Understanding Kinetic Energy

October 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Bow Tuning

Kinetic Energy – what is it?

The measurable “power” of your bow – it’s total kinetic energy output – ultimately depends upon just two variables: the mass of the arrow and the speed of the arrow.  Kinetic energy of an arrow can be found by using the formula KE=(mv²)/450,240 where m = mass of the arrow in grains and v = velocity of the arrow in fps.  If your bow setup ultimately shoots a 400 grain arrow at a respectable 250 fps (a typical field-output for a modern rig), your actual kinetic energy or “power” will be:

KE=(mv²)/450240
KE=[(400)(250²)]/450240
KE=25000000/450240
KE=55.53 ft-lbs

Kinetic Energy Calculator


Easton’s Kinetic Energy Recommendation Chart

Kinetic Energy Hunting Usage
< 25 ft. lbs. Small Game (rabbit, groundhog, etc.)
25-41 ft. lbs. Medium Game (deer, antelope, etc.)
42-65 ft. lbs. Large Game (elk, black bear, wild boar, etc.)
> 65 ft. lbs. Toughest Game (cape buffalo, grizzly, musk ox, etc.)

According to Easton’s recommendations, 55 ft-lbs of K.E. would be plenty for most popular North American game species.

Remember, bowhunting is a traditional and challenging sport.  And regardless of how you evaluate your numbers during pre-season, you can’t avoid the elements of chance during the actual hunt.  Shooting a live animal in the woods is quite different than shooting a block of ballistics gel in a laboratory.  In the field you’ll encounter unpredictable and complex variables that limit any mathematical model to just a “best guess”.  If you consider that your arrow must arrive on target then pass through layers of hair, hide, muscles, bones (perhaps), and a host of other tissues and that all of this is happening in an uncontrolled outdoor environment.

As many experienced bow hunters can attest, just as it’s possible to make mistakes and get lucky, it’s also possible to do everything right and come-up empty handed.  That’s just part of the sport.  With  good equipment, good technique, smart planning, and some common sense, you can surely tip the scales in your favor and maximize your chances of success in the field.

For more information visit our Archery Shop or if you need any Archery Equipment or Bowhunting Equipment.

Originally posted 2009-12-17 16:47:02. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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