Somebody recently asked me what arrow would I recommend for Indoor shooting. There are so many arrow manufacturers these days that it’s quite hard to keep up with what is out there. Even within each manufacturers range of products you will often find several very different options. There’s the traditional Aluminium option, large diameter carbon arrows are becoming more popular than ever and there are now even hydrid arrows for indoor use.
The single most important factor to consider when choosing an indoor arrow is shaft diameter. With such a small X to hit you need to be sure you can pick up as many line cutters as possible. As most people know the maximum diameter allowed by World archery is 9.3mm and so that helps us to narrow down our choice. For indoor target archery we are looking for maximum legal diameter and optimum consistency.
I have always been quick to point out that it is difficult for professional archers to be unbiased when it comes to the equipment they shoot as they depend on their sponsors for their livelihood. Those guys are so good that they can make just about any bow shoot the way most can only dream of. But professional archers also depend on accuracy in order to stay in the big leagues and if there’s one area I know they don’t compromise it is arrow selection. They simply can’t afford to take a chance on one arrow not hitting where it was aimed – this is especially true indoors where missing just one X per half dozen arrows means the difference between making the cut or heading home after the qualifying round.
So given a choice between Carbon and Aluminium maximum diameter indoor arrows what do the Pros choose? Well the answer to that is overwhelmingly aluminium. If you get chance to take in a World Archery indoor world cup event (there’s always one run in Vegas the same week as the Vegas shoot) take a look in the professionals quivers. You will see that the vast majority of them choose Easton X23’s.
But why would they choose the aluminium option over the more expensive, technologically advanced Fatboys or Triumph? After all, they aren’t paying for them are they? The answer to that is simple. Consistency. It’s just not possible to manufacture wound carbon fibre with the same degree of consistency as an extruded aluminium tube. Don’t get me wrong, Easton do it as well or better that just about any arrow manufacturer out there but when your paycheck rests on every arrow you take out of your quiver being the exact same as the last arrow you pulled then nobody wants to take that chance.
Now Easton don’t want to admit this, why would they? It’s in their interests to have the arrow buying public reach deep into their wallets for the more expensive Carbon arrows. People read the endorsements of Easton’s high tech hybrid Carbon/Aluminium Triumph arrow from top pros like Reo Wilde and believe that it will improve their scores. But take a look in Reo’s quiver at an Indoor World cup event and you won’t see Triumphs. You will find the same arrow that Mike Schlosser used to shoot a perfect 600 with and the choice of top professionals everywhere – the Easton X23.
What about durability? I hear people say that aluminium shafts bend while carbon shafts won’t. While technically that’s true there are a few things that you can do to make sure that your aluminium arrow shafts don’t bend. First and foremost and this is equally true of carbon shafts – don’t shoot them into each other. While it may be satisfying to hear the sound of those arrows clattering into each other or even hitting the occasional Robin Hood, I find it’s even more satisifying to save them from unnecessary damage and shoot 10s on a tri-spot for longer. Secondly, be mindful of how you draw the arrow. Take a grip as close to the bale as you can and draw out straight. Pulling out of line from the back of an arrow can cause the shaft to bend. Finally, fit your arrows with a conical point such as those made by Top Hat. Parabolic points can cause the arrow to bend if they don’t hit square. Conical points also have the added advantage of being more likely to “centre” the arrow to the previous hole. Great news for those days when you put your first arrow right in the middle and every one after that just seems to follow it in there. Again with shorter distances indoors means that it does not matter that conical points are less aerodynamically efficient than parabolic points. Follow these simple pointers and your aluminium shafts will last and last.
Since we have touched on it already it bears expanding on – Tuning. At short distances it is essential that the arrow is correctly tuned. Notice here that I say the ARROW is correctly tuned. Yes it’s important that the bow is also set up correctly but it is surprising how many people will buy a set of 2315 cut them to 27” stick a 100 grain point in them and wonder why their #50 bow won’t tune. More will look at the tuning chart and say “well for my draw length and poundage the chart recommends I get 2116’s” So here’s the thing, if you are a short draw archer (as I am) you actually have an advantage over the rest of the field. Outdoors you can choose a lighter, shorter arrow that will be less affected by wind. Indoors just because the chart says at 27” with a 100 grain point you should choose 2114 because there’s no wind to affect the arrow and the short distance means that gravity hasn’t time to take effect there’s no reason that you can’t leave the arrow a little longer, put a heavier point in and that arrow will tune up just right. For example, Even though my 26.5” draw length means I can cut my outdoor arrows really short I choose to cut my X2314s to 28” and fit them with a 180 grain point. On tour you will see lots of archers, especially ladies, with a good 4” of arrow past their rest in order to weaken the large diameter shaft enough to get the tune right.
Not only do you gain a line cutting advantage with large diameter shafts it also helps with clearance issues. Archers love to mount those big 3” and 4” fletches to try to get the arrow stable as quickly as possible and cover up their tuning issues. This can cause clearance issues with blade rests. It’s important to size your blade to provide the correct amount of arrow support and enough clearance for your vanes. This issue can be compounded if you choose a large offset or helical fletching. The maximum shaft diameter gives you the best chance of clearance.
So there you have it folks. As ever you may have your favourite arrow and see no reason to change from something that gives you confidence and works for you but for me and a good percentage of professional archers out there the arrow of choice for World Archery Indoor shooting is the Easton X23.
Happy shooting >>>———-> Jason