Archery | Feathers or Vanes?

A lot of people get caught up on this
first step of picking arrows. It’s really not the hardest choice you have to make. What’s better for your arrows? Vanes or feathers? When I’m talking about plastic vanes I’m referring to the plastic fletchings used on most arrows today. They come in
various shapes and sizes and brand names like PlastiFletch and Blazers. If you
buy arrows straight off the shelf they’re probably fletched with plastic
vanes. They are cheap to buy in bulk it’s easy for the shop to put them together
and they do come pre made very often from the factory. You can also get more advanced performance vanes such as spin wings or XS wings or Elivanes and so on. These are more personalized for the archer and they tend to be preferred by the more serious competitive shooters Feathers are…well…feathers. You can get real and artificial ones in different shapes and colors and sizes. So the burning question is why would you pick feathers… Or vanes? The rules of thumb is very simple. If you’re using an elevated rest they can use feathers or vanes. If you’re shooting off the shelf you can only use feathers. The reason
for this is because feathers are soft when they make contact with the bow, the
feathers will compress allowed to pass over the shelf without causing damage to
the feathers or the shelf. Additionally the flight of the arrow wont be as strongly affected. Vanes on the other hand are not soft and they don’t flex.
The problem is two fold. While a feather will naturally come across the bow and compress, the vane will not. This will cause the vane to scrape against the riser and it will affect the flight of the arrow. Now shooting vanes off the shelf is
a common mistake it’s most commonly seen for people who buy their bows online, and the most common combination is buying a Samick Sage off of Amazon and then buying cheap fiberglass arrows from eBay. If you are shooting off the shelf then you should be using feathers. If you’re using a whisker biscuit you can
still use feathers. What you can do to prevent wear and tear, is to put a dab of
glue on the leading edges and tips this will greatly extend their lifespan. If
you have to choose between feathers and vanes, then I’d say go for the one you can more easily get. Vanes tend to be stocked in a greater variety of colors and are easy
to come by, but you may be able to get feathers fairly easily as well. As far as
performance goes this is more dependent on the size of the fletching. Larger
fletchings and often feathers are larger will correct the arrow sooner in flight. however the larger profile also creates
more drag which affects velocity and performance over larger distance. Fletchings that have smaller profiles, and usually most vanes are fairly small, will take more
time to correct in flight, but the smaller profile results in less drag which means
better performance over long distances. If you’re a traditional archer or
recreational archer then the softness and the appearance of feathers may be
more appealing, but for sports style target shooter, vanes are the standard option. Vanes do get damaged but generally they’re much easier to get and more
widely available and their designs often make them more appropriate for the kind of shooting that you’ll be doing. Anyway, this is NUSensei, thanks for watching. Hope you found this
helpful, and I’ll see you next time.

56 thoughts on “Archery | Feathers or Vanes?

  1. hey nusensei, i have been wanting to ask you about this for a while. i have standard plastic veins on my arrows and i shoot off of an arrow rest. but the problem arises that after time, the bottom vein starts to lose its straight edge and becomes ragged (although not ripped or torn). hope you understand what i am saying and if you could tell me if this is normal or not would be awesome 🙂

  2. What about FOBs (From StarrFlight) and Turbonocks do you think they have an advantage over vanes or feathers and 'normal' nocks ?

  3. one important factor as well, for people that tune their arrows. vanes weight a lot more then feathers! a 4 inch feather weights in about 2,4 grain(trueflight), while a vane usually is much heavier. 
    small thing, all feathers are natural, most are only dyed to a color. there is no thing as an artificial feather, they are called vanes( 0.50 ) 

  4. Hi NUSensai, what in your opinion is a good elevated rest for a recurve bow? I've noticed that there are a lot to choose from and I'm not sure what's best. Also, is an elevated rest better or worse than shooting off the shelf? thanks.

