According to the International Archery Federation, the leading organization for archery competitions, all of an archer's arrows must be identical from head to fletching, including pattern and colors. Traditional archery arrows follow a certain design and must meet the specifications set by the archery organization. Different heads and diameters are allowed, but archers must pay attention to the type of competition to use the correct arrow.
Traditional archery arrows consist of a shaft with a head nock. The shaft is the main component of the arrow, made from wood or bamboo. More traditional archery arrows are made from wood, such as Port Orford cedar. U.S. Archery rules state that "arrows of any type may be used provided they subscribe to the accepted principle and meaning of the word arrow." The maximum diameter of a shaft cannot exceed 9.33 mm. The head of an archery arrow may not exceed 9.4 mm.
The type of point or head depends on the target. Traditional target points are shaped like bullets that penetrate target butts and do not cause a lot of damage. Blunts are also used in target shooting. Other arrow tips are simply sharpened end points on the shaft without a separate head point. In archery, the arrowhead depends on the specific competition, whether indoor, outdoor or field. Flight arrows break down into two types, regular flight and broadhead flight.
At the end of the shaft, the fletching adds stability to an arrow's flight. Fletchings come from feathers and are attached to the opposite end of the shaft from the arrowhead. Traditional archery arrows use a three-feather fletching. For natural fletching, the feathers must come from the same side of the bird. Flight archery often uses razors instead of feathers to add resistance. In archery competitions, the colors of the fletching must match the nocks and cresting patterns.
Cresting essentially adds an artistic element to arrows. In archery, a cresting designates the arrows from one archer to another. Crests range from simple combinations of different colors to more intricate designs that also involve the colors of the fletching feathers. In traditional archery rules, the cresting must match the fletching. In addition, all arrows in archery competitions must show the archer's initials or full name.
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