Broadhead Tests and Ballistic Gelatin

Sponsored by: Whitetail University, Bear Archery, Dries Visser Safaris, ATSKO, Swhacker Broadheads,

Wade Nolan

Mixing the ballistic gelatin for broadhead testing is an art. This was not my first Jello Fest. I’ve conducted as much broadhead testing as anyone in our industry…and I still continue to learn. If you want to be authentic in your testing, you must monitor gel quantities water temperature carefully. Even the mixing must be done to specs. The curing of the gelatin is also performed within exact parameters. We are using the same military spec. ballistic gelatin the FBI uses.

Ballistic gelatin is used for standardized testing for bullets. It is also a favorite substance for the Myth Buster guys.

The gelatin is the most authentic substance for broadhead testing.
When you remove the gelatin blocks from the cooler, you only have a limited time to conduct your test as the block core temperature effects consistency. I like to set up my gelatin test blocks with a panel of green deer hide touching the face of the gelatin. This simulates a shot on a whitetail deer.

We designed a hide frame to hole the green deer hide. The hide was frozen back in deer season and flown to the testing facility. It's as real as you can get.

We tested for certain broadhead attributes including penetration, broadhead blade performance and total tissue cut. We can determine total tissue cut by measuring the combined width of the deployed blades times the length of the wound channel. We know that an adult whitetail averages only about 14 inches wide from side to side. If the wound channel is 14 or more inches, we have a pass through.

The dark lines outline the cut path of the Swhacker Broadhead.

During our testing we shot some very popular mechanicals into the ballistic gelatin. In some cases we shot the arrows side by side. What we learned will be important to serious whitetail bowhunters.

What defines broadheads effectiveness in flesh is the total cut path. It all comes down to cutting tissue and we have a great way to test that factor. Shooting test heads into ballistic gelatin is an authentic way to determine if a broadhead will have the killing quotient needed to score.

The competition was stiff but there is a winner.

For video of ballistic Gelatin Test: CLICK HERE

For more go to: Swhacker Broadheads and Hank Parker