rage x-treme 4 blade
The Rage X-Treme 4 Blade, after the tire test. Tony Hansen
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More bowhunters than ever are shooting hybrid broadheads, and for good reason. They combine the “it will always cut” reliability of a fixed-blade with the massive cutting diameter of a mechanical. In putting these five hybrids to the test, some of which are brand-new, we found a suite of broadheads that fly great and cut huge holes in stuff—but with enough differences among them to make things interesting.

1) Bloodsport Gravedigger

Bloodsport Gravedigger • $40 for 3 Cliff Gardiner & John Keller

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The Gravedigger flew well and the blades were sharp. Consistency between each head was excellent. The fixed blades have a 1-inch diameter, and the mechanical blades open to 2 inches. The retention system was mildly concerning. Instead of relying on O-rings or bands, users “tune” deployment by adjusting a tiny hex screw.

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2) Muzzy HB-Ti

Muzzy HB-Ti • $50 for 3

This head is crazy stout, with beefy, easy-to-replace blades. There are no O-rings or retention collars to mess with. Arrow flight and durability were excellent. The fixed blades are a single-bevel design, which I like, but serrations make them difficult to resharpen. The mechanical blades are strong, though not as sharp as they should be for the price.

3) Rage X-Treme 4 Blade

Rage X-Treme 4 Blade • $30 for 2 Cliff Gardiner & John Keller

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The X-Treme has an obscene cutting surface (3-plus inches), making it the biggest cutter in the test, even though the fixed blades are only 7⁄8 inch wide. That cutting surface comes at a cost, both financially and structurally. It was the only head that failed the tire test: One blade snapped as it passed through the first layer. Plus, replacing the blades is anything but simple.

4) Swhacker Hybrid

Swhacker Hybrid • $50 for 3 Cliff Gardiner & John Keller

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This head features thick, stout blades that were plenty sharp. But the heat-shrink-style ring that keeps the blades folded in flight is also strong—so strong, in fact, that I wondered if the mechanical blades will deploy when they hit a deer’s soft vitals. To test this, I shot into the center of a much-used layered target with each broadhead. All but the Swhacker deployed.

5) Grim Reaper Hybrid

Grim Reaper Hybrid • $40 for 3 Cliff Gardiner & John Keller

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These strong, durable heads combine a 1 3⁄16-inch fixed-blade cut with a 1 1⁄2-inch cut from the mechanicals. The deployment system is outstanding, using an internal spring system rather than O-rings or bands. This does make blade replacement a bit challenging, however. They also exhibited some planing issues—not surprising given the fixed-blade width.

rage x-treme 4 blade
The Rage X-Treme 4 Blade, after the tire test. Tony Hansen

How We Test

Our testing protocol took full advantage of the backyard bow-shop mentality, employing readily available items to evaluate key categories under real-world conditions. For accuracy, 3-shot groups with each broadhead from a tuned bow were compared to field-point groups from the same bow at distances of 25 and 40 yards. Sharpness was evaluated with a trio of slicing challenges: taut rubber bands, arm hair, and paper.

The bleed-out test paired water-filled milk jugs with a stopwatch. Each broadhead had to hit its respective jug in the same place for the results to count. Consistency in weight between heads was measured using a precision scale, and cutting potential was determined by adding together every possible 1⁄8 inch of cutting surface on each head. A steel-belted radial tire was used for penetration testing.

Value is the cost per head weighed against quality and performance. The ease-of-use category weighs factors such as the deployment system and ease of blade replacement.

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