Most crossbow companies measure the speed of their crossbow using a lightweight arrow so the speed rating is higher. However, those super fast speed ratings may not be helping you in the treestand.
Most crossbow companies measure the speed of their crossbow using a lightweight arrow, often between 350 and 380 grains. The reason for this is by using a lightweight arrow the chronograph reading will be higher and more speed generally equals better sales in the crossbow world. However, those super fast speed ratings may not be helping you in the treestand.
Sure, the lighter arrow will register faster as the arrow leaves the crossbow. But downrange in a hunting situation there is a different story. As the light arrow travels it sheds it’s speed and energy faster. Although a heavier arrow leaves the crossbow at a slower pace, it retains it’s speed more efficiently as it heads towards the target. Since the arrow is heavier, it also packs more of a punch and delivers more kenetic energy or penetrating power as it hits the target.
A heavier arrow also stabilizes itself in the air faster than a light arrow. This is especially true of arrows with more weight upfront. This is a big reason why Excalibur ships their crossbows with 150 grain field points and recommends their 150 grain Bolt Cutter broadheads. These broadheads add a lot of weight to the front of the arrow and increase accuracy. This makes the Bolt Cutter one of the most accurate fixed blade broadheads we’ve ever tested.
Another added benefit that many people don’t think of when shopping for arrows is heavier arrows will quiet your crossbow down as well. When a crossbow is fired the energy of the shot is transfered to the arrow. The excess energy is dissipated throughout the crossbow creating noise. If more energy is passed on to the arrow, it won’t become noise.
Are there any benefits to lighter arrows? Aside from selling more crossbows? Lighter arrows will generally shoot in a more flat tragectory at short ranges than heavier arrows. If you plan on only shooting inside 25 yards, a lighter arrow definitely has some benefits. Your arrow flight will be flat and the added speed will still be in the arrow.
I like my total arrow weight to be somewhere in the 415-470 grain range. I generally shoot 125 grain Killzone broadheads so I’m usually looking for an arrow that weighs 300-350 grains with no tips. This will provide maximum accuracy and penetration downrange.