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Thread: Heavy Or Light Arrow? Define Light?

  1. #1

    Heavy Or Light Arrow? Define Light?

    So many times we see threads come up where hunters ask what weight arrows they should consider on their elk hunts! I know all of us want the benefits of Penetration, Speed & Trajectory! Some say go heavy & some say go light! But what's heavy & what's light? It really depends more on ones draw weight! Just because a hunter uses a 450grn arrow it's not a Blanket Standard that all should use this wt. to reap the most benefit for their draw wt. Having a tuned machine with properly spined arrows can really put a smile on a hunters face, just knowing he has the best suited arrow for his setup is a real confidence builder! I played around with a few weights & adjusted a few weight up front arrows just to see what the differences were! Many hunters are happy with their present setups & that's great, but see how they stack up to these results! This testing isn't trying to get folks to change their setups but it's for those unsure of what is one of the best weights for them personally to consider.

    The bow used was a Hoyt AM32 at 65#.

    I used a house siding called cement board, it's tough & surely not partial to structure! It comes in 5/16" thickness so it was easy to put several together for some real world stopping power! I only used field tips here because broadheads most likely would have been destroyed, one arrow was destroyed as you will see! I've used this same material in arrow testing for longbows 4-5 years ago with arrow wts. 400-500-600-700grn. to see what the effects of penetration were, I destroyed several broadheads in the process! Incidentally the Silver Flame was the toughest head I've ever tested!

    The 1st arrows used were a Easton Axis 340 429grn, Victory HV 300 spine with 190grn up-front & a Gold Tip arrow 7595 (340 spine) both weighed 392 grn. The shot was 20 yds. The Victory arrow in all photos is the same arrow & it's 1-1/14" less the length than the rest of the arrows tested with! You will see not much difference at 20yds between the 390grn arrows. Now check out the 2nd picture. The Victory starts to run away in penetration at 30yds, both weigh the same but the heavy FOC on the Victory really shines through but the Axis is still best329-329-429-20yd.jpg390-390-429-30yd.jpgGT 7595-390-Vctry-390.jpg7595-.jpg! At 40yds it was no comparison! On the 3rd & 4th photo I decided to up the cement board thickness on these two arrows at 30yds, look what happened to the Gold Tip arrow on Impact! I decided not to do that again as it was too thick & tough! More to come!

    ElkNut1

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  2. #2
    390-429-519gn-30yd.jpg429gr-519gn-40yd.jpgAs you can see the Victory arrow held up no problem, I took it & shot it a 2nd time to see if it would be destroyed but no problem at all! It was very clear to me that the 190grn head wt. was superior when compared to the same wt. arrow with a 100grn head! You will see in the further testing how well it really does! If you're going to shoot less than 400grns do all you can to boost that head wt while maintaining proper spine. Your penetration will soar! I firmly believe that ones that are serious about their penetration & flat trajectory then consider 6.5 to 6.7 grains per pound of draw wt. An example is my draw wt. I take 65# X 6.6 = 429grn of total arrow wt. You can be 10grn either way of the perfect wt. & have the best penetration for your draw wt. Any heavier or much lighter & your arrow will sacrifice in penetration as you will see! The 429grn arrow I tested for my specific draw wt has a 125grn head & a 16grn standard aluminum insert. This doesn't mean I couldn't kill elk with the 390grn Victory with the 190grn head wt. because I certainly could but at no time did it best the 429grn arrow! As your draw wt. goes up or down your arrow wt. will that's best suited for you!

    The next test & photo was the Axis N-Fused 340 429grn - Victory 390 190 head wt. - Fmj 519grn at 30 yds - The winner once again was the Axis 429grn. The Victory was a close 2nd to the FMJ, remember the Victory arrow is 1 1/4" less the length of the the other 2 arrows! The 2nd photo is the Axis 429grn & the FMJ 519grn arrow at 40 yds! It's not even close in penetration! Why? Because the bows energy is not enough to push that arrow at a suitable speed to push it to great penetration levels. Yet the 429grn arrow is a well balanced wt. that is storing all the energy the bows limbs have to offer, nothing wasted! Photos don't lie! Is heavy always better when working with a certain wt? No! Up the draw wt now to 80# & it would kill the 429grn arrow, why, because the lighter arrow could not store the energy needed as the 519grn arrow! Bottom line, take advantage of the energy your bow has to offer, no more or no less! 6.5-6.7grn X draw wt.

    I should mention the FMJ 519grn arrow did not get through the 6 sheets of cement board at 40yds but the Axis did! More to come!

    ElkNut1
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  3. #3
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    I am following.....please continue!
    Life is Good!

