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Bowhunting is a sport that requires skill, precision, and a keen sense of concentration, as well as the right equipment to deliver the swiftest and surest blow possible. Since bowhunters come in all shapes and sizes, you might be tempted to think that arrow weight is a matter of preference and physical strength. In truth, however, while light arrows might be easier to carry (and have the ability to travel more feet per second), a heavier one will always achieve the best results.

Why? Well, the first and most obvious reason involves the drag of the arrow, which begins as soon as the shot is fired. The slower deceleration rate of a heavier arrow (as opposed to the swiftness of a lighter propulsive) will cause deeper penetration upon impact, thereby insuring a swift kill. As bowhunting can be an exceedingly messy business when the shot fails to reach its intended target, this strong impact is exactly what the hunter should be looking for.

In fact, the situation can be explained perfectly if we apply Newton’s Second Law of Motion. For those who missed physics class that day, this is the law which applies to an object’s acceleration as it relates to the weight of said object. For these purposes, the propulsion of the arrow, as produced by the force of the shot, is directly proportional to the magnitude of said shot, and inversely proportional to the mass of the arrow. Thereby, the heavier the arrow, the more it will slow during flight.

This might be difficult for some readers to accept, as it’s natural to assume that a faster-moving object would deliver a surer blow. The difference, however, lies in the momentum of the heavy arrow versus the light one. While a 350-grain arrow traveling at 340 feet per second delivers roughly the same amount of kinetic energy as a 480-grain propulsive moving at 290 feet per second, the force behind the heavier object generates more momentum, and is likelier to deliver the fatal blow to the target.

Though a light arrow could still achieve the desired result as long as the shot is dead-on, such bullseye moments are rare in bowhunting. It’s best not to rely too much on luck when dealing with matters of life and death.