So, this year I have been thinking about going to a heavier arrow set up. By heavier I mean 550-570. I would be shooting a 3 blade VPA. 2 questions: 1. Would you be willing to sacrifice trajectory for weight? 2. Is trajectory more important than weight?
I'm interested to hear all points, especially the guys that have gone heavy. If you have gone heavy, have you been in a situation where you wished you had a flatter trajectory?
I shooting 315gr. Tuff heads on either 30" FMJ or Carbon Express Mayhems. Out of a 68# Mathews No cam. It's slower then the newer bows but I'm not worried about any shoulders on deer. My Stickbow set up is 43# Bear Kodiak with 30"150 carbon express Heritage and 200 gr. Cutthroats. I choose heavy over light any day. Hell I'm only shooting 20 yards max usually anyways. The same distance a 8 year old kid can throw a rock and hit a deer.
There is a lot more advantages to heavier arrows than lighter ones. The only advantage of a lighter arrow is the trajectory.
Heavier arrows give you more momentum, losses less arrow speed down range, the bow is more quiet, it is easier to broadhead tune a bow below 270 fps, you will get complete pass throughs more often and you will get better penetration on marginal shots.
I have been hunting the last 10 years with heavy arrows and always try and keep my arrow speed between 250 and 270fps. That is why I also try and shoot the heaviest bow I can easily draw and let down, so I can push my arrow weight up. Currently I am shooting a 82 pound bow and 647gr arrows at 263fps. Before that 71 pound bow and 577gr arrows at 251fps.
Where I live in South Africa I do most of my hunting on foot and you don't always get the perfect 20 yard broadside shot. So penetration is important. I have shot a lot of species big and small from duiker to giraffe at longer distances as well without a problem. I have shot a number of animals over 50 yards and never have trajectory been a problem. Even string jumpers like impala and warthog don't react as much with heavier arrows.
I would gladly give up trajectory for a heavy arrow that is suitable for my bow.
Hard to comment on arrow weight without knowing draw weight, and the ratio between them. (grains per pound, GPP) Also, what game are you hunting? I'd avoid going super-light 5 gpp, and also going 'water-buffalo with a longbow' heavy.
That depends on whether your goal is hitting your target or killing your target. If you just want to hit it, go as light as you can. But if killing it is your goal remember that what happens AFTER your arrow gets there is the most important thing.
Yes, you will probably have to use a range finder more. But that can be ameliorated by building a bunch of arrows of the same weight and start practicing with them NOW. You'll be surprised and how quickly you will adapt to the new set up.
This year I increased my arrow weight from 425 to 525gr. FOC is around 16%. My bow is quieter. I use a 4 pin sight, where the 4th pin is distance adjustable; before I could bottom out the wheel and get 80 yards of elevation, now maxed out I can only get about 60-65 yards. The pin gap is certainly significant, however I still have plenty of sight adjustment for all practical hunting ranges. As noted above, I will need to have an accurate range because 5 yards now makes a pretty significant change in point of impact. Of course if your arrow weight is already >475gr, you can adjust other parameters for increased performance at the target like smaller diameter arrow shafts or two blade heads vs mechanicals or bulky 3-4 blade designs. I've never gotten a pass through on an elk, I hope to change that this year with my new setup. Good luck.
I started out with very heavy arrows . There are advantages. The heavy arrow will retain more of the energy released from the bow. The bow will be quieter. The arrow hits harder if the set up is tuned properly. I went to lighter arrows when I switched to carbon. They flew faster. My old ears didn't notice the difference. I suspect you hurt yourself if you go to either extreme.
This ranch fairy thing is e’rywhere these days....;^)
I myself have looked into it. Ive always(since carbon came out) shot 400ish grains with my 65-70 lb bows at 28-1/2” draw with 2” mechanicals on whitetails with good success. But having listened to this stuff on podcasts, it is indisputable that when using those same heads back in the aluminum days, my arrow was sticking in the ground on the other side of the deer, whereas the last handful of years with deer, the arrow is generally laying on top of the ground after a pass thru or laying on the trail where it fell out just a few steps from impact.
I never thought about it because it wasnt anything to worry about. The damage was done, its not done anymore or any less given if the arrow is stuck in the ground or laying on top, its through....period. BUT, listening to the benefits if going heavier, i like the idea of being able to be less picky on shot angle and having more forgiveness on a mistake. Im not looking to be able to shoot a deer at any angle(though i did once shoot a deer almost straight head on with a 2-3/4” buckblaster mechanical at 20 yards and buried to the knock with an aluminum arrow, a shot i wouldnt dare try myself with the lighter carbon set up), its just intriguing to me to try to get the weight a little higher and get back to more forgiveness on penetration.
So my plan was/is to commit to going heavier this year to see what the results are. Now im not talking crazy heavy, i think its nevwr good to be one extreme or another. On most things, the answer is in the middle. The “fear” of doing this is trajectory, like with most others. So i figured i would see what i am dealing with. I went from a 415 grain gold tip pro hunter 340 with 20 grains screwed into the insert, shooting 268fps to a 500grain fmj340 with a 50 grain brass insert shooting 255 out of my 65lb, 29” draw hoyt rx3. I tuned my bow to the fmj but i had to make very very little rest adjustment from where i was tuned to the goldtip.
