When considering arrows for hunting with compound or recurve bows there’s a lot to consider before you make a buying decision. The best hunting arrows for compound bows are almost always different than the best arrows for recurve bows.
In this product review article our hunting editor walks you through everything you need to know in order to pick the best hunting arrows for your needs. Also see the buyer’s guide, How To Choose The Best Hunting Arrows later in the article.
Best Hunting Arrows
|Huntingdoor Carbon Hunting||Carbon Express Piledriver Crossbolt||Huntingdoor Wooden Shaft|
|Shaft||Carbon shafts 31”||Carbon shafts||Wooden arrow shaft
|Special Features||Colored plastic fletching vanes & nock, 7.5mm diameter||specifications: Straightness: ± 0.004-Inch, Diameter: 0.348-Inch||31",Shaft diameter:5/16''|
|Customer Ratings||4.2 / 5.0 Stars||4.5 / 5.0 Stars||4.0 / 5.0 Stars|
Also see: Hunting Arrows Comparison Table
Quick Answer: The 5 Best-Rated Hunting Arrows
- Huntingdoor Carbon Hunting Arrows
- Carbon Express PileDriver Fletched Carbon Crossbolt
- Huntingdoor Black Feather Wooden Shaft Hunting Arrows
- M.A.K [Targeting Arrows] 30-Inch
- TTAD 12PK Green Turkey Feather Carbon
Hunting Arrows Reviews
To start off our list I’m going to put in front of you a budget option that can get you started instantly and at a price that’s easy to stomach. Are they the best hunting arrows you can buy today? Let’s find out.
- Carbon shafts 31”
- Field points and broadheads
- 500 Spine
That said, there’s only one option available. 500 spine arrows with 31” shafts which means you’ll need a relatively long draw length to make these work properly. They’re supposed to be made to work best with 40-60 pound bows but I doubt you’ll get them to tune in well.
These are vane fletched so no longbow or recurve users (unless you’ve got a special arrow rest).
Unfortunately, the simple truth is that at this price tag you’ve got to understand that you’re not going to get the “best of the best”. That doesn’t mean they’re not going to work just fine for many of you, though.
Best for beginners or those on a tight budget who shoot a bow in this length and draw weight.
For those crossbow hunters out there, here’s your solution. Whether you shoot a 20” or a 22” bolt you can pick out the one that works best for you.
- Carbon shafts
- Heavy 350+ grain shaft
- Moon nocks
You can use the universal flat nocks or the moon nocks for whatever your crossbow demands. Plus the 4” vanes are pretty much universal as well so that you can be pretty sure they’re going to work fine out of whatever crossbow you’re shooting. If in doubt, compare to your current bolts.
What you’ll want to do is put a broadhead on here that matches your game type and bow. If you know what weight range your bow can shoot (such as 400-425 grain) just subtract the 350 grain of this bolt to find out the weight of your broadhead.
Best for heavy crossbow shooters who like to fire a bolt with tons of knock down power.
If you’re a traditional archer shooting a longbow or recurve (or maybe something more exotic) then you’ll probably be interested in the heritage of these arrows. Particularly those interested in Asian archery will love this style.
- Wooden arrow shaft
- 31” shaft length
- Feather fletchings
Users love or hate these arrows. Most archers praise them for the cheap price though others complain about variable quality and duds in the order. That said, you’re getting 6 “Chinese Traditional” arrows for pretty darn cheap so it might be okay.
These arrows are heavy with the arrowheads themselves being 150 grains themselves. While the arrowheads are aggressive you may find them inadequate for hunting so you might choose to replace them with a modern broadhead.
The seller doesn’t seem to let us know the weight of the shafts, but you can be certain they vary widely because wood can be unpredictable.
These arrows are probably best for Asian inspired traditional archers who don’t mind little inconsistencies shooting 40+ pound bows.
It really doesn’t get much cheaper than these arrows which are ready to shoot targets or animals. They come with everything you need to get started and to repair damaged arrows as you learn.
- 12 pack of arrows
- 30” shaft length
- Vane fletchings
That said, they’re best for use with compound bows set up to shoot vane fletchings. You can dial in the nock, fletchings, and broadheads to make sure they’re going to work as well as possible with your kit.