  4. #4
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    Questions
    1. Arrow diameter ~ smaller is better?
    2. What about if your bow IBO's at 352 instead of 321?

    Most definitely not picking you apart, just asking your opinion.
    Contrary to popular belief, there is a difference between sharing knowledge and forcing your opinion.

  5. #5
    429gn-472gnfmj-30yd.jpg429gn-472fmj-40yd.jpgWhitey, I understand your question & I thought of that as well. I also have an PSE X-Force Dream Season 7" brace at around 345fps & a 6" brace on a 2nd one at 352fps I believe. Just because a hunter has a bow that shoots faster doesn't mean it changes things dramatically. You are generally talking 10-20 grains max from the centerline of 6.5 grains per pound of draw wt. It is never like a hunter would have to adjust 50grains because his bow is faster, it's all very minimal once in the ballpark of the 6.5grn. If a hunter is real concerned about it he can do what I'm doing & take 3 arrows with different wts starting at the centerline of 6.5grns per pound of draw wt. - Other than that he can be rest assured he is right there with great penetration by avoiding wt's used way outside of these! It would be easy to add 10-15grn of arrow weight if a hunter is shooting his bow 15-20fps faster, if slower he could decrease his weight the same 10-15grns. Nothing written in stone here but it's a great place to start for sure!

    Too, you'll notice most all testing is done with the Axis & FMJ arrows, these arrows are basically the same diameter, the Victory is a 5/16 insert so the diameter is even larger that the other two, you'd think that it would be the arrow with the worst drag but it does well despite that with the heavy FOC.

    I will show more photos of results with varying wt arrows! Guys, remember our ulterior motive here is to have the best penetration on elk without sacrificing speed but instead utilizing all of it we can!

    The next photo is of the Axis 429grn & a FMJ 472grn - Again, let's see how heavy versus the lighter arrow fares? The 1st photo is 30 yds & the 2nd photo is 40yds, the 472grn arrow catches up some in the 40yd photo as its momentum tries coming into play as distance increases. I believe by 55yd to 60 yd they would be close to equal but there is a 25fps difference between those two, just imagine the trajectory difference?

    ElkNut1
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  6. #6
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    I agree with you for the most part so far, but what is your opinion on draw length?

    I expect with a longer powerstroke the bow will optimize at a higher grains per pound than 6.6. I would think somewhere like +0.1 for each extra inch.
    that would put 29" at 6.7 and total of 470 ish for a maxed out 70#er
    and would put 30" at 6.8 and total of 476

    does your son have a longer draw than you? I would be interested in seeing the difference

  7. #7
    390V-429A-448A-472Fmj-40yd.jpgThere's really nothing to agree or disagree with! (grin) I'm merely showing results with different weight arrows shot from the same 65# bow. As I mentioned to begin with this gets hunters in the ball park on what's a good elk hunting arrow wt per setup! This eliminates those that shoot 65#-70# & 375grn arrows with 100grn heads for their deer setups & then ask if this is fine for their elk hunts, the same applies to the guys that shoot 65#-70# & feel heavier is always better so they opt for 525grn arrows. This doesn't imply that neither could kill elk with those setups but they are far from the punishing penetration their selective bows are capable of if they just used an arrow wt. in the 6.5-6.7 category for their draw wt. -- If a person has a longer draw stroke then yes he can add a few grains, this is why if one is looking for that perfect arrow for themselves they can take 3 arrows & test them but this is a great area to start from! I will say though that 10-15grns added is really no big deal, the penetration difference would be so slight it would not be worth adjusting for most, they would be splitting hairs at that time! This next photo will show you this!

    Remember in the 1st thread I mentioned that this wasn't trying to get hunters to change their setups but it was for those concerned what to use or where to start! That's what this is. Anyone can benefit from these tests!

    The next photo is with two Axis N-Fused 340 arrows, one is 429grn & the other is 448grn, then we have the Victory 300 HV 390grn with 190grn head wt. & a FMJ 300 472grn arrow, these arrows were shot at 40yds. At 40yds an arrows penetration really shows its true penetration capabilities, it starts to separate the weaker ones! (grin) Note the Axis 429grn arrow penetrates deepest, then the Axis 448grn, the 472grn FMJ & Victory are about dead even, remember the Victory arrow is 1 1/4" less length that's why it puts them about dead even! Yet, those two arrows are separated by more than 80grns difference in arrow wt! The speed difference would be aprox 40fps yet you receive the same penetration just because of the extreme FOC with the 390grn arrow! Guys, that is interesting stuff! (grin) By the way I shot these arrows at 30yds too with similar results as shown at 40 yds, there were no real differences.

    lachance2535, notice the slight difference in penetration between the 429grn & 448grn Axis arrows yet nearly 20grns separate them. This is why I say that talking 10-15grns here or there because of longer stroke is nothing real significant. Ones just need to make sure they don't make 30grn up or down changes! Notice at top the 2nd photo I show, you see at 30yds how the 390grn arrow with only a 100grn tip is lagging behind, imagine it at 40yds +? The difference between that arrow & the 429 arrow with similar tip wts is nearly 40grn, now that makes a bigger difference in penetration as the distances get further out especially if one of the arrows is too light to start with. More to come!

