Swapping arrow tips

by Tim Watts | September 8, 2022
Tim Watts Bowhunting Example

One of the questions I get most often is, “Why don’t my broadheads and field points hit in the same spot on the target? They weigh the same.” Although it can be difficult to get them to group together, considering these arrow pointers will make it easier for you to be ready to hunt.

Get the right arrow spine

Two things must be considered when choosing an arrow to hunt with. The first is the spine (or flex) of the arrow itself. Arrows are rated by how much “backbone” they have. Quality arrow makers have an interactive chart on their website. There, you can type in the draw weight of your bow, the length of your arrow, and what point weight you will use. It will indicate the correct arrow spine for your bow. This is extremely important.

Just imagine a male professional golfer trying to play with ladies’ clubs. He wouldn’t damage the clubs, but his accuracy would suffer from swinging faster than what is recommended, based on shaft flex. It’s the same for an arrow.

If the flex is rated for a 50-pound bow, but you are shooting 60 pounds, you won’t get the best accuracy out of your set-up. There’s too much flex. With an arrow rated for 70 pounds, you will not have enough flex in that arrow.

The right arrow weight

Arrows can weigh completely different but have the same flex. For a hunting arrow, I recommend a minimum weight of nine GPI (grains per inch). When hunting, kinetic energy is way more important than speed. Most successful bowhunters harvest animals under 25 yards, (75 feet). If you are shooting 250-plus FPS, your arrow is getting there in less than half a second. Arrow velocity is overrated at those short distances. I will take an arrow’s penetration over speed any day.

Arrow Information
Choose arrows with a spine stiffness and weight that matches your bow.

Fix your inserts

The most overlooked aspect of broadhead accuracy is inserts. They must be installed straight. If your arrows already have inserts installed, you should remove them. Screw in a practice point. Heat up the point slowly and remove the point/insert combo from the arrow. Heating the shaft itself will cause damage. Heating up the point and letting the heat travel into the arrow will keep shaft integrity.

Now install a broadhead into the insert. Put new glue on the insert and push the insert/broadhead combo into the arrow using a broadhead wrench. Rotate the broadhead/insert many times, to ensure the glue is even all around the insert. Roll the arrow along a flat surface to check for broadhead wobble.

An arrow spinner is the ideal tool for this. If there is any wobble to the tip, spin the broadhead/insert around again before the glue dries. Once the broadhead tip is spinning straight, the insert is aligned specifically to that arrow. Repeat this with every arrow to get the best results.

How to sight in with tips & broadheads

Make sure you sight in your bow using the broadheads. Even with the proper spine arrow, and the inserts installed perfectly, it is unlikely that broadheads and practice points will impact the same spot on the target. I like to sight in my broadheads at 40 yards, (my maximum hunting range). Once I have a good sight mark at 40 yards with a practice points, I shoot my broadheads.

If my broadheads hit low compared to my practice point, I move my nocking point down, or my arrow rest up (in small increments). If my broadhead hits high, I do the opposite. Once my broadhead and practice point have the same vertical plane, I adjust my arrow rest left or right (in small increments) to correct that issue.

After every adjustment, I shoot three arrows with practice points and then broadheads. My practice points will not hit the bullseye anymore because of the bow adjustments I’ve made. At this point, I just want my practice points and broadheads to group together. Once they group together, I re-sight my 20-, 30- and 40-yard pins. Sighting in my broadheads has dulled the blades, so I replace/sharpen the blades before I hit the woods.

Bowhunting Bear Shooting Board
My 40-yard test shots without any bow tweaks. To correct this, I would move my arrow rest up just a bit.
Blue: Field point
Green: Rage mechanical tip Orange: Montec 3-blade broadhead
Pink: 4-blade Slick Rick broadhead

Broadheads I use

The tips I choose depends on what I’m pursuing. For turkey, I use a large cutting mechanical head, like the Rage Xtreme Turkey Broadhead. A turkey’s vitals are very small and the larger cutting diameter helps. When hunting bear or deer, I shoot a two-blade mechanical Rage Hypodermic. With medium-sized game, I will take a large cutting diameter every time. For large game like moose, I shoot the G5 Montec. A solid one-piece design with the cutting edge going right to the tip. Not only will there be no broken blades, but a cut-on-impact broadhead will offer the best penetration through those big chest cavities.

The takeaway here is, each type of tip will shoot differently. Hunters MUST sight in with a specific broadhead before a hunt, out to their max range. There’s no shortcut to avoiding the dulled blades and cut-up target blocks.

Tim Watts has competed in archery tournaments for over 30 years and has represented Canada at world championship events. He is also a bowhunter. Reach Tim at mail@oodmag.com

Originally published in the August 2021 issue of Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine.

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