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If you are just getting into archery, specifically bow hunting, you might find that all of the equipment options are totally mind-boggling. The fact of the matter is that you have to choose the right bow, with the right components, and with the right specs for your needs. We will review a couple of the best carbon arrows for hunting, just to give you an idea of what to look for.
Nowadays, most bow hunters choose to go with arrows which feature shafts made of carbon, and there are many reasons for this.
Today, we want to discuss why carbon arrows are as popular as they are, how they stack up against other materials, and how to choose the best carbon arrows.
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Types of Arrows to Consider
Of course, carbon is one of the best materials that can be used for arrow shafts, but it is not the only material. There are three main materials which are used for making arrow shafts — wood, aluminum, and carbon. So, how do they stack up against one another?
For a very long time, thousands of years, the go-to material for arrow shafts has been wood, and for good reason. Wood was available in abundance, it is very easy to form and to work with, and they definitely get the job done. One reason wood was used was due to the fact that people did not know how to process various other materials, such as metals, into arrows.
However, if you are using a compound bow or a crossbow, you won’t be using wooden arrows. When it comes to performance, they just cannot meet the demands of modern day bow hunting. Moreover, wooden arrows are much heavier and slower than their metal counterparts, and with modern tech, harder to produce than metal models as well.
As time went on and technology progressed, the next option for bow hunting, in terms of arrow material, was aluminum. Aluminum is very easy to work with and can be processed and machined in such a way which creates arrows that meet the exact needs and tolerances of bow hunting.
Moreover, when compared to wood, aluminum is also very lightweight and strong, not to mention inexpensive. Aluminum arrows are still used today and some hunters prefer them over carbon. With an equal spine and size, an aluminum arrow is still heavier than a carbon one, although aluminum arrow shafts tend to function better when it comes to transferring greater amounts of energy.
Carbon arrows first made their appearance in the early 1990s and have increasingly grown in popularity. For most bow hunters, carbon arrows are the only option. Simply put, carbon arrows outclass all other arrow types in virtually every way. They are very lightweight and they can be machined to very specific tolerances.
The result is a lighter arrow with greater speed and accuracy, thus making carbon the most popular option around. That said, carbon arrows are not particularly cheap to make or to purchase, but the improved speed and accuracy which they produce is well worth the investment.
Why Use Carbon Arrows? The Benefits of Carbon
You might be wondering what all of the hype is about when it comes to carbon arrows. There are a number of benefits which any bow hunter gets from using carbon arrows, as opposed to wood, aluminum, or any other possible arrow shaft material.
In terms of durability, carbon arrows are the toughest out there. This material can take some very serious punishment without bending, cracking, warping, or breaking in any way.
Due to the nature of carbon and the way it is machined, arrows made of carbon tend to be the straightest arrows on the market, and the straighter the arrow, the faster it flies and the more accurate it is.
A great part about carbon arrows is that while they are flexible and have a good amount of flex to them, they never actually bend, thus retaining their shape for much longer than other arrow types.
Due to the fact that carbon arrows are stiffer than aluminum arrows, and because they quickly recover from flexing, it makes a single carbon shaft easily tunable for a wide range of arrow draw weights and draw ranges.
Because a carbon arrow is much lighter than an aluminum arrow of equal size and spine, it can travel much faster. Of course, a faster traveling arrow is always better.
When it comes to hunting large animals, comparable aluminum and carbon arrows don’t have the same penetration. For the most part, you will get far better penetration when using a carbon arrow.
Smaller and lighter carbon arrows with small fletchings tend to handle the wind much better; their flight is affected less by the wind than a heavier and larger aluminum arrow.
Choosing a Carbon Arrow
Before you go out and buy just any old carbon arrow, there are some key considerations that you need to know about. Here we have the most important factors for you to think about before making a purchase.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing your carbon arrow is the spine. In layman’s terms, this refers to how stiff the arrow in question is. Generally speaking, you want the arrow to be quite stiff with minimal flex.
This will allow the arrow to stay straight during flight, thus allowing for greater accuracy and speed, plus when the arrow hits the target, due to the stiffness, the result is greater penetration power.
