It’s the time of the season when bow companies are coming out with their new lineups, and people are keen to see what developments have been added to last year’s stock. Maybe there are new risers and limbs on the recurve side; maybe there are new riser geometries and more forgiving cams for the compound bows. As new bows get better and more efficient, it poses the question: Will your old arrows still work, or do you need new ones?
Because of the higher efficiency of new bows, there is a high chance that your current arrow setup might not tune properly. A properly tuned arrow generally leaves the bow in the straightest path possible without fishtailing (side to side) or porpoising (up and down) motions. A new bow might accelerate your current arrows with a different amount of force, thus throwing your arrows out of tune. There are several things that you can do to ensure your arrows are coming out of your new bow nice and straight. Of course you’ll need to check the tune of your arrow either with a bare shaft (for recurve) or by paper tuning (for compound).
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Change your point weight
Changing the weight of the points in your arrows will allow your arrows to flex more or less, depending on what you need your arrows to do when they come out of your bow. A heavier point with make the arrow flex more, and a lighter point will make it flex less. You can choose what best suits your arrows based on the tune.
Change your poundage
Another easy fix will be to change the poundage you are shooting with your new bow. Sometimes the efficiency of the new equipment can allow you to shoot a lower poundage to achieve the same tune that the previous bow had at a higher poundage. This is simply done by turning the tiller bolts on your bow — if you’re unsure about this, ask your local bow shop to help.
Change your nocks
Changing nocks can speed up or slow down the backside of your arrow, resulting in a stiffer or weaker arrow reaction. There are too many combinations to list off here, so experimentation will be important.
Change your bowstring or number of strands
The string helps the limbs propel your arrow out of the bow, and a string that is heavier or lighter can affect the tune on your arrow. If you are experiencing a stiff arrow reaction, you may need to have a string made with fewer strands or of a lighter material. The converse is also true for a weak arrow.
If none of the modifications listed here are helpful in achieving the arrow flight you are looking for, then you may need to purchase a new set of arrows at a different spine. This is the more expensive option, but sometimes you have no choice. It would be wise to test a potential new set of arrows if someone at your local club uses the spine you are interested in. Most of the time, a new bow will not warrant a new set of arrows, but you’ll need to put in the extra time and effort to perfect the setup and tuning to know the answer for sure.