Chronograph Results: The Effects of Different Archery Combinations

Chronograph Results: The Effects of Different Archery Combinations

Posted 2017-09-27T16:18:00Z  by  Patrick Meitin

See the Results from Different Bow Combos

The precision chronograph used during the test was a ProChrono Plus. (Patrick Meitin photo)

We all have our reasons for choosing the arrows and setups we do. Generally, we all believe our choices are superior. So I set out to establish real numbers with these choices — using a precision Spot-Hogg Hooter Shooter bow-shooting machine and ProChrono Plus competition-grade chronograph. The Hooter Shooter removes human error, the chronograph providing spot-on arrow velocity (at the muzzle) before environmental energy bleed-off becomes a factor. Follow along as we dispose of presumptions and allow precision machinery to reveal the real numbers.

The Arrow

How does finished arrow mass affect velocity and kinetic energy, with arrows weighing 350, 400, 450 and 500 grains? Arrow mass starts with grains-per-inch, or GPI, ratings; but is also influenced by added components. So while GPI provides a solid basis, it's important to weigh finished arrows for actual numbers. Test bows were set at the 65-pound national average, and 29-inch arrows were used to match finished weight as closely as possible.

Test Products

Bow: 2017 Bear Archery Moment (65 pounds and 30-inch draw length)

Arrows: 350-grain Black Eagle Carnivore 350 / 400-grain Carbon Express Maxima RED 350 / 450-grain Gold Tip Kinetic Kaos 340 / 500-grain Alaska Bowhunting Supply U-FOC 330

The Test Results

  • 350 Grains: 7.5 gpi | 363 grains | 319 fps | 82.0 ft. lbs.
  • 400 Grains: 9.1 gpi | 401 grains | 306 fps | 83.4 ft. lbs.
  • 450 Grains: 9.9 gpi | 453 grains | 289 fps | 84.0 ft. lbs.
  • 500 Grains: 10.5 gpi | 510 grains | 274 fps | 85.0 ft. lbs.

This illustrates that as arrow mass increases, so does kinetic energy — which is most important when tackling larger game such as elk. It's also important for those on the low end of the energy scale, such as youth.

Another important factor — shot decibels also decreased as arrow mass increased. Trajectory difference between 319 and 274 fps is indistinguishable at 20 yards, a measured 9 3/8 inches at 40 yards — a consideration when stalking long-range game or 3D targets.

Point Weight

While a heavier point does increase arrow stability, you will lose 5-7 fps for every 25 grains of mass added to your arrow. That said, the slight loss of velocity is a sound investment. (Patrick Meitin photo)How does point weight affect velocity and kinetic energy when 100-, 125- and 145-grain field points are installed in the same arrow?

Test Products

Bow: 2017 Bear Archery Moment (65 pounds and 30-inch draw length)

Arrows: 29-inch Victory Archery VAP 300 weighing 8.7 GPI

The Test Results

  • 100 Grains: 431 grains | 294 fps | 82.7 ft. lbs.
  • 125 Grains: 456 grains | 287 fps | 83.4 ft. lbs.
  • 145 Grains: 476 grains | 282 fps | 84.1 ft. lbs.

The general rule of 5-7 fps lost for every 25 grains of arrow mass added holds true here. Granted you're working within spine/deflection requirements, adopting a heavier head results in minimal velocity loss, small bumps in delivered energy, but also boosts Front Of Center — F.O.C. — balance for more forgiving arrows that penetrate deeper, the point dragging the arrow through wound channels.


How does fletching length/mass affect arrow velocity and kinetic energy, with 2-, 3- and 4-inch plastic vanes, 4-inch vane with 7-inch vinyl wrap and 4-inch natural feathers?

Test Products

Bow: 2017 Hoyt Carbon Defiant (65 pounds and 30-inch draw length)

Arrows: 29-inch Carbon Express BLU RZ weighing 8.45 gpi

Fletching: Bohning 2-inch Blazer Vanes (three totaling 17.5 grains) / Norway Industries 3-inch Fusion Vanes (three at 25.5 grains) / Bohning 4-inch Killer Vanes (three at 40.5 grains) / Bohning 7-inch vinyl wrap added (8.57 grains) / TrueFlight 4-inch feathers (three at 8 grains)

The Test Results

  • 2-inch Vanes: 378 grains | 296 fps | 73.6 ft. lbs.
  • 3-inch Vanes: 386 grains | 294 fps | 74.1 ft. lbs.
  • 4-inch Vanes: 401 grains | 288 fps | 73.9 ft. lbs.
  • 4-inch Wrap: 409 grains | 283 fps | 72.8 ft. lbs.
  • 4-inch Feathers: 369 grains | 299 fps | 73.3 ft. lbs.

