Longbow Arrow Selection Guide

If you’ve recently picked up a longbow and are eager to start shooting, you may be wondering which arrows are the best fit for your new weapon. Look no further than our comprehensive Longbow Arrow Selection Guide. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced archer, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and expert recommendations to help you choose the perfect arrows that will complement your longbow’s performance. From understanding the different arrow materials to considering factors such as weight, spine, and length, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s get started and unlock the secrets to finding your ideal longbow arrows!

Choosing the Right Longbow Arrow

When it comes to choosing the right longbow arrow, there are several important factors to consider. From determining the appropriate arrow length to selecting the correct spine, understanding weight and fletching, and considering the shaft material, each aspect plays a crucial role in achieving optimal performance and accuracy. By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision and select the perfect arrow for your longbow.

Determining Arrow Length

The first step in choosing the right longbow arrow is determining the appropriate arrow length. This is important because an arrow that is too long or too short can significantly impact your accuracy and shooting performance. To calculate your draw length accurately, you can follow a simple method. Stand upright with your arms outstretched and have someone measure the distance from the tip of one middle finger to the tip of the other. Then divide that measurement by 2.5 to get an approximate draw length in inches.

Selecting the Correct Spine

Understanding arrow spine is crucial when it comes to selecting the right longbow arrow. The spine refers to the stiffness of the arrow shaft, and it is determined by the dynamic spine value. This value depends on factors such as draw weight, arrow length, and the type of longbow you are using. To determine the correct spine, you must first know your draw weight, which is the maximum force you can exert in pulling the bowstring back to full draw. Matching your draw weight to the appropriate arrow spine will result in improved accuracy and consistency.

Understanding Weight and Fletching

The weight and fletching of your longbow arrow play a significant role in its flight characteristics. Choosing the proper arrow weight is important because it affects the arrow’s trajectory and speed. Lighter arrows tend to fly faster but may be more affected by wind, while heavier arrows offer better stability and penetration. Additionally, fletching refers to the feather or plastic vanes located at the back of the arrow. The choice of fletching can impact arrow stability and accuracy. It’s important to consider the conditions in which you’ll be shooting and select the appropriate fletching option.

Considering Shaft Material

The material of the arrow shaft also plays a role in determining the performance of your longbow arrow. There are three main options to consider: wood, carbon, and aluminum. Wood shafts offer traditional appeal and can be customizable, but they require more maintenance and can be affected by weather conditions. Carbon shafts are lightweight and durable, providing excellent speed and accuracy, but they can be more expensive. Aluminum shafts offer a balanced combination of affordability, durability, and versatility. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages, so consider your personal preferences and shooting style before making a decision.

Determining Arrow Length

Calculating Draw Length

To determine the appropriate arrow length, it is crucial to calculate your draw length accurately. Your draw length affects not only the length of the arrow you should choose but also your shooting form and comfort. One simple method to calculate your draw length is to stand upright with your arms outstretched and have someone measure the distance from the tip of one middle finger to the tip of the other. It is essential to divide that measurement by 2.5 to get an approximate draw length in inches.

See also  How To Hunt From A Crossbow Blind

Understanding Arrow Length

Arrow length is directly related to your draw length, as a shorter or longer arrow can impact your shooting accuracy and overall performance. Choosing the right arrow length ensures that the arrow is fully drawn and engaged with the bowstring when you reach full draw, providing optimal power and accuracy. It is recommended to select an arrow length that is approximately one inch longer than your draw length, as this allows for optimal clearance and ensures that the arrow is fully engaged with the bowstring.

Considering Overdraw Systems

In addition to calculating your draw length and understanding arrow length, it is worth considering overdraw systems. Overdraw systems are attachments that allow for a shorter arrow length. This can be useful for archers with shorter draw lengths or for those who prefer a more compact setup. However, it’s important to note that overdraw systems may require specific arrows designed for use with them. Thus, take into account your specific archery needs and consult with a knowledgeable professional to determine if an overdraw system is appropriate for your setup.

Longbow Arrow Selection Guide

Selecting the Correct Spine

Understanding Arrow Spine

Arrow spine refers to the stiffness of the arrow shaft, and selecting the correct spine is vital for optimal arrow flight and accuracy. Spine affects arrow flex, and arrows that are too stiff or too weak for your specific setup can result in inconsistent and erratic arrow flight. The spine value is usually listed on the arrow shaft, and it is determined by a combination of factors, including draw weight, arrow length, and bow type. Understanding arrow spine and how it relates to your specific setup is crucial for selecting the correct longbow arrow.

Determining Your Draw Weight

To select the correct spine for your longbow arrow, it is essential to determine your draw weight accurately. Draw weight refers to the maximum force you can exert in pulling the bowstring back to full draw. Draw weight is typically measured in pounds and can vary depending on your physical strength and shooting style. Understanding your draw weight is crucial for matching the appropriate spine to your longbow arrow, as a mismatch can result in inconsistent arrow flight and reduced accuracy.

