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I've tested a lot of arrow setups over the last few years and personally I like 450 to 550 grains total arrow weight for a good combination of retained momentum for penetration and good trajectory for the distance I want to shoot. Couple this with a sharp, durable, cut on contact broadhead, and penetration on elk is great in my experience. What total arrow weight do you guys shoot for elk?
Agree. That's the weight I use for all animals I hunt with a bow, compound or recurve.
560 grains with an XL 2 blade fixed. I haven’t put one through a leg bone yet, but it zips right through ribs and shoulder blades.
My arrows come in at about 530 grains, I use them on everything as well.
480gr ...w/COC 3 blade fixed head.
455 gr....found this to be the sweet spot for my rig in terms of weight and speed.
569 gr, 31 inch 250 spine fmj, 2 inch blazers, 50 gr brass insert, 10 gr iron will collar, 125 gr, iron will non vented broadhead. 70 lbs. Perfect set up for me.
I agree. Seems to be good weight range. My weight range I like to be at is 450-500 grains. Currently at 476. Seems to do some carnage with a iron will on the tip
65-70 spine doug fir, 30.25 long ,3 - 5" turkey feathers with 125 up front. 600gr
480, however my arrows have yet to see the inside of an elk. Hope to change that in September..
I arrowed a bull last Sept, 63# bow, 31”, about 490 grains, Iron Will vented 125 gr. Shot was 44 yards. The arrow blew through the chest and beyond it by about 20 yards. Hoping to repeat this Sept. Oh, and the bull went 30 yards and collapsed.
About 410. Light but they usually go thru or hang up on the fletching on the off sidd
394. Elk keep dying with the setup, so hate to change.
One of these threads was on here a year or so back and I was surprised the average weight was 420. I'm right at 420 meself. So I was relieved that so many bowsiters were shooting the same weight as my setup so I didn't have to build a heavier arrow for elk.
I shoot 390 grain arrow at 263 lb. draw. I use it for elk or whitetail deer. I have never lost an elk I hit. If I could guess distances good I would go with a heavier arrow for kinetic energy if not I would go with a lighter arrow for flatter trajectory. If you are like me I do not want to change my set up when I can kill both animals with the same set up.
I’ve been between 475 and 500 for a few years since I shot a bull in the “knuckle” of the shoulder 6 years ago. I was at 415ish until then. I realize I probably would have had the same result no matter my arrow choice, and I haven’t shot at an elk since, but 2 antelope and 3 deer died quick with my new set up...
Also glad to see others are in low 400s like me.
No one has brought it up yet and for conversation sake.....what is the minimum draw weight to push a heavy arrow for proper penetration in an elk or moose? Use the distance at 35 yards.
JL too much goes into it to dumb it down to just draw weight. Then you can start arguing how much penetration is needed.
Draw weight, draw length, cam efficiency, arrow weight, Broadhead style, etc.
425 has put a lot of elk on the ground over the years. Aluminum and carbon shafts off longbows in the 55-65# range.
Current arrow setup is 490 with 200 gr up front. It works well on everything so far...
JL. My 31” dL makes almost any arrow a proper choice. Way to many variables.
My arrow weight last year was 455 grains. This year yet to be determined.
Esp, nobody like a braggart! Lol! ;)
The arrows I built for elk that I've never loosed (close, full draw, only ass showing) are 486 grains. They are now my whitetail arrows for the 60# Synergy. They shoot so good and quiet the bow nice.
Its been a while since I weighed my arrow but it was around 485gr, this works perfect for me, its a 340fmj tipped with a exodus, so far around 16ish elk and moose kills, perfect elk and moose arrow IMO
440 grain, 300 spine Black Eagle with 100 grain Vipertricks.
I'm running the AK 300 by ArrowTech Archery total weight with 125 Grn Rage is 501 Strongest arrow I've ever shot.
