Skinny is Beautiful: Go Thin with Your Bowhunting Arrows


Skinny supermodels might be under attack by the mainstream media, but skinny arrows are definitely en vogue, the hottest thing going since carbon first hit the bowhunting scene. Savvy bowhunters everywhere are adopting them in droves, quickly recognizing the inherent advantages of packing a heavyweight punch into more streamlined packages. The newest slim-line arrows are constructed with much lower diameters, but also with thicker walls concentrating kinetic energy and making them nail tough.

Small-diameter arrows provide greater accuracy thanks to slimmer profiles, better trajectories and deliverance of more kinetic energy.

Small-diameter arrows provide greater accuracy thanks to slimmer profiles, better trajectories and deliverance of more kinetic energy.

Skinny carbon arrows aren’t exactly new, at least from the perspective of a few decades’ hindsight. The first carbon shafts introduced during the mid- to late-1990s included ultra-slim diameters, many mirroring today’s smallest-diameter shafts. They also carried thick walls that concentrated mass for hard-hit- ting payloads.

But comparing early carbon shafts to modern wares would be a stretch, because technology found in new products is light years ahead of beginning carbon. Early pultruded shafts — as introductory carbons were known — included long, parallel fibers, which when broken turned into nasty, sharp-edged slivers. Those shafts came with safety notices warning of introucing harmful carbon fibers into game meat during the shot and the potentially lethal results of ingesting those fibers.

They also wore bulky outserts and sleeve nocks many archers didn’t care for, and included straightness, concentricity and weight tolerances no bowhunter would accept today. But they were super tough and penetrated game like crazy, attributes creating loyal followers despite inherent short- comings. As early carbon technology progressed to include internal components, carbon-arrow diameters increased while wall thicknesses decreased. Bowhunters of the day, deep in the thralls of the need for speed, greedily embraced them.

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Easton started the skinny-arrow trend rolling after introducing the Axis in 2003. Axis 5mm arrows include smaller diameter and thick walls, standard field-point and broadhead ferrules accommodated by introducing the ingenious H.I.T. system, or Hidden Insert Technology.

Small diameter arrows require different sized inserts and nocks but once you get the components dialed in, you'll be surprised at the difference.

Small diameter arrows require different sized inserts and nocks but once you get the components dialed in, you’ll be surprised at the difference.

These recessed-aluminum inserts are adhered to the interior walls of the shaft, en- gaging standard ferrule threads, ferrule shoulders fitting precisely inside interior walls, creating sleek, streamlined point/ arrow mating. A new direct-fit X-Nock was created to accentuate Axis’ sleek character. The result — still highly popular — is a trim hunting shaft packing big game, pile-driving oomph, while also making every shot quieter by efficiently absorbing more of a bow’s violently unleashed energy on release.

Today’s 5mm Axis provide 9 and 9.5 grains per inch (gpi) in best-selling 400 and 340 deflections suited to the vast majority of modern bow setups. More mass yet is gained by choosing Easton’s 5mm Axis Realtree (9.8 and 10.3 gpi in 400 and 340 spines, respectively), or the alloy-sheathed/carbon-core 5mm Axis Full Metal Jacket (10.2 gpi/400 and 11.3 gpi/340).

Single-string shooters aren’t left out of the equation, the 5mm Axis Traditional, with classic wood-grain graphics, providing concentrated mass required for reliable recurve and longbow performance (9.8 gpi in 400 deflection most popular with trad archers) and rugged dependability in a slimmer pro- file centering better over the hand while shooting instinctively directly off the shelf. They also include 50/75-grain break-off brass inserts to boost F.O.C. and traditional bow penetration.

Not one to rest on their laurels, Easton pushed the skinny- arrow envelope even further with the introduction of the 2011 4mm Carbon and A/C Deep Six Injexion. Deep Six technology required tweaking the H.I.T. concept, slimming inserts further, also creating an all-new ferrule-thread standard.

Deep Six (D6) 20-grain H.I.T. inserts include finer threads that increase thread engagement and G-Nock-diameter internal ferrule shoulder. They’re also milled from high-grade stainless steel (instead of aluminum) to increase forward mass, or F.O.C., something Easton says helps increase penetration up to 56 percent, steel augmenting insert strength 65 percent.

Easton developed the insert in collaboration with New Archery Products, who produced the first D6 broadheads. Nearly all of the major broadhead manufactures are now on board with their own D6 models, a testament to the system’s growing popularity. A sleeker, direct-fit G-Nock provides precision once enjoyed only by competitive target archers. In 330 deflection 4mm Injexion shafts provide hard-hitting 10.2 gpi (Carbon) and 10.5 gpi (A/C) mass.

The combination delivers deeper penetration through ultra- concentrated mass and less friction through game and unprec- edented durability. Accuracy is also enhanced via the ultra-thin cross section, giving crosswinds less surface area to push against, the smaller axis promoting faster spin rates with less fletching surface area to increase broadhead stability.

Both 5mm X-Nock/Axis and 4mm G-Nock/Deep Six designs include modernized versions to take bowhunters into the next generation of arrow technology. The new, 5mm X-Nock-equipped Deep Six XD includes 25-grain D6 RPS steel inserts and precise +/- .003-inch straightness tolerances the most demanding bow- hunters will appreciate. Weighing 9 gpi in 400 deflection and 9.5 gpi in 340 (also offered in 490 and 295 spines) the XD offers a balanced combination of deep-driving performance and flat-shooting trajectories.

Don't be turned off by the smaller diameter as a hunting arrow. These "skinny" arrows fly great and hit hard.

Don’t be turned off by the smaller diameter as a hunting arrow. These “skinny” arrows fly great and hit hard.

The biggest news in skinny arrows, the revolutionary 4mm Deep Six Full Metal Jacket combines Easton’s proven Full Metal Jacket (a.k.a. FMJ) and ultra- micro Injexion technologies to create the quietest, hardest-hitting arrow avail- able today. FMJ, as the name suggests, includes a glass-smooth, precise and super-tough aluminum-alloy jacket, bonded to an ultra-micro-diameter, space-age carbon core. The slick alloy skin provides the quietest draw cycles in bowhunting — a huge plus with the spookiest whitetails — but also makes them easier to pull from high-density foam targets during practice.

The advanced carbon core makes them stronger and able to recover more quickly from launch and hard-impact paradox for increased accuracy and deeper penetration on game. They hold G-diameter H.I.T. steel inserts and precision, direct- fit G-Nocks. Combining these features creates shafts with .002-inch straight- ness tolerances and 2-grain matched weight, and one of the most concentrated energy payloads available today.

In the most popular deflections the 400 weighs 9.8 gpi, the 330 11 gpi. The light-deflection 460, at 9 gpi, makes
a perfect option for “kinetically chal- lenged” youth and women bowhunters seeking more dependable penetration on big game.

Skinny arrows are destined to become the next big thing in bowhunting. The advantages are very real. If you’re a bowhunter looking for more penetration from less draw weight/shorter draw lengths, skinnier, heavier arrows are where it’s at.

Also want quieter shots, especially on jumpy whitetails? Look to skinny arrows. And what bowhunter isn’t looking for more accuracy every time they release on that season-making buck? Skinny arrows give you that as well through diminished wind drift in demanding conditions and increased stabilization while shooting fixed-blade broadheads.