No bowhunter wants to hit a game animal squarely in the shoulder blade, but sometimes things don't go exactly as planned. And when your shot placement is less than ideal, you want to know that your broadhead is capable of not only passing through bone but doing the deadly cutting job it was designed to do when it reaches the other side.
With that in mind, our 2013 broadhead test included the hard-impact test, designed to simulate a broadhead's performance after it encounters a hard object such as bone. We shot each head into .03-inch sheet metal from a distance of 25 yards. Approximately 18 inches beyond the sheet metal, we placed a single layer of dense foam to catch the heads after impact with the metal.
We recorded the results of each shot using high-speed video equipment so you can watch each broadhead in action. As you will see, the broadheads' ability to absorb punishment from the hard impact varied greatly from model to model. For the best-performing heads in the hard-impact test, the sheet metal was barely a bump in the road. For others, it was a significant challenge. And for a few, it was a virtually insurmountable obstacle. We'll let you watch the footage for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
Carbon Express XT 4-Blade
The Carbon Express
XT 4-Blade is one of two heads in this year's test with two primary blades and two bleeder blades. The backs of the primary and bleeder blades are sharpened so they cause additional damage if they stop inside the animal and start to back out. This head proved strong in our hard-impact and zero-penetration tests, as it only suffered a broken tip while passing through the sheet metal and embedded into the construction block in one piece. Below-average penetration and a slow hemorrhage time were noted. Accuracy was superior, as testing found the maximum deviation from a fieldpoint was an impressive quarter inch.
Price: $27.99 (per 3)
Clean-Shot Spot-On Hollow Point
Designed to work like a core drill, the Clean-Shot Spot-On Hollow Point
removes a .25-caliber hole while penetrating material. The Hollow Point's blades are quite sharp, and with a total cutting potential of 1.8 inches, it fared better than average in the hemorrhage test, with an evacuation time of only 14.6 seconds. However, the head suffered notable damage in our hard-impact and zero-penetration tests.
Price: $29.99 (per 3)
The 3-blade Fulton Ramcat
featured the widest cutting diameter of the bunch and had a total cutting potential second only to the 6-blade Toxic. It emptied our hemorrhage bag faster than any other head and actually had the best penetration in our foam-only test. However, penetration fell off the pace in our combo-material test. The Ramcat was fairly accurate relative to a fieldpoint, and while it suffered significant damage in the hard-impact test, it was largely unharmed in the zero-penetration test.
Price: $38.99 (per 3)
Flying Arrow Toxic
The all-new Flying Arrow Toxic
from Chris Rager (former owner of Trophy Ridge and Rocket Aeroheads) is intriguing, to say the least. It has a unique, 'coring ' design featuring six curved blades that punch a very large, cloverleaf-shaped hole in whatever they penetrate. The Toxic received high marks in the hemorrhage test, with an evacuation time of only 11.2 seconds. The Toxic also few extremely well, with only the slightest variance from a fieldpoint.
Although the measurements were very difficult to validate due to the curved shape of the blades, we gave the Toxic a huge total cutting potential of 3.06 inches — by far the most cutting surface of any head in the test. All those blades kept the Toxic from penetrating as well as smaller-profile heads, but with an entry hole that big, perhaps that's a moot point. The Toxic also sustained significant damage in our zero-penetration test.
Price: $44.99 (per 3)
Super-sharp blades and an average total cutting potential helped the G5 Striker
perform well in the hemorrhage and penetration tests. Throw in some adversity in the form of the combo-material penetration test and the Striker did even better. It also performed well in our durability tests. The head suffered only slight blade marring after passing through sheet metal, and when we shot it into the limestone construction block, it buried itself so deep we couldn't pull it out! In accuracy testing, the Striker hit the target .75 inches high and .33 inches right of center compared to a fieldpoint at 25 yards.
