Best Hunting Arrows 2018 + How to Choose Hunting Arrows

Best hunting arrows

Looking for the best hunting arrows?

Best Hunting Arrows 2018

The table is horizontally scrollable on mobile devices.

Introduction: Read this First

Aside from our bow, the arrows we shoot are one of the most important considerations we make. We can all agree that having the most expensive bow and accessories is useless if you shoot bad arrows.

You’ll start to notice the difference between cheap arrows and higher quality arrows after 30 yards or so. Farther than that and the low quality arrow groupings won’t come near to the groupings and accuracy of high quality arrows.

So when you buy arrows from the higher price range, what exactly are you paying for?

Well, these high-end arrows are more expensive because they are constructed with higher quality materials and are built with stricter tolerances.

As a result, they are more durable, accurate, and consistent. They also penetrate harder and have superior arrow flight. Qualities like these make the best hunting arrows.

Does that mean every bowhunter should shell out a fortune for their arrows or not hunt at all?

Absolutely not. Of course you get what you pay for, but the mid-range arrows will do alright for the average hunter.

It’s more important to perfect your form and tune your bow properly since most bows, accessories and arrows perform very well these days anyway.

However the fact that you clicked on this article means you’re looking for the best hunting arrows – not “okay” arrows or “alright” arrows. If that’s you then you no longer need to look elsewhere.

If you missed the comparison table above, here’s another one for you:

(The Details button takes you to the arrow’s mini-review on this same article that includes its specs, features, size chart, included components, pros and cons. The Check Price button opens another tab to the arrow’s page on Amazon so you can see its current price.)

The table is horizontally scrollable on mobile devices.

Best Hunting Arrows: Mini Reviews

Why stop at listing the best hunting arrows and call it a day? Here are more information on each arrow on the list, including their specs and features, size chart, and the included components.

1. Gold Tip Velocity Valkyrie XT

Velocity Valkyrie XT

Specs:

Straightness +/- .003 inches
Weight tolerance +/- 2 grain
Nock Accu-Lite Nock 8.3 grain
Insert Accu-Lite Insert 12.1 grain
Vane 2.75″ 4 Fletch Vane, 2.75″ 4 Fletch Vanes – 2 dz

Size Chart:

Spine Weight (GPI) Outer Diameter
600 5.9 .283″
500 6.3 .285″
400 7.4 .291″
340 8.2 .296″
300 8.8 .299″

Features:

  • Factory Four Fletched with four vanes
  • 100% Pure Carbon technology

Mini Review:

Velocity Valkyrie XT is an agressive, lightweight arrow that’s built for speed. This is Gold Tip’s first ever arrow to feature 4 low-profile vanes. It screams accuracy with Factory Four Fletch.

The fourth vane adds more surface area without sacrificing clearance or speed. It also adds more back-end drag and speeds up stabilization. The result is a straight projection shot.

gold tip velocity valkyrie xt 4 vanes

Another notable thing is the reduction of group size to 20-75% with broadheads, which allows hunters to use a wide variety of broadheads.

The construction is Gold Tip’s 100% Pure Carbon Technology multi-layer carbon which means a more consistent spine, better straightness retention, extreme thoughness, and added speed without sacrificing strength.

gold tip velocity valkyrie xt

It has five spine offerings (300, 340, 400, 500, 600) to cover all bow setups and hunting styles. Its inner diameter of .246 inches offers impressive penetration that doesn’t sacrifice structural integrity.

The arrows come with the Accu-lite nock and Accu-lite inserts (300-400 and 500-600 spines).

The Velocity Valkyrie XT is perfect for hunters who need flat trajectory over long distances. It’s also a great choice for hunters who hunt in windy fields, thanks to its straightness tolerance of +/- .006 inches. This is the one most efficient speed arrow in the market – hands down.

Another comparable arrow is the Carbon Express Maxima Red.

