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Arrow Energy info and results

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Arrow Energy info and results

Old 05-20-2007, 10:59 AM
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Default Arrow Energy info and results

I have seen quite a few questions about the energy of an arrow at different ranges, so I decided to do a little research this morning with my setup and post the results for a comparison starting point for those of you as interested as I am in the physics of our sport. My bow is a Mathews Switchback, 30" draw, and set at peak draw weight of 69.5 lbs, 80% letoff. The arrows I used were my small game/target arrows: 27.75" Gold Tip XT Hunter, with FOB's (you can see them at www.starrflight.com), ASAT Camo arrow wraps, homemade glow stick lighted nocks, and Magnus Stinger 100 grain 4 blade broadheads, and they weigh in at 391 grains overall; and my elk/larger game arrows: Carbon Express Terminator Hunter, 31", with all the same parts, and these weigh in at 521 grains.

The formulas I used for the calculations are:
Momentum=Weight X Speed / 225218
Kinetic Energy=Weight X Speed X Speed / 450436

I included the KE calculations for the benefit of the bow manufacturers since they seem to love giving us these numbers. However, in the parts of physics that apply to us as bowhunters, the KE number is pretty much useless since it has no direction vector attached to the number. The important numbers for comparison that we should use is the momentum number, since this has a direction and is the force that the flesh and bone ofan animal must stop. The more that an arrow derives its momentum from mass versus speed, the better the arrow will retain its momentum down range as shown by the tables: the light arrow loses 29% of its power while the heavier arrow only loses 23%. (Note that the constants used in the calculations for KE and Momentum may or may not be the same as you have seen in other places, the difference comes from the rounding of the gravitational constant and makes very little difference in the end.)

I used the speed average of three shot groups. If I was unable to get three good readings, then I reshot the entire group. At 90 and 100 yards that became a bit of a challenge since I had no pin set up for that range (my pins are set at 30, 40, 50, 60, 80), but you can see in the photo below that I finally did pull off a good group at 100 yards (about 3.5"). You can also see in the other photo below what happens when you don't follow through at 100 yards...OOPS. At those super-extended ranges your form becomes critical. Amazingly, I pulled the arrow out, took the chrono apart, realigned all of the pieces, put it back together, and it worked just fine. It's a good thing that the circuit boards are all laying on the bottom of the unit and not standing vertically.

This table shows the results from my setup. The % Loss Column is the percentage change in momentum of the arrow from the initial launch. The 10 Yd Loss column is the percentage change in momentum from the previous yardage (i.e., loss between 60 and 70 yds). The Difference column is the percentage of momentum difference between the two arrows at the different ranges.

I use this information to help me choose between arrows for different game species. I look at the difference column and see that the heavier arrow packs 20% more momentum at 70 yards than the light arrow, and I want that extra amount of energy when taking on an elk, but I've decided that I'll take the trajectory advantages of the lighter arrow for smaller game, like deer. What is the magic minimum number or magic maximum yardage that an arrow will harvest an animal...that is purely a personal choice that you'll never be able to get accurate information about due to the myriad of variables.

I can say that these two combinations have harvested many critters for me in the past, so for my hunting, I like the way these perform. But I will always look at the physics of my bow/arrow/broadhead combination before I head out into the woods. The choices I make are ones that I have to live with as a hunter, and I want to do my best to use the most appropriate equipment I have for the animal I am after. Will I ever shoot 100 yards at an animal, NO, but if I shoot at 20 and have the animal stop broadside at 105, you can bet that I can and will put a second one in the boilermaker. The best thing about the long-range practice, 80-100 yards, is that it really does make a 60 yard or less shot a simple little chip shot.

Thebest way to use this information is to perform your own tests, but if you have a bow with an IBO speed that is somewhere around the same as the Switchback that I used to shoot this test (IBO of 315 advertised, but never seen), then you can be reasonably sure that your numbers would come out close to the same. Once the arrow leaves the bow at a set speed physics takes over from there and the type of bow you're holding doesn’t matter.


Gold Tip XT Hunter 391 Grains

YardsSpeedMomentum KE% Loss10 yd Loss

02970.515676.570.00%0.00%
102960.513976.050.34%0.34%
202930.508774.521.35%1.01%
302880.500072.003.03%1.71%
402760.479266.127.07%4.17%
502640.458360.5011.11%4.35%
602530.439255.5614.81%4.17%
702410.418450.4218.86%4.74%
802300.399345.9222.56%4.56%
902190.380241.6326.26%4.78%
1002100.364638.2829.29%4.11%


Carbon Express Terminator Hunter 521 grains

YardsSpeedMomentum KE% Loss10 yd LossDifference

02590.599177.590.00%0.00%16.20%
102560.592275.801.16%1.16%15.24%
202540.587674.621.93%0.78%15.51%
302470.571470.574.63%2.76%14.28%
402390.552966.077.72%3.24%15.39%
502320.536762.2610.42%2.93%17.10%
602250.520558.5613.13%3.02%18.50%
702180.504354.9715.83%3.11%20.53%
802100.485851.0118.92%3.67%21.66%
902040.471948.1421.24%2.86%24.12%
1001990.460345.8023.17%2.45%26.27%


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Old 05-20-2007, 11:00 AM
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Default RE: Arrow Energy info and results

Second Photo:

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Old 05-20-2007, 11:03 AM
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Old 05-20-2007, 11:48 AM
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Default RE: Arrow Energy info and results

Todd, thats some good penetration! lol
I shouldn't laugh because I did the same thing about a month ago now in my back yard. I had two chronies,I set one crony up at three feet away and one right in front of the target. Iwas planning to shoot from 10yards, 20, 30,and 40 yards. I wanted to seehow much the arrow actually slowed down at different ranges.I shot 5 timesto get a average at 10 yards with no problems, next I moved back to 20 yards to repeat the test, again no problem. Got to 30 first shot was good, but on the second shot not so, at first I thought my arrow exploded becuse stuff was flying everyware and it sounldlike a small gun going off.I wasso worried about not shooting the chronosittingin front of the target thatsomehow I forgot about thechronothree feet away. SureenoughmyF1 Chrony was no match against AC/Super Slim 340'swith bullet points out of the Switchback XT. Ididn't take a pic of it and post itbecaueI have a brother in law who could/would use it for black mail against me! Either him or my wife, lol. I am just glad to see I am not the only one who has shot their chrony with a arrow. Not only didIdestroy the chrony but I bent my brand new arrowfletched with the new Quick Spins st. At$200 per dozen includingfletchingand tax, thatcomes to $16.60 per arrow plus the price of the new chrony $89.00 thats a expensive mistake. Looking back now, yes its funny but expensive at the same time.At the time thoughI didn't think it was too funny.
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Old 05-20-2007, 12:59 PM
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Default RE: Arrow Energy info and results

OK, I have the tables a little better laid out. Let me know what you think.
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Old 05-20-2007, 01:09 PM
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Default RE: Arrow Energy info and results

Todd - real interesting test. Thanks for sharing. I couldn't help but notice that the lighter arrow lost about 90 fps in 100 yards and the heavier one lost only 60 fps.

I blew away two chronographs so far with a muzzleloader - the sabots still have quite a bit of power at 10 yards. One solution that works for me is to put a 4 X 4 wood block across the front of the Chrony. Worst thing that can happen is that you will hit the stakes or the sunshade - both of which are easily replaceable.

While turkey hunting this morning, we witnessed a largegobbler (that wouldn't come in) at about 100 yards. At the conclusion of the hunt, we speculated on the odds of hitting that bird at 100 yards. Even discussed a wager of breakfast on the outcome. My buddy, without having apin zeroed for past 40 yards,shot first and hit an 8" X 12" target put up at this distance. First try. I didn't even shoot. Arrows are expensive. Boughtbreakfast. .
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Old 05-20-2007, 01:14 PM
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Default RE: Arrow Energy info and results

Roscoe, Cool story that fits your signature line well!!!!

Yeah, the test does a good job of laying out the fact that a heavier arrow will lose less energy (speed) over any distance. You can see that the light arrow lost about 4% of its energy every 10 yards, while the heavy one lost 3% every 10 yards.
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Old 05-20-2007, 04:19 PM
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Default RE: Arrow Energy info and results

ORIGINAL: idahoelkinstructor

Todd, thats some good penetration! lol
Yeah, I hadn't thought about that...
I was a bit surprised that this little misguided penetration experiment broke that Magnus Broadhead, though. I also broke another on a pass through of my target into a rock behind. I broke 5 of the FOB's trying to shoot the groups. Talk about an expensive morning...
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Old 05-21-2007, 02:54 PM
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Ididn't take a pic of it and post itbecaueI have a brother in law who could/would use it for black mail against me!
Now who could that possibly be? I wouldn't do that. Especially on something as funny as putting an arrow through your chrony![:-]
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Old 05-21-2007, 10:32 PM
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Default RE: Arrow Energy info and results

What a great report!

Hey how do you like the FOB's?
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