A bowhunter knows that whether they are hunting with a recurve bow, a longbow, or a compound bow, using the best hunting arrows is essential to success. Our staff of expert hunters share their top picks for best hunting arrow for deer, turkeys and other game animals.
Below you will find in-depth reviews for all of our top picks for compound bows and recurve bows.
Our Top Picks
Best For overall
Carbon Express PileDriver
Easton Full Metal Jacket
Best small diameter
victory vap elite
List of the 9 Best Hunting Arrows
Best Hunting Arrows Reviews
Best Deer Hunting Arrows: Carbon Express D-Stroyer Piledriver
One arrow with two spines means twice the accuracy and twice the penetration, and twice the odds of success. The D-Stroyer PileDriver is engineered for deep terminal penetration for hunters who want a kill shot every time. The D-Stroyer PileDrivers strength comes from its weight. It is the heaviest arrow in the Carbon Express line, which allows maximum kinetic energy. This delivers superior knock-down and kill power.
The Dual Spine Weight Forward technology outperforms a single spine shaft, ensuring maximum accuracy and greater penetration than a single spine shaft. The Dual Spine Weight Forward Technology is a patented two-spine arrow shaft that curtails oscillation by 50%, providing twice the accuracy of a single spine shaft arrow. This cutting edge technology dishes out superior stabilization and exceptional broadhead flight.
The patented K-360 outer layer structure combines 100% high modulus carbon weave for a dependable spine with strength and durability. The K-360 technology spans the shaft's entire length for increased shaft-to-shaft cohesion and bolstered performance and durability. The internal diameter is .244 allowing these shafts to fit standard components.
Each Carbon Express PileDriver matched set weighs +/-1 grain and can be purchased in 300, 350, and 400 spines. Each arrow undergoes scrutiny and is laser tested for straightness to an impressive 1/10,000 of an inch. The craftsmanship of this arrow is impeccable. Launchpad Precision Nocks system means superior control of arrow release and combined shaft alignment for unfailing accuracy.
- Dual spine weight forward accuracy
- 100% carbon
- It can be a little heavy for some applications
The Carbon Express D-Stroyer PileDriver strength comes from its dual spine technology and its weight. Using this arrow, you will not wonder if your shot cut deep enough to kill; it did. Deer hunting with this ultimate arrow, you will make more kills and lose less deer to marginal shots. Accuracy and penetration define the D-Stroyer PileDriver.
Best Arrows For Whitetail Hunting: Black Eagle - X-Impact Hunting Arrows
The Black Eagle- X-Impact arrow is constructed from 100% High-Mod Carbon, which means a light shaft that allows for more point weight upfront, resulting in better flight characteristics and long-range pinpoint accuracy. It is not just a lightweight shaft but the lightest micro diameter shaft available on the market.
The Black Eagle X-Impact incorporates the Bohning F-nock in its design. The Bohning F nock is constructed of durable, impact-resistant polycarbonate. The F-nock features an advanced throat system to keep your arrow stably on the string resulting in a remarkably clean release. Each F-nock weighs around six grains.
The X-Impact delivers power, precision, and extended range in a light, .165" nano-diameter product! The Black Eagle X-Impact arrow is a remarkable micro shaft. Its slim profile means less wind drift and first-rate penetration.
Hunters love to brag about their equipment, which is easy to do when using this arrow. One reviewer claims he shot this arrow almost penetrating all the way through a 2X4. Of course, this 2X4 was not his target but still very impressive.
This arrow features a light shaft that retains its kinetic energy and keeps its momentum while going through bone. The manufacturer indicates this superior arrow is bad to the bone, pun intended. It is capable of shredding the X-Ring and taking down your prey. These arrows can be purchased in 32" (250, 300, 350, 400, 500, and 600 Spine).
- Several spine options
- Inconsistent fit with Black Eagle Outserts
Black Eagle X-Impact arrows deliver force, accuracy, and extensive range in the lightest micro diameter shaft available on the market. Not only will your arrow fly true, but it will fly true with deadly force. You will make great kill shots and gain a few spiders to boot.
