This year I decided it was finally time for a change and overhaul in my arrow set up. For the most part, every element of the arrow, from the insert to the fletching and everything in between will be different for my 2020 bow season. Let me take you through my entire process starting with what I was shooting before, why now was the time to change, and what my set up looks like now. Let's get started!
My Previous Setup
For about the last 5 seasons, my arrow setup was as follows:
Gold Tip XT Hunters 400 with standard inserts
My total arrow weight was 395g with an FOC of just over 9% and my Mission Ballistic (IBO 330fps) set at a 70lb draw weight/29.5'' draw length was able to send them down range at around 295-300fps.
This resulted in both a very flat trajectory and a KE value in the high 70's, plenty for deer hunting.
I harvested many deer with this setup, achieving a pass through on all but one which still resulted in a successful harvest. With my success using this setup, most people would wonder why I would change something that I've such great luck with, including myself. Lets tackle that question next.
Magnus Stingers are a great broadhead and one that I may continue to use with my new setup. The cut on contact design works great and if I switch it will simply be to another cut on contact design from Magnus, the Black Hornet.
Why the change? Why Now?
The leading reason why I decided to overhaul my setup now was that I was simply due for new arrows regardless if I kept everything the same or not.
My arrows were seasoned (5 years of use) and between practice and hunting, I was down to just 4 viable arrows.
I had no issues with the Gold Tip XT Hunters besides the 400 spine being underspined for my bow went I increased from a 62lb draw weight to a 70lb draw weight 2 years ago.
Despite having no issues with these arrows from a performance standpoint, I honestly felt lucky that I did not have issues with penetration being that the arrow was so light.
Quartering to shots scared me so I avoided them unless the angle was very slight. Otherwise, I strictly adhered to completely broadside or quartering away shots only.
At the same time of me considering going to a heavier setup, I started getting into the works of Dr. Ashby (Ashby Foundation) as well as the Youtube Videos of Ranch Fairy and saw how lethal heavy arrows with single bevel or cut on contact broadheads and a high FOC were, regardless of shot angle.
Their recommendation is essentially having an arrow with a weight of at least 550g (650g preferred), an FOC of 15%+, and a single bevel broadhead such as the Dirt Nap Gear Single Bevel DRT or a cut on contact broadhead such as the Magnus Stingers I was already using.
Single bevel broadheads such as the Dirt Nap Gear DRT are great options for increased penetration, especially when bone is encountered
This recommendation is based on years of research and shows that arrows this heavy, despite slower shooting speeds, perform much better in hunting situations, especially when bone is encountered.
This is due to several factors that Dr. Ashby has researched intensely and is outlined on this website, such as the importance of momentum rather than KE.
In a nutshell, would you rather be hit by a ping pong ball traveling 100mph or a baseball traveling 60mph?
All of this information and research greatly interested me so I figured, "Why not?". My only concern with going to a heavier arrow was trajectory. I'm a K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid) type of person and in the field, I enjoyed only using one pin for shots between 5-30+ yards.
I knew with a slower arrow, this would not be possible.
But then I got to thinking and reflecting on all of my shots at deer and realized something. Of all my bow kills, my average shot was just 18 yards and ranged from 9 yards up to 27 yards.
I set up most of my stands for 15-18 yard shots anyways and had yet to need to take a shot over 30 yards. So why did I care so much about a shot that I never needed to take?
Furthermore, I had never even missed an opportunity at a deer because of a shot being too far. So I ultimately decided to change things up even if it meant greater pin gaps.
My 2020 Arrow Setup
For this coming season, my arrow will look like this:
100g or 125g Magnus Black Hornets
As you can see, the only thing I'm for sure keeping the same on my previous setup is the nockturnal lighted nocks. Otherwise, it is only to be a front to back overhaul of my entire arrow.
This setup gets me up to around 527-552g depending on what broadhead weight I settle on and an FOC of 14-15%. Both reasonable numbers that are not too extreme but will surely increase my penetration performance and be much more forgiving on marginal shots.
My KE value is still in the upper 70's (ft./lb) but my momentum went from 0.517 SLUGS to 0.613 SLUGS (about a 20% increase!)
Starting with the arrows, I decided on Easton Axis in 300 spine. This spine will be much more appropriate for my draw weight and 29" arrow length. With a grains per inch of 10.7, they also gave me about 80g more right out of the gate than what the Gold Tip XT hunters did with a gpi of 8.2.
Up front, I also decided to add a brass insert, specifically to increase my FOC. To do this, I used Easton's HIT Inserts that are designed for their arrows.
Easton's HIT inserts were an easy choice to add some weight and increase FOC
For broadheads, I will likely be a lifetime user of Magnus. Their products are great and their customer service is even better.
The LIFETIME WARRANTY they offer is also an added perk!
I've used the Magnus Stingers for about the last 10 years but ever since they released the Black Hornets, I've wanted to try them. I have not yet decided if I will use a 100g or 125g head but if I go with 125g I will for sure be switching to the Black Hornets.
The Stingers and Black Hornets are both cut on contact designs with a proven track record of field tip accuracy, durability, and causing lethal wound channels. Plus they look sweet!
I have always used Blazer vanes in the past and I never had any issues with them. That being said, I did decide to give AAE Max Stealth vanes a try this year for no other reason than to try something new.
They'r a little longer at 2.7" vs 2" blazer vanes and they're a tad shorter at 0.5" vs 0.57". I am still using white Bohning wraps because I love how they show blood quality when you do achieve a pass through.
To finish things off, I will be continuing to use Nockturnal Lighted Nocks for this coming season. I like how they track arrow flight and are great for when filming your own hunts!
Green is my preferred color but several options are available! Just be sure to select the proper size for your arrow diameter!
So that's my setup!! I'm very excited to give it a try this season and to update you with how I felt it performed as well as if it's something I'll continue to use in the future.
Feel free to ask questions about why I chose this setup or if you need help building your own arrow this season!
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