Heavy hunting arrow "craze"

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Talk' started by Mod-it, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. Mod-it

    Mod-it Weekend Warrior

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    So another thread inspired me to start this one so I don't hijack the other one.
    A question for the 500+ grain hunting arrow folks...and when I say that, this is what I hear a lot for a deer setup let alone an elk.
    I've always used fixed, as mechanicals aren't allowed in Idaho.
    I'm not understanding the super heavy arrow "craze" that I keep reading about, but after reading some comments in a mechanical broadhead thread perhaps it has to do with mechanicals needing the momentum to go clear through with the large cutting diameters they have? I do realize a lot of folks can and do use mechanicals.
    My primary archery target is elk, I usually muzzleload for deer. I've ran regular 100 grain Muzzy's with a 400 grain-ish arrow for over 20 years (I have no idea what my old baseball bat diameter Easton aluminum 2512's weighed that I first started out with, but they were plenty heavy). There's been some different hunting arrows I've used since then, but my current arrows actually show 385 grains on the scale. I've shot 4 elk with that setup so far...3 were broadside shots that resulted in complete passthroughs and one was quartering away that stopped in the far side shoulder. I like to try to keep fps around the 280 mark...I've always shot 70 lbs, just dropped down to 65 last year... I am a fairly short draw length at 27.5 with d-loop so I can't do that with an arrow much over 400 grains with past bows. I've had a few bows that were under 270 fps and one that was 250 fps. My current bow is quite a bit faster than I'm used to, coming in at 306 fps. I have had to judge yardage on the fly on several elk, it just isn't the same as sitting in a tree and waiting for a target to show up, so I've always wanted to maintain some decent speed.
    Anyway like I said above, the only time the arrow doesn't go through them like warm butter is when the far side shoulder is hit on a quartering away shot. Every broadside elk I've shot has resulted in the arrow "pinging" down through the trees behind it with a fair amount of velocity still in it. Last year my brother-in-law shot a whitetail buck at 30 yards with an arrow weighing about 375 grains (Muzzy 100 grain BH) and the buck turned before the arrow arrived. He hit it at a pretty hard quartering to angle with the arrow going in where the neck meets the body and it actually exited THROUGH the far side front shoulder. Hit an artery or something because it was a blood bath for the 75 yards that deer ran. I couldn't believe it went through the shoulder, but deer are quite a bit less dense than elk. So why do so many push that a 500+ grain arrow is needed for deer? Shooting through shoulder blades on a regular basis? Huge cutting diameter mechanicals just don't penetrate well? What is YOUR experience that makes you feel the need to run a really heavy arrow? I look forward to hearing your stories.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  2. Sota

    Sota Legendary Woodsman

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    With my set up, I have a 28.5" draw length, 72# draw weight and hunt with a 475-485 grain arrow set up. Some say that the set up is over kill, why would you not hit a deer as hard as you possibly can? I don't have this set up because I am shooting a mechanical, I have this set up for when stuff happens. I shot a large mature buck years back hit him right in the should blade with a rage titanium. The mechanical haters would say this is a disaster and a lost deer. The head went thru both shoulder blades and cut the jugular on the way thru. With the proper set up a mechanic can fare just as well as a fixed head.
     
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  3. Mod-it

    Mod-it Weekend Warrior

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    I guess I should add that I do understand being setup for when stuff happens when shots are always going to be at known yardage. Was your above example from a stand or blind where the yardage is always going to be known? Perhaps that's the main answer right there, the folks that want heavy arrows never have to judge yardage so why not have the "oh s**t" hits like a Mack truck setup?
    I'd love to play around with some mechanicals, but Idaho is in the stone ages. We can't even use a lighted nock on our arrows. All they do is help with knowing where you hit in low light and therefore lend to knowing when to take up the trail. They are in no way an advantage except for in the recovery effort, so makes no sense to me. That's probably a whole other thread.
     
