Mathews Inc.
Ideal total arrow weight for whitetail?
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
Rsquared 22-Dec-20
Bowboy 22-Dec-20
RD in WI 22-Dec-20
Hank 22-Dec-20
JusPassin 22-Dec-20
Rsquared 22-Dec-20
greenmountain 22-Dec-20
LINK 22-Dec-20
Lee 22-Dec-20
Bentstick54 22-Dec-20
Trial153 22-Dec-20
Nocturnal II 22-Dec-20
LINK 22-Dec-20
Will 22-Dec-20
rattling_junkie 22-Dec-20
Nocturnal II 22-Dec-20
LINK 22-Dec-20
Nocturnal II 22-Dec-20
Bou'bound 22-Dec-20
12yards 22-Dec-20
rattling_junkie 22-Dec-20
Ollie 22-Dec-20
Rsquared 22-Dec-20
GF 23-Dec-20
wyobullshooter 23-Dec-20
Ermine 23-Dec-20
Nocturnal II 23-Dec-20
Lee 23-Dec-20
altitude sick 23-Dec-20
Shawn 23-Dec-20
Shawn 23-Dec-20
12yards 23-Dec-20
drycreek 23-Dec-20
altitude sick 23-Dec-20
Lee 23-Dec-20
x-man 23-Dec-20
Rsquared 23-Dec-20
WV Mountaineer 23-Dec-20
Rsquared 23-Dec-20
Scooby-doo 23-Dec-20
Lee 23-Dec-20
WV Mountaineer 23-Dec-20
Michael 23-Dec-20
papadeerhtr 23-Dec-20
Nocturnal II 23-Dec-20
GF 24-Dec-20
bigdog21 24-Dec-20
Shawn 24-Dec-20
DRR324 24-Dec-20
Nocturnal II 24-Dec-20
Shawn 24-Dec-20
Lee 24-Dec-20
DRR324 24-Dec-20
Buglmin 25-Dec-20
carcus 26-Dec-20
DanaC 26-Dec-20
Wally 28-Dec-20
From: Rsquared
22-Dec-20
So what's the ideal arrow weight for whitetail? Under 400 grains?400-450? Over 500? 500-600? I like between 420-450 personally and just wanted to hear some opinions

From: Bowboy
22-Dec-20
I shoot 430-440 grain arrow. I have a 27 draw at 62lbsfrom a Hoyt Helix bow. I use a coc 125 grain Magnus Buzzcut. It zips right thru them.

From: RD in WI
22-Dec-20
The way I view the arrow weight debate is more through the lens of "what speed I want to achieve, combined with my desire for a quiet shooting bow". That said, I think the threshold is somewhere above 400 grains. In my belief, when arrows fail due to weight - it is more often due to the lack of weight, rather than being too heavy. I don't need a fast bow - anything above 230 fps is fine for me - but some value sheer speed over other criteria. Good luck in your research.

From: Hank
22-Dec-20
Depends on many factors and opinions will be copious. Around 500 grains is where I want to be.

From: JusPassin
22-Dec-20
I've taken dozens of them, all in the 450 to 500 range.

From: Rsquared
22-Dec-20
Anyone have any 100 grain original STEELHEADS they would want to trade for my 3 125 grain ones I have? The ones I have just have a few chips on a few of the blades but they are decantly sharp but bcs of the chips I'll probably never use them and for someone who knows whatthey are doing I'm sure it would be no problem to remove the chips, I unfortenetly would probably just dull the blades if I tried.

22-Dec-20
There is not enough information in the question to give a best answer. The best weight for a short man with a slight build will be different than for a a tall man with a large build. From what I have seen a super light arrow is not the way to go. A super heavy arrow is unnecessary. Most of those in the middle range will be fine. It comes down to preferences from there. I tend to gravitate toward the heavy end of normal.

From: LINK
22-Dec-20
437 grains with 19% FOC is ideal. Don’t even try arguing it.

From: Lee
22-Dec-20
I’ve shot the gamut and have killed a lot of deer with a bow with all kinds of head designs, arrow weights, speeds, etc. I’ve also hunted deer from the deep South to Northern MO and now hunt almost entirely in the midwest where a 200 plus dressed buck is typically what I’m chasing. My current setup shoots about 225 FPS at 575 grains. Hits like a Mack truck and will definitely go through heavy bone. I built it in case I hit one in heavy bone (worse case scenario). I don’t need fast for whitetails as my shots average less than 20 yards. I shoot a 27.5” draw and 65 pounds.

