Field Evaluation - Gold Tip Arrows By Keith Dunlap - Senior Field Evaluator
Dec 5, 2009 - 5:01:22 AM
Field Evaluation: XT Hunter 5575 Arrows from Gold Tip
The Gold Tip story started in 1989, when Marvin Carlston and Vaughn Anderson opened a small garage-based broadhead manufacturing business. About a year later, Marvin and Vaughn developed the world's first carbon graphite shaft arrow. Since then, the company's founders, together with a growing team of dedicated employees, distributors, and dealers, have transformed Gold Tip into a thriving business that offers more than 400 products, including wrapped carbon graphite shaft arrows, innovative lockable nock systems, precision inserts and adapters, and quality broadheads and tips.
When I was informed that Gold Tip was going to be sending their XT Hunter 5575 arrow shafts for my evaluation, I must admit that I was eager to give them a try. I tend to be a creature of habit, and I've been using Carbon Express shafts for many years. Gold Tip also included their VaneTec Vmax 2.0" HP vanes, Tip Grip adhesive, and their EZ-Pull target points to complete the setup of the XT Hunter carbon arrows.
The Gold Tip XT Hunter shafts, inserts, nocks, vanes, and adhesive arrived in good condition in secure packaging. Upon initial inspection out of the package, all shafts and components were intact, and I found no visible defects in materials or workmanship. The package included all arrow components that I needed to make arrows to my specs and evaluate them. The XT Hunter 5575 shafts weight a mere 8.2 grains per inch, which helps to keep the weight of the arrows down. I prefer a lighter arrow and greater speed for hunting situations. Each dozen XT Hunter Series arrows are laser inspected for straightness and then hand sorted for a guaranteed weigh tolerance of +/- 2 grains per dozen. XT Hunter arrows feature a straightness tolerance of +/-.003", come standard with new GT Series nocks and inserts and are available in Black, Realtree APG Camo or Permanent Crested finishes.
The Gold Tip XT Hunter shafts.
A word about choosing arrows, Arrows must be matched with your bow. Mismatched arrows may not fly correctly or accurately. Good arrow flight can be obtained if 10 to 16 percent of the arrow's total weight with point attached is in the forward half of the arrow. Arrows which are too lightweight for your bow may cause you to essentially "dry fire" your bow. Every arrow shaft has a degree of stiffness called spine, which means resistance to bending. Bending, known as "archer's paradox," occurs when an arrow is released from the bow. The forward thrust of the string causes the shaft to bend in one direction, and then react in the opposite direction as it speeds downrange. Spine strength must be matched to the bow's draw weight to minimize arrow flexing during flight. If your arrows are too lightly or heavily spined for your bow, the "archer's paradox" movements will be extreme, resulting in poor arrow flight and loss of accuracy (It's better to err on the stiff-too heavily spined-side). Arrow shaft length also must be matched to your bow. Drawing an arrow that's too short is dangerous because it may slip off the bow, while an arrow that's too long adds unnecessary weight and weakens the spine of the arrow. Arrow manufacturers publish selection charts that match bow weights to proper arrow spine. Click here for Gold Tip selection charts.
I cut each XT Hunter 5575 shaft to proper length for my bow and I glued the inserts provided using the Tip Grip adhesive. I used an EZ-Fletch tool with a 4-degree offset to install the VaneTec Vmax 2.0" HP vanes onto the XT Hunter shafts. I should mention that you can purchase Gold Tip arrows completely assembled with various fletching options, but I prefer to build my arrows to the specs that work for me. After the glue dried, I installed Gold Tip EZ-Pull target points into each arrow, and performed a quick paper tuning to ensure the bow used for evaluation of the arrows was tuned properly. Next, I was ready to complete my evaluation of the XT Hunter arrows.
Gold Tip EZ-Pull target points make it easier to pull from Block and 3-D targets.
I chose to keep the testing of the XT Hunter arrows simple. At the end of the day, a bowhunter simply wants enough kinetic energy, a sharp broadhead, and an accurate shot to ensure a clean kill of his or her quarry. The arrow selection is critical for two of these three variables. I've already mentioned some criteria for selecting the proper arrow. Obtaining enough kinetic energy is just a matter of arrow weight and speed. The arrows I used in this evaluation weighed 364 grains, including the 100 grain EZ-pull point. The speeds of my shots using 70 # BowTech Tribute were 304 fps. This equates to 74.71 foot pounds of energy (kinetic energy). The bigger the game, the more kinetic energy needed to get a clean pass through shot, but 74.71 is more than ample to put a large whitetail down with good arrow penetration from distances out to 40 yard.
Continuing my evaluation, I shot ends of three arrows each from 10, 20, and 30 yards and measured the results. My average groupings at 10 yards were approximately one inch, while my average groupings of three arrows from 20 yards opened up to two inches (see figure 3). This is respectable considering I am not a competitive shooter. My average groupings from 30 yards opened up a bit further, but I am convinced that it was the shooter and not the arrows to blame. The Gold Tip nocks and vanes held up very well during my shooting sessions, and I did not have any casualties to repair after taking 90 shots with the same dozen XT Hunter arrows. I also noticed that the XT Hunter shafts were very quiet during the draw, even quieter than the arrows I normally use in hunting situations. The XT Hunter 5575 arrows performed very well, and I was pleased with the results. You would expect this type of performance though, from the company that developed the first carbon graphite arrow!
My groupings from 20 yards were respectable with the XT Hunter arrows
XT Hunter 5575 Specifications as Tested:
Overall length: 32"
Weight: 8.2 gr / in.
Tolerance: +/- 2 grains of weight per dozen arrows
Outside Diameter: 0.295"
Internal Diameter: 0.246"
Arrow Shaft Material: carbon graphite
Finish/Camo Pattern: available in black, Realtree APG, or permanent crested finishes
Nocks: GT Series nocks
Vanes: 4" vanes, 2" HP vanes, or feathers available
Retail Price: $74.99 for shafts only (see website for specific pricing)
The XT Hunter arrows from Gold Tip are easy on the wallet, and perform very well. I have no complaints about these arrows, and might just have to try some of Gold Tip's Pro Hunter arrows next. I would recommend the XT Hunter shafts to anyone looking for a solid performing arrow without breaking the bank.
Pros: wallet-friendly, light weight at 8.2 grains per inch, accurate, quiet on the draw Cons: none
To see the full line of Gold Tip products, visit their website: Gold Tip