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I know this topic has been discussed plenty of times before but with new users (like myself) joining AT everyday I thought I’d revive the subject to possibly hear some new opinions.

It seems like the biggest deterrent from mechanical broadheads is the fear that they won’t open on impact. Is that fair to say? I personally (with my relatively limited experience) have had nothing but easy tracking and short walks with mechanicals so, is it only a matter of time before I have a bad experience or is the broadness not functioning correctly a somewhat irrational fear?

I don’t think I can justify using a fixed blade with a much smaller cutting diameter just because of the perceived safety in the fact that their are no moving parts…maybe you get better penetration with fixed blades but does that really outweigh cutting potential?

Am I missing something?

I’d appreciate all opinions/advice, thanks!
 

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The failure to open is part of it. Mechanicals generally aren't built from the same quality of materials or as heavily constructed as quality fixed blades are. So durability and edge retention of cheaper disposable blades becomes a concern. That being said there are some higher quality mechanicals out there, just the same as there are some low quality fixed. One of the other concerns with mechanicals are they could open in flight, throwing your shot way off line. The biggest one though is if you contact heavy bone with one. Most opinions and testing indicates fixed will perform superior in heavy bone vs a mechanical. Mechanicals also lose some energy to open, robbing your arrow system of penetration, couple this with the giant cuts and you can easily run into trouble. There are some wider cut fixed out there that offer the advantages of a fixed without giving up so much cutting to a mechanical. Hybrids are also an option that can balance the risks/rewards of both.
 

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JMO but all fixed broadheads are not created equal just as all mechanical broadheads are not created equal.
Most of the negative comments about mechanical broadheads, not opening in the animal or opening prematurely have been started by fixed broadhead manufacturers and spread by bow hunters that lost their animal and it sounded like a great excuse for why they failed to kill and find their deer.
There may be better mechanicals than the 1 3/8'' Grim Reaper Razor Tips but I haven't tried them as the GRRT works great for me. If you put them on your string and check them to be sure they will open and close before you take your shot, they will work period.
As far as throwing things off if they did open, which I have never had happen in 20+ years. They would still fly as good as a 1 3/8'' 2 blade, especially in a wind which does happen quite often when hunting. In the past 20 years have taken over 100 big game animals with the Grim Reaper 1 3/8'' Razor Tip without a single failure. WFM ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The failure to open is part of it. Mechanicals generally aren't built from the same quality of materials or as heavily constructed as quality fixed blades are. So durability and edge retention of cheaper disposable blades becomes a concern. That being said there are some higher quality mechanicals out there, just the same as there are some low quality fixed. One of the other concerns with mechanicals are they could open in flight, throwing your shot way off line. The biggest one though is if you contact heavy bone with one. Most opinions and testing indicates fixed will perform superior in heavy bone vs a mechanical. Mechanicals also lose some energy to open, robbing your arrow system of penetration, couple this with the giant cuts and you can easily run into trouble. There are some wider cut fixed out there that offer the advantages of a fixed without giving up so much cutting to a mechanical. Hybrids are also an option that can balance the risks/rewards of both.
Good points, I shoot swhacker broadheads which are great but like you said, durability is an issue (blades get dull and bent). I also agree hitting bone could be bad news with a mechanical but I don’t mind relying on shot placement to avoid that where I hunt (I’m never really in a situation where I have to consider a shot with a deer quartering toward me). Hybrids are an interesting thought though, I’ve never really looked into using them but I’m going to do some research now. Thanks!
 

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There has been a long running "experiment" on this topic. It's essentially a controlled hunt situation on a military base and they track people's equipment and success rates as well as a couple other metrics. Over the many years they've done it, mechanical broadheads out perform fixed on whitetail deer by something like 10% higher recovery rates.

Here's an article about it. Does Broadhead Choice Really Matter? - NDA.

Regardless of the complaints or reasons one might give as to why they perform better, the reality is that for the average person, they are more effective on deer. Most people don't know how to broadhead tune. Most people don't even know what tuning a bow is and mechanical heads are simply more forgiving than fixed blades, in a number of ways.
 
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Broadheads regardless of what kind take the blame for poor results when often it’s improper bow tune, poor arrow build, or poor shot location. However, here are the downsides of mechanicals:

- Possibility of failure: anytime you introduce moving parts to your arrow, you decrease it’s structural integrity and deployment issues can arise. You don’t get this many anecdotal stories of heads not opening by coincidence.

- Blade retention & dullness: Too many mechanicals have really dull heads. You should be afraid of mishandling your broadhead. With many brands, that’s just not the case. G5 makes the only mechanicals I’m extremely careful when handling because their heads are sharp.

