Hunting is one of mankind’s oldest activities. And how else could you put some meat on the table without having the help of the best arrows for hunting? Sure, skill and luck are definitely needed, but the right tools to help you do the job are also pretty important.
But most people who hunt using this age-old method generally focus on choosing the right type of bow for their purposes, somewhat ignoring the advantages an arrow can bring to the table. Lucky for you, we’re here to tell you exactly how to pick these babies and likewise show you some of what we think are the best products on the market.
Choose Them Like A Pro
There are many factors that determine your weapon of choice, many of which you already know, like the budget, the brand or the quality of the materials used. But the more specific factors are:
The first thing you’ll need to do is calculate the draw length of your bow. That’s pretty easy to do: stand tall with your hands wide apart and parallel to the ground, and then ask someone to measure the distance between the tips of your two middle fingers. Get that in inches, divided by 2.5 and you obtain your draw length.
Let’s say your friend measures 80 inches. Divide that by 2.5 and you get 32 inches. Now, the most appropriate arrow length should not go over 33 inches. So simply add another inch to get the maximum length of your arrows.
The weight of the arrows you choose depends on 2 factors:
- The purpose you use them for: target practice or hunting.
- The draw weight of your crossbow.
In the second case, you obviously need heavier arrows that will pierce through the flesh and muscles of your game, so 6-8 grain/ pound of draw weight should do the trick. Weight is also measured in GPI which stands for grain per inch.
For instance, a crossbow with a draw weight of 150 pounds requires arrows that weigh between 900 and 1200 grain. That’s the total weight, including all the arrow’s parts.
Of course, lighter arrows do have the advantages of higher speed and straight trajectory, but they don’t have the same force to kill the prey.
Shafts that have a small diameter make the arrow fly faster because of a decreased friction with the air.
But the same decreased friction value can be noted when the arrow punctures through the animal you hunt. The deeper the arrow goes in – the more chances you have of killing your game.
At this point, the discussion will regard the 3 main parts of the arrow.
Arrows can be made from:
- Not that durable
- Pretty bendy
- Don’t resist that well to forceful impact
- Don’t bend
- Add a lot of force when they impact your game
- Are strong and resistant
- Weigh just enough to get the job done
The best options regarding the materials used for arrowheads are generally metal and stone. At this point, both have enough advantages like:
- Ability to penetrate deeply at impact.
However, remember that if you buy your arrowheads separately, you have to get the ones manufactured specifically for hunting purposes. That’s because you want to get something effective for you, but you don’t want the prey to suffer needlessly.
This is the part of the arrow you’ll find at its base and its purpose is to make the arrow fly in a straight trajectory, and for as far as possible.
Too much fletching, on the other hand, will add unnecessarily to the arrow’s weight and make it crash, so the best ones are made from:
- Synthetic materials.
Probably the most crucial factor that affects the performance of your arrows is their spine. As the actual name says it, the spine sort of represents the backbone of your arrow and just like a human spine you want it to be strong enough, but at the same time flexible enough.
The reason is that arrows don’t simply remain straight when they are in flight, but they bend and oscillate depending on air friction, currents, and momentum.
The spine is influenced by 3 main factors:
- Shaft material.
- Shaft length.
- Tip weight.
At this point, the flexibility of your arrow is the result of two other vectors:
- The static spine. This shows how much the arrow can bend when you attach a weight to its middle part and let it hang down. It should remain constant forever.
- The dynamic spine. This depends on the quality of the bow. The more force or draw weight the bow has, the bigger the momentum it adds to the arrow. As such, bows with bigger draw weight will make the arrows bend more, while bows with a lower draw weight will allow the arrows to remain stiffer.
Longer arrows will be more flexible. That’s because their length allows for more force to be applied and why the degree of compression is bigger.
