After years of struggling to gain acceptance, a new generation of mechanical broadheads is poised to help archery deer hunters boost their chances of success in the field. Improvements over the first round of mechanicals have produced a class of heads that many hunters prefer over conventionals.
Mechanical Broadhead Blades
Mechanicals got their name from the way they deploy the blades. It’s a mechanical process that occurs at impact. In the quiver and on the nock, they look much like an elongated field head. The blades, typically three and sometimes four, are recessed along the body of the head.
Held in place during flight by light O-rings or rubber bands, blades of first-generation mechanicals opened on impact with the aid of inertia. The new generation has an entire range of improved mechanisms that open the blades and lock them in place.
Broadhead with Piston
Among the new approaches, one manufacturer developed a piston-like action. A cylinder slides a shaft connected to the tip. On impact, the shaft pushes the blades open. The blades are then fixed into position for the rest of the arrow’s forward motion.
Other manufacturers now have similar mechanics which push the tip back on impact, opening the blades quickly. At that point, they are secured by the mechanical action so they will remain in place for better penetration and lethality.
Mechanical Broadheads and Stopping Power
The chief advantage of mechanical broadheads is their ability to create a larger wound channel. The net effect is often a shorter tracking process after a hit, with a more obvious blood trail and a quicker recovery. Fewer lost deer means more venison on the table, and less for the coyotes.
With many conventional broadheads still available in only a 1-inch diameter, the mechanicals range in diameter up to 1 ½-inch. That means a significant increase in cutting diameter and stopping power.
Another advantage is that of hunter safety. Because the blades don’t deploy until impact, there is less likelihood of accidental injury especially while transporting the bow between the ground and the tree stand.
Mechanical Broadheads and Practice
A new feature of the latest generation of mechanicals is the ability to use some of them for practice. One model allows hunters to remove the blades and add a collar of equivalent weight so the flight in practice will be the same as in the field. Another model uses a set screw on the body that, when turned, keeps the blades closed.
Most of the mechanicals weigh in at 100 to 125 grains. Even for those that can’t be easily used in practice, these weights are readily available in field tips that can be swapped out quickly for a session on the target range.
Most manufacturers are on the Web and can be thoroughly reviewed with a quick search. With all the new options available, this generation of mechanical broadheads promises to impress hunters as never before.