Archery Arrows Circling: Why?

why does my archery arrow does circles

If you're an archer, you may have noticed that your arrows sometimes veer off in different directions or make circles in the air during flight. This can be frustrating, especially if you're aiming for a specific target. There are several reasons why this might happen, and understanding these issues can help you improve your archery skills and become a more accurate shooter.

One common issue is called bow torque, which occurs when your hand twists the grip of the bow. This can cause inconsistent left-right hits on the target. To fix this, make sure you're holding the bow with the proper technique. Extend your bow hand as if you're motioning someone to stop, and turn your hand so that your thumb and forefinger form a V. Then, slide the bow into the V so that its grip sits against the meat of your thumb. This will help you push the bow straight toward the target and reduce the torque.

Another factor that can affect arrow flight is the spine of the arrow. The spine refers to the bendability of the arrow, and different arrows have varying amounts of spine. If the spine is too weak, the arrow will wiggle wildly and shoot inaccurately. On the other hand, if the spine is too stiff, the arrow won't bend much and won't go very far. The weight of the bow, the length of the arrow, the weight of the arrowhead, and the materials used all influence the spine.

Additionally, the fletching of the arrow can also impact its flight. Fletching refers to the three vanes at the back of the arrow, usually made of feathers or plastic. If the fletching is not straight and tapers to one side, it can cause the arrow to spin during flight, which may result in a corkscrew-like movement.

By understanding and addressing these issues, you can improve your archery skills and achieve more accurate shots.


Arrow spine and stiffness

The importance of arrow spine and stiffness lies in the fact that the arrow needs to flex during the first few yards of flight to clear the bow without interference. If the arrow is too stiff, it will slow the bow down. Conversely, if the arrow is not stiff enough, it will not recover and fly straight. Therefore, the most accurate arrow will have the proper balance of flex and forgiveness as it leaves the bow, along with the necessary stiffness to stabilise as it travels downrange.

Archers need to match their arrow spine to their equipment for optimal performance. Factors such as draw weight, draw length, shaft length, bow design, and point weight all influence the dynamic spine of the arrow and must be considered when selecting the appropriate spine rating. Draw weight and draw length are particularly important, as they determine the amount of energy transferred to the arrow upon release. A higher draw weight and longer draw length require a stiffer arrow. Additionally, a shorter arrow shaft will increase the static spine, while a longer shaft will result in a weaker deflection.

When selecting arrows, it is crucial to refer to the manufacturer's spine charts and recommendations. Deviating from these recommendations can negatively impact accuracy. Archers should also be cautious when making adjustments to their arrow weight, as adding weight to the front of the arrow weakens its spine and can lead to erratic flight.


Arrow length

Firstly, let's discuss the safety aspect. An arrow that is too short may drop off the rest at full draw, posing a risk of injury to your hand. Therefore, it is essential to ensure your arrows are long enough to be safely drawn and released without any risk of hand injury.

Now, let's delve into the specifics of arrow length and its effect on accuracy. The appropriate arrow length is determined by the draw length of the archer and the type of bow they are using. As a general rule, you should add 1-2 inches to your draw length to find the suitable arrow length. For example, if your draw length is 28 inches, an arrow length of 29-30 inches is recommended. Using an arrow that is too long or too short can negatively affect its accuracy and consistency.

Additionally, arrow length can impact the weight of the arrow. Longer arrows tend to be lighter, while shorter arrows are heavier. This weight difference can affect the speed and trajectory of the arrow, which, in turn, influences accuracy.

It is worth noting that while keeping all your arrows the same length is crucial for consistent shooting, mixing arrow lengths can be used strategically to tune your arrows. By adjusting the length, you can fine-tune the spine stiffness to match your bow setup and shooting style. However, this should be done with caution, as it can significantly impact the flight characteristics of your arrows.

In conclusion, arrow length plays a vital role in archery accuracy and performance. By selecting the appropriate arrow length based on your draw length and bow type, ensuring safe handling, and considering the impact of length on spine weight and arrow weight, you can achieve improved accuracy and consistency in your shots.


Arrow weight

The weight of an arrow is a critical factor in archery, affecting its flight, accuracy, and penetration. It is measured in grains and includes the weight of the shaft, point, nock, fletching, and any other components. Choosing the right arrow weight for your bow is essential for enhancing accuracy, ensuring safety, and improving overall performance.

Archery Trade Association (ATA) Standards

The ATA provides guidelines for recommended arrow weights, typically suggesting 5 to 6 grains per pound for target shooting and up to 8 to 10 grains for hunting. To calculate the ideal arrow weight, you need to determine your bow's draw weight, decide on your archery activity, and then multiply the draw weight by the ATA's recommended grains per pound.

Purpose of Archery

The weight of your arrow will depend on whether you're primarily hunting or target shooting. For hunting, heavier arrows are preferred as they provide deeper penetration, which is crucial for ethical hunting. Lighter arrows, on the other hand, are often chosen for target shooting as they offer speed and flat trajectories.

Bow Type and Specifications

The type of bow you use, such as a recurve, compound, or longbow, will also influence the ideal arrow weight. Each bow type has unique characteristics that interact differently with arrow weights.

Testing and Tuning

To find your perfect arrow weight, you can perform a paper test by shooting an arrow through a paper sheet at a short distance. The tear it leaves can indicate whether you need a heavier or lighter arrow. Additionally, shooting groups with different arrow weights can help you identify which weight provides the best consistency for your bow and shooting style.

Safety Considerations

It is important to never go too light with your arrow weight as extremely light arrows can damage your bow and pose a safety risk. Regularly inspect your equipment to ensure both your arrows and bow are in good condition.

Selecting the right arrow weight is a process of understanding your equipment, your archery goals, and your personal preferences as an archer. It involves finding the right balance between weight and precision to achieve harmony between you, your bow, and your target. Experimentation and learning are key, so take the time to explore different arrow weights to find what works best for you.

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Arrow diameter

The diameter of an arrow is an important part of purchasing an arrow. Arrows are sold in a wide array of diameters.

Target archers usually want an arrow with a thicker diameter, as a thicker arrow is more likely to connect with the lines on a target and get higher scores. This is true for archers aiming at regular round targets and 3D archers shooting at replicas of game, such as deer or elk. Most competitions have very strict rules about how thick any arrow can be, so if you want to get involved in target archery, make sure you're not cheating by using an arrow that's above the allowed diameter.

Outdoor archers, including hunters or target archers shooting outdoors, usually go for thinner arrows. Thinner arrows are less affected by wind because there's less surface area on the arrow, and thin arrows more effectively penetrate game.

The diameter of the arrow is also important when it comes to weight. The weight of an arrow is often measured in "grains" or "grains per inch" (GPI). The GPI of an arrow is determined by a number of factors, including the diameter of the arrow, the thickness of the arrow walls, and the materials the arrow is made from.

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Arrow straightness

The difference in arrow straightness may not be noticeable to the naked eye, but it can affect the accuracy of an arrow, especially at long ranges. However, the importance of arrow straightness is debated, as some archers believe that spine consistency is more crucial for accuracy.

Some archers choose to invest in arrows with tighter straightness tolerances, believing that it will improve their shooting accuracy. Others argue that the difference between a +/-.001" shaft and a +/-.006" shaft is negligible, especially for hunting or recreational archery, where shots are typically taken at shorter distances.

Ultimately, the decision to prioritise arrow straightness depends on individual preferences, budget, and the intended use of the arrows. While straighter arrows can provide a confidence boost, they will not correct poor shooting form. Therefore, it is essential to have a solid foundation in archery techniques and proper bow tuning before investing heavily in arrow straightness.

Frequently asked questions

Your arrow may be corkscrewing in the air due to fletching contact with the rest or riser. This could also be caused by a heavier front end, which may require a heavier tip.

This could be due to your grip on the bow. Try to keep your fingers limp and avoid squeezing the bow.

This could be due to bow torque, which is caused by a poor hand position on the grip. Try to extend your bow hand and turn your hand so that your thumb and forefinger form a "V".

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