  5. Informative video as always. As a beginner archer, I have learned a lot from your videos. I am looking for some advise here from you, or anyone that can weigh in. I shoot traditional style directly off the shelf. Bow has nothing extra attached except for a Bow Quiver, and Bear Hair Rest and Leather Plate. I use a 45# Bear Grizzly, Carbon Arrows that are tuned to my Draw Length and Weight, that are fletched with 4" Feathers with a Helical offset. I have the Cock Feather pointed left so that the one Hen Feather runs the groove in between Rest and Plate.  I have started to notice lately, that the same Hen Feather that runs the grove is starting to show significant damage after each shot. Some arrows more then others. I chose to set it up this way because this is what I was shown to me, and what the research seems to show as well. Is there a better way that eliminates or reduces feather damage? Or is the just the breaks of shooting off the shelf with feathers?

  6. Please do the videos with your pants on.  We can plainly see that you removed your pants and put them on the clothes rack in the background prior to making this and other videos.  Very disturbing.

  7. Great video again but I didn't think I really got enough info from it. I'm considering ditching my rest and vanes and getting feathers and shooting of the shelf, but i have a fairly low budget and I'm not sure if I can afford them. I also don't want to use wooden arrows they are just to fragile for the stump shooting I like to do. Will feathers still work on carbon arrows? Is their any advantage of using arrows on a rest? I think there's still so many questions and queries you've left out of this video. Do you think you could make a follow up video?

  8. This compendium of videos is mandatory watching for most of us contemplating participation in this sport. Its quite likely even Geronimo could have benefited.

  9. How exactly does the lower right vane not touch the arrow rest? Also what kind of arrow rest would you recommend for a beginner?

  10. I've been able to correct the majority of the damage to my vanes with a cigarette lighter and a steady hand.
    it seems when the plastic heats up it reforms it's original shape.

    they look like they've been to hell and back, but it has saved me money on bolts.

  11. Okay. So I shoot with feathers, but the opposite color feather is facing up, so the right feather brushes up against the side of the bow, is that okay?

  12. Utter waffle. Vanes are found on windmills, fans, inside a turbine and in pumps. All the fletchings do is add drag to the back of the arrow and encourage it to fly straight. a piece of paper taped on or a pom pom will do the same thing. Plastic fletchings will shoot off the shelf or back of your hand just fine.

  13. yes indeed. I learned this the hard way. most vanes are way too stiff to be shot off the shelf. the real soft ones are not bad. I always wondered why my arrows tail bounced all over the place ever sense i fletched my arrows using brand name vanes. they were too stiff. since i still don't have elevated rest, i have raised the nock point which lets me shoot vanes off the shelf with some accuracy on a good day. but the feather arrows are amazing. what a difference.TU

  14. ..I'm so screwed.. I have done everything wrong I possibly could.

    1. I bought a main-stream Samik Sage.

    2. I over bowed myself by ordering it a 45lb one

    3.I bought cheap arrows with plastic veins

    4. I don't have anything to protect my riser from getting damaged from the arrows.

    I quit archery… haha jk. I guess you learn the hard way lol. The only good thing from all this, was finding your channel and learning about all my mistakes

  15. I was using my cousins bow and it had like the rubber feather thing and im
    Not sure if i was just not holding the
    Bow right but whenever i let the arrow go the plastic feather thing burned or
    Cut my

  16. Do compound bows have their own specific vanes?
    I bought a load of vane arrows at the archery store in town, started shooting them and realized every shot was going off my riser. And I have a button and arrow rest.

    So i've been using feathers since although I shoot target style so I would like to use vanes.

  17. There are no good videos showing how to properly setup various arrow rests, i.e brush rest, whisker rest or even a cheap stick on rest. Am a beginner and like to become more familiar with clearances between bow and arrow rest and angle.

  18. Why does an elevated rest work for vanes? Anyone?
    Wouldn't the vanes still hit the elevated rest and stuff anyway?

