Thursday, June 11, 2015

Gear Review: Small Diameter Hunting Arrows (Part 2)

In order to simulate shooting into bone, I opted to shoot through plywood as it offered an even surface to compare all arrows. To verify arrow speed, I contacted the pros at my local pro shop, Archery Outpost (562) 860-9292). They have always been extremely helpful and I knew I could count on them. Lead tech, Connor Kelly, was not only helpful, but eager to see what would happen. He helped me chronograph all of the arrows and was my second witness to the plywood test.

I made an executive decision to use field points instead of broadheads. I wanted to see what kind of penetration I could get with the same field points I used in the foam target testing. I also didn’t want to destroy the targets at Archery Outpost. (They may have never invited me back if I had!) The penetration results of a 28” arrow into ¾” plywood at 20 yards are incredibly interesting.

Arrow Brand and StylePenetration through 1 sheet of plywood, factoring in the .75" plywood (inches)
Victory Armor Piercing (VAP) V327.125
Deer Crossing Archery SD Hunter26.26
Deer Crossing Archery Hunter25.75
Carbon Express Piledriver Pass Thru Extreme 20.187
GoldTip Kinetic XT Hunter17.312
Easton Deep Six XD10.25

GoldTip Kinetic XT Hunter – Out of all the arrows I tested, the KineticXT Hunters had the most kinetic energy. When the arrow weighs 10.4 gpi there is bound to be some KE behind it, 77.91 lbs. of KE and that topped all the others by a couple pounds. It averaged 10.41 inches into the foam, but it didn’t penetrate well into the plywood. Only 17.312” of the arrow made it through the plywood. As far as I could see and feel, the arrows flew straight and true.  With the widest OD of the arrows tested, the KineticXT Hunter performed well.

Deer Crossing Archery SD Hunter – The 120 grain outsert provided plenty of FOC, but certainly slowed the arrow down. I chronographed the arrow at a speed of 260 fps, which is not super-fast, but the KE was worth noting. The proof is in the penetration into both foam and plywood.

Deer Crossing Archery Hunter –The DCA Hunter penetrated 25.75” through the ¾” plywood. Impressive! It had the least amount of KE at 74.38, but also showed speeds of 305 fps. Overall, I think for the price and the results, the Hunters are a great buy for bow hunters on a budget. 

Carbon Express Piledriver Pass Thru Extreme – The PTE was a surprising stand out. Excellent penetration into foam and clocking in at 277 fps, it was plenty fast. It performed the best into the HybrimatCRM target by penetrating an average 11.88”. 76.35 lbs. of KE drove the arrow 20.312” through the plywood.

Easton Deep Six XD – There are drawbacks to using the Deep Six XD inserts provided with the arrows.  If you use these inserts, you must use the Deep Six field points and broadheads. This is a major drawback, in my opinion, and feel will alienate many. Arrow penetration was decent.

Victory Armor Piercing (VAP) – As one of the lightest in the test group, increased FOC, and with speeds reaching nearly 300 fps, the VAP performed very well. The 50 grain Penetrator II outsert is larger than the arrow shaft, thus making a bigger hole when it hits.

The arrows were undamaged (except for the DCA Hunter) after shooting through the plywood. If an arrow with a field point can do this to plywood, just imagine what it will do to an animal when combined with a sharp broadhead?

The retail prices on the arrows vary greatly, and I think that is where many are going to have an issue. At $76.99/dz. the DCA Hunters are a value and performed well, even with the insert issue. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the VAPs retail for $169.99/dz. and that is pricey for many. With that said, after seeing how the arrows perform and the results, I’ll save up my money and continue shooting the Victory Armor Piercing arrows. Personally, I feel the VAPs are tough, fast, and even if you shoot them through an animal, you will more than likely get the opportunity to shoot them again.

Think of your arrows as an investment and not strictly as a drain on your bank account. Decide what animals you are going to hunt and choose the arrow that is going to perform the best and do the most damage. You are going to get what you pay for, and if you want quality and a better arrow, you may need to pay a bit more for it.

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