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Title says it all really, if I were out practice shooting on a boss, or if I were hunting, how could I tell if I can reuse the arrows I've just shot?

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While there are a variety of different arrows, there are some common signs you can look out for.

First of all are the fletchings. If they are supposed to be straight, check if they still are. Others have a bend or curve in them, if this is the case check if the curve is still correct. Also check to make sure they are fully attached to the arrow.

Second most common problem is the nock. Make sure it hasn't weakened and become loose.

Next is the shaft. Make sure it is still straight. You can either look down its length from the head (away from your eye) or spin it on your palm. The latter takes quite a bit of practice. For wooden arrows make sure there are no chips, scrapes or gouges out of the shaft. If there are it will have to be replaced.

Head / points. This is more of a concern on arrows where these can be changed. If you have such an arrow make sure they are well tightened, threaded correctly, and sit straight to the arrow. For anything with barbs make sure they are not bent.

Most commonly the only issue you will face shooting a boss is loss or damage of fletchings, and these can easily be replaced. Arrows are commonly made of aluminum, carbon fiber, or a mix of the two. Simple target shooting is unlikely to bend them. The only commonly used bow that uses wooden arrows is a longbow.

Hunting is different. If the animal moves, or you hit a bone, it can damage your arrows quite easily. I will add hunting with a bow is not a suggested idea unless you really know what you are doing. There are a lot more variables to take into account than hunting with a gun.

For a full day of shooting using twelve arrows, you might damage one, and only minor damage that you could repair yourself. They are made to withstand a lot of use. As an example mine cost £29 each. If I had to keep replacing them I would have no money left.

  • I have very little experience, but most of the damage I have seen is from arrows hitting each other. As such, maybe someone wishing to reduce damage should shoot at longer range (looser groups) with a larger target (to avoid missing altogether)? – Steve Jessop Jun 15 '15 at 11:09
  • The aim in target shooting is it get as close a group as possible, even at a long range. Most arrows can withstand hitting one another unless one directly hits another, point to nock. Even so nocks and fletchings are cheap and can easily be replaced. – Dynadin Jun 15 '15 at 13:13
  • Multi spot (usually triple spot) faces are made for exactly the problem of grouping too tightly at close range. They work just the way it sounds, shoot each arrow at a different target face on the same butt. A robin hood (hitting an arrow exactly end on, so that it splits) is only cool the first time. After that, it's just expensive and annoying. – Leliel Jun 16 '18 at 23:56

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