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Thread: Broadhead Tip comparison study

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    Default Broadhead Tip comparison study

    This is a bit of info on Broadhead tip styles that will lead into a comparison of penetrating ability through soft tissue/hide based on different tip styles.

    Broadheads come with a few styles of tips. All have some sort of an advantage, the main styles are:

    1. Cut on Contact (COC) where the main blade and the tip are a singular and continuous piece of metal.

    2. Secondary tips that are not part of the main blade, such as Trocar, cone, pyramid, etc.

    Back in the day when everybody hunted with a longbow or recurve, Broadhead makers (who were also bowhunters) looked to maximize penetration and a lot of very long and slender heads came on the market. Howard Hill's head was an example. These long and narrow COC heads, with needle sharp points could penetrate hides with little effort. One such head is the Hilbre. This head was in my Dad's quiver back when I was a a boy and is a good example of the heads of that time.



    While these heads did a great job on hide and flesh, They were lacking when making a heavy impact on bone. The most common result was tip curl or breakage.



    Many COC heads are made today but not with such fine and weak points.

    Steelforce still makes long and slender COC heads but has changed the tip by adding a secondary angle to reduce tip damage. They did it by simply grinding a second angle but do not sharpen the second angle which creates a tiny flat spot on the edge of the tip.



    Other makers of COC heads, such as Magnus and Simmons are grinding a second angle but they are sharpening that 2nd angle.

    Magnus



    Simmons



    Another way to get around tip curl is to make the blades out of thicker material. The German Kinetics, Silver Flames have done that.



    G5 made the tip of the B52 thicker to reduce tip curl.



    Three bladed heads have the advantage of an extra main blade to stiffen the tip such as the G5 Montec, Magnus Snuffer SS, Nap Hellfire and the Wensel Woodsman to name a few.





    But even 3 bladed COC heads that are long and slender will suffer tip curl or breakage because of a long fine tip, such as this Razorcap head.

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    To reduce tip damage and to make heads that would fare better with bone impacts, Broadhead makers added a secondary tip in front of the main blades. These were no longer called COC heads and more energy was needed to get the tip through the hide but with today's hunting bows, with super speed and high KE, the trade off could be made.

    Here are some examples of some secondary tips. These tips are the strongest and most durable and are advertised for their bone busting abilities.

    Trocar, made famous by Muzzy and to be copied by many many other head makers.



    A variation of a trocar.



    Pyramid



    Cone or faceted cone



    The longer the tip is, the more prone it is to bending when making a heavy impact.



    It should be noted that even some secondary tips are actually COC styles like this Rage 3 blade.

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    After some heated discussion online (on another site) that centered around broadhead tip designs and what is a COC (Cut On Contact) broadhead VS a chisel tip VS a cone tip VS other styles of broadhead tips and their effects on penetration. It was suggested that a comparison should be done. I volunteered to do that comparison because:

    1. my Son and I have a bit of a broadhead collection (about 300 heads)

    2. I hunt with my own homemade broadheads so I can be impartial.

    3. I'm into this sort of thing.

    4. Everybody else had a life.

    **** DISCLAIMER ****

    To call this a scientific test would be unfair to every scientific test ever conducted. This is simply a COMPARISON of penetrating ability through a given material to see the force needed for different broadheads to cut, poke, ect through the medium. I know this is not a deer hide but what the material is, is not important so long as all the heads are compared using the same material.

    Every head was given 5 chances to penetrate the material and an average was taken. I set up my digital camera in front of the scale to record both images and video and then later captured a still of the video that represented the peak force immediately prior to going through the material.

    The set up I used is as follows. I made a wooden frame by cutting a hole in a piece of particle board. Over that hole, I will lay the material to be punctured. To prevent the material from simply being pushed through the hole I used wood blocks to clamp the material on two sides. The reason I did not clamp the material on all four sides is that I would have lost the stretch factor and the material would have been tight (Like a drum head) and would have required almost no effort to make a hole through it.

    The wooden frame sat atop wood blocks to provide enough depth clearance to prevent the longest of the broadheads from bottoming out. All of this wood applied a force on the scale so I adjusted the scale back to zero. The scale and the wooden frame were then set under the head of my drill press. In the chuck of the drill press I chucked an arrow insert so I could quickly change from head to head without damaging the threads on the broadheads.

