How to Check the Safety of Carbon Arrows
Carbon arrows need to be checked for cracks and other issues, especially when they're older or if you've purchased them secondhand. If you're not sure whether they're okay to use, a thorough inspection is warranted and the following steps will explain how to go about this.
Checking for Damage
Inspect the arrow shaft, nock, and point for damage.Check if the arrow is cracked, bent, or has any holes. If the nock is broken,do not shootthe arrow. It may fly off the string at an angle or simply flail through the air. This is the best way to get your property damaged. Points may become blunt after hitting a hard surface but are still safe to shoot.
- The shaft of the arrow should be straight and without cracks. The arrow may be streaked as a result of sliding against the riser. In this case, purchase a fur shelf or plastic rest.
Look over your fletchings or vanes.Feather fletchings should be uniform, all pointing in the same direction, and not have any gaps. If your feathers are coming apart from each other, put them in the steam over a boiling pot to make them rise again.
- Feathers with gaps in them should be replaced. They may make a whistling or ruffling noise when you shoot.
- Vanes which are torn should also be replaced.
- Don't shoot feather fletchings through a whisker biscuit rest. This will damage them and make the individual strands separate. However, you may coat them with a thin layer of glue to strengthen them so they will last through the bristles.
Check for nicks and scratches.Run a cotton ball or use your fingers down the shaft. Make sure there are no cracks, dents, or splits that indicate the shaft is damaged. If your cotton ball snags, that means there is a nick that should be examined.
- You can still shoot an arrow with small scratches. Just make sure that it doesn't widen to become a crack.
Examine the nock.With a medium amount of pressure, give it a twist. If it moves easily, the nock is loose and should be glued again or replaced. If the nock comes off, check for cracks at the end of the shaft. If the nock or shaft is broken, do not shoot the arrow. It's better to spend a few dollars replacing an arrow (or a few cents for a nock) than to end up with an arrow in your hand.
Flexing the Arrow
Line the work surface with a layer of felt or fabric to protect it.Set the carbon arrows down next to each other on the covered work surface.
Pick up the first carbon arrow for examination.Grip the shaft just above the point and below the fletchings/vanes. Be careful not to poke your self with a shard tip or damage the fletchings if your hand moves upward.
Flex the arrow.Bend it away from your body about 2-3 inches away from where it was before. Apply a medium amount of pressure, but don't bend it too far. Listen for a crackling noise, telling you that there are cracks in the middle of the shaft.
- If the arrow flexes under your touch, but stays intact with no strange noises, it's good to go.
- If the arrow cracks or you hear a crackling sound, the arrow is no good. Do not use it; it must be discarded.
Rotate the arrow about 60° and repeat the flexing process.You should do this 4-6 times per arrow, rotating the arrow until you reach the point where you started. If you hear or feel the arrow cracking, discard it immediately.
Repeat for each of your arrows.Discard any that are broken and continue using ones that have passed the inspections. If a lot of the arrows have broken without hitting a hard surface, they may not be of good quality. Buy from a more reputable brand and straight from the source instead of knockoffs from Amazon or eBay.
- Do this before you shoot, after you shoot, and when you miss the target or hit something hard.
- Make sure you remain focused and thorough for all of your arrows. Internal cracking causing carbon arrows to explode into splinters that can be very damaging.
- Hold the arrow carefully and don't do this with a broadhead attached to be safe.
- Do not dry fire a bow, no matter whether it is a recurve, compound, longbow, or horse-bow. It will cause potential damage even if the manufacturer claims that it is perfectly safe to do so.
- Do not use a damaged arrow. That is the best way to get splinters through your hand and a trip to the hospital.
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