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13 of the Best New Broadheads, Reviewed and Tested
Hunting broadhead choices abound. Here are our favorites for this season. (Tony Hansen/)
It used to be that choosing a broadhead was a pretty simple affair. You either went with a two-blade model or one with bleeder blades. Things got a bit more complicated when replaceable blades hit the scene. But today? You’ll need to choose between fixed, mechanical, or hybrid with each category offering scads of options.
For this Outdoor Life broadhead test, we looked only at new-for-2019 models. The testing protocol was meant to replicate real-world hunting situations and traits bowhunters look for.
Accuracy: Each broadhead was shot from a paper-tuned Bowtech Realm SR6 (this year's winner of the Outdoor Life Bow Test) set at 70 pounds. The bow was dialed in to deliver touching three-shot groups at 25 and 35 yards. Broadheads were placed on the same arrows as the field points, and three three-shot groups were shot and measured.
Weight: A three-pack of each head was randomly selected and weighed with variations recorded.
Durability: Each model was shot into a steel-belted radial tire. This not only helped evaluate penetration potential, but the steel belts and heavy rubber will reveal just how durable blades, ferrules, and points are.
Sharpness: Each model was evaluated using a shaving test and by nicking a wad of rubber bands.
Here’s how things shook out:
Editors Choice: Wasp Havalon HV
The Wasp Havalon (Wasp Archery Prodcuts/)
Wasp's time-tested, time-proven fixed-blade design hardly needed improvement. But the addition of wicked-sharp Havalon blades should prove popular. My arrows loved these heads, and I shot excellent groups with them. Those groups were within a ¼-inch of my field point impacts.
The heads have a cutting diameter of just under 1¼ inches, and the relatively short blades mean that the head offers less total cutting surface than others tested. A three-pack sells for $45 and includes six replacement blades.Accuracy: ExcellentSharpness: GoodTotal Potential Cutting Surface: Very GoodWeight Variance: Very GoodEase of Use: ExcellentDurability: GoodValue: Good
G5 Striker V2
G5 Striker V2 (G5 Outdoors/)
With a stainless-steel, machined ferrule the Striker V2 proved to be strong and durable. The blades were scary sharp, and the overall fit and finish of the heads were just what you'd expect from G5.
I did have to adjust my sights roughly two inches or so from my field tip’s point of impact, and I wasn’t able to group arrows quite as tightly as I’d prefer. The tire test produced slight rolling on the blade edges and rounded the tip. At nearly $40 for a 3-pack, these fetch a premium price.Accuracy: FairSharpness: ExcellentTotal Potential Cutting Surface: Very GoodWeight Variance: Very GoodEase of Use: ExcellentDurability: GoodValue: Good
Muzzy One (Tony Hansen/)
Machined from a single piece of stainless steel, the Muzzy One is a stout yet sleek-looking head that is sure to gain favor amongst those bowhunters who like ultra-simple, super-durable heads. The One did not produce the best groups of all the fixed-blade heads, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. Once I had things dialed in, I was able to stack arrows with satisfactory consistency. Each head costs $15, but the ability to sharpen them without buying replacement blades does soften that blow a little bit. Out of the package, the heads needed to be sharpened.Accuracy: GoodSharpness: FairTotal Potential Cutting Surface: Very GoodWeight Variance: Very GoodEase of Use: ExcellentDurability: GoodValue: Good
SIK F4 (SIK/)
A relative newcomer to the broadhead game, Sik's F4 certainly does carry a unique profile. This cut-on-contact head has a sweeping blade design with a maximum cutting width of 1.35 inches. Two bleeder blades combine to make this a 4-blade setup. It sells for $40 per 3-pack.
While that is a respectable cutting swath, the design did seem to affect accuracy and durability. The F4 did fully penetrate the tire, but the blades paid the price with heavy rolling and damage.
I was able to produce moderate 3-shot groups but only after substantial tweaking to my sights.Accuracy: PoorSharpness: GoodTotal Potential Cutting Surface: FairWeight Variance: GoodEase of Use: ExcellentDurability: FairValue: Fair
Swhacker Razor 252
Swhacker Razor 252 (Swhacker/)
At first glance, the Razor 252 just looks scary. With a 1-½-inch cutting diameter, it's one of the biggest fixed-blade heads I've seen. It adds a pair of bleeder blades to complete a 4-blade setup. With the head's wide stance, I expected it to have flight issues. I was pleasantly surprised. I did have to adjust my sights, but once I did, the heads performed admirably.
Blade width did seem to impede penetration a bit, but the blades were durable and drove through the steel-belted tire with minimal damage. At nearly $50 (MSRP) for a pack of three, they were among the most spendy models tested.Accuracy: Very GoodSharpness: GoodTotal Potential Cutting Surface: GoodWeight Variance: Very GoodEase of Use: GoodDurability: GoodValue: Fair
Editor's Choice: Sevr Titanium 1.5
Sevr Titanium 1.5 (Sevr Broadheads/)
Sevr is a new face in the broadhead world, and it's a pretty face indeed. The Titanium lineup (featuring two cutting diameters) is attractive, including the cool packaging.
