Buying broadheads can be a bit intimidating and it doesn't matter if you're a seasoned vet or a newbie. It's an ever growing product category with constant flash in the pan designs promising bigger cuts, more blood, and better flight. Unfortunately, most broadhead companies recognize this and prey on folks with over dramatic marketing materials supported by murder scene type content.
At the end of the day, a sharp well place broadhead, flying well out of your setup will do its job. But before you get to that point, you still have to make a purchase decision on what to shoot. Educate yourself, buy, and tinker. Then make the decision on what broadhead you'll be hunting with.
With Afflictor being in the broadhead space now for 7 years, we've seen a lot of purchasing trends. Below are the most common mistakes we see people make when buying new broadheads.
MISTAKE #1- YOU'RE LOOKING FOR SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE
In the age where keyboard warriors rule and everyone has an opinion, valid or not, social media can either be a resource or your worst enemy...And that goes well beyond broadheads. There's nothing wrong with getting feedback from others' experiences, but the mistake comes when you take other peoples' considerations as the gospel.
We often see folks asking the question in forums "What is the best broadhead?" and that results in hundreds of different answers. If that was the deciding factor in your purchase, the chances of that person's setup being the same as yours is extremely slim. Therefore, the recommended broadhead may not give you the same results. You want to plan your purchase around your physical setup. Buy and tinker, but even before that, make sure your bow is properly tuned. The old caveat, "fixed blades don't fly" isn't about the broadhead, at least in most cases, it's about your setup. If you're a guy that doesn't want to go through the process of properly tuning your bow, mechanicals or hybrids like the Afflictor K2-Hybrid are a good option.
Don't fall for the outlandish bleed out test, the steel barrel torture tests, or any other extreme examples. If you're looking for an accurate close to real life test, search the web for just that...shots on live animals.
MISTAKE #2 - YOU BOUGHT INTO THE MARKETING HYPE
As we mentioned in the intro, brands know what is eye catching to impulsive buyers. Just walk down the broadhead aisle at your local retailer, every package is about the same. Bigger cuts, bloody content, and promises of perfect flight all built into what we call the "WOW FACTOR".
You may see a broadhead that just looks absolutely insane and devastating on the shelf, but looks can be deceiving. You want your broadhead to perform the absolute best possible so you can ultimately reach your goal of a harvested animal. Well, the prettiest or most gnarly looking broadhead may not be the best performer. Do your due diligence and either test the heads yourself, or watch detailed flight reviews to assess how well they perform. Educate, buy, and tinker.
MISTAKE #3 - BUYING ON PRICE POINT
When push comes to shove, the business end of your arrow is a critical component of your harvest opportunity. Often times the cheapest, most budget friendly broadheads are not going to hold up. Your broadhead is way too important to go with the cheapest broadhead available.
To add to this, beware of Amazon and Ebay broadhead purchases. Even with new in package broadheads, these platforms allow "knockoffs" to be sold without much legal backlash. If the deal is too good to be true, it likely is. Stick with certified brand stores directly owned by the broadhead manufacturer.
MISTAKE #4 - THE WRONG WEIGHT
Again....Educate, buy, and tinker; that theme isn't going anywhere. Shoot what you have confidence in and what yields you the very best flight characteristics. There is certainly a craze with heavy arrows and heavy broadheads, but if you are not set up correctly to shoot heavy, your experience is going to be poor. The same goes for a broadhead setup that is too light. You know the saying "Speed Kills"? Well, errant flight does not. So make sure you are shooting the correct weight out of your desired setup.
Keep in mind adjusting your broadhead weight is also going to influence the spine of your arrow shaft. So if you have existing arrows you plan to shoot you will have to work with what you have to some extent. If you plan to purchase new arrow shafts, well....educate, buy, and tinker. Most arrow manufacturers offer solid spine charts to account for broadhead weight, but if you find yourself wanting to shoot a heavier weight than what is listed on the chart you can follow a general rule of thumb - ADD 3LBS OF DRAW WEIGHT FOR EVERY 25GR. Again, that is not an exact science, but it should get you close pending your other variables.
MISTAKE #5 - GOING BIG OR GOING HOME
As men, we ALL do this...we tend to take things to the extreme. Shooting the biggest diameter cutting surface you can find is not always best. Also, note the verbage there...cutting surface. When you are comparing specifications on broadheads you need to understand that cutting diameter and cutting surface specifications are often interchanged by manufacturers, but they are not the same. Compare apples to apples.
Often times broadheads with giant cutting surfaces of 2 1/2" and greater do not fly, or penetrate all that well UNLESS you are set up for it. The typical setup is not made to shoot huge broadheads. Another note to think about is how much KE is used when opening up large mechanics or hybrid broadheads. So, make sure you take that into consideration when making your purchase for this fall.
At the end of the day, the recipe to make the best broadhead purchase possible hasn't changed nor will it ever change. Educate yourself, it's free. Make smart precise purchases. Shoot and tinker with multiple heads before the season. When the opener rolls around, shoot what gives you the absolute most confidence.