Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha

Arrow stuff 

Y’all know I have been shifting around when it comes to throwing sharp pointy things at high speed.  While my finger is better for shooting the recurve, it still hurts enough that I can’t shoot as often as I would like.  My instinct shooting is taking a little bit of a hit due to that, but that isnt the point of this post.  Recurves are a little more forgiving of slop than compound bows are.  They are accurate, don’t get me wrong, and all of the principles I am going to bring up here apply to recurves as well, but may not be as noticeable as with a compound.

First off, you know I hate to spend hard earned money on silly little things I can make myself.  The equivalent below unit lists at Lancaster Archery supply, for between $100 and $300, depending on bells and whistles.
I made it for an hours worth of my time, and zero dinero. Measurement is via a cheap dial micrometer I keep around for quick and dirty work where I don’t need three decimal places.  The wood was scrap from where my dad was building beehives. (A local weed we call coffee tree, and believe me, its a frickin weed, not a tree, though its hard to tell it at a glance.  He cuts ’em and has a local lumber yard cut ’em into useful planks.)

The weight is from my lead supply: I formed the hook from a peice of aluminium strap. Jupiter blend sand as my mold and melted the lead in a plumbers pot right in the coals of my wood stove.  The shiney parts are trimmings to get it to exactly 32 oz. (Its actually shy of such by 4grains, close enough for what I needed. Do you know how much lead makes up 4grains? Not very much at all, considering I was only scraping that weight to bring it inline.)

That other ‘thing’ is for checking FOC or Forward of Center.  It makes ‘take off’ a little more predictable and is different between field points and broadheads.

(Since writing this, I found an even better set up at Poor Folks Bows)

Anywhoos, here is the why of this build.  I have been shooting this Darton for a bit over a month, and there have been times where I was just ready to hang it.  Almost two dozen arrows, and there were only 4 (!) That I knew would shoot true. I dont mix ’em up when I am shooting, but I had been trying to find a batch that I liked.  Alright, step back, re-approach from a more scientific direction.  If you can’t measure it, it isn’t science, its religion.  So I isolated the arrows into groups by make (2) and stated spine. (3. 340, 400, 500) and length (31″ and 29″)  (For the less informed, spine is a measure of how much an arrow can flex, the bigger the number, the ‘weaker’ the spine and therefore more flex.)  I most always shoot 340 @ 31″ for the recurve.  Its too stiff really, but its what I am used to and it allows some flexibility in point choices, (and I like heavy points on the recurve.)  Well, it does for the recurve.  Apparently not for the wheelie bows.   Anyways, the 6 arrow group that seem to shoot best for the Darton were set aside and scrutinized hard.  No odd wear, no odd anything obvious.  Weighed and all came within a grain of 398.  FOC was right at 9-10%.  But they just wont group.

Spine check. These arrows were sold and are specifically tagged at 350 for spine.  Weight matches the listing of 9gr/in, add on the 100gr FP, and 3 4″feather fletch; 398gr fits the window.


First arrow.  Spine measures 510

Second arrow: 470



5th: 470

6th: 320

I wonder why they won’t group?

Yes, 2 and 5 did group.(yes, I number my arrows.  It helps identify problems)  Sometimes by trying to share the same hole.  That was part of what was telling me that it wasn’t my form.(and believe me, I was starting to wonder.)  

Key point of this post.  As fast as the manufacturing process is for carbon arrows, they WILL fluctuate.  Even in the same run.  I would imagine that quality control is to check one in a thousand or so, then grade the entire run based on that measurement. If you are serious about your shooting, this is a key area to start when setting up your match arrows.  Even then, tuning the arrows, tuning the bow, and tuning each to the other as well as to you,  are not steps to avoid.   I have never attempted competition with the recurve and was content with my groups there, sloppy that they were.  It has been ‘good enough’ to put meat on a table.  

That doesn’t cut it for head to head competition, and compounds have so much more speed, they have to be right, right out of the gate or they will do their own thing.  Toss a broadhead on the front of that missle and things get even more bizarre if it ain’t right.

This is stuff I’ve known, but never gave a poop about while playing with my stick bows. That changed today. I am working up a stack of arrows that will work for each bow, no mixing. One group each for target and another for hunting.  I expect my groups with the recurve will improve as well.

Now, if I could find a dealer that would let me measure spine BEFORE I buy,,,,,

Update of my last post.  That deal with the gas engine welder fell through.  Apparently one of the guys I work with went and made a counter offer, clueing the owner that he had something more valuable than he thought.  The price is now way out of my range, and it was a whimsey chance anyway.  Shit happens.  (But my coworker is now on MY shitlist for awhile.  I won’t put him into crap work, but he sure won’t be bumming smokes from me anymore.)


3 responses

  1. Spud

    Or you can pay big bucks and buy shafts which are guaranteed spine and straight to .001.
    I too built a spine tester a while back. Mainly it is used to group like arrows. I also use it to determine which side faces the bow when fletching them, so that the stiff side always is 90° out from the nock on compounds. On recurve 180°.
    Much depends on the bows rest as to whether you want weak side vs strong side facing the bow. Paper tunning helps here
    Always better too stiff rather than weak …ha ha that’s what she says too

    October 24, 2017 at 7:49 am

    • Yeah, mine said that way back when,,😆
      I was wondering about the backbone and whatnot. I knew that with wood arrows nut wasn’t certain about carbon.
      Buy now its time to work on grouping them up and refletching them.

      October 24, 2017 at 10:50 am

      • Spud

        I put a dab of blue locktite on my broadheads so they can’t get misaligned with fetching too. Remove by heating same as when removing inserts.

        October 24, 2017 at 12:47 pm

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