By Mark V. Lonsdale
Bare shafts with no fletching can be a useful tool when selecting or tuning arrows. The feathers or vanes on an arrow quickly correct the flight of an arrow but can also mask tuning issues. Even if the shaft is too stiff or too weak, the fletching will still straighten the arrows flight and may even score well.
However, a bare shaft, without the benefit of that stabilization, will expose any issues with spine selection, length, or tip weight. A weak shaft will print to the right (for a right handed shooter) while a stiff shaft will go left. This gives the archer three options: 1. Change to different stiffness of shaft; 2. Add or subtract tip weight; 3. Go to a shorter or longer shaft. Shortening a shaft stiffens it, while adding tip weight will increase flex.
If the arrows are correctly spined and tuned to match the bow poundage and draw length, then the bare shaft should score very close to the fletched arrows of the same length, stiffness and tip weight.