Pros:
  • More back-end stability
  • Faster stabilization
  • Group size reduction of 20-75%
  • Greater straightness retention
  • Tough
  • Lightweight
Cons:
  • Its tough construction poses a risk of it getting splinters upon penetration

CHECK CURRENT PRICE:

2. Easton 6MM Full Metal Jacket XX75 Autumn Orange

Easton 6MM Full Metal Jacket

Specs:

Straightness +/- .003 inches
Weight tolerance +/- 2 grain
Nock 6MM (H) Nock
Insert 6MM (H) ST RPS 8-32 Insert

Size Chart:

Spine Weight (GPI) Outer Diameter
470 8.8 .277″
390 9.7 .281″
320 10.6 .287″

Features:

  • 7075 aerospace aluminum wrapped around high-stretch carbon
  • 6mm diameter
  • Limited edition retro Autumn orange color

Mini Review:

Easton brought back its classic and popular autumn orange color in the 6MM Full Metal Jacket. It has a reduced diameter of 6MM which offers maximum penetration even on big game.

Aside from flying straight, its micro-diameter also means minimal wind drift, resulting to added precision and accuracy over long distances.

Easton Arrow 6MM FMJ Autumn Orange

The construction is aluminum/carbon. The full metal jacket technology uses 7075 aerospace aluminum to wrap around the high-stretch carbon.

This construction gives it the optimal weight and speed required from a hunting arrow – a composition that ensures enough momentum for pass-through impact.

easton 6mm fmj autumn orange

The carbon-fiber core makes it sturdy and durable. The aluminum coating makes it resistant to air friction and improves penetration. The aluminum jacket also makes them easy to pull out of the target.

This is an arrow that maximizes kinetic energy, reduces friction, and enhances penetration – all good traits to make it in the list of the best hunting arrows.

Speaking of hunting, this arrow leaves a pronounced blood trail which makes tracking easier for hunters.

Easton FMJ AUTUMN ORANGE

The flight of these arrows are great due to its factory-straight design. The weight is mechanically matched with its spine which gives hunters the confidence to have the perfect arrow departure from the bow.

Add all of that to the static spine that minimizes bending upon impact – it’s the arrow to beat.

It’s perfect for hunters who seek a smaller diameter from heavy arrows. It’s even offered at a popular price point, allowing everyday hunters to have access to advanced performance.

Pros:
  • Durable
  • Small diameter for maximum penetraion
  • Fly straight
  • Resists wind very well
Cons:
  • Might experience arrow bending when shooting targets without using an arrow puller

CHECK CURRENT PRICE:

3. Victory Archery VAP TKO Elite

Victory Archery VAP TKO Elite

Specs:

Straightness +/- .001 inches
Weight tolerance +/- 0.5 grain
Nock F Nock 6 grain
Insert Shock Aluminum Insert 35 grain

Size Chart:

Spine Weight (GPI) Outer Diameter
300 9.5 .242″
350 8.8 .237″
400 8.4 .235″

Features:

  • 100% carbon micro diameter
  • 45 degree carbon weave
  • Nano Ceramic “ICE” coating

Mini Review:

The Victory Archery VAP TKO Elite is the most advanced carbon arrow in the market. It boasts an industry-leading straightness tolerance of +/- .001 inches. It’s 100% carbon with a micro-diameter shaft.

Victory VAP TKO Elite

It uses a ground-breaking manufacturing process called MaxxKe™ Technology. This is accompanied with the strength and penetration needed to be called one of the best hunting arrows.

The MaxxKE Technology is a proprietary innovation from Victor Archery that applies a 45-degree carbon weave. This method reduces the twisting forces transferred from the bow to the arrow upon release.

VAP TKO Elite

The result is a structurally strong shaft with a tremendous penetrating power. Arrows made from these shafts recover more quickly than arrows with the conventional design. That also means a superior arrow flight and improved accuracy.

Other than its pleasing aesthetics, Victory’s Nano Ceramic ICE coating further improves penetration and helps with target removal.

