There are a lot of options on the market when shopping for broadheads. Manufacturers are constantly improving the existing models and adding new broadheads to the mix every year. As you shop, you will need to make decisions about the size and the number of blades the broadhead employs. This guide will help to simplify your selection process, and provide tips for finding broadheads to fit all your hunting needs.
A Bit about Broadheads and Bow Hunting
Broadheads are important because they are the very thing that penetrates your prey. The broadhead needs to be of high quality to ensure an accurate shot and an ethical kill. Broadheads with a cut on contact head begin penetration the moment they meet the animal’s flesh. Ideally, a broadhead should be durable enough to cut through the animal and leave a large exit wound, ensuring an easily trackable blood trail.
Considerations for the best broadheads for your weapon all come back to the ethical kill. Although form and skill-level can also contribute to an ethical hunt, high quality broadheads can make it easier to penetrate prey and kill with near immediacy. Durable broadheads can also assist in leaving a large enough wound for an unmistakable blood trail so you don’t lose your target in the woods when the blood trail fades away.
Chiseled Edges & Cut on Contact
Top notch broadheads will come with one of two types of blades: Chiseled Edge Tips or Cut on Contact. When the blade features a chiseled edge, it means the broadhead will begin to penetrate the flesh on impact. The benefit of using chiseled edge broadheads it that the blade will remain inside the prey long enough for the kinetic energy behind the arrow to catch up, and drive the arrow through the animal at an appropriate angle and trajectory for an optimal kill. These broadheads are extremely durable and have been known to tear through bone with ease, and no damage to the broadhead itself.
The second type of broadheads have a cut-on-contact design, which actually mimics designs of arrowheads made by Native Americans that cut through flesh immediately using very little energy. If you are using a low poundage bow or if you are an adept archer, you may find that the cut-on-contact broadheads are a more appealing option; more damage upon impact with less exerted force.
The downside to cut-on-contact broadheads is that they only establish one wound channel. If the arrow strikes an animal at the wrong angle (especially if you are relying on a two blade broadhead), the blood trail might end up being limited. Increasing the number of blades to three or four can often eradicate this issue. Bear in mind that cut-on-contact broadheads are not very forgiving when striking bone, either, and may require replacement after striking bones following penetration of the prey.
Broadhead and Blade Configuration
The two main types of broadheads are fixed and mechanical, however both types will be more complex to use if there are more blades at the tip. The neophyte archer is advised to simplify their shot by relying on broadheads with a limited amount of blades. More adept hunters might prefer having three to four blades. As mentioned earlier, the blades are fixed and fit or slide into a ferrule. A small tip holds the blades in position.
“Fixed” broadheads are a single, one piece broadhead, and are one of the oldest types of broadheads available. The majority of these blades are fit with cut-on-contact designs. Fixed broadheads are ideal for whitetail deer, bears, and elk.
The diameter of most fixed broadheads is around 1 ¼ inches, so the entry/exit wound is sizable enough to ensure fast bleed out if the kill shot isn’t instantaneous. This is a prime consideration for an ethical kill. Fixed broadheads have a fairly flexible construction, even when they strike bone like shoulder blades or ribs.
Fixed broadheads are not without their disadvantages, however. There is some necessary upkeep; resharpening or replacing the heads from time to time is a must. Additionally, fixed broadheads might slightly hinder the flight of arrows in faster shots. As a general rule, the faster the bow, the less reliable a fixed broadhead will track during flight. It is a good idea to do some practice shots with the broadhead tips to see what kind of grouping you get down-range before you head to your favorite local hunting spot for the real challenge.
Blades on fixed broadheads are non-moveable and remain set in one position. Many hunters prefer the fixed broadheads because they leave a sizable exit wound, ensure a solid blood trail, and you can simply replace the tips by dropping in a whole brand new blade.
To replace a dull blade, simply insert it in the metal ferrule once you have unscrewed the arrow tip. Be mindful that changing your own blades is dangerous and you run the risk of self-injury. Additionally, keep in mind that blade replacements are often on the expensive side, and don’t always deliver the best possible penetration.
Alternatively, mechanical broadheads, or expandable broadheads, are those that have moveable parts. The mechanical broadheads on the market today are better than their predecessors that were often fragile and unreliable. In the past, mechanical broadheads were actually deployed from the front, meaning the impact of the of the broadhead triggered the expansion of the folded blades. Sometimes, the front triggered mechanical broadheads only expand once inside the prey, leading to smaller blood trails.
The newer makes have a slip cam, or something similar, that triggers the blade expansion from the back of the broadhead. The blades still remain tucked away during the flight towards the selected target. This increases the aerodynamic properties of the broadhead, and allows for the broadhead to work similarly to a field or target point. As longer blades are being used to create the newest mechanical broadheads, some have a cutting diameter of up to four inches.
These broadheads will fold into the body and remain that way as the arrow is in flight. Upon reaching the target, the blades expand to make the penetration entry wound. The folding blades minimize drag and allow for speedier flight, and will expand as they move through an animal’s flesh. There are alternative versions of these mechanical broadheads where the blades open following the penetration of the prey.
Mechanical broadheads have excellent flight attributes and appeal to even the most particular of archers. The best mechanical broadheads offer superior penetration and the blades work best with thin skinned animals. The best results when using broadheads will come from targeting your prey broadside; on deflections, the performance and penetrative power of mechanical broadheads may diminish.