    ElkNut1
    elknut.com
    Vortex Optics Dealer

  8. #8
    Posting just so I can find it later!!!

    Thanks elknut1 I love this kind of stuff.

  9. #9
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    would love to see this done with one of the VAPs with the stainless steel insert at the same weight as the Axis and FMJ. Give me a shout if you want one to try out
    Sometimes nothing is a really cool hand.
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  10. #10
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    Do all the arrows have the same FOC?

  11. #11
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    Very interesting. I'm one of those heavy guys. My setup is about 7.2gr/lb at 72lbs. I'm shooting FMJ 340s with 200 up front with a total weight of 515gr. I also have Nano 340s with the same up front weight, but are about 20 grains less in total arrow weight. Using 6.5gr/lb as a bench mark I'll have to drop 50gr from my head weight, which is easily done with the brass HITs. So what they heck...I'll knock out a couple of arrows in the 470gr range and see what happens.

    BTW...good thread.

    To what Whitey mentioned above...I would assume smaller, however I think there's another important potential factor (and I'm no engineer so if there are some here maybe they can speak to it better than I can) is the coefficient of friction and the two different mediums...static (cement board) vs lubricated (elk/deer). I believe aluminum has a considerably higher CoF than carbon on static surfaces, however the two are almost equal on lubricated surfaces.

    Elknut, I'm wondering if you're able to load up a Nano 340 close to the 500gr range and see how that fares? I'd be interested in seeing if that arrow can compete with your lighter Nano and Vitory arrows.

  12. #12
    Axs429-Fj400-472-Fj300-469grn.jpgmtn3531, I would love to test that VAP too! I don't have one at present so if you'd like to send one to me I'd sure as heck test it! One thing to consider is this cement board is not like plywoods, it grips everything as an arrow tries to penetrate, too, I generally stack 5 -7 thick to stop shaft friction. I'll send off a PM with address, thanks bud!

    I thought this next photo was interesting! The shot distance is 40yds, an Axis 340 429grn - FMJ 400 469grn - FMJ 300 472grn all arrows are identical in length. From this photo the Axis penetrates best but both FMJ's are neck & neck even though spines are different!

    I've got some real nice comparisons coming up next, it's what we've been waiting for! You'll see!

    ElkNut1
    elknut.com
    Vortex Optics Dealer

  13. #13
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    So Paul, thus far we have certain arrow needs for optimal penetration.
    6.5-6.7gpp
    High FOC
    Small diameter
    Correct?
    Contrary to popular belief, there is a difference between sharing knowledge and forcing your opinion.

  14. #14
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    I prefer weight for the forgiveness and the stability in flight...

    Plus, all things equal (which the testing material is not), there are times where both a heavy and light arrow would penetrate just fine for a kill.

    Nice work though!
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  15. #15
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    what length/spine do you need for the VAP Paul?
    Sometimes nothing is a really cool hand.
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  16. #16
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    Every Gold Tip I have shot does that when it hits nose firmly into something solid! Reason I shoot Easton Axis and Beman Bone Collectors!! I have hit some very solid surfaces and nothing happen to the arrow!

    Thing I have noticed when the Axis has broken it has been in the back by the fletching or nock and I am thinking because the energy travels completely through the arrow verses destroying it in front like Gold Tips.

  17. #17
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    It's fun testing stuff isn't it?

    On Saturday I did some shooting after re-serving my center serving and installing a new d-loop. I was shooting 80 yards then took a shot from 93 (as far back as I could get and still have a view of the target). The first arrow hit lower than I expected and buried into the old hardened railroad tie that the target butt sits on. I spent 20 minutes trying to dig that thing out with a screwdriver, leatherman, and a knife. After digging all the wood out from around the arrow shaft 3" in, I finally just busted the thing off. The wood was about as hard as rock and the arrow still wasn't budging. From 93 yards, I'm OK with the penetration that arrow got into that hard wood.