Pros:
  • Tightest tolerance
  • Micro-diameter for enhanced penetration
  • Reduced wind drift
Cons:
  • Micro-diameter poses the risk of breaking

CHECK CURRENT PRICE:

4. Carbon Express Mayhem DS

Carbon Express Mayhem DS

Specs:

Straightness +/- .0035 inches
Weight tolerance +/- 1 grain
Nock LAUNCHPAD Precision Nock 9.9 grain
Insert Carbon Express Insert 11 grain

Size Chart:

Spine Weight (GPI) Outer Diameter
400 8.9 .298″
350 9.8 .300″

Features:

  • Dual Spine Weight Forward technology
  • BuffTuff finish at the front of the shaft

Mini Review:

Carbon Express Mayhem DS is a very afforable high-performaing arrow. It is engineered with Dual Spine Weight Forward technology which offers more speed, accuracy, and penetration. It combines two different spines in one arrow.

Carbon Express Mayhem DS

This effectively manages energy and promotes faster recovery. The result is an arrow that recovers faster, spins sooner, and retains more speed.

All of these adds up to increased accuracy.

The front of the shaft is finished with BuffTuff which offers maximum durability and a quiet draw. This is the toughest and quietest carbon finish available.

Carbon Express Mayhem DS

The arrow comes with Launchpad nocks upon that deliver precision and consistent arrow departure. The Quad Raptor vanes steer the broadhead to deliver better flight.

This arrow comes with a standard price, providing hunters a top performing arrow at a low price. The value for the money can’t be beat with the Carbon Express Mayhem.

Last but not the least, the arrows are laser checked to deliver a straightness tolerance of less than 0.0035 inches.

Pros:
  • Durable
  • Quiet
  • Quicker recovery
  • More speed retention
Cons:
  • Rigid shaft poses the risk of breaking

CHECK CURRENT PRICE:

5. Beman ICS White Out

Beman ICS White Out

Specs:

Straightness +/- .003 inches
Weight tolerance +/- 2 grain
Nock Direct-fit S Nock
Insert CB Insert

Size Chart:

Spine Weight (GPI) Outer Diameter
300 9.6 .301″
340 8.8 .298″
400 8.1 .294″
500 7.5 .291″

Features:

  • Machined aluminum inserts
  • White surface for maximum visibility

Mini Review:

Beman took their legendary ICS Hunter arrow and wrapped it in innovation. It boasts the next evolution in hunting arrow graphics.

Beman’s ICS White Out is finished with a white surface to ensure high visibility and improved tracking. This also helps hunters determine the type of their shot by checking the blood markings on the arrow’s white surface.

Beman ICS Whiteout

The White Out’s shaft is constructed with carbon material. This makes it very durable and offers the optimal balance for a steady flight.

It boasts a lightweight carbon structure that gives high velocities for a deeper penetration. This design delivers super flat trajectories.

Beman ICS White Out

The arrows are a result of multi-laminate construction – a robust structure for field use.

The Beman ICS White Out is also straightness-checked and weight-matched which results to improved precision.

Pros:
  • Stiff
  • Durable
  • Very visible and easy to track
Cons:
  • Stiffness poses the risk of breaking

CHECK CURRENT PRICE:

How to Choose Hunting Arrows: Buyer’s Guide

Out of the thousands of choices for hunting arrows in the market, it’s not hard to get overwhelmed if you’re new to the hunting scene. You might even be wondering why the five best hunting arrows above are considered the best.

If this is you, I got your back.

I too was a newbie who just got started with bowhunting and I had no idea how to choose hunting arrows. What’s the best arrow weight? How to choose arrow length? What are all these different arrow tips for? Spine? Tolerance? Grain? WHAT DO ALL THESE TECHNICAL WORDS MEAN?!

Now as an experienced bowhunter, I want to help others who are now going through what I went through back then.

Here are the most important factors you need to consider when choosing your best hunting arrows:

1. Arrow Material

1.1. Carbon

Carbon arrows have become the rage these days, and it’s not hard to get why. They are faster, lighter, stiffer and even penetrate harder.

1.2 Aluminum

Aluminum arrows are quieter and sturdier than carbon arrows, plus they have a wider range of spine options in the market. Aluminum arrows are usually cheaper than carbon arrows.