To test trajectory, i put a sticker at the top of a piece of cardboard, shot in at 20 with the fmj to hit sticker. Then dropped to 30, put my 20 on the sticker to see the drop. Then did the same at 40. I made a second piece of cardboard and shot the goldtips in at 20(was 3” high) and thought man, i camt believe there is THAT much difference. But then shooting at 30 and 40, i was shocked to find out that the amount drop was within 1” from 30 and 40 to the amount of drop with the heavier fmjs, so the 3” high thing must just be the diameter of the arrow being different and how it sits on the rest? Now, my bow is tuned to the fmj so i probably dont have perfect flight from the lighter arrows, but i dont feel that it can make THAT much difference as i dont notice the lighter arrows flying bad at any if the distances.
So, with my “testing” on trajectory over several nights, it doesnt really make sense to me. But, ive done it over and over and the results are the same. What know for sure is, the difference in trajectory between 415 grains and 500 grains out of my bow is not noticeable out to 40. My bow is however quieter and deader in the hand. The fmj’s fly beautifully and I can “feel” them hitting the target harder if that makes sense?
So, end result if this for me is, i am going to shoot the 500 grain arrows this fall because i have virtually the same amount of drop or the same trajectory between the 500 grain arrow and the 415 grain arrow. The difference in 1” of trajectory for me just was not worth worrying about, not even close. I rarely shoot 40 yards at a deer anyways but if I should decide to, where a hold my pin isn’t gonna be any different. That was the result of my testing, id love to hear what others come across as far as how much trajectory is lost between different weight arrows
I have a what many on this forum consider a light arrow at 394 grains. My bow is at 294 FPS with a 29.5 draw length. I am tempted every year to increase arrow weight by what I read.... but I keep killing elk with my current setup and can’t ever get myself to make the switch. If it ain’t broke.... I like the flat trajectory I have. Have a ton of confidence it’s going in the chest cavity when I release my arrow.
Someone said it above, there is a compromise. I have shot light and fast and heavy and slower. I’ve settled on 470 grains, 270 FPS, with a cut on contact (Iron Will) broadhead. So far elk, Aoudad, brown bear, black bear and white tail have not prevented a pass through and short blood trail.
My arrows come in at about 580 and change put of a 45lb super kodiak. My point on is 30 meters, anything inside of that is a chip shot. I have a 40 meter poimt on if I switch to split finger. I worry less about trajectory and more about my ability to get close. If you can pet them without them seeing you, than trajectory doesn't matter.
Oh and hi, I'm new here. Been lurking for a long time.
So much depends on where and how you hunt. Out of a tree, shooting down at pre-ranged shooting lanes, you could be fine with 1000 grain arrows if you want. In the West where shots are often taken at animals with no opportunity to range them first, trajectory is king. A whole lot of elk are killed with 400-450 grain flat shooting arrows. Penetration is not an issue with a good fixed-blade head. But range estimation is an issue for many, more often than most admit.
I am down to shooting 61#s and shoot a 508 grain arrow. I draw 27.5"s so not a long power stroke. I agree that there is a balance to achieve. Up to 30 yards shoulders are not an issue as I shoot a crazy sharp 175 grain 3 blade VPA. and plenty of weight up front. I still try to avoid it. I shoot a new Mathews and still get close to 250 fps. I am comfortable with trajectory out to 50 yds. Still drops a ton after 30 but bow is super quiet and I am a fairly good shot. I would say I have the best of both worlds, fairly flat trajectory and a fairly heavy arrow and most of all a quiet bow at the shot. Shawn
Appreciate the feedback. A good buddy has been a fan of heavy arrows with COC broadheads for a long time. This has got me thinking about my own past experiences. I think I'm going to try my heavy arrow out this year for my moose hunt. Hopefully I get a chance to try it out on one.
I think you are right Bou about the margin of error/trajectory. I never shoot an animal past 25 yards that I didn't know the range. So, since I am using a rangefinder I think I can have that margin of error. I am going to try and shoot a deer and maybe a bear before my moose trip to test out the system.
I dropped to 74#s but I increased my arrow weight a couple years ago to help offset my drop in draw weight and keep good penetration. 455 grains jumped up to 615 grains is about 5” difference at 50 yards. Not a big deal and any angle is a good angle on a deer.
One thing is for sure, at 550 grains and a chisel tipped broad head, I shot whatever angle I had on deer and never lost one due to poor penetration. Ive Texas heart shot them and never found the arrows because they ricocheted after going completely through them. I’ve shot them looking at me, angled at me, etc... from the ground and the trees too. Never remember not getting a pass through on deer.
I shot a doe two years ago facing dead at me where the neck meets the shoulders. She was 17 yards away and had her head down feeding. She was facing straight at my tree. It poked out the back of the sternum with a 430 grain arrow.
Differences? Yes. But, I like being able to shoot longer ranges without the necessity to be within two to three yards on the 60 yard pokes. There isn’t always time to use a range finder.
I switched from a 390gr arrow to a 480gr arrow years ago. Went from 300+fps down to 275fps. Best bowhunting decision I ever made. No comparison when it comes to penetration. I rarely shoot past 40 yards and the majority of my shots are under 25 yards. Trajectory is not a concern. Another benefit is shooting the same setup for moose and elk that I use for whitetails. I no longer hope for a pass thru...I expect a pass thru. Bow is quieter and more forgiving to shoot. What's not to like? :^)
I've been shooting a 475 gr arrow forever, I think I am getting 270-280fps range, I believe this is the perfect balance of trajectory and hitting power, I have killed a bunch of elk and moose with this setup
Interesting people are so concerned about penetration. I like having my Broadhead bouncing around in the chest cavity when they move. Elk tend to not go far. Don’t think I have ever had an elk go more than 60-70 yards. Give me fast and a greater margin of error. If I get pass thru great. It’s All about getting it inside that chest cavity.