    With a head loaded in the drill press, I would use the drill press handle to lower the broadhead onto the material and continue to apply a constant and even force until the head went through. In front of the drill press sat my camera on a tripod to capture the data so I could focus on applying the force without worrying about having to read the scale.

    Here is a picture of the set up.



    Here is the test material. It is a cloth that has a rubber/vinyl coating on both sides and is used for seat covers.



    I cut strips of the material to make it easier to manage moving it over the hole in the frame each time I did a test.



    To set up a sort of control or perhaps a worst case test, I used a practice point (field tip) and then a Hilbre broadhead to show examples of what I plan to do with a series of broadheads.

    First, the practice point. Here you can see the "Stretch factor I was talking about earlier and why I did not clamp down all four sides of the material.





    I turned on the camera and did 5 tests with the practice point. The results were very consistent. It took 20 pounds of pressure to poke through the material. Here is a still captured at the peak force moment.



    And here is a video of what it looked like in real time.



    That was clearly a puncture with no cutting taking place and I did it to explain what I am planning on doing with all the heads and because a few of the heads I plan to test, have a secondary point that will have to employ a bit of "Stretch Factor" prior to the blades cutting the material.

    The next sample was done with the Hilbre. This head had to be sharpened because it is pretty old and dull. All the others will be tested "As Is" meaning right from the package but I completely understand that hunters will sharpen or make improvements or modification to heads to make them perform better (Such as sharpening the Trocar tip of a Muzzy)

    Disgital still of the Hilbre. It took 0.7 Lbs of force to pass thru the material with the Hilbre's needle tip. (I am able to zoom in on the scale)



    Hilbre Video.



    Now you understand the process I plan to use with all the heads that I will compare. When it comes to cone tip, chisel and Trocar tips, The force that I will consider the peak force is the highest value reached prior to the point the blades start cutting. That is because that IS the tip style of those types of heads that I am comparing.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    NOW! Before we go any further, lets get real. We all know that your broadhead moves a lot faster than the speed in which I am using to penetrate this material and we all know that the broadheads I am about to compare will go through an animal at lightning speed from your bow and bury itself into the dirt on the other side. The same can even be said about the practice point in the first test so don't think that I will be providing proof that one head will out perform another in actual hunting conditions. This is only a comparison from head to head of the tip's ability to go through material.

    At the same time, for those that use low weight and slower bows and who are looking to squeeze out every ounce penetrating ability from their gear, this may be of value. The same can be said of the Traditional bowhunters (I'm one of them) I use a 45# longbow that shoots my 500+ grain arrow a blazing 142 feet per second. But again, this only a comparison of tip designs and not the entire head. That would be another comparison to do.

    This is also a sort of "Hide" penetration comparison and not a bone busting TEST. That too would be another comparison all together. Heads with a fine, needle point that will do well in this test, may not do so well in a hard impact or bone test as those tips may break or curl.

    Now that we are clear on what this comparison IS as well as what it IS NOT, we can proceed.
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    I started with the heads that have a secondary tip rather than a tip that is part of the main blade. The types of tips are Cone, chisel, Trocar, etc.

    Here is a Muzzy MX-3 head. I don't feel the need to test any of the other Muzzy brands because they all have the same Trocar tip regardless of broadhead weight or number of blades. Again, I recorded the force required until the blades started cutting because this is a tip comparison and as I said, I am comparing the force required for the entire tip to go through the material until the blades begin to open up a hole..

    Muzzy Digital still at the peak force moment. just over 4 pounds for the start of the tip but because the Trocar is a long tip, it required 8.6 Lbs. pounds of force. to get to the blades



    Muzzy Video of the event. The video clearly shows the point in which the blades start to cut as the scale quickly bounces back to zero from the peak.



    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Here is a Thunderhead which has a sort of cross between a cone and a chisel tip.

    Thunderhead Digital still at the peak force moment. 8 Lbs. pounds of force.



    Thunderhead video. Again, it's pretty clear when the tip has made it's way through the material and the blades take over.