Keep in mind that if you have 2 arrows of different lengths, with the same spine. The longer arrow is going to flex a lot more. It’s a good idea to do some research and determine what level of stiffness is best for you and your hunting needs.
Something else to consider is the length of the arrow. When you bought your compound bow, the draw length should have been properly adjusted. When your arm draws back to a certain position, the bow should be fully drawn. The arrow length needs to match this; if the arrow is too long for your bow and the draw length, you will have aiming and accuracy problems, and if the arrow is too short, it will come off the string/rest when you go for a full draw.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is what the poundage and draw weight of the bow are. If your bow has a high poundage rating, and you go to shoot an inflexible arrow, it might cause the arrow to shatter. Make sure to know your bow’s poundage and what kind of weight the arrow in question can handle. Keep in mind that a higher poundage will usually always result in faster flight speeds and more impact/penetration power.
The other factor to keep in mind is the straightness factor. Simply put, you want the arrows to be as straight as possible with as little deviance as possible. You will see ratings for straightness, such as ± 0.006, which would not be the best, while others are straight to within ± 0.002 inches, or even more. Simply put, the straighter the arrows, the more accurate your shots will be and the tighter your groupings will be.
Two Best Carbon Arrows For Hunting
We want to take a quick look at two of the best carbon arrows out there and what they can do for you.
Carbon Express Maxima Hunter Arrow
This is a very nice set of carbon arrows. The Carbon Express Maxima Hunter Arrow comes in a pack of 6 at a fairly low price, making them ideal for hunters who have budgetary constraints.
In terms of specs, the Carbon Express Maxima Hunter Arrow has as size of 350 with an overall length of 32.5 inches, with a .350” spine, and a GPI of 8.9. All things considered, these specs are quite standard, but they also lean more towards the high speed and high performance side of things. Due to the grains, it’s an arrow that will produce fast speeds combined with a fairly high impact and stopping power.
Something which stands out about this Carbon Express Maxima Hunter Arrow is just how straight it is. These arrows feature a straightness factor of ± 0.0025 inches, which is about as good as it gets. Such a high level of arrow straightness helps to maintain a straight flight path and allows for greater accuracy, as well as speed.
Perhaps the biggest standout of the Carbon Express Maxima Hunter Arrow is its proprietary dual spine weight forward technology. In essence, this means that these arrows are made by fusing two different carbon materials to effectively create a dual spine arrow with a weighted front.
This in itself comes with a variety of benefits. For one, it causes the arrow to start spinning about 20% sooner than other arrows, thus increasing flight speed, distance, and accuracy. It also helps arrows recover from flex faster after being shot, with better overall energy management.
Simply put, in terms of speed, accuracy, and recovery, the Carbon Express Maxima Hunter Arrow is one of the best options out there.
Easton Full Metal Jacket Arrows
This is a very interesting option to consider, these Easton Full Metal Jacket Arrows. Now, what is important to note about these arrows is that they feature a carbon core with A 7075 metal alloy jacket.
What stands out is how the carbon is very lightweight and fairly stiff, with the added strength of the alloy jacket. Now, this alloy jacket adds some weight to these arrows, which means that they don’t fly quite as fast as others, and therefore not as far. However, a big benefit is that they have plenty of impact and stopping power at closer range.
Something else which stands out is how these arrows are very stiff, which is thanks to the combination of a carbon core and a metal jacket. They don’t flex very much at all, and when they do, the recovery time is very fast, which helps with accuracy and stopping power.
Keep in mind that these arrows feature a straightness factor of ± .002 inches, making them extremely straight, and this is guaranteed, thus allowing for greater speed, accuracy, and tighter groupings too. Also keep in mind that these arrows have a 340 spine. What is also nice is that these arrows come with an integrated bright red X Nock, one of the best nocks in the business.
When it comes down to it, carbon arrows are simple the best option for a variety of reasons. They are unbelievably straight, lightweight, and very durable. The fact that carbon is easy to work with means that they can be machined to meet very specific needs.
There are, of course, many factors to consider when choosing the right arrow, such as length and draw length, poundage and draw weight, the straightness factor, and more.
Before you choose any carbon arrow for hunting, it is important that you know what your preferences are and what specs you need the arrows to have, especially in comparison to your bow. Take your time when choosing carbon arrows, and you should be just fine.