Today, archers and hunters have a wide range of bows, arrows, and broadheads to choose from. Broadheads are especially important in hunting. Thus, the kind of broadheads you’ll use when hunting will determine the extent of penetration into the prey. As a result, the kind of broadhead you use has to match the size of the prey you’re hunting.
The best broadhead for hunting is the one that can penetrate as deepest as possible into the prey. Choosing the wrong broadhead can lead to a flawed flight pattern and weak penetration. Thus, it’s important to learn more about broadheads to stand better chances of choosing the right broadhead. Let’s discuss everything you need to know about broadheads.
Types of Broadheads
Broadheads are available in different types. The most common types are cut on contact broadheads, chisel point broadheads, removable blade broadheads, fixed blade broadheads, and expandable broadheads. Let’s discuss these broadheads in detail.
1. Cut-On-Contact Broadheads
Cut-on-contact broadheads, also known as cut-on-impact broadheads, are specially designed to slice a target prey as soon as they hit it. Their mode of action is slicing through the prey rather than making a hole in the prey. Thus, broadheads are a great choice when using a bow that doesn’t produce a lot of energy to drive the arrow deep into the prey. Broadheads are also ideal for use with longbows and recurve bows due to the weaker pounding nature of these bows.
These broadheads continue slicing through the prey as they penetrate the fresh. Thus, they’re ideal for hunting prey that has heavy bones and thick hide. This includes game such as moose, elk, black bears, brown bears, and caribous among others.
However, these broadheads create just one wound. They have a thin tip that doesn’t cut a large wound on the prey. Thus, they often generate a little amount of blood trail such that it becomes more challenging to trace any prey that continues running away after being hit.
2. Chisel Point Broadheads
A chisel point broadhead features a chisel pointed tip with blades set some inches behind the tip. The design of this broadhead makes it deliver a bone-crushing power. The tip opens up the hide and smashes any bones it finds ahead, while the blades tear up the flesh. Its design makes it ideal for hunting game such as elk bow and whitetail as it’s able to split tough bones such as those on the ribs and shoulders.
Chisel point broadheads are also advantageous in that the chisel point ensures the blades are protected from damage as it’s able to split bones before the blades reach the bones. Also, chisel point broadheads are reusable and durable. However, chisel point broadheads don’t have a deep penetration power.
3. Removable Blade Broadheads
Removable blade broadheads are also known as replaceable blade broadheads. The blade is removable such that you can replace it in case it’s blunt or damaged and replace it with a sharp, new blade. Thus, you can replace just the damaged blades rather than disposing of the entire broadhead. Consequently, you’ll find it affordable to use removable blade broadheads as you don’t have to replace the entire broadhead.
These broadheads are also safe to use. You can carry the arrows with the blades removed such that chances of getting cut by the blade are minimal. Their removable nature makes it easier to sharpen the blades.
Unfortunately, removable blade broadheads have the disadvantage of getting stuck in the prey when removing the arrow. This makes it more challenging to get the blades out. You have to slaughter the prey carefully as you try to dislodge the stuck blade.
4. Fixed Blade Broadheads
Fixed blade broadheads feature blades that are permanently fixed onto the broadhead. Their design is advantageous in that they’re structurally strong since they come as a single structure. Their strong nature makes them powerful enough to split bones and penetrate deeper into the prey. Moreover, they’re able to cut a wide hole on the prey. Thus, they leave a large blood trail, making it easier to follow prey that runs away after being hit by the arrow.
However, fixed blade broadheads come with the disadvantage of being prone to hitting a target slightly off. The reason behind this problem is that their flat blades tend to plane through the air and its path is slightly altered. Thus, they require a lot of practice on broadhead targets before going out for real-life hunting. Also, a fixed blade broadhead needs more frequent sharpening.
5. Expandable Broadheads
Expandable broadheads, also known as mechanical broadheads, feature blades that are enclosed within the broadhead during flight and the blades expand outward upon impact. Since the blades are enclosed during flight, they fly with a lot of power. As a result, they hit the target with a lot of force. Once the target is hit, the blades expand outward to tear flesh on the prey. They’re able to make a large cut on the prey. Thus, the prey can lose a lot of blood quickly and leave a large blood trail for more successful hunting.
However, the movement of the blades makes them prone to mechanical failure. In case the blades fail to deploy upon impact due to mechanical failure, you’ll easily miss catching your prey. Also, they require more maintenance due to their mechanical operation.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Broadhead
Now that you know the types of broadheads available, there’re several factors you need to consider when choosing a specific brand of a broadhead. Let’s discuss the most important factors you need to consider.
I. Blade Count
Blade count refers to the number of the blades in a broadhead. Typical broadheads have 2, 3, or 4 blades. The number of blades in a broadhead determines its effectiveness in certain shooting situations. For instance, more blades create a bigger wound upon impact and penetration into the prey. However, more blades demand more care. For instance, you’ll find it more challenging to sharpen a broadhead with 4 blades than the one with 2 blades.
