I went most of my hunting career with an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” type of mentality I’m not one for tinkering for the sake of tinkering. However, if find a chink in my Armour I’m the kinda guy that goes to extremes to solve that problem and make sure I never have it again.
Over the last couple seasons I have had some experiences that have led me to look for a more perfect arrow set up. I talked to everyone I knew in the hunting Industry about building arrows, I even did a few arrow building and broadhead podcasts to further my knowledge on the subject. After a few years of trial and error and learning from the experience of others I developed my own process which I found to perform very well. One thing I found in this process is that there is no such thing as perfect a arrow you always have to give up something to gain something else so before you go down this rabbit hole its important to know your end goal before you start. So think about what you are hunting, your hunting style, your shooting ability and past issues you hope to avoid first and formulate the goals from there to build your perfect arrow.
FOC and total arrow weight, this was the first in my formula of how I wanted my perfect arrow to perform. Again this came from careful thought on how, what, why, when I hunt. Given that I hunt everything and I take long shots, I hunt in the wind often, etc. I found through the research of others on FOC, TAW, my broadhead arrow penetration tests and my past experiences hunting a variety of species that I wanted a medium weight arrow with about 15% FOC. It gave me speed, accuracy and still enough punch for everything I hunted regularly… Mind you if I draw a moose or Buffalo tag I will be changing it up for a heavier shaft with more FOC.
Arrow Shafts: To build the perfect arrow you need to start with the perfect shaft. I wanted a tough arrow, with .001 straightness, I knew from my testing I wanted a .166 ID arrow because how well it performed in the wind and improved penetration over the larger diameter arrow shafts. I also wanted an arrow with super consistent spine so I landed on The Kentic Pierce Tours 300 spine from Gold Tip. Yes I am a Goldtip guy and I have been with them for many years but that’s why it made the decision to go with these arrows that much easier…. I trusted Goldtip.. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t do my due diligence because let me say this now I’m not gonna shoot anything that I think is inferior or that may hurt my hunting just for some free products. I tested every high end arrow made before coming back to goldtip.
Vanes and Helical: Next I had to find the best vane for my arrow and the best vane configuration. You can read my Choosing the Right Arrow Vane article here. Unlike the arrow shafts where you can look at specs to help narrow down your test subjects, vanes specs almost don’t mean a thing. So this may have been the most tedious of all because there are so many and so many factors that contribute to arrow flight you almost have to take a stand somewhere or pick a component and build your arrow from there if I was gonna start this process all again I would pick a broadhead I liked first and then work my way back from there. Anyway I end up going back to 2″ blazer vanes with 3 deg right offset in the end. In conjunction with AZ Archery Club I tested 5 different models and 3 fletch and 4 fletch with 1 deg, 3 deg and 5 deg in both left and right helical and it turns out all of them worked great under 50 yards and had similar speed and points of impact. Out past 70 yards is when I could see the differences and more so when I took the testing outdoors. All in all its hard to beat the blazer in stabilization and flight but the draw back is they are louder. However, not really that much louder that I think it gives you an advantage to change.
Broadheads: All this broadhead testing I have been doing over the last 4-5 years has really made me crazy. This portion of your set up more than any other is proof that you can’t gain in one area without given up something else so for now I am going to keep to myself what broadhead I’m using until my broadhead test is complete. However, I will say this I shot Swhacker for 11 years with tremendous success on everything from Bull Elk to rabbits. And I continue to shoot them for now but I need to add 25grn FACT weight to the 2″ 100grn swhacker head because I don’t like there 125grn model and my arrow set up shoots best with 170grns up front total. I have developed a new Outcert that is, stronger, higher tolerances and better fitment that eliminates the need for the FACT weight but for now they are still prototypes.
My process: Finally getting to the build of my arrow I have seen and read and watched videos of guys spending hours on end tweaking every last bit they could manipulate on and arrow to get it perfect… Listen! if you got the time power to you but I don’t and my livelihood doesn’t depend on me hitting little Xs so I developed a process that is leaps and bounds ahead of what you are getting from your run of the mill pro-shop build but still a far cry from what you can do to and arrow . Step 1: I go through all my arrows using the RAM spine tool and check for the straightest end and put the nock in that end. Step 2: I will then test the dynamic spine and find the stiffest part of the arrow mark it in pencil and set my nock to that. Step 3: I cut the arrow shaft on my revolution arrow saw and de-bur the inside diameter. Step 4: I square both ends Step 5: I mop out both ends to remove carbon dust. Step 6: I clean the shaft with alcohol Step 7: I use the Vane Master Pro because its the most precise I have tried and easiest to replicate batch after batch I set the cock vane in line with the stiffest part of the spine of my arrow. Step 8: I Choose 12 broadheads and number them then 12 shafts and number them as well I screw in the broadhead onto the insert then apply glue in the same spots with as consistent as I can on the amount and I push in the insert spin it at least once then line up the blades with my cock vane ( this is a flawed technique because when you use a different head later on it wont line up exact because the treads are almost always different. but at least for your first 12 shots with those heads you are good)
So that’s it… this is how I set up my perfect arrow. Like I said you can go down a rabbit hole with alot of this stuff and you can spend a lot of time adjusting, nocks, points, inserts etc. trying to get the most perfect arrow possible but I found that this process gives me great performance and consistency and it doesn’t take 4 days to build a dozen arrows.