Tearing, slashing, cutting, slicing -- bowhunters want it all.
Ever since the bow and arrow was first wielded by man, all shapes and sizes of arrowheads have been whittled, knapped, sharpened, machined, molded and laser welded in a never-ending quest to improve performance. With their high-tech materials and manufacturing processes, today's razor-sharp broadheads are a far cry from the flint arrowheads employed by the ancients. But despite the differences, the ultimate goal -- a quick, clean kill -- remains the same.
Bowhunters can choose from among a virtually unlimited number of styles, shapes and sizes of broadheads, many of which are engineered to accommodate niche markets and specific needs among modern hunters. A prime example is the new Rage 40KE, a two-blade, 100-grain head designed specifically for bowhunters whose rigs produce fewer than 40 foot-pounds of kinetic energy.
For 2009, not only are you seeing great improvements in recent models but new hybrid heads that will challenge state regulations and change how engineers design broadheads in the future. Following are the industry's newest and most popular heads for hardcore bowhunters:
Carbon Express's (www.f15dualblade; 810 733-6360) new F-15 and F-15 Expandable dual-blade broadhead looks straight up lethal. Both heads are designed to create a 250-percent larger wound opening for shorter blood trails. Instead of just cutting, the blades bore a deadly entrance and exit wound. Viewed horizontally and from the front, the F-15's resemble the shape of a fighter jet. The fixed model provides a cutting diameter of 1€‰1„8 inches. The F-15 Expandable, with 1€‰3„8-inch cut, features dual, side-by-side .030-inch thick blades that when combined with the cut-on-contact main blade, adds up to six total cutting edges. They're durable, thanks to a 440 stainless steel, one-piece ferrule and Pressure Injection Molded manufacturing process.
New Archery Products (www.newarchery.com; 800-323-1279) introduces two dynamically different heads in the Braxe and Bloodrunner. The 1€‰¼-inch Braxe is a fixed, three-blade broadhead with .030-inch medieval-looking replaceable blades. It also adds an additional cutting edge at the front of the blade, where it curves down into the ferrule.
The Braxe sports Core Drilling Technology (CDT) for massive entry wounds and a Trivex point for crushing bone. The Bloodrunner, which I reviewed in an earlier issue, is one bad hybrid head. Featuring both fixed-blade and mechanical characteristics, the 100-grain Bloodrunner is an inertia driven head with blades that are deployed upon impact and stay deployed as long as constant pressure is applied to the tip. Measuring 1-inch closed, the Bloodrunner measures 1€‰1„2 inches deployed.
For hunters addicted to mechanical heads with wide cutting diameters, Trophy Ridge's (www.trophyridge.com; 812-467-1200) Meat Seeker is sure to produce killing results.
Available in two- and three-blade models -- both 100 grains with stainless steel, .039-inch blades -- the three-blade Seeker has a cutting diameter of 1€‰½ inches while the two-blade slices 2 inches. Meat Seekers have rear deploying blades and Piston Hammer Technology. As soon as the tip enters the target, the Piston cylinder at the top of the ferrule initiates deployment until the blades are fully open and locked in position.
In 2008, Tru-Fire (www.trufire.com; 920-923-6866) exploded onto the broadhead scene with the Switchblade. In 2009, they added two new tips; Chisel Tip and Speed Tip. The Chisel Tip is for bows shooting slower than 310 fps while the Speed Tip is for bows shooting over 310 fps. Also for 2009, they introduced the Switchblade Non-Barbed for states such as New York, Minnesota, Nebraska and Massachusetts, where barbed heads are illegal. All heads offer a 1€‰3„8-inch cutting diameter and feature stainless-steel .032-inch blades. They're offered in 100 and 125 grains.
For those obsessed with one-piece heads, G5 Outdoors' (www.g5outdoors.com; 866-456-8836) Montec fits the requirement. This year, the 100-grain Montec CS was introduced.
Featuring a 1€‰1„16-inch cutting diameter, the Montec CS is made of Carbon Steel and advertised as 25-percent sharper than the original stainless model.
Muzzy's (www.muzzy.com; 770-387-9300) compact Phantom MX holds .040-inch main blades and .036-inch bleeder blades. Blades are designed to be sharpened, not replaced.
The four-blade head is designed for faster bows and archers with a preference for compact, fixed heads. Modern traditionalists shooting techie equipment might find the Phantom MX to their liking. With a cutting diameter of 1€‰1„8x1 inches, the 100-grain head features a shorter profile with less blade surface than previous Phantoms.
For superior flight characteristics the stainless steel Shuttle T-Lock from Trophy Taker (www.trophytaker.com; 406-826-0600) instantly gained recognition with Western bowhunters as having exceptional accuracy. New for 2009, is the Terminal T-Lock, featuring the same .041-inch, non-vented blades and one-piece, cut-on-contact ferrule as the original Shuttle T. The T-Lock blade-to-ferrule connection assures blades won't come loose. The Terminal is available only in 100 grains; the Shuttle in 100 and 125.
Innovative and visually unique is EP Hunting's (www.ephunting.com; 517-439-9392) high-speed The Reign broadhead. The Reign features two innovations and is engineered for what they call "hyper bows" -- bows that are very fast. First, a deadly sharp tip called the Shatter-Head, with four sharp edges, acts like a bullet and is designed to explode bone outward on contact, clearing the way for the blades to cut to their full potential. Second, they use a pivoting, one-piece, two-blade design with spring-loaded ball bearing mechanism that holds the blade in place in flight and then, at contact, re-centers the blade after it pivots to get past bone, cartilage, etc. Using pendulum motion, the blade moves if needed and rebounds to reduce energy loss and maximize penetration.
Another hybrid design introduced this year was Mid Atlantic Archery's (www.midatlanticarchery.com; 410-658-9660) X System. The cut-on-contact expandable features airfoils, which help stabilize the arrow from the front, allowing the head to rotate through the target for massive entry and exit wounds. With a 2€‰3„8-inch cutting surface, the X System features 1€‰½-inch deployable blades and a 7„8-inch main blade. Using Inertia Trigger Cam technology, a weighted column slides forward and unlocks the blades on impact. Each 3-pack includes Spin-Tite's spiral-cut Turbine Tip, which mimics
the flight of the X during practice sessions.
Weighing just 65 grains, Innerloc's (www.innerloc.com;€‰706-782-5863) newest Falcon provides an attractive option for light arrows, speedsters and low-poundage shooters.
The Falcon cuts a full inch and features Innerloc's BAT (Blade Aligning Technology) for custom tuning arrow alignment. The unique blade shape, with Center Locking System (CLSII), assures devastating results upon impact. Heavier weights can be found in the Falcon 85 and 100 grain models. Their Carbon Tuner, also featuring CLSII and BAT technology, is now available in 75 grains, a 100-grain Pink model and 125 grains.
The Smoke from Smoke Broadheads (www.smokebroadheads.com; 412-519-5352) can be converted from 100 to 125 grains with included bushings, can be converted to a practice head sans blades and, when used with the optional Tommy Knocker turkey tip, triples as a turkey head. The broadhead sports a sculpted chisel tip and when blades are attached features a 1€‰1„8-inch cutting diameter. Blades are advertised to open 100 percent on impact. For field point practice, simply remove the three blades -- 25 grains removed -- and add a 25-grain bushing.
You can't leave out Arrowdynamic Solutions (www.arrowds.com; 512-515-6299) new 75-grain titanium Atom broadhead. Featuring a new generation of solid titanium Razor Wire for increased durability and sharpness, the four-razor head measures 1x1 inches.
The design offers less blade surface for long-range accuracy and flexible blades that slip past bone.
New on the block this year is Outdoor Sports Products (www.outdoorsportsproducts.com; 509-990-9474) and their stabilizer ring broadheads; the CoreMaxx and SaberMaxx, which are made from a blend of metals featuring high strength, flexibility and hardness.
Manufacturers of broadheads first and foremost, OSP's heads feature precisely pitched flight stabilizer rings with blade serrations. The stabilizer rings are designed to bore a wound channel 3„4-inch wide. And with the addition of the main blades, you get an overall cutting diameter over 1 inch. The rings also improve stability through flight while remaing deathly quiet.
Whether it's a two-, three-, or four-blade fixed head you prefer, newer designs make long-range accuracy easily achievable, even with today's high-energy bows. The growing trend for fixed-blade broadhead fans is shorter heads with less blade surface and 1-inch plus cutting diameters.
Also, for short-draw archers and bowhunters shooting lower poundages, cut-on-contact tips can be a smart option. Dependable replaceable-blade models include Muzzy's Bad To The Bone, trocar tipped MX-3 and MX-4. I've shot both of these, and out of my setups, both flew identical. Both are offered in 100 grains; the MX-3 with a 1€‰¼-inch cutting diameter and the MX-4 with a 1€‰1„8-inch cut.
Steel Force's (www.steelforce.com; 570-448-2845) Phat Head, with industry-leading .080-inch blades, keeps on multiplying with new models. New for 2009, and for the guys heading off to Africa, is the African Phat Head weighing in at a heavy-hitting 190 grains.
There's plenty of other Phat Head options, starting with the titanium-bladed Phat Head 75. Other Steel Force lines include the Talon Series, Sabertooth and Sabertooh HP Series, Hellfire Series and more.
The Striker from G5 Outdoors is one of the sharpest broadheads on the market.
Available in 100 and 125 grains (standard), both stainless steel heads support .030-inch blades and Anix Blade-Locking System for reliability upon impact. Both heads cut 1€‰1„8 inches. The newer Striker Magnum weighs in at 125 grains and cuts a monstrous 1€‰½ inches.
Slick Trick (www.slicktrick.net; 870-934-0131) broadheads are renowned for blade locking technology and field point flight characteristics. In 2009 Slick Trick introduced the 125 grain Razortrick and Grizztrick. Razortrick's cut-on-contact leading tip and four sharp blades provide a 1€‰1„8-inch cutting diameter. The original Slick Trick is offered in two models; Standard (1-inch cut) and Magnum (1€‰1„8-inch cut) and two grain sizes (100 and 125). A lighter, 85-grain Standard model is also offered. Blades can be interchanged between 100 and 125 grain models and they can be resharpened.
Designed for speed, Grim Reaper's (www.grimreaperbroadheads.com; 877-474-6732) Hades broadhead with V-notched trocar steel tip holds Maxx Edge SS Blades, which measure .035 inches and neck down to .020 inches. They're also sharpened for maximum cutting power and durability. Adding to the Hades' penetrating ability is front and back blade sharpening -- blades cut in both directions. Available in 85, 100 and 125 grains, all with 1€‰3„16-inch cutting diameters.
Field point flight characteristics can also be found in American Broadhead's (www.americanbroadhead.com; 603-332-2730) line of Zero Plane Technology broadheads. The Super Sonic and Sonic Pro are highly popular. The Pro is offered in 85, 100 and 125 grains; all with a 1-inch cutting diameter and DenseMaxx blades. The heavy-duty Super Sonic sports a 1€‰1„8-inch cut and .036-inch DenseMax blades. A new, high-strength retaining nut is added for durability and rib crushing power. American Broadhead's 125-grain Liberty head is designed for bigger game and recommended for shorter shots.
Converted from a four-blade to a two-blade broadhead, the Maniac from Aftershock Archery (www.aftershockarchery.com; 248-668-0874) features a stainless steel .040-inch main blade with Precision Indexed Flight Stabilizing 4-Play Cut-On-Contact Tip that helps arrows blast through the target. Bowhunters can count on ShockLoc Dual-Rail Support and Locking System to keep blades intact on bone breaking impacts. The .020 inch bleeder blade increases the available cutting surface when switched to a four blade
With three fixed-blade, big-game broadhead designs — Banshee, Cybex and Quattro — Fuse Archery (www.fusearchery.com; 801-363-2990) has a number of options for bowhunters. The Banshee features Zero Plane Technology, helping provide field point flight, and the four-blade Quattro and three-blade Cybex boast Innerloc Technology for superior blade to ferrule connection and maximum durability. All heads are designed for hardcore use under demanding conditions and backed by Fuse's dedication to building products you can depend on in the field.
You can't leave out New Archery Products tried and true Hellrazor, Crossfire, Nightmare and still highly-popular Thunderhead series of heads. The Hellrazor has been joining me in hunting camps the last two years, and the solid, laser welded, one-piece head is made from all steel and available in 100 and 125 grains. The resharpenable head features a .040-inch blades and a 1€‰1„8-inch cutting diameter. The offset bladed Nightmare, introduced last year, includes NAP's Trivex point that pre-stretches and twists hide and tissue, then crushes through bone and cartilage.
For bone-crunching power and wicked cutting edges, Magnus Broadheads'€„(www.magnusbroadhead
s.com; 620-793-9222) Buzzcut appears it would provide deadly results. Available in 85, 100 and 125 grains, and all in either a two-blade or four-blade model, the Buzzcut has a Diamond Dip for added strength and a leading serrated main blade measuring .042 inches.
Mid Atlantic Archery's (www.spintite.com; 410-658-9660) Crimson Talon XT and Hyperspeed XT feature Spin-Tite Airfoil Technology, which stabilizes arrows from the front. Three rigid airfoils on the blades help provide high speed rotation and help the head screw through the target, producing what Mid Atlantic Archery calls the Spiral Wound Channel. The 100- and 125-grain Talon XT with Offset Kore-Kut bleeder blades cuts an impressive 1€‰1„4 inches. The Hyperspeed is similar, yet features a Spiral Kut Tip.
Boasting a shortened aerodynamic ferrule for increased penetra-tion and accuracy, Wasp Archery's (www.wasparchery.com; 860-283-0246) 100-grain Boss SST comes in a three- and four-blade model and features the SST tip, which aligns the trocar tips' cutting edges with the Boss' blades. A cut-on-contact SST tip assures bone-splitting results on impact, while reduced blade surface helps with accuracy.
Features include .027-inch blade thickness and a 1€‰1„8-inch cutting diameter.
Movers and Slicers
With field point flight performance, mechanical broadheads are becoming more popular and manufacturers year after year produce new designs that fly great and cut deep. In Fact, Rage Broadheads (www.ragebroadheads.com; 888-779-0092) offers a guarantee that your blades will deploy upon entry. All Rage broadheads feature stainless steel instant-cut tips and SlipCam blade deployment technology. Blades immediately begin to open as the broadhead enters the target and are fully deployed, acting like a fixed blade when entering. The result? Some of the biggest entrance and exit holes found!
Another wide cutting head is found in Aftershock Archery's HyperShock -- available in three models, HS125 (2€‰3„4-inch cutting diamter), HS100 (2-inch cutting diameter) and HS80 (1€‰3„8-inch cutting diameter). The streamlined, aerodynamic head features rounded blades designed to stay closed during flight thanks to center gravity technology.
Immediately upon impact, the pressure on the blade ends swings them open, and as they enter, they pass through fully deployed and slice through your target.
New Archery Products Spitfire comes in a number of models and sizes -- 85 grains (Spitfire) all the way to 170 grains (Spitfire Magnum). For those looking for a cut-on-contact mechanical, the new Spitfire MAXX and Spitfire XP PRO will be top contenders.
The newer, 100-grain MAXX features an artery-slicing 1€‰3„4-inch cutting diameter backed by an aerodynamic micro-grooved ferrule for accurate flight. The XP Pro is available in 100 and 125 grains, both with 1€‰1„2-inch cutting diameters.
Featuring a similar blade deployment system, Fuse Archery's Kumasi features Cliploc Blade Control, which eliminates O-rings and rubber bands. Spring tension clips hold blades to the ferrule, and as the head impacts, the blades immediately open and sit against a steel collar. For superior arrow/head alignment, Fuse broadheads also include Fuse's Carbon Connexion Ferrule System that helps tuning and increases energy transfer.
New to the broadhead scene in 2009 was Smoke Broadheads' Ramcat. The compact, 100-grain Ramcat sports a 1€‰1„4-inch cutting diameter and offset blades that are sharpened front and back. So, if an arrow doesn't pass completely through, it will remain cutting on its way out.
Grim Reaper's most popular seller -- the Razortip -- features mini-tip blades recessed into the durable trocar tip -- Trocrazor Tip. The Razortip has replaceable, ground, honed and stropped 440C stainless steel MAXX Edge Blades that can slice through heavy-boned game and can be shot as a fixed or mechanical head. Designed not to pole vault on impact, the Razortip's blades are held in place without any O-rings or rubber bands.
Available in 75, 85, 100 and 125 grains, with cutting diameters up to 1€‰3„4 inches. As you can see, there are a vast array of unique broadheads designed with great features. However, they all share the same purpose; to provide quick kills and bright red blood trails.