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Normally you measure the arrow from the nock (so, where the string is placed) to the end of the shaft. If you want to have a 29" arrow, the shaft itself has only about 28,5" cause the distance between the shaft and the nock has to be added.

Measurement

But what if you order a bare shaft (which comes without a nock) at full length. If they say 31" does it mean that this shaft would be ca. 30,5" or do they actually have 31", so that my arrow would be 31" + ~0,5"?

What happens if a shaft has a nock attached from scratch? Are they measured from the bottom of the groove to the end of the shaft?

4
+100

From my experience the arrow shafts will be exactly the length as specified, at least with all the vendors I dealt with so far. (It might be safest to just ask them however!)

If you're putting together your own arrows from scratch, you're sort of expected to tinker around to a certain degree, and this might include shortening the shafts to your optimal length.

This is easy for wooden/aluminium shafts, and a bit trickier for carbon shafts. In the latter case however, it is likely that you'll be shooting recurve or compound bows anyway. On these bows the last bit of arrow length fine-tuning is generally done adjusting your clicker * rather than having millimeter-precise arrow lengths.

Just as a side note: If you're actually a good enough shot that these couple of mm in length really matter to you then hats off. Generally I'd say that there are plenty of more important factors when buying arrows, like correct weight, stiffness, balance, ...

*) Example of a clicker on a recurve bow: https://jordansequillion.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/clicker.jpg

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    It isn't so tricky with carbon shafts, you just need to have the right tools and be willing to sacrifice a few shafts in learning how. I do lots of fiberglass work which is very similar, and it's just a matter of doing some reading and having the right tools. – Escoce Dec 9 '15 at 17:53
  • You're right of course. For people new to this I'd suggest an additional training shaft you can just cut into little pieces to get a feel for it. Can be a lot cheaper than ruining several of your expensive carbon shafts... – fgysin Dec 10 '15 at 9:23
  • I started using my broken arrows. Just cutting the shafts until I got the idea – Desorder Apr 4 '16 at 1:30

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