Too short of an arrow creates problems for the bow as the arrow falls, and you can’t keep it on the arrow rest. That begs the question if you can have too long of an arrow.
Can an arrow be too long? Yes, long arrows can slow down the launch of your projectiles. You choose the right arrow length as part of the tuning. The length of your arrow, however, will depend on the draw length of your bow. The correct arrow length achieves maximum FPS.
If you’d like to learn more about long arrows and why you want to get the right size, keep reading for further information.
Disadvantage of Arrows Too Long for the Bow
Longer arrows will likely weigh more, and the spine won’t be as stiff. Heavier weight could slow down your arrow However, a heavier arrow maintains its momentum better.
Outside of that, you don’t have too many disadvantages with longer arrows. Shooting a longer arrow lowers its accuracy, as opposed to shooting the right length.
Where Long Arrows Have Advantages
In particular, I’d recommend younger archers have arrows at 2 to 3 inches longer than necessary. Younger archers still growing can adjust the shooting for their growth in terms of size and strength.
This eliminates a common issue where archers struggle to find well-fit arrows that become too short or not stiff enough.
Getting an arrow too long causes fewer problems than too short of an arrow. Having a weak spine on the arrow, you can cut the arrow down on length, but you have to buy newer arrows if too short.
Use the Charts from Arrow Companies
Perhaps you find yourself asking, “How long should my arrows be?” You can use the spine selector to find the perfect fit. Manufacturers measure the arrow length from the throat of the nock to the end of the insert. I’d strongly recommend that you use 5 grains of weight per pound.
Some manufacturers use a simpler chart than others. If you have trouble using the chart, visit your local bow shop for in-person expertise.
How to Determine the Ideal Arrow Length
Let’s say that you have a 28-inch draw length. You want an arrow that will end at the front of the riser. In other words, you want a 27-inch arrow for a 28-inch draw length.
Having a 30-inch arrow with a 28-inch draw length is considered a long arrow. As stated previously, long arrows could become an advantage for youth archers, but it serves no purpose to have a longer arrow for older archers.
How to Shoot a Longer Arrow
For longer arrows, it will likely fishtail, and the extra weight means that it will fall faster. Because of it falling faster, you need to aim higher when you shoot long distances or the arrow won’t reach. Heavier arrows have the advantage of greater reliability and durability, but they fall sooner. For example, bowfishing arrows don’t shoot as far as regular arrows because of the much heavier weight needed to penetrate the surface of the water.
A heavier arrow has another advantage in that, besides the draw weight, the weight of the arrow will help it to penetrate deeper or even go right through the target.
How Much Does Proper Arrow Length Matter?
Too long of an arrow poses less danger than too short of an arrow. Don’t even shoot an arrow that’s too short. You risk the arrow dropping off the rest and piercing your hand. At the same time, don’t buy too long of arrows either. At the most, 3 inches and even that is too much because anything longer will feel clumsy on the bow and won’t shoot properly.
Shorter arrows cause a stiff spine and wobbling through the air, decreasing accuracy.
Expert Tip: Carbon arrows, while expensive, provide the perfect spine because of a thick wall of carbon in the middle of the arrow. This means consistent flight and improved arrow penetration.
Even having a minor difference in arrow weight can impact other factors with the arrow, which include:
- Dynamic spine
- Arrow weight
Provided you remain consistent with the draw length, the arrow length doesn’t matter as much if you don’t have too short of an arrow. You don’t want it too short or too light because too light of an arrow can lead to a dry fire.
No Reason to Have Excessive Arrow Length
In most cases, you don’t have a reason to have excessive arrow length. It serves no purpose and feels clumsy on the bow. Arrow length directly impacts the flexibility of the arrow. You have many reasons to get the right arrow length such as more accuracy and safer shots.
Other Ways to Find the Right Arrow Length
Aside from looking at a chart, you have three key ways to find the right-sized arrow that will neither be too long or too short. The ways to get the right arrow length include:
- Measure the length of your arms
- Look at your draw length
- Using a draw arrow
Measuring the Length of Your Arms
To measure your arm length, you need a friend who can take measurements with a measuring tape. Stand with your arms out directly in front of you and your palms facing outward. You look at the length of your arms and add an inch.
Looking at Your Draw Length
Looking at your draw length can prove one of the most accurate measurements. Pull back on the bow. Have a friend measure the distance from the arrow rest to the end of the string.
Expert Safety: When you draw the string back, don’t release it. Experts call this a dry fire, and it can cause your bow to explode. It can hurt either yourself or someone nearby as the bow limbs shatter.
How to Use a Draw Arrow to Find the Arrow Length
Draw arrows have markings on them and are longer than other arrows. They designed draw arrows to help archers find the ideal arrow length, and you can find them in archery clubs. If you have the arrow, string the nock and draw it back. Keep drawing until you reach a full draw. Based on the arrow markings, you will learn the needed length of your arrow.
This measurement technique doesn’t require a buddy, but having one can help you with the reading.
How to Cut Your Arrows
If you have too long of arrows, it can mess up your shooting. Take them to your local archery shop to have them cut to the desired length. You can also cut the arrows yourself with an arrow saw or rotary saw. Be sure that you have measured your draw length ahead of time to know the desired. Have the arrow marked at that point.
Put on safety glasses and a breathing mask to keep the dust out of your lungs. Cutting carbon arrows poses a special danger in this way. You want the safety glasses and mask on as well because carbon dust can irritate your lungs or eyes if it gets in.
Expert Tip: Don’t use a pipe cutter on carbon arrows because it can bend or damage the arrows if clamped too tight. Never shoot a damaged arrow because it could hurt you or someone else.
For a lot of people, if you don’t have the saw, paying a professional to cut the arrows is worth the extra cost.
Generally speaking, too long of an arrow poses fewer problems than too short of an arrow. Too short of an arrow, and you can punch a hole right through your hand. Even if you visit the doctor, your hand may never recover full use, ending your archery hobby. A longer arrow doesn’t pose that risk, but shooting a longer arrow can ruin your accuracy as it fishtails, and the arrow may not shoot as far because of it being a heavier arrow.