1.3 Mixed: Carbon/Aluminum

These are arrows made of a combination of carbon and aluminum. Usually the center is aluminum while the outside wall is carbon.

These arrows take the best qualities from each material and literally combine them into one arrow. The result is lighter, stiffer, and more durable arrows.

1.4 Wood

The first archers used wooden arrows. You’d think nobody uses them anymore since they break easily and fly very differently since they’re not uniform. Besides, we already have carbon arrows and the like. But some people are into traditional archery and they use wooden arrows.

What about for hunting purposes? Well, no. Wooden arrows are fun to make and shoot, but since we’re talking about the best hunting arrows here, we won’t be including wooden arrows.

2. Arrow Length

There’s no set rule for the arrow length. The most popular way to determine this is to fully draw an arrow and the typical number that the arrow point extends from the arrow rest is one inch.

Another method people use is to add 1 to 3 inches to their draw length and that’s their arrow length. It’s all up to you.

The only important thing is to make sure the arrow isn’t too short or else it might fall off the arrow rest and you risk shooting your own hand.

You should have no problem finding a shop that cuts your arrows to your exact arrow length. Most distributors, online and in shops, cut your arrows to your length if you request it upon purchase.

Having said that, make sure you ask the seller if they cut the arrows before buying from them, that is unless you know how to cut them yourself.

3. Arrow Spine

What is arrow spine?

Arrow spine refers to the stiffness of the arrow shaft. It’s very important to take this into consideration because it affects arrow flight.

Using an arrow with the wrong spine will make it bend too much or too little during flight. You don’t want that because then your accuracy and precision will be off.

If you’re not convinced that arrow stiffness is important, watch this super slow motion of an arrow’s flight:

Those wiggles are normal and it’s called the Archer’s Paradox. This refers to how the arrow bends when the draw is released and how it recovers to fly straight and hit the target.

If your arrow is not stiff enough, it will bend too easily and consequently will have a hard time recovering to fly straight. Arrows that bend too much are referred to as “weak”.

On the other hand if it’s too “stiff”, it won’t be forgiving enough when it leaves the bow and will have difficulty to stabilize and fly downwards.

You should look for an arrow that has the right balance of flex and stiffness.

When you’re looking at arrow spine measurements, remember that the lower the number, the stiffer the arrow. How are these numbers calculated?

Static arrow spine is measured by taking a 28-inch arrow shaft and hanging a 1.94 pound (880 grams) weight at the center while supporting both ends of the shaft. Measure how many inches the arrow bends. Take that number and multiply it by 1,000 and that’s the “static” arrow spine.

There is also what we call a “dynamic” arrow spine which is how the arrow reacts from the stored energy of the bow when shot. Dynamic spine simply refers to how forgiving the arrow is and how quickly it recovers.

What spine arrow should I shoot?

Now that we know what arrow spine is, why it’s important, and how it’s calculated, let’s move on to how to choose the correct arrow spine.

The most crucial factors to consider are: bow draw weight, draw length, arrow shaft length, and point weight.

2.1. Bow Draw Weight and Draw Length

Dynamic spine refers to how to arrow reacts to the stored energy of the bow after release – we already know that. This definition makes it very obvious why it’s necessary to consider your bow’s draw weight and draw length.

The greater the draw weight and the longer the draw length, the greater the energy is transferred to the arrow when the bow is shot. The greater the energy is transferred to the arrow, the stiffer your arrow must be.

Why is this?

Well if you shoot a weak arrow using a high poundage bow, the arrow will wiggle like crazy and good luck hitting your target. On the other hand if you shoot a very stiff arrow with a low poundage bow then the arrow won’t bend enough and consequently won’t travel far enough.

2.2. Arrow Shaft Length

Remember that the arrow spine is calculated using a 28-inch arrow shaft. But that’s just for uniformity’s sake. Not everyone uses 28-inch arrows.

