Field Evaluation – InnerLoc EXP® Expandable

Article by Keith Dunlap – September 22, 2008
Edited by Stanley Holtsclaw – April 6, 2017


This post is sponsored and/or contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, we may receive a small commission from your purchase – click to view our Affiliate Disclosure.


Keith_Dunlap_1.jpg

 

Dennis and Kevin Sullivan, of Sullivan Industries, Inc., have been involved in producing broadheads since 1987. They have combined their knowledge of producing machinery that works, with their knowledge of what makes a broadhead work, to develop InnerLoc broadheads. Their original InnerLoc broadhead was developed in 1996, and they’ve been producing quality broadheads since.

The product I’ve been asked to evaluate, the InnerLoc EXP three-blade 100-grain mechanical broadhead, brings a new level of computer-controlled machine capability to broadhead building. Starting with a tiny, spring tension clip that holds the blades in place when they are opened or closed, and continuing with a new idea in stop collars that allows the bowhunter to choose from two cutting diameters just by flipping the collar at the base of the head. You can choose between 1 7/16″ cutting diameter or 1 1/8″ cutting diameter for various hunting situations. The smaller 1 1/8″ cutting diameter and swept-back blades allows the head to penetrate more like a fixed-blade head. The larger 1 7/16″ cutting diameter provides the maximum amount of damage on pass-thru. You can use the smaller size for lower poundage bows or for very large game, or the larger size if you are not as concerned with maximum penetration. You can also shoot the EXP broadhead in the opened position if you so choose, similar to a fixed head. The blades will remain in the open position throughout the shot if you open them prior to loading your arrow. The spring-loaded CLIPLOC system makes this possible (see figure 2 below).

The InnerLoc EXP mechanical broadhead contains five main components, the ferrule, tip, blades, CLIPLOCs pring clip and stop collar. The ferrule is CNC machined from a solid piece of 6262-T9 aircraft grade aluminum and then finished with a long lasting green anodizing process. The one end is threaded to screw into your arrow while the other end is drilled to accept the cut-on-impact tip. Along with three shallow blade slots there are also three clip pockets that house the CLIPLOC stainless steel clip.

At the heart of the InnerLoc EXP, there is a tiny spring clip that carries out three major functions. It is a pivot point for the blades to rotate (“A” in figure 2), a clipping point or catch to hold things together (“B” in figure 2),and finally it provides a small amount of spring tension that interacts with a”cam” on the blades (“C” in figure2).

Spring clip used in the CLIPLOC blade control

Let’s see if the InnerLoc EXP broadheads hit the bulls-eye in this evaluation.

– Initial Inspection –

TheInnerLoc EXP broadheads arrived from Sullivan Industries, intact in their distinct package. The package includedthree 100-grain InnerLoc EXP mechanical heads, and an EXP multi-tool that makes installation and blade replacements very simple and safe. Upon initial inspection, I found no qualityor workmanship defects in the product. Each of the three .030″ stainless steel blades was securely fastened to the shaft of the broadhead using a small stainless spring clip, called the CLIPLOC blade control system (see figure 2 below). The blades appeared to be razor sharp with no dings or defects. The fit and finish of each InnerLoc EXP head was excellent.

EXP shown here with collar installed for the 1 7/16″ cutting diameter for testing

Prior to field evaluation, I weighed all three EXPs and each one weighed exactly 100 grains.

To begin testing the InnerLoc EXPs, I screwed each of them into my Carbon Express Maxima Hunter 350 arrows with Blazer vanes. The total weight of each arrow with the 100-grain InnerLoc EXPs was 365 grains. The bow I used for the evaluation was a Fred Bear: Truth II with 70# draw weight and 29″ draw length using a Trophy Ridge Dropzone rest. A quick spin test showed all heads to be properly aligned with the arrow followed by a paper test to assure proper tuning. Un-tuned arrows may actually hit the same general area but improper flight will certainly translate into decreased penetration and perhaps a wounded animal.

