How to choose the right points for your arrow

One of the benefits of assembling your own arrow is that you can choose the arrow with the exact specification that you like. This gives you a lot of options but also makes the process more difficult. You might for example wonder, what point type and fitting you should use for your arrow. In this article, we will discuss, how you choose the right points for your arrow.

When you buy points for your arrow, you have to consider three things: the shape, fitting, and weight of the point. Most target archers use the bullet point, while most 3D archers and hunters use field tips. To avoid fitting issues, it’s a best practice to buy the points and the shafts from the same brand.

If you want to know all about arrow points, keep reading. I will discuss all these aspects in a lot more detail. At the end of this article, I will also give some tips on how to choose the right points.

What you should consider

As mentioned earlier there are three things that you should consider when buying new arrow points:

  • Weight of the point: The weight of your point changes how much the arrow flexes. The heavier the point the more it will flex. Additionally, for the safety of your bow, the arrow needs to have enough weight. Otherwise, you could damage your bow.
  • Shape of the point (point type): The shape of the point, determines how deep the arrow penetrates and how easy it is to retrieve.
  • Fitting of the point (fitting size and type): Certain fitting types can only be used on certain arrow shafts. Fit over points for example can only be used on wooden arrows. Additionally, you must find the right fitting size because this differs wildly between brands.

Now you know why these three things are important to consider, we can discuss how you make the right choice! If you want to skip to a certain section, you can use the links above.

Point types

There are probably tens or hundreds of point types, but all can be classified under these 7 categories. Below is a table to easily compare the different points.

Pro’s and cons of the different arrow types

  Aerodynamic Easy to remove from soft targets Easy to remove from hard targets Impact size
Bullet points ++ ++ - --
Conical points +++ +++ --- ---
Field points + + +++ -
Hybrid points ++ ++ ++ -
Broadheads - --- --- ++
Blunt tips -- + + +
Bludgeon tips --- -- + +++

Note: With impact size, I mean how big the hole in the target is. This is primarily important for hunting.

These arrow types are suitable for different applications, which I summarized in the table below.

  Target archer – in/outdoor Target archer – only indoor Field/3D archer Hunting - small game Hunting – large game
Bullet points X X      
Conical points   X      
Field points     X    
Hybrid points     X    
Broadheads         X
Blunt tips       X  
Bludgeon tips       X  

Bullet points

The bullet point is by far the most common point type. This point type is used primarily for target and recreational archery. It’s just a good around arrow design, which is aerodynamic and prevents overpenetration. The slightly bulged head does make it more difficult to pull out of soft targets such as an archery mat or a haybale.

Compound and recurve archers also often used these points to practice field or 3D archery. Since the tips are bulged, they will penetrate less deeply in a tree. But they are still a pain to get out.

Conical points

Conical points are only used by target archers. Their minimalistic design makes it the most aerodynamic arrow design. Therefore, these points allow you to be laser accurate with your bow.

When you shoot an arrow with this type of point in any hard target, it will be hard to get out. In most cases, you will end up damaging the arrow when you pull it out. Therefore, these tips are mainly used by indoor or short-range archers.

Field points

Field points have a sharp point and curved outer edges. These curved edges severely reduce the penetration in hard targets such as wood. Therefore, these points are very useful for archers that shoot in the woods. That makes these points a favorite amongst field and 3D archers.

Broadheads

There are a lot of different broadheads available on the market. Some are fixed while others eject when they hit the target. I won’t discuss these different broadheads because I don’t have enough experience with them.

Broadheads in general make the arrow less aerodynamic, but they are a necessity for hunters. Due to the added cutting power, you can easily put down large game.

Blunt tips

When hunting on small game, you want to reduce the amount of penetration to prevent to much damage to the animal. Therefore, blunt tips are often used when hunting on small game.

Bludgeon Tips

These arrows are like shooting a big baseball bat. Instead of penetrating your target, it will knock it out. This prevents excessive damage to the tissue of the animal.