Lee

From: Bentstick54
22-Dec-20
What type of bow? Compound, recurve, longbow? What draw weight? Big difference between 40-45# draw weight vs 65-70# draw weight. No way to figure arrow mass weight without knowing what is going to be pushing it.

From: Trial153
22-Dec-20
With fixed heads, 450ish .....with mechanicals 500ish

From: Nocturnal II
22-Dec-20
Link said 437 grains with 19% FOC is ideal. Don’t even try arguing it.

But then your kill picture says 27 yards broadside. The arrow stopped on the offside shoulder.

I have one word. Momentum.

From: LINK
22-Dec-20
I was being a smart@$$. I have no idea what my foc is and I’ve slept since I last weighed my arrows but they are probably somewhere around 500 grains. My bow on order will pull 75#. When you hit the offside shoulder with a mechanical you are likely not getting an exit. That is one reason I usually don’t shoot mechanicals. By the way nocturnal what’s the story with your kill photos...

From: Will
22-Dec-20
Ideal - what you feel confident in and can shoot great. That could be 1000 or 350grns... Anyone shoot 1K grns for whitetails - be interesting to hear how that works out!

But my visceral reaction is 400-450grns is really solid on whitetails. Heavier is fine if you want to or need to... and a little lighter is ok with the right broadhead I'd suspect (to a point).

22-Dec-20
400-500 gr. with a fixed or mechanical is perfect.

From: Nocturnal II
22-Dec-20
Well 500 is much better than 437. If anyone is on the fence with arrow weight. They should think about mature whitetail deer and their bone density. A sharp fixed blade with high foc over 20% and a combined weight at 550 is starting to get right, anything under that begins to be less than ideal for pass throughs.

Link, I post kill pics in the past but never put anything in trophy photos. I never sensed sarcasm as your numbers sounded pretty specific. I just found your photo description to be of the contrary.

From: LINK
22-Dec-20
Yeah I should have added one of these. ;) I just like the Ford or Chevy threads.

From: Nocturnal II
22-Dec-20
Link, you gotta love public written forums. You miss one of ;) these and the whole topic changes. Ha.... Sorry... Carrying on....

From: Bou'bound
22-Dec-20
Stay away from extremes and just hunt. Don’t overthink it

From: 12yards
22-Dec-20
This year I shot deer at 486 grains. I think I might drop down a bit to around 440-450. Or maybe I won't. Lol.

22-Dec-20
Exactly Bou! I got caught up in the whole heavy arrow and fixed head until I saw that my yardage estimation better be on or it's a miss/wound. 400-500 gr. is perfect for either a mech or fixed.

From: Ollie
22-Dec-20
It does not take a lot to get adequate penetration to kill a whitetail. I like about 12 gr/lb out of my 50# longbow. Penetration is not a problem. Bow is plenty quiet with no hand shock.

From: Rsquared
22-Dec-20
Ok, say a compound with a 330 ibo and 29 inch draw and 60 lbs draw weight?

From: GF
23-Dec-20
You guys are funny…

There are plenty of guys who get clean pass-throughs on whitetails shooting 400 grains out of #40 stickbows, and you’re obsessing over distinctions as fine as frog hair - split three ways!

Of course, none of them are stupid enough to try to drive a mechanical through one of those set-ups.

JMO, if 400 grains will do the job at 165 FPS, it’s a pretty safe bet that the same arrow won’t bounce off at nearly double the velocity. And most whitetails are taken at 20 yards and in anyway.

So (in my ever-so-limited worldview) the smart money is to find an arrow which is tuned well enough for your rig that you can shoot a fixed blade head with field-point accuracy out of a nice, quiet bow. You do that with any legal compound, and if you run into penetration problems, you’ll find the cause in the nearest mirror.

But I should throw out the caveat that the short, stubby heads designed to reduce planing will not (generally speaking) penetrate as well as a longer, more conventional design like the Trad Guys shoot. Those shapes BECAME the convention for a reason!

