Sometimes to get a quick and humane kill on an animal it requires enginuity and a mechanical advantage. When our ancestors shot their food while bow hunting, they used a relatively basic spearpoint. Today the best broadheads are far more advanced and that usually helps the prey and the predator.
During the American Civil War, General Sherman and Stonewall Jackson both had a “total war” mentality, which was both brutal and bloody, but it was aimed at ending the war as quickly as possible.
When we use bow broadheads and a specialty broadhead arrow, it can sometimes seem brutal and bloody, but really we are trying to end the life of the animal as quickly and efficiently as possible. As Conscious Hunters, that should be the goal.
Below, we have identified some of the best broadheads on the market. You will find that each broadhead arrow is created with a different intention. This post should clarify which arrow tips are useful for what purpose.
What is A Broadhead Arrow?
A broadhead literally refers to the size of the point that goes on the end of an arrow shaft. To hunt larger game animals we often use a broader and bigger arrow tip to ensure a maximum amount of damage to the animal for a quick and humane kill.
The best broadheads have evolved for hundreds of years, but as with all other types of technology, their construction has accelerated in the recent 40 – 50 years. Many engineers have put time and energy into thinking about the best broadheads from the perspective of physics and physiology.
These inventors consistently thought “how can we kill the animal and harvest the meat with more efficiency?” and so more broadhead arrow tips were developed.
3 Types of Broadheads
To date there are three different types of broadheads and all of them have their own uses and advantages. With many compound bow enthusiasts, there is a running competition between the different blades and their efficacy.
The three types of broadheads are:
- Fixed blades
- Mechanical blades
- Specialty blades
Some avid whitetail deer experts claim a fixed blade is best while others focus on the mechanical, for example. As we dig into it a bit more, we will outline their arguments. As with anything, there are plenty of purists in one camp and the other.
The fixed broadheads are, as the name would imply, fixed. They don’t change their shape or form at any point in the hunting process. Many compound bowhunting experts believe this to be the best type of broadhead mostly because of one word: reliability.
A fixed broadhead is going to be strong, sturdy, and reliable. The greatest argument in favor of using a fixed broadhead is the question:
Why risk sending an arrow that has to expand upon impact?
For many hunters, the risk of sending a single arrow into an animal and having the mechanical broadhead not open up is simply too much. Imagine you’ve paid for hunting trips with an outfitter and each shot you take is worth $5,000 or more. Do you want any risk at all that a good shot still won’t kill the animal due to a technical malfunction?
For most people the answer is “no”. That is argument enough to stick with a good fixed broadhead and forego any of the technical complexity.
On the other end of the spectrum are mechanical broadheads, which do have their fans with sound logic. One of the greatest arguments in favor of using a mechanical broadhead arrow is how accurate they can be.
A good mechanical head is usually fired with little to no exposed blade. When they are closed, they can move through the air more efficiently and they’re guided by the fletching of the arrows more than the broadheads themselves.
For many people who switch back and forth between practicing field tips and fixed broadheads, it can be annoying to constantly paper tune. This convenience advantage wins over many bow hunters.
While the downsides of a mechanical broadhead can be great, it is usually worse with poor quality brands and products. If you choose to go the route of a mechanical broadhead, just do the proper research to make your choice.
The specialty broadheads are those that are used in situations that are…. Special!
Mostly, this translates to broadheads made specifically for a certain type of animal. There are turkey broadheads and even specific arrow tips for gobblers (a type of male turkey). You may also find small game heads, bird snare broadheads, and most common from this category would be the simple field tips used for practice.
The specialty broadheads aren’t usually necessary and especially not for beginners. As you will see, they can add artificial complexity that doesn’t really help in the scheme of things.
How to Choose the Best Broadheads
While it might seem like a relatively easy decision to choose the best broadheads for all your hunting needs, it may change from hunt to hunt. Some factors that alter which broadheads to buy include:
- Animal type
- Draw weight
The animal that you hunt will make a big difference in which broadhead to use. If you are deer hunting then it is different from turkey hunting, which tends to be much smaller game. Assuming you don’t need specialty turkey arrows, it is still a different hunt than a larger deer.
The second factor is the draw weight, which does relate to the animal. If you have a lower draw weight on the bow for a larger animal, consider seriously whether you want to be using a fixed or mechanical blade.
Finally, consider the reliability of the broadhead. If you are taking a $5,000 shot, do you want any risk of the mechanical arrow malfunctioning? No matter how many practice shots you have had, there is always some risk (no matter how small) of this happening.
Our Choice Best Broadheads
Considering all the factors above and technical analysis, we believe the best broadheads are RAMCAT 125 Grain Broadheads because they are reliable, fixed blade broadheads that pack a serious punch without the risks of mechanical blades.
While the RAMCAT marketing language discusses engineering about concave scoop technology for accuracy and penetration, the truth is that these blades are so worthwhile because they are simple.
Here are some more specs on the RAMCAT 125 Grain Broadheads:
- Concave scoop technology (accuracy + penetration advantages)
- 1 ½ inch cut diameter
- 100% stainless steel construction
- 0.032” thick blades
- Sharpened blades front and rear
Artificial Complexity and Arrow Tips
Even though we have provided you with our recommendation of the best broadheads, it is important to explain why we have gone this route as opposed to other broadhead arrow types.
Despite all the great technological advancements and engineering that goes into modern arrow tips, we don’t believe this always yields the best broadheads.
In fact, it is quite easy to create broadheads that are theoretically useful for hunting, but don’t have much value in the field. For example, many of the most complicated mechanical broadheads don’t remain closed in flight as well as their manufacturers claim. This means they’re not as accurate even if they provide a mechanical advantage once they penetrate the animal.
It is worth considering why artificial complexity with broadheads might be in the best interest of a company that makes broadheads. Usually it boils down to money. A company that provides broadheads can make greater marketing claims, get new hunters excited, and make more sales.
This is also true of specialty broadheads, which usually (but not always) are unnecessary in order to be a great hunter.
Best Broadheads vs. Practice
Having a great broadhead to penetrate the animal, cause a maximum amount of damage, and hopefully kill them quickly and painlessly is something to strive for. Putting the time and energy into researching this topic is great and if you have read this far, congratulations.
At the same time, it is far more important to spend time practicing than focused on the best broadheads. No matter how great a broadhead is, we are trying to optimize the hunting experience with small changes. Practicing is a big change.
The more you can practice, especially in the months leading up to a hunt, the better off you are going to be. The accuracy, the strength in your body to pull the compound bow, and all other skills required for bow hunting will be better when you take the time and energy to practice.
After all, this is the greatest sacrifice we can make for the animal and for ourselves during the hunting process. The more we practice, the better we become, the easier we can bring down the animal without suffering.
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