Most bowhunters like to tinker. We just can’t help ourselves. We’ll try everything from custom strings to vibrant-colored dampening devices to different fletch sizes and orientations.
Over the past few years, I’ve done a lot of fiddling. Besides making sure my bow is paper- and bare-shaft tuned, I don’t accessorize or play much with it, but I have been tinkering a lot with my arrows. What I’ve discovered is that building different arrows for different bowhunting situations is both fun and purposeful.
Easton Full Metal Jacket 5MM
I’m not sure there is a more trusted arrow than Easton’s FMJ 5MM. Its sleek profile reduces wind drift, it pulls effortlessly from foam targets and it hits like a ton of bricks. Featuring a high-strength carbon core wrapped in a 7075-aluminum jacket, this shaft posts a straightness rating of +/-.002 inches and comes in spine size of 300, 340, 400 and 500.
Currently, my 2019 hunting rig – set at 29 inches of draw length and 70 pounds of draw weight – is powering my 476-grain, 28 ½-inch Easton 340 FMJ 5MM arrows at 285 fps. That means this arrow is hitting with 85.83 pounds of kinetic energy, making it an ideal choice for heavy-boned game like elk. The shaft’s heavy nature makes it whisper quiet in flight and helps quiet my bow as well.
I love the hushed, deep-penetrating results this arrow provides, and it’s a great shaft for close-range shots when being off a few yards isn’t going to take you out of the vitals. I love this arrow for in-your-face bull elk, whitetails from treestands and close-up turkeys. It’s also a great shaft for big bruins.
A new member to the FMJ line, and one I’m very excited to try, is the FMJ Taper 64. This innovative shaft has a profile that begins at the front with a 6MM diameter and seamlessly tapers down to a micro-diameter 4MM at the nock end. Easton says this boosts front-of-center (FOC) weight distribution and adds up to 30 percent more FOC to increase long-range accuracy. The taper area creates reduced friction to ensure maximum penetration.
Easton Axis 5MM
A proven staple in the Easton line, the Axis 5MM features an all-carbon build and a straightness rating of +/-.003 inches. Woven high-strength carbon-composite fibers promise durability, while the arrow’s micro-diameter size ensures pinpoint downrange accuracy. The shaft comes with X HIT 8-32 inserts and is available in spine sizes of 260, 300, 340, 400, 500, 600 and 700.
What I love about these shafts is that when I shoot them using the setup I mentioned before, I get a speed rating of 296 fps from a shaft weighing 421.1 grains. That means my Easton Axis 5MM 340 arrow is hitting with 82.08 pounds of kinetic energy. This is still plenty of KE for all North American big game, and it gives me a little fudge room should my yardage estimate be off when a snap shot presents itself. Testing using a high-definition microphone and recording system shows these shafts are just a tad louder in flight than the FMJ 5MM. These are my go-to shafts when getting on the ground and going after mule deer, elk and whitetails by way of spot and stalk.
Easton Surgical Flatline/Hyperspeed Pro
For years I trusted my pronghorn success to Easton’s Surgical Flatline, and while that arrow is no longer in production, Easton’s Marketing Director Gary Cornum informed me that the company’s new Hyperspeed Pro will basically mirror the specs of the Flatline.
The Hyperspeed Pro is a standard-diameter, high-strength carbon arrow branded with a +/-.001 straightness rating. The shafts come with pre-installed 6.5MM Microlite Super nocks and CB RPS 8-32 inserts. These available only-by-authorized-Easton retailer shafts come in spine sizes of 300, 340, 400 and 500.
When hunting light-boned wary game like pronghorn and Couse deer, I want an arrow that gets from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. When shooting a 354.4-grain Flatline fired from the same setup used with both the FMJ and Axis shafts, I get an average speed of 321.3 fps and a kinetic energy rating of 77.92 pounds.
In 2015, I shot a quartering-away pronghorn at 75 yards with an Easton Surgical Flatline. I got a complete-pass through, and the buck went only a few yards before tipping over. Cornum assured me the performance of the new Hyperspeed’s will follow suit, and I will be putting them to the test soon.
When it comes to wind drift, of course a lighter shaft is always going to drift more than a heavier one. And since the Hyperspeed Pro showcases a 6.5MM diameter, there is more surface area for the wind to press against. The Flatline, like the Hyperspeed Pro, isn’t a micro-diameter shaft, but let me put your mind at ease. I shot four three-arrow groups at a distance of 60 yards from my Spot Hogg Hooter Shooter in a steady 27-mph wind that hit the shafts on their left sides. Average wind drift was just 6.5 inches. A little testing in windier-than-normal conditions is all it takes to see how your arrows perform.
Now, I’m not saying you can’t use one single shaft for all of your big-game endeavors. You can. I’m simply suggesting that if you like to tinker and want to tackle a new project, playing with different arrows for different game may be just what the doctor ordered.