Best type of Broadhead for Elk?

windymtnman

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Sep 17, 2014
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At 64 years old, and not having bowhunted for about 15 years, I've decided I am going to shake the dust off my compound bow, and go archery Elk hunting next season.
I just had a pro shop outfit my bow with a new string, arrow rest, and some other minor things that I need to ensure it's ready to go. I'll have the draw weight at 65 lbs.
When I quit archery, the carbon arrows were just becoming popular, so I expect I'll set my aluminum arrows aside, and purchase some of them. I'm not concerned about the selection of those, as it's not that complicated.

What I'm most curious about, is what I should choose for a broadhead? I know there are some proven fixed blade broadheads available, however there are also the retractable broadheads that are popular these days too. I suppose the big selling point is that the retractable ones are more stable or accurate in flight? My concern though, is how well they penetrate a big and tough skinned animal like an Elk? It seems to me, the wide cutting blades would slow down the penetration? I remember when a "cheap" fixed blade broadhead would lose a blade hitting a deer, so I know a bigger Elk would probably exacerbate that problem.
I know this is a pretty opinionated question, however I'm wondering what some of the experts think? All the info I read or see is a paid endorsement/advertisement, so I don't put much stock in them. I just want to make the best choices I can.
 

Rooster52

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I use Thunderhead 100 grain .Never took an elk with a bow but probably have taken around 50 whitetail. I am using same for elk in September this year.They fly good and hold together.
 

DirtyDan

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Here is my take on mechanical broadheads. It's free advice so take it for what it's worth.
I have personally seen 3 elk lost because of poor penetration with them. Two were good shots, broad side within 25 yards. The third was a frontal wich never should have been attempted in the first place. All were lost blood trails.

A mechanical has to punch a shaft size hole into flesh to open the blades. That hole can potentially seal around the shaft if no pass through. Which happens quite often. Leaving VERY little blood if any. If you do get a pass through, you only have one large cut and one small hole to bleed from. I'll take 2 gaping holes every time.
I'm a traditionalist who shots a recurve so I'm a little biased. I like Magnus 2 blade that are 125 grain and 1.5 inches wide. Flies great and leaves a huge wound. I hear good things about Wensel Woodsmens also.
 

Joe Hulburt

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Personally I would avoid mechanicals on elk size critters. The only advantage they give is you do not have to tune your bow very well for them to group with target tips but IMO it is best to tune your bow well anyhow.

One thing I have found in the last couple years is that my broadheads tune easier when I am shooting 125 grain heads. It's easy to not have enough front of center balance with lighter ones.

I've shot a lot of different heads and have killed a dozen or more elk with good old Thunderhead's but if you start getting up around 300 FPS they seem to have issues. As long as your down under 250 FPS they group well.

Right now I am shooting Magnus Stinger 125 grain heads and at 275 FPS they group perfectly with my target tips. I like the cut on contact design to ensure good penetration on less than perfect shots...
 

JLS

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I can't speak to mechanicals as I've never used them. I often question whether the elk that got away after being shot with a mechanical would also get away if shot with a fixed blade. Poor shots don't kill elk pure and simple.

There are a good number of high quality fixed blade BHs available that will shoot as well as you can provided your bow is well tuned. My BH of choice is Slick Tricks and I have a pile of Magnus SS Snuffers that shoot equally as well.

Magnus Stingers also shoot very well, and I have more than one friend that swears by Shuttle T's.

