Nephi's Arrows Create Solid Bulls-eye
Three times in 1 Nephi 16 we are told that Nephi broke his steel bow. Never does it say that he broke any arrows. Yet when Nephi makes a new wooden bow, the text also says that he made "out of a straight stick, an arrow." (1 Ne. 16:23). Why would he need to make new arrows when he apparently still had a quiver full of old ones?
David S. Fox, a F.A.R.M.S. participant, has suggested a very intelligent answer. From archers, Fox has learned how important it is for a bow to be perfectly matched in weight and stiffness with its arrows. If the arrow is too soft, it will stray or fall short or behave erratically. If the arrow is too stiff, it is probably too heavy. "Trying to use a wooden bow to shoot the heavy arrows which would have matched Nephi's strong steel bow," says Fox, "would be like trying to shoot telephone poles."
Undoubtedly, Nephi's hand-made wooden bow would have had nowhere near the strength of his treasured metal bow. He would have needed new arrows. Hence, it is accurate that Nephi should say that he made an arrow as well as a bow.
Fox also finds that very little was known of archery in Joseph Smith's day. As a means of self defense or as a serious method of hunting, archery had gone out of vogue many years before. As a sport, it would not emerge for another 50 years. A solid bulls-eye for the Book of Mormon.