Best Hunting Arrows For Compound Bow: Easton Full Metal Jacket
Easton's Full Metal Jacket Hunting Arrow is an excellent choice for incredible strength and ultimate durability. Many bowhunters choose this arrow because of Easton's technology and manufacturing process. It provides a uniform spine between same sized arrows so you can maintain confidence that your next arrow will fly like the last. Many have claimed that The Full Metal Jacket arrows are the most accurate in the industry.
Strict weight standards maintained in every arrow guarantees consistent arrow performance. It penetrates with less friction due to the construction of this Easton arrow. Less friction causes the arrow to pass through the game without resistance and makes for easy removal from targets.
The Full Metal Jacket is constructed with a tough carbon core and a durable 7075 alloy jacket. This construction ensures increased strength and maximum performance and hits harder than standard carbon arrows. It has a guaranteed straightness of ± .002 and is sold with a factory-installed bright red X-Nock. It uses standard threaded broadheads and field points and boasts an unchanging spine between arrows for accuracy and unfluctuating performances.
- Durable carbon center and aluminum shell
- Easy target pull out
- Fletching is a little weak
- A little pricey
Easton Full Metal Jacket is known for its durability and dual metal construction. This construction ensures increased strength and maximum performance and hits harder than standard carbon arrows. The Full Metal Jacket has perfected its execution and its release. We are impressed with the ease of retrieval, and the goal is always execution.
Best Carbon Hunting Arrows: Black Eagle Rampage Fletched Carbon Hunting Arrows
For many years, Black Eagle brand arrows have been synonymic with dependability and quality. Reviewers not only brag about their products but also the customer service. This is one reason they have many loyal customers.
The Rampage line is a proven example of an arrow that performs consistently day in and day out. These small diameter arrows are supreme in the carbon hunting arrow trade. They are constructed of premium 100% carbon and balanced with a spine-to-weight ratio that is supreme when it comes to execution. The quality is second to none while maintaining longevity and providing optimal speed, kinetic energy, and deep penetration.
If you are looking for an optimal carbon arrow for paramount precision, this would be a good possibility when appropriately paired with your bow. Black Eagle Rampage Arrows are made of carbon fiber to be lightweight but do not let that fool you. They are powerful enough to hunt big game.
These Black Eagle Arrows are thoroughly matched for straightness, length, and weight, so every package will have utmost uniformity to result in more consistent shots.
- Available in .001 tolerance
- Great penetration
- Reasonably priced
- Not as durable as others in the same price range
Black Eagle Rampage Arrows are very popular with hunters who value old traditions and customer satisfaction. Hunters point out that this company has won their loyalty because of its superior products and customer care. It is hard to beat an excellent arrow with excellent service.
Best Arrows For Recurve Hunting: Gold Tip Traditional Arrows
If you like the nostalgic look of wood but require the power of carbon, the Gold Tip Traditional XT arrows provide the best of both. Gold Tip Traditional XT arrows have a 100% carbon structure with a wood grain finish that traditional bowhunters appreciate. These arrows have an inside diameter of .246.
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If you are looking for a quality arrow with new technology while maintaining the traditional look to go with your recurve bow, this may be what you are looking for. This all-carbon arrow with a wood grain finish feels like the newer carbon arrows while sporting a traditional wood grain finish. This lets you match a great looking arrow with your recurve bow while giving you outstanding performance.
They are verified to a straightness factor of ± .003" and a wt. tolerance of ± 2 gr. per six for unsurpassed precision and congruity. These Gold Tip arrows come matched with tolerances made for the draw weight and length of the recurve bow market.
Gold Tip’s Traditional Classic XT is fabricated of a weighty, small diameter carbon shaft that arrives outfitted with stainless steel inserts and enhanced ballistic collars.
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- Woodgrain finish
- All carbon arrows
- Suited mainly for recurve bows
Gold Tip Traditional Arrows look like your grampas arrow on the outside, and the inside is fabricated with cutting edge technology. These arrows will outdo grandpa’s antique wooden models. Small diameter, 100% carbon, and verified straight come together to form a deadly trio.
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Best Budget Hunting Arrows: Gold Tip Hunter Arrows
The Gold Tip Hunter is modeled after the greatest multipurpose arrow ever made, the original Gold Tip arrow. Many hunters say that if they had to pick one arrow to last the rest of their lives, a Hunter series would be in the running. It is a mid-weight arrow that supplies a parity of speed and penetration, making it ready for any situation.
