By Devin O’Dea
A lot of competitive archers invest an immense amount of time and money while building their arrows to ensure they have extreme consistency between every shaft. In serious competition a win or loss can hinge on fractions of an inch. There is no margin for error. Here is what the engineers at Victory Archery have to say about building your own arrows and how to assemble the perfect dozen.
First, select the appropriate arrow and spine by utilizing Victory’s Arrow Wizard and Digital Spine Calculator, found on the company’s website. Once you’ve narrowed down the extensive options Victory offers and determined what arrow spine and components you will be shooting, a few extra steps go a long way to achieving optimum results out of your arrow build.
Even if you are shooting a V1 shaft with +/- .001-inch straightness tolerances, like Victory’s VTAC 27 large diameter indoor arrow, cutting the arrow from both ends can be advantageous. Most straightness runout occurs at the ends of carbon shafts. Victory laser-measures arrow straightness at the front, middle and rear of every shaft and places the nock on the straighter end, assuming most people will cut from the front. So, if cutting from both ends, it is still better to cut more from the front. Be sure to use a high-speed arrow-cut-off saw and to strive for dead-square cuts. Marking ends with a silver marker and using an arrow-squaring tool can help remedy any cuts slightly off of 90 degrees.
Once you have shafts prepped be sure to weigh all of your components—especially vanes, nocks, inserts and so forth—assuring they all weigh exactly the same. All Victory Archery target shafts are weight matched in batches to within +/- .50-grain so you can be sure they will be incredibly consistent when it comes to weight tolerance. The next step is to clean the inside of the shaft with denatured alcohol and compressed air to remove any carbon dust accumulated during cutting. This is also a good time to dry fit components, making sure everything fits snuggly and is flush.
When installing points Victory’s Black Fusion glue offers a premium bond that won’t crack or turn brittle like many superglues or epoxies. Spin the arrow while applying adhesive, so glue is applied around the entire 360-degree axis and assuring no point wobble.
Before you begin fletching look for Victory’s spine-alignment marks, which identify the stiff flex axis for each arrow. By orienting the cock vane of each arrow on this stiff axis you will ensure that each flex consistently during launch to assure all arrows impact alike. Diligent archers once spent hours nock or dynamic tuning arrows to achieve similar results.
A quality fletching jig and patience is the key to getting perfect vane adhesion, as is utilizing proper vane adhesive and in the correct amount. Victory Bond is an excellent option, as it is a lower viscosity, or “runnier,” cyanoacrylate glue. Though slightly more challenging to work with it ultimately yields a superior bond. The key is to use just enough to coat the vane base while being careful that glue doesn’t run off the edges while securing the clamp. Once vanes are installed, double check the results, spin testing each to assure they spin true. Most importantly, shoot every arrow before using it in competition. Even if it is just one shot, this will identify any errors made during the build process and could save you valuable points in competition.
The most important element to success is confidence in your equipment. Selecting a quality arrow shaft and taking the time to build it right ensures you can trust your arrow to drive to the middle every time.