A broadhead with fewer blades is typically narrower with a longer cutting edge than a broadhead that has more blades. Similarly, more blades result in more mass than fewer blades. Thus, more blades are less prone to damage than fewer blades, especially when hitting hard bones. Also, a higher number of blades is likely to cause more tissue damage to the prey and make a wider hole. Consequently, more tissue damage and a wider cut allow for a more visible blood trail if the animal runs away after being hit.
The weight of a broadhead is a major factor to consider when making a choice. The weight of a broadhead is measured in terms of grains. Typical broadheads weigh between 75 to 150 grains. The most common weights are 100 grain and 125 grain. The weight of a broadhead should match with that of the arrow for a more accurate and balanced flight.
A lighter broadhead can cover a longer distance with more speed. However, it’ll have a less powerful impact due to its limited weight. On the contrary, a heavier broadhead will have a shorter traveling distance and less speed but will have more impact on the target and make a more damaging wound. Thus, you should balance between the speed of the broadhead and its power.
You should also consider the type of game you’re hunting when choosing the weight of the broadhead. Typically, lighter broadheads are more ideal for weaker and smaller game such as deer and turkey. On the other hand, a heavier broadhead is more ideal for hunting larger game such as bears and elks.
Also, the kind of bow you’re using should matter when choosing a broadhead. For instance, compound bows are more ideal for shooting heavier broadheads while recurve bows are more ideal for shooting lighter broadheads.
III. Blade Profile
Blade profile refers to the broadness of a blade. Blades that feature a slimmer profile are more ideal for hunting larger game with dense flesh such as bears and elks due to their deeper penetration power. On the other hand, broader blades create larger wounds such that they cause more bleeding. However, broader blades have a lower mass, making them more prone to damage than slimmer blades. Thus, broader blades are more ideal for targeting prey with softer flesh.
IV. Durability and Strength
The strength of the broadhead also matters. The best broadhead is the one that is strongly built for durability. Sturdy broadheads can be used several times before getting damaged. In this case, the material used to make the broadhead matters. For instance, broadheads made of stainless steel and carbon steel are extremely strong and durable.
How to Maintain and Take Care of a Broadhead
Your chances of succeeding in hunting will largely depend on how you maintain and take care of your broadhead. A damaged broadhead may not hit a target with the intended force. Here’re some tips on how to maintain a broadhead.
Tip #1- Always check for damages
A damaged broadhead requires replacement. The most common damages on broadheads result from rust and nicked broadhead blades. Also, ensure the broadhead is not loose. It should be tight enough to penetrate the prey. In case it’s loose, it may fail to penetrate prey, especially when hunting larger game with tough hide.
Also, when using a mechanical broadhead, ensure it’s in its perfect working condition. Ensure the blades remain enclosed when the broadhead is not being used. Also, ensure the blades expand outward fully and are not getting stuck. If the blades of a mechanical broadhead are not staying enclosed when the broadhead is not being used, or the blades are stuck and not expanding outward, then it’s time to get a new broadhead. Also, if you’re using a replaceable blade broadhead, ensure the blades are properly lined in place. In case they’re not straight, replace them.
Tip #2- Sharpen the blades regularly
The sharpness of the blades on a broadhead will determine your success in hunting. The blades need to be sharp enough to penetrate the prey deeply. For the best results, sharpen one blade at a time. Also, use a top-quality sharpener when sharpening the blades. The kind of sharpener you choose should be ideal for sharpening the kind of blades on your broadhead. For instance, if your broadhead has multiple, fixed blades, ensure the sharpener is narrower to get between the multiple blades.
Tip #3- Install the broadhead properly
You should install a broadhead carefully. Avoid using pliers to install a broadhead. Pliers can damage or break the blades. The best tool for installing a broadhead is using a broadhead wrench. Also, never try to install a broadhead with your bare hands to avoid getting injured. When tightening a broadhead, just tighten it tight enough but avoid over-tightening it. Over-tightening a broadhead can bend or damage it.
Tip #4- Keep the broadhead clean
You should keep your broadheads clean at all times. You should clean the broadhead after removing it from the pierced prey or any other dirty place it hits. It should be kept in a dry place at all times. Keeping it clean and away from moisture will prevent rust. Also, you can apply a light layer of oil on the broadhead before storing it to further prevent corrosion.
The kind of broadhead you’ll choose will mainly depend on your personal preferences. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a broadhead that comes with more penetration power and reliability, then you should consider a fixed blade broadhead. If you want to shoot prey that moves quite fast such as a deer, and you want to create a large wound for more blood trail, then an expandable broadhead would be your best deal. If you are a low-poundage hunter, then you should go with a cut-on-impact broadhead. Also, if you want a long-lasting and reusable broadhead, then consider a chisel point broadhead. On a similar note, removable blade broadheads are the safest to carry and affordable to replace.
Also, remember to consider factors such as weight, blade count, and durability of the broadhead. Also, remember to take good care of your broadhead by keeping it clean, sharp, and installing it properly. With this information in mind, you’ll be able to make a more informed choice when choosing a broadhead for more success in hunting.