Ask a bowhunter "What broadhead is good for hunting?" and the answers and facial expressions can be very interesting. There are only three types of broadheads on the market, the cut-on-contact, fixed blade, and mechanical and they range from 2 bladed, up to 6 blades, or cutting surfaces, with cutting diameters from 7/8" up to 3".
With all the opinions, marketing hype, and arguments in the bow hunting world about broadheads, how is someone going to decide what to use? Do your own research based on what your bow set up is and the type of animals your are primarily going to be hunting.
The Different Broadheads
Cut-On-Contact (COC) Broadheads
This type of broadhead is original design and probably the oldest style of all the hunting tips. The tip is constructed with a sharpened edged point and has to 2 cutting edges. Although it too is a fixed blade, the tip design is where it gets the name cut on contact. This design had been napped from stone for many years, placed in a hand carved wooden arrow held in place by sinew and was effective for hundreds of years. Various designs of stone hunting heads were created to hunt different game. The forged steel broadheads came later which were also attached to a wooden arrow by splitting the wood and held in place with leather. Forging a cone at the base of the broadhead allowed the arrow to slipped over the tapered end of the wooden arrow shaft. Traditional COC blades still to this day are glued to a tapered end of a wooden shaft. There are also 3 blade COC broadheads on the market as well for both wooden arrows and modern arrows with screw in inserts.
|Magnus Stinger BuzzCut|
with bleeder blades
|Doe I shot with a Magnus BuzzCut.|
A few other companies that carry 2 and 3 bladed COC broadheads are Thunder Valley Magnus Classic, New Archery Products (NAP), Zwickey, Carbon Express Broadheads, Steel Force, Muzzy Phantom, Woodsmen, and G5 Montec.
Fixed Blade Broadheads
|4 bladed chisel point broadhead|
|3 bladed cone point|
|Blackbuck Antelope I shot|
Muzzy 100 gr 4 bladed
broadhead @ 42 yards.
Fixed broadheads do hold up well when striking bone because of the tip design however, because of the tip size when it strikes bone it will have a great reduction in speed and penetration. Cutting diameters of fixed bladed broadheads range from 1" up to 1-1/2" and with 3 to 4 blades these broadheads can also create good blood trails and tissue damage.
I have used a 4 bladed fixed broadhead before and had no blood loss despite making a perfect double lung chest shot from an elevated position. The doe that I shot ran 30 yards before piling up in an open field. The Blackbuck Antelope (pic right) ran 100+ yards after being delivered a lethal hit from 15 foot tall ladder stand.
I am not going to list all the companies that offer fixed bladed broadheads just because there are so many however, New Archery Products (NAP), Muzzy, Slick Trick, Wasp are a few companies that offer a good Fix blade broadheads. Look at any major online archery supply and you will find many more fixed broadheads.
The mechanical broadhead have been around for some time however the popularity if the Rage Broadheads makes it appear that they were the leader in the industry. Believe it or not mechanical broadheads date back to the 1950's. I can remember the Puckett BloodTrailer Broadheads that were sold in retail stores several years ago but were not highly sought after. In the early 1980's prototypes for Mar-den Vortex Broadheads were created and the Vortex broadheads are still in production today.
|L to R: Geronimo solid ferrule, Ply-Flex |
Barbed Fishing Point,
Red Bow Star Point (1953),
Pioneer Game Tamer (aka: Pizza Cutter)
A mechanical broadhead does tend to fly more like field points and planing is not an issue, a wider cutting diameter allows for a bigger hole, more tissue damage and larger blood trails. A mechanical broadhead is not a substitute for not tuning your bow. In order for a mechanical broadhead to get optimal penetration your bow must be tuned.
|A deer shot with a |
Mechanical broadheads with the over the tip design can cause arrow deflection at extreme angling shots. Even though the cutting diameter is large with mechanical broadheads it doesn't mean it is better. The large blades means more hide, tissue and muscle to cut, which could lead to reducing the arrows speed and preventing the arrow from passing through the animal. Also, having the blades move and the sear length they could strike bone which can cause arrow deflection, blade breakage of the small and thin blades, or arrow deflection.
In conclusion a Cut-On-Contact broadhead in my opinion is going to be the best all around broadhead to use for any game animal in the world and with any bow and it can leave a nasty wound and create rapid blood loss.
The COC broadhead can easily penetrated the course hair and thick hide of a big Texas hog, pass through an New Mexico elk with ease. It can also be shot at long ranges while hunting Muleys and Pronghorn from traditional archery (recurve, long or self bow) and compounds of any draw weight or draw length with filed point accuracy as well. However, always make sure that your gear is in great working order, properly tuned (paper tuned), and that you practice on a regular basis before you can expect any broadhead to be effective.
Whatever broadhead that you select use MUST be sharp and shot placement is the key to taking down any animal. The double lung shot with a razor sharp broadhead is going to do the job every time!