Matching Spine to Draw Weight

Once you have determined your draw weight, you can match it to the appropriate arrow spine. Matched spine results in consistent arrow flight and improved accuracy. Arrows that are too stiff for your draw weight can result in left or right arrow drift, while arrows that are too weak can result in vertical inconsistencies. To ensure a proper match, refer to the manufacturer’s arrow spine chart or seek assistance from a knowledgeable archery professional. They can help you select the arrow spine that corresponds to your draw weight and shooting style.

Understanding Weight and Fletching

Choosing the Proper Arrow Weight

Choosing the proper arrow weight is crucial for achieving the desired trajectory and accuracy. Arrow weight affects factors such as speed, trajectory, and energy transfer upon impact. Lighter arrows are generally faster but can be more susceptible to wind drift, while heavier arrows offer better stability and penetration. Consider your shooting style, target type, and shooting environment when choosing the arrow weight. It’s also worth noting that different manufacturers may have their own weight classifications, so consult their charts or seek professional advice to ensure you select the proper arrow weight.

Exploring Fletching Options

Fletching refers to the vanes or feathers attached to the back end of an arrow and plays a significant role in stabilizing the arrow during flight. There are various fletching options available, including plastic vanes and natural feathers. The choice between plastic vanes and natural feathers often comes down to personal preference. Plastic vanes are durable, weather-resistant, and generally offer consistent performance. Natural feathers, on the other hand, provide better stability and are often favored by traditional archers. Experimenting with different fletching options can help you determine which provides the best results for your shooting style.

See also  How To Choose Your First Bow: A Beginner's Guide

Determining Fletching Length and Shape

The length and shape of the fletching can also impact arrow flight and stability. The most common fletching lengths are 2 inches, 3 inches, and 4 inches, with longer fletching offering increased stability but potentially sacrificing speed. The shape of the fletching, such as parabolic or shield, can also affect arrow flight characteristics. It is recommended to start with the manufacturer’s recommended fletching length and shape for your arrow weight and shooting style. However, don’t be afraid to experiment with different fletching options to fine-tune your arrow’s performance and find the optimal configuration for your needs.

Longbow Arrow Selection Guide

Considering Shaft Material

Exploring Wood Shafts

Wood shafts have a long history in traditional archery and offer a unique aesthetic appeal. They can be customized and stained to individual preferences and are often favored by traditional archers. Wood shafts tend to have a slower speed compared to other materials but can offer excellent durability and penetration. However, it is important to note that wood shafts require more maintenance, as they can be affected by changes in weather and humidity. Wood shafts also have a natural variation in their weight and spine, which can affect arrow consistency.

Understanding Carbon Shafts

Carbon shafts have gained popularity in recent years due to their lightweight and durable characteristics. They offer improved speed and accuracy and are less susceptible to environmental factors compared to wood shafts. Carbon shafts can also be more consistent in weight and spine, resulting in more predictable arrow flight. However, carbon shafts can be more expensive compared to other materials, and they require careful inspection for any signs of damage, such as cracks or splintering.

Considering Aluminum Shafts

Aluminum shafts offer a balance between affordability, durability, and versatility. They generally provide consistent performance and are often chosen by archers who are looking for a cost-effective option that still offers reliable results. Aluminum shafts can withstand a certain amount of abuse and can be straightened if bent. However, they are more susceptible to dents and bending compared to carbon or wood shafts. It’s important to consider your budget, shooting style, and desired performance when considering aluminum shafts as an option.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Each shaft material has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and shooting style. If you value tradition, customization, and aesthetic appeal, wood shafts may be the right choice for you. If lightweight durability and speed are your priority, carbon shafts may be more suited to your needs. And if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option that provides consistent performance, aluminum shafts can be a solid choice. Consider the pros and cons of each material, try out different options if possible, and choose the shaft material that aligns best with your preferences and shooting requirements.

Testing and Fine-tuning Arrows

Once you have selected your longbow arrows, it’s important to perform some tests and fine-tune them to ensure optimal performance and accuracy.

Bare-shaft Testing

Bare-shaft testing involves shooting arrows without any fletching to assess their consistency and flight characteristics. This type of testing can help identify any issues with arrow spine, weight, or other factors that may affect accuracy. By observing the bare shaft’s flight, such as its grouping and consistency, you can make adjustments or select different arrows if necessary.

Paper Tuning

Paper tuning involves shooting arrows through a sheet of paper to evaluate their flight and arrow rest alignment. This test can reveal any inconsistencies in arrow flight and help you adjust your equipment accordingly. By analyzing the tear pattern left by the arrow on the paper, you can make adjustments to the rest position, nocking point, or other factors to achieve optimal arrow flight.

Broadhead Testing

If you plan to use your longbow arrows for hunting, it’s essential to test them with the broadheads you will be using. Broadhead testing allows you to evaluate how the arrow performs when combined with the broadhead points, including flight stability and accuracy. This testing can help you select the most suitable broadhead and ensure that your arrows are tuned for hunting situations.

