Choosing  Broadheads

We've all  heard it time and time and time again. What's the best broadhead? Sorry, but there is no real answer to this. Many people may be asking because they've had bad experiences in the past.  Over the years broadhead quality and technology has increased dramatically. Most of the quality brand named broadheads will offer outstanding performance. You know the names. NAP, Grim Reaper, Rage,  Muzzy, Slick Trick, G5, ect...   

Fixed Blade or Expandable Broadheads?

Many archers will choose fixed blade broadheads because of better penetration and no chance of the blades opening prematurely. Fixed blade broadheads may need more tuning in order for them to fly like field points. Spin testing is a must. Any wobble at all and they will not fly correctly. The blades  act like a plane and are much less forgiving.  So greater care must be taken with shooting form. Extra steps in Bow Tuning, and Arrow tuning may also need special attention. It you want to see how well your bow is tuned just shoot a fixed blade broadhead. In fact I use Fixed blade broadheads in my tuning process even if I'm not going to use them to Hunt.  Why? They demand that every piece of your setup is correct. Including shooting form. How many times have we heard archers say not to buy xx brand because they don't fly right! Well guess what? It's probably not the broadheads, it's your set up.

Expandable Broadheads have taken the market by storm. I believe they are popular in part because you can just slap them on and they shoot "Just Like Field Points".  They also tend to be more forgiving to shoot. This is fine, however tuning every piece or your equipment will result in much better accuracy, penetration, be more forgiving, and give you confidence in your setup.  Let's talk about penetration as Expandables  have a bad rap on this subject. Take some shots at your target with field points. All of your arrows should go straight into the target.  If any or all of them are cocked to one side or up or down then you have some tuning to do.  Arrows that do not go perfectly straight into the target will lose most of their energy and thus penetration.  Also poor form, string hitting your arm, flinching, bad release, and the list goes on, can also result in poor penetration.

What Diameter cut should I use?

Today's bows are much more powerful and allow for a larger diameter cut. Just remember the  larger the cut the less penetration you will get. Also a 2 blade will generally penetrate better that a three blade.  Just simple science. For low poundage bows you will want something like a fixed blade small diameter broadhead.  For a fast bow you can pretty much use any diameter you want.  I have been shooting for over 30 years and have used from 1" to 1 1/2" cut.  I just don't feel anything larger is necessary. 

Crossbow Broadheads vs Regular Broadheads? 

Some broadheads are specifically designed for Crossbow use and will say this on the package. Why?  The powerful limbs and the short power stroke of a crossbow create a violent event when you pull the trigger. A  compound bow has much less powerful limbs and a longer power stroke  creating a smooth and silent arrow release.   So when shooting an expandable broadhead  from your Crossbow you need to make sure they won't open prematurely by using a broadhead that is designed for Crossbow use.   Some fixed blade broadheads are designed for crossbow use as well. Manufactures use different geometries designed to stabilize quicker with shorter crossbow bolts.  And then of course some broadheads are exactly the same just  re-packaged to market to crossbow users. 

How about weight? 

Weight correlates with Forward of Center(F.O.C.), Accuracy, Down range energy, fine tuning your bow, and it can also increase or decrease noise and vibration. In general most bows and crossbows will shoot perfectly with 100 or 125 grain broadheads.  A heavier broadhead may slow your bow down slightly but you may find your bow is quieter, more accurate, and pack more of a punch when it hits your target. Remember a heavier point will decrease arrow spine stiffness and a lighter point will increase arrow spine stiffness. My advise here is to shoot different weight field points well before the season starts to find the weight that shoots the best with your specific set up. If you don't feel there is any difference then stick with 100 or 125 grain.

"Points" to ponder

·         What weights are available in the broadhead I prefer?

·         Are they designed for my equipment?

·         Does the manufacturer offer replacement blades?

·         Can I re-sharpen them?

·         Blade Diameter can be a negative rather than a positive.


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