Well, im a whitetail hunter, so info 40-50 and in is more interesting to me personally. But reading thru the muley/whitetail thread, i now understand that im not much of a hunter. So i guess if some elkers/muley guys are thinkin bout this stuff, itd be interesting to see at what distance it really starts to make a difference? Personally, the difference of 85 grains was only 1 to 1-1/2” at 40 yards... but thats just me. Would be cool to see a bigger sample size of actual testing
I'm with cmbbulldog on this. Think how many stories we hear that start with "I hit him high", or "I hit him too low". Aside from a flinch these are almost always due to range misjudgment. Personally, I want to minimize my margin of error on almost everything in life, including hunting.
I screwed my self twice with no exit. Once I got lucky and stumbled on it and once I found it a week later. Both animals were hit right where I was aiming but entrances were up higher due to the angle of the shot. Neither deer went far but neither deer left a blood trail. I personally don’t see a reason for me not to want a pass through. Where I was hunting there is no good way to find a deer without a blood trail. Way too many tracks , tall thick grass, and trails to assume where the deer went. To me with out blood I’m guessing .
OTOH, I've spent most of my elk hunting career shooting relatively light (53-57#) longbows and recurves. When I make the shot I want to make, I rarely get an exit wound because the broadhead usually lodges in the offside shoulder. In the unfortunate event of a gut shot, which happens to everyone, we've recovered almost all of them over the 45 years we've been bowhunting. Many times it was because a protruding arrow shaft kept the wound open and resulted in a sign trail that would not have been left if the arrow had passed through and both sides plugged with gut or fat.
We've also tracked animals that had high lung passthroughs which left very little, or no blood trail. Everyone hears these stories every year, and some mistakenly attribute it to the fictional "void".
So it works both ways. Of course we always want a perfect shot with a passthrough, but that doesn't always happen.
I'm not sure where I said penetration makes up for poor shot placement? Don't think I said or even implied that? That seems to be driving the difference of opinion though.
So let me try again....I want the arrow penetration that provides a pass thru of the chest cavity rather than one hole and my broadhead being stuck in the offside of the animal. Because that's typically where broadheads end up on a non-pass thru. Soft tissue vitals don't stop penetration. It's the bone, meat and hide on the offside of the animal that stops penetration. *IF* the animal makes it out of sight...which does happen ...even with chest cavity hits, I want two holes spilling blood on the ground.
Watched every bull elk I've shot fall too...except one. Hit that bull through the chest cavity at 17 yards. Good shot placement, but my broadhead ended up buried in the off shoulder. This was on top of the ridge in canyon country. I saw the bull whirl and dive off the ridge into the thickest oak brush I've ever encountered. No blood trail, no direction and literally thousands of elk tracks in the dust. Took days and the help of some birds to finally locate the bull. He made it roughly 150 yards, mostly downhill. I probably walked past him a half dozen times. I firmly believe the second hole would have provided the blood trail necessary to make the difference. I'll take blood on the ground versus blood pooling inside the animal any day....and twice on Saturday... :^)
Pav, the discussion is less about penetration and more about trajectory and margin of error. If everyone had time to range every shot or kept shots 40 yards and under, we wouldn't be talking about it. But it seems like many hunters are regularly taking 50-70-90 yard shots, and that's where trajectory (read: accuracy) comes into play. A 400 grain arrow performs differently at 50 yards than a 600 grain.
From a physics standpoint, a 400 grain arrow will drop just as fast as a 700 grain arrow because the pull of gravity is the same. But a 400 grain arrow will drop less over distance because of the time required to reach the target (speed). The heavy arrow will carry more momentum and KE at the same distance. Tradeoffs.
Every bow/draw/arrow combo seems to have a variation that is a "sweet spot", where adding weight to the arrow makes little difference until it reaches a certain point of energy transfer and momentum. I found that adding 60 grains to my trad arrow setup made virtually no difference in trajectory out to 30 yards, and only a little speed loss. But 120 grains made a noticeable difference. With a 70 lb compound the difference will show up further downrange, so someone shooting 40 yards or less probably won't see much trajectory impact from adding 100 grains. It's those "reach" shots where it comes into play. There's a reason why Levi Morgan hunts with a 420 grain arrow.
Jaq, I don't disagree with your comments, just like you can't dispute mine. I started a separate thread just because it has made me curious. I'd welcome your input on the survey....just out of curiosity.
Fair enough Jake, and I posted there. But I think body weight may be the least relevant variable in the overall equation. For instance, my former hunting partner is a very strong, powerful 180 pound guy who could beat the hell out of a much larger man in a fight, but due to a shoulder issue he can barely draw 50 lbs with a compound, and had to quit building trad bows because he couldn't shoot them before he sold them anymore.
A lighter arrow's forgiving performance, brought this bull down, after a farther back shot.
A lighter arrow's forgiving performance, brought this bull down, after a farther back shot.
