 300 for my 71 lb. Widow. I like this arrow because first of all it is very stiff and light at 8.6 gr/in. The combination of 'stiff AND light' allows me to load up the front with 500-600 grains, which includes 100 gr. of external footing, 100 gr. insert and 400 gr. broadhead and adapter, and still be tuned perfectly for my bow and not heavier than I want.
This gives me 32-36% Ultra-EFOC.
AND...as sure as I am writing this the 850 gr. 34% FOC shoots significantly flatter than a low FOC arrow of the same weight.
go to an archery shop with bow and broadhead in hand, they will fix you up.
Most everybody on the planet that shoots a straight carbon arrow will end up real close to 400 grains. That's where this "400 gr. minimum for Elk" comes from. There ain't no magic formula that spit out the "400 grain" number. It's where we all end up and people just started saying that's what you need and it continued from there.
If you want heavier by 100 grains, tell the shop and they can choose the components to get you there.
Back in the 70's that number was over 500 because that's where you end up with aluminum shafts.
I could point you to arrow charts but they will do nothing for you if you don't build your own arrows.
You guys shoot a arrow slinging machine that has soooo much power and ability to sling an arrow at ridiculously fast speeds. Because of that I can't understand why you don't shoot at least 600-700 grain arrows. You would absolutely destroy any bone of any size in probably any animal hunted. And would not loose any trajectory out to probably 30 yards (guessing).
You could easily build an arrow for a compound bow that would be illegal it would be so stinkin deadly...on any animal. :))
You will never convince the majority of hunters this though, this info will fall on deaf ears for the most part!!!! (grin) I'm setting up my elk arrow for this year at 550-560grn at 69#---It will do the job!!!
When I guided whitetail bowhunting at Willow Point Island it was disturbing to see and trail sooo many deer that were shot with fast light arrows. Terrible penetration on way to many occasions.
I really wish the mindset of hunters was all about animal recovery. It would transform the bowhunting community as seen from many different angles.
You can control the broadhead sharpness all the time and the shot placement some of the time...which is the problem.
yes...It is a given that very light fast arrows will go through an animal WHEN the perfect shot is made. A field point will blow through a soft tissue rib cage when the shot is perfect.
It ain't the perfect shot that is the problem. It is when the shot is NOT perfect. What do you do then? Chalk it up as "oh well, bad shot". "Wish he didn't take that slight turning step as the arrow broke the 40 yard mark."
My point was I just personally wish more hunters cared more about that aspect of bowhunting with their equipment decisions.
I have a 26.5 inch draw length. And like I said earlier I shoot a 500 grain arrow. Heavy arrows win over light any time. i dont care about speed. Why do you think trad guys shooting slow bows can blow thru critters?
Below is just a little piece of one of Dr. Ashby's field data reports.
"Using the TPI formula, a 60 pound longbow firing a 788 grain compressed cedar arrow, with a 190 grain Grizzly broadhead, at 148 fps has only 38.34 ft. lbs of K.E., .52 lb.-sec. of momentum, but has a TPI of 1.50. That combination was used to repeatedly shoot through the scapula of a large zebra stallion and through the thorax to the off side, often breaking off-side ribs (never failing to penetrate the scapula and completely through the thorax). This was compared to a compound firing a 555 grain aluminum shafted Black Diamond at 229+ fps. This combination gives 65.21 ft. lbs. of K.E., a momentum of .57 lb.-sec., but a TPI of only 1.27. That compound was, at best, able to penetrate only 5 to 8 inched beyond the scapula, and occasionally failed to penetrate the scapula at all on that same zebra carcass.
The 60# longbow/788 grain arrow/Grizzly broadhead was also compared to a high energy compound firing a 450 grain carbon arrow tipped with a three blade head, with cut width of 1 1/8" and a cutting blade length of 2", at a velocity of 259+ fps. This combination yields 76.56 ft. lbs. of K.E., .52 lb.-sec. of momentum, but a TPI of only 0.62. It was unable to penetrate the zebra scapula."
KE is irrelevant according to the best lethality research I personally have read.
Observant, there is a reason for that. Sapcut's last post is anecdotal evidence as to why.
Have you hit anything other than the rib cage? Just curious.
If you shoot thru a chrono as you add weight to your arrow and your arrow is spined correctly, you will notice that kinetic energy increases (slightly) as well as momentum when you add arrow weight.
Regardlesss of whether you are a subscriber to the "kinetic energy" club or the "momentum club," a heavier arrow has more of both. If you start setting your chrono next to the target and check on target arrow velocities at various ranges, it's a really big eye opener as to the benefits of a heavier arrow.