Fletching, like other arrow components, slow velocity in direct relation to added mass — though velocity loss from lightest to heaviest fletching proved minimal. (Patrick Meitin photo) Of first concern is using enough fletching to stabilize the broadhead being used — A 4:1 ratio of fletching-to-broadhead-blade surface area is a good rule of thumb. Shorter fletching are ideal for mechanicals, longer for fixed-blade heads. Fletching size affects velocity minimally, in direct relation to mass added to the arrow. Kinetic energy is affected minimally, so ultimately choices should be based on stability — recalling adding weight to the rear of the shaft erodes F.O.C. Larger fletching will no doubt affect velocity downrange.

Peep Sights

How does peep weight (determined by material — magnesium, plastic, titanium or aluminum) affect arrow velocity? Let's find out.

Test Products

Bow: 2017 Bear Archery Moment (65 pounds and 30-inch draw length)

Arrow: 29-inch Easton Bowhunting 5mm Da' Torch 330 weighing 385 grains

Peeps: G5 Outdoors META Pro (magnesium) / G5 META Titanium (titanium) / Pine Ridge Archery Feather Peep (plastic) / Apex Gear Posi-Peep Pro XS (aluminum) / Pine Ridge Nitro Peep with Tubing (plastic/silicone) / (All peeps were 3/16-inch diameter)

The Test Results

  • G5 META Pro: 5 grains | 312 fps | 83.2 ft. lbs.
  • G5 META TI: 8 grains | 312 fps | 83.2 ft. lbs.
  • Pine Ridge Feather: 10.5 grains | 311 fps | 82.7 ft. lbs.
  • Apex Posi Pro XS: 11 grains | 312 fps | 83.2 ft. lbs.
  • Pine Ridge Nitro: 27.5 grains (plus tubing) | 309 fps | 81.7 ft. lbs.

Much to my surprise, there's not a nickel's worth of difference between various peep materials regarding velocity. Predictably, a positive-rotating peep (often necessary for budget-priced bows holding lesser string materials) with alignment tubing eroded velocity, but not enough to lose sleep over.

String Silencers

How does bowstring silencer weight (dependent on various materials/designs) affect arrow velocity? The data answered the question.

Test Products

Bow: 2016 New Breed Archery Blade (65 pounds and 30-inch draw length)

Arrow: 29-inch Easton Bowhunting 5mm Full Metal Jacket 340 weighing 473 grains

Silencers: E.W. Bateman & Co. Yarn Puffs (yarn sewn to nylon strip, wrapped around string, ends inserted through strands) / TRUGLO TRU-BLOCK (solid rubber, inserted through string) / LimbSaver Super String Leech (NAVCOM rubber, inserted through string) / Rancho Safari CatWhiskers (rubber strands, tied around string) / (All silencers set exactly 6 inches from each limb tip. The control? A leech set dead center between each limb tip and nocking point.)

The Test Results

  • Yarn Puffs: 39 grains | 267 fps | 74.9 ft. lbs.
  • TRU-Block: 52 grains | 268 fps | 75.5 ft. lbs.
  • Super Leech: 54 grains | 268 fps | 75.5 ft. lbs.
  • Leech: 60 grains | 268 fps | 75.5 ft. lbs.
  • CatWhiskers: 67 grains | 267 fps | 74.9 ft. lbs.

I received a huge surprise here. Despite 28 grains mass difference between lightest and heaviest silencers, I noted no significant change in velocity. I've always presumed any weight added anywhere inside the speed buttons erodes velocity, but this utterly shattered that perception. Use your favorite, as they all essentially shoot the same.

Nocking Points

How do various nocking-point systems affect arrow velocity? We found the answer.

Test Products

Bow: 2015 Elite Archery Tour (65 pounds and 30-inch draw length)

Arrow: 29-inch Easton Bowhunting 5mm Deep Six XD 454 grains

Test Systems: Nocking Point of wrapped serving material plus eliminator button (direct release hookup) / Two brass nocking points plus eliminator button (direct hookup) / String-loop, 4 inches Bohning material / Quality Archery Designs Ultra-Nok II clamp-on aluminum D-Loop

The Test Results

  • Serving/Eliminator: 4 grains | 260 fps | 68.5 ft. lbs.
  • Brass/Eliminator: 13 grains | 258 fps | 67.1 ft. lbs.
  • String Loop: 5 grains | 258 fps | 67.1 ft. lbs.
  • Aluminum D-Loop: 27.5 grains | 248 fps | 62 ft. lbs.

After viewing the string-silencer results I believed I knew where this was headed — wrong again. While the three options weighing within 7 to 8 grains of one another showed no significant velocity variations, doubling that weight with the metal D-loop resulted in a 10 fps loss in velocity when attached to a slow target bow (actually my hugely-forgiving, cold-weather whitetail bow). So my original presumption of weight added to the string eroding velocity stands; if weight is substantial enough and added to the middle of the string.

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