Out of the box you get 12 arrows with field tips and 3 broadheads. The broadheads have several replaceable blades and the nocks and fletchings both can be replaced with the spares you’re provided.
Best for compound bow shooters looking for a large number of practice and hunting arrows at a cheap price.
If you shoot traditional bows you’re going to love the look and function of these carbon hunting arrows. Unlike wooden arrows, you can unscrew the heads and put in your favorite broadheads to go with them.
- 31” shaft length
- 500 spine
- Feather fletchings
Instead what you get is a gorgeous looking green and white arrow with sleek black shafts. They just look good in the quiver.
Remember to revisit the spine chart above and find out what spine is ideal for your bow. If you’re shooting 500 spine then these are the arrows for you.
All that said, even if you’re shooting a compound bow you could still use these arrows without a problem. You can shoot feathers out of any bow, but vanes need a specific arrow rest so these are universal if you want.
Best for traditional archers who want a lightweight modern arrow that can accept any broadhead.
Hunting Arrows Comparison Table
|Best Hunting Arrows||Shaft||Special Features||Customer Ratings|
|Huntingdoor Carbon Hunting Arrows||Carbon shafts 31”||Colored plastic fletching vanes & nock, 7.5mm diameter||4.2 / 5.0 Stars|
|Carbon Express PileDriver Fletched Carbon Crossbolt||Carbon shafts||specifications: Straightness: ± 0.004-Inch, Diameter: 0.348-Inch||4.5 / 5.0 Stars|
|Huntingdoor Black Feather Wooden Shaft Hunting Arrows||31" Shaft||diameter:5/16'', Nocked, fletched and all ready to shoot||4.0 / 5.0 Stars|
|M.A.K [Targeting Arrows] 30-Inch||30” shaft length||aluminum seat convertible with a variety of inch thread arrow |
Suitable for Compound bow 40pounds-60pounds
|4.0 / 5.0 Stars|
|TTAD 12PK Green Turkey Feather Carbon||31” shaft length||Diameter 7.8mm, Spine 500 ,Weight 33g, 5 inch Turkey feather||3.3 / 5.0 Stars|
How to Choose the Best Hunting Arrows
- Crossbow Arrows
- Longbow and Recurve Arrows
- Compound Bow Arrows
- Best Bow Hunting Arrow Tips
- Arrow Weight
- Arrow Shaft Materials
- FAQs -- Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you’re an experienced archer or a new shooter just looking to begin hunting, you’ve got to figure out what arrows to shoot. There’s actually a lot more to it than Legolas makes it look like. And despite what survivalists on YouTube might want us to think -- we can’t just load a stick into the bow and go hunting.
Archery equipment is a relatively simple field to understand but it becomes much more complex when we begin to deep dive into specifics. I remember buying my first longbow as a kid and not caring what kind of arrows I was shooting -- as long as they stuck in the target. Today, however, I demand the best quality for my money.
To help you buy the best hunting arrows for your money we’re going to take that deep dive together. I’m going to guide you through the good, bad, and ugly of the hunting arrows you need. By the end of this article you’ll know exactly which arrows are right for your next hunt!
Commonly known as bolts, crossbow arrows for hunting are common these days. Thanks to recent legalization of crossbow hunting in many areas, hunting bolts aren’t hard to come by.
Today, nearly all crossbow bolts are graphite or carbon and they’re quite affordable. Aluminum is still used in some cases, though it’s rarer than in the past. Most importantly you should be paying attention to three main factors of your crossbow hunting bolt:
- Nock type
- Bolt + broadhead weight
- Bolt length
Longbow and Recurve Arrows
For stick bows your arrow selection is usually pretty personal. There are a few things to consider here and we’ll go over them all. By and large the considerations for recurve bow arrows and longbow arrows are the same.
Traditional arrows are made from wooden shafts. They’re very heavy but they’re fun to shoot and use and they make you stand out from modern archers. I love them for stick bow shooters but they shoot slow and lumbering.
