If you already know the length and balancing point of your arrow, you can use the FOC Calculator below to quickly find the % of your arrow’s weight that is Front-Of-Center! (enter a number or slide the orange dots to the desired number)
FOC (Front Of Center) | Calculator
Arrow length from end of arrow shaft to the bottom of the nock groove (L)
Distance from balance point to the bottom of the nock groove (A)
FOC (Front Of Center):
You may have heard other bowhunters talk about the “FOC” of their hunting arrows. (Who knows, you may have even heard “The Ranch Fairy” ranting about high FOC).
But, what does “FOC” mean and how can you easily calculate it?
What does FOC stand for?
“FOC” stands for Front-Of-Center (Or Forward-Of-Center) and refers to the percentage of an arrow’s overall weight that is forward of the balancing point, or, “center” of the arrow.
Whether you just got your first rifle, grew tired of handguns at the range, or want to be a serious marksman, being able to shoot down-range takes a different skill set. Luckily, there are a few pointers that may help you take on the challenge of long-distance shooting.
Choose Your Rifle Optic Carefully
After the rifle, your biggest decision to make when it comes to long-range shooting is which optic to use. Some factors to consider are magnification, lens clarity, and parallax adjustment,
Whatever your decision, make sure to choose the best long-range optic for you. When you mount it on your scope, be sure to give yourself enough eye relief for the recoil.
Divide By Zero
Once you’ve picked your optic and mounted it properly, it’s important to zero your scope for the distance you’ll be shooting at. Hitting a long-distance target comes down to inches, so accuracy is key.
Zeroing your optic will give you that accuracy and allow you to hit what you aim at consistently. A good range to zero for is 300 yards in the beginning, because it gives a better ground for long-distance situations without being affected by the drop and weather that 500 yards causes.
Zeroing your rifle at 300 yards will help you once drop and weather that affects the shot more heavily at distances of 500 yards.
Check Your Posture and Breathe Easy
Your shooting stance can impact your shooting ability significantly, whether you fire prone or kneeling. One effective position was used by American snipers in Vietnam, in which you sit on the ground with one knee up and the other leg tucked underneath.
Every shooter has a stance that works for them, so find one that you’re most comfortable with. Remember to keep the stock of your rifle tucked tightly into the meat of your shoulder.
Also keep in mind that there’s a main vein where your stock is, so controlled breathing is essential. For long shots, exhale, wait for your heart rate to slow, and remain still before squeezing the trigger.
One important aspect for long-distance shooting is your routine afterward. After you clean your weapon, what do you do?
You might need to wipe off the lenses of your scope and place the lens caps, but taking care of your rifle makes a difference. Dust or dirt can affect accuracy and rifling, so you should invest in a gun safe to keep your weapon clean and protected between shoots.
Trust me, I am not trying to cause a problem with all this heavy arrow stuff.
I was failing.
The Ranch Fairy and promotion of high FOC (Front of Center) arrow systems began because of failure at impact.
High FOC Arrows | How and why they began to matter
Ok, so here’s the abridged version of how and why high FOC arrows became so important to me.
I really like fishing, bowhunting, and shotguns. (Of course, after 30 years of marriage – and still going – Mrs. Fowler is awesome too).
So anyway, I killed a 150” deer in 2009 and just lost interest for “deer” hunting. I became an adult along the way (which surprised me too), had kids, and helped them become quite competent adults and outdoors folks.
Do you want exit wound when encountering humerus breaks, shoulder blades, and spinal columns? High FOC is the answer.
I did NOT, however, lose my love for hunting mature, feral hog boars. They are every bit as challenging as a cagey whitetail, with additional features. Mostly, they suck up arrows like a vacuum and run off laughing.
When you ask the guys at the local shop why they get away so often, they say something like, “big boars are just tough.”
So, I jumped off the bridge with high FOC arrow builds and never looked back. What did I have to lose?
Fast forward 7 years and hindsight being what it is, bowhunting is very simple… bowhunting is 100% equivalent to what happens at impact.
And, how much penetration your arrow achieves will increase your success; not the bow, stabilizer, or whiz bang back tension release, or a miracle peep sight.
The broadhead and arrow kill the animal.
Which one is best? Let’s move on.
Murphy’s Law (Anything that can go wrong will go wrong) certainly applies to bowhunting. But, what if we could have things go RIGHT more often?
What is a high FOC arrow?
So, Fowler “land the plane man!” Get on with it… “what is a high FOC arrow?”
Now, before we continue, you must realize that FOC or “front of center” is the measure of how much total arrow mass is in the front. The industry says 8-12% FOC is normal.
A high FOC arrow starts around 15% and can go up to 30%.
Just as a comparison, we are talking about 100 grain points vs 300-350 grain points.
So, I’d agree wholeheartedly that 8-12% is normal FOC. But that doesn’t answer a simple bowhunting question. “Is that the optimal arrow FOC from bow to animal i.e., “in flight” or is it the optimal arrow FOC to get through the deer, hog or other animal?”
The industry just leaves that as an assumption while moving on to bow tuning and other shenanigans.
How to calculate the FOC of an arrow
To determine the front of center (FOC) of your arrow, first install the inserts, points/broadheads, wraps, vanes, nocks, etc that you will be using on the arrow shaft. Once you have completed your arrow setup use the equation in the graphic below:
Divide the length of the arrow (indicated by “L” in the graphic above) by 2.
Find the balance point. (The balance point is where the arrow balances perfectly on your finger or other object). Mark the balance point and measure the distance from that point to the bottom of the groove of the nock (this distance = “A” in graphic above).
Subtract center of the arrow measurement (calculated in step 1) from the balance point measurement (calculated in step 2).
Multiply the result from step 3 by 100.
Divide the result from Step 4 by the arrow’s overall length (L). This result will be the FOC of your arrow.
If you don’t want to take the time to do the math to find your arrow’s FOC, you can always use an FOC calculator. Just be sure your arrow has the inserts, points/broadheads, wraps, vanes, nocks already installed.
Finally, the jump to these higher FOC arrow systems almost requires you to buy better broadheads, made of great steel.
It’s not uncommon to have tool grade steels. The heads are machined, one-piece, and .08 thick.
They are solid. No fail points – (Rule #1 – Structural Integeriy… CHECK!)
For the bowhunter, this discussion may seem a bit off the rails. I would agree. The FOC town has an idiot, and I am he.
However, my pig killing stats have gone to almost 100%. Literally, if one gets away, I made a non-vital hit, and that’s on me.
But, the adult arrows don’t fail anymore. My arrows don’t break, the broadheads don’t bend or dull on impact, and penetration is almost always into the dirt (unless I hit a big off-side bone, which usually breaks, and turns the pig into a three-wheel drive unit. Pigs have short legs, so from an elevated position, its common to hit the ground before it passes through.)
In closing, I am vitally aware a “normal” arrow system kills millions of critters a year of all sizes.
Mechanical broadheads, the same. I got that. I’ve done it.
But, what if you had an arrow system you knew, for a fact, was going to achieve an exit wound in the absolute highest number of situations – all impact side humerus breaks, shoulder blades broken, and spinal columns snapped with almost 100% efficiency?
What if we accept Mr. Murphy is still alive and well, but we used a tool to level that playing field?
The next time you see your hunting arrow, you should ask, “Is my arrow system capable of almost any impact point OR only if I have perfect shot placement?”
Bowhunting is 100% equivalent to what happens at impact. And, how much penetration your arrow achieves will increase your success.