Indoor Preparation: Choosing the Right Arrows
As archers progress through the ranks and skill improves, equipment changes due to personal preference and preparation focuses differently from outdoor to indoor seasons. Your observations will show that compound shooters may decrease poundage, switch arrows and/or install new cams & strings, while recurvers may change limbs, strings and start breaking in new tabs. In any event, all the mentioned actions can affect which arrows will tune to your bow and help you gain maximum results for winning archery scores. This article will focus on indoor preparation and some of the unique challenges it presents. Indoor Preparation requires careful planning and sometimes the scraping of finished arrows to start all over!
Bow Draw Length
Growing in the sense of height, especially during the early teenage years, archers tend to find themselves incurring expenses for arrows at the most inopportune moments, like the week before a tournament, just after buying arrows or when their parents hit a budget crunch! As an archery parent I find my fourteen year old son particularly challenging in the sense of draw length–the arrow that seemed perfect last week, all of a sudden is an inch short this week and unusable. This scenario creeps up on recurve shooters, though the signs are easy to tip an observer off; change in elbow posture, bow arm creep, appearance doesn’t look normal, or the clicker always seems to trigger early. If you are debating if your child’s draw length is correct, here’s a great resource to confirm your suspicions or not: Check Draw Length
Bow poundage changes can affect the tuning of an arrow because of spine changes required at different weights. Each arrow manufacturer publishes a matrix of spines and which are geared to different shooting purposes and bow poundages. So many of today’s bows allow for easy changes of bow weight that young archers often bump up their bows as their muscles handle more poundage. The problem with changing bow weights is that arrows are optimized for a specific range of weights and increases of as little as 5 pounds can affect the way an arrow performs.
Interchangeable parts and add ons
Interchangeable field points, or anything that is added to an arrow will either increase or decrease the weight of an arrow, causing the arrow to fly differently. The amount of that difference will vary proportionally with the amount of weight change. One particular area to watch with hunting arrows is an interchangeable field point. Even varying 25 grains will cause sights to be adjusted or even cause the arrow to porpoise. Monitor all changes in the arrow to verify if the performance of your arrows are better or unfortunately worse. One of the best ways to find variations and slight differences in arrows and components is to use a grain scale, like the one in the picture from Last Chance Archery.
Go Big, or Go Home
For compound shooters with intermediate skill or above, the craving for line cutting, thick 23 or 27 sized arrows will only grow with the passing of each indoor tournament. I made the jump to 27 sized Gold Tip Triple X arrows with competition points this year and after the very first league shoot at Tri-County Gun & Rod I am very glad I did! Not only were the arrows easy to tune, I was able to hit my personal best of 423 on a Vegas round. Within weeks, I also tried the Easton X2312 sized arrows and found that they tuned even better allowing me to meet my personal record of 437/450. The challenge with shooting arrow shafts of different sizes is the bow will need to change to tune. The different shaft size problem results in different rest positions and different nocking point/d-loop position. Depending on rest selection the position may be easily change or require significant repositioning work. D-Loops are a much bigger effort to change and often discourage archers without the proper experience and tools from tying them onto a string, I find few people experiment with different sizes. In short the largest arrow that tunes well in your bow is likely the best arrow for shooting indoor competitions.