Having a great crossbow is useless without the right projectile, and inexperienced archers are often not aware of the amount of choice available to them.
What is the difference between a mechanical broadhead and a fixed blade broadhead? What difference does a chisel tip vs a cut on contact tip make? What does grain mean?
Crossbow Broadhead Selection – Our Reviews Can Help
It’s easy to face an episode of choice paralysis when deciding on the best crossbow broadheads to use, that’s where Archery Edge comes in. Below I have sifted through what I consider the best available broadheads on the market, from budget to pro level.
Not only that but I have also composed a buyer’s guide for inexperienced archers, answering common questions about broadheads for crossbow and giving an overview of terms used.
By the time you have finished this article, you will have all the information required to make your first broadhead purchase.
Maifield Archery Broadheads
These 100 grain Maifield Archery Broadheads come in packs of six and is easily the most budget-friendly option on the list which is evident in the materials used in construction. Utilizing an aluminum ferrule, as opposed to the steel ferrules found on most broadhead models.
However, it’s three-blade construction does offer a respectable 1 1/8’’ cutting diameter which shouldn’t be ignored. However, if you compare these models to some of the previous broadheads featured on this list you will find them lacking.
That being said, I would recommend these broadheads for inexperienced archers looking to tackle very small game and fowl when starting out. As a budget option, they are easily replaced for a small cost if they become damaged or lost during use.
- Budget friendly
- Comes in a pack of 6
- Good for beginners
- Aluminum ferrule
Muzzy Trocar Crossbow Broadhead
Named after a surgical instrument used to create openings in the body for keyhole surgery, the Muzzy Trocar takes inspiration from laparoscopic trocars. This advanced fixed blade design offers greater penetration upon impact than many of its contemporaries, with a solid steel chisel tip to avoid any deflection after striking against bone.
Designed specifically to combat the effects of unwanted crosswind the Trocar provides an enhanced level of accuracy for a fixed blade broadhead, dependable in all situations.
It should be noted that these broadheads perform best with a high-speed setup, ensuring the best use. Muzzy also sells replacement blades should any become damaged, making the Trocar easy to maintain and easy on the wallet.
- Flies true in a crosswind
- Enhanced penetration
- Solid construction
- Not suited for low-speed setups
Rage CrossbowX 2-Blade
Available in 100 or 125 grain, the Rage CrossbowX is a two-blade mechanical broadhead that has cemented its place as one of the most popular models on the market. Great for anyone that struggles with premature blade deployment, as Rage has applied their Shock Collar Technology to ensure blades are retained until impact.
Flight is true as is expected from a mechanical broadhead, and further enhanced thanks to Rages unique Ferrule Alignment technology.
The CrossbowX has a cut on contact tip, and the blades deploy to a considerable 2 inches of cutting diameter on impact; leaving a substantial wound channel and large enough blood trail for even inexperienced bowhunters to track.
Aftermarket blades are available, making the CrossbowX easy to maintain if a blade should become damaged.
- Good blade retention
- 2 inch cutting diameter
- New blades can be purchased
- Cut on contact tip might not suit some game
QAD Exodus Full Blade Broadhead
QAD claims this to be a cut on contact tip, but I personally feel it resembles a chisel tip, so it’s safe to say that this broadhead can be described as a hybrid of the two. No matter how you want to quantify it, the Exodus offers great penetration, carving through thick pelts.
A choice of 100 or 125 grain puts this right in the sweet spot for crossbow use, and a 1.25’’ cutting diameter should suffice to humanely finish any game off. Design is simple and sturdy, with replacement blades available should the original ones become damaged.
Like the G5, the Exodus broadheads are great for hunters wanting a simple fixed blade solution to their problems.
- Hybrid tip
- Replacement blades available
- Solid design
- Higher powered crossbow users might miss a 150 grain option
G5 Outdoors Montec Broadhead
G5 has created a fixed-blade beast with the Montec. The design is stripped back and has a simple elegance, but these broadheads are built to last.
Featuring three steel blades that meet as an almost hybrid chisel/cut on contact tip, with a 1’’ to 1 1/8’’ cutting diameter, the G5 Montec has no problem penetrating tough hides and flesh; often resulting in a complete pass through.
Available up to 125 grains in weight and requiring little maintenance other than sharpening, the G5 is a great choice for bowmen seeking a simpler option that will survive several seasons.
- Simple design
- Solid construction
- Low maintenance
- Won't fly as true as a mechanical broadhead
Buying Guides: Best Crossbow Broadhead
Now that you have seen our reviews of the best broadheads for crossbow, it’s time to make your decision. If you have been bowhunting a long time you will already know your preferences, but for the inexperienced among you keep reading.
Below I have highlighted the key points that you will need to consider when looking for your first broadheads, and hopefully by the end you will feel informed enough to make your choice.
Broadhead tip weight
Crossbow broadheads, like regular broadheads are weighed in grains. Typically, broadheads for crossbow will be heavier than their counterparts (usually 100 – 125 grains), because of the crossbow bolts shorter length and the extra force exerted by the crossbow.
The easiest way to select the appropriate grain weight is to check the recommendations from the company that manufactured your crossbow. Be warned, you can go heavier than recommended weight limits, but you should never go below the manufacturer’s recommendation; or risk damaging your bow and injury.
Best Types of Broadhead Tips
Broadheads are available with two types of tip, chisel and cut on contact. Each has its pros and cons alongside differing applications.
Chisel tips deliver a large amount of damage on penetration and leave an excellent blood trail to track your prize after contact
Chisel tip broadheads have a rounded end that has been honed to a point, bearing resemblance to a POZI drive screwdriver bit that has been sharpened.