Well, this topic has been beat to death, but I may have a different view than most on the subject. First off, I would question what is the most deadly hit ? Most say it's a pass through. From a tree stand I would agree as the better blood trail results from a downward pointing exit wound, and that is valuable. But for most elk hunting shots, I respectfully disagree. I want my arrow's penetration to stop just inside the off side rib cage, and the reason is simple. On a far back shot, my arrow's head is free to do damage as the bull runs off. Whether a shoulder coming back into the arrow or brush, it will force the arrow forward into the vitals that may have been missed initially. No mater what arrow weight I choose, a bad shot forward in a leg bone or lower shoulder is bad and not likely to produce enough penetration or blood to be lethal. If you hit him right, you got him no matter what arrow you shot. So for elk hunting, I believe a lighter arrow than the popular trend is actually more lethal. That said, not all arrows are created equal. I would never take a 400 g standard diameter shaft over a 500 g small/micro shaft, but micro to micro... I would go lighter. If you have a longer draw length, then you can go pretty heavy without loosing a lot of speed or trajectory. But in the case of a shorter draw, I think the advantage a lighter arrow offers in trajectory and more forgiving performance post hit, make it a better choice. I run a 400 g pierce at around 280 fps. It has killed a lot of elk and has made the difference a time or two when my shot just wasn't as true as it should have been.
"Pav, the discussion is less about penetration and more about trajectory and margin of error. If everyone had time to range every shot or kept shots 40 yards and under, we wouldn't be talking about it. But it seems like many hunters are regularly taking 50-70-90 yard shots, and that's where trajectory (read: accuracy) comes into play. A 400 grain arrow performs differently at 50 yards than a 600 grain. "
I get it Lou...honestly, I do. In my younger years, I was all about arrow speed and flat trajectory. Shot a sub 400gr arrow back then. It started with an aluminum arrow series from Easton, I believe were called Superlites, and then on to the early small diameter carbons. Shot an 85gr broadhead too...just to keep the weight down and the speed up. Whitetails were the only big game I hunted in those days and I was not too selective when it came to filling my tag.
Then I killed a P&Y buck (pure luck) and after that became much more selective. A couple bad encounters with shoulder blades on big mature bucks, much different from shoulder blades on younger deer that my arrows blew through with ease, changed my tune. I did not jump up to a 600gr arrow, but I did add nearly 100gr to my lightweight setup and never looked back.
My pins are not as close these day. My arrow trajectory not as flat. But my confidence that I'm going to kill what I shoot is high. I don't need a rangefinder for whitetails. Rarely shoot past 25 yards. I depend on a rangefinder out west. Judging distance in the mountains is a totally different ballgame...and something I don't get to practice much. I'm also not a good enough archer to take those 60-90 yard shots.
I think gmanelkslayer may have hit on something when it comes to the pass through. I grew up hunting from treestands and still do alot. That exit hole is the one dumping blood on the ground. Maybe that's why I'm so adamant about penetration? I guess if I was shooting uphill at an elk...that exit hole doesn't mean quite as much. Regardless, seeing that blood coated arrow stuck in the ground is always going to make me smile!
I've advocated gman's theory for decades. On a marginal shot (too far back) I would much rather have my razor sharp broadhead inside the animal doing its job, than sticking in a tree somewhere. I would much rather have a protruding arrow shaft keeping the wound open and bleeding, providing a "wick" for a blood trail.
One thing that is rarely discussed on these penetration threads is the reaction of the animal after being hit. Many of us have experienced pass-thrus in which the animal spooks only a few steps, stops to look around as if pondering "WTH just happened!!", then they get dizzy and topple over within sight. I've never seen that reaction from an animal that still has an arrow sticking out of it. They usually explode away as fast and for as long as they can go. This is demonstrated over and over on the TV hunting shows, when the hunter is using big mechanicals, usually.
My theory is the animal perceives an arrow that is sticking out of his body as a continued attack, therefore it causes him to react more drastically. The arrow acts like a whip to push the animal faster and further. Whereas, with a pass thru, the animal's reaction often isn't nearly as dramatic. I once killed a bull elk at 65 yards with a perfect 12 ring pass-thru. He never even took a step before he got wobbly and fell over. If that arrow would have remained lodged in that bull, I guarantee he wouldn't have just stood there. I'll take a pass-thru any day.
Anyway, I shoot a 425 gr. arrow at 285 fps. That setup goes back to my 3d competition days when 280 +/- 5 fps was the speed limit rule. I got so used to the trajectory of that setup that I've stuck with it for 25 years. I use a 100 gr fixed head. I've never had a reason to change.
Grey ghost, your set up is a very deadly one and no doubt proven by many. I also love the fixed head. But as for the animal blowing out... That is not a reason to change an arrow build because at that point the damage you caused or lack there of has already been inflicted. Although I have also seen many critters run off in non–pass through circumstances...so have I with pass throughs. If he runs the arrow still being in him to work on the hunter's behalf can be critical. The bull pictured beaded just 100 yards from me in open country after being hit, sealing his fate.
"Although I have also seen many critters run off in non–pass through circumstances...so have I with pass throughs.
So have I, but have you ever seen an animal stand and look around mere steps from where he was shot with an arrow still hanging out of him? I haven't in 40 years of bowhunting. My mulie buck last year is a perfect example. I center-punched him at 7 yards from a tree stand. The arrow stuck 10" into the ground beyond him. He took exactly 3 hops, stopped and looked around, then toppled over at 15 yards from my stand. Now, compare that to the numerous examples we see on TV of deer doing the death dash with an arrow flopping around in his chest. The usual scenario involves the celebrity hunter saying something like "I SMOKED HIM!!", followed by a lengthy recovery the next morning. Then, the hunter proclaims the mechanical head he's using was "devastating".
