Win a Bet With Your Pals: Does an Arrow Spin in Flight?

WATCH: Arrow Penetration Test for Deer Hunters

Just how many revolutions does a broadhead-tipped arrow shaft complete before striking a target 30 yards downrange when shot from a popular modern compound bow with an initial velocity of 260 fps?

deer hunting with bow and arrow

High-speed photography shows that arrows don’t spin in flight the way many hunters believe, which will be surprising to many of them. (Photo: Dan Schmidt)

The answer: Zero.

Yep, you read that right. Most folks believe that an arrow in flight rotates rapidly as it sails downrange. However, high-speed photography shows that a carbon shaft straight-fletched with standard 2-inch plastic vanes does not even rotate one time at 30 yards from a bow shooting about 260 fps. If you add a bit of offset — say 2 degrees — you will get the shaft to rotate perhaps two or three revolutions at 30 yards. That’s it.

However, NAP’s 2-inch QuikSpin vanes fletched either straight or with a small offset, produce a shaft that will rotate at least 10 times at 30 yards. And there’s no doubt that the more a projectile (be it bullet, football or arrow shaft) rotates while in flight, the more consis- tently accurate it will be.

Here’s another old wives’ tale: Years ago, it was common to read that you should try to line up your fletches with your broadhead blades for maximum accuracy.

Again, the high speed photography disproves this claim. The photography shows it makes no difference whatsoever in accuracy.

What is important is making sure your broadheads are screwed in perfectly straight to the shaft. You can check that with the spin test — spinning the arrow on the broadhead tip – to see if there is any wobble.