Because of their design, chisel tips have improved penetration on contact with bone, and for game with tougher hides like hog or elk. Chisel tips deliver a large amount of damage on penetration and leave an excellent blood trail to track your prize after contact
Cut on Contact
Cut on contact tips have the blades flank right up to the tip, creating a bladed point and offer faster penetration with less of a blood trail. Cut on contact broadheads are known to bend if they come into contact with bone on entry, becoming less efficient; but they do offer greater organ penetration.
Fixed Blade vs. Mechanical Blades
Most of the broadheads available now are either fixed blade or mechanical, and there has been much debate about which is best and why. Typically, once a bowhunter has found what they like, they will stick with it.
But each design has its own benefits and detractions.
Mechanical broadheads are a relatively modern addition to the bowhunter’s arsenal. These broadheads fly true like a field point but deploy blades upon contact with your target.
These features lead to easier handling, and vital organ damage with a large wound channel that creates an excellent blood trail.
- Pros – Mechanical broadheads are easier to adapt to, as they fly very similar to field point bolts that you will have used in practice. They also offer a larger cutting diameter than fixed blade broadheads, leading to quicker more humane kills.
- Cons – Mechanical broadheads feature moving parts, and as such can be prone to malfunction. Modern advancements have reduced the likelihood of this happening, but it remains a possibility. Bone is the enemy of mechanical broadheads, catching a shoulder or rib on entry can change the trajectory of your bolt causing you to miss the vital organs. When the blades bloom, there is a loss of kinetic energy which can affect penetration on contact which will cost you when hunting larger game. Many game reserves won’t allow the use of mechanical broadheads.
- Application – Mechanical broadheads have found popularity with hunters looking for whitetail and small game, because of the increased level of accuracy needed for the smaller vital zones.
There are many styles of fixed blade broadheads available, and they have been a staple since Neolithic archers first made a flint arrowhead. The number of blades available on these broadheads vary between two, three, and four.
Fixed blade broadheads will need to be regularly sharpened, and some models will require sharpening straight out of the box. Many have the option to remove the blades to make sharpening easier.
Broadheads with fixed blades are available in a number of assortments, from grain weights to cutting diameter, to the number of blades. You will be sure to find something that suits your needs.
- Pros – Unlike mechanical broadheads, fixed blade broadheads have no moving parts that will potentially malfunction during use. Since the blade is already ‘deployed’ there is no loss of kinetic energy on impact, improving rates of penetration. Maintenance is simpler for fixed blade broadheads, the only requirement is that you keep them clean and sharp.
- Cons – Fixed blades can be affected by the wind, and are generally not as aerodynamic as mechanical broadheads which leaves them at a disadvantage for accuracy.
- Application – Most serious elk hunters will opt for a fixed blade broadhead for their reliability and deeper penetration. Moose, bear, and bison are also popular targets for fixed blade broadheads.
Difference between regular broadheads and crossbow broadheads
Many bowhunters claim there I no difference between crossbow broadheads and regular broadheads, and for a while, they may have been right. But with the explosion in popularity of crossbow hunting, broadheads have become more specialized for their needs.
Typically, fixed blade broadheads for crossbows will have shorter blades, this helps to improve accuracy by compensating for the crossbow bolts shorter length.
While there is some overlap in this area, crossbow broadheads tend to be heavier than their compound or recurve counterparts. 100 – 150 grains is a standard margin for crossbow users, giving the bolt some balance by being weighted forward; leading to a straighter flight path.
Better blade retention
Crossbow users tend to favor mechanical broadheads to make use of the greater accuracy on offer, and the diminished effect the win will have on the bolt in flight. Because crossbow bolts leave the weapon at higher speeds, mechanical broadheads developed for crossbows have stronger blade retention to avoid premature deployment.
Top Crossbow Broadhead for Deer
Fixed blade and mechanical broadheads are both useful if it is deer you are pursuing, however, there are a few factors to take into consideration. Some are determined by your skill, and others are more practical.
Fixed Blade vs Mechanical
Whether you choose a fixed blade or mechanical broadhead when hunting deer is a personal preference. The main point you will need to consider is your skill with the weapon.
Mechanical broadheads provide more accuracy and shoot similarly to field points used in practice and are a good option for beginners. Fixed blade broadheads will deliver a more efficient kill, but are harder to shoot.
When hunting deer, 100 or 125-grain broadheads are both good, but any lower and you will lack the penetration required to finish the job. If you have a particularly powerful crossbow, 150 grain might be an option, but the benefits are negligible.
Any number of blades will do the job, as long as you have a sufficient cutting diameter, more blades create a larger wound channel but don’t offer anything in the way of lethality.
As long as you have a cutting diameter larger than an inch, your broadhead should provide enough lethality to take down a deer quickly and humanely.
By now you should be knowledgeable about the types of broadheads available, and their common features and have an idea of what will suit your needs. If you are still unsure of how to pick the best crossbow broadheads, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and we will be sure to guide you.
If I were to load up for a hunt today, I would bring along a quiver of bolts equipped with what we think is the Best Crossbow Broadhead – The Muzzy Trocar Crossbow Broadheads. The simple design ensures they will work as intended every time, without having to worry about mechanical failures and if any of the blades become damaged in use, they are easily replaceable.
If there is anything you think that we have missed, or have any hints and tips to share please comment below and let us know. We are always trying to deliver the most up to date relevant content for archers, so if there is a topic you would like to see us cover please get in contact.
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