Arrow building used to be a popular hobby for many archery hunters, it was a way for bowhunters to learn and be more intimate with their hunting setup, often times at their own costs. The days of learning over time and wondering if you really are shooting the best hunting arrow for your setup have came and went. Today, demanding bowhunters want the best and they want it now. With technology advancements and bowhunters wanting to maximize their lethality many folks are turning to professional for their arrow builds. And it makes sense. Being efficient with time and honing your craft are two common traits found within the best bowhunters in the world.
With the rise of online custom arrow builders, it's now easier than ever to obtain the perfect hunting arrow for your setup. However, not all custom arrow builders are created equal. Nor is the craftsmanship on the build.
Before you fork out cash on your next hunting arrow build, here are four things to consider when choosing a custom arrow builder online:
Quality of Materials and Tolerances
You know the old saying, "You can't polish a turd"? To end up with a high quality arrow build, it needs to start with high quality materials. The quality of materials used in arrow construction plays a significant role in the arrow's durability and performance. This goes beyond just the arrow shaft, inserts, nocks, and vanes. Ensure that the custom arrow build is uses high-quality materials and adhesives with tight tolerances and best practices in the associated application. Also, check if the online build is matching weights and keep records of your orders as this will create additional arrow to arrow consistency when you need to reorder.
Ask questions about tolerances. While most bowhunter cannot shoot well enough to see the differences in shaft and component tolerances, if you're paying premium prices you should expect tight tolerances. This goes for insert fit, nock fit to the shaft and string, and vane installation.
Reputation and Reviews on Craftsmanship
With social media and all things connected to the internet, it's not hard to find something bad about any company. It's also not hard to find the positive. Real world reviews and experiences carry their weight in gold for any company in any product category. Custom built arrows are no different..
Be sure that the people behind the company building your arrows are top notch. Look for non paid reviews around the online arrow builder, craftsmanship of the build, and performance of the arrows. Remember you're actually buying to different products here.
1. The experience of the automated builder - The online builder should solve your problems without you having to think too extensively. You'll need to know the basics around your bow...things like draw length, draw weight, and the point weight you'll be shooting but outside of those basic items the online builder should give you the best hunting arrow for those specific parameters. A premium builder should supply key information like: total arrow length, total arrow weight, FOC, and spine selection.
2. The craftsmanship and expertise of the labor building the actual arrows - The quality of labor is the ultimate difference maker when building arrows. There's no substitute for a craftsman who understands the arrow build from start to finish. They should also know how the arrow reacts in flight and what variables impact flight characteristics. Component fitment should be square and next to perfect. Vane installation should be consistent and not covered in glue.
Overall, there should be highly regarded feedback on both the builder and the craftsmanship putting out the finished product.
Before and After Purchase Support
In the age of online retailers, customer service is a lost art. However, those companies that do spend the resources on a service seem to stand above all others. Ensure that the custom arrow builder company offers excellent customer support. No company is perfect and by the chance you need to resolve a problem there is comfort in knowing a company is responsive. Look for companies that employ experts in the field and truly understand what it takes to build quality arrows that perform with great consistency. Look for builders who offer a quick response to inquiries, provide helpful advice, and offer a warranty on their products. The company should be willing to assist you with any issues that may arise during the arrow-buying and building process.
Custom built arrows are going to be more expensive as a whole. You're paying for craftsmanship, US labor, and a service. However, you are hopefully getting 12 arrows that all fly vs buying a dozen from the shop and having 4 duds. If you were to compare the cost of each useable arrow vs an "off the shelf" purchase you will be surprised. Let's take a look at this example:
1 dozen Exodus MMT purchase will run you $239 and you're guaranteed 12 arrows that fly exactly the same. That works out to roughly $20/arrow.
1 dozen "x" arrows from your local shop will run you an average of $180 but 4 of the 12 fly terrible. So now your purchase of 12 arrows is really 8, leaving the per arrow cost $22.50.
The upfront purchase price isn't always what it seems. This holds especially true when purchasing arrows.
In conclusion, selecting a custom arrow builder online can be overwhelming, but taking the time to consider the above factors will help you find the right builder for your needs. Remember to consider the quality of materials, options, reputation, customer support, and price when choosing a custom arrow builder online. If you are unsure, ASK QUESTIONS!
Author: Chad Sylvester, Exodus Co-Founder/Owner