- Re-use: Most mechanicals are built as one-and-done heads, which keeps you buying more. Fixed blades don’t really have this problem.

- Noise: upon impact blades deploy. That’s good and all, however the “shwack!!!” sound is not good. Noise is unused energy, and will cause the deer to run further than it may would have if hit with a fixed head.

- Penetration: Due to their design, mechanicals use more energy in deployment. This can result in the arrow not passing through the animal entirely. You want a full pass-through.

Since you’re new, here’s a video for better understanding. @AnAverageJack is an archery personality which I’ve come to really trust in his tutorials and reviews. With all this being said, I will be a hypocrite this year and have some G5 Deadmeats/Havocs in my quiver along with my fixed.

 

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I am planning to shoot a 200 gr tuffhead this year. Most of the new single & double bevel such as iron will, day six, cut throat, and tuffhead(i know there is more obv.) seem to be way tougher than most of the muzzy/ other replaceable blade broadheads.
 

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Everyone's laid out a lot of good points. Imo its just a matter of opinion and risk vs reward. cutting diameter and flight is the downfall of fixed and failure to operate correctly is the major downfall of mech. I've seen a rage go completely through a deer and not open at all. Looked like a field point wound. Also there are plenty of hunting videos on youtube of someone nicking a branch or leaf and deploying one side and the arrow goes completely off the shot and misses vitals.

If you shoot fixed its just more hassle of tuning broadheads to match your field points and practicing with them. I personally carry fixed and have one arrow with a mech just in case a shot opportunity makes more sense for that. but it all depends.

Lots of good options either way. Pick your poison.
 

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Agree with @thirdhandman

Ive had nothing but success with my GR mechanicals. I also track wounded game during the season. The calls where game was lost from mechanicals, generally falls under 2 categories:

-Too low draw weight to get them to be effective

-Bad shot placement

That being said, I've blown through shoulders with my GRs.
 

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I have just transitioned to fixed, I’m shooting the G5 Montec 100 GR. I have them mounted using Bohning Blazer vanes(factory on the arrows) with the inserts and blades in-line with the fletching. I’ve just started shooting them and so far the results are pretty impressive at 20 and 30 yards, dead on with field points. Hope to get some 40 and 50 yard shots this weekend.
I personally don’t care for the fragile nature of the collars, had 3 of them break in a quiver.
 

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I know this topic has been discussed plenty of times before but with new users (like myself) joining AT everyday I thought I’d revive the subject to possibly hear some new opinions.

It seems like the biggest deterrent from mechanical broadheads is the fear that they won’t open on impact. Is that fair to say? I personally (with my relatively limited experience) have had nothing but easy tracking and short walks with mechanicals so, is it only a matter of time before I have a bad experience or is the broadness not functioning correctly a somewhat irrational fear?

I don’t think I can justify using a fixed blade with a much smaller cutting diameter just because of the perceived safety in the fact that their are no moving parts…maybe you get better penetration with fixed blades but does that really outweigh cutting potential?

Am I missing something?

I’d appreciate all opinions/advice, thanks!
Failure to open, in my opinion, isn't even in the discussion. It does happen, but it's rare enough that it wouldn't be a concern. I personally don't use a mechanical for a few reasons. 1. They are not reusable which means, more money spent. 2. Less pass thrus 3. Not durable (Blades bend) 4. Debated, but can cause much more of a shock to deer upon impact. 5. Many times, using mechanicals is an excuse to not properly tune your bow (This is not all people obviously, but that mentality is running rampant)

Your idea that their is "less" cutting diameter would be fixed if you simply put a tooth of the arrow broadhead on the end of your stick. Those 4 blades make for more cutting survace than a rage broadhead and a much more devastating hole than a little slit. I chose fixed blades because: 1. They are more durable 2. If you choose a solid one piece design like tooth of the arrow, it is reusable (I have taken 6 animals with the same head) 3. Much less chance of failure, and by failure I mean the blades dont break or bend like on most mechanicals.

In all honestly, if you choose the right fixed blade and tune your bow properly, there is no reason to not go fixed blade. If I was going mechanical, the only one I would touch with a 10 foot pole would be the sevr's or possibly some of the grim reapers.
 

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Everyone's laid out a lot of good points. Imo its just a matter of opinion and risk vs reward. cutting diameter and flight is the downfall of fixed and failure to operate correctly is the major downfall of mech. I've seen a rage go completely through a deer and not open at all. Looked like a field point wound. Also there are plenty of hunting videos on youtube of someone nicking a branch or leaf and deploying one side and the arrow goes completely off the shot and misses vitals.