Spin testing method – using a broadhead-tipped hunting arrow; place the tip of the broadhead on a smooth, flat surface with the length of the arrow perpendicular to that surface (fletching end up). Using one hand, make a circle around the shaft of the arrow about ½ to ¾ of the way up with your thumb and index finger,like an ‘OK’ gesture. With the other hand, spin the arrow as fast as you can, while watching the very tip of the broadhead. If the arrow spins without moving the tip position it is coupled well with the arrow shaft and aligned properly. However, if the tip ‘walks’ or oscillates, it is either bent or incorrectly seated on the arrow shaft and will result in less than perfect arrow flight.

The next phase of my evaluation included testing the InnerLoc EXPs for shot accuracy and the need for sight adjustment from field tip to EXP broadhead.

Test 1: I launched 60 arrows into a Block target at 20 yards. Making sure to use arrows with the exact same weight with field tips and the InnerLoc EXP broadheads, I shot 30 arrows at 302fps using my 100-grain field tips, and 30 arrows at 302 fps using the InnerLoc EXP broadheads. The results using the InnerLoc EXP 100-grain heads were satisfactory when compared to my field tip groupings. I typically shoot less than 2-inch groups at 20 yards, and other than an occasional miss caused by shooter’s error, the arrows equipped with InnerLoc EXPs grouped as well as my arrows equipped with field tips, while using the same equipment and same total arrow weight for both trials. My groupings averaged 1.5″ diameter at 20 yards.

Test 2: Ithen launched 60 arrows from a 20-foot high treestand into a 3-D whitetail target with an orange dot at 30 yards. Once again, I shot 30 arrows using my 100-grain field tips, and 30 arrows using the InnerLoc EXP broadheads. The results shooting the InnerLoc EXP from the treestand were equally satisfactory when compared to the first test performed from the same level as the target. My groupings expanded a bit to an average of 2.75″ at 30 yards, but the results were similar using both the field tips and the EXPs. The InnerLoc EXP broadheads were mechanically sound after shooting them repeatedly into the various targets, and none of the blades were bent or dulled beyond normal conditions after such use.

The cam shape on the blade and the way in which it interacts with the ferrule and CLIPLOC is simple and extremely effective. This enables both closed and open positions of the blades for shooting, and the blades appear to deploy consistently from the closed position when they strike the target.

InnerLoc EXP shown here being launched with blades in the opened position.

Specifications as tested

  • Overall length: 1.5625? (1 7/16 or 1.625? from arrow insert to tip
  • Weight: 100 grain (each of 3 measured)
  • Cutting Diameter: 1 7/16 inches or 1 1/8 inches
  • Flight Diameter: 0.5625 inch
  • Materials: hardened stainless steel tips and blades, aircraft aluminum ferrules (collars)
  • Stays closed in the quiver using CLIPLOC
  • Suggested Retail: $33.99 (check current pricing on Amazon)

– Conclusion –

As I say in all of my broadhead evaluations, the ultimate test of a broadhead is how it performs on the quarry you are hunting. I have confidence in the InnerLoc EXPs that I can hit the intended target accurately, and that is 90% of the performance goal in my opinion. You can kill an animal with almost anything sharp if you hit the right spot on the vitals. The other 10% of performance for mechanical heads is left to the blades deploying properly, and this can only be determined through use in live hunting situations. I will update this evaluation if I find anything less than satisfactory results while using the EXPs this upcoming hunting season.

Pros: Field point accuracy, chisel point cuts on contact, two cutting diameters, easy target removal

Cons: I would like to see a practice head included with the package. (Note: we checked with Sullivan Industries and according to Connie Sullivan, they don’t have a practice head but do sell practice blades. You remove the sharp blade and clip and put in the practice blade. The practice blade weighs the same as the sharp blades.)

Don’t forget to check out more posts by Keith Dunlap, or to learn more about Sullivan and the products they offer – shop Sullivan Industries products on Amazon, visit innerloc.com online, or check our sister site, BowList.net, for more Broadhead related links.