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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

All about the Arrow

A Kodabow crossbow is all about casting an arrow (or bolt for those who prefer) downrange accurately. At the moment the crossbow trigger releases the string catch, the high speed forces of stored kinetic energy are transferred from the limbs and string to the arrow and the whole shooting process shifts to being all about the arrow. This assumes that a crossbow is casting the arrow perfectly downrange like a fastball and not a curveball. A Kodabow is an All-Star in this regard but that is a whole different discussion.

Here are some considerations. There are 2 highly visible areas on an arrow. Because we can "see" these, namely the "vanes" and the "broadhead", many if us talk about these elements the most. Forget about them for a moment.

It may not be pretty but a torn, rippled vane often shoots very well at hunting distances. At times, the broadhead is blamed as the problem but the issue could be in the crossbow itself or in the type of arrow selected and how that arrow is setup before the broadhead is ever attached.

Vanes and broadheads are important for sure but spend also some time on the elements that can't be seen. First, look at FOC % and calculate the FOC % (Forward of Center) for your arrows. A quick internet search provides the formula. Basically, a front weighted arrow provides a longer lever for the vanes to steer from behind ..... a rear weighted arrow is harder to control. Crossbow arrows are short and harder to control to begin with vs. longer vertical bow arrows. Flight experts believe 14% or greater FOC is desirable in a crossbow arrow. We like 17% -18% and the quality arrows we ship with Kodabow crossbow packages are at those values depending on either 100 gr. or 125 gr. heads. Of course, more weight on the front to an extreme will cause higher arrow "drop" at longer ranges but this is manageable and if that factor comes into play too much, you just might be attempting too long of a shot.

The other factor that can't be seen is arrow shaft construction. Some hunters might buy a dozen arrows and reserve 6 factory fresh arrows for hunting and never shoot them. They will utilize the remaining 6 arrows for practice. THIS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA. We suggest you shoot every arrow and chart how they group. Select the top arrows for your hunt. 99% of the time, this is about small differences but we are always looking for the "lone wolf" arrow that might be motivated to leave the pack. Take a small marker and number each of the arrows. As perfect as the arrow makers try to manufacture, there is always some variance. Weight ... spine..... the best way to see things is to shoot them all. If the invisible spine on a particular arrow deviates from the norm and is heavier on one side of the shaft than the other, the arrow might steer and move 4" or more at 30 yards. A stout FOC % and more vane engagement to steer the shaft can offset inherent shaft variances. In the end, nothing beats shooting and the results on the target tell the whole story. But don't go afield without validating ALL THE ARROWS in your quiver. Safe hunting!

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