So you’ve decided to go to a mechanical broadhead. Congratulations and welcome to the nightmare that is deciding where to start. There are so many options out there, hybrid, cut on contact, rear deploy, and on and on!! Where do you even start?? Let me tell my story and share my thoughts…
I shot the same fixed blade broadhead for 22 years before I decided to try a mechanical. That’s what I call brand loyalty!! And yes it was a Muzzy! When I started bowhunting in 1994 there weren’t a ton of options. Muzzy and NAP had the market cornered with the fixed blades. Bows didn’t have nearly the energy that they have today and the Muzzy was sharp and with a trocar tip would bust through anything they hit. I was shooting a Bear Whitetail that would have pushing it to hit 250fps. As the quality and efficiency of archery equipment improved, I found myself wanting to try something new. Besides, I had been shooting the same broadhead for 22 years!
So why change? I realized that there were more efficient tools out there to get the job done and after using the same broadhead for such a long time I had no other excuse than the fact that I was just being stubborn.
What did I want to achieve? Obviously I wanted good flight and reliability but I also wanted larger wound channels which leads to quicker kills better blood trails and most importantly, shorter tracking jobs. Once I decided I was going to try another mechanical the only question was which one.
With mechanicals there are so many options I couldn’t cover them all in a month so lets just break this down to the things I want for my set up and what I personally want to stay away from that led me to my choice of mechanical broadhead.
Let me set the stage here with a couple different setups. I shoot around 65 pounds of draw weight. With a 29.5″ draw length and a 420 grain arrow I get plenty of speed and energy. LaDonna shoots 44 pounds of draw weight with a 27.5″ draw length and a 340 grain arrow. She needs a different broadhead based on her limitations of speed and energy so we will use her set up as well for comparison.
Cut on Contact or Not
I wanted to go to a mechanical that didn’t have a cut on contact point. My reasoning for this is simple….heads shaped more like a field point on the tip fly better. I know I know, tuning solves everything. Trust me, my bows are tuned. But no one can argue that the aerodynamics of a field point are better that any broadhead…moving on. If you are shooting a lower poundage or you have a shorter draw length you may want a cut on contact. LaDonna is a great example. At 44 pounds she needs a low KE head that is cut on contact to get the penetration for a pass thru with her mechanical. I however am not faced with low poundage or short draw length challenges.
I prefer something in the 2″ range. It makes a big hole and I still get a pass through in most all situation on whitetails. Could I go to something that larger and do the job? Absolutely but then I start to get concerned about not getting a pass through and that’s something that’s important to me. For LaDonna’s set up we are staying with something in the 1.5″ range with a more raked back blade angle for penetrations. There are lots of low KE options out there.
I prefer the rear deploy design mainly for the efficiency. My opinion is that the rear deploy designs are more efficient when opening that those signs that fold back. I actually did some testing on this and found this to be the case when I compared the NAP killzone to the Spitfire. Again, pass throughs are important to me so I don’t want to waste energy opening the head on the hide of the animal that can be used to penetrate the exit.
This is about simplicity and reliability for me. I want my blades to stay closed in flight and open at the point of impact. I’ve seen collars come loose in the quiver. I’ve seen rubber bands break. I’ve seen friction disc get loose and blades deploy in flight. The only choice for me is a detent design such as the NAP Kill-zone. There may be a flaw in this design but if there is I haven’t found it yet. My only complaint is that blade replacement takes a little practice.
At this point you have an understanding of what I’m looking for in a Mechanical Broadhead. There are lots of choices out there but the head that I have the most confidence in at this point is the NAP killzone trophy tip. It’s field point type tip, rear deploy design and detent spring locking mechanism meets all of my criteria for flight, efficiency and reliability. There are many great designs out there but this is the right broadhead for me. LaDonna is still shooting the low KE Rage Hypo but I believe I’ve got here convinced that the Killzone Low KE is a better option.
Wrapping it up
There are lots of great heads out there that will do the job. Hopefully sharing my thoughts has at least made you think about what you want from your broadheads. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try something new. Safe hunting and good luck this season!!