Wooden arrows are also prone to breaking and splintering and you can’t swap arrowheads -- they’re glued on. These arrows also tend to be quite expensive.
When it comes to hunting with a stick bow I think we can all use as much assistance as possible. That’s why I feel that inexpensive graphite arrows with a good lightweight broadhead are the best choice.
They fly quick, quiet, and true.
Make sure you select an arrow of the correct spine (see section on spine below) which can be selected based on the Gold Tip arrow chart.
Compound Bow Arrows
Compound arrows are almost exclusively graphite today. They’re affordable and highly advanced compared the the aluminum arrows of just a few years ago.
In order to properly select the right hunting arrow for your compound bow, you’re probably going to need help from an archery shop. The bow, arrow, inserts, and broadhead have to be carefully tuned to match if you want to get deadeye consistency.
What I recommend is that you go to an archery outfitter and have them analyze and fit you with the right arrows for your compound bow. Buy a couple of these and then go online and select half a dozen of the closest (or the same) model arrow and arrow length.
Buying customized arrows is expensive so spend top dollar on 3 hunting arrows and buy the rest online at a cheaper price so you don’t feel as bad if you lose your practice arrows.
While it is possible to custom fit your arrows at home, you’ll need lots of practice and equipment. Shooting through suspended paper, using launch monitors, and tweaking the settings of the bow (among other setup procedures) is an art that beginners won’t easily master.
Best Bow Hunting Arrow Tips (Broadheads)
Broadheads, as they’re often called, are the tip of choice for hunting. Of course this is usually for big game like deer, elk, and other mammals. In the case of turkey hunting specialized broadheads, called guillotine, may be used but they’re still a type of broadhead.
One factor of broadhead selection is weight, measured in grains. Most broadheads will be offered in several different weights for the same model. Paired with proper setup for your individual bow and arrow, the right broadhead will fly truer than a poorly selected weight.
That said, you can choose to use a heavier arrow and hunting broadhead for quarry reasons. Sometimes hunters like to shoot a slightly heavier arrow and tip combination because the extra weight can turn into “knock down power” as they say.
Heavier arrow tips are great for big boned or large animals where the arrow may need to “punch” through ribs, bones, and tough sinew. A heavier arrow tip, and therefore arrow, carries better into the target animal.
For most hunters an expandable broadhead of the chosen weight will be a highly effective tool. The majority of hunters today call these arrow tips the best tool for the job. These arrowheads are expensive but they do protect you from the sharp edges of the broadhead by hiding it away until point of impact.
Some old school hunters prefer a broadhead that can’t go wrong. Some complain that expanding broadheads don’t properly deploy or aren’t always reliable in certain cases. This can result in wounding an animal that gets away.
So, what’s the solution? Static broadhead or fixed broadheads are always open. They don’t have any chance to fail on impact but they can be dangerous. These arrowheads are razor sharp and that razor can be dangerous if you have it on your bow when you trip, stumble, fall, or make a mistake that could cut you.
They solve the problem of arrowheads failing to deploy, however. On top of that, they’re less expensive and hunters used exposed static broadheads of one type or another for thousands of years to wage war, hunt, and otherwise effectively make chaos. They’re time tested.
We talked a little bit about this in some of the topics above. Arrow weight takes into account the nock, shaft, insert, and arrowhead.
It’s not enough to just say that lightweight is better -- though you might think that. Arrows that are too heavy or too light can kick out and fly poorly. They might fly too fast or too slow for your bow.
Properly weighted arrows are important to choose based on your bow, hunting style, and target animals.
All archers need to carefully tune their arrow weight within a narrow band to make sure accuracy is as good as possible. Unfortunately, doing so can be complicated particularly for compound bow shooters. Most of us aren’t capable of tuning a bow setup at home so I recommend going to an archery shop.
Most archery shops will tune your bow and help you select the right arrow weight at no charge -- as long as you buy some of your arrows from them. Some shops will make you pay for advanced tuning sessions where they use accurate tools and test to completely tune your arrow and bow to match your shooting style perfectly.