If you shoot fixed its just more hassle of tuning broadheads to match your field points and practicing with them. I personally carry fixed and have one arrow with a mech just in case a shot opportunity makes more sense for that. but it all depends.

Lots of good options either way. Pick your poison.
I don't disagree, just merely pointing out something important. Because it can be more difficult to tune a fixed head, it causes laziness amongst hunters (not saying this is you). Instead of actually tuning a bow properly, they say....AHHHHHHHH why bother when I can just throw a mechanical on there and be all set....with that mindset you miss out on soooooo many benefits. Quieter bow, more efficient bow, etc....

Simply put, go paper tune a bareshaft through paper, and then fletch a shaft and go shoot the fletched arrow with a bareshaft. Get them to hit the same spot and have the same entry angle. I can almost GUARANTEE that any fixed blade you put on your bow is going to fly exactly with your field points.

To preface....tuning means setting your rest at 13/16 off riser and shimming cams or yoke tuning, etc. (Obviously more to it than just that, but it captures the gist of it)
 

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Failure to open, in my opinion, isn't even in the discussion. It does happen, but it's rare enough that it wouldn't be a concern. I personally don't use a mechanical for a few reasons. 1. They are not reusable which means, more money spent. 2. Less pass thrus 3. Not durable (Blades bend) 4. Debated, but can cause much more of a shock to deer upon impact. 5. Many times, using mechanicals is an excuse to not properly tune your bow (This is not all people obviously, but that mentality is running rampant)

Your idea that their is "less" cutting diameter would be fixed if you simply put a tooth of the arrow broadhead on the end of your stick. Those 4 blades make for more cutting survace than a rage broadhead and a much more devastating hole than a little slit. I chose fixed blades because: 1. They are more durable 2. If you choose a solid one piece design like tooth of the arrow, it is reusable (I have taken 6 animals with the same head) 3. Much less chance of failure, and by failure I mean the blades dont break or bend like on most mechanicals.

In all honestly, if you choose the right fixed blade and tune your bow properly, there is no reason to not go fixed blade. If I was going mechanical, the only one I would touch with a 10 foot pole would be the sevr's or possibly some of the grim reapers.
I've broken more fixed heads than mechanical heads. It was only one in all the years hunting but I broke a blade off a Thunderhead and I've never broken any of the spitfire or killzones that I've used on various game. I also have never not been able to reuse those mech heads and some in my quiver have multiple kills on their record. I've also never not had a passthrough with my mech heads but have had non-passthroughs with my fixed though that was when I was shooting less weight with a slower bow but still.

Not all mech heads are created equally and while I've not used any since they were sold and moved production overseas, the NAP mechs I've used have been outstanding and very durable. There are pros and cons to both but research has shown that for the average end user, mech heads out perform fixed on deer sized game and smaller.
 
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I don't disagree, just merely pointing out something important. Because it can be more difficult to tune a fixed head, it causes laziness amongst hunters (not saying this is you). Instead of actually tuning a bow properly, they say....AHHHHHHHH why bother when I can just throw a mechanical on there and be all set....with that mindset you miss out on soooooo many benefits. Quieter bow, more efficient bow, etc....

Simply put, go paper tune a bareshaft through paper, and then fletch a shaft and go shoot the fletched arrow with a bareshaft. Get them to hit the same spot and have the same entry angle. I can almost GUARANTEE that any fixed blade you put on your bow is going to fly exactly with your field points.

To preface....tuning means setting your rest at 13/16 off riser and shimming cams or yoke tuning, etc. (Obviously more to it than just that, but it captures the gist of it)
I completely agree. I'm super anal about my bow tune and arrow tune. I shoot the QAD exodus and make sure its tuned and hitting exactly where my field points are hitting. I took 2 deer last season with the exodus and love the result. TBH the only reason I keep 1 arrow with a mechanical is if something happens while out on a hunting trip and my fixed heads are not shooting right. Bow got bumped hard or something messed up the tune. Unlikely.....yes, but I have that option. I will always choose fixed over mechanical but I don't think choosing one or the other is better. Whatever works for the shooter and a deer on the ground is the result. But if someone was to ask me what to go with I'd repeat your points.
 

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I've broken more fixed heads than mechanical heads. It was only one in all the years hunting but I broke a blade off a Thunderhead and I've never broken any of the spitfire or killzones that I've used on various game. I also have never not been able to reuse those mech heads and some in my quiver have multiple kills on their record. I've also never not had a passthrough with my mech heads but have had non-passthroughs with my fixed though that was when I was shooting less weight with a slower bow but still.