If you’ll use arrows shorter than 28 inches then you’ll need them to have greater static spine so that they are less stiff. If you’ll use longer than 28 inches then you’ll need a lesser spine so arrow is stiffer.

Why?

Because shorter arrows bend less and longer arrows bend more. The longer the arrow shaft, the more easily it bends. That’s why you should also base your arrow spine on your arrow length.

2.3. Arrow Point Weight

Your arrow point’s weight affects how much your arrow bends. It’s like this: the arrow spine gets weaker as you add more weight to the arrow point.

Actually, this doesn’t just apply to the point weight but to the overall weight of the arrow. This means other factors such as nocks and arrow wraps should also be considered when choosing the arrow spine, but the arrow point has the most effect.

What spine arrow do I need?

The factors above are the most important factors you need to consider in choosing your spine. Once you know your numbers for each factor, it’s easy to choose your arrow spine from there.

All you have to do now is look for the arrow spine chart of the manufacturer of the arrow you want to shoot.

Now there will be ocassions when an arrow spine chart you visit will land you between two arrow spines. If this happens to you, the recommended route is to go with the stiffer spine.

Here are other things to consider regarding arrow spine:

  • No two arrows are exactly the same even though they’re the same brand and have the same arrow spine. The good news is that manufacturers have gotten better at reducing variations between arrows to improve performance. What’s the catch? These arrows are more expensive.
  • Arrows lose their spine over time. As you shoot your arrows hundreds of times, they lose their true spine and end up having varying stiffness. This affects your performance so it’s good practice to replace your arrows regularly. The more competitive you are, the more frequent you’re going to replace your arrows.

4. Arrow Weight

The weight of an arrow is measured in grains per inch or GPI. Heavier arrows are quieter and have retain more kinetic energy than lighter arrows, plus they’re less affected by wind direction because of the greater momentum they have.

Meanwhile, lighter arrows are faster however they are harder to tune and are less forgiving of user error.

Hunters usually prefer heavier arrows because they have greater kinetic energy which means they penetrate harder to kill an animal.

Lighter arrows are also popular because they’re faster. However it’s pretty stupid to only care about speed. Lighter arrows are less forgiving so we should only consider getting the lightest arrow if we already have a perfect form. Otherwise we’d be shooting the fastest arrow amongst our peers but be inaccurate at the same time – it doesn’t make sense.

If you got a perfect form, then by all means, get the lightest arrow in the market and watch those arrows hit in a flash.

Anyway, the arrow weight is another important factor for when choosing the best hunting arrows for yourself. If you’re using a bow with 20 pounds of draw weight, you can’t use the same arrows used on a bow with 70 pounds of draw weight. Having said that, it’s a good idea to go for the heaviest arrows that your bow can handle.

This has a lot to do with how hard your arrows are going to hit the game a.k.a. penetration.

In every batch of arrows, there are some that weigh a bit more and some weigh a bit less than the advertised weight. This is normal. That’s why manufacturers also show the weight tolerance of their arrows, which refers to how far the actual weight deviates from the advertised weight.

5. Arrow Diameter

Wow it seems there are a lot to consider when choosing the best hunting arrows for yourself. If you’re starting to get overwhelmed at this point, don’t be. It’s all easy, I swear. Regarding the diameter of the arrow, here’s what you only need to know:

Lesser diameter = greater penetration = less affected by wind.

Because of the lesser surface area of micro-diameter arrows, they penetrate harder. Another thing that contributes to this is the reduced friction on the shaft during flight so the arrow maintains momentum longer.

And because micro-diameter arrows have shafts with lesser surface area, they are heavier at the front so they are less affected by wind direction. This improves the overall flight and accuracy at long ranges.

6. Arrow Straightness

Arrow straightness is not as crucial as the arrow spine. Most archers won’t feel the difference at all – for good reason. The difference between .001 inch and .003 inch tolerance is extremely small.

Don’t get me wrong – arrow straightness is important. But in our modern time and age, almost all arrows are straight anyway.

Obviously, the straighter the arrow, the more expensive it is. So how do you read these straightness numbers?

