When you purchase a new six-pack of arrows, how do you determine which of the arrows you will use for hunting? While manufacturers take great care in building arrows as consistently as possible, small variations from one arrow to the next may have a large impact on whether the arrows will group with each other. If you really wish to shoot as accurately as possible in the field with your crossbow hunting arrows, you should shoot each arrow first to verify that all are flying consistently. Taking this extra step will help to ensure that all of your hunting arrows will accurately hit your aiming point. This simple process is known as “shoot-tuning” the arrows and, when followed, will yield tighter arrow groups.
Here are the steps you can take to shoot-tune your arrows:
Set-up your target exactly at 20 yards, using a rangefinder to verify the distance.
Prepare your arrows to be shot by attaching field points and by using a marker to number each of the arrows – for instance, if you bought a 3-pack of arrows, you will number the arrows “1”, “2”, and “3”.
Next, assign letters to the vanes of each of the arrows – in other words, each arrow should have an “A” vane, a “B” vane, and a “C” vane – it is best to be consistent and begin by marking the odd colored vane on the arrow as the “A” vane. Note: some crossbow arrows now come with a circle pre-printed on the vane specifically for shoot-tuning.
Shoot the arrows at your target in the order in which you numbered them to determine how closely the arrows group out of the box. Be sure for this first round of shooting you are sliding the “A” vane down in the flight rail when loading. If possible, shoot one arrow at a time and pull it before shooting the next arrow – you don’t want to damage any of your arrows by shooting them into one another.
After each shot, number the hole left in the target with the arrow number that you shot so that you can remember which arrows did not group with the others.
Review the grouping after shooting all the arrows once. You will likely notice that most of the arrows hit in nearly the same spot. That means that these arrows are grouping together when you use the “A” vane in the flight rail. Collect these arrows and put a check or some other type of mark on the “A” vane so that you will know to always shoot it in the down position in the flight rail when using this arrow. Set these arrows aside.
Collect the arrows that did not shoot in the group with the others. Re-shoot these arrows, but do not load the “A” vane in the flight rail. This time, rotate the arrow and shoot the “B” vane in the down position. Shoot at the same spot on the target to determine if the arrows will now hit in the original group. If you are shooting a flat nock or OmniNock, you will not have to re-index your nock to shoot the “B” vane. If you are shooting Alpha-Nocks, capture, or moon-nocks, you will have to re-index the nocks to the “B” vane prior to shooting the second time.
Collect the arrows that now shoot in the original group and mark the “B” vanes on each so that you will know to always shoot these arrows using the “B” vane in the down position in the flight rail.
If you have any arrows left that still do not hit in the original group, shoot these arrows again, but load the arrow with the “C” vane down in the flight rail. You will likely see these arrows shoot into the original group. Mark the “C” vanes on each arrow so that you will know to load the “C” vane in the flight rail when shooting these arrows. You are now finished with the shoot-tuning process.
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