I've seen folks go WAY too far in the speed category dropping arrow weight to reach the magical 300fps benchmark. And I've seen just as many folks weight their arrows down to where they are shooting a slug of a bow, because they read somewhere that arrow weight was in fact the holy grail. Both situations serve themselves poorly. I wouldn't shoot a 70lb cam bow with a 350gr arrow, nor whould I shoot a 50lb longbow with a 750gr arrow. Both give away too much in perfomance on one end or the other.
"A "balanced" and tuned setup is more important than any other single factor."
I agree there probably are detrimental extremes on both ends of the spectrum but a balanced and tuned setup is a "given" with every single arrow any bowhunter should shoot. Whether heavy or light, the arrow can be perfectly tuned for the bow.
Again, when everything else is equal (tuning, sharp head, etc.) it seems that positive penetration is directly proportionate to increased arrow weight... for a looong trek within said spectrum.
Very well said! There's a common sense middle ground that folks with first-hand experience generally understand.
1. Structural integrity of the arrow system 2. Arrow flight 3. Degree of arrow FOC 4. BH Mechanical advantage 5. Shaft dia to ferrule dia ratio 6. Arrow mass 7. BH edge finish 8. Shaft profile 9. BH/arrow silhoutte 10. Type of edge bevel 11. Tip design 12. Arrow mass above the heavy bone threshold 13. Arrow force derived from bow
These are Ashby's most important factors. You can overcome shortcomings in your setup for the factors at the top of the list by increasing the factors near the bottom, but you must increase the bottom factors by a much larger amount to compensate.
too light=more speed but less penetration.
what is in the middle between too fast and too heavy is up to each hunters interpretation but I have found that an arrow weight between 375gr and 550gr should cover that happy medium area depending on your bow setup. obviously if you are shooting 55lbs and a 550gr arrow you are shooting the wron arrow for your elk setup. on the other end of the spectrum if you are shooting 80lbs and a 375gr arrow, you are also shooting the wrong arrow for your setup.
I have been told by a number of people that when elk hunting you should try to achieve a KE of 65ft.lbs or more. My setup has a KE of about 82ft.lbs with a 429gr arrow but I am bumping up to about 480gr total weight this year.
And styling your setup to a "perfect shot" is fine, if all you are taking is layup broadside shots at close range and that animal doesn't move due to the slap from your loud light arrow setup.
I do not think anyone is going to see that, too much eviednce to the contrary exists. Criticality in range extimation - yes, but poor penetration - no.
I said "TOO" heavy not just heavy. If you shoot an arrow that is" TOO" heavy for your setup you get poor results
I did an informal, but informative test years ago when stationed on Ft Lewis WA. Getting ready for elk season I was changing at the time from an overdraw setup (popular a tthe time), to a full length elk seetup. I used 3/8" plywood at 40yds. I was shooting a 63# @ 27" PSE Infinity at the time. At the time I was able to put together 5-6 arrow setups that tuned well, and I shot all with field points and all Easton Alum XX75's. The lowest was 400gr and the heaviest was 650gr. The best pentration was NOT with the 650gr arrow. It was actually with a 550gr setup.
Likewise that is the setup I used. But the test did not increase pentration with weight. It peeked, and then dropped. Granted, the drop off was much less from 550 to 650 than it was with the 400 to 550 range. But it did drop off on both ends.
So? Would the 850 gr. arrow out of the 50# bow penetrate better than a 400 gr. arrow out of it? I am trying to get at the notion there is such a thing as too heavy of an arrow insofar as penetration is concerned.
RLong, 1) plywood is not homogenous, and b) unless all the arrows had the same OD, you may not have been testing what you think you were.
IMO ....Regarding degree of penetration, there may be a slight possibility that an arrow can be too heavy and result in measureable negative results...but there are countless examples of an arrow being too light (even if its screaming fast) and resulting in very negative results.
There is no comparison. There are hoards of hunters who use too light of an arrow and have terrible penetration.
I have never seen nor heard of a hunter using an arrow that stopped quickly at the point of resistance due to being TOO heavy....as light arrows do.
That is ignoring however,the fact that somewhere in between is an arrow weight that outperforms both. Unless your only desire is to argue on behalf of Ashby's data. :^)
Sapcut....."There are hoards of hunters who use too light of an arrow and have terrible penetration."
Agreed.....and there are plenty that can't see past the weight is better issue and shoot underperforming setups on the other end as well.