Problem solved.

23-Dec-20
You’d be doing yourself a big favor if you take Bou’s advice...don’t overthink it. Shoot your preferred arrow weight of 420-450 gr, make sure your bow’s tuned and have sharp BH’s. You’ll be golden. I have a 26” DL and shoot 57 lbs. My arrows weigh 430 gr and I consistently blow through elk. You won’t have any problem with whitetails.

GF typed faster than I did. I agree with his post as well.

From: Ermine
23-Dec-20
I’m not a big whitetail guy but I prefer my arrow to be 450-500 grains. Heavier arrows make your bow quieter and they hit harder

From: Nocturnal II
23-Dec-20
I couldnt disagree with anyone above. The concern i have is shoulder blade and I am always looking for a pass-through. The percentage in finding an animal with a pass thru go up significantly vs no exit.

Also, like ermine mentions in his end post. Thats a significant positive for a bow hunter too.

Also, light arrows slow down after a distance, whereas a heavier arrow maintains its momentum. The most noticeable difference for me when going heavier with every animal I have taken. They never even knew they were hit. The arrow just blows through and they're wondering what the hell happened.

In the end. I am with the people who say shoot what works for you. I wouldn't want anyone to change what works because their are disadvantages to shooting a heavier arrow. Mostly mis judging an animal by just a few yards can cost you a miss. Arrow drop is more significant the heavier you go. No Brainer there.

If anyone is truly on the fence. Check out The Ranch Fairy on YouTube. Hes a high strung guy but a smart man and very dedicated to everything after the shot.

From: Lee
23-Dec-20
No doubt a light arrow and fast bow will blow through a deer, even a big one if you hit it in the ribs. How about the less than ideal shoulder hit? It happens, like it or not and a heavy setup with a good fixed head will up your odds of that arrow penetrating enough to do the job. That same light arrow? Probably not. With most whitetail shots pretty close the need for speed is way overrated IMO.

Here’s a link to a momentum calculator. It shows a picture of what your setup is suitable for. Pretty interesting.

Lee

https://www.realtree.com/kinetic-energy-and-momentum-calculator

23-Dec-20
Lee, I’ve killed 3 whitetails this year all with slightly over 500 grain arrows and from 3 different bows. Arrow speed varied from approx 160 to 175fps The same broadhead for all 3 deer Osage self bow 1953 Bear Grizzly 2020 Warrick Harvey crowned eagle

From: Shawn
23-Dec-20
I like close to 8.5 gpp. or a tad more for your draw weight. I am shooting 55#s as of late and shooting an arrow that weighs 500 grains. I shoot a 175 crazy sharp VPA 3 blade. I shot through both shoulders on this 185# dressed Iowa whitetail this year.

From: Shawn
23-Dec-20

Shawn's embedded Photo
Shawn's embedded Photo

From: 12yards
23-Dec-20
Rsquared your bow at 69/29 will shoot a 400-500 grain arrow through most deer with a Steelhead on the end. Don't overthink it. It will also do possibly better than any other mechanical and a lot of fixed heads if you hit it in the shoulder. Good luck.

From: drycreek
23-Dec-20
When I used Axis arrows, I was around 420/425, when I switched to FMJs, it was more like 450+. Either killed equally well on out whitetails.

23-Dec-20
Shawn, I think Blue Oyster Cult had song called “ Don’t Fear the Shoulder”.

From: Lee
23-Dec-20
No doubt that 175 gr helped you Shawn. I’m shooting the 175 Gr. VPA as well. That design is so sleek it definitely helps penetration. Doubt you’d have had the same results with a rage.

Lee

From: x-man
23-Dec-20
417.5

From: Rsquared
23-Dec-20
Well I just posted this bcs I was bored and seems like the ranch fairy is promoting 500+ no matter your draw weight & draw length so I was just curious what people thought and remember we are all not at the same level with all this as u fred bear and ted nugents commenting

23-Dec-20
If you watch the ranch fairy and those he helps setup, they will take the first decent shot they get. Because they are on the ground a lot of times. So, you gotta go with what you get presented or, you go home empty handed.

