Whether you set out this bow season with your old reliable fixed-blade broadheads, or decide to step up and pay a bit more for the latest mechanical broadheads on the market, the bottom line is that a well-placed shot with either one will bring a deer down.
Chaz Messina, a bow tech with Bowie Outfitters in Baton Rouge, La., said each style has pros and cons, but it all boils down to hunter choice.
“It’s 100 percent personal preference,” Messina said. “I could shoot a deer with a field point, I could shoot a deer with a small-cut broadhead or I could put a 3-inch cut.
“If I hit both lungs, that animal will die. It’s just a matter of how far I’ll have to track it to find it.”
And even though fixed-blades don’t cut as large a hole, they do provide a different advantage, he said.
“With a smaller cutting diameter, you have a greater chance for a pass-through because there’s less drag through the animal with a fixed-blade,” Messina said. “If you can make two holes on an animal, it bleeds a whole lot more than if you can only make one.
“But you can get away with a mechanical only creating one hole because it’s twice, maybe three times the size depending on which broadhead you go with.”
Accuracy-wise, because of their design and construction, Messina gives the edge to the mechanical broadhead.
“The biggest pro for mechanicals is that they’re field point accurate out the box,” he said. “With a fixed blade, the blades actually act as wings, and when you add wings to the front of the arrow, it’s going to show any imperfections in the tune on the bow.
“If you look at an airplane, they only have wings from the middle to the back — they don’t have anything on the front. There’s a reason for that. It’s aerodynamically correct with a blunt end, so a fixed blade takes a little more tuning.”
One advantage of a fixed-blade, though, is reliability.
“You don’t have to worry about if it’s going to open up and cut,” he said. “With anything mechanical, you do have the possibility of mechanical failure.
“But with a fixed-blade, that’s it. That’s how it’s going to be, and it’s going to cut when it hits it.”
However, a mechanical gives you a little more margin for error with the shot.
“It’s definitely going to have a wider cut, so if you barely miss the backside of the lungs, you have a better chance of actually clipping both lungs,” Messina said. “And if you hit the heart, you’re going to completely cut the heart in half on a whitetail.”
Price-wise, however, the edge swings back to the fixed-blade.
“It’s not unusual to pay $40 for three mechanical broadheads and a practice head, pretty much across the board,” he said. “For fixed, you’re looking at between $24 and $34.
“It’s definitely a little more economical.”
The bottom line is, lots of variables go into which style works best for an individual hunter, including what state you’re hunting in and if mechanical broadheads are legal there, your bow, sex, age and several other factors.
“You’ve got to set up broadheads per person,” he said. “It can depend on draw weight, arrow speed, what type of game you’re going after.
“All the companies are manufacturing a variety of options to cover all the different groups of hunters.”