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Front of Center

Get more punch out of your arrows by focusing on arrow balance

June 17, 2014
By Brain Miller , Ohio Valley Outdoors

If there is something that is a highly debated topic among archery enthusiasts it is Front of Center (F.O.C.) concepts. Finding the perfect balance on an arrow for optimal flight is not an easy task. Many hunters struggle with the concept itself therefore ignore it all together.

I have seen the effects of F.O.C. firsthand and believe that it is important to a bow hunter. This greatly attributes to bone breaking kinetic energy and deeper penetration. There are also huge benefits with downrange accuracy which is seen most often beyond 40 yards.

The concept of F.O.C. is the percentage of weight on the front half of the arrow. This allows the arrow to fly steadier allowing the fletching to steer the arrow. The concept is the same for darts or Nerf Aero Flyer Footballs. The majority of the weight is placed on the front of the projectile with wings on the back. If the weight was placed on the back the projectile would flip around and wobble through the air.

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Hunters seeking the optimal performance work to get their front-of-center perfect in an effort to get pass-through on game every time.

Before deciding upon the optimal FOC it's important to understand what works. Most whitetail hunters want to achieve a 12-15% F.O.C. and I have seen some elk hunters go even higher. It is important to not get stuck in those percentages, and shoot what shoots best out of your bow. Today my arrows have an F.O.C. slightly over 16% and I am achieving amazing penetration and downrange accuracy; which is far better than I have ever experienced before.

Following are the steps for determining Front of Center:

1. Measure the total length of the arrow from the throat of the knock to the tip of your broadhead. (A)

2. Place a ruler under the shaft until it is balanced perfectly on the edge of the ruler. Measure the distance from the throat of the knock to the balance point. (B)

3. (B/A - .5) x 100 = F.O.C. %

That is great knowledge but what does it mean and how can you utilize this information? Know that there are some tradeoffs with F.O.C. Higher F.O.C. percentages give you better flight, downrange accuracy and penetration. So why not go to the extreme with an ultra-high F.O.C.? By adding more weight to the arrow your pin gaps on your bow become greater. So you have to ask yourself a question about your hunting; if you are after whitetails is there a need to go to this extreme? If your arrows are flying great and you are getting pass-through on game then there is not a need to increase F.O.C. If one of those is not ideal then assess your F.O.C. until you find the optimal balance.

A frequently asked question is whether to use 100 or 125 grain broadheads? The answer in not about which broadhead but how much F.O.C. do you need. In the past heavier aluminum arrows meant that many hunters used 125 grains to get the correct balance. With today's carbon arrows, the industry is designing many broadheads at 100 grains. I found that a higher F.O.C. gave me exceptional flight and penetration therefore I have recently used a 50 grain penetrator with a 100 grain broadhead. This gave me a 16% F.O.C. which is high but shoots exceptionally well from my setup.

Conceptually hunters with shorter arrows should try higher F.O.C. because short arrows have a tendency to be less stable in flight. An ideal total arrow weight is between 400-450 grains. This provides great flight without significant pin gap at longer distances. The more I have become knowledgeable of F.O.C. the greater my downrange performance and penetration. This difference becomes more apparent at 40+ yards. Remember to always shoot whatever flies best from your bow.

The flight of the arrow is critical when it comes to connecting with a trophy. It is important to understand that an arrow with the proper F.O.C. recovers quicker in flight and has deeper penetration. They shoot with a higher level of consistency at both long and close ranges. It is important for hunters to make informed decisions when outfitting your arrows.



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