Bowhunting is probably one of the most thrilling and challenging forms of hunting that exist. Being required to get closer to your prey, needing to draw aim and release as quickly and accurately as possible, understanding your bow, and tracking your game once it’s hit are just some of the things that make it so challenging and rewarding. But how do you track your prey once it’s hit? That’s where broadheads come in. They come in many different shapes, sizes, styles, and designs but they all serve a common purpose, to cut gnarly and cause a clear blood trail for you to follow. So if you’ve just picked up bow hunting or are looking to switch it up and learn about different types of broadheads, read on and you’ll find out all you need to know about what’s available and the particulars of each.
Different Types of Broadheads
1. Fixed blades
Fixed blade broadheads are the oldest and most common type out there. They range in blade number from 2 to 6 and also range slightly in available diameter. They have no moving parts and everything is fixed making them strong, reliable, and easy to sharpen and maintain. They tend to, on occasion, experience some deviation when fired at high speeds, but are otherwise a tried and true bow hunter’s friend.
2. Removable blades
Removable blade broadheads are similar to the fixed blade in that they have no actively moving parts and maintain their structure during flight. The big difference with these is that the individual blades are removable. This serves as a way to easily change out the blades without changing the whole broadhead. This can be convenient if you are opposed to tediously sharpening every millimeter of your blades by hand.
3. Mechanical/expandable blades
Mechanical blades feature a hidden set of wide-diameter blades that stay tucked away during flight and pop out on impact to punch their hole. The reason the blades activate on impact is to minimize friction and wind-catch during flight. This makes them more accurate than fixed or non-mechanical broadheads. They have become an integral part of modern bowhunting. Keep in mind however, they have broader diameters that require more power to push through prey, and they are subject to mechanical failure on occasion.
4. Cut-on-contact broadheads
These are a member of the fixed blade family but differ in that they feature no chisel point and all the cutting blades meet at the point to create what is essentially one blade. This means the arrow starts cutting through the second it hits the animal, allowing you to fire low weighted bows without worrying if it has the punch to push the arrow through. The biggest drawback, however, is the wound made is relatively small in comparison to other broadheads and thus does not create a particularly amazing blood trail to track with.
5. Chisel point broadheads
These are the kind of broadheads that feature a big chisel point on the tip before the cutting blades start. The point of this is to punch into the tough hide first, setting a course for the arrow, after which the cutting blades follow and work their magic. These are more sturdy than cut-on-contacts and don’t find issue hitting bone.
Other Broadhead Considerations
When choosing the right broadhead for you one of the things to keep in mind is its weight addition. If it’s too light it may deviate or simply struggle to penetrate, especially with a low weighted bow. If it’s too heavy it will also deviate, or simply fall short of its target due to a lack of required energy for the weight. Check the poundage of your bow and the weight of your arrows against the weight of the broadhead and do some test firing to ensure it’s optimal.
This refers to how many blades in shaft there are. How many blade edges a broadhead features will play a huge role in what kind of cut you get, how big it is, how much it bleads, whether it’s a through-and-through, and other things. The more blades you have, the gnarlier your hole and the better your blood trail. However, the more blades you have, the more energy is needed to push them through accurately. If you prefer low poundage archery you want to keep your blade count fairly low.
You also want to pay attention to the shape and way the blades are set out in different broadhead types as this will also play a role in penetration value, poundage required, and blood trail created. Some broadheads are designed with cross-cut bleeder blades in the profile for extra cut, some are not. Some have cutting blades moving outwards from the point whereas others have blades that slant out frontward facing the target. These require at least 80 lbs bows to be truly effective.
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing between the different broadheads and there are a decent number of types to choose from. No matter which types of broadheads you are using, you will get an optimal output if you know how to sharpen a broadhead. Try to suit the poundage of your bow and the kind of game animals you are hunting as closely as possible and let practice and preference refine the choice for you. I hope you found this helpful. Good luck out there!