Arrows have been used by humans from the beginning of time. Advances in science, technology, and archer skill has increased arrow options and their accessories for today’s hunters. The overwhelming choice of arrows can leave some confused. This buying guide will go over how to buy the best hunting arrows for your bow.
Top 5 Best Hunting Arrows - Comparison Table
Understanding Carbon Arrows
One would probably expect an arrow to fly exactly the way it looks when sitting on a rest. But, this simply doesn’t happen. When fired from a bow, an arrow immediately begins to flex and oscillate. It doesn’t mean the arrow is defective. Carbon arrows are the most popular choice for most hunters and target shooters today. They have incredible durability and are the most affordable choice on the market when you consider how long they will last.
Understanding Aluminum Arrows
Aluminum arrows were the choice of many for a long time. Aluminum is inexpensive, strong, and weighs very little. A pro shop can machine or ground an aluminum arrow to its exact tolerances. But, the materials used in this arrow will always be more than in a carbon arrow. Bows made today have incredible speed. Since arrows with aluminum shafts have the ability to transfer energy efficiently, it is still the favorite of some serious shooters.
Understanding Wood Arrows
Wood arrows were the go-to choice for thousands of years. However, today only traditional longbow shooters are interested in this type of equipment. Wood arrows have fallen from favor by most shooters because they are heavy, slow, and hard to produce. The average compound bow has tight tolerances that make it hard to produce for everyday use.
When determining what carbon arrows are right for your shooting experiences, you need to think about the following criteria.
The length of an arrow is incredibly important. The shaft is the middle of the arrow. The tube of an arrow is usually aluminum or carbon composite materials and hollow in the center. When measuring an arrow – it’s important to remember you simply don’t measure from one end to the other. Instead, you measure it from the nock to the arrow tip.
You’d expect all arrows to be completely straight, right? But when it comes to arrow criteria, straightness is in relationship to the tolerance of an arrow. For best results, the straighter the arrow, the more expensive they will be. The straightest arrows available today are 0.001 to 0.004”.
Now that we’ve discussed length and straightness, it’s time to talk about arrow weight. Choosing the weight of your arrows will depend greatly on your objective. If you are going to use them for target practice, you’ll want a light arrow. If you simply want to hunt, or hunting is your biggest objective, you’ll want heavy arrows. Arrows with a weight between 200 grams and 500 grams will be great for use in target shooting or hunting.
The insert of an arrow must be glued on the end of the shaft. There is a threaded hole to screw in an arrow tip. Tips don’t always have to be practice points. Any standard insert will let you screw-in and use many different types of tips; including:
- Fishing Tips
- Field Points
- Blunt Tips
An arrow spine is the backbone of the arrow. It helps the arrow not be too soft or too stiff. If the spine is off, the arrow won’t shoot or perform well. The spine refers to an arrow’s stiffness, or how much an arrow resists when being bent. Some arrows are very stiff and others are extremely limber. If you intend to achieve accuracy with a compound bow, you need to choose a stiff arrow.
Bow Draw Weight
If you’ve chosen an arrow with the proper spine, you’ll be able to see how it performs when use in a compound bow. Arrows with the same properties may perform differently when used with different bows. Factors that influence an arrow’s performance include cam, speed, and arrow length.
To see how an arrow will perform with a particular bow, use it with the manufacturer’s bow draw weight recommendations.
Different Types of Arrows
There are three major types of arrows available on the market today. The most popular choices are wood, aluminum, or carbon.
- Wood arrows are almost obsolete. Archers like this type of arrow because it’s pretty accurate, cheap, and heavy enough to take out prey. When taken care of properly, wooden arrows will last long past those made with other materials and the best part is they smell incredibly natural too.
- Aluminum arrows have been used since the early 1940s but didn’t become very popular until the 1970s. Aluminum arrows are still used today because they are inexpensive, built with strong integrity, and can easily rebound from basic bending. The material is also moisture resistant and very straight.
- Carbon arrows are the most popular shooting accessory today. Archers basically always opt for carbon arrows today because they are lightweight, strong, and durable. We aren't saying carbon arrows are for everybody, but if you don't know where to start, it's the best place to begin.
No arrow is complete without fletchers. Fletchers support the elements of an arrow. Fletching can influence an arrows’ speed, stability, and accuracy. The most common types of fletching are plastic vanes and feather fletchers.
Heavy vs. Light Arrow Weights
It’s important for all archers to choose the right arrows. Longbow, compound, and crossbow shooters can bet their success or failure on whether they choose the right arrows. To be effective, an arrow must have the correct length, stiffness, and be straight enough to fly out of your bow.
No matter who you talk to, you’ll get a different opinion about what is best. There is always at least a few waders who can’t choose which is right. But simple physics prove that heavy arrows penetrate better.
Discover the 5 Best Hunting Arrows in the market today!
When an arrow leaves the string, it is no longer being propelled. Drag immediately begins to take place and the arrow will decelerate. Force is greater on faster arrows, so it decelerates faster than slow arrows. When an arrow hits your prey, deceleration differences can be dramatic. The arrow with the slowest deceleration rate will penetrate the deepest.
So how does a shooter choose the right arrows? Well, it’s a combination of draw length, draw weight, and species being hunter. Deer hunters can usually use a light arrow, but only if the shot is perfect. If it isn’t, a shooter must choose an arrow that creates the best momentum possible.
Below we will go over the what we consider to be the best arrows available today.
Barnett Outdoors Carbon Crossbow arrows are sold with field points and each measure 20” long. The lightweight, carbon arrows have incredible thickness for durability. Each carbon arrow in the 5-pack measures 13.78 grains per inch or 8.1 oz. Barnett recommends these arrows to be compatible with the Ghost 350, Jackal, Penetrator, and Wildcat C-5 crossbows.
