Are You Shooting the Best Crossbow Arrow for Your Bow?

whitetail hunting with crossbows

Selecting the correct arrow for your crossbow can be challenging if you’re unaware of some basic ideas about how you want to use it, what you’ll be hunting and your bow’s setup.

Just as with any other deer hunting bow or firearm, your crossbow needs to have the appropriate items to make it work at maximum performance. That includes your arrows. Selecting the right one that will fly the best, hit the hardest and do the job on a buck or doe is critical.

Check out this press release from TenPoint Crossbows about selecting the right arrow:

With a wide array of crossbow arrows available to consumers in the market today, selecting the right arrow for your shooting or hunting situation can seem like a difficult task – speed, kinetic energy, trajectory, and overall performance vary amongst different weighted arrow.

While TenPoint’s five arrow Easton lineup of lightweight, standard-weight, and heavy weight crossbow arrows offer the perfect arrow for whichever shooting or hunting situation you face, let’s take a closer look at the characteristics and recommendations of the different weighted arrows.

  

Lightweight Arrows (350-400 grains)

Characteristics: Using a lightweight arrow increases overall speed and creates a flatter downrange trajectory.  However, it transfers excess energy to the bow assembly and limbs, and generates increased vibration, stress, and noise.  Depending on the crossbow, this excess energy may create a dry-fire effect, which can affect the durability of bow components.  With lighter spines and less momentum, lightweight arrows can be less stable and more easily deflected down range due to wind, rain, and/or debris.

Recommendation: Provided your crossbow can safely handle a lightweight arrow, there are circumstances where using one can be useful.  In open areas, where judging distance is more difficult, a flatter shooting arrow may be the difference between making a kill shot, a wounding shot, or a miss.  Because of its characteristics noted above, however, it may not be a good choice for certain hunting situations or especially for shooting in inclement weather or in heavily wooded or thick habitat.

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Standard-Weight Arrows (400-435 grains)

Characteristics: A standard-weight arrow offers a good blend of speed and kinetic energy to provide an all-purpose hunting arrow that meets most manufacturers’ arrow requirements and is effective for most shooting circumstances.  Increasing the weight of the arrow allows a higher percentage of the crossbow’s energy to be transferred to the arrow, thus reducing vibration and noise, and the likelihood of bow damage.  In addition, the increase in weight allows the arrow to retain more kinetic energy and usually improves downrange accuracy and penetration.

Recommendation: Because of its “all-purpose” nature, a standard-weight arrow is not likely to damage a crossbow and can be used effectively and successfully in nearly all shooting and hunting circumstances.  The rare exception would be a circumstance where a lightweight or a heavyweight arrow is clearly a better choice for a particular crossbow model.  Standard-weight arrows are the arrow of choice for most manufacturers because they “quiet” noise and vibration levels in virtually all modern crossbows.

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Heavyweight Arrows (435 grains or higher)

Characteristics: A heavyweight arrow, up to 750 grains, produces and retains the largest amount of kinetic energy, which results in greater penetration ability.  Traditionally, heavier arrows generate more momentum and produce tighter groups downrange as a result of improved in-flight stability. Heavyweight arrows are less likely to deflect due to wind, rain, and/or debris.  However, they lose trajectory faster down range, making judging distance more critical when using them.      

Recommendation: A heavyweight arrow is ideal for hunting big game with tough hides, hunting in inclement weather, and hunting in thick habitat.  Because it loses elevation faster downrange, using a rangefinder when hunting with one is a good idea.  It is also an ideal arrow for target shooting at known distances.  A heavyweight arrow will also produce the quietest and most vibration free shot of all other weight choices.

 

TenPoint’s Arrow Ballistics Program includes even more information on front of center weight distribution, loss of speed/kinetic energy, and grouping for different weighted arrows – click here to take a look.

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