Home Forums Bows and Equipment VANES or FEATHERS ??

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    • Tj Craig
      Post count: 21

      I have been considering using vanes but never have, I know my Idol Paul Schafer did probably for good reasons. I was wondering can you use a helical tiwst with vanes ??

    • Steve O
      Post count: 11


      If you have an elevated rest on your Silvertips, you are good to go. I am planning an Alaska bear hunt and have experimented quite a bit with my Tip, rest, and vanes. I’ve found the Blazers, fletched helical and in the 75/105 four fletch orientation to steer my 260g Snuffers just fine.

    • Tj Craig
      Post count: 21

      Them little vanes really work ?? 😯 wow ! Hey I might just give em a try , does 3 rivers sell them ? and are they quiet ?

    • Steve O
      Post count: 11

      They work suprisingly WELL…as good as feathers when dry and MUCH better when wet. Any sporting goods/chain store will have them. They are pretty popular with the compounders.

    • Buckhorn73
      Post count: 77

      For consistency, and my two cents worth, tradition calls for wood and feathers,or, aluminum and feathers. I don’t know anything about carbon arrows and tried plastic vanes once and found them very erratic. However, I was shooting off a shelf and more learned members than I here and on other sites seem to indicate they work well off a raised rest. I guess it is old traditional versus new traditional.

    • RAGMAN
      Post count: 37

      I have shot vanes. We used to use them when I was a kid. The shelfs on most bows were very flat and interfered with the arrow flite. We used hoyt flipper rest, which were a plastic armed elevated rest. The four inch vanes shot very well off of these bows.The mordern traditional bows have radiused shelves and windows.This gives better arrow flite, but I still don’t think it will work with vanes. You might try to index your shafts for the right clearance, and use the soft vanes{ there is alot of different materials out there}. I think I still have some of those rest, if you would like one email me.

    • Woodduck
      Post count: 3

      I shot vanes when they came to my area in the ’70s. I was shooting a Ben Pearson Hunter and ‘everybody’ was going to plastic vanes ’cause it was ‘new and improved’.:lol:

      The big selling point, naturally; was that it didn’t matter if they got wet when you were hunting.

      All you had to do to shoot them was buy the stick on Hoyt rest and there you go.

      I use feathers now.

    • SL
      Post count: 4

      I shoot vanes and feathers. The vanes are nice and quiet. I like that aspect. I have spooked animals before from my finger brushing the feather of a nocked arrow or rubbing the quiver on my leg or brush. With vanes you dont have the crunch of feathers. I shoot mostly off a bear weather rest with 3m industrial adhesive tape instead of the supplied tape. I also cover the whole thing with moleskin. I have never had one come off the bow or fail.Been doing it that way off and on for better than 30 years.

    • Hubertus
      Post count: 99

      Before swiching to vanes, considder the durability of feathers. They can take a lot of punishment, get really ugly, and still do what they were put there to do. (My understanding is that) Vanes warp and tear easily which affects arrow flight. But yes, feathers do need to be protected from the rain.

    • MontanaFord
      Post count: 450

      My uncle uses a couple different products on his feathers that help keep the water at bay when shooting in wet conditions. One is a tire treatment called Tire Wet, and the other is some sort of spray lube that he uses for fishing reels called Reel Magic. He’s had good luck with both products keeping his feathers from getting soaked from rain or other wet conditions.


    • texasota
      Post count: 47

      this is probally a stupid question, but i am new to trad hunting, and i respect everyones expirience on this site. so here it is: i notice that compound hunters shoot the short veins when using broadheads, i suppose because the arrow flies better. do they make feathers in that short design or does it not matter as much with slower speed bows.
      sorry for my ignorance, hopefully that wasnt the dumbest qestion asked here:oops:

    • Yellowfeather
      Post count: 18

      I was told that the reason compound shooters use smaller vanes was that they induce less drag and therefore more speed. The trade off is that at high speeds a big broadhead can steer the arrow. This is the reason for open on impact broadheads.

    • texasota
      Post count: 47

      that makes sense. thanks yellowfeather

    • Chris Shelton
      Post count: 679

      when i first started getting into trad archery i had to use whatever i had. And what i had at the time was carbon arrows with vanes, feathers are alot better. They are designed to take a beating. If you get a little nick in a vane they fly like crap. But if you miss a chunk of feather they still fly. All you need to do is water proof them! Also there are some new vanes out that you can get at three rivers. They are vanes almost like 2 two inch blazer vanes one behind the other hooked together and they have microcuts in them to act like feathers, never tried them before but i have heard some good things about them? You should check them out!

    • David Petersen
      Post count: 2749

      I recently bought some el cheapo Carbon Express shafts that came with 3, 4″ soft plastic vanes. They shoot just fine off the shelf of my Shrews and if I were smarter I’d have left a few of them that way for rainy days. Alas, while I can pry myself away from woodies for the many advantages of carbon, I can’t swallow the switch from feather to plastic, so I stripped ’em off and stuck on some turkeys. In my experience, although they will Pop! and spray you with water, soggy flat feathers still shoot fine at trad bow ranges … they just ain’t so purdy no more. dave

    • tradbowman67
      Post count: 11

      Tj Craig wrote: ‘MEN”
      I have been considering using vanes but never have, I know my Idol Paul Schafer did probably for good reasons. I was wondering can you use a helical tiwst with vanes ??

