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Like a thief in the night, carbon arrows have been sneaking away with an ever-growing share of the traditional archery shaft and arrow market. And why shouldn't they? The carbon arrows of today are among the finest projectiles ever shot from a stick and string. They hold exacting tolerances for weight, spine, and straightness. They're more durable than any other shafting material ever produced, and with the 'wood-look' patterns now available, they are very appealing to the aesthetic demands of traditional archers everywhere. With so many new people entering the sport of traditional archery, the need for quality, low-maintenance shafting is huge. With carbons, there's no need for straightening, sanding, painting, or sealing like on wood shafting. You just assemble and shoot. We predict it won't be long till carbon arrows own the lion's share of the total shaft and arrow market, including the traditional archery market.
Which types of carbon shafts are the most popular with traditional archers? What are the unique needs of the traditional archer/bowhunter? Which styles sell best to traditional archers/bowhunters? Read on for the answers.
Everyone loves wood. Come on, you know it. The warm, natural look of wood is hard to resist. After all, if you're shooting a beautiful custom wood bow, it only makes sense that you'd like your arrows to compliment the beauty of the bow, doesn't it? The wood-look carbon shafts outsell all other patterns by a margin of about ten to one.
Carbon shafts with a traditional wood look are bestsellers.
Speaking of good looks, we need to insert a bit of an aside here. For carbon arrows to look 'traditional', you'll have to have feathers. Vanes just aren't going to cut it for most of these guys. Most of them are shooting off the shelf anyway, so vanes wouldn't work even if they wanted to use them. We find that 5-inch TRUEFLIGHT feathers in the shield-cut and in left wing sell the best. White is by far the number one selling color.
Feathers offer a traditional touch to your carbon arrows.
The heavier the better! Traditional bows shoot arrows that are on the heavy side. This has historically been the largest obstacle, (and still is a concern), with shooters in traditional circles who wanted to try carbons early on. Fortunately, the carbon arrow manufacturers now offer heavier shafts that can be shot safely from traditional bows. How heavy is heavy? Look for a minimum of 8-10 grains per inch of arrow length. Think about it. We all know we're not supposed to dry fire our bows. Yet some archers make a conscious effort to shoot the lightest arrow they possibly can, banking on the "speed kills" theory. They're right too. Speed achieved like that does kill. It kills your bow! The dynamic recovery of the limbs on longbows and recurves casts heavier arrows better than ultra-light arrows. In other words, if the arrow does not weigh enough, it can't receive all of the potential energy the limbs are attempting to transfer. This leaves an excess of energy in the limbs and creates an unpleasant "thump" (Or "slam" depending on the situation) when the limbs come home. The lighter the arrow set-up, the more like a dry fire the shot becomes. With light arrows the shot experience becomes harsh, the stress on the bow and string is dangerous, and your arrow ends up with much less penetrating power. Sounds like a bit of a "lose-lose" situation doesn't it? Tests have confirmed the fact that longbows and recurves shoot heavier arrows best. Keep that in mind when shopping for carbon arrows.
Another feature to look for in carbon arrows is a 5/16" diameter. Since most wood arrows have a diameter of 11/32" or 23/64". Getting the arrow closer to the center of a bow helps with arrow flight and accuracy.
You may be wondering if any one company answers all of these needs. The good news is that we've found one! The tip of the hat goes to Carbon Express.
Carbon Express offers their ever popular, "Heritage" series, in a rich wood-look finish, available in three shaft spines that will match up perfectly with almost any bow made today. The 150 series for lighter bows (roughly 35-55) weigh in at 10.0 grains per inch. Their 250 series for mid-range bows (roughly 55-75) weighs 11.0 grains per inch, and their 350 series for heavier bows (roughly 75-95) weighs 12.0 grains per inch. These weights are all well within the acceptable norm for traditional equipment even before adding any after market weight systems. These shafts are nearly indestructible! We put some to the test up in the mountains of New Mexico and never had one fail. We bounced them off rocks and trees with no ill effects. The Carbon Express arrow is rugged quality. You can take our word on that.
The Carbon Express Heritage series offers three
different shaft spines to match almost any modern bow.
Do you have any weight sets? No, not the dusty bench press and weights abandoned in your basement. There are now a multitude of aftermarket weight accessories available for controlling the overall mass weight and even balance of your carbon arrows. Weight tubes, steel broadhead adapters, brass inserts, and other similar weighting systems are now available for carbon arrows.
You can bump up the weight of your carbon arrows with weight systems
such as Weight Tubes, Steel Broadhead Adapters, and Brass Inserts.
Weight tubes are thin plastic tubes that slide inside the shafts and are commonly available in two and three grains per inch sizes. Solid steel broadhead adapters allow the use of glue-on broadheads, which are very familiar to the traditional bow hunters, are considerably stronger than the aluminum type, and can themselves weigh up to 125 grains. They are an excellent choice for adding weight to your carbon arrows.
(Click Arrow to View Weight Tube Demo)
There is another popular weight-adding product offered by Precision Designed Products (PDP). It is an entire adjustable weight system comprised or weighted components that screw directly into special threaded inserts allowing you complete control of the total arrow weight. These components are available from five to 50 grain increments and can open a wide world of fine-tuning to the arrow shooting 'crank' that lives for perfection in arrow flight.
The PDP Weight System offers you complete control of total arrow weight.
Don't forget good old screw-in points. They are now available in weights up to 250 grains! What an easy way to increase your arrow weight and test your arrow flight. Just screw in a heavier point.
Screw-In Points are a great way to increase arrow weight and test arrow flight.
From heavy points, to adapters, from weight tubes to weight systems, there are many ways for the modern traditional archer/bowhunter to customize their carbon arrows to match their bow type and hunting style. Spend some time investigating them, add them to your tackle box, and reap the rewards of personalized and optimized carbon arrows.
There you have it! The secrets to chosing and using carbon arrows with a traditional set-up. Go for a wood look. Make sure the shafts are 5/16" and are heavy enough in mass weight. Consider at least a few selections of feathers. And check out some of the different weight systems.
You'll soon discover that carbon arrows can offer the traditional feel and look, while also giving you a sturdier and straighter shaft. It's the best of both worlds!