Choosing the Right Broadhead for Archery Season: Tips and Experiences

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29 Comments
24 Upvotes
  • Mike's avatar

    I shot half a dozen deer or so with expandable when they first came out and there is no doubt they can be devastating with proper placement. But…. I had a marginal hit in Wyoming and lost a monster. I switched back to fixed 3 blades and won’t go back. Here’s an example of a straight up shoulder shot that not only made it through to the vitals, but was a complete pass through that an expandable couldn’t have achieved.

  • Nicholas's avatar

    I’ve only shot fixed, but pretty happy with hole size and penetration. That said, I shot a deer last year and had very little blood. When I found him he had a big ol’ hole, just didn’t bleed much 🤷‍♂️

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Mike that's the stuff I need to hear, if mechanicals work great 9 times outta 10 then the 10th one will be a shoulder shot 160in public land monster that runs off with an arrow that penetrated 2in to the shoulder.
    Even with 200 grain single bevel Grizzlies and full length cedar shafts my 45 lb longbow couldn't bust through the off side shoulder on this young buck. It did nick a little hole in the armpit but even with a perfect heart shot I was following almost nothing. Generally speaking I think archers need to be on their game as trackers and master the discipline if a solid grid search.

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Mike that's the stuff I need to hear, if mechanicals work great 9 times outta 10 then the 10th one will be a shoulder shot 160in public land monster that runs off with an arrow that penetrated 2in to the shoulder.
    Even with 200 grain single bevel Grizzlies and full length cedar shafts my 45 lb longbow couldn't bust through the off side shoulder on this young buck. It did nick a little hole in the armpit but even with a perfect heart shot I was following almost nothing. Generally speaking I think archers need to be on their game as trackers and master the discipline if a solid grid search.

  • Appalachian's avatar

  • Wade's avatar

    It’s all preference and different folks say different things. If you’re hunting with your traditional bow then I believe hands down a fixed blade is better. With a compound on the other hand I will not ever shoot a fixed blade again. I killed my first deer with a bow when I was 9. I’m 41 now will be 42 in December. I’ve been to the world archery 3d shoot twice. I’ve shot a lot of arrows and still prefer my bow over my rifle. I’ve killed a lot of deer with fixed blades and it made me a very good tracker on hard to find deer. On September 15th 2007 I shot the biggest deer I’ve ever got a shot at with a 4 blade 100 grain muzzy. He was 40 yards. Right as I released arrow he stepped quartered to me. The arrow hit him about center of rib cage and exited through his hind quarter on opposite side. I gave him 8 hours. Went back and picked up the trail. He bled well for 300 yards and just stopped. I saw him 5 weeks later out of the same stand walking eating acorns with a slight limp. Never saw him again. This was a huge 170+ 10 point on public land in Missouri. I started trying different mechanical broadheads. I landed on the schwacker for several years. No trouble out of them whatsoever. Complete pass through on almost every deer. Some right through both front shoulders like butter. The only thing I didn’t like was the entrance whole was smaller than exit. Then rage finally made a durable tough head with the hypodermic. I’ve shot them past 2 years punching right through shoulders with no problem. I do shoot 70 pounds but most folks do nowadays. Sorry for long post

  • Adam D's avatar

    Listen y'all, every time I settle on a setup y'all start talking this jazz and make me question everything 🤣

  • Ethan's avatar

    Blood trails are tough because it really is dependent where you hit the deer, like you mentioned higher placed shots there’s gonna be less blood, but not all deer bleed the same either. I have not shot a deer with a mechanical yet and only with fixed and have only had issues with blood trails on 1 deer.

  • Mason's avatar

    I’m still a huge fan of my Rage 2 blades! I’ve been using them for years and have never lost a deer. But I also agree that it depends on shot placement as well as personal preference just like everything these days! Good luck!👍🤞🦌@Appalachian

  • Mike's avatar

    @Appalachian exactly. Bullet design is a little more forgiving because of the transfer of energy and broadhead design is more critical as you well know. I’ll take every edge I can get that leans toward penetration

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Wade no problem man, appreciate the insight

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Adam I know man, like I said I've had so many mixed experiences just not sure which way to lean at the moment 😅

  • Adam D's avatar

    @Appalachian I'm wondering too how much draw weight plays in, I'm only shooting 45 lb ish so would heavier fixed blade be better because not as much force? Either way I'm too far in on my current setup unless I can find some 150 grain mechanicals lol.