Types of point fittings

When you buy new points for your arrow you must settle on what type of point fitting you want. Each has its pros and cons, which I have summarized in the table below.

  Press-in points Screw-in points Fit over points
General price Cheap Expensive Depends
Swap points Easy Very easy Not possible
Break of points Yes No No
Suitable for wooden arrows No No Yes
Suitable for modern arrows Yes Yes No

Press in points

The press in fitting is most used by target archers. The major advantage of this type of fitting is its price. They tend to be cheap because they are easy to manufacture. These tips need to be glued or waxed into the arrow, to make sure that it stays in the shaft when you retrieve it from the target.

The insert of these points often features multiple groves. These groves allow you to break-off part of the point to reduce the weight. This is helpful if you experience clearance issues. By changing the weight of the point, you will cause the arrow to flex differently. We will discuss how the weight of the point influences arrow flex later in the article.

Screw-in points

The name already gives it away, screw-in points are screwed into the shaft. To do this, you first must install an aluminum insert by putting it in the shaft with a bit of glue. The major benefit of screw-in points is that you can easily change your points. Since the screw thread is standardized any screw-on points can be used on any insert. The diameter of the insert isn't standardized. Therefore, you have to carefully select an insert that fits your arrow shaft.

Changing your points is especially helpful if you are a hunter. Since you don’t want to shoot on a foam target with your broadheads, you must change your points when you want to practice. These screw-in points allow you to do this on the fly.

It’s also helpful for archers that participate in both field as in target competitions. In the woods, you probably want to use field points, while you want to use bullet points on target competitions.

These screw-in points are more expensive, however. Therefore, most archers stick with press-in points.

Fit over points

Fit over points, are only used on wooden arrows. These points are glued onto the cone-shaped front of an arrow. You can’t use any other points on wooden arrows because they are not hollow. Therefore, you can’t use tips with an insert.

Using fit over points on carbon or aluminum arrows isn’t a good idea either. It will start to damage the material from the repeated impact of the arrow.

Fitting sizes

A lot of archery gear is standardized. Think for example about ILF limbs and the threading used on stabilizers. Sadly, the diameter of the arrow shafts isn’t standardized. Therefore, it is quite hard to find points with the right insert diameter as the inner diameter of the arrow.

Therefore, in most cases, it’s best to buy your points, nocks, and shafts from one manufacturer. Most manufacturers have a standard set of points, nocks, and shafts that fit together. You can only buy points and shafts from other manufacturers if you are certain that they match.

Point fittings are not standardized. To avoid fitting issues, you should buy your points and shafts from the same brand.

Point weight

Thus far I largely skimmed over probably one of the most important aspects of the point, its weight. In this section, I will first discuss why the weight of the point matters and later discuss how you choose the right point weight.

Why it’s important to consider

Earlier in this article, I mentioned that heavier points increase the amount of flex of the arrow. If you would shoot two arrows with the same shaft, the one with the heavier point will flex more. This might seem strange at first, but it will make sense when you understand the science behind it.

As you know, heavier objects require more energy to move. Think for example about lifting a heavy dumbbell, that requires a lot of muscle energy. This explains, why heavy objects are more reluctant to move because it requires more energy.

The same is true for a point. If you have a heavier point, it will be more reluctant to move. Since the point is heavier than the arrow, the point will start to flex. Therefore, increasing the weight of the point increases the arrow flex.

To ensure that the arrow flies accurately we must manage the amount of flex. If the arrow flexes too much, it will find a random path that makes it difficult to aim. If the arrow flexes to little it will hit the riser of the bow or will be influenced by minor vibration in your bow.

For more information about arrow flex, read my in-depth article about it below:

Spine weight: how to find the right arrow shaft

(Spine weight is the technical term for arrow flex)

Recommended point weight per bow

The point weight does not only affect the amount of arrow flex, it also determines how much the arrow drops. This phenomenon is called arrow drop and we try to reduce it as much as possible. Although choosing a light point decreases arrow drop, it will cause other issues. A bow needs a certain amount of resistance to release its energy. Otherwise, you might damage the limbs, just like dry firing your bow.