The tip is the heaviest part of the arrow, therefore the force it produces to resist the momentum depends on its size: the heavier the tip, the bigger the resistance. And a bigger resistance determines a bigger wobbling motion because it allows for more compression to take place. So if the tip of your arrow is a heavier material, that will make your arrow more flexible when flying.
That being said, the only way to determine what spine works for you is probably to practice shooting and see what you like.
The Best Arrows We Found
After taking all that into account, it’s time to see what the market has to offer in regards to arrows.
Carbon Express Maxima RED Fletched Carbon Arrows
Specific Features: Blazer Vanes, Launchpad Precision Nocks; BullDog Nock Collars; carbon material construction; 0.300-inch Diameter
Best Use: Shooting bigger animals
Description: Carbon Express Maxima RED Fletched Carbon Arrows 4.6 stars arrows really do take the cake in their category. First of all, they are manufactured from a very top shelf carbon material. That accounts for their strength, durability, and speed, but it explains their dynamic spine too. As such, this carbon compound makes them fly better and shoot their target more effectively.
With a spine of 0.342 inches, you can make sure that these Maxima arrows are not too stiff, nor do they bend too much, of course depending on the bow you have.
In fact, they have passed a lot of rigorous testing like being laser checked for straightness to 0.0001 inches. The 6 pack of red and black arrows you’ll get are organized depending on their weight and size, and you won’t see too many variations between the arrows in regards to these characteristics. That makes them very dependable and effective.
And if you need additional reasons to consider these arrows, think of the blazer vanes they’re fletched with that help with speed and flexibility, as do the LAUNCHPAD precision nocks they come with. And since the arrows have a 9.07 gpi, that makes them more appropriate for hunting bigger animals as a bigger weight is sure to add to the force of the impact.
Gold Tip Xt Hunter 5575 Dozen Black Arrows
Weight: 15.2 ounces
Dimensions: 34 x 2.5 x 3.5 inches
Specific Features: 8.2 grains; 0.400 inches spine; 32 inches length; 0.295 inches O.D.; 0.246 inches I.D.; carbon made
Best Use: Hunting for an entire season
Description: Gold Tip Xt Hunter 5575 Dozen Black Arrows 4.5 stars are best for people who do a lot of hunting constantly because they’re the most durable on the market. Besides, Gold Tip is one of the most reliable brands in the field, and the Gold Tip XT Hunter arrow is its most renowned shaft. That’s because it’s a very effective and exact tool, especially if you’re out hunting deer for an entire season.
With a straightness tolerance of +/- .003”, a weight tolerance of +/- 2 grains, and a recommended point weight of 85-100 grain, these arrows fly fast, they’re sturdy and hit their target without a miss. And that’s no wonder with an 8.2 gpi that makes them pierce deep into the prey. The 0.400-inch spine makes them bend just enough to reach their destination fast and accurate.
Their flexibility and speed are also courtesy of their appropriate diameter: 0.295 inches on the outside, and 0.246 inches on the inside. That will help you reach a target as far as 80 yards away.
In regards to their durability, the carbon manufacturing makes them hold up perfectly even if you accidentally shoot one in the ground.
Since you can buy these arrows already fletched, the only thing you need to do is cut them to the desired length and then glue in the inserts they come with. The blazer arrow vanes are about 2-inch long, and if they start to wear you can easily replace them.
Beman ICS Bowhunter Size 400 Dozen Arrows
Weight: 7.2 ounces
Dimensions: 34 x 1.5 x 3.5 inches
Specific Features: +.006″ straightness; # 7 Broadhead adapter ring; +2 grains weight tolerance; 8.4 gpi; 8/32 RPS point (inch); +.006″ straightness
Best Use: General bow hunting
Description: ICS BowHunter is renowned for having patented arrows made from carbon, and therefore Beman ICS Bowhunter Size 400 Dozen Arrows 4.5-star come with the promise of innovation and performance, apart from strength and durability. The Beman carbon is likewise pretty lightweight, so the arrows will fly very fast towards their target, meeting a desired optimum speed and durability.
