How To Choose The Right Hunting Broadheads For You
When you’re out bow hunting, your broadheads are arguably the most important items in your kit. It’s therefore essential that you pick a model that suits both your bow and your shooting ability. Make sure it’s the right size and weight for the bow you’re using, and that it works with the way your bow is tuned and set up. You’ll also find that some broadheads are designed for specific types of prey, for example for small game. You should always go for a good quality product; while a superior broadhead won’t compensate for poor bowmanship, it will give you an advantage if you’re already a reasonably proficient archer.
Whether you buy from your local outdoor equipment store or from an online shop, broadheads are available from several different manufacturers. If you’re not sure which brand you want, pick one of the most popular ones. That way you know you’ll get a well-made product that flies properly thanks to its consistent head weight and standardized specifications. Hunting broadheads come in a number of different types, which in turn can be broken down into three basic categories. The following guide will help you determine which kind might be best for you:
Fixed blade broadheads: Many traditional archers favor broadheads with fixed blades, which are considered to offer the best wound penetration and cleanest blood trails. Fixed blade models are permanently set in the open position, and most are designed to cut on impact. Taken together, this means there’s no power wasted on the action of opening up when fixed blades hit their targets, so they’re able to penetrate the hide and produce an open wound even on tough-skinned animals like bears, elks and large deer; hence their enduring popularity with the big game hunting set.
The superior penetrative capabilities of the typical fixed blade broadhead stem from its configuration with a sharp central tip that is surrounded by two to four blades in an “arrowhead” formation. For extra cutting power, many models feature additional blades that protrude from the ferrule attached to the arrow shaft. Since they have no moving parts, fixed blade hunting broadheads tend to be stronger and more reliable than their mechanical equivalents. They’re also the most economical option as they can be sharpened and re-used many times. This model can be hard to control when used with a high speed bow, and also tricky to tune, but you can compensate for these shortcomings by precisely aligning the blades with the fletching.
Replaceable blade broadheads: Confusingly, these are sometimes also classified as fixed blade models, to differentiate them from mechanical or expandable broadheads. This relatively recent type of broadhead is now very widely used thanks to the convenience and good flight characteristics it offers. The ferrule attached to the arrow shaft is equipped with a sharp steel tip, as well as vertical grooves to house a number of blades that are then locked into place. This allows you to simply replace the blades whenever they are damaged or dulled. While the latest models fly nicely, they still don’t penetrate quite as well as fixed blades, and of course they’re more expensive too.
Mechanical broadheads: These are also known as expandable or open on impact broadheads and offer good flight abilities, especially at high speeds. This model features a set of blades that lie folded upwards and recessed into slots in the ferrule until the moment of impact, when they unfold automatically. Some expandables have long blades, which gives a wide cutting area for a speedier, more humane kill and a better blood trail.
Open on impact broadheads won’t always open as intended, however, resulting in game that’s wounded but gets away. In order to penetrate properly your arrows need to fly fast when using expandable broadheads, to make up for the energy lost upon opening. You’ll need to ensure that your kit is set up and tuned correctly, but even then it’s not always easy to use a mechanical broadhead successfully. On the upside, you will find that mechanicals fly straight and hit their targets accurately thanks to the blades’ being hidden and largely unaffected by wind resistance during flight.