Pennsylvania Game News - January 2011 - 56
Straight from the Bowstring Straight from the Bowstring The Naturalist’s Eye
The Naturalist’s Eye By John Kasun By Tom Tatum
By Marcia Bonta By Marcia Bonta By Marcia Bonta
Take the next step in your archery experience by making and maintaining your own arrows.
Straight as an Arrow
N SPITE of all the money archers spend on a bow, sight, stabilizers and other accessories, the key element to accuracy is their arrows. I have been asked hundreds, if not thousands of times, “Which is the best bow?” However, I can count on one hand the number of times I have been asked, “What makes for a good arrow?” Arrows are to a bow as bullets are to a rifle. Many people buy factory loads and they shoot just fine, while others spend weeks, if not months, working with handloads, trying to find the perfect combination for optimum accuracy. The one difference between bullets and arrows is that no one would consider putting a .30-30 shell into a .270. However, nearly any arrow will shoot out of any bow. Not necessarily accurately or with the optimum performance, but it will go forward. The fact that it shoots does not make it the right choice. Let’s take a look at how learning to maintain your arrows can not only be a time and money saver, but also allow you to “handload” arrows for your particular set-up. Basic Maintenance Let’s start with some basic, but important, maintenance tips. The plastic nock on the end of your arrow is the cheapest
component of the arrow, but it is one of the most critical. Nocks are either glue-on or slip-in. The majority today are slip-in. If you are using glue-on nocks, common on some older or less expensive aluminum arrows, take a minute to make sure they are installed straight. A nock installed slightly off-center will not shoot properly. Although rare, if you do find one installed improperly, replacing it will increase the accuracy of that arrow. While an off-center nock is rare, cracked nocks are more common. If an arrow nock is struck by the point of another arrow, which can happen during target shooting, it is possible for the nock to be chipped or cracked. If the nock is broken, it’s obvious and easy to replace. However, if it is cracked and you fire that arrow, the nock could fail when the string is released. The string might not stay in contact with the damaged nock, and it would be like dryfiring the bow, which could result in a failed limb or cause the cables to jump the cam grooves. Periodically give your nocks a close inspection and replace any with chips or cracks. With repeated shooting, vanes can get wrinkled or torn. In either case, the accuracy of the arrow is affected and the arrow is noisier in flight. If an arrow passes