The process of building your own arrows should start with ensuring they are all properly spine aligned.
This is a fairly easy process that should by straightforward in the way you do it. Certainly, the more often you buy new arrow shafts, the more adept you will become at the process.
All arrows bend and flex when shot. If they are nocked without taking into account the stiff or weak side of the arrow they will bend and flex differently to each other.
The result is inconsistent flight from one arrow to the next.
Advantages of Spine Aligning Your Arrows
The biggest benefit to performing your own spine alignment is the confidence you get from having done the testing yourself.
When the arrows are spine aligned they will exhibit greater consistency. It is simply a matter of removing one of the variations involved in the process of shooting a bow.
Static Spine v Dynamic Spine
Arrow shafts straight from the manufacturer will have a spine allocated to it. This is the static spine or, the level of flex of a bare 28” shaft when a 1.94 lb weight is hung from the mid-point.
Most people who routinely build their own arrows advocate doing the testing on dynamic spine rather than the static spine.
In other words, the spine of the arrow during the shot when they have had the fletching, arrow wrap, insert and nock added.
Included in this is the alignment of the spine, given that there will generally be a stiff side and a weaker side to an arrow shaft.
Steps To Spine Align Your Arrows
The following steps are a simple, repeatable process to follow to get a more consistent spine.
Of course, there is another approach you may prefer which, I think, quite a lot of people use.
- Buy the arrow shafts
- Cut arrows to length
- Add nocks, inserts, fletching
- Add a broadhead
- Cross your fingers and hope the arrows are spined exactly the same and they all fly the same way.
…Good luck with that!
Understand that nock tuning may not guarantee perfect spine alignment. But it does ensure each arrow is bending the same way on each shot which leads to more consistency.
Take a look at this video which provides a great overview on how to go about nock tuning.
The process should also result in a greater confidence level knowing that you have done the testing and built your arrow based around it.
Start with the bare shaft and shoot at the paper, look for any tear in the paper and make the nock adjustment of a 1/4 turn.
Repeat until the arrows all shoot perfect bullet holes
An example, what you might find when practicing is that one arrow out of your group might consistently hit low and to the right while the rest are grouping nicely.
Take that arrow, turn the nock until it is grouping with the rest of the arrows. It's a simple solution that can be completed within one short practice session.
Spine Index Your Arrows
It’s worth taking the time to spine index your arrows.
When you’re going through the nock tuning process you’re going to identify the stiff side of the arrow and make a small mark on it.
This is the side where you should place your cock vane.
This way, for every arrow in your quiver, they will all behave in a very similar way when they leave the bow.
Arrow Grade Is Important
A factor that may reduce the amount of nock tuning and paper tuning required is starting off with higher grade arrows.
Arrows are built to a set of different tolerances and the arrows with tighter tolerances are generally more expensive.
Buying arrows with a tolerance of .001" should minimize the amount of nock tuning you would have to do.
A couple of examples are the Carbon Express Maxima Red arrows which use their “Red Zone” to manage dynamic spine.
Similarly, a recommended arrow is the Victory RIP Elite arrows which are small diameter arrows that have a tolerance of only .001”.
In fact, any of the Elite class of arrows in the Victory Archery range will provide you with a great starting point.
Doing a little bit of hard work after buying your arrow shafts will serve you well in shooting consistently tight groupings.
Although there are many factors involved in accuracy, it would be nice to have that comfortable feeling that you have gone through the process of ensuring your arrows are as consistent as possible.
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