Not all mech heads are created equally and while I've not used any since they were sold and moved production overseas, the NAP mechs I've used have been outstanding and very durable. There are pros and cons to both but research has shown that for the average end user, mech heads out perform fixed on deer sized game and smaller.
I don't disagree with your points at all! I shot mechanicals for years and shot the nap killzones for awhile with great success. Had a few blades break and shot my pope and young buck with one. I would never say mechanicals don't have their place. I don't even steer people away from them, AS LONG AS they tune their bows and aren't lazy hahaha. I had a bunch of blades break on my magnus stingers, honestly more than my mechs. But since switching to a solid one piece design, it's hard to move along.


Definitely won't fight against the findings for deer recovery, as I don't disagree that mechs will often up your chances.
 

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I've got nothing against mechanicals, if people know how to shoot them. I've just never hunted big game with them because I've had such excellent results with fixed, since 1987. I've never needed wide cuts to kill quickly either. All my broadheads are 1 1/16" -- 1 3/16" wide. About 50% of deer I've killed were taken over the years with Thunderhead 125's, 1 3/16" cut diameter. Most were down and dead in seconds, within 60 yards. I also killed a 5x5 bull elk with one. He made it 30 yards and had stopped moving within 10 seconds. (I double-lunged him but also center-punched his ascending aorta). I also killed my first bow-killed turkey with one. Those were all with the older, made in USA Thunderheads though. The blades aren't as good on the new Chinese made ones, so in my book, they're discontinued by NAP.

Another great fixed broadhead was the Muzzy Phantom 125 4-blade. It had a 1 1/8" cut diameter--with main blade and bleeder both that same width. I had a couple of deer that didn't even realize they'd been shot, after it passed had through both their lungs. I had one big doe walk 15 yards after the shot and then just lie down, and one buck who looked at my arrow stuck in the ground next to him, picked up another acorn and then flopped right there, 15 yards from my tree. Of other deer I killed with those Phantoms, most died within sight. I never lost any deer with Phantoms, ever, even with 2 of my worst hunting shots in my history, caused by slight deflections off limbs I didn't see. Those broadheads got discontinued by Fare-dyne, after they bought out Muzzy and moved manufacturing to China.

I'm currently shooting Magnus Stinger Buzzcut 4-blade 125's & 150's. I killed my 2020 Idaho bull elk with a 125 and watched him die 50 yards away, 15 seconds later. He spewed quarts of blood all the way there. I killed my 2021 8-pointer with a 150. My shot was a little forward due to awkward shot angle, but it blew through both his shoulders--thus, blood trail was untraceable, but I recovered the buck 105 yards from my treestand location.

Blood trails can vary a lot with fixed, depending on shot locations, angles of entry/exit wounds and which tissues were passed through. Some blood trails are profuse, while others may be nearly non-existent. I learned a long time ago to just go find 'em, blood trail or not.
 

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I know this topic has been discussed plenty of times before but with new users (like myself) joining AT everyday I thought I’d revive the subject to possibly hear some new opinions.

It seems like the biggest deterrent from mechanical broadheads is the fear that they won’t open on impact. Is that fair to say? I personally (with my relatively limited experience) have had nothing but easy tracking and short walks with mechanicals so, is it only a matter of time before I have a bad experience or is the broadness not functioning correctly a somewhat irrational fear?

I don’t think I can justify using a fixed blade with a much smaller cutting diameter just because of the perceived safety in the fact that their are no moving parts…maybe you get better penetration with fixed blades but does that really outweigh cutting potential?

Am I missing something?

I’d appreciate all opinions/advice, thanks!
The penetration differences are known and have been discussed at length.

But IMO if you take twenty random archers and put them in a slightly awkward treestand situation, ten shooting fixed, ten shooting mechs…. you will see much better groups at 30 yards from the mechs.

Now if someone is more serious about tuning, they’re more likely to have those fixed dialed in pretty well…. but even these folks usually aren’t too sure what a funky angle with a funky grip tree stand shot situation does to their fixed flight.
 

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I'm a fixed blade guy myself. NAP Thunderhead 100's for me. I've been shooting them for years and never had one to fail. I've often heard people shoot mechanicals because they shoot like field points. I am not saying that everyone that shoots them do it for that reason. Personally I've never had a problem tuning to get broadheads to hit the same spot as my field points. This along with no failures is why I still shoot fixed blades. If it ain't broke it don't need
fixing !!
 
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