Archery | Arrow Length


Hey guys, this is NuSensei. Today I want to cover a very frequently asked question about arrows, and that is: “How long should your arrows be?” There is a very short and straightforward answer. The rule of thumb is that you take your draw-length and you add one to two inches, or one and a half inches longer than your draw length. It’s that easy! However, you probably want to know why, and, in fact, getting it exactly right doesn’t actually matter that much, and depends on what you need that length for. Let’s go through why length is important. Now here I’ve got three different arrows of three different lengths. I have my Easton A/C/Es, which are cut at around 26 inches. I have my Easton X10s where are around 27.5 inches, and I have my Gold Tip Traditionals which are uncut and are currently at 30 inches. Now all these arrows I can shoot just fine, so what’s the deal with the length? The most obvious reason is safety. I’ll explain why very easily. Now if your arrow is shorter than your draw-length, then what will happen is that the arrow will come off the rest, and that is really bad! If the arrow comes off the rest at full draw then it won’t shoot safely, you may shoot yourself in the hand. That is obviously not desirable. So you want to make sure that the arrows are long enough so that you can pull back without fear of the arrow coming off. If you do end up with arrows that are too short, and that may be the case if you are doing a session at a club for example. Then you still can shoot short arrows, but you have to change your form. For example this might be shooting at a half draw or a nearly full draw. or maybe bending your arm and pulling back to your anchor point, but these things are less than desirable. It can be done if you have to shoot a short arrow, but if you can choose your arrows, You want an arrow that you can pull at full draw without the arrow slipping off the rest. It is simply a safety issue. Now here I’ve got my Gold Tip Traditionals and as you can see, these arrows will not come off the rest any time soon. You can see it’s quite a long way from the edge of the riser. and you might think “well that looks really silly”, and it kind of does, but the reality is, these arrows work just fine. and that’s the thing about length. While there is a rule of thumb of adding one and a half inches to your draw length, unless you need the length for a specific reason, you don’t have to follow it strictly. These arrows will fly fine. I’ve used these arrows with my Samik Sage, as well as the Bear Minuteman, and they come out really well. So I don’t really have much reason to cut them down, but other people might. One of the main reasons is if you are shooting Olympic-freestyle. Now with the Olympic-freestyle classification you can use a clicker. The clicker is a strip which goes over the arrow and it acts as a draw-length indicator. So when the archer pulls back, they know exactly the right length to let go. It clicks, and you release. So getting the length right is very important because if the arrow is too long you can’t use the clicker. There are ways to use an extra-long arrow, you can get sight mounted clickers, or clicker extenders, but for the most part within practical reason, you need to get the length within this distance so you can use the clicker properly. With a traditional bare-bow you obviously don’t have a clicker so this isn’t as important. However there’s a more advanced factor in determining arrow length, and that’s your “tune”. The length of the arrow will affect the arrow’s “spine”. What happens is that if you cut an arrow shorter, the spine becomes stiffer. You can see here that there are two very different arrows, I’ve got the Easton A/C/E 720s and the gold-tipped traditionals 500 spine. Now the length is already a huge difference, but what you might find is that this particular arrow, the Easton 720 A/C/E, has a certain amount of flex, that’s your “spine”. Now if I do the same thing for the longer gold-tips, the 500 is meant to be a stiffer spine, but because this is an uncut 30 inch arrow you might find that this is actually softer. So these shorter arrows may come out of my bow better than these arrows depending on my draw-weight. So if you need to tune your bow, or tune your arrows, then cutting down the arrows will make them stiffer. Do bear in mind that if you cut an arrow, you can’t uncut it. so you have to be mindful of chopping off too much. That is in fact what I’m currently doing with my Easton X10s. We’re chopping off about a centimetre each time, or half and inch each time, and trying to tune and get it right because, if we stuff up and we cut too much, we’ve wasted a very expensive arrow. So that’s one of the reasons why length matters, If you do some fine tuning and you need to get both the length right for your clicker and your draw length, then these things do matter as well. Otherwise, for some people, you might be very specific on your arrow balance or “front of centre”, so having an arrow too long may upset the flight of your arrow and the tuning of your bow, so these things will also be factors in your arrow length. That said, getting the tune and your arrow length correct is partly trial, error, and experience. For the most part, if you are an absolute beginner, you don’t need to get arrow length specifically correct. You can just follow the draw-length plus one and a half inches. Now this doesn’t mean your arrows will be perfect, it does mean that they will work for you. They will be shot safely from your bow without falling off, and you have the length to work with. You don’t necessarily have a perfect tune, and that might mean cutting the arrows further, or, going to the extra step and buying different arrows. What may happen, especially if you are training with a coach, the coach might suggest that you buy new arrows but leave them uncut. This is because you can cut the arrows to match your tune, but you can’t change an arrow that is too short. By the way, because people will likely ask… You can order arrows pre-cut, the store will do it for you for a fee, some might do it for free if it’s a big order, otherwise if you are doing by yourself you will need to use an arrow saw. Some people have asked about using hack-saws. It’s not the best idea, using a high-speed arrow saw will get a cleaner cut. Bear in mind you are cutting through aluminium and carbon fibre, so having an arrow saw is the easiest and safest option. You might not be able to buy one, but if you are working with a club, then you might be able to use their arrow saw. Anyway, this is NuSensei, hope this answers a few questions. Thanks for watching, I’ll see you next time.