Sorry, but I just don't buy the "you want the arrow to stay in the animal" myth. That has always resulted in a longer blood trail job in my experience. Give me 2 holes and a dead animal within sight any day.
Have I ever seen an animal stand around and fall over a few steps with an arrow sticking out? Yep with elk a number of times with heart shots, where the arrow stuck in the offside shoulder and they died within 15 yards of the impact.
Question for you: Have you ever had a blood trail from a passthrough gut shot (oops, I mean "a little back")?
Lou, fortunately I've only gut shot one animal (a bull elk) in my hunting career. He ran off onto private where I couldn't retrieve him. I've had a few pass-thru liver shots that left a decent blood trail, however. The last animal that my arrow stayed in was a bull that whirled away from me at the moment I released the arrow. It resulted in a perfect Texas heart shot. The arrow went the length of his body and lodged at the base of his neck. That blood trail looked like someone had sprayed it from a garden hose, but the bull still went close to 300 yards.
I used to hunt with a 410 grain arrow tipped with a Muzzy. In fact, My moose was taken with that exact arrow. Pass through, dig arrow out of ground, replace blades, and killed a bull opening day the next year with that same arrow/broadhead combo. But I have moved up a bit to a slimmer 510 grain arrow with 3 blade COC VPA's. Even though the previous set up did the job, I have been very much impressed with the fact that numerous whitetail have not hardly moved after the heavier/ BH combo arrow zipped through them. THAT I really like.
I don't worry so much about taking 90 yard shots at a big game animal.
Personally it sounds like catering to low percentage marginal shots will potentially hinder good shots. Let’s say you power down your rig to stay in the animal on a gut shot. Guts are not hard to pass thru. Now take that same arrow and center punch a rib on entry, what was an easy double lung is now a single lung... not exactly desirable imo. Furthermore, do it from an elevated position, now you have a high entry wound, no exit, and one lung.... call the hounds.
That scenario is a little different than is being discussed. What Lou and I are saying isn't that a pass through is bad, but that much the same as a controlled expansion rifle bullet is more forgiving and deadly, so is a controlled penetration arrow. In my experience level ground shot angles resulting in pass throughs may bleed well or they may not...just depends. But I do agree a good blood trail is always a welcome site!
And no. It's not " powering down your rig". It's simply tailoring your rig to perform a certain way. I have hit many ribs, all on elk, were I get double lungs... That's the intent of the build. I just don't want my arrow to blast through a bull and not have a chance at helping me out on a "far back" shot. A gut shot will nearly always lead a pass through and zero blood. Not what is being discussed.
Grey Ghost, I've seen it. I was tagged out and just watching as we sat on a wallow. It broke my belief that a bone hit animal will often take off HARD, as well.
Young bull came in to wallow, and my buddy shot him with a slightly quartering angle, but broadside. Glanced off a front leg bone, and lodged in him. Only got one lung. Light carbon arrow with a 125 grain G5 Montec, out of a 55# bow. Bull bounced two steps and stood there.
My buddy nocked another, and only had a severe quartering angle, so he took it. Hit the same lung and guts and lodged in him. This time he took off, but not real hard.
We gave him 45 minutes. Popped over the lip of the wallow, and there he stood just 40 yards away. Buddy thorned him again, severe quartering away, and this time popped the other lung and down he went.
Thank guys for demonstrating there are always exceptions to every rule. I still think a complete pass-thru is preferable in the vast majority of shot placements. Deliberately “tuning” my setup to stay in a gut shot animal is not going to happen. I don’t plan for failure.
I'll take two small holes in an animal over one giant hole any day and twice on Sundays.
Honestly, I can't believe some guys advocate having an arrow stay in an animal. Every time that has happened to me, my heart sank, because it meant I made an errant shot, or chose a bad shot angle. Sometimes it worked out, others times it didn't. I can say, with complete certainty, that every shot that I watched disappear into an animals chest and exit out the other side has resulted in fine dining at my dinner table.
Hmmm, my longbows and recurves were automatically "powered down" by nature. I think my KE is around 40. I never, ever, had an issue breaking a rib on an elk and getting double lung, heart-lung, with a sharp, fixed blade head and rocket-tuned arrow. Like GG, every shot I watched go into an animal's chest in the kill zone resulted in a recovered animal, pass-through or not. Most were not because I like slightly quartering away shots where the broadhead ends up buried in the offside shoulder. On broadside shots I aim for BB's "V", which again often ends up buried offside.
Unlike some hunters, I will admit I've made some bad shots over the course of 48 years of bowhunting big game. Whether operator error, deflection, animal taking a step, whatever, it has happened to me. It happens to everybody. Almost all have been recovered, especially in the past 40 years since learning what to do when a bad hit occurs. I can honestly say some of those were recovered because the arrow protruding (unfortunate stomach shots) gave us something to trail with drips and wipes. Without that spoor, I'm pretty sure we would have suffered lost elk.
OTOH, I have helped on some tracking jobs where the guy had an intact arrow covered in green goop from a pass-through. And no blood trail after the first 50 yards or so. Lost elk.