That’s the difference. So, if all you intend to do is shoot deer when they stand in the more accepted poses, it’s a simple tune it and go. But, a whitetail deer is as tough as any animal alive. And, their reaction to bow and/or arrow noise severely hurts penetration on shot angles that don’t expose soft ribs or the ability to slip in behind them.

So, a heavier arrow for your setup is kinda only relevant unless you too intend to capitalize on the first shot presented that will allow you to get into the vitals.

If you ground hunt, you’d better be ready to shoot deer facing you, quartering towards you, or straight up the butthole if you need too. And, you need an arrow with enough mass to push it through. And, you need a broad head that has a tip that will not bend. And, you need an arrow that won’t bust at the insert. Personally, I know there are diminishing returns on total arrow weight. And for me, 7.5 to 8 grains of arrow weight per pound of draw weight seems to be a happy medium for a 27 inch draw and 70 pounds of weight.

From: Rsquared
23-Dec-20
Well to be honest, id rather go home empty handed or eat tag soup then take a high risk shot.. it's just not worth it to me. I just started watching ranch fairy and the hunting public guys maybe 6 months ago and seems like everyone is really pushing the heavy high foc arrows and In alot of the the hunting publics older videos they had deflection and penetration issues shooting 400 grain ish arrows and larger cutting diameter mechs,well maybe it was back when they were on midwest whitetail but the definitely had issues and those guys hunt for a living so when they are unbiasedly pushing for something, then it gets my attention. Although I wasn't ready to completely buy into it, I did come to the conclusion that a mid 400 grain arrow with a mech with no more then a 1-1/4 cutting diameter would be my best bet,and I just wanted to get others opinions...

From: Scooby-doo
23-Dec-20
When I was younger I never feared the shoulder as a matter of fact I shot 90#s with a 2413 cut to 26"s and 130 grain 2 blade, blew through shoulder and broke legs and bones and actually liked that shot as that is why anmals are designed like they are, those shoulkder protect the goodies. On whitetail though any arroww weighing 6-7 gpp and a good sharp head will do the trick. Shawn

From: Lee
23-Dec-20
I started messing with the heavy arrow build in 2018 after hitting a toad of a buck square in the shoulder in fall of 2017. Totally my fault - he came in and rattled me pretty bad and I blew the shot. I was shooting a 400 grain arrow with a 125 gr. Solid VPA. I didn’t take a marginal or iffy shot just plain blew it! I’d killed plenty of deer with that setup. Anyway I started messing with a heavier arrow and more streamlined head that tapered slowly rather than widening fairly quickly. I came up with a Black Eagle Deep Impact Shaft, 4 fletch AAE, 100 gr. stainless outsert with a solid 175 grain VPA. I picked the solid as no hair, meat or bone can catch on the vents which should aid in penetration. Don’t know if the new arrow would have blown through that shoulder but I would have had a much better chance! I’ve killed 14 deer with the setup on IL deer with no losses and 3 of those were heavy bone impacts. One of them drove through the spine and came a foot out the sternum of a good sized deer. At any rate, as I said earlier I planned for the worst with that arrow build. I would not intentionally shoot one in the shoulder but if you hunt long enough and shoot enough deer it’ll happen. I see that buck damn near every time I close my eyes...

Lee

23-Dec-20
Me too Shawn. A 27 inch 2413 XX78 outta a 70-80 pound bow is serious medicine.

From: Michael
23-Dec-20
The buck I shot this year was slightly quartering to me. I ended up hitting the scapula. Luckily there was 485 grains of arrow to push a 2” rage + P through the deer.

My ideal weight is 450 to 525 grains.

From: papadeerhtr
23-Dec-20
Out of my compound which is 65lb and 31in draw. I shot 380gr arrow with mechanical head and have always gotten a pass thru. with my trad bow 425 grain arrow with 125 gr head. Both kill deer dead. I really dont understand these heavy 175 gr heads and up. My trad bows are all right around 50lb at my draw.

From: Nocturnal II
23-Dec-20
Lee, just like you I started experimenting for the same reasons. So I built an arrow that can withstand and hold up to bone because for me and in the moment of truth. My autopilot hugs tight to the crease and I have hit the shoulder more times than I'd like to admit. No problems with a heavy arrow anymore and I am closer to 570 vs low 400. It just works better for me as a hunter.

