Different Arrows For Different Game?

Virtually every arrow in the Easton line can be used to take down any species of North American game. However, read on if you’re into testing, tinkering, and discovering what arrow works best for specific game species.

One question I get asked often at seminars, via email, and on social media: Is it a good idea to have different arrows for different bowhunting situations?

It’s an excellent question and one I’ve taken a beating for over the years. Let me explain.

Arrows are pricy projectiles, and modern-day makes do serve as one-size-fits-all killers. However, much like rifle hunters obsessed with using different bullet types in various grain weights with individual powder measurements designed to achieve specific hunt goals, I believe that certain arrows are better for certain big game ventures than others. For example, during my bowhunting tenure, I’ve harvested bull elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn, and bear with Easton’s trusty 5MM Axis, and it’s a do-all sort of arrow.

Let’s dive in further.

I started experimenting with different arrows when Easton launched its 4MM Axis Long Range and 4MM FMJ projectiles — both available with 8/32 Half-Out aluminum inserts. My first build was a 28 3/4-inch (insert to nock) 4MM Axis Long Range with a finished weight of 407.3 grains. I fletched the arrow with four AAE Hybrid 23 vanes set at a 2-degree right helical and threaded a 100-grain point into the Half-Out.

I thought the 4MM design would be fast, accurate, and at over 400 grains, still hit with plenty of kinetic energy, even when tipped with a 1.5-inch cut mechanical broadhead.

I was right.

Powered by Hoyt’s Carbon RX-7 (the RX-5 was slightly slower) set at 29 inches of draw length and 70.23 pounds of draw weight, the arrow speed was an impressive 307 fps. The total kinetic energy for the setup was 85.16 pounds, which is more than enough to take down any game species in North America.

A western bowhunter who spends most of his time slithering across the plains after pronghorn and mule deer, my shots on big game tend to be longer than whitetail shots out of a treestand. No, I’m not bashing the whitetail game. I love whitetails, and there is more to come about my arrow choice for them. I want to paint an honest picture. I practice every day of the year, and my average shot when chasing animals in the West is over 40 yards. For this reason, I want the most accurate arrow possible.

The thin build of the 4MM Axis Long Range provided remarkable accuracy beyond 100 yards. Yes, I shoot beyond 100 yards regularly in practice, and if you want to be the best bow shot possible, you should practice twice as far as you plan to shoot on a hunt. The shafts cut the western wind like butter. When they impacted foam, friction was reduced due to surface diameter, which allowed the arrows to drive deep.

Please make no mistake; these are the most accurate arrows I’ve ever shot. Last season, at a distance of 64.5 yards, I sent a SEVR-tipped 4MM Axis Long Range through the lungs of a once-in-a-lifetime Colorado bighorn. I also hammered a 48-yard Centennial State speed goat. This arrow build combines speed with accuracy and is offered in multiple spine sizes to fit an array of archery setups.

Switching gears for a moment, I’m also a whitetail, elk, and turkey freak. I crunched the numbers and did the math, and my average shot on these three species over the past five years is 24.5 yards. Top pin!

Don’t get me wrong, and don’t email me letting me know I’m out of touch with reality and trying to get people to spend more money. My 4MM Axis Long Range shafts will work fine on whitetail, elk, and turkey; I like to experiment and shoot different arrows for different game species. The process is enjoyable for me and gives me confidence. At day’s end, confidence is everything in the world of bowhunting.

As with my 4MM Axis Long Range, my finished 4MM FMJs measured 28 3/4 inches. I used Aluminum Half-Out inserts and finished the arrows’ backend with four AAE Hybrid 23 vanes. Yes, I could have gone with a 4MM Steel Half-Out (95 grains) or 4MM Titanium Half-Out (55 grains), but I kept things standard. I’ve also been asked if I thought about going with a taller, stiffer vane, and the answer is yes. However, I shoot mechanical heads on every bowhunt, so I don’t need the extra stabilization of a taller, stiffer vane. Also, I wouldn’t say I like the drag and noise taller, more rigid vanes create.

My finished 4MM FMJ weight was 481.5 grains and powered by the same Hoyt; speed was 284 fps. When I did the math, kinetic energy was measured at 86.14-foot-pounds. No, the arrow fired from this setup doesn’t produce a ton more KE than the Axis. However, it does produce more, and I love shooting a heavy arrow at a close distance, especially for whitetail. I believe deer hear and react to the sound of the arrow in flight. A heavier arrow fletched with non-rigid vanes travels extremely hushed. When it comes to penetration, you can’t beat the slick, streamlined design of the 4MM FMJ. The carbon core wrapped in a 7075 alloy jacket increase penetration, and these arrows are German-tank tough. Also, during practice sessions, the aluminum jacket makes them a breeze to pull from foam targets.

Last season, though I didn’t harvest an elk with my bow, I did drop the hammer on a pair of Pope & Young whitetail bucks, and the setup performed brilliantly. Both bucks were under 20 yards and harvested on still afternoons. There was no ducking or dodging, and I didn’t hold low. I kept the pin center lungs, confident in the quiet build of my 4MM FMJ, and let the Hoyt eat. Both deer expired within sight.

So, why the 4MM FMJ for turkeys? Turkeys are light-boned critters, but those feathers halt penetration. The slimmer 4MM FMJs track is remarkable behind a two-inch cut mechanical broadhead, and the aluminum reduces friction.

Wait, there’s more.

Of course, these aren’t the only two arrows in Easton’s hunting lineup. I’ve long been a fan of speed-demon arrows like Easton’s Flatline and HyperSpeed Pro. The new flamethrower in the line is the Sonic 6.0, and if you want an arrow that will zip, this is one you should consider. The 6MM ST inserts weigh a mere 18 grains, and each dozen arrows comes factory helical fletched with two-inch Bully Vanes by Bohning.

Bingo! You’re set to go. Again, you may decide that one arrow type, build, etc., is what you want for every bowhunting situation, and that’s great. However, heed the advice above if you want to test, build, tinker, and learn a lot about arrow performance.

A Great Tipper

I make no bones about the fact that I’m a mechanical broadhead lover, and no matter the game species, the end of my Easton’s have a mechanical broadhead threaded into them.

Why?

I like the flight I get, and most mechanicals worth their salt, like designs from NAP, put animals down quickly when put through the lungs.

Some of my go-to NAP mechanical heads have been the Spitfire, Spitfire XXX, and my favorite, the Killzone. The Spitfire and Spitfire XXX are three-blade broadheads, and the cutting diameter is the major difference. For larger game like elk, I prefer the 1.5-inch cut Spitfire, but for medium-sized game like pronghorn and whitetails, I like the 2-inch cut Spitfire XXX. The Killzone is just plain dirty. A two-blade rear-deploying head, this head is accurate and cuts like crazy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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