What to look for in a crossbow arrow

Sneaking through the palmettos, in stealth mode, I could hear hogs feeding ahead of me. The lip smacking and social snorts gave their location away, without them knowing it. I had my TenPoint Carbon Phantom RCX in my left hand and my arrow in my right. When I finally got a glimpse of black hog rooting in front of me, I slid my arrow onto the rail and seated it in place to shoot.

Two hogs worked in and out of cover, and I watched over my bow until one came into a shooting lane. I quietly clicked off the safety, leveled my crosshair on the pig’s shoulder, and squeezed the trigger. The pig let out a hair-raising squeal as it took off through the dense vegetation. I could hear it bouncing off trees and cover; then all fell silent. Tracking wasn’t difficult, as I had a complete pass-through with my arrow, leaving a significant blood trail.

My outfitter had stressed over and over, to shoot the hog in the shoulder to get to the vitals and have a quick, killing shot. It is advice we often hear the opposite for—never aim where our broadhead and arrow will meet up with bone.

I’m here to tell you the shot was fatal and we recovered the arrow. I was shooting an Easton Full Metal Jacket, knowing it has more weight than a standard carbon arrow, which equates to more kinetic energy and hitting power. The arrow drove the broadhead through the hog, and the aluminum jacket helped, by increasing viscosity and reducing friction. It was the perfect arrow for shooting a solid animal through the shoulder blades.

There are times when different arrows play a significant role in success. On a Nebraska whitetail hunt, I opted to use my TenPoint Pro Elite carbon crossbow arrow. I knew I’d have a shot between 25 and 40 yards and wanted to gain every speed advantage I could get. Whitetails are notorious for jumping the string and knowing I’d be lining up the vitals, without shooting through bone, I wanted my fastest option.

After three days of sitting, I finally had a nice 10-point buck wander into range. With his head down feeding at 38 yards, I placed my crosshair for a heart shot and slowly squeezed the trigger. The buck must have heard the shot and ducked quickly, causing the arrow to hit him in the spine and kill him instantly. Although it isn’t the optimal shot or one that a crossbow hunter would deliberately take, it was fatal and a quick kill. Using a lightweight, carbon arrow made the difference in harvesting the buck despite shooting over it.

When fractions of a second count, speed becomes important. The two hunting scenarios provide a rationale for different arrow selections for different hunts or animals.

The Carbon Phantom RCX spits arrows at 385 fps, making it ideal for any game. Whitetails are nervous by nature and anyone how enjoys archery has likely experienced a deer jumping the string. As the name indicated, the Phantom is quiet, and on the hog hunt, the quarry never heard it coming.

The Pro Elite carbon fiber arrows are 20-inches long with a 22/64ths diameter, fletched slightly offset with Q21 vanes. The arrows are fitted with a 68-grain brass insert and TenPoint’s neon yellow Superbrite Omni-Nock. Pro Elite shafts are inspected for straightness to within .003 and hand sorted for weight tolerance to within two grains per dozen, with the standard-weight of 425-grains.

248 Shooter
Charles is the editor for 248 Shooter a midwest based gun news and gear review site as well as Online Content Director for On Target Magazine. He is an avid student taking classes from top tier trainers around the country. Charles shares his love for training as well as experience and opinions on some of the most talked about gear and products used by competitive shooters, military, leo and civilians.