Far more thought must go into your arrow selection for elk hunting and other big game. It is certainly not a case of simply buying the cheapest arrows you can get your hands on with the expectation that they will bring down your buck.

In fact, from tip to tail, and all points in between, you should be carefully considering every aspect of your arrow and build it with the aim that it will provide you with a minimum of 2 features:

  1. That they fly accurately
  2. That they hit hard enough to stop an elk

Our List of Quality Arrows for Elk Hunting

Make / Model

Spine

Diameter

Weight
(GPI)

MSRP

340

0.267"

9.5

$113.99

350

0.261"

8.2

$73.99

350

0.298"

8.7

$79.99

340

0.272"

9.9

$104.99

340

0.300"

8.9

$74.99

350

0.337"

8.9

$84.99

340

0.300"

8.9

$99.99

Crucial Factors That Comprise an Elk Hunting Arrow

In order to satisfy both of the key factors that make an effective elk hunting arrow, it is going to have to perform well in a number of important characteristics.

Arrow Straightness

Some companies thrive off the fact that their arrows are consistently straight and can be utterly relied upon. The premium carbon arrows available have a tolerance of +/-.001 inches. This ranges out to a standard level of tolerance at +/-.006 inches.

It makes sense that the straighter the arrow shaft, the better and more consistently it will fly.

Another related factor is the consistency of the straightness within any pack of arrows. If you buy a pack of 12 arrows you should expect that they are very close in their straightness from one to the other.

It is perfectly acceptable to look for the middle of the range straightness arrows that have been confirmed as having a tolerance of +/- .003”.

Arrow Weight

The weight of the arrow that you settle on using will be dependent on the draw weight and draw length that your bow is set up with. The greater the draw weight, the more kinetic energy imparted which means a reasonably flat flight path can still be achieved.

Another word about the weight of the arrow is that you should aim to find arrows that are consistent from one arrow to the next. Any variation in weight from one arrow to the next will have an effect on accuracy. 

That’s why it is important to take note of the company’s advertised weight tolerance and to then check it yourself when you’ve bought your arrows.

Arrow Diameter

These days thin is in. Compared to the larger diameter aluminum arrows or the larger diameter carbon shafts, the diameter of the smallest hunting arrows are a fraction of the size.

This gives them a surface area that is around half that of the large sized shafts. What this means is that they won’t be as susceptible to being affected by crosswinds and they will maintain their speed to the target.

Find out more by reading our in-depth page about small diameter arrows.

There are still many standard sized arrow shafts available in the carbon hunting arrow range and they continue to perform well. In fact, some people believe that the standard diameter arrow shafts are preferable when using some of today's more powerful compound bows. And this is where looking for the stiffer spined arrows will pay off.

FOC

To get the greatest possible penetration you need to put together an arrow that has a lot of weight Front Of Center (FOC). Doing this will also improve arrow flight stability too which gives you a greater chance of hitting the spot you’re aiming at.

The accepted goal is to have a high FOC and the best way to do this is to use a heavier point. At the other end of the arrow, if you are trying to achieve a high FOC weight you should be looking for fletchings that are smaller and, consequently, lighter.

Arrow manufacturers are becoming more aware of the hunter’s desire for a heavier front of their arrow and are now supplying inserts made from brass or stainless steel. Some of these can add as much as 100 grains to the end of the arrow.

Consideration must be made to the arrow spine when you are looking to add weight. If you add weight to the front of the arrow it is going to weaken the spine. Consequently, it may be necessary to move up to a stiffer spine than what you may have been using before.

Preferences vary from hunter to hunter but the majority try to create a FOC weight that is somewhere around the 15 - 20% mark.

Broadheads

There are no real surprises when it comes to choosing a broadhead for use when hunting elk. It should be razor sharp, solidly built and has the ability to fly true.

Due to the desire of most hunter to increase the forward of center weight, it would make sense to look for a broadhead that weighs 125 grains or more.

We have done a more comprehensive analysis of broadheads for elk hunting that is worth browsing.

Detailed Description of Carbon Arrows for Elk Hunting

Now that we have had the opportunity to compare some arrows and get an idea about their basic individual characteristics we will take the opportunity to go into more detail.

Below is a more detailed review of each make and model including all of the available sizes, their spine, weight and the outside diameter of each shaft. As you will see, there are many different options to choose from within each make/model.

Easton Axis SPT 340 Arrows

Size

Spine

Length

OD

GPI

340

0.340"

32"

0.267"

9.5

The Axis arrows have been proven to be extremely effective in use for hunting big game. The arrow has a relatively stiff spine and it has proven to be fast and durable and will take a heavy broadhead and insert combination for an FOC that will enable significant momentum.

The arrows have a small profile and this helps them to fly very well in crosswinds, much better than arrows with a standard diameter. According to Easton Archery, the AXIS provides 24% more Kinetic Energy Density than standard diameter carbon arrows.

The straightness is +/-.003 weight which should ensure that a high level of accuracy can be achieved. Consistency in the pack is also a big factor with the spine matched for top level accuracy.

Black Eagle Rampage 350 Arrows

Size

Spine

Length

OD

GPI

350

0.350"

32"

0.261"

8.2

These arrows have been described by the company as long-range hunting arrows and the 100% carbon shaft is designed to perform over longer distance flights. This makes the shaft ideal for use on big game such as elk.

It is possible to buy these arrows with a straightness tolerance of either .001” or .003" and the grain weight tolerance is +/-1.

The key to the long distance attributes of the arrow is the smaller diameter measurement. This also means that it will be easier to add weight to the front so that the FOC percentage is high, giving it greater penetration capabilities.