    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Slick Trick Digital still at the peak force moment of 4.3 Lbs.



    Slick Trick Video.


    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Shuttle T Digital still at the peak force moment of 3 Lbs.



    Shuttle T video.

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    Then I compared a few of the Cut On Contact (COC) heads where the tip and the main blade are the same piece of metal.

    Steelforce Digital still at the peak force moment of 3.4 Lbs.



    Steelforce video.


    -------------------------------------------------------------

    American Broadhead Company makes several heads but they all have the same tip. The peak force moment for this head is 2 Lbs.



    ABC video.


    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Digital still at the peak force moment for a Magnus Stinger. 2.4 Lbs. pounds of force.



    Magnus Stinger video


    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Digital still at the peak force moment for a Magnus Snuffer SS. 0.9 Lbs. pounds of force. (Note The tests with the G5 Montec and the NAP Hellfire produced the same results as these heads are all very similar.)



    Snuffer SS video.


    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Digital still at the peak force moment for a Muzzy Phantom. 2.4 Lbs. pounds of force.




    Muzzy Phantom video.

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    Digital still of the G5 B52, 2 bladed head 1.1 Lbs



    G5 B52 video.


    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Digital still of the Slick Trick Razor Trick0.7 Lbs



    Razor Trick Video. You can see the force go up after the tip goes through because the secondary blades were then starting to contact the material.


    ----------------------------------------------

    Zwickey 2 bladed 1.5 Lbs.



    Zwickey Video.


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    Vintage Fred Bear Razorhead with the chisel tip. Peak force moment was 3.4 Lbs.



    Bear Razorhead Video.


    ---------------------------------------------------

    Here is the digital still of the peak force moment of the Wensel Woodsman. It is at 0.7 pounds of force.



    Here is the video of the woodsman. There are times when the scale reads as high as 14 Oz. but that is because I am already cutting a 3 bladed hole as the width of the head increases. This is only a tip comparison.

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    Next, I did a few Mech. (expandable heads) This was a little tougher because not all Mech. Heads are made the same. The tip was all I was trying to test but in some cases, the over center blades would contact the material while the point was still making it's way through. Over center blades proved to be a challenge. I think my speed at which I was forcing the heads through the material was a bit slow for these heads to be truly appreciated.

    Here is the digital still of a Rocket Mech. This head did not open but the leading edges of the blades are very sharp so they cut through the material. The peak force moment for the tip was 4 Lbs. and for the unopened blades was 12 Lbs.



    Rocket Video.


    ---------------------------------------------------

    Digital still of NAP Spitfire. The peak force moment of the tip was 3.8 Lbs. but I had to replay it over and over to catch the point where the tip came through because the main blades began contacting the material at a split second after that moment. The unopened peak force moment for the blades was rather high because the blades did not deploy so I saw a force of
    34 Lbs.



    Spitfire Video.


    ------------------------------------------------------

    Digital Still of the Piston Point/undertaker. This head did not open either and the peak force moment for the tip was 3.4 Lbs. and the peak force moment of the unopen blades passing through was 14 Lbs.



    Piston Point/undertaker Video.


    ----------------------------------------

    G5 Tekan 2.8 Lbs



    Tekan Video.


    ---------------------------------------------------

    Here is the peak force moment for the tip of the Rage 3 blade at 4 Lbs. The blades fully opened at 10 Lbs. and the whole head passed through at 12.5 Lbs.



    Rage Video.

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    For fun, I went back in time and tried a Puckett (Forestline) Bloodtrailer/punchcutter. It was a 1990's unique mech. head that used exacto blades but had a very long nose with the blades at the very rear of the head. It took 14.2 Lbs. of force to put the head through the material



    Bloodtrailer/punchcutter video.

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    Now, allow me to make some assumptions. I'm sure none of these are new and many are common knowledge but bear repeating.

    1. Had these comparisons been done at 200 or even 300 FPS, the force required to go through the material would have been much smaller and the equipment needed to compare the force would have to be very elaborate but I think the same differences would have been noted.