In terms of a blend between penetration and trajectory perhaps, but not purely for penetration which is what my comment was directed at.
I do not mean to suggest that heavier is better is absolute, but within the *relevant* range (i.e. 350 gr. - 1,200 grs) I argue it is.
Were all the arrows you used to kill plywood of the same outside diameter and did the points all have the same geometry (i.e. FP's for larger OD arrows have a more blunt taper). I would be willing to bet you are arguing for an optimal "in between" based on those flawed bases - meaning there were 3 different variables (weight/OD/point profile) and you attributed the varying penetration depth as being solely a function of 1 variable.
Agreed.....and there are plenty that can't see past the weight is better issue and shoot underperforming setups on the other end as well."
Really? You really know of hunters that have penetration trouble due to their arrow being TOO heavy?
Like I said I have personally never heard of such.
The only "big bones" a bowhunter needs to worry about on an elk are the scapulas (or the brisket on a straight-facing shot). The scapula is typically hit because of poor range estimation and misjudging trajectory. On anything besides a steep downhill, quartering-to shot, there are no vital organs behind the scapula, even if the arrow somehow blows through it (I've done it once, steep downhill quartering-to shot, 525 grain arrow from a 68# recurve, killed the bull - but it was a bad shot choice).
I know plenty of guys who have penetration problems from using arrows too heavy for their range estimation ability - the arrows don't penetrate very deep into the ground beneath the elk when they miss low.
Unless we are hunting plywood, this is not a pure argument. Under actual elk hunting conditions, at the moment of truth, there must be a balance between trajectory, penetration, and margin-of-error.
Give me a guy with a 450 grain or heavier arrow who is accurate at unknown distances without a rangefinder, under tense hunting conditions, vs. a guy shooting a 700+ grain arrow who can't consistently hit a pig's butt with a banjo under the same circumstances. Don't tell us about "only limiting shots to 20 yards or under", or whatever. We all know what happens in the woods.
So if you miss an animal low it is automatically due to the arrow being too heavy? I guess that could be an example of an extreme case.
Great shooting. I would love to make the head on shot at a big bull. I have heard some disagree but it does seem to be a killer shot.
I haven't had the chance but I would like to bust through the off side shoulder to get an exit hole. However, I do realize the animal is running dead anyway at that point.
Shouldn't it be half of a quarter when a quarter is 90 degrees out of 360?
I don't see how a tuned bow is going to help your penetration past ten yards, at that point a tuned arrow is going make all the difference.
Most of mine have been killed with longbows and recurves, 57#, shooting arrows that weigh between 450-475 grains with 4 blade Muzzys and a sharpened trocar tip. Have never had any issue with penetration except a couple that I stupidly stuck in the scapula and one in the bottom of the brisket.
Sapcut, most low misses are the result of poor trajectory estimation or dropping the bow arm. Bow arm can be fixed by form discipline. Trajectory/distance estimation issues can be helped by minimizing the margin of error within one's so-called "effective range", whatever that is.
But your point is taken and I agree....there are far too many variables to simply take one aspect and make it the "law" of arrow penetration.
Sapcut.....as a matter of fact I have met many. They complain of not getting adequate performance on game, and blame the poundage of the bow as being too low. When in fact they are way too heavy for their particular setup and basically turned their 55# bow into something that performs like a 35# slug. Not the bows fault.
Mind you, I'm not an advocate of light arrows, and will always err on the side of heavier shafting.
I totally agree about form discipline, mainly the bow arm drop. I think, with me anyway, that the breakdown in shooting form is so underrated when arrows don't seem to hit the spot. It is easy to get caught up in so many types of "hype" and fail to even recognize bad form, nuch less correct it.
So it is all relative to the overall setup.
I missed the first big bull I ever killed with about an 8 yard shot. Shot right under him while I was sitting under a tree, and I know it was a bow arm drop because I picked a spot - I think. I'm not proud of that, but it happened. Thankfully he stopped at about 25 yards so I could kill him with a second shot.
Your right...everything else is totally out the window if form is OFF.
My setup was this:
53# Recurve Easton FMJ Arrow 100 grain brass insert at the tip 175 grain Abowyer brown bear broadhead total arrow weight of 650 grains ~18% FOC
IMO I don't care what people say, roll with the heaviest arrow you can find with the toughest broadhead you can find.
Maybe re-run the numbers for Momentum instead? Velocity plummets on Contact. Mass decreases only if parts come off of your arrow.
Pretty comical to see people saying that a bow that won’t break X fps isn’t worth hunting with, though.