JL, this will depend a lot on the broadhead used. I've been measuring the force to push through hide, muscle, and shoulder bones with different broadhead designs. A very sharp 2 blade cut on contact with or without bleeders that has good edge retention takes a fraction of the force to push through compared to other heads. This will greatly improve penetration when needed on lighter poundage bows or if bones are impacted.
I just ordered some arrows to get me at 450-475. Current setup was 385gr. @ 307 fps from 70# Mathews ChillR.
650 grains approx from a hybrid longbow with limbs in the low 50's.
464 grains from my recurve this year, dropped from 489 grains last year. Shooting a recurve that's shoots the 464 grain arrows at over 216 fps, from 52 pounds. I get more momentum from the lighter arrow then I do from the heavier arrow at 20 yards.
When you start dropping arrow speed, you start dropping momentum, quick. Chronographs and momentum calculators will show you this. Shooting a lot of stickbows, you learn the trade off between arrow speed and arrow weight and momentum. And as much as we hate admitting it, a good decent foc arrow will get you the penetration you need from low poundage bows.
Too many other variables in the real world for that chart to mean very much.
I'm right there with Buglmin, except my carbon trad arrows are right around 450 for elk, with 53# recurve and 57# RD longbows. For my compound with a single pin set at 30 yards, Iron Will 125 grain head, I dropped down to 420 grains for flatter trajectory.
Funny, but back before we obsessed over arrow weight, FOC, momentum, KE, and all that, we just found a combination that flew well, tuned our setups, stuck a sharp broadhead on the front, and killed a lot of stuff.....
Wow! 216 fps recurve with 9gr/lb draw weight. That's smokin! (but at 20 yards surely 25gr ain't much difference). Super curve?
Modern recurve designs blow away the old "classics". Bowyers have significantly improved limb design to release stored energy, and different combinations of wood and carbon deliver the goods. Nostalgia is cool, but the recurves of 30 years ago don't compare to the speed bows available today.
I believe a test can be designed and a force/penetration graph produced that will accurately show the differences between individual heads. I haven’t seen a test yet that used a load cell, Thompson slides, xy chart recorder, etc like that used for force draw plots but it would show real world differences in the force required to penetrate a uniform media, a set distance. But as many have seen, the difference between best and worst doesn’t mean much when the best hits scapula and the worst goes between the ribs.
476 grains for everything I hunt out of 62# compound. 400 grains out of my recurves which are all around 47#s. Shawn
441grain FMJ out of my Elite E35 set at 61#.
432 grains is my current setup.
Last year I was right at 500 grains. This year I will be at 550 grains. I have never had a problem with complete penetration on elk.
Seen the best results from 465 to 520 grs.
Without getting carried away with all the variables 400gr+ should be gtg, but arrow weight is the easy variable, the elks cooperation is where I need the most help.
“ I shoot 390 grain arrow at 263 lb. draw. I use it for elk or whitetail deer. I have never lost an elk I hit.”
“Shooting a recurve that's shoots the 464 grain arrows at over 216 fps, from 52 pounds. “
Honestly, I’m not sure which one of those two statements I find harder to believe.
I suppose maybe if your arms are long enough…?
I can’t imagine I’m ever going to see over 200 ft./s at 9 GPP...
Killed most my elk with 435gr. Going to increase it this season. Might go up to 550ish.
Guess I could mention that I’m thinking 540-ish from my #62.... Probably about 400 or so from the #48 and somewhere in between for the assorted #55s .... 8.5-9 GPP just seems to work for me...
I killed elk using arrow weights of 380-550 grains. All died from complete pass-through......arrow placement and head choice are much more important, IMO.
Picked up my new ones today. Easton Axis 340 spine with 75 grain s.s. outsert and 100 grain b.h. puts me at 470 grains. Will shoot through the chronograph tomorrow.
Jaquomo, not that it matters but wondering what your draw weight is on your compound. I'm also shooting a 420 grain arrow from my compound. The draw weight is 60 pounds.
