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arrowflipper's picture
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Arrow weight

In planning an archery bison hunt a few years ago, I wanted the best bow - arrow combination to harvest a 1500 pound animal.  Buffalo are not necessarily afraid of people but it's very important to get close enough and get plenty of penetration.

I was currently shooting a Matthews bow set to 70 pounds and carbon arrows weighing in at a bit over 400 grains.  I had harvested deer, elk and mountain goat with this combination, but was it enough for a large bodied, heavy boned animal.  What was more important.... speed or weight?

What are your feelings?  I'll tell you later what I used and how it worked.

groovy mike's picture
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Joined: 03/19/2009
Posts: 2539
interesting question

That is an interesting question.  I won't even try to answer it with my limited archery knowledge but it sure smacks of an argument that we have heard before.  Anybody heard of Elmer Keith and Jack O'Conner?  It's the same debate - is it mass or velocity that matters most when an animal goes down.  In reality it is some of both, and shot placement more important than either but it is interesting to me that the same question arises in archery arrow selection as in selecting projectile and powder combinations for rifle cartrdiges.  I'll be watching this thread to see which side of the argument those of you with more experince weigh in with.

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5813
Well, yeah, I think that

Well, yeah, I think that would be decent.

I have seen some guys say that it should approach 650-700 grains total weight. 

Take your 400 grain arrows, add in the broadhead and maybe, as I found on one site, some steel adapters (with washers and arrow insert).  Then, with your bow and the poundage you are shooting, and that should be good.

Anxious to see how you did.  I tried to cheat and look at your galeries for a photo of a dead Bison, but you have not photos.... lol

arrowflipper's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2011
Posts: 578
What I did

In planning my bison hunt, I watched as many videos as I could find.  One was a hunt with Ted Nugent, so I called him and asked about arrow weight.  I followed his advice and made the heaviest arrow I could.  I took an old Beaman Carbon arrow I had and since it was such a small diameter, I slipped it inside the new Gold Tip carbon I was using and ended up with an arrow well in excess of 700 grains. 

Did it do the job?  My Native American guide stood in awe as that arrow double-lunged that big old bull and kept right on flying out the far side. 

So to answer my own question, if I wanted the best penetration on a large animal, I'd opt for a heavy arrow rather than a very fast light one.

elkkill06's picture
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Location: Fruita Colorado
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Beaman shafts


I would bet money that if you had just used the original beaman shaft that you still would have shot completely through that big old buffalo. Those were some of the greatest arrows made (other than the inserts coming off in 3-d targert due to them being on the outside) and I have shot completely through both deer and elk longways and still have them stick in the ground.

It was not due to arrow wieght , but had to do with the diameter of the shaft. All of the broadheads back then were bigger than the shaft itself except for the beaman broadheads that were made for the arrows, so they had little to no drag and they were unstoppable unless you hit a big bone.

One of the guys I hunt with from here won a buffalo hunt in 2010 in Montana and he shot completely through his buff broadside at 19 yards with a Shuttle T-loc broadhead and a one of those wieght forward shafts (can't remember the name). The bull was 3 1/2 years old.

Just a thought !


Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Joined: 01/13/2007
Posts: 363
I am in the kinetic energy

I am in the kinetic energy group! I want as heavy a shaft as possible for penetration.  In preparing for a moose hunt, I took Gold Tip carbon arrows and inserted weedwacker plastic string into the shafts. It increased the shaft weight significantly.  In the case of a really large animal, testing I have read shows that a two blade broadhead penetrates deeper than a three or four blade broadhead. I tipped my moose arrows with a wide two blade honed as sharp as I could get them.

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