If every shot was perfect, we wouldn't need this discussion. I'm only speaking from my experience from being in on over 100 elk kills, 68 between my partner and myself. Others have had much different experiences, and I respect that. To each his own, and I won't diss anyone else's preference.
Nope. Absolutely not. Just saying it happens sometimes and in that scenario I want a wick. Low KE from a stickbow may be an advantage in that case, and it kills them dead with a chest shot anyway. It's not like I carried two bows, an 80 lb compound in case I made a shoulder blade or pelvis shot and a 57# stickbow for everything else.
Just saying a passthrough is great, not necessary for a heart-lung hit, and sometimes a detriment in a hunting situation. But for some guys it seems to be an ego thing, like having a car that will go 160 mph when the speed limit is 75.
Fair enough, but there is a recent post where a Florida guy claims he caught a rib on a quartering shot comprising his penetration and he lost the bull. Anecdotal and a data set of 1 but could leave you scratching your head as to what really happened. I mean I’d love to shoot a critter and the Broadhead turns into a blender before it exits but hey, rage hasn’t made that one yet, they only have axes.
Given your experience I’d bet a brand new pack of terminator serrated Broadheads you’re far more calm and patient than most waiting for that perfect 30* quarter away shot.
OH, with a stickbow, maybe. I know I've passed up a lot of shot angles others might take. Now that I'm shooting a Bowtech and Iron Wills, I'm not as picky. Shot last year's bull with a hard quartering-to angle at 7 yards that I would never dream of taking with a wood bow. He went down in 40 yards (only one hole because the arrow stayed inside after running through the important stuff.
Blew through a rib at the sternum and eventually ran out of gas at the last rib on the off side. Penetrated up to the fletches, which apparently was enough... Never, ever would take that shot with a stickbow, but with that bow and arrow combo at that range I visualized the angle and believed it would do the job.
Funny thing is, I shot a big mature muley with an almost identical shot, got a passthrough, and he went 120 yards. Maybe I should start a thread, "Are muleys tougher than elk" and see what happens, lol!
Ok Ghosty...you keep referring to a " gut shot" and "planning for failure". Nobody else is. You are defending your opinion by framing the opposition inaccurately. I said in the event of a "far back shot"...if you have hunted and shot many elk, which I'm sure you have, then you know of the one lunger, liver, and simply low lung shots(all far back). All in vitals, but marginal and infamous for causing headache. If I were trying to defend a strategy for a gut shot, I would have said so. In fact I did clarify that I was not, and that in a gut shot scenario, most times an arrow would pass through anyways. Now I do respect your opinion and no doubt it is also shared by many other hunters. I'm not here to say you are wrong, just simply that I have had experience lead me to a conclusion that I share based on the question.
“ I want an arrow to examine. And I want two holes to track blood. Even if it’s a terrible shot “
I could not agree more!
“ I have hit many ribs, all on elk, were I get double lungs... That's the intent of the build. I just don't want my arrow to blast through a bull and not have a chance at helping me out on a "far back" shot. I will take pass throughs all the time even on some marginal shots it would be advantageous to have an arrow to stay in the animal.”
I cannot plan for this scenario. If my arrow doesn’t at least punch through the far side then my arrow has failed it’s purpose. I too have gotten lucky with an arrow arrow that stayed in the animal and ultimately led to it’s recovery. This was luck and at no time should be the intention! I prefer broadside to quartering away because of three animals. One was a moose that I shot at seven yards hitting it behind the shoulder. He laid down twenty yards away and Since light was fading backed out and called for help. When we went back there just a huge pool of blood and know blood trail. Luckily it was really cold because I found the moose by doing a grid search four hundred yards away eighteen hours later. I found two spots of blood after he got up. One about the size of a quarter the other the size of a dime. His chest cavity was filled with blood. The same script was played out to a tee on two off shoulder elk hits. Secondly, I would always shoot as much poundage as possible as long as I could shoot it accurately. My goal would be to drive the arrow into an artery some where along it’s misguided path! At no time would I plan for a bad hit by any means other than to have a sturdy broadhead, an arrow that was optimized to maintain the best trajectory with ample enough energy achieve a pass through regardless of the angle. I do agree an arrow in the guts is better than out but still want enough energy to drive the arrow through the guts at whatever angle!
Here's a question for the expandable guys - do you get a passthrough on gut shots (stomach)? From what I've seen on TV and video, it doesn't appear to be a passthrough on those "little FAR back" shots. Seems like an example of unintentional tuning to keep the arrow in the animal if its outside the vitals....
Somehow the assumption here, by pro blast through guys, is that unless your arrow breaks the skin on the off side your arrow has failed and or you have planned for failure? A blast through arrow has hit ALL THE SAME VITALS as a controlled penetration arrow. Hmm ? How is the skin or a rib a vital orgin ? And in regards to the " "planning for failure" continuance... That is very small thinking ... Stands to reason the same EXTRA damage would occur to the actual vital origins when the arrow lands where it should too!! Not just in the event of "guys" or "far back". All this with the added benefit of flatter trajectory? Not a question in my mind of Which is better for me.
