Basic guide to target archery arrow points
The point is one of the most basic components of an arrow. It’s what allows the arrow to pierce a target.
With something so basic, you’d think picking one would be a piece of cake, right?
Well, not all points are created equal. And once you dive into the pool of different types of points, you might find yourself drowning trying to figure out what’s right for you.
So here’s a reference guide you can use when you’re trying to find your perfect point. And before we begin, let’s be clear here that we are talking about target points – not hunting broadheads. That’s another topic for another day.
Carbon and aluminum arrows are hollow. Some archers place threaded inserts in the point end, and those inserts are glued in place to receive screw-in points.
Screw-in points are a good choice for recreational archers, bowhunters and some 3-D archers. They allow archers to quickly and easily change points for different purposes. Let’s say you want to take some target practice with your hunting arrows. You can remove your broadheads and screw in a matched-weight field point to minimize damage to your target, and to keep your broadheads razor sharp.
In some 3D or target competitions, archers shooting in bowhunter classes might be required to use screw-in points. So be sure to check the rules ahead of time.
When you look at screw-in points, you’ll notice various shapes that essentially boil down to narrow-tipped and bullet-shaped points. The narrow-tipped points offer better target penetration and greater precision in how and where they enter a target. The bullet-shaped points offer the greatest durability.
Screw-in points come in a variety of weights, but 75-150 grains are the most popular. Archers would do well to match their screw-in points to the outside diameter of their arrow shafts or their arrow shaft inserts. That is, the insert end of the point should flow nearly seamlessly into the arrow shaft.
If the point is wider than the arrow, the point can hang up inside a target when the archer tries to pull it out. This can be especially troublesome when shooting at bag targets. If the point is skinnier than the shaft or insert, then the arrow won’t enter a target as smoothly as it should, causing excessive damage to the target.
These are points that are hollow at the shaft end, so that they can slide over the end of an arrow and be glued in place. There are some fiberglass recreational arrows that use glue-on points, but, for the most part, these are the points dedicated to traditional archers shooting wood shafts with a 5-degree tapered end.
These are points that are glued into hollow carbon and aluminum shafts. Usually, these points are glued in place with a hot-melt adhesive, rather than a liquid, quick-set glue. That way, the points can be heated, which causes the glue to soften, and the points can easily be removed from the shafts, for adjustments to be made.
These points are favored by competitive target archers because there are lots of options available for both large-diameter and small-diameter shafts.
Large-diameter shafts are favored by indoor and 3D archers looking to cut scoring lines, while small-diameter arrows are favored by outdoor archers, who have to contend with shooting in the wind at long distances.
The glue-in points for small-diameter shafts are largely going to be bullet shaped for superior aerodynamics. Many also feature break-off sections, which allow archers to customize the point weights to their preferences for tuning or grouping purposes.
For example, the TopHat SL Convex Tool Steel Point is advertised to weigh 90-140 grains. Shot whole, the point weighs 140 grains. There are 5 break-away sections – each weighing 10 grains – on the back of the point. An archer can break or cut off any number of these sections to modify the point weight.
Glue-in points for large-diameter shafts come in a few general shapes. There are ones with long, sharp pin points, which are designed to enter a target straight – possibly catching a hole with the very tip, which then guides the rest of the arrow inside.
These points also are great for 3D archery, where several archers might shoot at the same target before arrows are scored. The long tapered point can sneak an arrow into a tiny space between arrows, where a fat, round point might strike another arrow and then glance out of a higher scoring ring into a lower one.
There are fat, bullet-shaped points, which offer the best durability. Often times, target butts can be littered with debris, such as lost points and broken arrow shafts. These can bend those long tapered points, but not the bullet points.
Then there’s a hybrid point that’s long, but doesn’t come to a pin point. They’re shaped more like a missile. These attempt to offer archers a happy medium in performance between the pin points and the bullet points.
Indoor archers interested only in the utmost accuracy are especially fond of heavy points, which help weaken the spine and stabilize the flight of their large-diameter arrows quicker. Glue-in points are the most common points that can be found in heavier weights, ranging from 100 up to 300 grains.