Fine-tuning for Accuracy

Once you have conducted the necessary tests, it’s time to fine-tune your arrows for accuracy. This process involves making small adjustments to factors such as arrow rest position, nocking point, or fletching angles to achieve the desired arrow flight and consistency. It’s essential to make incremental changes and test your arrows after each adjustment to evaluate the impact on accuracy. Fine-tuning is an ongoing process and may require multiple iterations to achieve optimal results.

See also  Guide To Tuning And Adjusting Your Recurve Bow For Optimal Performance

Longbow Arrow Selection Guide

Safety Considerations

When it comes to longbow arrow selection, safety should always be a top priority. Before shooting, it’s important to check your arrows for straightness, inspect them for any signs of damage, and understand arrow penetration.

Checking for Straightness

Before shooting, carefully inspect each arrow for any signs of bending or warping. Straight arrows are crucial for consistent arrow flight and accuracy. Rotate the arrow slowly and look for any wobbling or deviations. If an arrow appears bent or warped, it should not be used, as it can affect accuracy and even pose safety risks. Replace any damaged or compromised arrows to ensure a safe and accurate shooting experience.

Inspecting for Damage

In addition to checking for straightness, it’s important to inspect your arrows for any signs of damage. This includes looking for cracks, splintering, or other structural issues that may have occurred during use or transport. Damaged arrows can be unpredictable and may break upon impact, which can be hazardous to both the archer and others nearby. Regularly inspecting your arrows and replacing any damaged ones helps ensure a safe and enjoyable shooting experience.

Understanding Arrow Penetration

Understanding arrow penetration is essential for safety and ethical hunting. Different arrow types, weights, and broadheads can have varying levels of penetration, which can affect the effectiveness of your shot. It’s important to have a thorough understanding of arrow penetration capabilities to ensure a clean and humane harvest or safe target shooting. Consult local hunting regulations and seek advice from experienced archers to better understand arrow penetration and select the appropriate longbow arrow for your specific needs.

Maintenance and Care

To keep your longbow arrows in optimal condition and extend their lifespan, proper maintenance and care are essential.

Cleaning Arrows

Regularly cleaning your arrows helps remove any dirt, debris, or residue that can accumulate during shooting sessions. Use a cloth or rag to wipe down the shafts and fletching, ensuring that they are clean and free from any foreign substances. Avoid using abrasive materials or solvents that can damage the arrows. Proper cleaning helps maintain the arrow’s performance and ensures longevity.

Inspecting Arrowheads

Inspecting your arrowheads is crucial for safety and performance. Regularly examine the tips of your arrows for any signs of damage, such as bending, chipping, or dullness. Damaged arrowheads can affect the arrow’s flight and penetration, potentially causing safety risks or missed targets. Replace any worn or damaged arrowheads to ensure optimal performance and accuracy.

Replacing Worn Components

Over time, components such as fletching, nocks, and inserts may become worn or damaged. It’s important to periodically inspect these components and replace them as needed. Worn fletching can affect arrow stability, while damaged nocks or inserts can lead to inconsistent nocking or poor arrow alignment. By replacing worn components, you can ensure that your arrows perform at their best and maintain consistent accuracy.

Longbow Arrow Selection Guide

Additional Tips and Considerations

In addition to the main factors discussed above, there are several additional tips and considerations to keep in mind when selecting longbow arrows.

Considering Noise and Vibration

Some arrows may produce more noise and vibration upon release, which can impact your shooting experience and accuracy. It’s worth considering noise and vibration dampening accessories or selecting arrows that are designed to minimize these effects. Quieter and less-vibrating arrows can help maintain focus and control during shooting, resulting in improved accuracy.

Exploring Different Nocks

Nocks are the components at the back of an arrow that engage with the bowstring. They come in various shapes and designs, and different nocks may offer advantages for specific shooting situations or personal preferences. It’s worth exploring different nock options to find the one that provides the best fit and function for your longbow setup.

Selecting the Right Broadheads

If you plan to use your longbow arrows for hunting, selecting the right broadheads is crucial. Different broadheads have varying designs, weights, and cutting diameters, which can affect arrow flight and penetration. Consider factors such as the game you will be hunting, broadhead regulations, and personal shooting preferences when choosing the appropriate broadheads.

Understanding Legal Requirements

When engaging in archery activities, it’s important to understand and comply with local laws and regulations regarding longbow arrow selection. Different regions may have specific rules and restrictions concerning arrow materials, weights, or game hunting. Consult local hunting regulations and seek guidance from experienced archers or hunting authorities to ensure that you are in compliance with legal requirements.


Selecting the right longbow arrow requires careful consideration of multiple factors, including arrow length, spine, weight, fletching, and shaft material. Each aspect contributes to the arrow’s flight characteristics and overall performance. By understanding your draw length, matching spine to draw weight, choosing appropriate weight and fletching options, and considering the advantages and disadvantages of different shaft materials, you can make an informed decision and select the perfect longbow arrow for your shooting needs. Regular testing, proper maintenance, and adherence to safety considerations will help ensure that your arrows perform optimally and provide accurate and enjoyable shooting experiences.

You May Also Like