Wanted: Broadhead Testing Ideas

By: Bowhunting Biologist Wade Nolan

Shooting a reliable broadhead that offers integrity, accuracy and performance is one of a bowhunters biggest and most important decisions. Many broadheads perform poorly under field or laboratory conditions. It is our desire that you know the facts aside from all of the marketing hype.


I’m challenging bowhunters to help us come up with some new and relevant broadhead testing ideas. I’m talking about some novel and never before seen tests that we can perform with a high speed slow-motion camera in a test lab. The tests must be relevant to broadhead effectiveness.

Last year we tested mechanical broadheads on a 55-gallon drum, on ballistic gelatin blocks set up with green deer hide and deer ribs cast into the block. We also tested the same gelatin blocks with deer shoulder blades cast into the blocks. Then we amped it up and shot into angled ribs and into gelatin.


Because we wanted to be authentic and not girly, we shot into green steer shoulder blades as thick as your hand and almost every broadhead failed. Then, because the angled shot is so critical, we shot into 67-degree plywood. For one broadhead we had to dummy it down to 55-dergees to get penetration. We also shot through the “shoot-through” netting of a blind.

We are looking for fresh new ideas for his years testing. Last year we tested the most popular mechanicals. This year we will shoot mechanicals and fixed blade heads during the testing. We’ll be using a $70,000 slow motion camera and be working in a lab environment. We need your ideas. What would you like to see tested that would interest bowhunters. Help us uncover more Broadhead Science.

Please add comments and suggestions in the comment box below.

5 Responses to "Wanted: Broadhead Testing Ideas"

  1. Rich Walton   2012/02/08 at 6:59 pm

    Makers of Samurai Swords, in the more ancient times, used to test their swords sharpness and strength on human corpses and occasionally, condemned criminals. They also used bundled straw and bamboo. I don’t think the corpse or condemned criminal idea would fly but I think tightly bundling straw and bamboo would certainly help you determine sharpness, cutting power, penetration, angled penetration and strength.

  2. Dave Fabian   2012/02/09 at 6:14 am

    road kills, road kill deer kept cold not frozen would be the true test
    please make sure you test the NAP kill zone

  3. James Freds   2012/02/10 at 9:10 pm

    I would like to see how broadheads fly in comparison to field tips. A side by side comparison across various distances and hunting conditions.(rain and wind)
    The frame by frame over set distances would be interesting to see the trajectory pattern/speed difference between broadheads. This would be a good test for fixed and mechanical broadheads.

  4. Rod Groom   2012/02/11 at 4:37 am

    I would like to see a tast devised thet measures the amount or speed of fluid loss i would imagine you would need to have some artificial arteries built into your ballistic jelly then a tank for liquid. then you could time the loss of fluid this would posibly allow comparison with rifle, spear etc etc..

  5. Collin / C3Engage.com   2012/02/13 at 3:11 am

    How about a basketball filled with Fake blood? I thought that would look cool!