Home Forums Bows and Equipment Elk vs. Arrow Penetration??

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    • robbin68
      Member
      Post count: 49

      Are there any elk hunters that can help me out?

      So I have to admit that I have not ever harvested any large animals with trad gear, so I really am not sure what to expect as far as arrow penetration goes. I practice out to 30 yards with a 55-57ish pound draw weight and a 30 inch carbon arrow with a 125 grain 3 blade. I feel confident about my accuracy and I am certain that I get plenty penetration for whitetail size game, but is this kind of set up sufficient for elk size game out to 30 yards? I guess I am curious when being accurate and the arrow having enough uumph when it gets there cross paths?

      Any help is appreciated.

      Zach

    • Alexandre Bugnon
      Member
      Post count: 681

      The general consensus is that one needs an arrow weighing a minimum of 650gr for Elk and similar big game. Assuming that your arrow is in the neighborhood of 500gr, according to your description, I would definitely add at least another 100gr. if I were you.

      My Elk arrows are thin MFX’s and long narrow 2 blades single bevel Abowyer Brown Bear broadheads. Total weight of 680gr shot from a 55# recurve or a 57# longbow

      My normal everyday arrows for 3D, deer and turkey are only 50gr lighter at around 630gr. I add 50gr weight tubes for Elk!

    • Col MikeCol Mike
      Member
      Post count: 910

      Zach

      Alex knows of what he speaks. I would recommend you visit the Ashby reports under the feature heading lots of good info there and the good Dr will respond to your questions.

      I am a firm believer in what is stated there and my elk arrows are carbon

      Easton 500 (trad only from 3 rivers) cut to 29 3/4 which is what I what I ended up with after using Troy Breeding’s process as depicted on the Tuff Head web site. My total arrow weight is 750 gr. with a 100 gr brass insert 100 gr steel adapter and a 300 gr tuff head (two blade single bevel). Giving 500 gr up front with A/A 4 fletch (again explained on the Tuff head site or the Ashby study) total EFOC for my setup is 23 1/2%. By the way the video’s are very informative and good entertainment. Almost forgot I shoot that load out of a 49# 52″ Elkheart long bow.

      I use the same weight on my target points and my blunts for stumping. And for white tail and turkey—there is no such thing as overkill on our sacred game.

      Of course the point here (pun intended) is that we want to ensure the cleanest most ethical kill possible.

      Enjoy the ride there is more information and friendly advice here then you can absorb.

      Semper Fi

      Mike

    • Col MikeCol Mike
      Member
      Post count: 910

      Don’t have a clue why my first draft got posted with my second finished draft.

      Robbin can we get a delete option on the edit or is that reserved for you?8)

    • David CoulterDavid Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2261

      Thumbs up for Alex and Colmike. I’m not an elk hunter but I’ve read the reports and used Troy Breeding’s tuning process. While some might argue it’s over kill for the whitetail I hunt and the stumps I shoot don’t overlook the benefits of flight with the high FOC arrow. They buck the breeze and twigs much better in my opinion and that’s also important along with penetration. The whole idea is to create a setup that goes beyond good enough for the right or normal conditions. Since I have so little experience, I decided to build the best arrow I could to help make up for my lacking. So far, so good. All the best to you! Dwc

    • robbin68
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 49

      Thanks you guys for the replies. I will look further into the ashby studies and foc arrows. But my new question is, how does the extra weight of foc arrows affect the trajectory of arrows? Is switching to the heavier arrow going to limit my distance back up to the 20 yard line?

    • RalphRalph
      Moderator
      Post count: 2544

      I think if you shoot at 30 yards with any weight arrow enough your instincts will become “learned” ( I say educated but I haven’t seen anybody getting any degrees in archery unless they’re self awarded 😀 ) to shoot that distance.

      Your arrow will be some slower probably. There is an argument about that also using some FOC so… another chapter…

      In days of old using “less efficient” equipment, supposedly, the great archers shot game at much further distances than 30 yards. But they practiced at those yards.

      I’m not preaching shooting longer shots but I believe that there are people perfectly capable of shooting them.

      The whole world is not made for 20 yard and under shots so practice the longer yardages with your gear then you can determine it they’re in your capability of taking them.

