A growing number of hunters are choosing crossbows as their weapon of choice. Some are experienced archers making the switch from traditional bows while others are new to the sport picking a crossbow as their first bow. One thing both groups have in common is the need to select the right broadheads for use with their new equipment. Select correctly and you will soon have big bucks on the ground. Select incorrectly and not only will you lose your quarry but you may even damage your crossbow.
Like many of you I have recently joined the rank of crossbow hunters. I have been an avid archer for years and finally added a crossbow to my arsenal, feeling there is a time and place for each option. Also like many who recently purchased a crossbow I spent hours researching my selection and finally ordered a package containing everything I needed to get started, everything except broadheads that is.
Not receiving broadheads was not something I considered a big deal, few packages include such personalized items. But I realized that for many hunters, especially those inexperienced with traditional archery equipment, selecting the correct broadheads for their new crossbow could be a real hurdle. So, let me provide some tips to help you get started.
- Match to the provided practice tips – most packages include bolts and practice tips. By matching you broadhead weight to the weight of these field tips you will ensure maximum performance as determined by the factory.
- Check with the manufacturer- check the owner’s manual for minimum broadhead weight. If the information is not specifically listed contact the customer help line, this is what I did and they were very helpful. Once you have this information NEVER use a broadhead that is too lite.
- Check local regulations – some jurisdictions have legal requirements concerning the type of size broadheads required for hunting. Regardless of personal preference you must follow these regulations if you wish to hunt legally with your new crossbow.
Now that you have determined the proper weight broadhead needed you now have to decide what type of broadhead to purchase. Broadheads come in two basic types – fixed blade and expandable blade. Some experts consider replacement blades to be a third type; however, I tend to group these as a subcategory of fixed or expandable.
Fixed blade broadheads tend to generate greater penetration and less chance for failure as there are no moving parts. However, they are also more difficult to tune and have a greater impact on arrow flight. While mechanicals do loss some penetration modern models tend to more than make up for this by producing large, incapacitating cut diameters. Plus they tend to fly more like field tips, thus requiring less tuning.
Regardless of which type of broadhead you select make sure it is rated for use with not only crossbows but a crossbow with the speed yours is capable of producing. There have been a growing number of incidents, especially with expandable broadheads, where the force of the shot has cause the broadhead to malfunction or break on impact.