From: GF
24-Dec-20
“ I really dont understand these heavy 175 gr heads and up. My trad bows are all right around 50lb at my draw.”

Two reasons, in my world… but both are related to carbon arrows.

#1 - carbon shafts are light in weight and a heavy point is sometimes required to get your total arrow mass up to a level where your bow will shoot quietly and you can feel as though you have plenty of momentum to drive the arrow deep into the important stuff.

#2 - carbons seem to get much stiffer for a given amount of shortening in length when compared to wood or aluminum, so if you don’t want to shoot full length arrows, you may well find that a heavy point is required in order to flex a carbon shaft adequately for good tuning.

If you don’t bother with bareshaft tuning, though, you could go a good long while without noticing a difference - even with broadheads.

From: bigdog21
24-Dec-20
I stay 9-10 gpp love a silent bow and a hard hitter. but i still use aluminum. easy to get the wieght I want and shot better.

From: Shawn
24-Dec-20
WV XX78s was where it was at. I still have a few but now shooting 55#s I like my carbon set up with those heavy heads! Shawn

From: DRR324
24-Dec-20
625 total for me. Goldtip XT Hunter, 100 grain brass insert and 150 single bevel Cutthroat. Pulling 64# and shooting 29.5". Made the right shot, dbl lung- had no clue he was even shot. Jumped and ran 20 yards, stopped for a few seconds to look around, walked with tail flicking about 30 more yards, stopped to look around and fell over dead. Yes I gave up a bit of "human error" on yardages with a slower arrow, but I hunt spots that I won't have a shot over 35-40. I pre-range trees, possible shot spots, etc and feel more comfortable with the heavier set up.

From: Nocturnal II
24-Dec-20
DRR324 how do you like the cutthroat heads? I was looking at them for this last fall but decided to wait.

From: Shawn
24-Dec-20
DRR You must shoot heavy nocks and vanes. The best I can get you to weight wise is 575 to 590 with what you mention even adding a lighted nock and heavy vanes and a wrap. Shawn

From: Lee
24-Dec-20
I added weedeater string to up the weight when I was experimenting - found the stainless outsert and was able to remove it and stay at 575.

From: DRR324
24-Dec-20
I really like how sharp I can get them, like truly hair popping, scary sharp. The blood trail wasn’t great- but I really didn’t look too hard for blood because he was dead about 45 yards from my tree.

My shafts are the XT Xtra, which is the camo wrapped full length. Shooting lighted nocks, and standard blazers vanes. 624-625 on my grain scale.

From: Buglmin
25-Dec-20
First of all, heavy hfoc arrows do not maintain their momentum. Shooting arrows through chronographs prove that time and time again. Once you start dropping arrow speed, you start loosing momentum. Do you really think your momentum is the same three feet in front of your bow has the same momentum at 20 and 30 yards? Joel Maxfield from Mathews has a very great post on Facebook right now where he shows the drop in arrow trajectory at 30, 40 and 50 yards with medium weight and heavy hfoc arrows. He also posts arrow speeds and calculates momentum at these distances. So far, that theory of hfoc arrows maintaining their momentum hasn't been proven.

I agree, building an arrow with good foc and medium arrow weight that holds up great on mule deer and elk, will have no issues breaking shoulder blades on whitetail. I use 460 grain carbons from my stickbows on whitetails with no issues with penetration. I believe in the weight in the insert, not the broadhead. Small, 125 grain coc heads like the Van Dieman gives me unreal penetration.

From: carcus
26-Dec-20
400-450, I like 270-290 fps out of my bows

From: DanaC
26-Dec-20
Legal minimum here (Mass.) is 40 pounds, has been since BC - Before Compounds. The old AMO 'standard' then was 9 grains per pound, so based on that 'classic' technology I'd say 360 grains is minimum.

From: Wally
28-Dec-20
My set ups range from 405 to 420. I've shot mule deer, white tail and elk with no issues. Sharp fixed broad heads are the key. My 405 set up passed through my elk hard quarter to shot at 55 yards. Broadhead sliced him up like butter 60 yard recovery. The Ranch Fairy cult is unnecessary with todays bows. Your giving up 25% of your velocity for 3% gain kinetic energy. I'll take the speed and better shooting lanes all day.

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