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Home > Books > The Essentials of Archery > Matching Arrows
Matching Arrows

When you have progressed to the point where you take your target shooting seriously, it is absolutely essential that you have a set of six, eight or a dozen footed arrows that are "matched". That means that they should all fly the same, or fly as nearly the same as it is humanly possible to make them.

In our shop we match by shooting. Footed arrows are made up in batches of a gross and are then shot at 55 yards in a 45 pound bow. Groups of twelve are picked, Naturally the same point of aim is used, and these groups are tied out in bunches. Then each bunch of twelve (sometimes more) is shot again and again until we are reasonably certain that the twelve are matched and fly and perform the same.

If you are making your own footed arrows this method is impractical because it involves the making of too many arrows.

When you are working with a dozen or eighteen, it is necessary to have a set of grain weights and a jeweller's scale—the sort of scale that blind justice holds in her hand. It is a simple matter to make a pair of balances that will answer your purposes. All you need is a cross bar of thin hard wood with a hole in the center so that it may be suspended on a wire. A small tin pan with four holes punched in its rim and four strings to suspend it about ten inches below one end of the beam and a wire hook, with two widely separated prongs, on which you can rest an arrow, hung from the other end of the cross bar, will do. Bring your scale to an even balance by pasting adhesive tape bit by bit to whichever side needs it. Now discover your lightest arrow. Place its weight in grains in the tin pan, pick up your next arrow and bring it to the same weight by taking off wood very carefully toward the nock end. Do this with all your arrows until they are within ten grains of each other. Then finish up as described for feathering. This way you have a much better chance to get eight or nine out of the dozen to fly the same.

The English weigh their arrows against newly minted silver coins-shilling and pence. In America, while some still use these weights, it is fast becoming the custom to use grains. A shilling is 87 grains and a pence is seven and one-quarter grains. Men's 27" to 28" arrows vary between 410 and 425 grains; ladies' 25" to 26" arrows are between 300 and 325 grains.

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