Black Gold Sights
Fletching Experiment
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
elkstabber 03-Aug-18
elkstabber 03-Aug-18
elkstabber 03-Aug-18
elkstabber 03-Aug-18
elkstabber 03-Aug-18
elkstabber 03-Aug-18
caribou77 03-Aug-18
JTreeman 03-Aug-18
Franklin 03-Aug-18
SixLomaz 03-Aug-18
elkstabber 04-Aug-18
elkstabber 04-Aug-18
huntinelk 04-Aug-18
elkstabber 04-Aug-18
Grubby 04-Aug-18
Ken 04-Aug-18
midwest 04-Aug-18
elkstabber 04-Aug-18
From: elkstabber
03-Aug-18

elkstabber's embedded Photo
The target setup.
elkstabber's embedded Photo
The target setup.
This season I have spent a good deal of time tweaking my compound to maximize the accuracy. Once getting past some form issues it became obvious that arrow construction is critical to accuracy. We all know this but I wanted to test it.

First, I used OnTarget2 software to pick some shafts and components. I found from shooting several bare shafts that the Victory RIP .204” ID shot best so then I conducted this brief fletching test.

I’ve shot 4 fletch feathers from my recurve for 15+ years so I wanted to try 4 fletch vanes. Also, I listened to a podcast where Randy Ulmer said that he shoots 6 fletch. He explained that he wants his arrow to spin as quickly as possible to minimize his form errors. In order to get the steepest angle on his vanes he uses short vanes (because a long vane can’t be glued on as steep, it’s too long to fit). So I bought the short vanes and did the experiment.

Here are the details. Bow is almost tuned, but not quite. So look at the size of the group and not where the group hit. Two identical individual shafts were used, shaft A and shaft B. Same insert and broadhead. The broadhead is an unvented 3 blade VPA, which should exaggerate flight problems due to being unvented. I hoped this would test the fletching’s ability to control the arrow.

Shaft A was fletched with 4 fletch at a reasonably steep angle and shaft B was fletched with 6 fletch at a steep angle. About 8 shots were taken with the same arrow into the same target. These are the top two pieces of paper. Winds were gusting from the side at about 5-10 mph.

Then I refletched shaft A with 6 and shaft B with 4. Winds were calm. These shots are the bottom two pieces of paper.

The distance was 55 yards.

I marked each shot with an orange marker and circled the group. In the top pieces of paper there are three shots circled by black pen. Ignore those shots. Two were from the night before when it was too dark to shoot and one was when I shot the wrong arrow at the wrong piece of paper.

From: elkstabber
03-Aug-18

elkstabber's embedded Photo
elkstabber's embedded Photo
The paper targets

From: elkstabber
03-Aug-18

elkstabber's embedded Photo
elkstabber's embedded Photo
The arrows A and B

From: elkstabber
03-Aug-18

elkstabber's embedded Photo
elkstabber's embedded Photo
The fletching.

From: elkstabber
03-Aug-18

elkstabber's embedded Photo
elkstabber's embedded Photo
The fletching again

From: elkstabber
03-Aug-18
Of course this wasn’t a perfect experiment, but I think the 6 fletch did a better job for my setup, especially in the wind. Your results may vary.

From: caribou77
03-Aug-18
I like it. The group size really didnt change much though.

From: JTreeman
03-Aug-18
I would say inconclusive at best. But they certainly look cool. Shoot whatever you feel most confident in!

—jim

From: Franklin
03-Aug-18
How much did the change the weight of the arrow and the FOC.

From: SixLomaz
03-Aug-18
How about noise increase?

From: elkstabber
04-Aug-18
Franklin: the 6 fletch weighs 20 gr total, and 4 fletch is 36 gr total so the 6 fletch has higher foc (about 15-16%) and is lighter.

Sixlomaz: I wish I could measure the noise. The 6 vanes have less surface area and shorter height. I’ve heard that fletching height is what creates the noise. If it’s true than the 6 should be quieter but I don’t know for sure. Have you tested the noise?

From: elkstabber
04-Aug-18

elkstabber's embedded Photo
elkstabber's embedded Photo
I just realized that the picture of the paper targets wasn’t very clear so I marked them up with a Sharpie so y’all could see clearer.

It looks to me that the 6 fletch controlled shafts A and B better because they grouped in almost the place. The 4 fletch looks to me like shafts A and B are in different groups.

From: huntinelk
04-Aug-18
Do you think the 4 fletch group had more drag making them group lower than the 6 fletch?

From: elkstabber
04-Aug-18
huntinelk: I’m not sure. There are a couple of variables. The 4 fletch has more drag and is 16 gr heavier. Also, my rest needed to come up a little. I think the 4 fletch controlled the shaft less and that’s why they hit lower.

I am not an expert in fine tuning compound bows, my experience is mostly with recurves. I did this experiment because it didn’t cost much time or money. I’m posting here in hopes that others will do their own experiments and share them.

From: Grubby
04-Aug-18
Interesting, I’m considering a switch my self and the 6 fletch is appealing

From: Ken
04-Aug-18
Both groups look good, but the sharpie pic shows the 6 is a little better.

What fletching jig did you use and how did you use it to fletch 6 vanes? I have a Bitzenburger and it only has 3 and 4 fletching settings.

From: midwest
04-Aug-18
fletch 3, rotate shaft 180 deg, fletch 3

From: elkstabber
04-Aug-18
I used a Bitzenburger and did what Midwest said.

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