So, how do you choose the best vane, and should your vanes be offset, straight or helical?
Well, this is what we are going to take a look at here. You will see what to pay attention to when choosing the best vane for your bow and, you will see my recommendation for the best vanes in the field.
The main takeaway from the article is this:
As a general rule archers should use slightly offset vanes on their arrows because these provide the archers with the best accuracy without sacrificing too much speed.
Choosing the best vane for your arrows also comes down to a couple of key factors:
- Where you will be shooting your arrows (indoor/outdoor)
- The type of bow you have
- Type of arrows you have
- The distance you will be shooting at
If you have these factors nailed in then you can choose the most appropriate vanes for your arrows. You will see the recommended vanes for any occasion in this article.
What Is Important When Choosing Your Vanes?
- The clearing on your bow
- The environment you are planning to shoot at and the distance
- Your purpose/preference
The Clearing on Your Bow
The main in archery is to hit your target as accurately as possible. For that to happen the arrow must travel from your bow to the target in as straight of a line as possible.
Sure there are effects of wind, we will discuss later on but aside from that there must not be any disturbance in the flight path.
With vanes, the issue is that if your vanes are too large, upon the arrow leaving the bow, the vanes at the back of the arrow will hit the bow.
That will alter the flight path of the arrow thus reducing your accuracy.
This issue is easily solved by using an elevated rest.
It’s a device, you attach to your bow (if your bow doesn’t have it already) and this elevation will minimize the arrow’s contact with your bow.
And you get yourself a smooth flight path of the arrow.
The other thing to pay attention to …
When you draw your bow to your anchor point, are the vanes touching your face?
In most cases, yes. That small contact has the potential to affect your accuracy as well. I haven’t tested by how much, just mentioning it so you can pay attention to that.
You can solve that by moving your vanes further down the arrow.
The Environment You are Planing To Shoot In
This is easy. You are either shooting indoors or outdoors. So, if you are indoors you don’t have to worry about rain or wind when shooting, unlike bowhunters or 3D archers.
So, if you are outdoors, things to keep in mind are wind and rain.
The rule of thumb is to keep your arrows dry.
Regarding distance, if you are shooting at shorter distances then use larger vanes.
The benefit of larger vanes is that it corrects the flight path the arrow a lot sooner when the arrow leaves the bow.
At longer distances, the issue is a bit different.
At longer shooting distances use smaller vanes since these do take a longer time to correct the flight path of the arrow but they make up for it with a lot smaller drag.
Also means, the wind will have less of an effect on the arrow.
This leads us perfectly to the next important factor.
Your Purpose for Shooting
If you plan on bowhunting at larger distances, then it would make sense to use smaller plastic vanes. Probably with some sort of helical or an offset configuration.
The same goes for outdoor target shooting at longer distances.
For indoor target archery at shorter distances then use feathers or larger and longer plastic vanes.
Vanes are chosen based on your personal situation. First thing ask yourself, where will I be shooting, then at what distances, then proceed from there.
Best Vanes for Target Archery
I gave a call to an owner of an archery range in the states and he suggested you use the Blazer vanes. Can’t really do anything wrong by using them. Used by newbies and experienced archers alike.
Click here to get them on Amazon.
In my opinion, if you are shooting indoors then I suggest you use vanes like Q2i Fusion XII.
They are super popular. And good enough for beginners and pros alike. The important part is you get vanes that quickly stabilize the arrow when it’s fired from your bow.
These do that.
They are also easily attached to your bow. Which is an added benefit. You can get them here.
The main advantage of practicing target archery is that you have greater control of your environment.
Outside in intense heat, some vanes can get deformed. Won’t happen often but it can. But as long as you take good care of your arrows you won’t be losing your vanes due to weather.
But probably due to another kind of damage.
For target archery, it’s best to use straight or offset fletching on your arrow.
Best Vanes for Bowhunting
The Blazer vane is the most popularly used vane in bowhunting. Its benefits are undeniable. I also suggest you take a look at Bohning Heat Vanes, they are reportedly super silent.
Which makes sense if you are hunting.
So give those two a try.
Straight Vanes vs Helical Vanes?
So, if you are advanced enough to be thinking of specialized vanes for your arrows then you must have heard about offset vanes, helical vanes, or straight vanes.
So which ones do you choose?
- They are great at shorter distances since the vane cuts through the air easily
- Zero loss of speed
- Very easy to fletch your arrows with straight vanes
- While the speed of the arrow is on point on longer distances the arrow looses some of its accuracy, since there is no spin in the arow
Offset Vanes are plastic vanes that are straight but are placed at an angle on the shaft of the arrow in order to generate spin on the arrow as it leaves the bow.
Imagine, taking an arrow, placing the nock of the arrow next to your eye, and looking down the shaft of the arrow.
If you do that you will see the offset vane being straight but it’s placed at an angle to the right or the left.
That tilt is designed to give the arrow just enough rotation as it leaves the bow without it reducing the arrow’s speed too much.
- Very accurate, and perfect for longer distances
- Very minimal loss of speed
- I cant think of any (not a joke, I cant)
With offset positioning of the vanes, (offset fletching) it’s often a tradeoff between the degree of twist and the speed of the arrow.
The greater the angle of the twist it spins but the more it spins the greater the loss of speed.
Which leads us perfectly too.
If you want extreme accuracy at shorter distances, then use these.
Helical fletching is a term used to describe an arrow that has vanes in a helical formation. The vanes are bent around the arrow to provide greater rotation when the arrow is fired from the bow.
- Improved accuracy and stability
- Not influenced as much by wind conditions
- Loss in speed due to the increased rotation
- Difficult to fletch your arrows compared to the straight or offset fletching
Bowhunters should use helical fletching or the offset vanes while target archers can use the straight or the offset vanes on their arrow.
What Direction Should The Arrow Spin?
The arrow should spin clockwise when fired from your bow. It helps to preserve your arrow tips when they hit their target.
Awesome-looking vanes will never be a good substitute for the fundamentals. A properly tuned bow, good form, and good practices.
So, if you have those in place as I’m sure you do, then you can experiment with new and different vanes. Just remember to start with your own situation in mind.
Are you outdoor vs indoor, short-range, or long-range, what kind of vanes fit with your bow, etc.?
Hopefully, you learned a few things from this article, and feel free to check a few more articles I have on arrows.
Click here to take a look and see if your should be using feathers or vanes on your arrows.
And to see me break down the full anatomy of an arrow then go here.
That’s all from my end.