How about a little discussion on the topic of Broadheads - Mechanical vs. Fixed for Elk. I would like to get some thought on this since I've used both and swore I'd never go back to Mechanical for elk. 4 - 5years ago I had a bull come in to me at 30 yards broadside and I stuck him right behind the front shoulder at the elbow. I was using the NAP Spitfire (mechanical) at the time and was shocked that it only went in as far as it did (12 -16"). The bull just stood there and looked at the arrow and then walked off. To make a long story short, we never found the bull dead and the blood trail poor. At that point I went back to a fixed blade and went with the G5 Montec. 2 years ago I stuck a 5 pnt at 60 yrds and it went less than 30 yrds piled up in site, blood pouring out. I was sold. Last week, using the same G5 Montec I stuck a bull at 20 yrds broadside, double lung, no pass through (broadhead was hung up on the hide). The blood trail was poor at best only a few drops here and there and basically had to trail him by disturbed ground. He went 125 yrds and piled up and wasn't hard to find since the area was pretty open.
Anyway, the guys I hunt with both use Grim Reaper (Mechanical). They were ribbing me about the small head (100 grain G5) that I've been using and the small cutting surface. Yes it is a small head and surface but I've been happy with them and have no intention to going to mechanical.
Let's hear some thoughts out there. Remember this if for Elk only.
Next year, I am definitely going for fixed blade. I had such a horrible time this year elk hunting with my mechanicals. I have heard a lot of good stuff about the G5 Montec's. I think that is going to be the first one I try.
I have never used a mechanical but your first account of how they performed for you tells me everything I need to know. Most of the elk I have killed have been with Thunderheads and there has ALWAYS been an adequate blood trail to recover the animal. I have killed a few with Shuttle T's and to be honest for whatever reason I was disappointed with the blood trail both times so I gave up on them. Back in the day I shot some giant 175 grain 4 blade Satellite's which worked outstanding shooting 190 FPS but I doubt they would work at 290. The spike bull I killed this year was with a Slick Trick Magnum (4 blade) and it was a perfect pass thru that took out both lungs. He went less than 40 yards and had a very impressive hole clear thru him!
I guess the main reason I will always use fixed blade heads is for maximum penetration. I really like to have a pass thru or at least have the head come thru the far side to add to the blood trail. Every once in a while even when things seem to go well it turns into an adventure and the more blood the better. I'm not falling for all the expensive RAGE ads on TV. No matter what, shot placement is paramount and no gizmo is going to eliminate that fact even though they suggest they will solve all your problems if you mess up. Not on an elk..... My opinion anyhow.
I actually just did a test this past weekend for my bow with mechanical and fixed. I shoot 55# and have a 28" draw length. I have shot 3 elk, all with a mechanical broadhead.
#1 - 20 yards, broadside shot through the heart. Arrow went through and stuck out about 8" on each side.
#2 - 30 yards, broadside shot through the lungs, complete pass through
#3 - 25 yards, broadside shot through the back of the lungs, complete pass through
I was a little hesitant about using the mechanical again as I wanted to get more penetration so we did a test this weekend on one of the elk shoulder bones. I used a mechanical (I can't remember our brand, have to look) and a fixed (muzzy) and shot from 20 yards. The mechanical blade went IN one inch farther than the fixed did (quite surprising to me). It did brake a blade off on entry though so only had 2 blades going through the bone (we decided the broadhead I was using does have weak blades so may be changing something there). The fixed still had all blades and bent one up pretty good.
So that is my experience, although the experiement above is the only time I have ever shot a fixed blade.
**One other thing, my husband and I both shoot mechanical and we both shot an elk this fall. The elk he shot BARELY had a blood trail, perfect double lunger and the bull went less than 100 yards (with more blood right before it piled up). The bull I shot, double lunger as well, had blood the minute I shot it and you could follow it without stopping and my elk went about 100 yards too. His elk went uphill, mine went downhill. I don't know what the meaning of that is but just something to add about the amount of blood that is sometimes seen.
Last edited by bowhuntress; 10-04-2011 at 03:56 PM.
