When it comes to bowhunting, driving… or anything else for that matter I’ve never been a speed freak – never cared a thing about it; however, I do believe in arrow flight and kinetic energy, of which speed does play an integral part, albeit, not the most critical. As such I’ve used every type of vane system imaginable including 1.5-inch, 2-inch, 3-inch, 4-inch and even 5-inch molded vane, feather product and even F.O.B.s; in fact, admittedly I shot F.O.B.s for years and thought nothing or no one would ever get me off of them; to be clear, they are a great product… but there’s another vane system that has caught my eye. NuFletch Archery’s Arrow Product Enhancement (APE) Tails with illuminated nocks.
Midway into my fall season preparation I began experimenting with various combinations of arrows, vanes, draw weight, broadheads and even arrow rests to some degree – by degree I mean choosing between a Ripcord Code Red and a Ripcord S.O.S. I had already decided I wanted to shoot a Ripcord this season. While visiting my trusted archery technician, Jerry Reeves, of Rednek Booda Outdoors, in Kerens, Texas, and browsing a wall of ultra-cool products I noticed the APE Tails hanging on a lower pin. Once I locked my gaze I couldn’t look away; I had never seen another system like it.
APE Tails – Innovation and Value
The package consisted of a rear shaft vane system with lighted nocks for six arrows. It was easy to see that, like FOBs, the vane system was designed to allow the use of bare shafts, a money saver, and the ability to replace vanes without gluing, another money saver. As broke as I am most of the time, saving money is a huge selling point!
Talk about savings… lighted nocks typically cost an average of $8 – $10 and the APE Tail kit contained six lighted nocks; yet, the cost of the entire set was $49.99. That’s the average cost of just lighted nocks for six arrows alone but I had the entire vane system, too!
My current setup includes a BowTech Experience CPX set at 71.4 pounds with Carbon Express Code Red 350 arrow shafts and the always dependable Ripcord Code Red Arrow Rest. Understanding the necessity to cut 2.75-inches from the rear of my arrow shaft to accommodate the NuFletch APE Tails meant I could downsize my spine from 350s to 250s, which I did. Then we glued in the rear inserts and installed the primary APE Tail shaft, slid the vanes into their slots, threaded on the retainer to keep the vanes in place, then installed the lighted nocks. While the change resulted in slower arrows, it wasn’t by much; in fact, my kinetic energy increased by a whopping 9-foot-pounds! And, the reduced front-of-center (FOC) resulted in quicker recovery time; that improvement alone accounted for what appears to be tighter grouping, even in windy conditions.
Of course, wind drift or planing has always been an obstacle; bowhunters hate Kentucky windage! The increased weight at the back of the arrow, much like a bullet, appeared to also stabilize flight and result in a flatter trajectory. At 30 yards the drop was negligible and the kinetic energy on target impact was exceedingly deep. Even for a phenomenal target like my Big Green Target, famous for ease of arrow extraction, gave me some fits. Several times I had to turn the target on its back and use my full weight to hold the target down while removing the arrows. Grouping at distances between 20 and 80 yards, the maximum I have my HHA Optimizer DS-5519 calibrated to, was great with field points and just as accurate with broadheads. I shot several types of broadheads with tightly grouped, deep penetrating results… and the demise of two arrows. A sidenote for broadhead fanatics, the most impressive cutting channel in my target was from the Toxic broadhead – literally a gaping hole; I’m excited to try them on a hog! I also shaved off several vanes; however, my pack of APE Tails included at least five extra vanes.
NuFletch Quality and Innovation – Front to Back
The APE Tail modular shaft components are constructed of Swiss machined 6061 T6 aircraft grade aluminum and the vanes are 1.7-inch Norway Fusion Vanes. Again, the added weight to the rear of my arrows as well as the reduced FOC and minimized 1.7-inch wind-planing surface resulted in excellent grouping even when tested in tough crosswind conditions.
Honestly, I tried to find fault in NuFletch’s setup and design but the truth was unavoidable. APE Tails are tough, they did enhanced arrow flight and increase kinetic energy. The faster recovery and decreased wind planing were also a bonus. Finally, the ability to replace vanes on the fly without painfully paying a technician is a huge benefit. And, to top it all off, as I mentioned earlier, it’s great to pay for lighted nocks and get a vane system for free! Do the math!
APE Tail Cons
Really, the only con I found with NuFletch’s APE Tails was the systematic unthreading of both the primary shaft and retainer as a result of in-flight arrow spin, just as broadheads and fieldpoints loosen. It’s important to check and tighten where necessary all arrow components from tip nock. A great tip I found to resolve this singular issue I had with NuFletch APE Tails is to simply coat the threads with bow wax. The wax does a great job in keeping threaded components tighter although I am still in the habit of checking before each round – more often than not, the APE Tails are still holding fast. That said, my one con is then resolved.
NuFletch APE Tails have found a permanent place on the rear of my arrow shafts! I’m sold through and through on their performance and, equally as important, value. The idea that I can continue purchasing blank shafts, I don’t have to pay Jerry to re-fletch my arrows, I received the entire package for just the price of lighted nocks and NuFletch included extra vanes means I can trust that NuFletch does have my best interest, as a blue-collared bowhunter, at the heart of their innovative product offerings. When you find a company like that, you stay there.
For more information on APE Tails and NuFletch’s other innovative products, visit www.NuFletch.com.