The Hunter arrow features the identical Smart Carbon Technology as the Pro and XT series. This arrow is A budget friendly choice yet still delivers the ultimate durability.
These Gold tip arrows are great for beginners and the veteran archer being a very dependable, durable arrow and very budget friendly. These arrows maintain the industry leading carbon construction with very high tolerances in weight and straightness. They are marketed as a hunting arrow that offers the archer a balance of performance, accuracy, and value.
The Gold Tip Hunter series has unparalleled endurance with some of the exact tolerances in the business. It has a straightness tolerance of +-.001" and weight tolerance of +- 0.5 grains.
- Easy on the budget
- .001” straightness tolerances
- Some weight inconsistency
Many Bowman and hunters choose Gold Tip Hunter series arrows because of their superior craftsmanship and ability. These arrows fly true for beginners and veterans alike. Balance, performance, and accuracy acquirable on a budget is a great combination.
Best Easton Hunting Arrows: Easton Axis Arrows
In 1922, Doug Easton began crafting custom wood bows and cedar arrows. Even though he successfully produced tournament grade arrows, he was discontented with the wood shafts' inconsistency and lack of uniformity. He then changed his material to aluminum in 1939. In 1941 his research paid off when his new aluminum arrows were used to win the National Archery Championship. This changed archery forever.
The Axis from Easton set the paradigm for thin diameter hunting arrows and remains one of the predominant hunting arrow shafts accessible.
The Easton Axis Pro is a 5mm match grade elite arrow fabricated of a high strength carbon composite with certain straightness of .001”. The micro diameter concentrates energy into a small frontal region for less friction. This will equate to 24% more Kinetic Energy Density than standard diameter carbon arrows. And this will result in deeper, deadlier penetration even through tough hide and bone.
This arrow comes with pre-installed X nocks, and X hit 8-32 inserts. It is available in seven sizes, from 700 through 260.
The Axis Pro features fierce resistance N-Fused carbon nanotubes for superior strength and penetration. The low profile design diminishes wind drag for increased velocity and better long-range precision in any weather condition.
If you're looking for a quality Easton arrow, this may just be what you are looking for. With the smaller size profile, the arrow is less affected by the crosswind and more likely to stay on target, which is vital in the field when weather variables are ever changing.
- Small diameter for less friction on impact
- Less crosswind interference
- Available in seven sizes
- Lots of reviews of people having the arrow wobble in flight
Easton is a name that will be forever etched in archery. Their commitment to cutting edge technology and pinpoint accuracy is undeniable—the Easton Arrow Axis Pro is a result of that commitment. When an accurate, quick, humane kill is the goal, this is the tool.
Best Hunting Arrows For The Money: Gold Tip Ted Nugent Arrows
Ted Nugent likes to remind us that he doesn’t do anything halfway. And when he asked Gold Tip to make his Signature Series arrows, he insisted they needed to be stronger, faster, and harder hitting than anything he had used before.
If you’re going to “Wack’em and stack’em,” you will need arrows that can stand the test and make it happen. The Ted Nugent Signature Series presents us with three different choices, each with its own unique Uncle Ted style.
These moderately priced arrows are built with quality in mind and are backed by a legend in the hunting and music industry. They sport Ted Nugent's highly visible classic white zebra type pattern, GT series nocks, Accu-lite inserts, and a factory installed 2-inch raptor vanes. They are available in three different sizes 500, 400, and 300.
If you're looking for a well-made gold tip arrow in the middle of the road price range and pack a lot of bang for your buck, this could be what you are looking for, not to mention the character and style this arrow brings to the playing field.
- Lots of character
- Tolerances may be a little looser than comparable brands
Uncle Ted Nugent is undeniably an icon in the sports of archery and hunting. He has brought his passion and personality to these Gold Tip arrows to make them as successful as he is. He has provided all his expertise in an outstanding product at a value price.
Best Small Diameter Hunting Arrows: Victory VAP Elite Arrows
The Victory Archery VAP Elite (Victory Armour Piercing) has set a novel standard in the target arena with its radically small diameter and dense walled, 100% high modular core. These VAP arrows come in at a colossal +/-.001 Straightness Tolerance, ensuring they will outperform the rest.
