There is an overwhelming variety of arrows out on the market today. But what’s best for you and your set up? Do you want more speed or more stability? What’s the proper arrow spine? 3 or 4 arrow fletching? All these questions, and each answer can change everything. We are going to specifically look at 3D target archery and some pros and cons to different arrows.
Arrow spine is simply the stiffness of the arrow. But why does this matter? Proper arrow spine selection is directly related to draw weight and draw length. The longer the draw length and higher the draw weight, the stiffer the arrow spine you’ll need. The longer the arrow, the more the arrow will flex so a stiffer arrow may be required. Higher draw weight will cause the arrow to flex, so a stiffer spine may be required for a higher draw weight. Most top arrows manufacturers will have a spine chart for reference to make sure you’re choosing the right arrow spine for you bow.
Black Eagle Arrow Spine Chart:
FOC (Front of Center)
FOC is the relation of the balance point of the arrow to the actual middle of the arrow. The arrow has an easier time stabilizing if the centre of gravity (balance point) is further from the back of the arrow. Picture a string tied to a rock or a feather. Now throw them, which is follow the flight path easier? A higher percentage of FOC is provides more stabilization which is good for longer range target archery. Outdoor archery can be challenging with wind, in which a higher FOC will help stabilize arrow flight.
Obviously a heavier arrow will fly slower. But is that bad? For 3D archery, a lighter arrow will fly more flat, but most likely will decrease arrow stability. A heavier arrow will have more arc during flight but will follow the flight path better. The majority of the arrow weight should be closer to the front to help the FOC ratio.
There are now a variety of arrow diameters out there, which can increase ability to score higher and reduce wind drift. Wider arrows can help “grab the line” when the call is close, but wider arrows can also cause more wind drift when shooting outdoors. Nano diameter arrows will help reduce wind drift but will do nothing for grabbing some extra points on the line.
Indoor vs. Outdoor 3D
There are many differently elements between indoor and outdoor archery.
- No wind drift
- Consistent lighting
- No incline or decline
- Easier to judge distances by comparing to other targets
With no wind drift in indoor archery, you can get away with smaller fletching and lighter point weight to reduce weight and pick up a bit of speed. Wider diameter arrows are a definite plus in indoor archery. Nothing to lose when you have no wind to push the arrow around.
- Chance of wind drift
- Shadows around and on target (possible glare)
- Incline and decline shots
- Can use landmarks to help judge distances
One can use universally the same arrows during indoor and outdoor 3D archery seasons. But larger fletching will increase arrow stability in flight along with an increased point weight. Some archers argue speed is still highly important to flatten out your flight path, which will help reduce the likelihood to hit an over hanging branch. A narrower diameter arrow will reduce wind drift but won’t help you in the additional points on the scoring rings.
Top 3 Target Arrows
- Come in 23/64 and 25/64 diameter
- Straightness +/- .002
- 7.8 grains per inch
- 290 spine @28″
- Specifically designed for indoor and 3D
Black Eagle P23
- 23/64 diameter
- Straightness +/- .001
- 7.0 grains per inch @350 spine
- Specifically designed for indoor and 3D
- ~ 7/32 diameter
- Straightness +/- .0015
- 8.8 grains per inch @350 spine @ 28″ length
- Specifically designed for reducing wind drift in long range target archery
- **Can also be used for outdoor 3D (but narrow diameter won’t help with extra points
So with all of this in mind. Which arrow is best? The answer is both. I think at the end of the day, having two different arrow set ups for indoor and outdoor 3D seasons is best case scenario. Arrows having a large diameter, smaller fletching and lighter point weight for indoor 3D, and a slightly smaller diameter, larger fletching and heavier point weight for outdoor 3D. If you want to interchange arrows, use outdoors arrows indoor instead of indoor arrows outdoors.