      This is one of the topics that can be if, and, and butted til the sun goes down. Someone will always say their way is the only way and that’s fine, that’s the way of the world..

      If you can do it, do it, if not don’t shoot.

      I’m not a proponent of way heavy arrows anyway, 10 grs. or so per pound of bow weight has worked for me many years.

      Not saying that I don’t have some carbon arrows with some weight up front, that’s the only way I can get the stiff suckers to fly to suit me without them being spear length.:wink:

      There’s more than one way to skin a cat, just get good at it whichever way of skinning you choose.

      Just my thinkin, Ralph

    • Alexandre Bugnon
      Member
      Post count: 681

      robbin68 wrote: Thanks you guys for the replies. I will look further into the ashby studies and foc arrows. But my new question is, how does the extra weight of foc arrows affect the trajectory of arrows? Is switching to the heavier arrow going to limit my distance back up to the 20 yard line?

      You shouldn’t even worry about trajectory, shooting flat, etc… as this philosophy pertains more to shooting light arrows out of fast compounds at distances of 30 yards and beyond. Think more of the arc of the arrow in flight.

      I practice with my 680gr arrows all the way to 60-100 yards all the time and it’s not a problem at all. With practice, my instinct, and yours, will dictate how much to elevate the bow arm to get the arrow where you want it. Anyway, hunting distances of 15, 20, 30 yards with any kind of arrows are not that much different, as far as arrow flight in normal shooting situations goes!

      Good luck bruh!!

    • wojo14
      Post count: 325

      Good thread and advise guys!

      Alex, your right, leave the “trajectory” for the compound guys.

      Just get a set up you like, and shoot at all distances. Your brain/body will learn the rest. And have fun!8)

    • David CoulterDavid Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2261

      Hi Robbin,

      I enjoy watching George Stout’s videos and thought you might find these somewhat relevant at least. If you have the time you might enjoy them as well. George practices at longer ranges to tighten up his groups at hunting ranges. I think this is good practice, perhaps better after you do your blank bale work, but good to put in the mix at some point.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-QjEebOLQk and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSnpH_HKbds

      Enjoy. dwc

    • RalphRalph
      Moderator
      Post count: 2544

      I think you’d best have somewhat of a clue about the “arc of the arrow” to know whether your gonna clear a branch or other obstacle between you and your target.

      You don’t have to chart it or whatever but your brain needs to do more than decide how high to raise your arm.

    • David CoulterDavid Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2261

      R2, that’s the easy part. Just put the branch right on the spot you want to hit and arrow with sail right over it, unless it’s only inches away, then it’s too close anyway. dwc

    • RalphRalph
      Moderator
      Post count: 2544

      The way it works for real is to put a branch anywhere in between you and the spot you wanna hit and you’ll hit the branch. Murphy’s Law # 39……:D

    • David CoulterDavid Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2261

      Okay, so you still focus your attention on the deer!! Then Murphy will find another way to rule it out… all the best, dwc

    • RalphRalph
      Moderator
      Post count: 2544

      Nuffs enuff from me Robbin. Shoot what you have confidence in, shoot the shot you feel comfortable with and when it goes through the boilermaker you did well.

      Have fun and do your thing….Ralph.

    • robbin68
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 49

      Thanks you guys. Sorry I haven’t gotten back sooner, work has been keeping me pretty busy this week. The replies have been very informative for me, I just need to make the time to experiment with some things. I will start by weighing the arrows that I have and go from there.

      Thanks again for the great advice!!:D

    • DK
      Member
      Post count: 86

      Robin,

      I have killed a couple of elk with the set up similar to what Alex recommended. 680gr total, 2 blade single bevel with no aluminum in my set up out of a 61# bow. That being said if your set up is in the high 500 grains and you don’t have any aluminum I would simply switch to a single bevel head and call it good. If you have great arrow flights. What I am saying is I think you are better off being a little light with great flight than otherwise. I would definitely switch to a 2 blade head if you are planning shooting 30 yards or more

      DK

    • Dan Jackowiak
      Post count: 106

      I have settled on a 615gr fmj setup, single bevel head, after seeing the penetration in 3/4 plywood. In order to achieve full penetration with a 5/16 arrow, I had to have a setup that weighed over 650gr, 656 to be exact. But the skinny shafts only requires 600grs which gives me a little flatter trajectory. Arrow trajectory to 35 yards is a none issue but then I am using Border hex6.5 limbs, which shoot that arrow 9 fps faster than anything else I have shot so far. I have killed elk with 525gr arrows with 2 blades before, but they won’t go through that piece of plywood 😀

    • DK
      Member
      Post count: 86

      2 blade. What is your poundage and draw length??

