Illinois Outdoors at
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Marc Anthony of Goodfield owns and operates Look Alive Taxidermy and Non Typical Hunter magazine. Anthony grew up in central Illinois and spent eight years as a commercial pilot before giving that up to spend more time with his wife Jan and three children, Victoria, Drake and Elesa. Anthony hunted on and off as a child but started seriously at age 30 and focuses on bowhunting for deer and turkeys. He's arrowed four bucks that meet the Boone and Crockett Club (net) standards and 20 Pope and Young Club qualifiers. Anthony is on the Pro Staff for Muzzy broadheads, Bear Archery, Vital Gear, Natural Predator, Non Typical Hunter and several other companies. He also is a member of the Outdoor writers Association of America, OWAA.


Non-typical Hunter

A Web log by Marc Anthony

Fixed or Mechanical broadheads?

May 14, 2010 at 11:11 AM

One of the questions that lurk in the hunting community, the bow hunting community to be exact, is the question of choice between the fixed blade and the mechanical broadhead. If you don’t believe the question is controversial, just go to any forum that has opened up this can of worms and read the comments. Although I am one who believes a person should use their real name instead of a screen name when it comes to identifying yourself on a forum, this subject alone may be a great reason to do just the opposite! One thing for sure, hunters seem to be loyal to their equipment. I know I am!

I am a fixed blade type of guy. Before I go any further, I will properly identify myself as being on Muzzy’s Pro Staff, so it may appear I was paid to write my opinions regarding which broadheads to use. I want to clear this up before I go any further as to not discredit this article. I am a fixed blade proponent by choice and support the companies whose products I’ve used for decades (because of their track record). OK, now that I got that out of the way, lets move on.

One argument for a fixed blade is the fact that they are NOT mechanical thus no mechanical failure. This is my argument also. I make my statement from experience and experience only. I have a mechanical background beginning way back as a backyard mechanic/gear-head all the way to an FAA aircraft mechanic and I’m here to tell you that everything is prone to failure. As a pilot in my last life, I can also bore you with some hair-raising tales of mechanical failures I had to deal with even though the airplanes I were flying had multiple backup systems! If it can happen, it will. Even worse yet, I will almost guarantee you that these failures will occur when you lease expect it or at the most impromptu time. It never fails! (Is that a play on words or what?)

The opposing argument in favor of the mechanical broadhead is their ability to fly like field points in accuracy. One thing for sure, comparing accuracy between broadheads and field points can generate an entire topic altogether. Some will claim the two don’t compare in flight equality and that it is nearly impossible to find fixed broadheads that fly like field points, which in turn prompts them to use the mechanicals. Mechanicals, as you may be aware of, open up only at impact thus creating less drag. With the blades being inconspicuous during flight, less drag is created from the decreased surface area. Another claimed positive are the blood trails they create. Having tested both, I will attest to the fact that I’ve seen some amazing holes generated by some mechanicals. There is nothing like having a great blood trail leading the way to your whitetail, that’s for sure!  On the other hand, I’ve seen equally devastating holes in the carcasses of deer with fixed blades.

Granted, there are many brands of broadheads on the market today and with those different brands come a diversity of designs. You have 2, 3 and 4 blade versions, some with bone chiselers on the tips, others without. Some made from cast metal, others forged. You also find some designs that look like they were part of the medieval times and others that appear to have been made from the local high school’s workshop. One thing for sure, looks can be deceiving! Beauty in a broadhead does not come from face value but rather from several other factors. Flight characteristics, tissue damage and blood trails are just some of the features an archer should look for when choosing a broadhead. When making that decision, the question of what type (mechanical or fixed) will come back to haunt you. Where do you begin?

In a book that I’m currently writing, I explain how a person goes about getting the correct information regarding today’s equipment. The material is fresh in my mind because I’m finishing that chapter as I write this article. It’s a tough question with some tough answers! The bottom line is to start somewhere and preferably with an experienced bow hunter. Unfortunately, experienced bow hunters can also be deadlocked with choices but deciphering data between knowledgably individuals is by far better than having to choose by random. If all else fails, buy some different brands and test them! That’s what I’ve done. When testing them, make sure you have a target made for shooting broadheads into it. If not, you’ll soon find out why I’ve recommended it! Test your broadheads at different yardages and in different climatic conditions. You will be surprised how a little bit of wind can affect your flight path.

Whether you choose a mechanical or a fixed blade, one thing is for sure and that is opening day bow season is NOT the time find out how your arrows fly! Get out now and perfect your shots, get some advice and make your own determination. From there, you can add your own opinion to the myriad of bow hunters who are contemplating which type of broadhead to choose. 


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