This is the ideal arrow to tighten up your group size, increase spiders and collect backstraps, especially at long range or in windy conditions. Victory promotes coupling the VAP with their Penetrator Broadhead Adapter to create an unrelenting hunting arrow without compromise. Turn those practice targets into kills successfully with these arrows.
This arrow can be expensive, but the quality and the technology packed into these things are like no other. With a .166 diameter, it's the most advanced carbon engineering to date. The small diameter makes it phenomenal in the field when it comes to penetration. The diameter aids deeper penetration and lethal pass-through shots even at longer ranges than most. We must not neglect to mention it nearly wipes out the chances of crosswind deflection.
These arrows come with 100% hand fletched vanes for better accuracy. Each spine is digitally aligned and has a nano-ceramic coating for easier penetration. If you are looking for a top-of-the-line arrow with the newest technology available today, this could be just the one for you.
- .166 Diameter
- 100% hand fletched for better accuracy
- .001” Straightness for better groupings
- Target shooting can cause bending
These VAP arrows are a work of art with 100% hand-crafted, fletched vanes for accuracy. We love the nano-ceramic coating for smoother penetration. Do not overlook the most advanced carbon engineering to date.
Arrow Sizes and Other Things You Should Consider When Buying Hunting Arrows
If you shoot an arrow with inadequate spine, it would be comparable to shooting a toy bow and arrow from the dollar mart. After an arrow leaves the string, it will flex mid-flight and cause fallacies downrange. Spine choice is a crucial facet of selecting the perfect hunting arrow for your purpose.
The spine is an evaluation of the arrow’s stiffness. In most instances, the lower the number on the arrow, the stiffer the spine. There are two kinds of spines that you should be familiar with, static and dynamic.
Static spine refers to how well an arrow reacts when a 1.94 lb. weight is hung from the arrow's center. This directly relates to the arrow “bend.”
A Dynamic spine refers to how an arrow responds to the stored energy as the bow is shot.
The measure of bend directly affects how well the arrow flies as it goes downrange.
Arrow makers compute an arrow’s weight in grains per inch or GPI. Arrow weights transform under many factors, including their length, thickness, material and broadheads used.
Arrow weight is critical because it influences velocity and penetration, and bow hunting is all about perforating penetration, ample blood trails, and swift, humane death.
But which arrow is better? This is a long-running debate. Is it light and fast or heavy and slow?
There are two different weights to consider in choosing the right arrow. First, you must figure out the correct draw weight for you and your bow. If this becomes confusing, a resource of expertise may be within your grasp.
One of the best ways to do this is to visit a professional archery shop. You can experience several different draw weights to see what is the most comfortable for you. They should be able to offer suggestions and opportunities to experiment with various equipment. Remember, you should be able to hold a drawn position comfortably for a period of time.
The second weight you will have to determine is the total weight of the arrow you will be shooting. This will determine how well it shoots from the bow and what kind of penetration you will achieve.
For referral, light arrows weigh around 350 grains, a normal arrow weighs 420 to 500 grains, and a heavy arrow weighs in excess of 600 grains. Bowman who shoot a recurve or longbow generally shoot arrows weighing 700 grains or more.
The suitable length for your arrow will rely upon multiple considerations. These include the draw length of the bow, the type of bow, and the arrow rest position.
You can determine a bow's draw length by measuring the distance between the nock and a position 1.75" beyond the grip pivot point when the bow is fully drawn.
There is a more straightforward method you may want to consider if you are confused. Handily enough, for most bows, 1.75" beyond the grip pivot point is approximately at the exterior edge of the bow's riser. Generally, a bow's draw length is roughly the span from the nock point to the front of the riser when the bow is in a drawn position.
When drawing back a 29" arrow, and the insert of the arrow is lined-up with the outside edge of the bow's riser, the bow will be set for about a 29" draw length. Now, that was pretty easy, huh?
There is still a controversial concept that states a bow's draw length and arrow length must match. This is not necessarily true! Some of the best compound bows are the exception to the rule. So in some setups, it's entirely reasonable to use an arrow that is somewhat shorter than the bow's adjusted draw span. If the arrow sits easily beyond the rest, then the arrow length should be sufficient.
How do you choose arrow fletching?
Three fletching performing styles are accepted among hunters: straight, off-set, and helical.
Straight fletching is employed straight with the arrow shaft. This class of fletching results in the fastest arrow flight and is advisable for close-range shots. Straight fletching can produce minor arrow drag and is susceptible to wind.