The arrow is supplied with 51 grain stainless steel Bone Crusher Half-Out inserts, 10 grain BEA R-Nocks and 18 grain Bohning Blazer Vanes.

Victory VForce Gamer 350 Arrows

Size

Spine

Length

OD

GPI

350

0.350"

31"

0.298"

8.7

The VForce arrow range has been designed as a high quality carbon hunting arrow that exhibits toughness and durability so that it is suitable for use on big game.

The Gamer versions of the VForce have a straightness tolerance of +/- .003”. To ensure consistency each dozen is put together as a matched weight set to +/- 0.5 grains.

The shafts are given an Ice Nano Ceramic Coating to improve penetration and also makes it easier to remove from the target. They have been digitally spine aligned to ensure greater consistency to enable tighter groupings.

The Inner Diameter of the VForce arrow is only 0.245” while the outer diameter of the 350 measures 0.298”.

The arrow shafts come with the VForce RPS 22 grain inserts as well as the 9 grain Blazer nock. If you are looking to increase weight you could optionally choose to use the VForce SS 35 grain inserts.

Gold Tip Kinetic 340 Arrows

Click for Pricing Details and Reviews on Amazon.com

Size

Spine

Length

OD

GPI

340

0.340"

32"

0.300"

8.9

The Kinetic range of arrows from Gold Tip has been created as a durable and hard hitting arrow with a small diameter to generate the maximum possible kinetic energy.

This is a carbon arrow that has been built with the purpose for use when hunting larger game – and this includes elk. The smaller diameter means it won’t be overly affected by wind due to the smaller surface area.

They are advertised as having a Straightness Tolerance of +/- .006” and a Weight Tolerance of +/- 2 grains. The 340 shafts have an Inner Diameter that measures 0.204” and an Outer Diameter of 0.272”.

The shafts are constructed with Gold Tip’s Smart Carbon Technology. They are provided with Accu-Tough Nocks and spine specific Accu-Tough Inserts.

They are available in packs of 6 or 12.

Gold Tip Hunter XT 340 Arrows

Size

Spine

Length

OD

GPI

340

0.340"

32"

0.300"

8.9

The Hunter XT is an arrow model that brought Gold Tip to prominence thanks to its tremendous straightness and outstanding results as a hunting arrow.

This is a mid-weight arrow with the 340 version weighing 8.9 grains/inch. This provides an outstanding base for building a hard-hitting big-game hunting arrow.

They are advertised as having a Straightness Tolerance of +/- .003” which is very impressive and a Weight Tolerance of +/- 2 grains. The 340 shafts have an Inner Diameter that measures 0.246” and an Outer Diameter of 0.300” which sits it pretty much in the middle of standard for a good hunting arrow.

The shafts are constructed with Gold Tip’s Smart Carbon Technology. They are provided with GTNocks and Accu-Lite Inserts.

They are available in packs of 6 or 12.

Carbon Express Maxima Hunter 350 Arrows

Size

Spine

Length

OD

GPI

350

0.337"

32.5"

0.297"

$84.99

The Maxima Hunter arrows have proven to be particularly reliable hunting arrows that are ideal for big game such as elk. They can be bought either as bare shafts or pre-fletched with Bohning Blazer vanes.

They have been built with a Buff Tuff Plus carbon weave construction to ensure consistent spine as well as strength and durability. The all-important straightness across all arrows is ensured by a laser check that is performed that confirms all arrows fall within a +/- .0025”.

The latest version of the Maxima Hunter has been created with Dual Spine Weight Forward technology and comes with a BullDog nock collar installed to protect the rear of the shaft.

This is an arrow that has proven hard-hitting power that will benefit even further with added weight at the front to create superior kinetic energy. 

They are available either in packs of 6 or 12.

Gold Tip Hunter Pro 340 Arrows

Size

Spine

Length

OD

GPI

340

0.340"

32"

0.300"

8.9

The Hunter Pro is constructed using the same technology as the Hunter XT but it has been improved in one crucial aspect, the Straightness Tolerance. Whereas the XT has a straightness tolerance of +/- .003” (which is pretty impressive) the Hunter Pro straightness tolerance is at an incredible +/- .001”.

Added to this is the Weight Tolerance which is only +/- .5 grains.

What this adds up to is a range of hunting arrows that are incredibly consistent from one to the next. This gives you the greatest possible chance at shooting consistency.

For hunters who are looking to use a standard diameter carbon hunting arrow and are most concerned with consistency from one arrow to the next, the Hunter Pro stands out as the arrow of choice.

The shafts are constructed with Gold Tip’s Smart Carbon Technology. They are provided with GTO Nocks and Accu-Lite Inserts.

They are available in packs of 6 or 12.

Choosing or building an arrow that is suitable for elk hunting is not an easy task and will take some trial and error before you come up with a set-up that you will be happy with. This is definitely true for beginners so be prepared to go through a learning period.

Understanding that each manufacturer will use a slightly different combination to the last is also important as you gain knowledge.

The important thing is to be prepared to go through that learning phase. Buy a few different arrow shaft makes and models, use inserts of a variety of weights and come up with completed arrows (broadheads, nocks, fletchings and inserts) that cover a wide spectrum.

Then test it all out...exhaustively.

You're looking for arrows that will maintain the all-important kinetic energy required to hit a big animal hard, achieve deep penetration and will be durable enough to keep on going. You also want to trust that it will travel consistently and accurately.

Any of the arrows discussed above will provide you with a great quality arrow that has been designed for use on big game such as elk. It is then up to you to include the other components that will give you the best chance of success out in the field.


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