Arrows for hunting: Custom built vs self built


All photo credits: Anthony Wright

In the past couple of years or so there has been a growing interest in archers doing everything in their power to squeeze out every drop of accuracy possible in their setups. One big contributor to repeatability down range is the components of the arrow build. Some dive deep into the rabbit hole of specifics into what makes arrows highly accurate, which can be a never-ending journey, or so it seems. Then, there are companies, whose engineering background along with an OCD for perfection have come along to make the process for the perfect arrow seamless for the consumer.

We are here to talk about the pros and cons of each to see which route may be right for you! Let's get into it!


Self-built arrows

Pros:

- Affordable: Granted buying the components of assembling your own arrows is more expensive than pre-fletched arrows, you are still cheaper initially starting than the custom route. Obviously, over time you may end up spending a lot, but, in the starting phases, you will be cheaper.

- Allows more “tweaking” of individual components: If you are not seeing results you would like to see downrange then you may have the ability to swap some pieces out for other options on your accord. Testing different fletchings, swapping internal weights, or head weight to assist in FOC changes

- A lot of learning elements: Just like any hobby, you will learn an immense amount about arrows with the continued testing of different techniques and gear used. Along with knowledge from others with more knowledge than you. There are ALOT of resources online to make learning faster. See the great articles mentioned below on the do-it-yourself arrow-building process. They go into great detail on how to fully customize your arrow building process down to an exact science.

Shop arrow and archery-related items here

Cons:

- Time-consuming: One drawback to building your own arrows will be the learning curve of how to achieve top-tier accuracy, as well as the actual time building the arrows. This could potentially take away from time at the range practicing.

- Errors are more prominent: If you aren't familiar with arrow components or how to assemble them properly then inherently you will have errors during assembly. This will lead to lost time or possibly a loss in components if they cannot be recovered for reuse. 

Get the supplies you need to build your own arrows

Again, be sure to check out the GOHUNT Gear Shop for all your personal arrow-building component needs. They have everything you need to get started building your own arrows. GOHUNT sells everything from; arrows, nocks, inserts, field points/broadheads, fletchings, wraps, jigs, grain scales, glues, and even arrow saws. 

Shop the GOHUNT Gear Shop here


Custom-built arrows

Pros:

- Very high level of knowledge: The knowledge behind DCA Custom Arrows is second to none. They use some serious science for each and every build to make them as accurate as possible. This knowledge will lead to you getting the best product for the field without having to try and gain years of experience in a short amount of time. 

- Impeccable quality control: When I received my arrow build sheet there were a few numbers that stuck out to me regarding quality, “Max to Min” and “Standard Deviation.” These are the max spread between heaviest and lightest within my 12 and the average difference of weight from one arrow to another. For my 12 arrows, they were able to achieve an astonishing 3.2 grains of max to min and only 0.88 grains for the deviation. Even if I tried to achieve that by building my own it would be incredibly difficult. To achieve this, he had to hand pick each arrow, insert, nock, etc. That is a lot of time that some people just don't have!

- Scientifically proven: DCA Custom Arrows uses some whiz-bang tech to get the results stated above. Such as long-range testing with doppler, wind tunnels for aerodynamics, and other technology I'm not smart enough to describe. He is the engineer with all the brains!

- Arrows tailored exactly to shooter/bow setup: DCA Custom Arrows took all my specs from draw length, draw weight, let off, animals to be harvested, current arrow length and what range I shoot out to. Then, took all that info and built the arrow the science picked to be the best performing arrow for my intentions. 

Cons:

- Expensive: With the word custom typically comes with the price to reflect it, and rightfully so. The cost per arrow is roughly $25 per arrow which can be quite a few shiny pennies when looking to have two dozen.

- Possibly limited on components: Builder may not supply the exact components you want to use. Not all arrow builders have the availability to carry every single manufacturer for components. If you're dead set on a certain arrow, you may be limited. 

- Wait time for building (3-4 weeks): DCA Custom Arrows currently is a few weeks for turn-around from order to receiving. The custom route is never the most expedient so if you're looking for a quick solution and custom, you are out of luck. Precision takes time. 

To see more info and builds from DCA Custom Arrows check out this link: DCA CUSTOM ARROWS


Overall determination

As some of you may know from previous articles from myself, I'm a habitual gear tester and tinker on almost every aspect of hunting. Arrows are no exception; I have done the self-built route many times and now have a few weeks shooting the custom-built arrows. I can 100% assure you that if you are looking for every bit of accuracy for your western hunting repertoire, then the custom route is worth it. I can see the results down range, especially past 70 out to 110 (practicing distances).

Don’t get me wrong I still have some arrows that I’m always playing with fletching myself and trying other pieces but when it comes down to filling my quiver of arrows with the intention of filling tags, I'll be trusting the insight from professionals. There's a lot of different ways to have quality arrows, so at the end of the day, do what works best for you!

As always, stay safe and hunt hard.

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