Do Crossbow Bolts Have Fletching?

Crossbows are equipment used to fire arrows or bolts as projectiles. They are handheld and operate by holding the bow in one hand while operating …

Crossbows are equipment used to fire arrows or bolts as projectiles. They are handheld and operate by holding the bow in one hand while operating a lever with the other hand, to draw and cock the bowstring.

Do crossbow bolts have fletching? That is a question that has been asked by many people over the years. Some say that they do, while others claim that they don’t.

Fletchings, which are the little wings at the back of the bolt at the nock, serve to stabilize the trajectory of the projectile, keep it traveling forward, and stop it from swaying from side to side. The three fletchings on modern bolts are composed of plastic. They are referred to as vanes by others. They have various lengths and are adhered to the bolt with adhesive.

In this article, we will discuss whether or not crossbow bolts have fletching and the purpose that it serves. 

Do Crossbow Bolts Have Fletching?

Yes, crossbow bolts come with fletching. The fletching is usually made of plastic and is glued to the back of the bolt.

Following are the different types of fletchings:

Straight Fletching

When using straight fletching, it is mounted in a straight line to the shaft’s centerline. You experience the least drag with this type of fletching. This design is common because it aids in the bolt’s flat trajectory as it approaches the target. 

Despite this, since broadheads have a bigger surface area than field points and the straight fletching has problems controlling the arrow, hunters typically avoid using this type while shooting broadheads.

Helical Fletching

With helical fletching, the vanes are twisted around the shaft. You see a lot of this design with aluminum arrows. The vanes are usually glued at an offset to the shaft, and the most common offset is 1/8 inch. 

The advantage of this design is that it provides more control over the arrow’s flight. The con is the vanes can make contact with each other, which will result in decreased accuracy.

Offset Fletching

The vane is positioned so that it is offset from the arrow’s centerline. The vane is on a straight line, but it is positioned one to four degrees off the arrow’s linear trajectory. Although there is a slight increase in drag, it improves arrow control. Most crossbow hunters favor this style of fletching.

Purpose of Fletching

As we mentioned before, the primary purpose of fletching is to stabilize the projectile in flight. It does this by providing aerodynamic drag and lift. The fletching also causes the bolt to spin, which further stabilizes its flight.

In addition, it provides a point of contact between the string and the bolt. This is important because it ensures that the bolt does not slip off of the string when it is being fired.

How do you attach fletching to a crossbow bolt?

Most crossbow bolts come with fletching already attached. However, if you need to replace the fletching or attach fletching to a bolt that does not have any, you can do so with glue or tape.

To attach the fletching with glue, first, remove the old fletching if there is any. Next, apply a thin layer of glue to the shaft and then place the fletching on the shaft. Make sure that the fletching is placed in the correct position before the glue dries. Once the glue is dry, your bolt is ready to be fired.

If you are using tape, the process is similar.

What If Your Bolts Don’t Have Any Fletching On Them – Can You Still Shoot Them Accurately?

If your crossbow bolts do not have fletching, you can still shoot them accurately. However, without the fletching, there can be the following possibilities that will affect your shooting experience:

The bolt will not be stabilized in flight and will not spin. This can make it more difficult to hit your target.

Additionally, without the fletching, there is nothing to prevent the bolt from slipping off of the string when it is being fired. This can cause the bolt to veer off course and miss your target altogether.

How do you care for your fletched crossbow bolts?

There are a few things you can do to make sure your fletched crossbow bolts perform at their best each time you use them in the field or on the target range.


First, it is important to store your crossbow bolts in a cool, dry place. If they are stored in an environment that is too humid, the vanes can become warped.

Additionally, it is important to store your crossbow bolts in a place where they will not be damaged. This means keeping them away from pets, children, and other potential hazards.


Before each use, it is important to inspect your crossbow bolts to make sure that the fletching is still intact and in good condition.

If you see any damage, such as cracks or splits in the vanes, it is important to replace the fletching before using the bolt.


Clean your crossbow bolts. This will help to remove any dirt, debris, or moisture that could cause the vanes to become damaged.

To clean your crossbow bolts, you can use a soft cloth and mild soap. Make sure that you rinse the bolts well and dry them completely before storing them.

Fletching Replacement

Eventually, the fletching on your crossbow bolts will need to be replaced.

When this happens, you will need to remove the old fletching and then attach new fletching to the bolts. This can be done with glue or tape. Once the new fletching is in place, your crossbow bolts will be ready to use.


Fletching is an important part of crossbow hunting. It provides aerodynamic drag and lifts to stabilize the bolt in flight. The classic image of a crossbow bolt might be a feather with brightly-colored vanes, but that is not always the case in reality. 

Many modern crossbow bolts lack fletching altogether, relying on their shape and weight for stabilization in flight. It is still possible to find bolts with fletching, however, to improve accuracy. So the next time you’re out hunting or target shooting with your crossbow, take a close look at your ammo you might be surprised by what you find!

We hope you enjoyed this article on crossbow bolts. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. Happy hunting!