Proper Arrow

July 10th, 2009
by Jacob

Arrows are a primary factor in archery accuracy. They must be straight, have the correct spine and have their nock and point mounted to the shaft straight.

The best way archers can check the straightness of an arrow, shaft, point and nock is using a roller setup to spin the arrow.  A roller setup is far superior than spinning an arrow on your thumbnail or rolling on a flat surface.

I have found the best and easiest way to determine the proper spine for an arrow, an archer, and a specific bow is using feathered arrows and the paper test method. I have found it to be superior to bare shaft testing.

Prior to doing your testing, you will need to make a frame like figure 1 similar to a picture frame that will hold a sheet butcher paper, brown wrapping paper or newspaper, 13 1/2″ x 22 1/2″, fastened to the frame with tacks. You will need to make a stand so you can set the frame with paper 36″ in front of your backstop and parallel with your shoulder.   Another easy frame is to use a cardboard box open on both ends. Tape the paper to an open side of the box. Set the box on something that is parallel with your shoulder and 36″ in front of your backstop. You are now ready for paper testing.

First, set your nock point 1/2″ above 90 degrees and adjust the brace height to the desired height.  Then stand so your bow is 6′ in front of your paper frame and shoot your first arrow through the paper. If you get a hole like figure 2, you have the correct nock point, spine and arrow length for this bow and the test is complete. Generally this will not be the case and the first thing you will have to do is adjust your nock point.

If you get a hole like figure 3, your nock point is too high and if you get one like figure 4, your nock point is too low. There are times when you will get a hole indicating a high nock point when in fact it is too low and the arrow indicates this type of hole due to it striking the shelf and kicking up, so please consider this. Make your nock point adjustments according to the type of hole you are getting. You may also need to adjust your brace height higher or lower. Always shoot your arrows through a portion of the paper where you get distinct holes not ones that overlap previous holes. If necessary change the paper on your frame.

Now that your nock point is set correctly you can determine the proper spine. If you get a hole like figure 5 your arrow is too weak and if you get a hole like figure 6 your arrow is too stiff. You can stiffen your arrow by shortening, using lighter points or using a stiffer spine arrow. For a stiff arrow you need to lengthen the arrow, use heavier points or use a lighter spine arrow. (Left hand shooters simply reverse figure 5 and 6.)

Paper testing is like bore sighting your gun; once you determine the correct nock point and spine using this method you must confirm your findings by shooting the correct arrow at a target 25 yards away. Generally, your findings from the paper test method will be confirmed.

Once you determine the correct arrow spine and length, nock point, brace height and number of strands in your string along with type of material used to make the string, record this information so you will have it for future reference. Remember any time you make any change to this bow’s brace height, nock point, new string, etc., for best results re-test your arrows using the paper test method.

If you do not have access to varied spine arrows, I offer a set of four different spined feathered arrows for $35.00 postpaid. Telephone orders only so the proper spines for the arrows are sent.

If you have any problems or questions with this testing, please contact me via e-mail or telephone so we can discuss what you are experiencing and how to correct it. This type of testing takes some time but the benefits warrant the effort.

NOTE: If an archer does not draw his bow consistently the same length, this type of testing will be inconclusive.

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