Fletching plays an important role in good groups. I haven’t found a feather yet which doesn’t work.
If you look closely at these two arrows, you can see that the feathers are not straight down the shaft, rather they are wrapped around the shaft slightly. Too much helix is not good on a slender arrow such as high quality bamboo. For this reason you probably want a fetching jig which is adjustable.
My opinion about fletching is this. With heavy arrows, such as bamboo arrows, longer fletching is better. This may seem counter-intuitive. Some archers think that more fletching will slow an arrow down even more. THIS IS TRUE. Heavy arrows have so much more momentum than light carbon arrows, that at normal shooting distances, this effect is much less than you might imagine. The percentage of speed loss is very minimal at normal shooting distances. One of the points which you will find in the advanced section is clear data which makes the matter clear. It might seem that arrow flight is about speed. For traditional archery, arrow flight is MUCH MORE ABOUT MOMENTUM IN FLIGHT. Worry about speed production from your choice of a good bow.
Arrow Fletching serves two important functions. The first function is to induce enough drag on the back end of the shaft to slow it down so that it will line up behind the head and fly straight. You want ALL of the weight of that arrow lined up behind the head when it hits. That is how you penetrate a target instead of the arrow bouncing off or slapping and whipping the target.
Don’t worry about slowing bamboo arrows down. I shoot my arrows off of a 44 pound horse bow, and all of the arrows in my quiver are fletched with 4 feathers, each of them are 5 inches long.
The second function is to help the arrow being to spin if it can. A spinning arrow will be more stable in flight. This is another reason why I put 5 inch feathers on my arrows rather than 4 inch feathers. It is a real improvement to have your arrows fletched helically. When an arrow is first launched, it is flexing in the air. The earlier you can induce an arrow to being spinning in flight, the quicker it will stabilize and “wobble” less in flight. A helix fletch will help with this.
Different Kinds Of Fletching.
I hear a lot about how one feather manufacturer is superior to another. They ALL work well.
There is a veritable plethora of wonderful, gorgeous, colorful feathers which can be used. Turkey feathers are the most common, which probably has more to do with Thanksgiving holidays, but they make a very fine feather. I have seen Swan, Eagle, Hawk, and many other excellent fletching jobs done by some amazing archers who choose something different than the same old boring barred and white arrows. This immediately marks them as an archer to notice, and says a lot about their choices. I am always puzzled that traditional archers seem to gravitate to the same feather colors as everyone else.
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