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How to Match Your Broadhead to Your Bow Setup


Using the correct method to match your broadhead to your bow can be the difference between success and failure in archery hunting.

The recent trend in the broadhead world has been “bigger is better,” with giant expandables being all the Rage (pun intended).

There are plenty of TV personalities and everyday hunters who swear by these heads and have the grip and grin photos to prove their effectiveness in the field, but those shooting low poundage or traditional bows are better off choosing a broadhead with a smaller cutting diameter. Hunters pursuing tough, thick skinned game like elk and wild hogs should also think long and hard before choosing a broadhead.

Here is a run down of some of the most common bow setups matched with appropriate broadheads.

Traditional Bows

Traditional bow hunters should never use expandable broadheads. Most traditional archers use heavy draw weight arrows to compensate for slow arrow speed and provide better penetration.

This “heavier is better” rule also applies to the business end of the arrow and traditional archers have been known to use broadheads weighing up to 300 grains. Traditional archers should also use a cut-on-contact head, again, to maximize penetration.

Compound Bows (30 lbs – 50 lbs draw weight)

A lot of deer have been killed by compound bows with a draw weight of 50 lbs or less, but this is the category of shooters most likely to use the wrong broadhead.

Compound shooters using light draw weight bows should focus on penetration and use a fixed blade cut-on-contact head like the two blade Magnus Stinger or the three blade G5 Montec. If you insist on using an expandable broadhead, make sure it has a cutting diameter of 1 1/2″ or less.

A well placed arrow with any of these tips will put down game as large as black bears, while also offering the best chance of recovery if you make a shoulder hit.

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Compound Bows (50 lbs + draw weight)

Hunters shooting modern compounds over 50 lbs have an almost unlimited number of options when selecting a broadhead. These bows have enough energy to punch even large diameter broadheads through a animal’s vitals. The problem occurs when a shot misses its mark.

Different animals require different broadheads. Large expandables, like the NAP Killzone, shine when a hunter makes a gut shot, cutting a massive hole and hastening the animal’s death. If the arrow goes the other way and impacts the shoulder, a small diameter fixed blade or expandable gives you the best chance of recovering your trophy.

In the end, broadhead placement is more important than broadhead selection.

Almost any sharp broadhead placed in an animals vitals will put them down quick. Use the tips above to select a broadhead that will offer the best performance when things don’t go exactly as planned.

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How to Match Your Broadhead to Your Bow Setup