Fixed or Mechanical Broadheads?

Guest Post by Bobby Scherer

There is no end to the debate over which type of broadhead is better and why. I will admit to being a fan of fixed blade broadheads and use them at least 90% of the time when I want to make sure I get a kill. Maybe this is just because I am comfortable with them.

I have hunted with mechanical broadheads and recent innovations have made them something I am more interested in. I think the kinks have been ironed out and the time of the mechanical broadhead has finally come.

There are a number of outstanding broadheads of each type. In an effort to be fair, I wanted to give both a solid look and assess their strengths and weaknesses.

Fixed Blade Broadheads

The factor that always leads me to a fixed blade broadhead is its consistency and reliability. I know a fixed blade broadhead will kit the same way and do the same job every time. The chances of anything happening to the broadhead on the way to the target are almost zero.

Fixed blade broadheads also tend to be more rugged and can take abuse that most mechanicals just can’t handle. The full length of the blade is supported and the angle of penetration is often less. This simply leads to a stronger broadhead across the board.

You also have to consider the cutting diameter, thickness, and weight. There is only so much volume you can have in a broadhead and still make the weight. Larger, longer blades will have to be thinner than shorter, smaller blades. This is just physics.

With fixed blades, you will also never have to worry about early blade deployment. This provides you with more consistent accuracy. Once you have everything tune in, anyway.

Fixed blade broadheads are harder to tune, it simply takes more time and effort. Even without tuning, they can be quite accurate if you did your setup and sight in correctly. This does not mean you should skip tuning. That is a vital step in the process.

Some fixed blade broadheads do cause consistently smaller wound channels than mechanicals. This has never been much of an issue for me but it very well could be for some people. I tend to prefer penetration to overall cutting diameter.

Mechanical Broadheads

I am somewhat new to mechanical broadheads but these are the traits I have noticed about them. Overall they tend to perform well and serve a purpose for most game animals. I may not be sold 100% but I do have a few brands and tend to like what I have.

A mechanical blade broadhead will cause faster blood loss than a fixed blade broadhead. This may only be by a couple of seconds but for some animals, like turkey, this is a very critical couple of seconds. It can be the difference between dead on the spot and having to track an animal a couple hundred yards.

Some of the wound channels on a fixed blade broadhead are very impressive. I recall one from a very large, flat broadhead that looked like it was sliced with a butcher knife. The deer could not have run more than a few steps with a hit like that.

Mechanical broadheads also tend to be much easier to tune and get sighted in than fixed blade broadheads. They fly more like field points to start with. On the other hand, if you do not tune your bow correctly and get them on target, they are a pain and can be wildly inaccurate.

I have also noticed from a number of pictures that you get better penetration from a mechanical broadhead when hunting from a stand. This has to be the way the point hits. Sometimes if you shoot a steep angle with a fixed blade, your penetration is affected by how the tip hits. Mechanicals don’t seem to have that problem.

Those are the plus side to mechanicals but I do still have some issues with them overall.

The primary concern I have is with durability. The blades are large but are often very thin. This can lead them to break, sometimes before they ever do their job. I have seen them break on the ribs of a wild hog several times. This is more of a concern from a stand.

The other large concern I have is that sometimes the blades will open prematurely, even while you are just moving around. This can cost you time and even missed opportunities. If the blades are open when you fire, I can guarantee you will be off on your aim.

Other than these two points, I see little issue with mechanicals. I am always willing to risk breaking a broadhead if it gets me a kill. As long as you keep an eye on your gear and be cautious about dragging it through brush, you should be fine.

Conclusion

Even though this article has attempted to be fair-minded and open about both styles of broadheads, it will do nothing to end the debate. Each person will have their own opinions and preferences and that will win out every time.

As I said, I will always opt for a fixed blade when I want meat on the table. It’s a matter of what I am used to and what I trust. If you started out with mechanicals, you likely feel the same way about them.

The truth of the matter is that they both work if you put in the time to get them set up correctly. It is probably more important than the broadhead you are using is well matched to the bow and arrows you use. That is a critical decision!

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