You’ll also be able to shoot very precisely thanks to the direct fit Super Nock that’s installed on these arrows, but also thanks to the included CB inserts and the 2-inch XVP vanes.
Since the Beman arrows have an 8.4 gpi, you can make sure that they’re good enough for bow hunting different types of animals, as they have enough force required to hit them. And they fly in a straight line too, which is kind of a bonus.
Moreover, the packaging is good, their overall weight is just right and their hit is hard. The 32-inch length can be adjusted according to your preferences with a cutting disk. The Easton inserts you’ll find in the bag can easily be attached once the arrows are cut, and the nocks are yellow – which means they’re easy to spot.
Carbon Express Maxima Blue Streak Fletched Carbon Arrows
Weight: 6.5 gpi
Dimensions: 150 size
Specific Features: Blazer Vanes; LAUNCHPAD Precision Nocks; BullDog Nock Collars; Dual Spine Weight Forward; 0.508-inch spine; 0.284-inch diameter
Best Use: Shooting medium game
Description: Another nice Carbon Express arrows, these 4.1 stars Maxima Blue are much more appropriate for hunting smaller game. We’re not saying you can’t shoot at bigger animals too, but the 6.4 gpi makes them better for flying fast rather than piercing very deep on impact. So if you’re hunting targets that are on the move, these arrows are perfect.
As such, their speed is achieved thanks to a smaller weight, a 0.284-inch diameter, and a 0.508-inch spine which makes them very flexible. But more than that, the Dual Spine Weight Forward specification means they have 2 spines. That’s because they are manufactured from two different carbon materials through a patented fusion process.
The carbon used is also a good quality, sturdy material, less heavy than aluminum for instance. The arrows come in a 6 pack and they’re organized by weight and spine, giving you less trouble in regards to consistency.
They have a black finish which makes them look very smart too, and their straightness has been checked with a laser for up to 0.0001 inches.
Easton 019330 Pack of 6 Bloodline Arrow
Weight: 0.6 ounces
Dimensions: 33 x 3.2 x 1.5 inches
Specific Features: 0.400 spine span; +/- 0.003 straightness; +/- 0.2 weight tolerance; 7.7 grains shaft weight; 6 per pack
Best Use: Hunting small game
Description: Although these 4.5 stars arrows have a 7.7 grains shaft weight that makes them very good for hunting, they’re a very low 0.6 ounces weight. That makes Easton 019330 Pack of 6 Bloodline Arrow more appropriate for flying at high speeds rather than penetrating very deep through the flesh of the animal you want to hit. That’s why they’re better for hunting small game like rabbits, that may even be on the run.
With a 0.400 spine span, a +/- 0.003 straightness, and a +/- 0.2 weight tolerance, it can further be understood why the Easton arrows are pretty flexible and fast. That accounts for their effectiveness and speed.
But the carbon shafts explains their strength and durability, many happy customers stating that they were able to shoot repeatedly through hundreds of straw and foam targets, as well as through pine and steel target frames. And they couldn’t see any wear on the shaft.
The high velocity and the perfect trajectory are also due to the installed Blazer vanes, that are easy to see since they’re a bright shade of red.
Carbon Express PileDriver Hunter Carbon Arrows
Weigh: 11.3 GPI
Dimensions: 350 size
Specific Features: 2-inch Assault Vanes, LAUNCHPAD Precision Nocks; BullDog Nock Collars; “Built-in Weight Forward” technology; 0.345-inch spine; 0.308-inch diameter
Best Use: Shooting very large game
Description: Another high-quality item from Carbon Express, Carbon Express PileDriver Hunter Fletched BuffTuff Carbon Arrows 4.6 stars arrows are exceptional when it comes to shooting very large game.
That’s because they have an 11.3 gpi which is a pretty heavy weight. That will propel the arrow with adequate force to deliver a strong pressure at impact, and penetrate solidly through the flesh of your game.
