Arrow Points and Tips

choosing arrow points for archery

Arrow points are the sharp tip that attaches to the front of an arrow. Without a good point on the arrow it will not stick in to targets very well, if at all. Arrow points are an important part of the arrow selection process and should not be over looked when choosing your new archery gear.

Arrow points come in two main types, field points for target shooting and broad head points for hunting. Field point tips are round and sharp like a pencil tip. They tend to resemble the tip of a bullet, so much so that some field points are known as “bullet tips”.

Field points are used pretty much exclusively for target shooting. Their slim design allows for deep penetration into a target with a minimal amount of tearing around the entry point on the target paper, which makes it easier to accurately score shots. The weights of all arrow tips are measured in grains.

Grains are a smaller unit of measurement allowing for greater accuracy when weighing light objects such as points. Field points are typically 100 grains in weight. Some archers will choose a 75 grain or 125 grain tips to optimize arrow flight if an arrow is unusually heavy, light, long or shorter than normal.

arrow tips
Field Points are used for target shooting. They are typically 100 grains in weight, cut paper targets cleanly, and unlike broad heads are easy to pull out.

Arrow points must be the same diameter as the arrow. If the point is too wide it will likely pull off the arrow and get stuck in the target when pulling out the arrow. If the point is too narrow the shaft of the arrow will hit the target on impact. If the point does not take the bulk of the impact then the arrow could fatigue and shatter causing potential harm to the archer and anyone else who may be nearby.

Hunting points come in two main styles. There is the traditional fixed blade broad head and mechanical broad heads. Each style must be kept razor sharp to function properly. Broad heads kill animals by bloodletting, unlike bullets which kill by the force of impact. If a broad head is not razor sharp it will likely fail to penetrate the animal thereby only wounding it. If you happen to drop an arrow with a broad head attached don’t try to catch it, just let the arrow fall. The chances of cutting yourself badly are very good if you grab the wrong part of the arrow on its way down.

broadhead arrow points for hunting or archery
Fixed blade broad head points are only used for hunting. They are razor sharp so be extremely careful when handling them.

Fixed blade broad heads have usually three razor sharp triangularly shaped blades on them. The entire broad head is about an inch to inch and a half long. Some broad heads also have two or four blades on them. Fixed blade broad heads are the most common style.

They usually weigh 125 grains and are very effective. The major downside is the wider head catches the wind as it flies pulling it down and to one side on the target. This can be compensated for with longer vanes on the arrow but the result is that a major and often time consuming adjustment to your bow’s sights will be required.

Mechanical broad heads are the current evolution of the traditional broad head. Instead of fixed blades they have two or three blades that fold up into the edge of the point. As the arrow impacts its target, the blades drop down into the shape of a fixed blade broad head. A rubber o-ring keeps the blades folded and breaks off on impact. In a pinch, a small piece of masking tape will do the same thing should an o-ring prematurely break. Mechanical broad heads have two major advantages: the folded up blades are protected making them safer to carry, and the best feature is that they fly exactly like a field point.

archery and hunting arrow tips
Mechanical blade broad heads have blades that shoot folded up but drop down on impact.

Archers can practice and set up their bow on a range using field points and when hunting season rolls around all they have to do is switch arrows. No extra adjustment is needed, as long as the mechanical broad heads weigh the same as the field points and the arrows are identical.

Archers may also find several kinds of specialty tips on the market for specific types of hunting. Blunt points are flat faced points that are used for hunting rabbits, squirrels, and some small birds. These animals are small enough that just the impact of an arrow is enough to kill the animal without using a pointed broad head.

Turkey points are a wide broad head with a cutting diameter of over two inches. The extra long blades make it easier to hit the small vitals found on wild turkey. They are not legal for hunting in all areas so check beforehand to make sure you can legally use them or any other type of specialty point.

Correct points on your arrows will make a huge difference in your shots. Make sure all the arrows in your quiver are the same, both in make and weight. Point weights can vary slightly so weigh each one and then mix and match them to your arrows. The closer you can get all your arrows to be in weight the better.

As you become more confident in your archery skills, try changing the weight of your points to increase arrow speed and increase or decrease deflection. Little changes in archery can make a big difference to shooting successfully.

Copyright 2019 Mike Wilson