Field & Stream released an article putting 14 arrows to the test to determine which ones deserved to be crowned the best hunting arrows.
They first had to determine what made a hunting arrow superior to others. Keeping it simple, they were looking for the most efficient arrow shafts, allowing bows to maximize the energy they can send downrange, regardless of draw weight at a 40 yard distance.
The arrows were broken into weight classes (Lightweight, Middleweight, and Heavyweight). After 3 days of arrows brawling it out between each other, there could only be one champion in each class. So which arrows earned the right to wear the championship belt? The results are in…
Lightweight Champion (<420 grains)
GOLD TIP VELOCITY XT
Weight: 8.5 grains per inch, 394 total grains, as tested
Velocity at Launch: 332.69 fps
Retained Kinetic Energy: 85.97 percent
Retained Momentum: 92.72 percent
The Gold Tip Velocity XT was said to have “grain-for-grain the strongest punch out of any other arrow in the test” – F&S. This turned out to be the most efficient speed arrow they tested and is perfectly suited for archers in need of a flat trajectory for longer shots.
Middleweight Champion (425-450 grains)
VICTORY VAP 1
Weight: 8.9 grains per inch, 428 total grains, as tested
Velocity at Launch: 321.29 fps
Retained Kinetic Energy: 87.12 percent
Retained Momentum: 93.34 percent
Even though these arrows were the fastest in the middleweight class, they really outperformed in their downrange performance hitting like shafts weighing 10-20 lbs. heavier. For most bow-hunters, the VAP V1s reigned champion in the sweet-spot weight class.
Heavyweight Champion (>450 grains)
Carbon Express Pile Driver Pass Thru Extreme
Weight: 11.3 grains per inch, 476 total grains, as tested
Velocity at Launch: 307.38 fps
Retained Kinetic Energy: 88.13 percent
Retained Momentum: 93.88 percent
The heavyweight bouts came down to the last round, determined in the end by a split decision. It came down to the arrows by Carbon Express and Easton Full Metal Jacket. Carbon slightly edged out Easton by provided the same punch while weighing in at 25 grains lighter.