    2. A single piece broadhead (one in which the tip and blades are one piece and continuous and sharpened right to the tip) penetrates with the least effort or energy loss. 2 blades will generally pass thru an animal easier than a 3 or 4 blades

    3. A cone, chisel, trocar, pyramid tip in front of the cutting blades requires more effort to penetrate than the tip style mentioned in #1.

    4. Fine tipped or needle sharp tips risk the potential of curled, bent, broken tips which could result in loss of penetration and are more susceptible to damage than the tips mentioned in #3

    5. Adding a secondary angle to the tip of a single piece continuous head (As mentioned in #2) will increase the tips strength and reduce the potential for tip curl without much reduction in the force required to penetrate. (See the Magnus, Simmons, Steelforce etc. heads)

    6. Traditional bowhunters, and/or bowhunters using low draw weight set-ups van maximize their penetration ability by using heads mentioned in #2 and should avoid Expandable heads.

    7. Modern compound bowhunters using high speed, high KE setups can blast through a deer with any head on the market and really need only concern themselves with the number of blades they choose, finding a head that flies well from their bow and Price.

    8. Even if you are using a high speed, high KE setup but are going after large, thick skinned game, you would enjoy increased penetration by using the heads mentioned in #2

    9. Regardless of tip design, once the tip makes it's way through the hide and the blades take over, all bets are off as long as those blades are razor sharp. Remember however that in order to get a complete pass through, you have to penetrate the hide on the far side. Should your tip become damaged while passing through the animal, the far side hide will become more difficult to go through. The hide on the far side is more difficult to penetrate because of the loss of energy of the arrow, the dulling of the head after passing through meat and bone and the fact that the far side hide is free to stretch (unsupported) away from the animals frame.

    10. Heads just don't come from the factory as sharp as they once did. I recall back to the days of the early injector razor blade heads like the Satellite, Savora, Wasp, Rock Mountain heads and these were truly razor blades. Those heads and their weak, thin blades have been replaced with more durable heads with much thicker blades but the sharpness factor (out of the package) has also been replaced on a lot of brands.
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    It doesn't take much effort to turn a trocar tip or any of the other secondary tips into a cutting type of tip. I'm not sure what has happened to Muzzy over the years but when they first released their heads, the replaceable trocar tip was ground to a very smooth finish. Today, the tips are very rough and jagged.

    Here is the tip from a new Muzzy MX-3. You can see how rough it is.



    Here is the tip from a 100 Grain Muzzy I bought last year. The only difference is that I honed the leading edges of this tip on a whetstone.



    Here is a still of the peak force moment of the rough Muzzy tip. It breaks through the material at 4.5 Lbs. Note* I removed the blades from the head so I could focus on the tip itself.



    Here is the honed Muzzy tip. It went through at 2.5 Lbs. It took almost twice the effort for the rough tip to go through the material. Muzzy users that use slower or lower poundage bows would benefit from homing the trocar tip.



    Here is the rough tip video.



    And the honed tip video.



    The same can be said of the original slick trick tip. A few light strokes on a whetstone reduced the effort to penetrate the material from 4.5 Lbs to 3.5 Lbs. In either case, honing the tip adds to the penetrating ability without sacrificing the bone busting feature of the tip. It also removed no measurable weight from the tip.
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    Tells me several things. I am looseing KE with most of the heads I shoot. I also need to sharpen my trocar tips, and makes me ask.....who is making a head that comes from the factory "RAZOR" sharp?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Booner View Post
    Tells me several things. I am looseing KE with most of the heads I shoot. I also need to sharpen my trocar tips, and makes me ask.....who is making a head that comes from the factory "RAZOR" sharp?
    If your talking blades, only the replaceable blade heads seem to be razor sharp. All others are still sharp but not what I would consider sharp enough.
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    Hey Archer? Why do most Traditional companies sell their heads dull?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Booner View Post
    Hey Archer? Why do most Traditional companies sell their heads dull?
    I think they sell tham as sharp as it is practical to make them. Honing would take more time and drive up the price and I think most trad guys like to sharpen their own anyway. Most trad guys are DIY type folks that will tolerate such a thing where most compounders it ready out of the box.
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    Good call. I guess it does make you feel a little more confident in your head if you put the edge on it. I am digging the COC heads!

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