With a 0.308 inch diameter, they’re big enough to imprint the needed force, and their 0.345-inch spine gives them just the right amount of flexibility. So velocity is not the strong advantage of these arrows, but strength is. Besides, the exclusive technology called “Built-in weight forward” will further explain their ability to reach high-speed thanks to the kinetic energy released by the very accurate broadhead.
The 2-inch assault vanes they’re fletched with, the LAUNCHPAD precision nocks and the BullDog nock collars they come with are already a trademark for the Carbon Express brand, as well as the high-quality carbon material the shaft is made from.
Black Eagle Outlaw Fletched Carbon Hunting Arrows
Weight: Not specified
Dimensions: 32 inches total length
Specific Features: Carbon built; versatility; 10 grain Flo yellow nocks; 14-grain outlaw inserts
Best Use: Hunting or target practice
Description: These Black Eagle 4.5 stars arrows are built using a high-quality carbon technology. That explains their ruggedness and ability to withstand many of the potential damages that come with hunting in the woods. In fact, the company description says they offer a mix of speed and kinetic energy, meaning they don’t necessarily value force over velocity.
This balance is achieved thanks to the 10 grain Flo yellow nocks, the 14-grain outlaw inserts and the 21 grains R2 vanes, apart from the carbon material used for the shaft.
So you can successfully use these arrows both for hunting in the woods, as well as for target practice. But be careful not to shoot very big game with them or to accidentally target a rock or something, as that might damage them faster.
You can rest assured they’ve been thoroughly tested, therefore they’re very reliable. When it comes to precision tolerances, for instance, these arrows offer consistency and they’re often higher in practice than in the lab.
Even the way Black Eagle matches the arrows in regards to their spine is very precise, as they used a technology called Grouped Together which doesn’t allow the maximum deviation past +/- 0.10. The shaft straightness is also accurately measured to .006″ or better.
BloodSport Archery Pro Hunter
Weight: 325-grain total weight
Dimensions: 20 inches total length
Specific Features: Blood Ring technology; 6 pack; Half moon knock; 0.300 inches I.D.
Best Use: Targeting large game
Description: BloodSport Archery Pro Hunter 4.9 stars hunting bolts are great arrows, that offer the same hole accuracy even at 30 yards. That makes them dependable and precise, helping you hunt large game without any problem.
That’s because, at a total weight of 325 gpi and a length of about 20 inches, these arrows are fast and deliver a strong hit. Their 0.300 inches inner diameter also explains these two main features.
So you can either use them with very fast crossbows to add extra speed to the mix, or you can use them with heavier draw weight crossbows of 180 pounds in order to add more force to the impact. Either way, their performance won’t disappoint provided you select the proper field point or broadhead weight. That’s how you can make the arrows complement the crossbow even better.
But what’s really great about these arrows is their Blood ring, which will tell you exactly what sort of hit you did. That’s because it will show you the shot placement, as well as the proper waiting time before you begin tracking.
What’s It Going to Be?
As you can see, many manufacturers offer different specifications when it comes to the weight and dimensions of these bolts. Some talk about the total weight in ounces, while others emphasize the grains per inch or even give the overall weight in grains. The dimensions also vary between brands in terms of measurements, either using inches or the size given by the spine.
But if you get what these measurements stand for, that shouldn’t be much of a bother and you can easily make the conversions yourself between different measurements.
That being said, all the above arrows are very high quality, made generally from carbon materials.
Some of them are better for their speed, while others are more appropriate for hunters who value force. Make sure you choose the right bolts according to your preferences, your purpose but also to your bow. That’s because the arrows we’ve picked are better for compound crossbows rather than recurve, although they might work with these ones too.
So have you decided which model bolts you like best? Let us know in the comments below. And if you already have some arrows you can’t live without – tell us what makes them so special!