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Building the Perfect Bowhunting Arrow: How to Balance Speed and Penetration

Trade speed for penetration, or vice versa, to arrive at the perfect arrow and broadhead setup for bowhunting. Here's how to get it done.

Building the Perfect Bowhunting Arrow: How to Balance Speed and Penetration

Speed is a factor in kinetic energy and momentum, but ultra-light arrows lose it quickly downrange. On the other hand, super-heavy arrows can make a bow difficult to tune for accuracy. (Photo courtesy of Mathews)

Speed kills. Until it doesn’t.

For a lot of years, bow manufacturers (in response to the demand of bowhunters) focused much of their efforts on building compounds that could deliver blistering speeds. Each new model was in a race to see who could build the fastest bow. The premise seemed to make sense. Faster arrows would take much of the “arch” out of archery, and this happened to pair quite well with the growing interest in long-range shooting. A fast bow delivers a flat arrow at greater distances.

Arrow companies decided to jump on board the speed train. Their part was delivering ultra-light, thin-walled carbon shafts that retained minimal energy...

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