R U 09 Arrow Savvy?


Bear Archery

R U 09 Arrow Savvy?

By Wade Nolan – Bowhunting Biologist

Jul 6, 2009 – 6:07:57 AM


I have some primitive custom arrows made by a friend whose break-through design were the talk of the Indian village about a thousand years ago. They were made in a unique way involving a tubular reed, actually River Cane. Cane was straight, strong and had the concentric benefits of a tube. Indians shot these arrows made of river cane for a long time because they were naturally straight and because of the natural engineering of a tube they were incredibly strong while being light weight.

Looking down the barrel of a cane arrow. Used by the American Indian.

Cane arrows were used by American Indians who had access to the major river systems. Even today, if you look, you can find vast swamps of river cane growing along the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Even though they have small dog-legs in them (note the ring and bend in this one) they shoot surprisingly well and are tough. Some of these shafts were “footed” by fitting a solid wood insert up the shaft at the front to better support the impact when using a broadhead.

This was a big step up from the solid wood shafts that had to be straightened over the campfire…and never really got straight. I’m guessing their wood shafts were probably not as straight as my Port Oxford Cedar shafts that I shoot out of my longbow.

I took a doe with one of these shafts last fall out behind my barn. The arrow performed well.

Then Fred Bear utilized a new technology in the early 50’s which involved a  “glass” arrow, actually a fiberglass shaft that was relatively straight and quite heavy. The weight isn’t a real issue when you’re shooting a recurve that shoots 150 fps. and the increased kinetic energy was a win. Bear was always the innovator. He next pioneered the use of fiberglass in the bows he was manufacturing. Sixty years later the entire industry is using fiberglass for bow limbs… including the bow you now shoot. Fred Bear was a forward thinker.

After WW2 a company named Easton, run by Doug began to make tubes out of rolled aluminum. By 1946 he began making aluminum arrows commercially available to archers. They were a step up from the wooden and heavy fiberglass shafts. Due to their performance they got traction. Some bowhunters still rely on 1946 technology…for some strange reason.

By 1992 the skinny pultruded carbon fiber arrow was introduced by a French company, Beman, and was later acquired by Easton. These were made of a carbon epoxy matrix pulled through a tube. The fibers ran in a linear fashion like carbon spaghetti glued together with epoxy. Next Eastman Outdoors introduced a similar arrow and then Gold Tip and Carbon Express developed a new layered shaft with a thinner wall but stronger crush strength. These new arrows were by far the best performers of their day.

A few years ago, Easton revived the old Beman idea that pultruded the carbon and renamed them AXIS. The bowhunters of today didn’t know any better and thought the AXIS were a new idea, when really they were just an old abandoned idea, rejuvenated and repackaged. Marketing is powerful. The claim is that they penetrate better due to their small diameter…which of course they do, due to simple physics and surface area reduction. But they are old technology and bring the old splintering risk back into play.

The wrapped carbon shaft with the fibers embedded in an epoxy matrix were the next level of sophistication.

Even the new Carbon Express and Gold Tip design has an Achilles heel when it comes to consistency due to inconsistent bending properties. They are really made like paper towels on a roll…there are two ends. One on the inside and one on the outside. The result….inconsistency. They still shoot pretty well. the pro’s know about this inconsistency and “float” their shafts before classifying/grouping them.

Next came the first really new approach to arrow efficiently and design. It was invented by Bear Archery and is sold under the brand Trophy Ridge. These arrows broke the mold and refused to do it the same old way. They’re engineers used an entirely new paradigm and applied a new approach to the technology of arrow shafts. The result was a breakthrough on many fronts.

Trophy Ridge broke new ground with their woven shaft design. Like a $300 carbon fly fishing pole these arrows offer controllable spine and a level of dependability that the industry was ready for.

Straightness- The new Trophy Ridge arrow has set a new standard for straightness. We all are used to paying big money for straightness. The only choices were .006 to .001, Trophy Ridge engineers discovered and defined true straightness by designing a shaft that is up to .0008 straight. These shafts   are infinitely straighter than the best arrows made by the other guys. There is big difference between six-thousands and 8 ten-thousands.  It’s like comparing apples and kumquats…they don’t compare. 

If you’re one of those picky guys who wants to shoot straight arrows the new Trophy Ridge series of woven arrows may be your answer.

Strong- Straightness was achieved by applying a new manufacturing strategy to arrow shafts. The woven carbon fiber of a Trophy Ridge arrow is uniform and consistent. Like a woven steel cable, the carbon fibers form an engineering brain trust of strength making the Trophy Ridge arrows not only strong but straight. The increased uniform wall thickness means that the shafts are 40% stronger than the competition.

Strong can be measured in two ways, concentric strength and impact strength.

Strong can be measured in two ways, concentric strength and impact strength. Concentric strength of these new woven shaft technology is unparalleled and you can probably see why.  These shafts are made with a strategy similar to a woven steel cable. Their impact strength is alone unique because of the way the shaft is captured by Trophy Ridges “total capture nock” which makes this shaft more like a pile driver than blooming onion, which is what the competition looked like during impact testing. Look for yourself at Trophyridge.com.

Toughness- Linear strength comes from the unique shafts ability to stack the kinetic energy and then deliver the fatal punch when it counts. The woven engineering and the thick uniform wall results in a shaft that recovers from the archers paradox at launch faster than any shaft on the market. This means the power is stacked. Trophy Ridge arrows consistently win penetration tests due to their stacked energy.

The one of a kind Insert is called ARMOR TOUGH. This engineered solution to integrity allows the shaft to check in with unparalleled durability. All other shafts bloom and mushroom upon severe impact because the traditional insert is really designed like a wedge and actually splits the arrow shaft behind the insert at contact. The unique Armor Tough insert captures the tough woven terminal end  by cupping around the shaft and containing all of the energy at impact… without tip failure.

ECU of arrow insert w/arrow.

This insert is revolutionary. It’s a merging of two ideas…the old insert and an outsert. The result is an arrow shaft that acts like a jackhammer upon impact. Instead of loosing energy through shaft blooming and total failure the new Trophy Ridge design delivers all of the energy to the point of impact. This means you’ll blow through bone and even cinder blocks. Watch the video at Trophyridge.com.

It is really a marriage between an insert and an outsert. Not only does this allow the shaft to keep on penetrating but it also means that the insert is double bonded to the shaft and won’t end up buried and lost in your McKenzie. The benefit really comes to play when you hit bone and instead of shaft failure you get bone crushing performance.

Quiet- With most real bowhunters using a Whisker Biscuit, some all using a contact arrow rest and fewer yet using a drop-away it was only reasonable that the engineers would develop a solution to the age old problem of the arrow hissing across the rest. The Trophy Ridge engineers developed a new Silent Slide Shaft Coating that comes standard on all Trophy Ridge arrows. Arrow hiss isn’t just reduced…it’s gone.

Author with his bow killed turkey.

 I drew silently through a biscuit on this Eastern while there were hens within spitting distance. The birds, who have incredible hearing, heard only the impact of the arrow hitting their boyfriend. the shaft piled up all of the kinetic energy and delivered it to this Tom. the broadheads tip was protruding from the far side of the bird…which is like shooting clean through a bag target.

So now you know about the progression of Arrow technology. From Wooden shafts to hollow River Cane to aluminum on to fiberglass and then to skinny pultruded shafts and to wrapped carbon and finally to the newest technology…Trophy Ridge’s woven solution. Progress is a good thing. R U getting savvy on arrow shafts?

For more go to: Trophy Ridge

Visit the author at:
Wade Nolan  www.wadenolan.com


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