# Hype or Innovation: Weight-Forward Arrows for Bowhunting

Determining all the factors involved in draw length, arrow length, type of rest you shoot and other aspects of bowhunting is necessary to achieve optimal results. Don’t overlook all string and limb silencers that will help tame noise and vibration. Choosing the proper arrows is of optimal importance, too.

### How can weight-forward arrow designs — tapered or built-in weight forward — benefit your bowhunting pursuits?

Traditional bowhunters have been shooting tapered wood arrows for ages. The obvious question is why? An easy answer would be that since traditional arrows are shot directly off a hard (if padded) shelf, a nock end smaller in diameter than the front provides improved arrow clearance around the riser. This appears intuitively correct, and many traditional archers no doubt have chosen tapered shafts for this reason alone.

But like many archery-related subjects, a simple explanation is only a portion of the overall equation. This becomes more pronounced in the age of modern compounds, and especially drop- away arrow rests with guaranteed arrow clearance — even with arrows holding rigid “cartridge” fletchings.

IMPROVED F.O.C.

F.O.C., or Front of Center, is the percentile difference between the mathematical center and center of gravity (balance point, point installed), compared to an arrow’s total length.

An easier way of stating this is how far forward an arrow’s balance point is situated from its mathematical center. Why is this important? Without proper F.O.C. — without sufficient forward weight — you create a situation where the nock end of the arrow is attempting to overtake the front while in flight. In other words; unstable flight.

Eight to 9 percent F.O.C. is typically offered as minimal for reliable field-point and streamlined mechanical broadhead flight, 10 to 12 percent for fixed-blade heads. Find this number by determining the mathematical center of your hunting shaft (nock throat to cut-off point) and marking it, then its balance point (point installed) on a sharp object and marking that. Then divide the distance between these points by overall arrow length (nock throat to cut-off point), and move the decimal point two spaces right to receive a percentage.

Weight-forward arrows have better penetration and may be what you need to boost accuracy and hunting success.

As important as this is, there are other positive factors involved. Higher F.O.C. also lends an arrow a higher degree of forgiveness — an arrow that wants to stay its course following a bad release or after encountering light deflections. It will also, all other factors remaining equal, penetrate deeper.

F.O.C. is bumped by increasing the weight of the point (from 100 to 125/145 grains) or insert (brass instead of aluminum, for instance) — something most bowhunters seem allergic to. Or, you can choose an arrow with built-in weight forward, sticking to the broadheads you already own and love and maintaining every foot per second of arrow speed possible.

Built-in weight forward means tapered shafts, as already mentioned, but also special carbon-construction processes seamlessly melding heavier material/tighter weaves up front with lighter materials at the rear.

DYNAMIC FORCES
This is straightforward stuff, but there are other forces at work in the typical weight-forward arrow design. This involves dynamic spine. A typical straight-walled arrow may flex anywhere along its entire length during launch. Not really a major problem, because fletchings are there to quickly introduce order to this chaos.