The one thing that I see common to all of these threads regardless of who starts them and how the question is worded....Everyone has a different idea on what is considered heavy and what is heavy enough. I suppose if you were shooting a 40lb bow with short draw length, a 400 gr. arrow might be considered heavy. an 80 lb bow with long draw length, it may be considered light. When lately I have been shooting 475 gr arrows but I'm probably going to go back to shooing 410-20 gr arrows, I haven't seen an advantage to going up in weight, at least by the margins I've worked with. I think back on all the years I have bow hunted and all the animals i've killed with 400 gr arrows, including Moose and Elk, I'm hard pressed to think of instances where the arrow didn't pass through like I shot a page of newspaper. Given that consistent performance, I feel like the trajectory offered at that chosen weight, works well for me.
Somehow the assumption here, by pro blast through guys, is that unless your arrow breaks the skin on the off side your arrow has failed and or you have planned for failure? A blast through arrow has hit ALL THE SAME VITALS as a controlled penetration arrow. Hmm ? How is the skin or a rib a vital orgin ? And in regards to the " "planning for failure" continuance... That is very small thinking ... Stands to reason the same EXTRA damage from an arrow stuck in a bull "far back" would occur to the actual vital origins when the arrow lands where it should too!! Not just in the event of "guys" or "far back". All this with the added benefit of flatter trajectory? Not a question in my mind of Which is better for me.
BB, I think you are spot on in regards to the relativity of heavy arrows based on draw length. I think at the end of the day most of us are actually pretty darn close to each other's specs on weight to speed too... Regardless of how fun it may be to debate it?? Sorry guys for the double post... Sometimes the fish you are trying to take pictures of win and your phone looses.lol
BB, I think you are spot on in regards to the relativity of heavy arrows based on draw length. I think at the end of the day most of us are actually pretty darn close to each other's specs on weight to speed too... Regardless of how fun it may be to debate it?? Sorry guys for the double post... Sometimes the fish you are trying to take pictures of win and your phone looses.lol
Lou, I only have experience with Rocket Steelheads and only went through guts once on a quartering to shot almost straight down. The arrow passed through and exited the guts after going through lungs. I didn't find one spec of blood and the guts plugged the exit hole very effectively. I ended up finding the deer by walking in the direction she took off in and walked up to her in something less than 100 yards. With a Rage type head that is left inside an animal as it runs off, I would think it might do little further damage as the broadhead could fold back if it backed out some.
"A blast through arrow has hit ALL THE SAME VITALS as a controlled penetration arrow. Hmm ?"
The reasons for desiring a pass-through have been stated, but you've ignored them.
The first and most obvious reason is many guys like to find their arrow and examine it to provide clues about the hit.
Second, an arrow that remains in an animal is often ruined afterwards. Either the animal breaks it off during his death dash, or he lands on it when he falls. I like to kill more than one animal with my arrows.
Third, many guys, myself included, think that 2 holes is better than one. Especially when the one hole is plugged by the arrow.
Fourth, is the difference in the animals reaction to the hit that I mentioned earlier. A pass-through is often not as alarming to an animal as is an arrow sticking out of his body. There are exceptions, obviously, but I'm standing by that statement as a general rule.
Many past bowsite threads have led me to conclude that many people overthink this thing. . . .
How do you tune a bow for "controlled penetration"? And how do you not drive yourself insane thinking about it?
Granted, I'm not very experienced compared to many on this site. I've only bow-killed 60-70 big game animals. But how can I tune my bow to stop in the far side of a deer, and then the next week be tuned to stop in the far side of an elk? And then after the elk hunt, I need to back in deer mode. What about the turkey that walks by my deerstand and is an incidental target?
Do I need to tune different to shoot does versus bucks? Whitetails v. Muleys? What about if I head south and wanna shoot a pig?
Africa. . . . what a nightmare! Do I need to have several bows in the blind? What if an impala comes in, and while giving it time, I see a kudu or eland?
Between tuning my bow for "controlled penetration" and eradicating every scent molecule on my body by using Ozonics, sprays, scent--free tubs, etc, I'm so damn anxious!!! I'm gonna go take a Valium and ponder my choices of hobby. . . .
I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm sure not talking about tuning anything for controlled penetration. I want as much penetration as my setup will deliver, whether longbow, recurve, or Bowtech.
In a perfect world every shot is a broadside clean passthrough which takes out both lungs and the plumbing and the animal falls over in sight.
However, in the imperfect world of bowhunting, if I had my wish, an arrow would stay inside on an unfortunate gut shot made at ground-level, which keeps the hole open and bleeding and providing some tracking spoor, rather than plugging with gut and leaving only tracks behind.
Somehow my intent became misconstrued, probably because emotions confused some posters who believe a passthrough is ideal for every situation, no matter the shot placement. I happen to disagree, and we can agree to disagree. I'll stick by my experience in recovering (and not recovering) animals hit "a little bit back" by myself and others. You can all decide for yourselves based on your experiences.
Lou, how do you resolve the dicotomy that an arrow that doesn't pass thru guts obviously lacks the KE that is necessary to blow thru ribs on both sides, which you admit is preferable in an ideal shot angle? Do you plan for the worst case scenario or the best?
All I can tell you is that a hell of a lot of animals have been killed deader than hell with trad bows and low weight compounds that lack the KE to blow through ribs on both sides. And a lot of animals have been wounded and lost with high KE rigs where there was no blood trail after passthroughs. It's bowhunting. You can argue until you're blue that your theory is correct because there's no definitive data to prove otherwise. As can I.
