The Effects of Using Very Lightweight Arrows on Your Bow

If you use arrows that are too lightweight, you might encounter issues. Here we explain those effects.

Andy Ryan
Updated at

Arrows are just as crucial as your bow, so finding the right one is a significant factor to take into account. If you use arrows that are too light for your bow, this will most likely lead to dry firing your bow.

Thus, your bow and arrows must be appropriate. Arrows that are mismatched may not fly precisely.

In general when you shoot an arrow that is too lightweight for your bow nothing really happens to your bow physically except for a small risk of a dryfire but there are a number of effects on the arrow’s trajectory.

Here I will be breaking down the effects of using very lightweight arrows on your bow.

The word “arrow weight” refers to the overall weight of an arrow, which includes nocks, wraps, inserts, fletchings, broadheads, and field points. Bowhunters should also consider the FOC, or “front of the center,” of their arrow, this estimates the shaft’s balance point and how much it transfers force to the front end. While shooting a fixed blade broadhead, the FOC can significantly impact the arrow’s travel.

The weight of an arrow is determined in grains per inch, or GPI, by arrow manufacturers. The size and diameter of the shaft and the component, such as wood, aluminum, fiberglass, composite, or carbon fibers, all affect arrow weight. (1, 2)

Lightweight arrows weigh around 350 grains, a standard arrow weighs between 420 and 500 grains, and a heavier arrow weighs over 600 grains. Unless they’re shooting traditional equipment, a few Americans utilize arrows weighing 700 grams or more. Recurve and longbow archers typically use arrows weighing 700 grains or more.

An arrow with the right spine and weight sharpens your accuracy and makes it easier for hunting. Basically, when you release an arrow, it bends as it leaves the bow and then straightens out as it travels through the air. Arrows that flex too much or too little have a difficult time flying. Shooting a light arrow out of a high-poundage bow can be deadly.

The bend of the arrow is affected by the draw weight, arrow length, and point weight. Therefore you must choose the appropriate stiffness for your setup. Bows with high draw weights require arrows with sturdier spines. The rigidity of the arrow must decrease as the draw weights drop. Short arrows are also less bendable than long arrows, and heavier points require firmer spines in their shafts than lighter tips. Here’s how you can measure draw weight and draw length.

Light arrows are quick and flat-shooting, making them perfect for long-range shooting. Heavy arrows, on the other hand, absorb the energy and noise transferred from the bow during each shot; therefore, they’re generally louder. Since they sustain greater power, heavier arrows pierce or pass through animals better than light arrows.

When purchasing arrows, you must consider these advantages and disadvantages. Bow arrow sets, both light and heavy, have their perfect time and situation. Heavy arrows fall faster, resulting in shorter shooting distances. The spacing between your sight pins is also affected by arrow weights. While shooting light arrows, the 20-, 30-, and 40-yard pins match tightly together, but when shooting heavier arrows, they spread out.

Longer shots and hunting for nervous prey generally necessitate lighter, faster arrows weighing less than 400 grams. This decision ensures that the arrow reaches the animal before it reacts and jumps the string. Bowhunters pursuing large animals frequently use medium-weight arrows, which weigh between 420 and 500 grains, to guarantee that they penetrate deep into crucial organs.

What happens to your bow if you use arrows that are too lightweight?

Apparently, there is not much you do to your bow. The best resort is to change into another arrow variation where it matches your bow. So, how do you choose the perfect arrow suited for your bow?

First, you should measure your draw length. Your most convenient resort is to visit an archery pro-shop and let them measure it for you. Lastly, to get the necessary arrow length, just add 0.5 inches to a maximum of 1 inch to your draw length. Therefore, if your draw length is 28 inches, you should get arrows no longer than 29 inches.

What happens if your arrows have a spine that is too light or too heavy for your bow?

When an arrow has a too light or too heavy spine for a bow, it will miss where it is targeted. When an arrow is released, it bends, and how it flies is determined by the “stiffness” of the arrow shaft or spine. A too-light arrow will bend too much, whereas a too-heavy arrow will not bend adequately. 

(1) composite –
(2) carbon fibers –

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