73 thoughts on “Archery | Arrow Length

  1. Great video.

    Unrelated question…
    I have started taking archery lessons and the coach is having me hold the riser in a weird way.
    Basically my thumb points toward the target, but only my pointer finger comes around the riser. The rest of the fingers are inside on the same side of the riser as my bow arm.

    Have you ever heard of this grip before? Seemed strange to me as I've never seen it mentioned. My shooting has improved over the lessons so it doesn't seem to be bad.

  2. If I have arrows that are approximately three inches longer it shouldn't really affect my shot process right?

  3. So you mentioned how cutting an arrow affects spinal strength. Is there any rule as to how much of an affect it has? Also, I have a video request for you to explain the archers paradox.

  4. How is arrow length correctly measured? From tip to end of nock? From the tip to bottom of nock? Just the bare shaft length? or ???

  5. At 6'5 and 31"+ draw length, would my option to use an arrow rest (opposed to the shelf) offset the awkwardness of the push/pull style (around 83% of my "full" draw potential) for my 45lb ~ 28" SSage…ive had great sucess w/ various combos of arrows * ranging between 3o"-32"_6o~15o grain tips_4oo~5oo spine_FFlight~D5o, etc *

    I pull 54lbs at 31" on my bow and im WEARING MY STRINGS OUT at the loop tips. Maybe a shelf would make the inch or so difference im looking for?? Or any other suggestions to get max FPS without breaking my FF strings so quickly, im buying a dozen per year? Thanks for your videos i didnt see one on max draw.

    peace

  6. Nu, i'm shooting olympic style (and obviously using a clicker) my draw length is near to 27,8 inches, my arrows was cut into 27,8 too. But with the points the final length is 28,5", it means i'm forcing myself to "overdraw"?

    (My english is not good, sorry)

  7. i have the problem of the arrows coming of the rest when I'm not being really careful. and they are uncut too. long draw length sucks lolol.

  8. I like your video's. I'm a beginner and I want to get serious about shooting. Your video's makes me want to really immerse myself into Archery

  9. I imagine it makes sense for a beginner who might struggle with the draw weight at the start to have longer arrows, since with not much time they will be able to pull the string farther back and if that happens they risk injury with a shorter arrow that was catered to their weaker former draw length.

  10. Hey Nu, thanks for the quality of your pieces, really enjoy your channel! I was curious why no switching tip weights? Seems easier than changing shaft lengths? I'm just getting into tuning, wondering if there are pros and cons? Thanks!

  11. Thanks for the response, appreciate it! Is there a preferred ratio for total weight vs FOC, or would you know a reliable data source or tables that can help me zero in without a bunch of trial and error? Thanks, and thanks again for sharing all your insights on the you tube, you're a great ambassador for the sport.