700 grain Forgewood with 2 blade Zwickey. Hit large bull at front edge of rear leg and recovered the broken arrow with the broadhead stuck in the opposite front leg bone.
69# Harrison Longbow.
I’m shooting a PSE Evo 7, 70 lbs @ 28.5” draw with FMJ 340’s @ 29” with muzzy 100 grain 3 blade heads. Total arrow weight is right at 468 grains.
LKH, You must not have read the last elk shot Scenario hard quartering away, post.
You can’t shoot an elk at that angle! the stomach will stop it. LMAO
And I agree You probably shouldn’t with a 400ish grain arrow with thin razor blades.
I've found pretty much the same thing. Anything between 450 to 550 grains is an optimal elk arrow weight. So to split the difference, I try to keep my arrows at 500 grains. A good heavy arrow, with a 125 or 150 grain broadhead, is a beautiful thing.
I’m right at 585 grains, 15.8% FOC, and pushing 278 FPS. I’d always shot a 3 blade fixed head but switching to a single bevel 2 blade this year.
Last year was first year without a pass through on an elk, but was quartering away at 56 yards and about 2/3 of arrow was sticking out opposite side in front of offside front shoulder.
I’ve got 3 elk tags this year and I expect red carpets to be laid again!
750gr Grizzly Stik, 26.7% weight forward. 75# recurve, 70# compound., 200gr. Cutthroat single bevel. Get within "hunter's" range and hit them with the freight train. Not common by today's standards but penetration is never an issue...
Arrowflinger, I think my draw weight on the compound is around 58#? Never checked. My longbows and recurves are between 53-57.
ground hunter, awesome & inspirational post, you've done great sir. Looks like you're dialed in just fine with your setup, good luck this year!
Ground hunter, I don’t call your record below avg, not one bit. Hope you come to full draw on a slob this year, make them packers earn it!!
holy smokes 75 pound recurve. love to see a pic or video of shooting the bow.
Arrow weight alone doesn't offer much for guessing what penetration performance might be, a better approach would be to determine overall kinetic energy and momentum for the arrow which requires knowing both arrow weight and arrow speed. Easton has a decent chart showing KE for different setups. Like arrow weight, bow weight alone also doesn't tell you much about the penetration question.
Unfortunately not many states seem to understand or care about what an adequate archery setup might be for big game animals. Amazingly some states brag about their game populations and management strategies but don't have any archery bow season gear minimums at all...you can hunt with a toy bow and dimestore arrow if you want. Go figure.
580gr total weight..... 125 Bhead w/ 50 gr brass insert..... 80 lbs, 30” draw, slides a rage hypodermic through an elk like butter.
These days, 425 grains, blows right through them at 65#!
746grains 30" arrow 30"draw at 84#.
Holy cow fubar, that should get a pass through on a Volkswagen!
Fubar! My, man!
I wish I could still draw that much.
448-462 depending on vanes I use.
I haven’t decided yet which one I’m hunting elk with yet. I’ll probably wait till shooting all summer to finally decide which set up. I have some XX78 2315‘s footed shaft legacy’s that are flying really nice out of my long bow and they weigh about 530 grains
Also have FMJs flying very nice and they are 450 and change
I’ll run them through a Chrono and see which is giving me more momentum
I shoot a Victory Vap Elite 350 with G5 montec broad head coming in at 480 grain. Last year for a clean pass through at 63 yards on a cow elk, double lung went down in 15 seconds. Best combination of arrow/broad head/weight I’ve ever used.
I just saw the chart above on penetration in hide, muscle and shoulder bone. I think it’s very telling. And while not the only issue, the type and sharpness of your BH is a critical aspect to getting penetration and copious hemorrhaging.
I used to be closer to 480 grns at 240fps but now I’m like 420@270fps on a different bow.
If you are shooting Iron Wills it doesn't matter. Hit them anywhere and they will die.