New broadhead design has gotten pretty interesting for bowhunters in the last few years. Whether you’re into fixed blades, mechanicals, or hybrids, there’s a manufacturer raising the bar and pushing innovation on the type of head you’re looking for. So I trolled the floor of the Archery Trade Association show and talked to as many broadhead engineers as I could find. I might have missed a few introductions, but overall, this is a good view of the new broadhead field.
Rage Hypodermic NC
Even the most diehard Rage fan will admit that the traditional shock collar can be fickle at times. If you don’t get it tightened properly, the expandable blades can slip out of place. The new Hypodermic NC (NC stands for no collar) solves that issue with a spring system to keep the blades closed. The collar blade lock is no longer required. Besides that, the new Hypodermic features blades that have a slightly more swept back angle. Otherwise, this is the Hypodermic you already know and love. The 100-grain head has a sturdy, all-steel construction, a chisel tip, and a 2-inch cutting diameter. MSRP is $50 for a three-pack.
Swhacker Levi Morgan Signature Series #261
I’ve seen the Swhacker design put deer down quickly, even on a couple marginal hits. So, I was excited to see an upgraded version that archery pro Levi Morgan helped design. It’s clear that Morgan didn’t just slap his name on an existing broadhead. This bad boy has some smart upgrades. The first is that the blades have a slightly more swept back angle. This should help with penetration on longer shots, larger game, or when the broadhead is shot through slower bows. The aluminum ferrule is now ribbed, and the company says it’s 20 percent stronger. But the new feature I like the most is a little lock you can use to secure the blades into their closed position. This means you can practice with the actual broadheads you’ll be hunting with and not worry about dulling the blades. Simply depress the lock, get your bow (and your shooting) dialed in with your hunting set up, then unlock the broadhead and slip on the band to secure the blades in place, and go hunting. This 100-grain head has a 2-inch cutting diameter. MSRP is $45 for a three pack.
Some bowhunters just don’t trust mechanical broadheads, never have, never will. Those guys should pay attention to the new Muzzy One. This is a one-piece head made 100 percent from machined steel. There’s no parts to break, no screws or hinges, and no weak points on this 100-grain head. You can sharpen and re-sharpen the blades to your heart’s content. It offers a 1 3/16” cut. MSRP is $50 for a three pack.
G5 Striker V2
G5 has updated its replaceable-blade Striker with a stronger mechanism for locking the blades in place. (In the old Striker you might notice a little wiggle between the ferrule and blade, but the company says that’s been eliminated in the new model.) This is a fully stainless steel broadhead, which promises extra durability. The head has a 1 ¼-inch cutting diameter and is available in 100 grains or 125 grains (but it’s only available in 100 grains for the Deep Six version). G5 also offers BMP practice heads for its new Striker V2, which are designed to have the exact same wind resistance as your hunting broadheads. So, you can sight in and tune your bow with the BMPs and don’t have to mess around when you switch to your hunting broadheads. MSRP: $43 for a three pack.
Grim Reaper Micro Hybrid
Hybrid broadheads offer the best of both worlds: two no-fail fixed blades plus two expandable blades with a large cutting diameter. This year Grim Reaper is taking its hybrid head and making it micro. The idea is that smaller blades will offer more long range accuracy and better penetration. Even with the smaller blades, the new broadhead offers plenty of total cutting diameter. In the 100-grain version, it has a 1 1/16-inch leading blade with a 1 ¼-inch expandable blade for a total cutting diameter of 2.31 inches. Interestingly, Grim Reaper will also be making 125-grain, and 150-grain versions. The 150-grain head will have a 1 1/16-inch leading blade with a 1 ¾-inch expandable blade. They’ll also offer crossbow specific heads in those same configurations. MSRP is TBD.
Wasp Havalon HV
If you know anything about Havalon knives, you know those suckers are sharp. The company has worked with Wasp for more than two years to create a new head that combines scalpel sharpness with the durability that fixed-blade fans want. The 100-grain, Havalon HV has a stainless steel tip, an aluminum ferrule, and the .35-inch thick surgically sharp stainless steel blades combine for a 1 3/16-inch cutting diameter. One thing I’ve always appreciated about Wasp heads is that the blades are really easy to replace, and this new introduction is no different. Each pack comes with three complete broadheads and six replacement blades. MSRP: $45 for a three pack.
Rocky Mountain Switch Blade
Not all broadheads cost $15 a pop. Budget-minded bowhunters should check out Rocky Mountain, which is known for making affordable and effective broadheads. New for this year is their Switchblade, a four-blade hybrid head with a ⅞-inch leading blade and a 2-inch expandable blade. This thing just looks deadly. But best of all is the price: $25 for a three pack.
Rocky Mountain First Cut
Here’s another bargain offering from Rocky Mountain, but this one is for the fixed-blade folks. This is a compact 4-blade head with 1 ¼-inch leading blade and a ⅞-inch bleeder blade. This comes in at a 100-grain head and is available in a crossbow version as well. It has a flashy, orange ferrule. Rocky Mountain engineers say this head will fly like a dart. MSRP is a very affordable $20 for a three pack.
Ramcat Cage Ripper
There’s a lot going on with this broadhead. The tip presses in on impact (under two pounds or more of pressure) and triggers a spring that deploys two expandable blades that lock into position. The broadhead body is aluminum but its internal piston is stainless steel. To slide the blades back into place, you simply press a tab on the side of the ferrule and fold the blades back. The tip has a unique concave design. The head has a 2-inch cutting diameter and the company says the design is compatible with even the fastest crossbows. MSRP is $45.
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The company has two new hybrid broadhead introductions. One has a gator-style expandable blade, and the other has a slip cam design. Both have a 1 ⅛-inch leading head and a 1 ⅝-inch expandable blade. The slip cam design requires a little less energy to open. The crossbow version has a machined stainless steel ferrule, while the slip cam model is made of machined aluminum. Both come in 100 grains and both have an MSRP of $45 for a three pack.
NAP Dark Knight
If batman were a bowhunter, this would be his broadhead. This head has a unique, pivoting fixed blade that is designed to pivot inside the animal when it hits a heavy bone. It uses a Spitfire spring clip to secure the blade during flight. The fixed blade is 1 ¾ inches and the head has a traditional expanding blade of 1 ⅛ inches. The whole design is meant to allow the broadhead to continue penetrating even if it hits heavy bone. It has an aluminum ferrule and is available in 100 grain and 125 grain, plus a crossbow version. MSRP is $40 for a three pack.
Ok, these broadheads weren’t at the ATA show and they were technically introduced late last summer. But, they still deserve a shout out in this gallery, because we haven’t covered them yet and not many hunters have seen them. That’s partially because this is a direct to consumer company, so you won’t see them on store shelves. The broadhead is a rear deploying, two-blade expandable with a 2.1-inch cutting diameter. The blades fold into the titanium ferrule, which makes for a very compact package that should shoot well. The heads also have a set screw that allows you to lock the blades in and practice with your hunting heads (like the Swhackers mentioned above). And, the blades pivot when opened to cut around heavy bone. There’s a pretty cool video of the broadhead being shot through ballistic gel as a demonstration. These broadheads are sold individually (available in 100 grains, including Deep Six versions) at $14 per broadhead.