How Do I Correct Excessive Whipping with Aluminum Arrows?

Question: I shoot aluminum arrows with a Whisker Biscuit. My arrows whip from left to right when I shoot. Why? How can I correct this? — Darin Waugaman, Vandergrift, Pa.


Five different things can cause sideways whipping arrow flight. You will have to work your way through them one at a time.

First, if the arrow is too limber, it can flex too much while it is accelerating forward on the string and cause this kind of whipping flight.  Make sure the arrows you use are the correct stiffness. The easiest way to know for sure is to look at the manufacturer's stiffness charts. You can easily find these charts online on the manufacturer's website.

Second, the arrow's fletching may be hitting the rest kicking the arrow to the side as it leaves the bow. Usually, you can see evidence of this on the rest or the arrow fletchings themselves. You should see slight signs of smudging or contact. You can also spray the fletchings with foot powder (athlete's foot spray) and see where (or if) it rubs off.  Sometimes you can fix it by rotating your nocks and sometimes you are forced to get a new arrow rest. If that is the case, I would definitely opt for a drop-away rest.

Third, the rest may be positioned incorrectly. Generally, you want to position the rest from side to side so the thrust of the string pushes straight down the centerline of the arrow. That means it needs to be lined up directly with the string.  However, small tweaks are sometimes required to center the arrow perfectly in front of the string. Move the rest a bit outward and see if that fixes the arrow flight. If not, move it slightly inward. If neither of these adjustments has any effect on flight, rest position is not the problem. Reposition it to the center and move on to step four.

Fourth, the string may not be traveling in a straight line. This can occur two ways. First, the bow may have leaning cams that cause sideways string travel during the shot. If the cams are leaning before you draw the bow, likely this is at least part of the problem. Take the bow to the dealer for help in getting them balanced and straight.

This problem could also be caused by the way you are releasing the string. If you put any sideways pressure on the string with your release aid (it is easy to do by drawing the bow too far so that your string elbow points too far behind you) this will also cause sideways string travel. Be very careful when practicing to pull the string straight away from the target at full draw and not even the list bit to the side.

The fifth and final reason you may experience sideways slashing arrow flight is related to your grip. If you hold the bow in a way that causes the bow to turn against pressure in your hand when drawing, it will snap back during the release.  Also, if you snap your hands closed at the instant of release, you can also cause poor arrow flight.

Experiment with your grip to find a position where you don't apply any torque to the bow handle.  Don't be afraid to try a few different hand positions. Also, be sure to keep the hand very relaxed until the arrow strikes the target.  Don't tense the hand during the draw or snap it shut during the release.

Hopefully, one of these tips will help you fix the problem. Good luck.

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