- 20” arrows
- Sold as a set of 5
- Half moon nocks
- Arrows weight 8.1 oz.
- Strong, lightweight carbon shafts
- Improved wall thickness for durability
- 100-grain point
- Optimal accuracy and target penetration
- 24F field point
- 5-year limited warranty against manufacturer defects
- Very affordable
- Pretty basic
- Changes the way arrows fly with heavy broadheads
The Carbon Express Maxima Red Fletched Arrows with Dynamic Spine Control and Blazer Vanes is sold as a 6-pack. Shooters that have used this equipment before say it’s one of the superior hunting arrows created by Carbon Express. Each arrow in the pack comes with fletched blazer vanes, unique LAUNCHPAD precision nocks and incredible BullDog Nock collars.
The advanced technology used to create the carbon arrows features a dynamic spine to make broadheads fly better and shoot consistently. The dynamic spine can handle weights from 40 to 81 lbs. Each arrow is laser checked to be straight and is 1/10,000".
- Arrows are fletched with Blazer Vanes
- LAUNCHPAD Precision Nocks
- In-flight flexing
- BullDog Nock Collars
- Stiff ends
- Hi-tech carbon material construction
- Technology allows broadheads to fly better and shoot consistently
- Laser checked
- 350-Size, 9.07-GPI
- 0.342-inch Spine
- 0.300-inch Diameter
- Red and black finished arrows
- Affordable arrows
- Ideal for beginner shooters
- Extremely durable
- Each arrow comes with fletchers
- Can use fixed or mechanical broadheads with arrows
- Great practice arrows for experienced shooters
- Aren’t sold ready to shoot – need to take to a pro shop before shooting
- Inserts are loose when shipped
- Nocks aren’t illuminated
- Weight may be inconsistent between batches
Carbon Express PileDriver Fletched Carbon Crossbolt with 4” Vanes are designed with hunters who need ultimate penetration to knock down prey. The 6-pack of bows uses the heaviest carbon crossbolt in the CX lineup for maximum kinetic energy.
As a result, you’ll get great knock-down power. The advanced construction of the bow’s spine adds consistent accuracy. What this means is you will get durable impact that is very reliable and perfect for repeat performance. Bolts and inserted moon nocks. Additionally, 6 flat nocks (universal) come standard with each 4” vane.
- Made for hunters
- Deliver ultimate knock down power for prey
- Sold as a 6-pack
- 20” arrows
- 2” yellow Predator vanes
- Uses the heaviest carbon crossbolt on the market
- Great source of maximum kinetic energy
- Weight forward technology creates tight groupins
- Delivers consistency and accuracy
- Durable impacts
- Can be used again and again with same performance expectations
- Comes with bolts, inserted moon nocks, and flat nocks
- Great alternative to Surge bolts
- Mossy Oak brush finish
- Sold as a multi-pack
- Not sold with field tips
- Heavy arrow, so you can’t use extremely heavy broadheads
The Gold Tip Hunter XT Arrows are sold as a 12-pack (1 dozen) and feature 2” Raptor Vanes. Each arrow offers archers balance, performance, and accuracy they need to hit targets and prey. The best part is the value of this arrow dozen.
At an affordable price, the arrows are great for beginners or advanced shooters that need to get in some target shooting. Each arrow has a straightness tolerance of +-.003”. The weight tolerance of each arrow is +-2 grains. All arrows in the dozen are factory fletched with 2” Raptor Vanes.
- Delivers balance, performance, accuracy, and value
- Straightness tolerance: +-.003"
- Weight tolerance: +-2 gr
- Factory fletched
- 2 in. Raptor vanes
- Weights 8.2grains per inch
- S-nocks included with purchase
- Come with S-nocks
- Sold with inserts
- Fletched straight
- Most popular size of bowhunters
- Offers a great balance between speed and penetration
- Not sold with adhesive for inserts
- Vanes vary in color (some may be green)
All Huntingdoor Black Feather Wooden Shaft hunting arrows have 150 grain broadheads and has an A-803 arrowhead. Each arrow is handmade from natural wood. The arrows can be used with a variety of different bows including recurve, compound, and longbows. Each bow is fletched with three, 5”, black, turkey feathers. Each of the arrows weighs about 42 grams each. Archers love these arrows because they deliver good, reliable performance, offer very little hand shock, and are speedy.
- For draw weight 40-65lbs bows
- Shaft diameter:8.0mm
- Wooden with metal Arrowhead with three black feathers
- Nocked, fletched and ready to shoot
- Perfect for bow hunting or target practice
- High quality standard hunting and target practice arrows
- Ideal for recurve, compound, or long bows
- Wooden arrows
- Can be used with many different weapons
- Sold as a 3-pack
- Widest part of the arrowhead is 5/8”
- Broadheads can be sharpened
- Feather fletched, so no arrow rest is needed
- Cannot be used with a capture rest
- Arrows are heavy and shoot slowly
- Arrow tips are held on with a pin (not glued)
- Arrow tips fall off easily
- Made of wood, so they bow easily
- Can crack or break easily
Now that we’ve gone over the generalities, features, and pros and cons of what we call the five best arrow choices for hunters on the market, we want to tell you what are personal choices are. Remember not everyone has the same needs and wants, but by keeping with the guidelines listed above, you'll be able to choose arrows that best meet your needs.
For many reasons, we recommend arrows that are built with carbon materials. Experienced archers and those interested in just target practice can easily make an argument to use the different arrows listed above, but we recommend choosing carbon arrows for serious hunting.