What arrow should I choose for indoor season?
Is it time to try fat carbons? Or should you stick to time-tested aluminum? George Tekmitchov looks at choices for indoor season
With Indoor season upon us, a lot of people are wondering about the merits of carbon, alloy—carbon or aluminum shafts for indoor shooting.
As we explore the decision making process, first let’s review the attributes of each.
All carbon shafts such as Easton’s FATBOY are lighter and therefore faster than their equivalent spine and diameter in aluminum. Easton all carbon shafts have excellent precision in terms of spine and mass weight, exceptional durability, and are particularly good in high-density target butts like the Stramit found in European tournaments. However, use of an arrow lube is often a good idea in such target butts, because the friction and heat generated when a carbon shaft hits a Stramit backstop can “weld” particles of the straw used to make the buttress to the surface of the shaft. This residue is easily removed with water, but you can prevent the adhesion with a good arrow lube.
Some top indoor shooters, like the USA’s Kevin Wilkey and Italian champion Sergio Pagni, are convinced the extra speed and precision of the FATBOY is more forgiving. Kevin says this extra speed reduces the margin of error and in his words, “They tune awesome!”. Kevin also points out that the versatility of the FATBOY allows use in both unmarked 3D indoor events, and FITA events, with all the performance needed for either.
When it comes to Alloy-carbon arrows such as Easton’s ACE and X10 the surprising thing is that while these skinny shafts own every single world recurve record outdoors, they also were used to set the current FITA indoor recurve records, and both the men’s and women’s current world champions shot X10. This, in spite of not having a "line-cutter" diameter.
The chief reason an indoor shooter might wish to use an X10 or ACE indoors is that the tuning process is already complete from the outdoor season, and the extreme precision of these shafts carries through to the shorter distances with no compromise. In addition, the shooter is already comfortable with the shot cycle and reaction with these shafts.
Consistency. Not just within a dozen, but from year to year, no shaft material is more consistent than aluminum. That’s why Dave Cousins, Las Vegas and World Champion, chooses aluminum for his FITA world-records and Vegas championship winning efforts. As Dave puts it, “I know I can take a 2312 from five years ago and one made today, and put them in the same hole- nothing’s more consistent than aluminum”.
While it’s true that many records and top scores have been set with Easton alloy-carbon and all-carbon shafts, it’s also true that no shaft material has won more indoor events than aluminum. Relatively low cost, extreme precision, excellent durability, easy tuning, generous component choices and more make aluminum shafts the #1 choice of indoor shooters worldwide. And with a size to ensure a perfect spine match, good responsiveness to point weight tuning, and absolute precision tolerances, Easton’s Cobalt and Eclipse shafts continue to be the overwhelming favorite of precision target shooters everywhere.
So how do I choose?
Well, that depends to some degree on which discipline you shoot.
In my opinion, if you are a top-level recurve shooter, there’s no really compelling reason to change to an indoor setup from your outdoor setup, if you’re using an X10 or an ACE shaft. With both the men’s and women’s recurve world records and current world championships held with these arrows, there’s little reason for a top level shooter to change their setup come indoor season.
But an average level recurve archer will very likely benefit from the increased diameter and extreme precision of an aluminum shaft, especially one of the X7 aluminum models. The easy tunability of these shafts also means there's a much better prospect of a good tune.
For any level compound archer, there are definite benefits to the increased shaft diameter of an Easton X7 aluminum shaft or FATBOY, which is one reason both the men’s and women’s FITA compound world indoor records are held with this category of shaft.
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