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Mason I remember the holes I used to get with them and it's definitely tempting to go back. I guess as a general rule of thumb I always try to eliminate any opportunities for failure, never had a bad experience personally just made the switch cause I'm always plagued by Murphys law 🤷‍♂️

  • Sean's avatar

    I still shoot both. Bowhunting has become my passion and I’ve shot deer with mechanicals and fixed blade heads some in the same year. Here are my experiences with both. Blood trails: I’ve had mechanicals leave a blood trail that the three blind mice could follow, and I’ve had fixed blades due the same. I’ve also shot a “you know what” in the cage and luckily there was snow and I seen the deer expire. If I had to rely on a blood trail or lack there of, that deer could’ve gone unrecovered. All he left was the slightest of spray droplets as he ran off. I’ve also had fixed do the same thing. Penetration: Hands down a good fix blade will out penetrate a mechanical, there is no debate there. Actually it was a 10 yard shot on a doe that was the last straw for me and mechanicals. I was elevated and she walked past my stand. 10 yards broadside, put another you know what in the cage, and the arrow didn’t pass through. Did she die? Yes. Did I find her? Yes. However at 10 yards, 30 inch draw and 70lbs of draw weight with an arrow hitting on the plus side of 80ft/lbs of KE, there should have been two holes. Fast forward to my switch to a fixed head, I, for lack of better terms, skewered a doe from left rear to right side of brisket on a quartering away shot, did I mention it was a fixed head. She didn’t know what happened bounded twice from the sound of the arrow hitting the tree after it passed through her, and then stopped 20 yards from my stand. Stood looking around and then the lights went out. My go to is a fixed blade (IW Single Bevel) but I still keep at least one mech (Sevr) in my quiver.

  • Sean's avatar

    Sevr Robusto

  • Sean's avatar

    Iron Will Single Bevel

  • Sean's avatar

    Iron Will SB

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Adam probably, I think that's the reason pretty much all trad hunters shoot fixed. I can't say for certain but I'd imagine a 45lb compound is gonna generate more fps than a 45lb long bow. You could always put in a heavier insert, I'm pretty sure they even make some that start at 50 then you can thread in additional weights to it until you reach the desired weight. So you could definitely use a 100 grain point and keep maintain the desired weight up front.

    No joke, I can remember some holes in deer with a 3 blade rage that were only slightly smaller than a baseball. Just got my gears turning. I killed 4 deer last year and all blood trails were poor. Seems like 1 out of 5 really leaves a good trail with the fixed, just something I've gotten used to but just tempted to give mechanicals another chance

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Mike yeah that's the main reason I went to fixed was to be able to confidently, run em through from any angle, without fear of malfunction.

  • Sean's avatar

    Day Six Evo

  • Sean's avatar

    This was the doe that lead me to exploring fixed heads. The entrance is visible near the shoulder.

  • Sean's avatar

    Montec M3

  • Sean's avatar

    Ohio's Deer Season 2020 (Ep. 3):Sean's Got a Deer Down!
    https://youtu.be/XssVXYlw9LQ This is the hunt with the doe I “skewered” Montec M3

  • Sean's avatar

    @Adam Sevr Rubustos are 150 grain.

  • Mike's avatar

    @Appalachian I agree with that philosophy 👊

  • Austin's avatar

    Always been a fixed 3 blade guy, started with Thunderhead 100gr like a lot of us probably did, then switched to a G5 Striker 100gr for a good length of time. This year I’m trying the QAD Exodus 100gr full blade model. Heard great things about them like good flight, super sharp, tough as nails. I do agree with what others have said about blood trails, the higher the hit, the longer it takes to start dropping blood on the ground. In addition to that, a full pass through with the exit being somewhat low and taking out part of the heart/the plumbing that comes off the top of it will usually produce a trail right away and should paint the ground pretty well. I think a lot of us, myself included, always shoot right behind the shoulder double lung which might explain the sometimes sparse but lethal trails we’ve had to follow. Great post by the way!

  • Cameron's avatar

    I may get into archery next year. If I do, iron will broadheads us what I’ll get.

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Austin thanks man

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Cameron You should give it a try , it's very rewarding

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Appalachian's avatar

Appalachian A

Tennessee

Just an apex predator participating in his local ecology. Ex backcountry hiking trail builder turned Environmental Scientist. Schooled in Conservation of natural resources and biodiversity. Pretty much plumb eat up with it.

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