The common unit of measurement for the straightness tolerance is +/- (plus-minus sign). An arrow with a straightness tolerance of +/-.001 inches is straighter than an arrow with a straightness tolerance of +/-.006 inches.

7. Arrowhead

Broadheads are the type of arrowheads that are specifically designed for hunting – especially big game. Now there are two types of broadheads: fixed blade and mechanical. Watch the video to learn more:

Types of Arrowheads for Hunting

8. Fletching

Everytime the arrow is shot, the flight is initially imperfect due to several reasons such as imperfect release, incorrectly tuned bow, etc.

The fletchings help correct the flight by straightening the arrow. This happens when air flows over the fletchings.

There are so many types of fletchings to choose from and they vary from material, size, and shape. The most important factor is the type of twist/turn of the fletching because it influences the arrow flight the most.

Here’s a quick table that I gladly made so you won’t get bored reading long ass texts (I know that feeling):

Types of Arrow Fletching: Vane Twist

The table is horizontally scrollable on mobile devices.

Straight Offset Helical
Description The vanes are straight with the shaft. The vanes are also straight on the shaft but they’re turned from the front the the back. The vanes are curved.
Pros (1) Fastest.
(2) Good for close ranges because it doesn’t create additional spin.
(3) Works with any arrow rest.
(1) More stable
(2) More stabilization for broadheads.
(3) Good for long ranges
(1) The most stable.
(2) Best for broadheads.
(3) Most accurate at long ranges due to arrow spin.
(4) Least affected by wind.
Cons (1) Least stable at long ranges.
(2) Least stabilization for broadheads.
Slower due to air resistance Slowest

Arrow Fletching Other Considerations

Aside from the type of vane twist, the vane size also affects the stabilization of the arrow. The larger the vane, the more surface area that gets in contact with air.

Vanes with greater surface area have more stability. As with every factor we listed here, there will always be a trade-off that requires compromise. High-profile vanes are more stable but they’re also slower.

9. F.O.C.

F.O.C. is another factor that affects the flight of an arrow and its penetration.

It stands for “front-of-center” which is the percent of the arrow weight that’s located in the front half of the arrow. The more weight is in the front half of the arrow, the closer the arrow’s center of balance is to the front.

Why are we talking about this?

One word: BALANCE. If your arrow lacks weight at the front then it’s unstable during flight because the nock end might overtake the front – causing your arrow to tip over.

Since we’re talking about the best hunting arrows, we want a larger FOC because this is good for hunting. A higher FOC prevents the arrow from flexing or bending too much when hitting the target. This means better penetration and that’s what we want. A higher FOC is also better for shooting long ranges.

However when you increase your FOC you also sacrifice speed, so you have to balance between the two or compromise altogether. It depends on what kind of performance you’re looking for.

In terms of FOC, it’s speed versus stability and penetration.

The good news is that compound bows have become very fast these days that you have a lot of speed to burn.

10. Game

What are you going to hunt? Rabbit? Turkey? Deer? Elk? Let’s say you want to hunt big game like elk or mooose. That means you’re going to need more kinetic energy and have enough penetration to kill the big animal.

How to Choose Hunting Arrows Step by Step:

That was a lot of factors to consider, right? It might be hard to absorb all at once if it’s your first time, so be sure to bookmark this page and get back to it often.

In the most simplest terms, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to choose hunting arrows:

  1. Determine the kind of performance you want (Light and fast? Or heavy and hard-hitting?) based on the animal you’re going to hunt.
  2. Determine your draw weight, arrow length, and point weight.
  3. Select proper spine using the arrow manufacturer’s spine chart or spine calculator.
  4. Select a shaft that fits the spine.

Final Words

And there you have it!

Not only did we go through each of the five best hunting arrows, but we also went through a complete buying guide on how to choose hunting arrows.

That was a lot to absorb all at once, especially for beginners. That’s okay – you can simply bookmark this page and come back to it every now and then.

And finally…

Are the arrows you shoot in the list of the best hunting arrows?

View the best hunting arrows’ comparison table

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *