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Are we going backwards using lighter faster tackle?

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Are we going backwards using lighter faster tackle?

Old 01-18-2007, 09:17 PM
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Default Are we going backwards using lighter faster tackle?

It appears that a lot of hunters are obsessed with light arrows, light broadheads and how to make their outfit even lighter and faster. In the next sentence, they are complaining about poor penetration when shooting animals over 250 lbs. More and more frequently, they aren't getting pass throughs. What I am getting at is, is technologyclouding our judgement in "the need for speed"?

7-10 years ago, nearly all of us were shooting aluminum arrows with a 125 to 140 grain weight broadheads.Total arrow weight was around 500-600 grains for most settups.The best bows of the time shot this combo at around 200-230 fps when set on 65-70 lbs. I too had this settup and had NO problem blowing through shoulder bones of big mule deer bucks and elk. Broken leg bones and shoulder bones were the norm, with massive tissued damage. Most animals looked like they had been shot by a rifle. No shot angle scared me (within reason), because I knew the arrow was gonna break bone and get to the vitals.

Now days, most arrows are in the 350-450 grains of total weight and shoot about 50 fps faster than 10 years ago. Penetration through heavy bone is "iffy" on big bucks and elk with light fast settups on anything but behind the shoulder shots. The behind the shoulder shot is definitely a "safer" bet on arrow placement, but isn't always presented to the hunter. Having seen poor penetration on several deer by speedy, light settups, have we gone backwards? Is the few inches less of arrow drop really worth it? With the advent of laser ranger finders, it seems lighter isn't really better, because we don't have to guess the yardage like we used to.

Another statistical ingredient to the mix is, most shots are 30 yards or less, so what does fast and flat do for the hunter?I hear, "The deer can't jump the string", but that isn't really true. 30-50 fps. of arrow speedisn't going tochange the ability of a deer jumping the string in reality.So, what have we gained by going lighter and faster? I am just thinking out loud, because Ifind myself increasing mytotal arrow weight with each passing season. I hunt a lot of elk and fast and light just doesn't cut it. I like slower and heavier. I get MUCH better penetration with two bleeder holes. Thoughts anyone? Flinch
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Old 01-18-2007, 10:38 PM
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Default RE: Are we going backwards using lighter faster tackle?

who is complaining about poor penetration?

I shoot Light arrows and have absolutley no problem at all getting a complete pass thru

and yes my rig is very fast and I dont plan on changing a thing

I personally think you are talking out of the side of your neck
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Old 01-18-2007, 11:27 PM
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Default RE: Are we going backwards using lighter faster tackle?

I think you're on to something. However, for deer hunting I don't think it's really an issue. On elk, I definitely see your point.

I prefer a midweight arrow (400 - 500 grains). Over 500 grains and it just seems too slow for my liking. Under 400 grains and it seems too loud for my liking.
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Old 01-19-2007, 05:12 AM
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Default RE: Are we going backwards using lighter faster tackle?

I agree with most of what you said. However, I think the biggest problem with penetration isn't so much the total weight of the arrow, but the configuration of the arrow. The average hunter, even the average bow shop refers to a spine chart, while picking a light-weight broadhead, and that's the end of arrow tuning. This is the real problem. Hunting arrows need a high percentage of weight up front, lots of drag in the rear, and very careful tuning for spine. If people did this, it wouldn't matter so much what the final weight was. The arrow would fly the best it's capable of.

As most who have read this forum for any length of time know, I am a big fan of high FOC arrows. As a higher percentage of the weight is moved towards the tip, penetration increases. The arrow also becomes more forgiving in wind, when hitting small twigs or even when hitting bone. If you try to put 18-24% of the weight forward of center, you will find that you need a relatively stiff arrow, and a heavy broadhead. This automatically gives you a heavier arrow than normal for a given shaft type. If you try to configure one in the 25-30% range, you will end up with a real heavy arrow, no matter what you do. The heavy weight sure doesn't hurt with the increased momentum, but the weight still needs to be mostly up front if you want an arrow that penetrates it's best.

For sure, there's an overwhelming desire for speed by most of today's hunters. Obviously under the right circumstances, almost any arrow can do the job, even a very fast one that is not designed as a very forgiving one. I simply like to increase the likelihood that mine will work under the more demanding situations that seem to frequently pop up, so I put a lot of weight up front and tune them carefully.
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Old 01-19-2007, 05:24 PM
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Default RE: Are we going backwards using lighter faster tackle?

Backwards? How are we going back? We were never beenthere in the past.
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Old 01-19-2007, 06:15 PM
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Default RE: Are we going backwards using lighter faster tackle?

I did the light arrow thing for a few years and it worked well enough........killed 10-15 deer that way !!

But old timmers around here kept saying things I did not want to believe about shooting light arrows !! But shot noise got to be a problem(like they said)the lighter and faster I went........so I decided to back up and go to some 450 grain arrows !

Well , my shot noise went down but I noticed a substantial difference in penetration on heavy bone hits(like they said)!! Not so much difference on ribcage shots..........but a lot of difference on bone hits !!

I realized what the old timers where saying and realistically the trajectoey and time difference from 0-30 yards is a joke !! A 500 grain arrow fired out of a newer fast bow will arrive in milliseconds of a 350 grain arrow out of the same bow !! And if anybody tries it..........a 500 grain arrow will stike within a couple of inches of a 350 from 0-30 yards ( nearly the same at 20 yards) out of a treestand !! So yeh........it is rediculous to go super light weight and give up penetration and shot noise when you will have nearly the same trajectory anyway IMHO!!

But hey...........I learned the hard way and I am sure many others will also !! Thankfully Aurthur P and other folks can give you solid advise from a lot of experience !!

Haven't been on this board for a while but will be around a little now !! Have picked the gun bug back up (after 10 serious years of bow) and checking things out on the gun forums !! [8D]
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Old 01-20-2007, 10:50 AM
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Default RE: Are we going backwards using lighter faster tackle?

ORIGINAL: CBM SC

I did the light arrow thing for a few years and it worked well enough........killed 10-15 deer that way !!

But old timmers around here kept saying things I did not want to believe about shooting light arrows !! But shot noise got to be a problem(like they said)the lighter and faster I went........so I decided to back up and go to some 450 grain arrows !

Well , my shot noise went down but I noticed a substantial difference in penetration on heavy bone hits(like they said)!! Not so much difference on ribcage shots..........but a lot of difference on bone hits !!

I realized what the old timers where saying and realistically the trajectoey and time difference from 0-30 yards is a joke !! A 500 grain arrow fired out of a newer fast bow will arrive in milliseconds of a 350 grain arrow out of the same bow !! And if anybody tries it..........a 500 grain arrow will stike within a couple of inches of a 350 from 0-30 yards ( nearly the same at 20 yards) out of a treestand !! So yeh........it is rediculous to go super light weight and give up penetration and shot noise when you will have nearly the same trajectory anyway IMHO!!

But hey...........I learned the hard way and I am sure many others will also !! Thankfully Aurthur P and other folks can give you solid advise from a lot of experience !!

Haven't been on this board for a while but will be around a little now !! Have picked the gun bug back up (after 10 serious years of bow) and checking things out on the gun forums !! [8D]
"Have picked the gun bug back up"

Me too! Shot a late season doe with a .223 Handi Rifle I picked up used and it slammed her big time!! Now I'm looking at the NEF Buffalo Classic 45-70 with the 32 inch barrel $379.95 at Cabelas
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Old 01-21-2007, 03:03 PM
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Default RE: Are we going backwards using lighter faster tackle?

Small white tail deer are easy to kill with just about anything. I have killed a pile of them in the 100-150 lb. weight and they die quick. Once animals exceed 250 lbs. it is a whole new ballgame. I did the light fast thing for a couple of years and noticed a substantial decrease in penetration on big bucks withanything other than a rib cage shot.

I coulndn't get an arrow through an elks' scapula and only got complete passthrough shots a couple of times through the rib cage. I increased my arrow weight by about a hundred grains and am back in the game again on elk and bigger animals. It was a scary learning curve and Ihad some LONG tracking jobs with only one bleeder hole.

As of late I have been shooting some 140-185 grain broadheads of my own design and am really impressed with their penetration and flight characteristics. Thanks for the feedback. Flinch
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Old 01-21-2007, 04:41 PM
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Default RE: Are we going backwards using lighter faster tackle?

My penetration has gotten WAY better with lighter arrows.Of course,a thin walled aluminum will never penetrate as well as a properly spined carbon of average weight, imo.I use ACC's and have no problems on bone hits.My 58# setup probably won't go through a double shoulder hit,regardless of what arrow I use.I figured out a long time ago to not hit shoulders and that problem is solved.


Weight is not the answer,(mass is more important)I also believe in good foc but I am not going as far as Straightarrow but i do like foc.A properly spined and tuned arrow will do way better than weight atany cost.A "heavy" carbon will have much more mass than the aluminum arrows and I believe this to help penetration alot.The heavy carbons are still lighter than most aluminum of the same spine.


Funny this was brought up today.I had a friend that I just got through tuning his bow and i told him to get som FMJ'sin a 340 spine and they are heavy by todays standards but 460 grain arrows are not 500-600 grain.He called me this morning very excited about the arrows.He said he shot through his target and had never even come close to that before.They are properly spined and tuned as well as balanced well.Now he has to buy a new target.[]


Get the popcorn out guys,I see the energizer bunny getting warmed up.
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Old 01-22-2007, 07:43 AM
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Default RE: Are we going backwards using lighter faster tackle?

I think alot ofthe original posthas some merit.

I think most folks look at what you posted and then compare your comments to their own setup. In my case I do tend to fall into the 350-450 grain arrow weight range based on the model and style of arrowthat I prefer as well as the obvious spine issue. In my case I have not run into penetration issues. However, one cannot just look at arrow weight when looking at penetration.Is someone going toget the same level of penetration out of a 450 grain arrow if their drawweight is 70 pounds as opposed to 60, or if their draw length is 30 inches as opposed to 27?

Also consider bow design.Bows of today are more efficient at delivering their stored energy to the arrow thus offering better levels of penetration compared to bows from 15 years ago...and on a sidenote withbetter shot feel and lower noise levels.

Now before you go thinking I am solidly in the light arrow, high speed camp I do agree that some arrows are lighter than I would prefer to shoot. You won't see me shooting some of the super-light carbons out of my setup because of my draw length and typical draw weight range. I feelit does unnecessarydamage to the bow forvery little practical gain. On the other hand I won't be shooting any 500-540 grain arrows in the near future because I do not believe I need the extra weight to gain better penetration for the animals I hunt.

I guess my best advice would be to find an arrowthat tunes well out of yoursetup and keep the arrow weight to at least 6 grains per pound of draw weight. If you shoot less than 60 poundsand/or have a drawlength under 28 inches then you may consider shooting a slightlyheavier arrow (grains per pound ratio) in order to achieve better penetration through momentum.
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