Your First and Possibly Future Carbon Arrows
A few months back we pondered a possible replacement for the much beloved but now sadly discontinued Easton ACC and ACG shafts. The Easton PROCOMP was, as far as its specification was concerned, extremely similar to the ACG however Easton categorised it as a compound only arrow. We talked with other archers who felt it was usable as a recurve arrow. Easton unfortunately never got back to give us a definitive answer if that was possible. We did ask and more than once! You can find the original article, links and reasons this is important in this post.
Since then we have had some interesting developments. Three new arrows from two different sources have popped up on the market. Merlin Archery‘s ALIMAX plus the ELITE & ELITE CA320 from Pandarus (a Chinese company). All three arrows are aluminium/carbon (A/C) and look to be targeting the mid range, A/C market now vacated by Easton. The ALIMAX is brand new but the ELITES have been around for a while if not always available. All three are stocked by Merlin Archery, so what are we looking at:
The first is Merlin Archery’s ALIMAX shaft. Coming in at £150 for the dozen, this price is very much in the ACC’s ballpark BUT even better, the shafts come bundled with break off points, nock pins and small groove nocks. That’s close to a £30 saving on Easton’s ACC pricing where you only got the shafts. Spine range is from 350-1000 serving the 70lbs compounder all the way to the 24lbs recurver. Taking the 600 spine arrow as representative, the shaft is a little beefier at 7.81gn/inch versus the ACC’s 7.5 but the outside diameter of the shaft is almost right on ACG numbers making it much slimmer in profile. Correctly tuned, this arrow should perform a little better in crosswinds than the ACC who was always a chonky boi. We can’t see anything about the shaft configuration but we’re going to assume its a parallel shaft as that’s the more likely option at this price. We could find no actual reviews as yet**. When they appear they will be interesting to read/view as this arrow, on paper, looks perfect for the new archer getting their first A/C carbons.
Next up is Pandarus and their ELITE shaft. Priced at £200/dozen, this looks to be an attempt to fill the void left by the retirement of the ACG. The ELITE also comes with the above pictured break off points, nock pins and pin nocks as well as collars (to protect the front/back end from damage) saving at least the same £30 as the ALIMAX, possibly a bit more when you consider the collars. Also like the ALIMAX, spines run from 350-1000. This shaft is advertised as parallel (like the ACG) but is quite light at 6.5gn/inch as opposed to the ACG’s 7.3 when comparing 600 spined shafts who are hopefully representative. Outside diameter is significantly slimmer at 4.9mm as opposed to the ACG’s comparatively bulky 5.45mm. This weight is similar to the ACE, while the profile is very X10-ish which might make for quite a quick arrow and one that can reach out to longer distances. There are reviews on You Tube although not as many as we’d like to allow us to poll an opinion. In general, they do look good but its early days yet.
Finally, we have the Pandarus ELITE CA320. Priced at £250/dozen, this barrelled shaft looks to be positioning itself as a much more competitively priced shaft than the X10 and perhaps intended to pinch its lunch. Once again all those components (pin, nock, collar and point) are supplied whereas the X10 price tag of £400+ is for shafts only. Admittedly the X10 is the X10 and Pandarus are nowhere near as famous but that’s an interesting price if performance is there. The spine range of 350-600 currently at Merlin somewhat limits the access of lighter weight recurvers (<30lbs) but does supply the shaft to all compounders shooting up to WA’s 60lbs limit. While the CA320 doesn’t quite match up to the X10 in straightness (±0.0015″ vs ±0.001″) and in weight variation (± 1gn v ± 0.5gn), when comparing 600 spine shafts, they are almost identical in grains/inch (7.06 gpi vs 7.00 gpi) AND outside diameter (5.1mm vs 5mm). This shaft is particularly intriguing because the X10 is well outside the contents of most archers piggybanks (even if they also look down the back of the couch) but this CA320 shaft is much more affordable. There’s been a limited sample of reviews but there has been nice things said about the arrow. Attractive finish, apparent high quality and has performed well. Its said international archers (probably Chinese) have had good results shooting this shaft – but that’s not independently verifiable at present – we heard it from the makers!
Review by Steven Hann of Archery Supplies
First look at the CA320 – video review
So to sum up. Three new shafts to consider. One looks to be a possible ACC replacement aka “my first carbon arrow”. One looks like its the second coming of the popular ACG and the last, is an ‘X10’ for mortal wallets. However, as always, do your own research .. for example this thread on AIUK about a hiccup in quality control at Pandarus. Archery kit is a fickle thing. One persons quality can be another persons shoddy crap (coughcoughhoytcough).
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We have, at last check, 2 sets of Alimax arrows in the club if you would like to have a look and talk with the owners. Spoiler: Their opinion was pretty positive.
There are 3 customer reviews for the Alimax on the link to merlin below.
Pandarus claim to be the biggest arrow manufacturer in China.
A/C arrows are easier to detect with metal detectors than pure carbons.
Pandarus ELITE CA320