Oh boy... Some of these responses are not making us bow hunters look very intelligent ( and of course that includes me). Someone made a long post basically asking if you should change your arrow tune for different targets... I do not but many do. Your call. As far as Africa goes... If you shoot 80 lb all the time then you might be good brother! The first "controlled penetration" reference was mine, and it was only to liken the theory rifle hunters have used for a long time– keeping as much damage to the vitals in that animal and not somewhere yards behind. I do hold to that with archery as well.
Nobody here has said that they want low penetration either, only that sometimes an arrow in the animal can be forgiving ( I have gotten 4 pass throughs in as many years so there definitely isn't a powered down problem with my set up).
And Grey, I haven't ignored anything... The first reason wasn't because guys like to look at an arrow for clues. It was the better blood trail. Which I agreed was a worthy point. I'm just not so sure on level ground shots it's that big of a deference in most elk hunting scenarios. The fact that you like to use the same arrows twice, or three or four times, is a personal preference. I would rather kill and find more than have spent less on arrows at the end of the year.
And I definitely didn't ignore your theory on whirling and scared critters ... Just as you stand by your general rule, I don't think it makes a difference. I guess I've been around enough elk that I've seen it both ways. Nobody has to sign up for anything lol, it's supposed to be good conversation that helps some decide, further convinces others, or maybe even gives a little comfort in finding that there are expirenced hunters on both sides ;)
“ The first "controlled penetration" reference was mine, and it was only to liken the theory rifle hunters have used for a long time– keeping as much damage to the vitals in that animal and not somewhere yards behind. I do hold to that with archery as well.”
Gman bullets kill by shock to the central nervous system and from hemorrhaging. Arrows typically kills from massive hemorrhaging unless You hit somewhere that you were not intending to hit. Rifle bullets typically have a thousand to three thousand foot pounds of energy whereas an arrow has a maximum of about a hundred pounds for us mere mortals. 100 foot pounds of energy is insignificant to most big game other than to maximize penetration. So the rifle bullet analogy doesn’t hold water when it comes to an arrow.
I do not think that controlled penetration Is a worthy for serious discussion because to try to achieve controlled expansion on a gut shot would mean that You would have limited penetration when hitting the vitals. This is obvious since the guts are the easiest to penetrate So to control penetration in a he guts would mean that you would be limiting your penetration on the vitals. This would be even more pronounced when making contact in what you called “far back”
Everyone here has probably been rewarded by an arrow staying in an animal and continuing to inflict damage but to develop a hypothesis off of getting lucky would not be well served! The point of choosing whether the arrow stays in or passes through is worthy of discussion. Controlled penetration when it comes to an arrow is not. I am not trying to be mean spirited but your basic premise is false.
Choose what you'd like OP! Don't fall into traps where folks say they shoot the magic wand arrow. Elk are killed with every imaginable weight out there. I shoot a 425 grain arrow with multibladed heads, my Son shoots 400 grains, same heads, my Son in Law shoots the same 400 grain arrow with nothing but Muzzy these days. We are at 90 elk between us, all but 5 are bulls. -- Could we do this with 500 grain arrows, sure we could but we like our setups as is & have no issues or reasons to use anything else. If it's not broke don't fix it! (grin)
I'm still trying to find the part where someone actually said that controlling penetration was a goal. I'm beginning to think a comment was taken out of context and multiple people ran with it....That's just not like bowsite:)
Penetration is everything, and if you keep your shots at reasonable ranges a heavy arrow is all positive. I shoot 50 to 55 pound trad bows and my arrows are 550 gr +- and I can shoot out to 50 yards with no issues. Love watching the tv hunters shoot critters and see the arrow bouncing around as they run off, especially the ones they hit alittle far back and wait overnight lol. If you plan on taking 100 yard shots then I can see why you want lite arrows.
As has been mentioned at least a couple times, what's considered heavy and light can all be relative. What's relatively "light" for one may be relatively "heavy" for another, depending on draw weight and draw length.
I like higher foc. For me I can tell a difference at 17% + in group size at long range. I can make arrows that weigh in the mid 400’s with high foc. For me I have the best of everything at that weight trajectory, penetration, arrow flight. I will not say I am right, just right for me.
The Bowsiter who has killed the most bulls of all is shooting a 410 grain arrow, I believe. He didn't post on this thread.
Don't get me wrong - I believe heavy is fabulous so long as it doesn't affect the trajectory/accuracy factor. But as xman and others have pointed out, there is a "reasonable" hunting arrow weight range that is proven on big game, and variables like broadhead choice and proper tuning may be far more important than grain weight.
Well I've decided on my arrow. It's a 330 spine Hexx weighing in at 476 grains, with 225 up front and a VPA 3 blade. I should be shooting around 260 fps. I think this is a happy medium for me. Carcus and I will be tuning the bow up on Sunday and getting everything flying straight.
"Well I've decided on my arrow. It's a 330 spine Hexx weighing in at 476 grains, with 225 up front and a VPA 3 blade. I should be shooting around 260 fps. I think this is a happy medium for me. Carcus and I will be tuning the bow up on Sunday and getting everything flying straight."
How is the durability of those arrows? I have a friend who went with a light walled but stiff shaft in order to keep the overall weight down but still attain high FOC, but he quickly moved on from them after experiencing them fail on game (broken shaft, minimal penetration). He got really hot after Ashby's 4th, 5th or 7th criterion for penetration (whichever high FOC is) but in the process overlooked #1.