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  4. slickbilly-d

    slickbilly-d Weekend Warrior

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    How about those people shooting 600+ For whitetail? I understand if a person is shooting an 80lb now with a 31” draw and can get a super heavy arrow up to speed, but with my set up, my pin gaps would be huge.
     
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  5. Sota

    Sota Legendary Woodsman

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    I shoot a single pin slider that I have not slid since I set the pin at 25 yards. Yards are estimated but I know how far is too far and have not had any troubles.
     
  6. Justin

    Justin Administrator

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    People, by our very nature, are influenced by groups and what others do. It's a scientific fact. Social proof concepts say that if other people are doing it, it must be right. Right??

    With the advent and increased use of social media, we're seeing that more than ever. From mock scrapes in May to tree saddles to 600 grain arrows for whitetails, these are "trends" that bowhunters seem to be gravitating towards. Now, I can say that not all trends are for naught as a heavier arrow does have some distinct benefits including better penetration and a quieter, more vibration-free bow. However, there is certainly a point of diminishing returns or "overkill" and I believe plenty of folks have crossed the line. It reminds me of the old adage about killing a fly with a hammer. Sure, it will get the job done but isn't entirely necessary.

    For me, something in the 425-450 range is a great mix of speed and weight and will get the job done on any animal I intend on shooting with it.
     
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  7. NebMo Hunter

    NebMo Hunter Weekend Warrior

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    I have 2 arrow set ups 435 gr and 509 gr. when I brought up diminishing returns last year on here I was blasted as a heretic.
    I should find that old post again.

    I agree with most all the points made, I have a 30 inch draw at 65lb that 435 gr arrow stays adequately flat to the range I'm comfortable shooting, most of my sets however dont allow for shots of any real distance and i wanted as quite a shot as possible. enter the 509 gr arrow, still shooting 260 or so but with much more momentum.

    That said I dont think what i gained was worth the cost of those arrows. Any new arrows for me going forward will be in the 435 - 450 gr range.
     
  8. oldnotdead

    oldnotdead Weekend Warrior

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    I only mention this because I have always shot a light arrow and low # bow. Always a fixed 100 and dropped deer in their tracks with shoulder hits. Now I don't recommend that shot for bow,but because it is my only shot for gun my eye gravitates there shooting instictive. I also regularly kill deer at 35 yrds with pass thru's. With the newer bows,and strings this is a given IMO. 49#, 27" draw G5
     
  9. trial153

    trial153 Grizzled Veteran

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    Considering that most hunters are shooting arrows that are too light I am not sure where this craze is taking place.
     
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  10. Sota

    Sota Legendary Woodsman

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    When did this craze start? I went heavy over 5 years ago.
     
  11. biscuit

    biscuit Weekend Warrior

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    I started using Valkyrie archery systems last year and I'll never look back. Yes they are a little on the more expensive side, but they are worth it. I really like his center pin sleeve concept with most of the weight up front. I'm using a 165 grain titanium Jager bomb broad head he makes as well, my arrow comes in at 509 grains. This system is fool proof (I'll regret saying that I'm sure). In any case yup I strayed away from the ultra light arrows about 3 years ago.
     
  12. virginiashadow

    virginiashadow Legendary Woodsman

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    The only time I've really beefed up an arrow was when I shot a recurve. 550 grains or so and those arrows flew better, were quieter, and got pass throughs. Right now I like the 425-450 grain or so weight. Just simple to get my arrow weight to about 325 grains then add a 100-125 grain head.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
  13. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    I've always wanted to get heavier every set up...and yet have seen any negatives due to these moves. My present set up even I'm wondering might be overkill....BUT groupings are insane, and every step up I've always noticed this get tighter and tighter (why....zero clue...could be mental who knows).

    This year's set up are some Deep Impacts by Black Eagle with steel outserts in the front end and 200 grain head on the tips. Total weight is finally cresting that 600gr mark at 604 and my FOC % is right around 18.33

    The ONLY arguable negative to heavier arrows is larger gap between pins...but this has never been a concern of mine and I don't shoot blazing fast (28.5 inch draw and set to 63lbs). Could care less about this honestly, and most all of my shots are set up to be in that sub 30 yard mark.