Below you can find the minimum recommended point weight based on your draw weight and bow type.

Archers profile Draw weight Point weight
Compound or recurve archer 20 LBS or less 75 grains or less
Compound or recurve archer 20 - 30 LBS 75-100 grains
Compound or recurve archer 30 - 50 LBS 100 - 125 grains
Compound or recurve archer 50 LBS or more 125 - 150 grains
Traditional archer 25 LBS or less 75 – 100 grains
Traditional archer 25 - 50 LBS 100 - 150 grains
Traditional archer 50 - 70 LBS 150 – 200 grains
Traditional archer 70 LBS or more 200 grains

In general, as we mentioned in this article, you first determine the weight of your point and then the stiffness of your arrow shaft. In some cases, you may notice that your arrow is too flexible or too stiff. In those cases, archers often change the weight of their point to increase or decrease the stiffness. Since points are cheaper than arrow shafts, this tends to be quite a useful trick.

Break of points

Most press-in points allow you to change the weight of the point, by breaking a piece of the insert. This can be quite helpful because you don’t have to buy different points when you want to decrease the weight of your point. It also allows people with different draw weights to shoot with one type of point. This is very useful at archery clubs or if your entire family is into archery.

There is no way to reattach is, therefore, be careful when you break off part of your point. In my experience, it can be quite difficult to break the insert. So, you might need a hacksaw.

Tips for buying the right points

I have some quick tips for when you are going to buy points:

  • Buy the points, shafts, and nocks from the same brand: each manufacturer has its own standards for the inner diameter of the shaft. Therefore, to avoid fitting issues, you should buy these from the same manufacturer unless you are sure that they will fit your shaft.
  • Choose the weight of your point first and the stiffness of the shaft second: you need to make sure that the point of your arrow is heavy enough to avoid damage to your bow. Therefore, use the point weight table to find the right weight of your point and determine the stiffness of your shaft second.
  • Buy some spare points: whenever you retrieve an arrow from a hard target, it’s always the question of whether your tip comes with it or not. Especially if you have a heavy draw weight and press-in nocks, you might lose a point. Therefore, buying a few spares is a great idea.
  • Wax your points in, don’t use glue: if you glue your points in you will never be able to get them out while keeping the arrow shaft intact. Therefore, archers wax their press-in nocks. If you heat the point with a flame, you can easily remove it again if you want to change your points.

FAQ

Alright, let's answer some commonly asked questions. If you have a question that I haven’t answered, please leave it in the comment section down below. I will answer as soon as possible and send you an email with my reply

Does point shape matter for aerodynamics?

Although the point shape might influence the flight path, in most cases it’s not an issue. Only when you use large fixed-blade broadheads or a big bludgeon tip you might experience issues. In those cases, increasing the size of your fletching can solve your issue.

With field tips or any other aerodynamic tips, the difference is negligible.

Should I experiment with the weight of my point?

In most cases, experimenting with the weight of your point does more harm than good. Only if you experience clearance issues, it’s worth changing the weight of your point. Archers sometimes try to finetune their bow to much. It’s often better to spend that time shooting instead. Making these minor changes doesn’t benefit your accuracy in most cases.

Can I use broadheads on a foam or straw target?

Broadheads can only be used on a foam target. Straw targets offer to much resistance which can cause damage to the broadheads. Whenever possible, it’s possible to shoot with field tips on a foam target. The broadheads will wear out the foam target very fast and it will be difficult to retrieve your arrow.

Therefore, using broadheads on a foam target is only recommended for testing purposes. When training, it’s better to use field points with a similar weight to the broadheads. For this reason, screw-on points are the best option for hunters.

Final words

If you found this article helpful, the following articles will be worth a read:

I hope that you liked reading this article and that it was helpful to find the right points for your arrow. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please leave them down below. I will respond as soon as possible and send you an email with my reply.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *