Mechanical heads are dominating the broadhead market nowadays, and for good reason. They fly a lot better than traditional fixed heads, they cut bigger holes and, depending on the style, do a better job of killing the animal quickly.
Back in the day when we only had fixed heads, we had to tune them and really spend time with our setup, making sure we were dialed in with our broadheads. But I think mechanical heads and the expectation that they will “hit right with my fieldpoints” has made a lot of us lazy when it comes to tuning. For the most part, people don’t even shoot their broadheads in practice anymore. They just screw them on right before they go out to hunt. This is a huge mistake, and I think it needs to be talked about.
Every broadhead has some sort of wing blade or kicker blade protruding off the ferrule, which in some way is trying to steer the arrow much like vanes do. If your bow isn’t perfectly tuned and those arrows come off even the slightest bit crooked, those wing blades will steer that arrow off path. Every setup is different, and I can say for sure I’ve had some that shot my fieldpoints in the same hole as my broadheads at 100 yards, but normally they are slightly different. In my opinion, every head should be tuned with one specific arrow; not randomly screwed on before a hunt. I take that arrow and broadhead setup and shoot it to make sure I’m dialed in. I will number my broadheads with my arrows. That way I know my No. 5 head and No. 5 arrow go together and are perfectly dialed in.
Bows change, which means tunes change throughout a hunting season. So, maybe you check your heads with your fieldpoints at the beginning of the season and they are money. That doesn’t necessarily mean that two months from now, after being dragged in and out of the woods, that your stuff will be perfect. So, why would you only shoot fieldpoints to check your marks?
While I’m a huge advocate of shooting and sighting in with my broadheads, I’m not big on dulling my blades shooting them into my Block targets all day. A good fix is to cover the ferrule with a couple wraps of electrical tape so the blades can’t open while practicing. When I’m done, I take the tape off, put my bands back on and I’m ready to hunt with that arrow that has perfectly sharp, untouched blades. If you do choose to shoot fixed-blade heads, then I would also suggest practicing with your heads exactly the same as I’ve talked about here. The only difference is you will dull your blades in practice. So, make sure you either replace the blades or put a razor-sharp edge back on before you shoot at a live target.
We owe it to the animals we hunt to be overprepared, in my opinion, and while mechanical heads have the potential to be far more accurate and consistent than fixed-blade heads, it’s completely dependent on our preparation. I believe many of us are failing to do our due diligence when it comes to tuning because of how much better mechanicals are when it comes to shooting like our fieldpoints. However, that doesn’t mean they will be perfect. Always dial your bow in and check your marks with the actual broadheads you’re going to hunt with.