The exciting indoor competition season is gearing up again. If you’re a competitive shooter, you may be prepping your equipment for upcoming events. For most archers, having a second set of arrows for shooting indoors is part of their arsenal. These arrows are usually fatter in diameter and can help archers “catch” the lines on a target at 18 meters and hopefully boost their score by small margins.
Your choice of indoor arrows depends on your shooting style and, more importantly, your draw weight. Compound archers can generally shoot almost any fat arrow on the market due to the efficiency of the cams, but recurve archers have to be more selective. Big aluminum arrows, big carbon arrows, and internally tapered aluminum arrows can each affect a recurve archer’s shot differently.
Study the Differences
Before you choose any arrow, determine the arrow size limit for the types of competitions you plan to shoot. World Archery events have a limit that is different than an event like The Vegas Shoot. Make sure you are shooting legal-sized arrows.
First, hone in on the specific arrow details. Selecting the right point weight will help the arrow fly straight out of a recurve bow. Most fat shafts behave too stiff out of a recurve, and the archer compensates by adding more point weight. Increased point weight allows the arrow to flex more when coming out of the bow.
Select the Right Fletching
Next, choose which type of fletching to use for indoor shooting. Compound archers will generally choose a plastic-type material for their fletching, whereas recurve archers trend toward feathers on their indoor arrows. In either situation, the fletching or feathers will average at least three inches in length. Feathers are used to increase drag on the arrow, thus correcting the flight quicker.
After you’ve decided which fletching to use, experiment with differing angles and helical orientations. Some archers set up their arrows with a left-handed helical even though they are shooting a right-handed bow. This step takes more experimentation and lots of patience. Make sure to use a quality fletching jig to ensure the accuracy of your fletching job. The Bitzenberger fletching jig is a favorite among many archers.
When gluing the fletching to the shaft, clean the surface of the arrow shaft. Most of the time, you’ll also need to clean the base of the fletching, although some brands include an accelerant on the base to help with glue adhesion. Be sure to read the instructions that come with your fletching.
The type of glue you use depends on your level of patience. Some types of glue bond almost instantly, but they’re brittle when they harden and can easily break off from the shaft. On the other end of the spectrum, an old classic such as Fletch-tite takes about 20 minutes to harden to a point where you can remove the fletching clamp from the fletching. Keeping the fletching in the clamp while the glue hardens is key to maintaining fletching orientation on the shaft.
Prepare for the New Feel
Although shooting a fatter-diameter arrow can be appealing for indoor archery, it usually comes with sacrifices. Your equipment becomes more critical, and the feel of your bow changes upon release due to the increased arrow weight. Any slight deviance from your normal shot will cause the arrow to fly far off-course, and suddenly the line-cutting capabilities of the arrows is rendered useless.
Shooting with big indoor arrows comes with a commitment to focusing on a strong and consistent execution, especially with a recurve bow. Just because you have the equipment to catch the scoring lines doesn’t mean you will always be hitting tens. Make sure to practice often – only then will the line cutters be in your favor.