Get your arrows fletched with helical, buy good shafts, tune your bow and go kill an elk.
 

ttinman23

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I personally don't like the mechanical ones. had some problems with them about 10 years ago. I use Muzzy 125 grains on white tail with a cross bow. Pleased with them.
 

windymtnman

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I'm not surprised at all to read the negative feedback on the mechanical broadheads. I sort of anticipated the remarks on them, yet wanted to hear from other people. I used to use Rocky Mountain Razors on deer, however I think I'll go looking for the strongest, well constructed head, probably in 125 grains. I've always heard good things about the Muzzy brand?
 

mthillrunner

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I've killed three elk with 125gr shuttle t's. 2 were complete pass through, arrow stuck in the ground 10 yards past where the elk was standing. Third one, the front 6" of arrow was sticking out the off side. It's the only broad head I've used, no reason to change.
 

sagebrush

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Wittmann, AZ
+1 on the Slick Tricks. I shoot the Magnums. Four blades cutting 1 1/18" channels. Fly with the field tips on a well tuned bow.
 

James Riley

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I use Zwicky (sp?) Delta broad heads without the little bleeder blades. It's just flat and slices back and forth, cutting everything up in a running animal (if not stuck in a bone or passed through). I shoot a long bow, 74# at 32" with a trajectory like a rainbow.
 

kmf

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I'm waiting for some more input from the seasoned elk hunters that shoot all the big elk on here.
 

shoots-straight

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I used the old Bear Super Razors for most of the elk I killed. Then when I went to carbon arrows they wouldn't fly. I went to Magnus Stingers and have done very well with them.

I figured out that the spine on carbon are less than the equivalent aluminum arrow. If you go spine for spine they weigh about the same, and hold bigger broadheads during flight. It took a lot of wasted time to figure that out though.
 

shay mann

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Feb 12, 2015
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I would suggest a steel,2 blade, single bevel, cut on contact head.

2 blades for less friction, steel so you can hand sharpen them, single bevel to continue the arrow rotation through the wound channel, and cut on contact to improve penetration.
 

MinnesotaHunter

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I would agree those who said they aren't really comfortable with expandables. To me it just seems like there is too much waiting to go wrong.

For fixed blades, I don't think you can go wrong with most of the reputable heads. Thunderheads, Magnus, Slicktricks, montecs, Shuttles, etc. Make sure your blades are sharp, whether you sharpen them yourself, or replace them right before you head out.

My belief is that the key to good penetration is as much the head as it is the arrow behind it, and how well it is tuned to your bow. You will lose penetration if all the energy your bow puts into the arrow is not focused behind the point when it imacts.

Last year I switched to the Goldtip Kinetics and a QAD Exodus head. Initially, their penetration seemed comparable to my VAP/Slicktricks I had been shooting, but once I got the arrow flight tuned, my brand new block tgt could barely stop them. I started to get concerned that I was going to wreck my fletchings. I would reccomend paper tuning your bow and checking the tune every ten yards out to 40-50 yds to ensure all of the kinetic energy is focused behind the point of the arrow.
 

wildaggie13

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Jan 15, 2015
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Last year I bought all of the top 5 fixed blade broadheads recommended by Cabelas, or by other archers. I stuck to the 5 that all had a good chiseled heads. I started shooting them and filming the arrow flight at 60 yards. I narrowed it down to 3 brands...slick trick, muzzy trocar, and the Exodus. Then I just shot those 3 for a while comparing them. In the end all 3 are good in flight, but Exodus flys a little straighter. I went with them because of this and also the blade thickness is a little bit more than the other 2.
In the end, it was a little expensive to try this experiment, but now I am confident that I have the best broadhead for my bow, and this means alot to me when I have a bull in range!!
good luck
 

Duck-Slayer

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great state of Idaho....
thunderhead 100 XP's - there cut on contact have replaceable blades.....
I've killed about 10 antelope - 10 deer - and 4 elk since they have came out in say 2002 and one of those elk was a frontal shot at 6 yards and that elk made it about 30 yards and piled up, smoked a cow and spike in the boiler room and they went less than 50 yards, spinned my first elk a spike at 16 yards, got the broadhead back and replaced the blades and I think i've shot a few others with that same broadhead, everyone has there "favorite" broadhead, but with my combination of Mathews heli-m, FMJ 400, and Thunderhead XP's it awesome, good luck on choice....
Matt
 

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