Does a Left or Right Helical Matter?

It’s an age-old archery question: “Which way should I fletch my arrows-left or right helical?”

Many have theorized that you fletch according to whether you are right or left-handed, some have said depending on if you are running field points or broadheads, I even saw an argument for fletching according to crosswinds. All are good factors to consider, aside from crosswinds, but they are not the reason why arrows spin one way or another.

The arrow’s natural spin, in fact, is determined by the way your strings are twisted. As we twist our strings clockwise, this will create a natural left spin of the arrow. Of course, we recommend fletching your arrows with a left helical, as your arrows will then be directed by the vanes/feathers in the natural spin of the arrow.

You’re probably wondering, “But what if I don’t want my screw-in points to come loose? What if I can’t get clearance on my bow with a left spin? What if I have to shoot with a right-spinning arrow to match my broadhead blades?” This is not a problem. As vanes have much more influence on the arrow than its natural rotation, you can fletch with a right helical which will cause the arrow to re-direct itself to spin in the opposite direction.

In a study done by Lancaster Archery Supply, they took a high-speed camera to record how a left and right fletched arrow will clock out of the bow. On the bow that they tested, the arrow had a natural left rotation. Of course, the arrow that was fletched with a left helical spun immediately upon release. The arrow that was fletched with right helical vanes started to spin left and then once it cleared the riser, the vanes took over and directed it right. At first glance of the video footage, the automatic answer would be, “Well, it would be dumb to even think about fletching in the opposite direction.”

They went on to interview professional archers about their opinion, and the general consensus was that they would prefer to fletch according to the arrow’s natural direction in most scenarios, because why would you want to go against the natural rotation? That only could leave room for inconsistencies- in theory. They also mentioned that in situations like bow clearance or hunting arrows, they do fletch right helical and haven’t noticed any differences. Some even went on to say that they have done tests of their own and may have seen small differences but didn’t feel that any of those differences would cost them a win at a tournament. A link to that video is here if you would like to see the footage for yourself:

All in all, we recommend fletching your arrows left as this is the arrow’s natural, but if you would like to fletch with a right helical, you certainly can without worrying about a loss in performance!

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