Hunting Arrows – Aluminum or Carbon Graphite?

Or…

How Space-Age Fabrication Keeps the World’s Oldest Missile Flying

The business end of the bow and arrow is, of course, the arrow. For centuries, arrow technology has kept pace with the bow, producing shafts of increased spine (rigidity) and decreased weight.

Modern hunting arrows are commonly composed of two materials: carbon graphite and aluminum. Each has properties that give it certain benefits as well as drawbacks. Wooden arrows are still on the market of course, but they have few practical purposes outside of recreation.

Read more about hunting:

SaleBestseller No. 1
TIGER ARCHERY 30Inch Carbon Arrow Practice Hunting Arrows with Removable Tips for Compound & Recurve Bow(Pack of 12) (Orange White)
  • Length:30", Outer diameter: 0.309 inch. Fletching with 2 orange 1 white vanes. For draw weight 35-60 pounds recurve, compound, or long bows.
  • They are solid & well made. Precision carbon hunting arrows made for extended durability and long lasting target practice.
  • Colored plastic fletching make flight always pointed the right way. The tips are nickel plated stainless steel which is perfect for target practice & outdoor shooting.
  • With replaceable nocks for free. Nocks are not fixed by glue. It can be adjustable for your bow.
  • The arrows came extremely well packaged and the quality is also impeccable.
Bestseller No. 2
YLSIO Archery Carbon Arrow Hunting Target Practice Arrows 30 Inch with Removable Tips for Compound & Recurve Bow Spine 500 6PCS
  • Shaft length: 30", whole arrow length: 31.5", outer diameter: 0.307" (7.8mm), inner diameter: 0.244" (6.2mm). Spine: 500. For draw weight 30-60 pounds recurve, compound, or long bows.
  • They are solid & well made. Precision carbon hunting arrows made for extended durability and long lasting target practice.
  • Nocks are not fixed by glue. It can be adjustable for your bow. You can rotate the nock easily.
  • The tips are nickel plated stainless steel. The O-Ring for Locking the screw tip. Perfect for target practice & outdoor shooting. You can easily replace the tips as needed, such as broadheads.
  • More durable & economical, designed to optimize safety for beginners and whoever new to hunting or target practice. 6 extra nocks to you for replacement.
Bestseller No. 3
sanlida 24 PCs, 100% Pure Carbon Arrows, 0.006'' Straightness, Dragon 8 Flagship 24T Carbon Hunting Arrow for Compound Bow, Professional Standard Hunting Arrows with Removable Tips (320 Spine)
  • 【100% 24T Pure Carbon Arrows】 We only produce 100% 24T pure carbon arrows. Precision carbon hunting arrows made for extended durability and long lasting target practice.
  • 【Buy 12 Get 12 FREE】 The price is for 12 PCs of standard, professional and durable pure carbon arrows. However, the package is with 24 PCs, the ultimate cost-effectiveness. You buy 12 and get 12 free!
  • 【Straightness: +/-0.006】 Dare to say the standard of Straightness: +/-0.006! Unlike the other brands who don’t note the straightness, definitely their arrows can’t be reached to +/- 0.006. Length: 32", Outer diameter: 0.281-0.299 inch. For draw weight up to 75 pounds compound bows and recurve bows.
  • 【Colored TPU Vanes】 Fletching with 2 black 1 orange TPU vanes. Note: 3” and 4’’ vanes are shipped randomly.
  • 【Multiple Precision Spine Options】 Choose from 26 spine options: 250-500(in each 10 spines increment) to match all your specific needs and shooting style. Find the perfect spine rating for optimal arrow flight and accuracy.

The Aluminum Arrow

The aluminum arrow is a bit heavier than many of its carbon counterparts and as such, will sustain greater kinetic energy after release. Greater kinetic energy means a higher force of impact (and deeper penetration), but the weight also means a decrease in its effective range, as well as a more rapid drop in inertia and trajectory after a certain distance.

The aluminum arrow also has the irritating tendency to sustain tiny bends in its shaft from repeated use. These bends are often too small to see with the naked eye, but are enough to grossly affect its flight trajectory. The small kinks in the arrow are detectable – and to a degree, correctable – using a truing device, which spins the arrow rapidly enough on its axis for small anomalies to be noticeable.

Perhaps the greatest advantage the aluminum arrow boasts is its price. Several aluminum shafts may be purchased for the cost of only one carbon.

The Carbon Graphite Family: Pultruded, Cross-Weave and Composite

Since its inception, the carbon graphite arrow has quickly become the modern archer’s projectile of choice. This shaft type is itself available in one of three subtypes currently on the market: pultruded, cross-weave and carbon/aluminum composite.

The pultruded shaft is composed of carbon graphite fibers arranged in a parallel fashion, which run the length of the arrow. This design is simpler to manufacture, and thus less costly to purchase, but the fibers lack the strength to support any internal components.

Basically, this means that the standard receiver apparatus for an arrowhead, called an “insert” cannot be inserted into the body of the arrow. The force of the arrow slamming into its target would exert too much force in the “equal and opposite direction” on the arrowhead/insert assembly for the single-direction carbon fibers to withstand, causing the shaft to split lengthwise.

Consequently, a different type of receiver must be used which slips over the front end of a shaft, allowing the arrowhead to be attached. This “outsert” adds both weight and diameter to the carbon shaft to the point where its encumbered performance more closely equates that of an aluminum arrow than it does other carbons.

The cross-weave carbon shaft solves the structural problem of the pultruded shaft by arranging its fibers in a multi-layered interlace configuration. This fiber arrangement functions, on a microscopic level, like a spring which recoils to absorb the shock of an impact. The increased strength afforded by this design allows an arrowhead to be inserted within the shaft body.

Some of the latest developments in arrow design involve a synthesis of the two main shaft types. The carbon/aluminum composite arrow has in recent years made its debut on the archery stage as the premier shaft in terms of performance – and naturally also as the most expensive shaft available.

The composite shaft capitalizes on the best features of both its constituent materials. Its design consists of an outer sheath of carbon graphite reinforced from within by a thin layer of aluminum. The carbon acts as protection against crimping in the aluminum, while the aluminum lends the carbon graphite added resistance to shattering. The complementary nature of these two materials also means that less of both can be used, resulting in a lighter, faster arrow.

Safety Features of a Carbon Arrow

Carbon graphite has one other noteworthy feature which sets it above aluminum in the archer’s quiver: carbon will not allow a permanent bend in its structure. If the force of impact upon the arrow is too great (or the arrow is shot at a substance too hard for it to penetrate), the material will split or shatter.

This may seem like a disadvantage at first, but the observable demise of a carbon arrow actually has safety benefits. Remember: the small structural defects sustained by an aluminum arrow may not be easily visible. Any archer – no matter how skilled – to unknowingly use a dented aluminum arrow will be inaccurate. An inaccurate arrow is not only a wasted shot, but a serious potential safety hazard. A split carbon arrow can obviously never be used again, but at least it removes any guesswork regarding its usefulness.

Last update on 2024-07-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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