I was curious about all the "Rage" that was going on, so I tried the mechanical a few years back. I killed a bull the first year with a well placed broadside shot. The next year I shot a bull that was quartering away a little, the arrow sliced all the way along his ribs, and finally penetrated when it hit the leg, only going in about 4 inches. (I shoot 72lbs with a 420 grain arrow) Lost a deer that year too. I went back to my two blade Magnus Stinger and have never looked back. Whether I shoot quartering, broadside, or head on(at close range when I know I can put it in the sweet spot) I have never had the Magnus fail. Just my 2 cents.
I have shot the G5 for several years and not been too impressed with the blood trail. Shot deer and pigs with it. I have tried a couple different mechanical heads and there always seems to be some kind of issue, blades bend easy, they deploy before they get to the target, you take it out of the quiver and need to reset the blades or some other inconvenience. Too unreliable in my opinion and that is before you even shoot them. I don't want to be pulling back on a big bull or buck and need to let off to reset the blades. Could ruin the shot i have worked years to get. Just my opinion.
Penetration has not been an issue but decided to change this year and started using Wacem heads. Seems to be a better head with very thick blades for a replaceable blade broadhead. Super sharp and fly like field points plus they are made in Utah. Great customer service. I had a question and they answered it with no bs. Also sent me an extra pack of blades for no charge.
Good company and great service made in the USA, give them a try you wont be sorry.
I am with squirrel, Wac'ems are the best flying head i have used and they get awsome penetration, they are also a great company, i use the 4 blade Exit
Ill give up all my hunting in Michigan for 2 weeks in the high country
Unfortunately I don't think there is a single, right answer for Fixed vs Mechanical. It really depends on what you are comfortable with and what works for you. Here is what is most important to me. 1. Accuracy. 2. Dependability 3. Penetration 4. Cutting (diameter etc.)
That being said, I have had a hard time getting the accuracy from a fixed blade I get out of a mechanical. Even when I get a fixed blade to work "good enough", when I try shooting with bad form (sitting, weight on off foot, stance too open or closed, uphill, etc.) it gets much worse with a fixed blade. Bad form shooting is all to oftern part of hunting I find, but the mechanical blades seem to be much more forgiving in this area. Since Accuracy is my number one goal, I end up with a quiver full of mechanicals.
With my second priority being dependability, I find I have to compromise with using a mechanical as who can argue that a fixed blade has nothing that can go wrong with it? I have found that if you take a little bit of care with the mechanicals, they will be dependable enough. I have never experienced some of the issues others have with mechanicals opening up prematurely or incorrectly (knocking on wood).
Number three is penetration. In my mind, this is a compromise between penetration and cutting performance. I have read many studies in the area and it is documented that penetration goes down as the amount of cutting area goes up (makes sense). Other factors include arrow weight and tuning. All things being equal, I choose a two blade setup for the best penetration. I have a difficult time envisioning a circumstance where the extra slices from a three or four blade setup would help.
Number 4 is cutting performance. Some may put this higher, but I find a sharp blade well placed will do the job no matter what diameter it is (within reason). I am not aiming for the edge of the lungs and hoping for a 2.5" cutting diameter for fudge factor, I am aiming for the middle and am fine with a 1" cutting diameter.
As mentioned earlier, I use mechanicals. I would absolutely change to a fixed if I could get the same kind of accuracy out the fixed with all else being equal. This means field point accuracy in all situations likely to be encountered during hunting. Some guys may be able to do this, but I am not there yet. By the same token, I would prefer someone uses a good mechanical they can hit with than a fixed blade flying randomly.
In the last two years I have hit three elk with mechanicals.
One was recovered after a quarting away heart/lung shot with a blood highway a blind man could follow.
On another I hit the shoulder bone and the broadhead broke off at the shaft. The arrow was found with about an inch of blood on it where the hit happened and the elk was not recovered. It is my opinion no broadhead would have remedied my bad shot (still not sure what went wrong).
On another the elk essentially died in his tracks with a high lung shot where the bull was confused, did not know where to run and just stayed where he was. Broadhead performance was ideal.
Fixed blades always open! I've yet to shoot anything. But I am using the German Kinetic 125 xl's. They are big keep an edge and fly with my field points! The pics from people who have shot something with them are insane.
gon4elk, i see you are from utah. have you heard of the epek broadhead made locally? there are alot of pros and cons and redesigns but i like them.