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One year with FF Silent Knight SK300's
Just wanted to share my experiences after fletching 20 arrows using shield cut Flex-Fletch Silent Knight SK300 fletchings and shooting and hunting with them for over a year now. First off I the very first fletchings I ever used were Flex-Fletch FFP 418's and they worked fantastically. I got pretty good a fletching and re-fletching arrows and started doing arrows for my friends and rather quickly ran out of the FFP 418's. When it came time to order more fletchings I wanted something a little lighter and through my research I had read ALOT of guys were using the SK300's which were intended for use on cross bow bolts on their hunting arrows with great success. Seeing as they were a little lighter I decided to give them a try. I ordered two packs of blaze orange and one flo-yellow. The reviews I read stressed how easy they were to glue on, that they were extremely durable and very quiet in flight and steered fixed blade BH's extremely well, all with bows shooting much faster than mine. I started with my last 14 new bare made by made by Beman for Cabela's 340 Stalker Extreme carbon arrows which I felt were THE best deal I ever saw on carbon hunting arrows. I use to get a dozen .003 straightness factor arrows for under $60. If had known Cabela's was going to discontinue selling them I would've stocked up by buying at least 3 dozen. I closely inspected the new fletchings and noticed they were very durable and I used two pliers to try to pull one apart I had to use a quite considerable amount of force to get it to tear. I also tried repeatedly to bend with my hands to see if I could easily get it to remain misshapen and it consistently returned to it's original shape. I prepped my arrows by first ruffing up the end with 0000 steel wool than cleaned them with denatured alcohol and a absolutely clean white cotton rag cleaned the arrow until the cloth had no discoloration indicating the arrow shaft was 100% clean. I then use a hair dyer set on low heat to ensure the arrow is 100% dry. Then using denatured alcohol and wiped down each new fletching and allowed them to dry for one hour. I then used Loc-tight super glue ultra control gel to glue on the fletchings. I found the Loc-tight control gel is about perfect viscosity for being able to precisely control how much glue to apply to the fletching and avoid over applying glue. I use a three fletch 3* right helical Arizone EZ-Fletch jig. I had no issues for failures of the SK300's attaching to all arrows. I make sure to remove if any all excess glue from the shaft between the arrows and use some of the excess to put a dab on the leading end of each fletching as added insurance against coming loose. I have a simple arrow rest that I put freshly fletched arrows in so they can not roll around and the fletchings can not come into contact with anything while drying. I then re-fletched 6 arrows that the fletching had become damaged and also set them aside in the same jig that holds up to 3 dozen arrows. I always allowed all arrows to dry for a minimum of a full 48 hours. About 70 hours later I had time enough to perform a popper very thorough inspection and test my arrows. I found that the Arizona EZ jig and I had done a pretty good job and I was very satisfied with how little excess glue was on the shafts between the fletchings and I could see no indication that any of the fletchings had failed to adhere well. I then did my best to try to get the fletchings to come off by pulling and folding every fletching as hard as I felt I could without damaging the fletchings. I then grasped all three fletchings in my right hand and squeezed very tightly while spinning the arrow with my left hand and again no fletchings failed in any way. So far so good. I then took two of the newly fletched arrows and two of the re-fletched arrows attached my practice fixed blade BH of choice, spin tested and confirmed alignment as good, and purposely shot them into a cheap foam target that the arrow would go in all the way past the fletchings and I would have to pull the arrow out front first end again no fletchings cam off or suffered permanent damage or distortion significant enough to affect the accuracy of additional test shootings, confirming to me they are more than durable for my use.
Next I shot them to test for how well they would stabilize my 100 grain 3 blade 1-1/8" CD Wasp Boss SST fixed blade BH's. I had three of the same arrows but fletched with the FFP418's to shoot as a comparison. Surprisingly out to 40 yards they shot basically to the same POI. I then had my son shoot my bow while I remained safely inside the garage to listen as the arrow went by to see if they were louder, the same or quieter in flight than the FFP418's. I just had my yearly physical at work and again they were amazed at not only had my hearing again had not changed since I hired in 10 years ago but it is still remains excellent. I felt they were if anything slightly quieter than the FFP418's but I couldn't be 100% certain, but they were quiet enough that I have no concerns they might spook game while in flight. I have a few arrows left fletched with Blazers that I had mu son also shoot and the SK300's were noticeably quieter in flight then the 2" Blazers if that matters.
I then shot them against the arrows I had fletched with the FFP418's out to 45 yards with my Wasp B/SST's and they were just as accurate. No they weren't measurably more accurate but they were every bit as accurate. I spin tested every arrow to in sure perfect arrow/BH alignment. I was again very pleasantly surprised when the SK300's shot close enough to the FFP418's that I could hunt with either in complete confidence. My set up is a 2014 Darton DS 3714 DL>28.5" DW>56lbs Madusa Max drop away rest Arrow> Beman ICS made for Cabela's 340 Stalker Extreme SF of .003 Arrow weighs 443 gains total weight I use a Cabela's mechanical release aid. Fletchings> Flex-Feltch Silent Knight SK300 Flex2 .485" high by 3" long weight is 7 grains Used Arizona EZ-Fletch 3* right helical jig and Loc-Tight Super glue ultra control gel Arrow speed per Caldwell Premium chronograph 5 shot average of 267 FPS I have spent a little over a year now shooting arrows fletched with the SK300's and are satisfied in every way imaginable and would recommend them to anyone shooting a bow who's performance is similar to mine shooting arrows also similar to mine with a fixed blade BH again similar to mine.
Great write up, DMT! I've looked at these SK300's several times, and thought many times about getting some. Everything I've seen on them however, lists them as a "crossbow bolt vane". I always thought they would do an equally good job on an arrow as well, and it seems your experiment confirms that. I'll also second your recommendation on the Loctite Super Glue Ultra Control Gel....that stuff is the best I've found for fletchings. I'm currently getting great results from the Bohning Heat vanes, but when I get the urge to tinker with my setup, I'll give these SK300's a try!