Front of Center: There’s More to an Arrows Flight

By Greg Tubbs | PUBLISHED August 11, 2021

Although archery probably dates back to the Stone Age – around 20,000BC – the earliest people known to have regularly used bows and arrows were the Ancient Egyptians, who adopted archery around 3,000BC for hunting and warfare. We’re not writing to talk about primitive hunting, although that stuff is fascinating. We’re going to start from about the last twenty years or so it has been common practice for hunters to shoot lighter weight arrows in order to increase their speed and flatten trajectory. “If it’s fast enough I can beat a deer’s reaction to the string!” That is the thought anyway… 

Most of my generation Started hunting in the early 90s when carbon arrows came out on the market. They were lighter, faster and stronger than aluminum arrows. There are some inherent traits to lightweight arrows however. Penetration is the biggest issue unless you increase your Front Of Center weight (F.O.C.). 

Heavy FOC arrow

The recommended F.O.C. For Whitetail hunting is in the range of 7% - 15%. It’s becoming more common to exceed this into as much as 19%. Is it necessary? This is up to you! I personally would rather have a heavy arrow that flies perfectly straight than one that gets there quick, but can’t break through both sides of the animal. 

There’s More to an Arrows Flight 

Heavy point weight isn’t always the answer to imperfect arrow flight. Arrow spine is also important. If the arrows side walls are too weak. The arrow will flex under the thrust of the string. When it leaves the riser it is flexing and wobbling. The fletchings can only do so much in effort to correct for this. When the arrow hits the target it flexes more on impact and unloads its energy. This affects its ability to get good penetration. It lost efficiency. 

A properly spined and weighted arrow will fly perfectly all the way to the point of impact and pass through the animal. Plenty of hunters will argue that a pass through is not needed. I would say I have had better success on recovery of pass through shot deer than the latter. 

Full pass through on a public land doe

There are a few other details to discuss when tuning an arrow for perfect flight. We will discuss this in the next article!

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