Still, there are downsides to using the mechanical broadheads of today. Additional moving parts increases the likelihood that certain parts might not work as they should. The potential of a failed deployment is not a concern with fixed broadheads.
Best Mechanical Broadheads
Excalibur X-Act tips stand among the best mechanical broadheads you can buy. These 100-grain arrows are available for sale in packs of three. The midrange pricing as well as the specific attributes make these broadheads appealing. The Excalibur broadheads ensure flawless accuracy, explosive velocity, and the promise of immediate expansion of the blades on impact. The mechanical units by Excalibur measure 1 7/16 inches in diameter. The broadheads have a Clip Loc® feature that controls the blades so they remain secure during the crossbow’s acceleration. This feature wipes out the need for O-rings or rubber bands to secure the blades.
Best Fixed Broadheads
Carbon Express makes the 55545 Mayhem EXT fixed broadheads. They are available in packs of three, each weighing 100 grains, and are made of exceptional grade stainless steel. These broadheads feature a three blade construction, and since each unit has a low profile construction, they fly like a light field point. The blade thickness of each unit is 0.017 inches and each blade has a one-inch cutting diameter.
Also among the best fixed broadheads are the Trocar three blade, 100 grain units by Muzzy Broadheads. These units are available in packs of three and feature an offset blade. The arrow has maximum stability due to the right helix design. The blades, measuring a thickness of .035 inches, ensure a larger entry and exit wound, and a larger blood trail, respectively. The Helix Blade design contributes considerably to the accuracy of the shot. The ferrule and blades are made of stainless steel materials.
Best Broadheads for Deer Hunting
When hunting deer specifically, one of the best broadheads on the market is the G5 Montec broadhead, which is ideal for a compound bow. The G5 Montec broadheads are fixed offerings that deliver the same amount of accuracy as mechanical broadheads. Many hunters consider the G5 the number-one choice when it comes to broadheads for deer hunting. These broadheads are moderately priced and have blades that are actually multi-tapered to make them extra sharp. Spin testing and Monoflow technologies ensure a profound degree of accuracy. These broadheads are made of solid stainless steel and feature three blades. They are designed for use when hunting and work with the crossbow and compound bows.
Best Broadheads for Elk Hunting
When it comes time to take down larger prey like an Elk, you will want the best broadheads you can buy. For this, you will want to look into the 100 grain Boss SST 4 blades by Wasp Archery Products. Manufactured in the USA, the Boss broadheads are aerodynamically constructed with a short ferrule made of aluminum and a four blade design for a greater degree of cutting and larger entry/exit wounds. With the Boss broadheads, you are getting tips that are honed, precision ground, and super sharp blades with edges that can tear through bone.
Best Broadheads for Turkey Hunting
Specifically for the turkey hunt, the Spitfire Gobbler Getter three pack by New Archery Products contains blades that are 100-grain broadheads, preferred by pro archers everywhere. Spitfire is considered a trusted broadhead for its notable performance and pinpoint accuracy. The broadheads are made of Diamize® blades which are rigorous and weather resistant. The blades are made with Micro Grooved Slimline® designs which improve penetration power and accurate flight. The broadheads offer a shock-inducing turkey point to ensure fast takedown of your prey. The blades are available with a cutting diameter of 1 ¾ inches and in 100 or 125-grain offerings.
Best Broadheads for Hog Hunting
For hogs, look no further than the X-treme Two Blade Broadheads by Rage. The company proudly calls the X-treme Two Blade broadhead “the most lethal” to ever be created. The blades feature a 2.3 inch diameter when cutting into prey, and since each broadhead has a sweeping blade that is angled precisely the kinetic energy built up from flight is maintained even longer. This promises greater penetration of the prey and even bigger entry/exit wounds to ensure quality blood trails. These broadheads are made with a Shock Collar patented structure so blades remain intact and in place until impact. The broadheads feature an easy to recognize yellow aluminum ferrule composition. Each broadhead has a 100-grain weight, and will work with bows featuring draw weights greater than 60 pounds. These broadheads are sold in packs of three.
The Four Blade Arrow Broadhead by Stinger Buzzcut is also available in packs of three blades and is among the best broadheads for hogs. The broadheads weigh 100 grains and the units are constructed from 420-grade stainless steel. The main blade is serrated and .040 in terms of thickness. These broadheads come in 85, 100, 125, and 150 grain and they also come with a lifetime replacement guarantee from the product manufacturer. Additionally, every broadhead is spin tested to ensure its quality. The serration of the blade is chiseled; this feature ensures a more ethical kill as the cut inside the prey is more efficient and effective. If the kill is not immediate, entry and exit wounds are larger thereby ensuring more reliable blood trails. The stainless steel grade used in these broadheads is knife grade quality. These broadheads are precision machined to ensure a good shot and flight every time you release a projectile from your bow.
There are many factors that will have to go into determining what broadheads will serve you best. Consider the details of your hunting excursions, the type of prey you are hunting, and your skill level, when purchasing broadheads. Buying the right broadheads is not just about getting good options at a reasonable price, but about choosing the equipment that will maximize the likelihood of success in your hunting endeavors while simultaneously making the most of your archery skills, and ensuring an ethical kill. See if you can test some of the competing broadheads on the market to see which equipment works best for your own individual needs.