    Edit: Found his answer in the comments:
    "I generally recommend cheap plastic rests, even for intermediate shooters. The Hoyt Super Rest costs a couple of dollars, was used on top-tier equipment 20 years ago, and is still used by some top archers today. It's simple, gets the job done and is easily replacable. Regarding the vane, the arrow spins and bends as it leaves the bow. Assuming proper clearance, it should not contact the rest."

  19. i have been using vanes when i was shelf shooting and they keep coming of so i went to feathers and that has been working

  20. I saw that the vanes of the arrow have 2 different colors. 2 the same and one different? Can somebody say how should be the single color vane positioned when i shoot?

  21. It's actually common myth among western style archers. If you nock the arrow high enough and compensate it with changing some form, you can shoot vane just fine.

  22. what about durability between them both? besides treating my arrows like they are newborn babies.. i seem to find feathers get ruined faster. like WAAAY faster give me 2-5 sessions and i need new feathers. or travel with them for a bit handle them a little roughly.. maybe someone misses a target, arrows get dropped on the ground.. i need something that will get the job done and last me. granted feathers are what? like 25 cents? its just maintenance id rather idk ignore to say the least but more so not have to deal with when i decide to go shoot EVERY SINGLE TIME.. maybe i wanna go to the park then its like oh wait my fletchings!! ahahahah .. got any good recommendations?

  23. tl;dw: doesn't matter. use whatever is at hand or pleases you most. Drag forces don't care about what kind of unobtainium 25th century materials you use. Same with fledging shape. The thing that matters is surface area. If you are unhappy with the performance of your arrows the more likely place to look is stiffness and weight of the insert/tip. Also spin stabilization is mostly nonsense on elongated thin objects. Unless you are at olympic level and really need the 0.5% added performance gyroscopic stabilization forces are minimal compared to aerodynamic stabilization forces. Personally I think plastic vanes look cheap and tacky so I stick with feathers. but whatever floats your boat…

  24. Hello I just start to shoot some arrows after I received my first recurve bow phantom 56 50 pound I have also 12arrow with plastic vanes and 12 turkey feather both spine500 weight about 500grain and I am using the arrow plastic rest which came with the bow
    My problem is only with vanes arrows never hot target with them I feel like plastic vanes touch an the rest or riser before leaving the bow some time shoot goes up some to left some to right but with turkey feather shoot can hot target easily

  25. Also feathers need to all be of the same wing of a bird due to the natural shape of the feather's spine. Otherwise they won't spin properly. I've heard that if you use beveled broadheads they need to match your feathers also. Left bevel for left wing, and vise versa.

  26. The biggest thing I took away from this is that long feathers/vanes are better for shorter distances since they start correcting sooner, but short vanes are better for long distances since they correct more over time, and long distances give them that time.

  27. I am using a 30lbs recurve at 15 yds. A 60lbs. Compound at 30 40 and 55 yds. I dove hunt regularly and have an abundance of feathers can I strip a few of my arrows and put actual feathers on them or??????

  28. I thought that there is another factor when discussing vanes vs. feathers. Arn't feathers lighter than vanes of equivalent size, resulting in faster speeds?

  29. I have always understood that given equal size, feathers fly faster than vanes due to the lighter weight of feathers vs vanes. They also correct more, due to the grippy texture of the feathers that bite into the air better. They are considered superior, with the only negatives being increased cost and lower durability.

  30. The further I go with archery, the more I wonder why anyone would pick waines over feathers. They both stabilize the arrow, but the feathers seem like such a better choice to me

  31. Can you cut the feathers to be a smaller profile? or are they not able to stabilize as well as plastic vanes at that profile size?

  32. If I will ever put just one tiny little piece of plastic on either my bows or arrows please shoot me. Using synthetic glue even makes me feel dirty and takes me hours in the shower to get rid of all the painful shame I need to wash off myself. As if it weren´t bad enough having plastic and rubber parts on the electric tools I use, there at least they really help. On an arrow or bow it´s just stupid, unnecessary, cheap rubbish.


  34. Hello I bought arrows made of glass fiber but the feather is solid and does not pass smoothly through the rest and change the direction 😓 What is the solution?

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