I found the heads to be highly accurate and very durable. In fact, they were the only mechanical model to fully penetrate the tire, and I could hardly find a mark on them. The heads do cost about $14 each, but they are sold individually so you can choose to fill a 5-arrow quiver without buying two three-packs.Accuracy: Very GoodSharpness: ExcellentTotal Potential Cutting Surface: GoodWeight Variance: ExcellentEase of Use: Very GoodDurability: ExcellentValue: Excellent
Innerloc Carnage (Innerloc/)
The Carnage features an innovative solution to blade deployment. Rather than using o-rings or some other retaining system, the Carnage features a wrap that fits tightly around the blades while in flight. Upon impact, the blades slice easily through the wrap for full deployment. I had zero previous experience with the head, and during the test, I found it intuitive to use. Of course, the wraps aren't reusable, but replacements are simple to find, and you can choose from custom designs.
The heads flew great, and the overall quality was solid. A three-pack sells for $45.Accuracy: Very GoodSharpness: GoodTotal Potential Cutting Surface: GoodWeight Variance: Very GoodEase of Use: GoodDurability: GoodValue: Good
Rage Hypodermic NC
Rage Hypodermic NC (Rage/)
I've done a fair bit of broadhead testing over the years, and I've received plenty of flak from those who have disagreed with my findings. My less-than-favorable view of the Rage Shok-Collar system was particularly prickly with some. Well...turns out maybe I was onto something. Rage introduced the Hypodermic NC—a no-collar version of their insanely popular Hypodermic head.
This system is much improved and easy to use. The 2-inch cutting diameter is still impressive, and accuracy was on point. Cost: $45 for three.Accuracy: Very GoodSharpness: Very GoodTotal Potential Cutting Surface: Very GoodWeight Variance: Very GoodEase of Use: Very GoodDurability: GoodValue: Very Good
Rocket Meat Seeker
Rocket Meat Seeker (Rocket/)
The Meat Seeker is back. This old name is a brand-new head in this revamped version of one of Rocket's most popular mechanical heads.
This is a piston-driven head. When the point impacts the target, it’s driven backward and deploys the blades to their full 2-inch diameter. And those blades are sharp and long, amassing more than three inches of total cutting surface over the three blades. A three-pack costs $40.Accuracy: Very GoodSharpness: GoodTotal Potential Cutting Surface: ExcellentWeight Variance: Very GoodEase of Use: ExcellentDurability: GoodValue: Very Good
Swhacker Levi Morgan Model 261
Swhacker Levi Morgan Model 261 (Swhacker/)
Levi Morgan, in case you know almost nothing about archery, is one of the world's best competitive archers. And it turns out he has his name on a pretty good broadhead as well.
The 261 has a 2-inch cutting diameter and a ribbed ferrule that proved to be quite durable. In fact, this was arguably the most durable mechanical tested, exhibiting minimal damage on the tire test. The retaining bands are outstanding, if not a bit difficult to install due to their tight fit.
Accuracy and overall quality was excellent. It sells for $45 for a pack of three.Accuracy: ExcellentSharpness: Very GoodTotal Potential Cutting Surface: Very GoodWeight Variance: Very GoodEase of Use: Very GoodDurability: ExcellentValue: Very Good
Editor's Choice: Rocky Mountain Switchblade
Rocky Mountain Switchblade (Rocky Mountain/)
This was the pleasant surprise of the test. Rocky Mountain's entry into the hybrid market is a good one. With a ⅞-inch, cut-on-contact fixed blade and a pair of over-the-top deploying mechanical blades that measure 2 inches across, this head has more than three inches of cutting surface.
It was accurate and durable. And at $25 for a 3-pack, it's a true bargain.Accuracy: Very GoodSharpness: GoodTotal Potential Cutting Surface: ExcellentWeight Variance: Very GoodEase of Use: ExcellentDurability: GoodValue: Excellent
NAP Dark Knight
NAP Dark Knight (NAP/)
Batman fans, rejoice. You can now shoot a broadhead that declares your love for the dark hero of Gotham.
This distinctive-looking head has a main blade that pivots and a pair of mechanical bleeder blades. Combined, there’s a total of nearly 3 inches of cutting surface and almost 2 inches of cutting diameter. A three-pack costs $45.Accuracy: GoodSharpness: GoodTotal Potential Cutting Surface: Very GoodWeight Variance: Very GoodEase of Use: Very GoodDurability: FairValue: Fair
Grim Reaper Micro Hybrid
Grim Reaper Micro Hybrid (Grim Reaper/)
While most mechanical and hybrid models of late have focused on bigger cutting diameters, the Micro Hyrbid takes a different approach.
Designed to fly accurately from high-speed bows, the Micro features a relatively diminutive 1-1/16-inch leading blade with a 1-¼-inch expandable blade for a total cutting diameter of 2.31 inches.
This compact head did, indeed, fly true. It was among the most accurate heads tested and that decreased size also penetrated the tire deeper than other hybrids. The Micro sells for $49 for a three-pack.Accuracy: ExcellentSharpness: Very GoodTotal Potential Cutting Surface: GoodWeight Variance: Very GoodEase of Use: ExcellentDurability: ExcellentValue: Very good