The Right Broadhead

Outfit yourself with the very best, top-quality broadheads, and you will give yourself every possible chance at bowhunting success. And that includes recovering an animal (or a few) that you might not have otherwise found. Conversely, if you opt instead for a badly designed head, it’s only a matter of time before your ill-fated decision costs you an animal. Bank on it.

Here's an example of a mechanical/expandable broadhead -- Rage Broadheads.
Here’s an example of a mechanical/expandable broadhead — Rage Broadheads.

So what is a good broadhead? Good question. Bowhunting guides and outfitters have some of the strongest broadhead opinions on the planet, in part, because they get to see what works and what doesn’t. Again, and again. Those opinions to a large degree are shaped by the skill (or lack thereof) of clients, and are therefore somewhat skewed, but for many years, the mantra from many of the best guides was, avoid shaky mechanicals and stick to fixed or time-honored replaceable-blade heads. That’s changed. In the last 10 or so years, with the best mechanicals seeing marked improvement in design and materials, many outfitters are now judging broadheads based on their individual design characteristics, which is a testament to both continued innovation and improved technology.

But even after decades of evolution, today there are still just three primary broadhead categories: Mechanical, Replaceable-blade, and Fixed heads. If you’re a stickler, another category might be Hybrid heads (which combine attributes of two or more of these), and then you have specialty heads—typified by bowfishing heads, and the current crop of models designed to lop a turkey’s head off…about as “niche” as it gets.

Here are a few of the things to consider for each broadhead type:

Muzzy makes many popular replaceable-blade broadheads.
Muzzy makes many popular replaceable-blade broadheads.

Mechanical/Expandable Heads
Most mechanical, or expandable, heads offer the best flight for the most people/bow setups, considering their low-profile design. The best models offer impressive penetration, while lesser models can deliver poor penetration, especially for those shooting low-poundage bows. Although today’s premium mechanicals can excel in most any situation, if you’re chasing thin-skinned game, and the terrain and your hunting style consistently requires shots over 30- or 40 yards, you need to consider a good mechanical.

Replaceable-Blade Broadheads
Replaceable-blade broadheads have the advantage of quickly and easily changing out dull or damaged blades, and the best of these heads feature low-profile designs that are deadly accurate even at extended distances. If you shoot low poundage, the best of these may be a wise investment. The best premium heads utilize scary-sharp blades that really make a difference, and positive blade retention systems that allow for durability nearly equal to one-piece heads.

G5's Montec is a fixed-blade broadhead.
G5’s Montec is a fixed-blade broadhead.

Fixed-Blade Heads
There are some exceptions such as G5’s Montec, NAP’s Hell Razor, and a few others, but most of today’s fixed-blade heads are larger, heavier designs used mostly by traditional archers. Most are true one-piece designs, with a cut-on-contact tip that delivers superior penetration that makes them deadly on thick-skinned and dangerous game. Compound or traditional bow, consider these heads when bowhunting bears, elk or moose, or if you’re a low-poundage bowhunter seeking the best penetration possible.

The best advice for anyone looking to shoot a new broadhead is quite simple: Practice with them to ensure absolute accuracy before you take them afield. Many heads claim, “field point accuracy,” but the truth is, very few deliver.

Ensuring your broadhead hits where it’s aimed may be your most-critical pre-hunt gear preparation.

Shop Sportsman’s Guide for a great selection of Broadheads!


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2 Responses to “The Right Broadhead”

  1. Thomas kelley

    There are so many broadheads on the market and this info helps.

  2. Terry Fulton

    I’ve used thunderheads for a long time, have purchased a new bear and carbons and looking for a solid broad head with a good cut. Any advice?