      Tj, I have one bow that I am able to use vanes with although I don’t much unless the weather’s really horrible and I just HAVE to get out in it (ie; lil’ missus wants to “talk” Lol!), but you would most assuredly have to use an elevated rest to get good, consistent arrow flight, and the rest I’ve had the most luck with is the NAP Flipper rest, just a lil’ stick on dealy the doesn’t raise the arrow off your hand much, and gives me great clearance in that it folds out of the way as the vanes brush it, so you’re conact points on the window are limited, hope that helps!

    • tinybowhunter
      Post count: 5

      Feathers rule! I don’t like vanes at all! Even when I shot a compound, I still shot feathers. It only takes 2 minutes to apply a little waterproofing to a half dozen shafts. I’ve only used the powder type, but hear the spray on is very effective. I also agree with Dave, I have shot soaking wet feathers with no problems, they just don’t look as perty that way.

    • donw
      Post count: 38

      i haven’t shot a ‘vane’ since aproximately 1985.

      IMO…the only advantage a plastic/synthetic vane has over a feather is the weatherproof factor.

    • john mccarthy
      Post count: 1

      I came across a guy at a garage sale who sold me 30 easton aluminum arrows for ten bucks, and about half of them had vanes on them and the other half had feathers. The arrows with the vanes shoot just as well as the ones with the feathers straight off the shelf of my recurve. I personally prefer wooden arrows with feather fletchings but for ten bucks you can’t go wrong!

    • Carbomask
      Post count: 39

      why not try two vanes and one feather? the odd feather is the one that needs to give as it passes the rest on the release. ??

    • Hiram
      Post count: 484

      Vanes is what I use, even on Longbows. I cut a flipper rest down and stick it on. I have a DAS recurve which I use the replacable flipper on for hunting. Longbows are a little harder to use vanes on due to the site windows. Got one cut out enough and a flipper or elevated stick on and the difference is only getting use to the rest being a little higher. I use the arrow so its not a biggie.

    • Dpowers311
      Post count: 43

      yellowfeather wrote: I was told that the reason compound shooters use smaller vanes was that they induce less drag and therefore more speed. The trade off is that at high speeds a big broadhead can steer the arrow. This is the reason for open on impact broadheads.

      They use the short vanes because of the high speed of the carbon arrows. The big vanes make noise and are not needed for the lighter arrows. The big broadheads do control the arrow and the reason for the open on impact broadhead.


    • Konrad
      Post count: 62

      For the record, I use a modern (Bear, ‘07 Truth) compound bow but am converting to ammunition in the Ashby style, hence my presence here.

      I currently use the Blazer vane; however, they are quite rigid but work well with a drop away or shoot through rest. I would be hesitant to shoot them from a traditional shelf be it flat or with a radius. I also own a Kodiak Magnum.

      Testing has shown a high profile (the Blazer is .6 of an inch tall), short (2 inches) vane steers a fixed blade as well as or better than 4 or 5 inch plastic vanes or natural feathers with less drag. My Magnus Stinger, 2 bladed broadheads are very accurate (same point of impact as my field tips) at 240 fps. My shafts are Easton 2413 alloys with a total weight of 480 grains.

      Beyond 40 yards, the feathered shaft looses speed faster than the Blazer but we aren’t shooting at game that far are we?

      All that being said, my wife says my Blazer equipped arrows “sound like rockets” when they go by. Don’t get me to explain how she can hear them without being in danger (she’s really fast!).

      In the pursuit of a higher level of FOC, my next fletching will be Gateway Feathers’ Rayzr. They only weigh 1.5 grains each as compared to the 5 grains each of the Blazers. They are almost as tall at .5 inches and are the same basic length of 2 inches. Hopefully, I will also gain a more quiet flight as they advertise “Whisper Quiet Technology”. They supposedly cut the fletching from a specific part of the feather to enhance quietness. Don’t get me started on advertising baloney. We’ll see.

      Oh, and for the fellow who suggested using one feather and two plastics…uneven weight distribution around the shaft will undoubtedly produce a nice spiral.
      In the past I shot shot allot in the rain and can find no reason to believe plastic is a better option.

    • ferris5574
      Post count: 7

      The Ashby library has an interesting article about super short feathers and using pinstriping tape in order to disrupt the air to increase the feather control effect. The longer the arrow the more the feathers have a steering effect. I am experimenting with shorter and shorter feathers and still get good arrow flight. I am down to 4″ feathers and am going to try Razor feathers that are 2.5 inches and put a strip of pinstriping 1/4″ inch in front.


    • jfelkins
      Post count: 41

      What is the best way to restore feathers after they have gotten blood on them? I’m not joking! 😀

      I washed the arrow with soap and water. I was told to steam the arrows. How long do I need to steam them if this is the way to go? Thanks for any thoughts!

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