Choosing the right Arrow set up

Choosing the right Arrow set up isn’t as easy as looking at a chart and seeing what spine is appropriate for your draw weight.


Start by asking yourself…What Are Your Shooting Needs?

Are you a target  shooter? Are you a bowhunter? Or are you both? Choosing the right arrow set up should begin with figuring out your end goals.

As a target shooter you may be looking for something that is forgiving, or better stated makes up for your inability to guess ranges well. Which means you’ll want a lighter arrow with a flatter trajectory, something that if you guess a few yards off it wont be a complete miss. Most people try to keep a 5grns /pound of draw. Another thing to consider is being able to shoot a lighter set up so you can shoot lower poundage and still have the same FPS.

Typically in Bowhunting you should use a heavier weight arrow, as the more weight you put behind your broadhead, the deeper the penetration.  A rule of thumb for a hunting arrow set up is using 7-8grns per /pound of draw weight.

If you are like me and you shoot both I tend to lean toward a happy medium of flat shooting and punch. I don’t like to have a separate set up for 3D shooting and hunting because my end game is always hunting and 3D is just a way for me to practice for hunting. However, I’m a competitive guy and I like to have success even on the 3D course so I typically have my sets right around 6-6.25 grns per/ pounds of draw. Like with 3D I still like to have the forgivingness of a faster flatter shooting arrow set up but still have enough punch behind my shots to penetrate big game. Now of course if the situation calls for it or I am shooting a much faster bow I will definitely turn up the total arrow weight EX: moose hunting I’m gonna want way more behind my broadhead then my standard set up.

The grns per pound system is a great rule of thumb but if you have access to a chronometer I like to choose my arrow weight by speed. In target shooting typically you want to shoot as close to IBO as possible again trying to utilize that speed to eliminate bad judgement. In bow hunting most experts would agree you are looking for a much weight as you can throw out of your bow without dipping bellow 260fps (modern compound built within last 3 years).  As I mentioned earlier for me I’m looking for that happy medium for my bowhunting set ups I want forgiving and punch most of my arrows setup tend to fall where I’m shooting about 285-290 FPS

When choosing the right  Arrow set up…shaft diameter

Another issue to consider is shaft diameter. I have been shooting the Goldtip Platinum pierce 300 because I have been able to get a few grns heavier set up while still maintaining my desired FPS. Plus The smaller diameter was developed for better penetration on game and less wind drift on longer shots. So its a win / win for me get a slightly heavier arrow with better penetration without giving up speed. Plus they are super straight and super durable. I shot the goldtip hunter pros for several years and the hunter XTs for several year prior to that all excellent arrows. But my current arrow set up is by far my favorite. In Nov 2016 I shot my bull at 83 yards 426grn total weight, 70# Halon 6, and 2″ swhacker 100gn about 16% FOC and got enough penetration that 1/2 of my arrow was sticking out the other side of his chest cavity.

When choosing the right arrow setup…. spine

Another issue to consider is spine. My good friend Tim Gillingham has always told me that go as stiff as you can until it becomes a diminishing return. What does that mean well at some point your arrow stiffness will effect down range accuracy. Many people just look at a chart and pick the spine for their draw weight a go. I’m not one of those guys. Ive always started with the chart and shot with broadheads above it and bellow it for instance the charts say shoot 340 I will test 400, 340 and 300 to see which arrows group better. Now this may be cost prohibitive so if your not in a position to buy a half dozen of each to try this out I tend to lean towards the heavier spine end and then walk back tune your bow with broadheads. 8 out of 10 times the heavier spine is the right choose I’ve had very few bows that “preferred” the lighter spine or even the suggested one. Although, Goldtips spine selector has gotten way more sophisticate lately and the last two year has been spot on for my last two bows it recommended a 300 spine for me and that end up being the arrows that shot best for me… They have even added an FOC calculator        If you would like to find out more about FOC check out this podcast  on FOC

Well I hope this helped you on the path to choosing the right arrow set up or at least got you thinking on which way to start investigating what’s the best arrow set up for you . good luck and shoot straight.. Arrow FOC, Best hunting arrows, arrow review

If you want to hear from Tim “The Hammer” Gillingham yourself we did a podcast on choosing the best arrow set up listen below