If your looking for more penetration from your hunting setup then you may consider changing your gear. Today’s top end bows are pushing the limits and gaining more ways than brute draw weight to get the penetration required for a lethal shot.
Anyone shooting a light draw-weight or short draw-length bow should seize every opportunity available to increase the penetration potential of your hunting setup. In my opinion extra “oomph” is never a bad thing, even if you’re shooting a big-boy setup. These five changes can help you gain just that.
Shoot a Small-Diameter Arrow Shaft
They’re more aerodynamic, and less affected by wind drag. I have tested the penetration potential of an Black Eagle X-Impact arrrow shaft against some standard Bemen and Easton carbon shaft arrows. The shafts were the same length, although the X-Impact shaft was slightly heavier. It routinely out-penetrated the carbon shaft by 6 to 8 inches at 40 yards in a 3D target. That’s huge.
Micro-diameter shafts used to require specialized inserts and specialized broad heads. However now a days most brands have them ready to go right out of the box. A smaller diameter arrow will give you more speed and upfront weight which will give you more penetration.
Shoot the Correct Spine
I’m amazed at how many bowhunters ignore the spine of their arrows. Arrow spine is, basically, the stiffness of your arrow. The bigger the number (say, 400 vs. 340), the more flexible the arrow shaft. A spine that’s too soft for your bow will keep right on flexing in flight, which of course can impede penetration (and in extreme examples, damage your bow because the arrow isn’t absorbing enough of the bow’s energy at the shot). A good pro shop or arrow manufacturer can tell you the best spine for your setup. Arrow spine recommendations change with varying draw weights, draw lengths and cam designs.
Shoot A Heavier Arrow Shaft
Bow hunters fuss a lot over kinetic energy, as it’s no doubt an important figure. But for penetration purposes, momentum is arguably more important. That’s why a 55-pound recurve will lob a 600-grain arrow at softball speeds, but with a sharp broadhead, that arrow will zip through a deer no problem. If your carbon arrow shafts weigh around 7 or so grains per inch, consider swapping to something that weighs 9 or 10 grains per inch.
Shoot a Heavier Broadhead
The arrow shaft isn’t the only place to increase weight. It’s a safe bet that the average bowhunter uses 100-grain field tips and broadheads. But 125-grain points are readily available. Switching to a heavier broadhead not only increases the total weight of your arrow for more momentum, but it also increases your arrow’s Front of Center (FOC), which is the total weight of the arrow forward of the balance point. A little extra FOC can help your arrow’s penetration potential.
Shoot a Fixed Blade Broadhead
Mechanical broadheads work very well – But if you hunt long enough with them you will have one fail at one point or another. A good fixed-blade broadhead simply doesn’t fail. A cut-on-contact head, like the Wac’em Triton (but also an NAP Hell Razor or Muzzy Phantom) cuts, well, on contact. They have the very least resistance of any broadhead style and so, as a rule, tend to penetrate best.