Off-Set fletching is employed straight with the arrows’ shaft but is turned at a slight offset from front to back, free from distortion of the vane. The offset is similar to the rotation of a bullet shot from a rifled gun barrel. This rotation provides stability with the weight of a broadhead and is suggested for long-distance shots. Off-set fletching will result in a minor velocity loss due to air drag.
Helical fletching is applied with a minute curve or helical twist in the vane. It is often two to five degrees, conditional on the arrow stability required. Helical fletching offers maximum stability. It is perfect for shooting broadheads. The rotation of the fletching will diminish arrow velocity at a higher amount than the other style of fletching but offers outstanding precision at longer distances.
A very slight, thin vane will be ideal if you shoot short, thin arrows. But If you're shooting long distances, you may want to consider a smaller-sized vane, like blazer vanes, to increase the speed of your shot and emit less noise. If you need your vanes to aid in correcting the flight of the arrow, then a larger one will be required.
Higher profile vanes increase the arrow's balance but will also slow down the arrow's velocity. Vanes with a greater surface field are weighty and slow projection, but they are superior at correcting arrow flight.
There are four main types of arrows to choose from wood, aluminum, carbon, and an aluminum arrow with a carbon cover. These all fall into different budget categories. The best bet for the middle of the road is aluminum. Aluminum arrows are sturdy and durable if you are careful.
However, if you have the budget, the carbon arrows are a big step up in quality and are great for hunting. It is the difference between eating at a fast-food chain or a nice restaurant. You will not leave either hungry, but the enjoyment of the experience is vastly different.
If you are ready for a 5-star jacket and tie, adventure the aluminum arrow in a carbon jacket will not disappoint you.
Budget hunting arrows usually run about $25 for each arrow. Some premium arrows can range from $30- $300 each. But no matter the cost, their value rises each time they make a successful kill and are retrieved whole to kill again another day.
As we usually say, you get what you pay for, and durability in arrows is an excellent example. The new Aluminum/Carbon can be pretty pricy, but all the reviews and everyone we have talked to say they are the way to go for accuracy and durability.
Carbon is the next best option, followed by aluminum. Less quality products will mean repeat purchases. This should be weighed in your budget considerations.
What is the durability of hunting arrows? Most hunting arrows can endure 20, 30, or even 40 years or even longer if they are passed down. The longevity of an arrow is dependent on the hunter's talent to care for it. Keeping your arrows out of the sun, refraining from shooting them into hard surfaces, and storing them properly in a good quiver will extend their lifespan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a 400 grain arrow good for deer?
Yes a 400 grain arrow is good for deer hunting. While we like a heavier arrow for most applications, a 400 grain arrow will get plenty of penetration out of a 40 lb draw bow, which is the least required for hunting.
Do heavier arrows penetrate better?
Yes, heavier arrows penetrate better. We attribute this to the amount of kinetic energy that an arrow can develop. That being said, there is a limit and the weight of the arrow should match with the draw weight of your bow.
Can you shoot too stiff of an arrow?
Yes you can shoot too stiff an arrow as long as all of your arrows have the same spine and you sight in your bow with those arrows. While you can shoot too stiff an arrow, you should strive to shoot the right spine arrows for your draw weight and bow speed in order to obtain optimum performance from your equipment
It doesn't matter if you are hunting with a compound bow or recurve, choosing the right arrow can be as important as selecting the right bow. When it all works together well and your bow is tuned to your arrow, things are smooth and accurate every time, but when something is off, it makes you want to pull your hair out. No one wants to be in the field ready to take a shot and have some sort of equipment failure.
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We all know guys who will run to a Supercenter at the last minute to buy hunting gear, and buy the cheapest arrows they can find. That same guy a week later will be sadly disappointed when those arrows fail. He will wish he had invested in better arrows when the big one he has been hunting for years walks out and the arrow flies over their back or under their belly, and the trophy is gone, never to be seen again.
When choosing the arrow, you must do a little research first. So that you can buy the best arrow for your budget, always consider the length, weight, and spine of the arrow. Also, choose an arrow that matches perfectly with your hunting bow. The old quip may ring more true in archery than most, “Practice makes perfect.” Don't be that guy who always tells about the one that got away.
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