Price: $42.99 (per 3)
The Innerloc Falcon
proved to be accurate, with only a small variance compared to a fieldpoint. The head has average sharpness and one of the smallest profiles (total cutting potential 1.487 inches) in the test. Hemorrhage testing followed those numbers, with a below-average evacuation time of 18.1 seconds. However, the small profile aided the Falcon in penetration, as it ranked second in the foam-only target and jumped to No. 1 in the combo-material target. The Falcon also more than held its ground in durability testing, with only slight tip rolling and minimal blade marring.
Price: $38.99 (per 3)
Muzzy's all-new Trocar
took the top spot in sharpness, with a number close to our reference razor blade. It also has one of the larger cutting diameters of the group and a better than average total cutting potential. Blade marring was the only noted damage in the metal and block tests, making it one of the most durable heads we tested. The Trocar scored in the top third of the class in foam-only penetration tests and ran in the middle of the pack in the combo-material penetration test. On the downside, the Trocar's accuracy was not among the top heads tested, and it scored a modest 15.7 seconds in the hemorrhage test.
Price: $29.95 (per 3)
NAP Thunderhead Razor
Accuracy was a highlight for NAP
, as it impacted the target only a tenth of an inch right of the fieldpoint. The Thunderhead Razor was also in the top half for sharpness and had an average hemorrhage test, which followed its middle-of-the-road cutting diameter and total cutting potential. It fell off the pace in penetration but proved extremely tough against our sheet metal and construction block durability tests.
Price: $34.99 (per 3)
With a 1.25-inch cutting diameter and 1.875-inch total cutting potential, the QAD Exodus
placed third in the hemorrhage test and was better than average in penetration. It also did well in our block and metal testing and was above average in sharpness. In flight testing, the Exodus impacted the target .256 inches right and .483 inches high as compared to the fieldpoint.
Price: $39.99 (per 3)
Rocket Ultimate Steel
With its 3-blade, 1-inch cutting diameter design, the Rocket Ultimate Steel
registered average foam-only penetration and better-than-average combo-material penetration. Its results in the hemorrhage, sharpness and fieldpoint
comparison tests were below average. Although it was difficult to assess the result of the zero-penetration test because the head was buried in the block, it looked to be intact.
Price: $39.99 (per 3)
This head has two primary blades and two smaller bleeder blades. In one of the highlights of the test, the Solid S30V
hit the exact same hole in the exact same rotation on three out of three shots in our fieldpoint comparison test. Although it hit the target 1.2 inches left and 1 inch high compared to the fieldpoint, it was incredibly consistent. This head also performed well in the hard-impact test, with only slight damage. The S30V had below-average results in the block, penetration and hemorrhage tests.
Price: $79.99 (per 3)
Slick Trick Viper Trick
The Slick Trick Viper Trick
sports a high total cutting potential rating of 1.94 inches on a relatively small cutting diameter of 1.0625 thanks to its 4-blade configuration. It performed well in the fieldpoint comparison test, with only a slight variance from center and was only .7 seconds from the top spot in the hemorrhage test. The Viper Trick was about average in terms of penetration but proved tough in our durability testing.
Price: $30 (per 3)
Trophy Taker Terminal T-Lock
The Trophy Taker Terminal T-Lock
is a relatively small-diameter, 3-blade head that excelled in both the foam and combo-material penetration tests. It suffered very little damage in our sheet metal test and flew true, as indicated by its near-center impact in our fieldpoint comparison test. Its sharpness ranked in the bottom third of the test heads, while evacuation time in the hemorrhage test was in the middle of the pack.
Price: $39.99 (per 3)
The Wasp Boss
showed itself to be rugged, with great results in our durability tests, and it performed very well in the combo-material penetration test, coming in fourth. It was just below average in the hemorrhage test and impacted the target .2 inches right and .516 inches high as compared to our fieldpoint.
Price: $33.99 (per 3)
Check out more of our 2013 broadhead tests in the September issue of Bowhunting Magazine.