  12. Shorter arrows are lighter so faster with flatter trajectory… so you need a higher spine (softer) to compensate for the shorter length…?

  13. I love these NUSensei videos
    When talking about arrow lengths
    It is suggested that your arrows should average about 1.5 inches longer than your draw length
    Does 1.5 inches include the Point, Shaft and Nock or just the arrow shaft?

  14. I'm looking around for a bow to purchase, and the Samick Polaris seem like a good (or at least decent) first bow to go with.
    My question is, I'm quite tall, and not very strong (nowadays at least), and think a 68 inch 30 pound bow would be good. Does that set what my draw length is automatically? And what arrow length would you recommend with just this knowledge?

  15. Tell me M.O.R.E. . . . . . . . about L.O.N.G.E.R. length X10s verses your regular length A/C/Es
    {{You HAD 720 A/C/E last time I checked. I Believe your first set of A/C/E were 670 but too stiff for your setup.}}
    If the .670 A/C/E & .720 A/C/E were ''expected'' length / ie. just out-the-front of riser / WHY LONGER length X10 ? ? ?

  16. Some say its not the size, its how you use it. Some say short arrows can penetrate just as well as the long ones. Some say that guys with arrows that are too long get overconfident and end up not using the arrow right, just overcompensating with the size and doing nothing for the target.

  17. Wouldn't another advantage to shooting a shorter arrow be less arrow weight, resulting in faster arrow flight and a flatter trajectory? Also can't an arrow that is cut a little too short (but not unsafe) be effectively made to behave less stiff by increasing the tip weight?

  18. Thanks a lot for making all of these video's ! I want to start with archery and I very much appreciate all the information 🙂

  19. When i release the arrow from my recurve bow why does the arrow tip go down as if the back end where the feathers are try to pass the tip

  20. hi there new archer here….. i was looking for a bow then found one and it turns out your displaying the same one in the video here… so i was wondering.. im gonna be a back yard shooter and the website did not say the length of arrow i needed for this bow. what do you recommend? Adventure 2.0

  21. a cheap and easy way to cut carbon arrows is using a copper pipe cutter and it will snap off cleanly every time not the most precise way to cut them but it will do in a pinch

  22. my draw length is 29.5 so i use 31 inch arrows, but for some reason that 30 inch arrow looks huge in your hands, i'm only 5"9' but i have long ass arms lol

  23. I am going to do bareshaft tuning. I do not know one thing. What should be initial button stiffness setting when I am trying out the arrow after each cutoff? Probably something in the middle, not to stiff and not too loose to leave some margin to fine tuning, right?

  24. Is there a relationship between draw length and arrow length? I ask because when you order arrows they come in different spine weights and lengths.

  25. Hi Nusensei! I’ve trained in Kyudo for a little over two years and the draw and arrow lengths are both much longer than what I’ve seen in most western forms of archery. Right now I’m looking at horse archery as a sort of bridge between kyudo and what’s traditionally taught in the west since yumi’s are expensive and rare where I live. Would the long draw length of kyudo translate well with a horse bow? And would I have to find a long arrow to compensate?

  26. Sorry mate I didn’t understand the rule , adding 2 inches to my draw length ? My draw ( wight) is like 10 kilograms, i didn’t understand the draw ( length) .

  27. I have a small industrial lathe that can easily accommodate an arrow down the mandrel. Can I use my lathe to cut arrows? Thank you.

  28. I was looking for instructions on how to shoot my own hand with an arrow, this helped tremendously, thanks!

  29. Couple tips on diy arrow cutting:

    Aluminum shafts: Easy! Use a pipe cutter. They're around 10-15 bucks at hardware store.
    Carbon shafts: Slightly trickier. You can also use a pipe cutter for these in a pinch but it's really not ideal. Better way is to take a Dremel and build a jig out of plywood to square the arrow with the cutting disc. There are tutorials for this online. It's just a matter of a 90 degree joint to hold your arrow and a second piece to hold the Dremel secure and square to the arrow holding piece.

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