I just recently fletched new arrows and I decided to put them a little more downward than usual. I thought (with my particular fletching rig) I would get more helical twist into it.

However, I ended up with an arrow having about 1,5 " between the nock and the feathers. Is that okay? Or to generalise my question, how relevant is the distance between nock and fletching?

  • 3
    I don't actually know, so no answer. However, there is some parallel to rocketry. To maintain stability, I need the center of mass and the center of drag pressure as far apart as possible. Moving a rocket's fins (an arrow's fletches) forward, I move the center of mass forward a bit, and the center of drag pressure forward more, reducing the separation and thereby reducing stability. Here's some people way smarter than me to explain it: sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/392-rocket-aerodynamics
    – cobaltduck
    Dec 28, 2018 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


Based on my recurve experience.

There is often little relevance of the distance. If you're looking for greater helical rotation, you're better off using spinning fletches or even angling your fletches to get it to rotate more.

The biggest factor in the distance between the nock and fletching for olympic recurve, is very simply contact. Due to the effect of the Archer's Paradox, the arrow would flex one way, then the other as it leaves the bow due to imperfections of release. It is this effect that MAY cause the fletch to contact with the riser. Contact would cause two problems, a broken/damaged fletch (not something you'd want) and inconsistencies in your resulting shot. To avoid this, the fletching could be placed further up or down the shaft to avoid contact.

  • Also want to add that feathers actually fold up during contact, so clearance isn't as much of a problem there. And since you seem to put rotation as a priority, do check that your feathers are right wing or left wing as it would determine the direction of rotation. Heard that this affects accuracy as well
    – S. Ong
    Jul 12, 2019 at 10:00

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