    • Dan Jackowiak
      Post count: 106

      DK wrote: 2 blade. What is your poundage and draw length??

      53@29

    • DK
      Member
      Post count: 86

      Cool, I only ask because I am dropping into the low 50s with my new bow. I will try the plywood test when I get it.

    • Dan Jackowiak
      Post count: 106

      Last year I shot arrows through a fresh cow shoulder blade. Single bevels, 2 blades or a 2 blade with small bleeders worked best. Ferrule size of the broadhead must be bigger than arrow shaft or they hang up.

    • DK
      Member
      Post count: 86

      Good to know I am going to try to get in the high 500 low 600 at 52 lbs. I draw 32, I think that setup will have enough ass to get it done.

      DK

    • Jason Wesbrock
      Member
      Post count: 762

      Robbin,

      There’s a lot of really good advice here, and if I may be so bold, I’d like to point out a common theme: confidence. These folks are using setups with which they have confidence, whether on account of second hand information they trust or personal experience. The importance of that cannot be overstated.

      Back in 2004 before I went elk hunting for the first time I had some doubts about what type of broadhead to use. With whitetails I never gave it much thought aside from strong and sharp ones. Any type from Thunderheads to four-blade Zwickeys worked well for me, but elk are a bigger critter. So I asked random people with experience for advice, and the responses I got were all over the map from large multi-blade to narrow two-blade. There’s no surprise there; folks have been cleanly killing elk with all sorts of equipment since long before I was born.

      Eventually I settled on a normal two-blade head (125-grain Ace standard to be exact) and had no issues with penetration on elk. That was 13 seasons ago, and my arrow choice has not changed since—500-grain carbons with 125-grain 2-blade heads shot between 195 & 200 fps, depending on my bow. I shoot the same setup for everything from turkey to deer, pigs, elk and moose…and I’ve blown completely through all of them. If I’m not mistaken, I still hold the state broadhead record in WI with that setup, so accuracy isn’t a concern.

      So I guess my long-winded advice is this: go with whatever gives you the most confidence. Apprehension is not conducive to accuracy, and there is no substitute for accuracy. I’ve found the best way to deal with the potential for bad shots is to avoid making them, and I do that by using a setup I shoot well and with which I have total confidence.

    • Stephen Graf
      Member
      Post count: 2355

      J.Wesbrock wrote: …there is no substitute for accuracy…

      Jason – Nice to see you checking in! Appreciated your column in the last magazine.

      I would humbly add one more ingredient to your analysis and that is good arrow flight. I guess accuracy depends on good arrow flight, but I would mention it separately:

      There is no substitute for accuracy and good arrow flight together. If you have both, you will not often have problems.

    • RalphRalph
      Moderator
      Post count: 2544

      Well put Jason. Thanks

      Yup Steve. Something I never think about mentioning is arrow flight.

      I’ve been doing this so long that achieving good arrow flight is burned in my brain, a given. I guess sometimes it’s not everyone’s priority like it’s mine.

      Y’all have great day.

    • Jason Wesbrock
      Member
      Post count: 762

      Steve Graf wrote: [quote=J.Wesbrock]…there is no substitute for accuracy…

      Jason – Nice to see you checking in! Appreciated your column in the last magazine.

      I would humbly add one more ingredient to your analysis and that is good arrow flight. I guess accuracy depends on good arrow flight, but I would mention it separately:

      There is no substitute for accuracy and good arrow flight together. If you have both, you will not often have problems.

      Excellent point!

    • StixStix
      Member
      Post count: 158

      I shoot a 55lb recurve with a 400 grain total weight broadhead/arrow combo. The dead elk/mule deer never complained that the arrow was too light. All but one were pass thru’s.

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