How to Choose a Broadhead: Points to Consideron Jul 15, 2012
Shoot enough arrows, with a large assortment of heads attached to the end and you’ll soon discover that there is no head that allows for truer arrow flight than the simple, bullet-shaped field point. And that only stands to reason, since it’s perfectly aerodynamic. Mechanical broadheads are designed to imitate that bullet-shaped design as closely as possible while in flight, yet still provide a cutting surface upon impact.
Some mechanicals have two or three blades that fold up entirely against the shaft of the head, so virtually nothing protrudes. One such head is the NAP Scorpion. These blades then deploy, either by unfolding from the tip backwards, or by sliding out from the rear. With the blades deployed, these heads can provide cutting diameters up to 2.5 inches and will indeed leave a huge hole in whatever they hit.
The NAP Bloodrunner is a mechanical-hybrid that offers the best of both worlds; modest demensions for stable flight, and a massive cutting diameter upon impact.
Other mechanicals have blades that protrude modestly in flight, but then slide out farther on impact to expand the cutting diameter. Take the NAP Bloodrunner 2-Blade, for example. Its cutting diameter is 1 1/8-inches in flight, but stretches to 2 1/16-inches on contact.
Periodic “fliers” are typically not a problem bowhunters experience when using mechanical heads. In fact, many manufacturers of mechanical heads advertise them with slogans, such as, “Flies just like a field point.” As a result, consistent accuracy is a main selling point of mechanical broadheads.
When it comes to what a mechanical broadhead “can’t” do, as mentioned, the blades on a lot of mechanical heads are flimsy. Hit a bone the wrong way, and the blades will fold. A folded blade isn’t much good for cutting vital arteries and/or organs.
Also, and this is one of the leading complaints bowhunters have with mechanicals, the blades sometimes don’t deploy correctly. This is a problem most commonly associated with heads where the blades fold out from front to back, as opposed to the rear-deploying models, which came into existence, quite frankly, in response to problems with blades not folding out from the front. If the blades on a fold-up mechanical don’t deploy on contact, you’re essentially shooting a deer with a field tipped arrow.
The NAP Killzone is a vastly improved version of the highly popular "rear-deploying" mechanical. It offers devestating cutting diameters and is guaranteed to open upon impact and never during flight.
Another point to consider is that with most mechanical broadheads, you’re looking at one-shot use. The blades just don’t maintain enough straightness after they’ve hit a deer or the ground to use them again. Some mechanicals have replaceable blades, which is less expensive then replacing the whole head. If you shoot a lot of deer each season, you might want to invest in mechanical heads with replaceable blades to get more for your money. Some guys have also had problems with mechanicals that deploy “in flight”, long before contact. You don’t have to be an aeronautical engineer to understand how that can adversely affect accuracy.
Remember, these problems are not universal. Mechanical heads are designed so that the blades deploy perfectly only on contact. And for many bowhunters, that’s the only way their heads have ever operated. But occasional problems with blades that deploy early or not at all do exist, so you need to be aware of those before making a decision about which broadhead will accompany you into the timber.