    I mean to put simply to directly answer the OP's statement of not understanding the heavy arrow craze I guess would be this:

    Those that do it do it for one, multiple or all of the following:

    -Increase penetration (bad hits, harder to kill targets or the assurance of passthrough)
    -Consistency in flight/grouping
    -Quieter bow
    -Overcoming a weaker set up (younger hunter, lower draw weight or such...talk to traditional guys and you'll see this...)
     
  14. Mod-it

    Mod-it Weekend Warrior

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    I guess the "craze" is coming from what I read on another forum, there are so many guys that are running 500-600 grain arrows for whitetails, and don't even think about being able to kill an elk with an arrow that doesn't take two men to lift. I guess it comes down to what/how you hunt. When elk hunting, shots are often at unknown distances. I'm comfortable to take out to a 50 yard shot on elk if the situation is ideal for it. With 3d shoot practice I have a pretty good idea of my yardage judging capability. I very normally average being within about 2 yards of the actual distance, but there are times that a small draw or similar terrain will throw me off up to 5 yards. A short 27.5" draw combined with an arrow much over 400 grains does not give me the best of pin gaps. I also like a bow with at least a 7" brace height and avoid the speed demon type bows with shorter brace heights that are less forgiving. I want a combo that will go through but give me room to be 5 yards off on my yardage and still land in an elk's vitals.
    I suppose if I sat in a tree and could zap several spots within the range I was willing to shoot, then why not set up a heavy arrow that could go through shoulders...but that isn't the case for me. And I can't run a mechanical by Idaho law, so I'm not trying to punch a really high cutting diameter broadhead through. My chisel tipped 1-3/8 cutting diameter or whatever they are Muzzy's go through elk time and again for me. I'm just out of the normal range than most on draw length and therefore speed. So others can run an arrow quite a bit heavier and still get speed that I can only achieve with a lighter arrow setup.
    I certainly do understand "why not hit them as hard as you can" if pin gap isn't as much of a consideration though. It isn't like there is the consideration of meat damage like there is with using way too much gun.
    I guess the whole reason for the thread was mainly three things. One, I was bored. Two, I wanted to hear people's reasoning on why they feel they need a really heavy arrow setup. For all the game I hunt there isn't a single one of them that a 400 grain arrow doesn't give me the best combo of performance between penetration and speed in my personal experience. That's of course combined with what my bow setup allows for ME. Three, I'd be a liar if I didn't admit that I find it a bit ridiculous to hear people insist that you're doing it wrong if you don't run a heavy arrow setup.
     
  15. Mod-it

    Mod-it Weekend Warrior

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    This is kind of what I'm talking about. What exactly is "arrows that are too light?" What is too light, and what experiences make you say this?
     
  16. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    In all my years of bowhunting not once has any decision been based on the air between my pins...

    In all my years of bowhunting have the pins done anything more than tell me where to hold...

    I say this partly in jest but also seriously wondering why so stuck on that space between pins??
     
  17. slickbilly-d

    slickbilly-d Weekend Warrior

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    If he takes a 50 yard shot on an elk and Mia judges the yardage by five yards short with a 600g arrow, that’s a lot lower point of impact than with a 400g arrow. With a faster arrow speed, misjudged yardage is more forgiving
     
  18. 87TT

    87TT Weekend Warrior

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    If you're taking a 50 yard shot at elk, then you should have time to use a range finder. I wouldn't guess unless it is real close like under 20.
     
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  19. Mod-it

    Mod-it Weekend Warrior

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    Yes, this exactly.
     
  20. Mod-it

    Mod-it Weekend Warrior

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    You're going to pass on a lot of elk if you won't judge yardage over 20. I spend all year shooting & judging yardage, both on my own and at 3d shoots. If I were wounding a bunch I'd say you're right, but I've lost two in my 27 years of hunting them, and both of them were in the first five years when I started out and took stupid "forced" shots at high alert elk.
     
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