More than checking the bowstring or bow, checking your arrows should come out as your top priority.
There were many cases in the field where damaged carbon arrows were shot and splintered. The fragments then went into the archers’ bow hands causing excruciating pain.
The good rule of thumb is don’t shoot if you are not sure whether the arrow is safe or not.
How to Check Different Types of Arrows
The following are steps for checking your arrows to make sure they are safe to shoot:
1.Check the arrow’s shaft first.
Before putting it into a quiver or storing it, you should inspect every arrow’s shaft for any sign of cracking; you can check the arrow visually or with fingers.
Be careful when using fingers because even the smallest splinters can be extremely painful if they go into your hand.
Based on the materials that make up the arrow’s shaft, there are carbon arrow, aluminum arrow, and wooden arrow. Here are the methods to inspect each type of arrow’s shaft.
How to Check Carbon Arrows for Damage
To check any carbon arrows for cracks we’re going to do a flex test. To do this, hold both ends of the arrow with each of your hand and lightly flex and twist the arrow at hand while listening carefully for any sound of cracking, splintering, or denting.
Rotate the arrow and repeat the test again until you’re confident that the arrow is safe to use. If you find any sign of splinters, dents, cracks, or nicks on the arrow, throw it away immediately and get the new one!
How to Check Aluminum Arrows
In my previous guide about horseback archery, I had written that I would strongly recommend aluminum rather than carbon or wooden arrows for beginners (click here to check my recommended aluminum arrows).
The reason is simple: unlike carbon, the aluminum shafts do not splinter. If there is any crack, the crack is immediately visible.
And so even though the aluminum arrows flight slower than the carbon arrows, they are a lot safer for beginners. The only thing that you need to check on aluminum arrows is the arrow’s straightness since bending is a more common problem than splintering.
How to Check Wooden Arrows
You check your wooden arrows in the same way just like when you check carbon arrows — with the fingers and flex test. Checking wooden arrows for cracks and splinters should be easier than carbon arrows since any sign of splinters in wooden shafts are quite visible.
Aside from splintering, wooden arrows can also become warped due to improper storage, especially if you store them in a place that is too hot or too damp. For this reason, you should gradually check the arrow’s straightness as well for any sign of warping.
2. After each arrow’s shaft has been checked, the next step is to check the arrow point.
Ensure that the arrow point is securely seated and the area of the shaft behind the point is whole. If you use a screw-in point, then check that the point is fully screwed into the shaft.
3. The third step is to check the arrow nock.
Inspect the arrow nock for any sign of bent or damage then check if the nock is still attached to the shaft tightly.
Next, check for the nock alignment, make sure the nock is correctly aligned with the feathers. If the nocks are splayed, you may want to verify that the amount of splay is still the same and that the shape is still symmetrical.
4. The final step is to check the feathers.
Ensure that the feathers are still securely attached to the arrow’s shaft. Look at any binding, taping, or whipping that the feathers have and make sure that they are not broken.
Sift through the quill and the web to make sure they are not getting ragged or damaged.
How to Check The Arrow Straightness
Straightness in aluminum arrows is more important than carbon arrows. To check the arrow straightness use a table with a smooth surface. Roll the shaft along the surface; a straight shaft will roll smoothly with no wobble and rattle sound.
Any arrow that is not straight should be thrown away immediately and replaced with the new one.
How to Minimize The Chance of Your Arrows Getting Damaged
Knowing how to store the arrows properly definitely is the first step to preserve the arrows from any damage.
The next thing that you need to do is to refrain from shooting an arrow that is too short. The arrow that is too short, when shot, can become lodged in the arrow rest or behind the riser and leads to arrow failure and bow damage not to mention injury.
The good rule of thumb is to shoot from an arrow where the end of the shaft rests at least 1 inch in front of the arrow rest when at full draw.
Many factors can cause the arrow length requirements to change over time such as bowstring ages, and stretches, maintenance of the strings and so on. You need to consider all of these factors to determine the correct arrow length that matches your bow.
The last tip is to be sure when firing an arrow; the nock is properly seated on the string. If the nock is not correctly seated when you shoot, the arrow may fall from the string and getting damaged.
And when the arrow drops as you shoot, you’ll dry fire your bow which could result in damage to your bow and injury to yourself.
Be aware that some nocks use a “2-click” procedure. Consult the owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website if you’re not sure. Basically, with this type of nock, you need to hear the second click before the nock is properly rested against the string.