“Any old stick do for bow. The magic is in the arrows.” – Ishi
These words ring across the ages like a ghostly echo reminding the bowman that no matter how true his form, how sturdy his bow, it’s the arrow that strikes the mark. So as bowman and consummate archers it is imperative to construct well-made arrows. And just exactly what is a well-made arrow? It’s a dart: A fletched shaft with a knife head.
When one considers the anatomy of a dart such as that used in the local bar, he will notice it has a large heavy head tapered back to a light tail edged with fins to keep the length of the projectile true to its intended path. A well-made arrow should accomplish no less!
Most certainly there are limitations and guidelines to be adhered to that fall within the realm of performance for a chosen bow. But ultimately an arrow needs to be reasonably heavy toward the tip, and light toward the nock. More scientific study can be found on this subject by visiting the web and looking up Dr. Ed Ashby. Dr. Ashby is responsible for loads and loads or real world data on heavy skinned heavy boned African animals and arrow penetration.
For the bowman less concerned with scientific evaluations, calculations, and specifications, it is simply enough to perform a drop test. Assuming the bowman has followed an appropriate tuning procedure for his bow. And expecting that arrows of such proper tune have been fletched and completed for use, the archer may perform a drop test on his arrow.
Simply put, the bowman holds the arrow by the nock and flips it 8 to 10 feet in the air. A well-balanced dart like arrow will return to the earth tip first. An arrow not properly designed may waft to the ground and land nearly parallel.
Well-designed, well-balanced arrows are imperative not only for good arrow flight but for good penetration. Consider a nail driven by a hammer. If the hammer does not strike true, driving the nail end to end, then the driving energy may well be used up in a bent nail that does not penetrate. But if driven correctly the nail will bite deep. The same is true for an arrow that does not fly true with its nock end piling directly up on its point.
As Ishi told us almost a century ago, “-the arrow is magic.”