2018 Mechanical Broadhead Test
August 16, 2018
We put 14 popular broadhead models through the wringer; here's how they stacked up
Yep, trying to get folks to agree on broadheads tends to be about as successful as getting everyone to agree on Ford vs. Chevy (sorry Dodge, you still don't make the cut!), Trump vs. the world or Red Sox vs. Yankees. Just like those arguments, discussions regarding broadheads typically come with tons of emotion, plenty of chest thumping and countless tales of an uncle (or cousin or good buddy) who can back up your claims. THAT is a good show! It's definitely a popcorn-worthy topic if ever there was one.
Now, I love good entertainment as much as the next person. But when it comes to picking the broadhead that may find its way into my "trophy of a lifetime," I don't want any of that. I want the truth, and yes, I CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH! Can you?
Look, I'm sure your bowhunting buddies and the online chat boards you visit have some good advice when it comes to broadheads, but it can be awfully hard to discern what is worthwhile information and what is not. To me, it just isn't worth the risk of getting it wrong.
So, let's skip the anecdotes and unknowns and get to the good stuff! Are you ready to do some serious research on 14 of the top mechanical broadheads available in 2018? We have the solution to all the hearsay flying around in cyberspace â€“ the most thorough and technical broadhead test on the planet! We put in many hours, use top-notch equipment and develop processes that even out the playing field for all involved; no dividing factor needed! There is zero bias among test staff â€“ we test and report the results. It is really that simple. So, sit on the edge of your seat, get your pen ready to take notes and read on as we put the contenders through their paces in a battery of tests that includes sharpness, accuracy, aerodynamics, durability, penetration, hemorrhage speed and more.
You can read the full article and get complete test results in the September issue of Petersen's Bowhunting, on newsstands now. In addition to the detailed test results included in the article, we used high-speed video equipment to capture slow-motion footage of the broadheads in action in our hard-impact (sheet metal), zero-penetration (field stone) and hemorrhage (simulated blood drainage) tests. You can view those action-packed videos here.
Tests & Results
One of the more entertaining tests in our lineup is the hemorrhage test, so named because it is designed to provide a relative measure of how much bleeding each broadhead will cause. A series of thick plastic bags were filled with exactly two gallons of red water and marked with a reference line near the bottom. Each bag was also vented to ensure an equal amount of pressure. We then suspended the bags in front of our target and used a Barnett Whitetail Pro crossbow to shoot each test head through one of the bags. We recorded elapsed time from the instant the arrow was fired to the time the water level drained to the reference line.
The hard-impact was designed to simulate the performance of a head after it encounters and passes through a hard material such as bone. This test was performed at 20 yards, and the impact material was .03-inch sheet metal. A thin, dense foam panel was placed approximately 18 inches behind the metal to "catch" the heads after passing through. High-speed video equipment was also used to capture these shots in slow motion.
The zero-penetration test was a violent test of the broadheads' durability. It was conducted by shooting into the flat surface of a field stone at 20 yards and evaluating the overall condition of the head after impact. High-speed video equipment was also used to capture these impacts in slow motion.