Mechanical or Fixed Blade: The Best Broadheads for Whitetail Deer Hunting
The #1 Broadhead for Whitetail Deer Hunters Comes From MUZZY!
Super reliable year after hunting year! Muzzy sets the standard for fixed blade broadheads in terms of durability and accuracy.
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Broadheads are a vital piece of archery equipment for any bowhunter. These razor sharp heads and their large cutting diameters are used to harvest all types of big game. However, our focus will be on the exciting sport of whitetail deer hunting and the best tip for your specific bow or crossbow.
Broadhead manufacturers have engineered so many different types of heads that hunters often become confused when deciding which one to choose. Trust me, I can relate. When I first took up bowhunting several years ago, it took research such as this to narrow down what broadheads would work best for my setup, because not just any broadhead will work in many situations. My hope is that this simple guide will assist you in picking the perfect broadhead for your bow setup.
Mechanical or Fixed are Your 2 Choices in Broadheads
Every year manufacturers are tirelessly working toward the perfect broadhead. They develop new models to help maximize cutting diameter while minimizing flight deviation and increasing penetration. So, in short, even if you are satisfied with the broadhead you’ve been using, it may be worth looking into some of the newer heads, as technology continues to advance in the archery field.
Broadheads can be broken up into 2 distinct categories: fixed blade broadheads and mechanical broadheads. Both come in several configurations, from two blade, four blade, cut-on-contact, chisel point, etc.
Broadhead selection can be based on several different factors. Some bowhunters select broadheads based on personal preference or speed or the type of game they are hunting. All are valid reasons for selecting your broadheads.
Speed...The Most Critical Factor in Determining a Broadhead Choice
Bow hunters are often intrigued by new heads, but are reluctant to switch from the broadhead that they have been using for years. Speed is probably the most critical factor when selecting the proper broadhead. Generally, those who shoot slower arrow speed should concentrate on getting a fixed blade broadhead with a cutting diameter no greater than 1.25 inches. This will help maximize your broadhead’s efficiency with slower speed bows. Those bowhunters with speeds of approximately 280 fps or greater have many more options at their disposal. These speeds allow the bowhunter to use broadheads both mechanical and/or fixed blade with huge cutting diameters and multiple blade configurations.
The amount of blades on a broadhead plays a large role in the performance of the broadhead. The most important thing to remember is the more blades the more cutting surfaces you have. This, in theory, will lead to better blood trails when you use a 4-blade vs. a 2-blade. Most bowhunters will agree that a three blade head is a good place to start for anyone new to the sport.
Fixed Blade Broadheads:
Fixed blade broadheads can be divided into 2 categories - solid body and replaceable blade.
Replaceable Solid body Cut-on Contact
Replaceable blade broadhead, the heads your dad used to shoot, are very popular because they allow the bowhunter to replace the blades when they become dull. The leading manufacturer of these broadheads are New Archery Products (NAP), Muzzy, and Wasp. The replacement blades are far less expensive than the actual heads. This allows a bowhunter to always have razor sharp blades without having to buy new heads every season.
One of the drawbacks to replaceable blade broadheads is the blades themselves are replaceable. This makes them subject to malfunction when they strike hard objects such as bones. The blades can sheer off or just flat break on impact. Another issue worth noting is the blades sometimes come slightly loose causing them to vibrate while in flight decreasing your accuracy.
Cut on contact are another type of replaceable blade broadhead. These heads have the distinct ability to slice clean through an animal hide vs. the chisel point that must rip through with its tip before getting to the blades on the head. Most bowhunters are willing to use cut on contact heads on game up to whitetail size and no larger.
Solid body heads have been gaining in popularity every year with bowhunters around the world. The leading manufacturer is G5, whose Montec broadheads have revolutionized the world of solid body construction. The solid body head is made from one piece of 100% steel and molded into a broadhead. The solid body head offers modest cutting diameters of anywhere from 1″- 1.5″. These heads offer excellent penetration and are not as susceptible to breaking as their replaceable blade counterpart.
The biggest drawback to these heads is their blades go dull and are not replaceable. Some manufacturers have come up with sharpeners to sharpen the blades, but none the less the task is somewhat tedious.
These broadheads have had a very difficult time overcoming the initial perception of many bowhunters. These type of heads were heavily scrutinized in their early years for their failure to perform. My how times have changed. These heads can now lay claim to a huge portion of the broadhead market and rightfully so. Some of the leading manufacturer of mechanical broadheads are NAP, G5, Wasp, Crimson Talon, and Rocket Aeroheads.
These heads offer field tip type accuracy with zero planing making them easily the most accurate type broadhead on the market today. They also boast an extremely large cutting diameter, up to 3 inches, boring huge holes. These large cutting diameters are excellent for deer size game, but not suggested for anything larger. Stick with no larger than 1.5 inch cutting diameters when seeking large, heavy boned game.
Mechanical broadheads offer accuracy, large cutting diameters, and speed. They do however have some drawbacks as well. Manufacturers suggest that bowhunters have at least 55 lbs. of kinetic energy out of there arrow before using these type heads. This will help ensure that the heads open fully and maximize the cutting diameter on deer size game.
Bowhunters will need at least 65 lbs to get the job done on elk, bear, etc. Another issue often brought up with mechanical broadheads is what we call the “pogo sick” effect. This occurs when the head hits heavy bone with one or even two of the blades. This causes the head to “snag” on the bone and all of the kinetic energy to be lost in the bone. This greatly reduces penetration.
Too Many Broadheads? Nah!
Some Final Thoughts
In closing, no matter which type broadhead you choose with the proper amount of practice you will be successful. It is important to remember that your bow must be tuned and you need to select the proper weight broadhead for the archery equipment you are using. Industry standards recommend 100 grain heads for carbon and lightweight aluminum shafts, and 125 grain heads for those bowhunters who shoot heavy aluminum shafts. Bow tuning is critical for accuracy with broadheads. A few quick tips to ensure your bow is properly tuned:
Make sure if you shoot a 2 cam bow that the cams are synchronized. Rotate nock to eliminate any fletching contact Check rest and string to make sure everything is centered Shoot through paper at a distance of 10-15 feet to look for any tailing of arrow in flight. Adjust rest to compensate for tailing.
These few steps do not take very long, but will save tons of time while attempting to zero in your new broadheads. There are literally thousands of broadheads out on the market today offering today’s bowhunters a plethora of choices. Just remember with practice and patience you can make your next hunt a memorable one.