As crossbow hunters, we all want the most from our hunting equipment. One area we all should strive to get better at is our accuracy. There are many factors that come into play when achieving great accuracy with our crossbows. Some we can’t control. Like how well our crossbows are engineered to be able to shoot an arrow accurately. But one thing we can control, is the arrow itself. Today we have many choices when it comes to choosing a crossbow arrow. For most hunters, the arrows that came in the package you bought when you purchased your crossbow is the arrow you will most likely shoot. Nothing wrong with that at all. Some hunters however, will purchase another brand of crossbow arrow or possibly even fletch their own arrows. In any case, I am not here to tell you what arrow is better than the next one. In this article l’ll explain to you how you can experience the best accuracy with the arrows you already own.
Before we get started I should point out one that this article has to deal with spine alignment of you arrow and how to shoot your current arrows in a way to super tune your group. If you are shooting aluminum crossbow arrows, this article will not necessarily apply. By design, an aluminum arrow is built with much better tolerances when it comes to spine constancy. Furthermore, if you are shooting an arrow that is already spine indexed, either from the manufacturer or by a custom arrow maker, this article will not be beneficial. But for the rest of you shooting a crossbow, this article will help you get the most from the arrows you already have.
The entire premise of this tutorial is that carbon arrows have a spine. Spine is a measurement related to how much the arrow flexes. The details of how to measure spine aren’t real important in order for you to get your arrows flying better. What is important is that all of your arrows have the spine indexed in the same fashion so that each arrow will mimic the next in the way they fly. Because of the way a carbon arrow is manufactured, the spine is not consistent three hundred and sixty degrees around the shaft. So what we are trying to find out is which side of each arrow is closest matched to the rest of your arrows in the entire bunch. You can find this out by simply shooting your crossbow. You don’t need any special tools or equipment either. Here’s how.
The first thing you’ll need to do is to setup your crossbow target. It doesn’t need to be real far away, but the further away you do shoot, the more you will see the impact of matching the spine of your arrows. Even if you never plan on shooting past twenty yards with your crossbow, I would suggest a range of forty yards or so. If you don’t have forty yards, just shoot as far as your situation will allow. You’ll also want to have multiple aiming points on your target. If your crossbow target doesn’t have multiple aiming points, you can draw some on with a permanent magic marker. The next thing you’ll want to do is number each arrow. You can do this by taking a pen and numbering each one of the “cock” vanes, or odd color vanes, on each arrow. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to shoot your crossbow. If possible, shooting your crossbow from a bench or a gun style vise will ensure that we are taking the human error factor out of the equation as much as we can.
Shoot each arrow at one of the aiming points on your crossbow target. Even though we are trying to shoot a tight group with all of the arrows combined, you don’t want to damage any in the process, so shooting one arrow at one spot is the way to go. Shoot each arrow a few times and pay attention to where they hit. Discard any shots where you may have flinched or pulled of target during the shot. You should start to see a pattern where each individual arrow hits close to the same spot, even though all of the arrows combined may not yet be grouping collectively. For example: your number two and number four arrow may hit the center of the bullseye every time. Your number one arrow may hit left and high and your number three arrow may hit low and right. But they are hitting those locations consistently. This tells us that the arrow is repeating accuracy each time you shoot, just not with the rest of the arrows that are hitting the bullseye. At this point, its time to tune.
The arrows that are hitting in the center, we no longer need to shoot anymore. We are going to focus on the ones that don’t. Because each arrow is already numbered, and we already have established that they group, just not with the rest of the arrows, we need to find a way to get these “flyers” to group with the other arrows. So what we do is rotate each arrow so that the next vane in line now becomes the cock vane. By doing this, the arrow is rotated by one hundred and twenty degrees and will now be using a different part of the shaft to determine its spine. An important step before shooting however, is to make sure the nock on the back of your arrow is correctly aligned with the string. If you are shooting a “flat” style crossbow nock or one of the new “hybrid” nocks, you have nothing to worry about. But if you are shooting a “moon” or “capture” style crossbow nock, the nock will need to be rotated in order to accept the string and to prevent a possible partial dry fire of your crossbow. So assuming you’ve rotated your nocks, we are ready to move on to once again shooting your crossbow. Shoot each arrow a few times at the same spot. You should now see your point of impact change. It may have gotten worse, or it may have gotten better. By now though, you should be starting to grasp the concept we are trying to achieve. If your arrows don’t shoot better, you will need to rotate them again to the next vane. Even if they do get better, you may want to try rotating them anyhow to see if they group even better then the first time you rotated them. Shoot them again a few times to establish their new point of impact. Chances are you will now have three, three hole groups in each aiming point of your crossbow target at each point you rotated your arrow. Choose the one that is closest to the center for each arrow and you’re good to go.
Super tuning your crossbow arrows as described above will take some time to do. But the end result can be well worth your investment in time. With some arrows, you may find that no matter which way they are rotated, they just won’t shoot with the rest of the group. These arrows should be culled. By following the steps in this article, you can achieve better groups with your crossbow without spending any extra of your hard earned cash. The time you spend doing so will also get you better acquainted with your crossbow which will pay off come hunting season. Enjoy!!!
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