Not all arrows work on all bows. In fact, only arrows with very specific qualities will work well on your bow. Using the wrong arrows will cause poor performance and can even be dangerous. For example, using a light recurve arrow on a powerful compound bow could result in the bow breaking/exploding.
First you need to know your spine rating. Spine rating is just a measure of how bendy the arrow is. Higher spine numbers mean more bendy. As an arrow is released from the bow, it will flex. Having the right spine is important for proper arrow flight. Spine ratings are numbers that are particular for each arrow manufacturer.
While this is not technically perfect mathematically, a great way to get started is to take your draw weight and line it up with your draw length plus one inch on an arrow spine chart. Here is an example chart from Black Eagle, a high end arrow manufacturer.
Using this chart, let’s do an example: Imagine if you have a draw length of 27 inches, you would use 28” as your arrow length. (Email to ask me why the extra inch and I will tell you!) Then you use your draw weight of 25lbs. That would have you using a 600 spine on a compound bow, or a 700 spine on a recurve bow.
Your draw weight, arrow length, and arrow point weight are needed to pick the correct spine. If your draw weight changes significantly, you will likely need new arrows to match. Once you have this spine rating selected, you can choose the fletchings, nocks, and all other details to suit your preferences.
The second way to get good arrows is much easier and generally the best way for a new archer. For beginner archers, we recommend working with an experienced pro-shop which stocks the kind of equipment you are shooting. It is expensive and time consuming to build arrows on your own- pro shops are set up to do this type of work! Additionally, big online distributors like Lancaster and 3 Rivers have numbers to call where you tell them about your bow, and they'll help select, make, and ship your completed arrows.
There is far more to discuss about arrow selection that we can quickly cover here, so stay tuned for more information about arrow selection in the future!