i started using feathers on VAP 600 carbons when i bought my martin mystic with shoot through cables for 3d. i shoot in the barebow division. 2 1/2 inch parabolic feathers clear the cables well through the draw. shield shape of the same length are a little higher and catch the cables through the draw. i buy trueflite as they're generally easier to find, a little cheaper and have better colours in the size i use.
i also use 2/1/2 feathers on my very light 3d target recurve vap 800. there is also a samick sage which i shoot off the shelf with timbers and 4 inch shield feathers.
fletching tape adheres well, and it's quick and easy to use with a bit of practice. damaged feathers fletched with tape are easily removed. good news when using wraps. no need to remove the whole wrap like you might if replacing damaged glued vanes. worth trying.
Definitely some good points and pluses for using feathers. Besides the "vulnerability" to getting feathers wet and the higher cost versus vanes, the only other main reason I see for using vanes is the documented speed loss over distance that occurs with feathers, due to the higher drag they produce (which is why they stabilize arrows so well). Archery Report ran a pretty extensive test in 2010 of several vanes and at least one set of feathers, measuring arrow speed up close, at 20, 30 and 40 yards, then graphed them all so the reader could see how each performed. You can read the report here (http://archeryreport.com/2009/10/fle...ew-speed-drop/). 4" Gateway feathers were tested alongside several vanes from different makers. In the "speed" test, at point blank range, the feathers were the fastest out of the bow, but they also slowed down the fastest over distance, falling to the middle of the pack of tested vanes at 30 yards distance. By 40 yards they were at or near the bottom of the slowest fletchings and ended up with the greatest drop overall. This report also tested the noise that each one produced and it was noted the feathers produced the most noise as well, again to be expected given the high amount of drag they produce in flight.
While the Bi-Delta vanes I use weren't included in these tests, I have used Blazer and 2" Fusion vanes, which were tested, for quite some time. In calm conditions all three of these perform so close as to be hard to discern any real difference, even out to 60-70 yards. It was when I tested all three in windy conditions that I discovered, at least for my setup, that my choice of 2.5" Sharkstooth vanes outperformed Blazer and Fusion vanes as the Sharkstooth fletched arrows were hitting/grouping very noticeably closer to my aiming point (i.e., less wind drift) out to at least 50 yards, which was as far as I shot in those windy conditions. Again, these are my observations with these three vanes and with my setup. Your mileage might vary but I thought I'd throw this out there for others to read and ponder.
Rockyhud, thanks for the link. They put an awful lot of work into that test and the results are interesting. There are endless variables in archery equipment it makes any test subject to "yea, but". I would have to concur with some of the observations of the feathers. I get equal launch speeds to VaneTech HPs, like a blazer, but much more distance between my pins, especially between the 30 and 40 yard pins.
My biggest "what if" is arrow weight? I launch heavy arrows at the tests 40 yard velocity. As speed decreases so does feather drag but is it proportional? What about increased momentum down range of a heavy arrow? Does it lesson the 30 to 40 yard decrease in velocity?
I'm currently launching a 340g arrow, 6.2g/lb, at something like 260fps. I have Broadhead tuned and I'm extremely happy with what I'm seeing out to 40 yards, which is as far as I care about.
The current question I'm wrestling with is 3" parabolic or 4" parabolic. I am having a tough time seeing a difference. I have been shooting them mixed randomly with zero difference in POI or group size.
Got some goose feathers a while back to try on my next set of cedar shafts, I'll be making those up next month. they'll be a bit heavier than the carbon I'm currently shooting out of my recurve. Tried a larger verison of a Rayzrs, cut a wild turkey feather into a 3" rayzr like feather, and got stable flight as far as I wanted to test 'em, hoping the the goose feathers will be a bit quieter, gonna go with a parbolic shape, just need to get a Young feather burner. Almost not worth looking for on Ebay, usually can get a new burner for the cost and shipping of a used one.