All that said, you can get pretty close as long as you know all the specs about your bow and target. With this helpful broadhead selector from Realtree you’ll be able to hone in on the right broadhead weight and type for you without heading to the local archery shop.
Arrow Shaft Materials
What kinds of materials you can choose for your arrows depend on your bow and your budget. 99% of hunters will go with carbon or graphite arrows. If you want to look a little deeper, however, let’s get into the weeds with it!
- Wooden arrows are traditional and fun to shoot. They’re expensive and shoot very slowly but many traditional archers still choose to hunt with them.
- Fiberglass arrows are extremely cheap to buy. They’re great for extremely budget minded folks but their durability and longevity suffers while their accuracy can’t stand up to better materials like aluminum or carbon.
- Aluminum arrows are actually almost hard to find today. They’re very effective and efficient and their strength is superb.
- Carbon arrows have become affordable and they’re insanely lightweight. They are prone to splintering if they fail, however, which can injure the archer. These arrows can be found in nearly any customized size, weight, and type.
- Composite arrows are the elite level arrows for professional archers. They’re not usually used for hunting as they’re quite expensive and best suited to competition level target shooting.
On the back of every arrow is a fletching. These can be one of two types of fletchings and choosing the right type is important.
Feathers are traditional and usually great looking! They are important to use with recurves or longbows with a hand rest or an arrow shelf. Feathers can collapse as they pass your hand or the bow shelf which prevents the arrow from being kicked wildly off course.
Vanes are the modern fletching of choice. They tend to be lighter weight, more consistent, and smaller than feathers. Vanes require specialized arrow rests which allow the solid fletching to pass through without deflecting the arrow off course.
Using vanes is often the fletching of choice for modern archers. They’re consistent and accurate so you’d be hard pressed to find a real reason to use feathers instead, unless you’re shooting a stick bow.
FAQs -- Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How can I remove the heads on my wooden arrows?
Answer: Usually a heat gun and a pair of pliers can be used to pull off glued on arrow heads for traditional arrows. Be careful not to overhead the wooden arrow or you’ll char it, perhaps damaging the paint (if it’s painted).
Clean it up with some sandpaper and reapply a new arrowhead when you’re ready.
Question: How do I find cheap arrows?
Answer: I know many of us are budget oriented shoppers so looking for cheap arrows isn’t a shame, don’t worry.
Cheap arrows are good and bad. They’re nice to save money, but they can break quickly. That’s bad in general, but even worse if they break and fail to kill your animal which is then wounded and still running free.
It’s also bad if you buy cheap carbon arrows which can shatter when fired and stab the archer with carbon splinters. I’ve had this happen and it sucks!
Shopping Amazon is a good way to find inexpensive arrows. Use the reviews to your advantage and read descriptions thoroughly to make sure you’re getting the right arrow.
Question: What are the best deer hunting arrows?
Answer: Deer hunting is probably the most popular archery hunting animal of all. I know growing up here in Michigan, it seems like everyone is a deer hunter.
Finding the best deer hunting arrows has to be personalized for you. Mostly the broadhead type and weight is going to impact this decision more than any other factor.
Broadheads for whitetail deer hunting can range from fixed head, smaller blades, to fancy multi-cutting heads. As long as you make a clean, good shot any of them are going to work just fine.
I would use something with at least 4 blades for whitetail hunting -- more or less might be unwarranted. Mechanical heads are great but they can sometimes fail to deploy.
When it really comes down to it, there’s a lot to consider before you go buying hunting arrows. The best arrows for compound bows are different than those for a recurve. If you fail to account for all these factors your arrows won’t work at all, they’ll break, or they’ll be inaccurate.
To make sure you don’t make a mistake just read through our buyer’s guide. I’ve covered everything that you really need to focus on to make a good hunting arrow purchase right here in this article.
Of course, I encourage everyone to read and watch more videos before buying. There are tons of expert level hunters out there that certainly have more to say on the subject. Just be careful you don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis -- keep it simple.
Thanks for reading The 5 Best Hunting Arrows. We hope this article has helped you to discover the best choice for hunting arrows for your needs and preferences. You might also be interested in our related and informative deer hunting article entitled, Deer Hunting Regions of the United States.
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