    Thanks for the testing and info. I love that kind of stuff.
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  18. #18
    Guys, thank you so much for the comments! I appreciate all the statements & questions. This is something we all can take a little bit from no doubt!

    FAP1800, Thanks1 I firmly believe from the tests that you can drop to 475grn with your wt. & gain fps & penetration, you can see that from above photos. Too heavy cost ones in penetration as does too light!
    On your other thoughts I'm looking for sheer penetration value here, it will no doubt carry over into an animal, penetration is penetration. I'm not shooting into targets that are shot up or weak, this board is extremely consistent. I've used it for many years now & it has never steered us wrong! Yes, I will load up an Axis 340 to 500grn & compare it for you, no problem!

    Whitey, thanks for your thoughts! So far I have found no real world issue in penetration in big or small diameters, especially if a broadhead is leading the way! (grin) So far I have not done a comparison other than the 390grn arrows with high FOC, that's what I'm posting next! I've just been setting up the ground work so far! (grin) I'm not saying there's no difference in big/small diameter shafts as I know there is, but nothing earth shattering! (grin)


    Painted turtle, I promise you this is better than gel! (grin) I agree there are situations when any arrow will kill an elk when all goes well, problem is that it's not always the case! There are guys killing elk with arrows in the 350grn to 390grn all the time, it's not for you but it's OK for them. My point is if you're going to shoot light arrows build them from the tip back, high FOC rules in penetration with equal weighted arrows! Who doesn't like their arrow not to have ultimate penetration! Thanks!

    These tests are not Rocket Science but are a good basis to work around so we all know we are using a setup that will go to bat for us even when the chips are down! If you've ever wounded an elk & you felt your arrow could have been the problem here is a way to compare so you can see if we are at least in the ballpark! I'll post some more photos here!

    ElkNut1
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  19. #19
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    What kind of FOC are you running Paul? When you say high, are you talking 15% or higher?
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by elknut1 View Post
    FAP1800, Thanks1 I firmly believe from the tests that you can drop to 475grn with your wt. & gain fps & penetration, you can see that from above photos. Too heavy cost ones in penetration as does too light!
    On your other thoughts I'm looking for sheer penetration value here, it will no doubt carry over into an animal, penetration is penetration. I'm not shooting into targets that are shot up or weak, this board is extremely consistent. I've used it for many years now & it has never steered us wrong! Yes, I will load up an Axis 340 to 500grn & compare it for you, no problem!

    ElkNut1
    Thanks Paul for trying the heavy Axis. I fully plan to build a couple FMJs in the 475 range tonight and see how they perform. I'm too cheap to shoot into cement board though. They'll be shot into the unshot section of my Block target. Not nearly as consistent, but good enough to compare the two arrows.

  21. #21
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    got post just to keep with this thread, good info here. Daniel
    *COUES DEER ADDICT*

  22. #22
    Thanks for all the work you're putting into this and the results you're posting elknut1.

    I'll keep watching this thread to see where you take this, a wealth of information so far.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by colo_dually View Post
    Thanks for all the work you're putting into this and the results you're posting elknut1.

    I'll keep watching this thread to see where you take this, a wealth of information so far.
    Agreed! Thanks for posting!
    Lien2

  24. #24
    AX-429g-AX504g-30ydFap.jpgAX-429G-AX504G-40ydFap.jpg5 mile, yes you are right in there at the top of your power-stroke according to your signature! (grin)

    Fap1800, here's your test photos, I did one at 30yds & the other at 40yds. The two arrows were Axis N Fused 340 429grn 125tip & the other Axis N-Fused 340 504grn 200grn tip to make wt. Thanks, I enjoyed checking that out! The thing to consider here too is the speed difference? The 429grn runs 265 out of my 65# AM32 & I'm guessing the 504 would be 230 tops. The 1st photo is 30yds, the 429grn arrow one that one! The 40yd shots & the 504grn arrow caught up with penetration! It was close! At 50yd it would pass the lighter arrow but trajectory would be a rainbow! (grin)

    ElkNut1
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  25. #25
    AX-429g-Vtry-361g 30yd.jpgJust for fun I put together a 361grn Victory 300 spine with a 125grn tip, my bow will shoot this arrow at around 300fps - I then shot it next to the Axis N-Fused 340 spine arrow with a 125 tip at 265fps, just look at the penetration difference at 30yds, & remember the Victory arrow (361grn) is 1 1/4" shorter which means it would be an additional 1 1/4" out further than the Axis arrow! Look how quick the much faster arrow was stopped with same tip weight! If you shoot this arrow in your elk hunts make sure your shot is true as there's not much room for error! (grin)

    ElkNut1
    elknut.com
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