In this review, I’m going to be covering a broadhead that has been around for a while. It’s one I’ve actually used in the field quite a bit and been fairly successful with. It’s called the Gravedigger.
The Gravedigger Hybrid broadhead overview
Let’s take a look at the design and some of the features of the Gravedigger Hybrid head (it’s called a “hybrid” because it has both fixed and mechanical blades). Then, I’ll show you how it performed when I put it through my standard array of tests.
Here is the Gravedigger hybrid in the closed position.
This Gravedigger hybrid model has the chisel tip. (They also make a cut on contact tip where the fixed blades extend all the way up to the top).
The cutting diameter of the Gravedigger Hybrid’s fixed blades is 1 inch. In the closed position, the mechanical blades are ½-inch. So, just in the closed position, if the blades were not to open at all, it would be an inch and 1/2 of a cut, which is no slouch of a cut.
But the mechanical blades do open. They open really well, in fact. They’re not held in place by an O-ring or a retention clip, but rather just by friction, and that’s adjustable with a small Allen bolt.
The cutting diameter in the open position here is a full 1 and 3/4 inches. So, 1 and 3/4″ by 1″ – that’s a lot of cut!
You can adjust the tension that holds the blades in place. But, when they encounter a medium, they open over the top and they fall back into their fully opened position.
The blades of the Gravedigger are made out of a 416 stainless steel. The ferrule is a 7075 aluminum. It’s a pretty vented blade, but it’s still is a good stout aluminum, and the tip is a hardened steel, really stout, chisel tip.
I couldn’t find any information listing the blade thickness, so I used my micrometer to measure. The fixed blade measured 0.039 inches thick and the mechanical blades were 0.032 inches thick.
Gravedigger broadheads testing
I was eager to see how this head performed in my tests. I did not test it for long range flight, because I know it flies really well.
I consider it like a mechanical in terms of flight in the closed position, and I don’t test mechanicals for long range flight, because they all fly really well, even though this head has the little one inch fixed blade. I know it flies fantastic.
I tested for edge sharpness and retention, for penetration, and for durability.
Here’s the entrance of the Gravedigger. And you can see that the mechanical blades opened almost 1-3/4″ on impact. That bottom blade for whatever reason deployed a bit more effectively than the top blade. But, both of them opened up quite well for an over the top mechanical.
I shot the Gravedigger through MDF five times. Below are the pictures.
I shot the first one in the closed position and the baldes didn’t open very much. But, then on the following shots, I kept the head in the open position when I was shooting, just to test durability.
Here, you can see the Gravedigger after going through a half inch MDF five times. As you can see, it held up relatively well. The tip is in still in great shape. The ferrule is also in great shape. The fixed blades are in perfect shape. And the mechanical blades also did really well. They didn’t break off.
Now, in terms of a bend, they did bend backwards a bit. The original on the left gives you a frame of reference. After the shots, there is quite a bit of arch to the expandable blades. But you know what? If you’re going to have a problem with the head kind of “failing,” that’s the way to do it. It’s not really a fail, because it’s continuing to cut even after going through this MDF five times. So, if there’s going to be any kind of a problem, to bend in that direction is the way to go. So overall, very impressive.
The Crimson Talon lineup features the G2, the G2 Hyperspeed and the Outlaw.
The G2 Broadhead Specs
First we have the G2. It has a camouflage ferrule that they refer to as “ferruleflage.”
What initially stands out about the G2 is that it has six total blades – three main blades and three bleeders.
The main blade’s diameter is 1.25 inches, which is a big cutting diameter for a 3-blade head.
The G2 broadhead has curved blades as well as a camo ferrule they call “ferruleflage.”
The cutting diameter of the smaller bleeder blades is 1/2 an inch. So, although they are shorter, they help with the cut.
The total cut of this head is 2.6 inches!
The bleeders are also offset at a 60-degree angle, so that allows them to create an even better wound channel and do damage that is difficult to close up.
But the biggest differentiating factor on the G2 broadhead is that the main blades are curved. This apparently creates two advantages…
The other advantage of the curved blades is that once they hit the animal, they continue to rotate, causing a spiral wound channel. Combine that with the 1.25 inches of cutting diameter and 2.6 inches of blade cutting, and that creates a wound channel that is very difficult to close up.
Crimson Talon calls this curved blade feature their “spintite” airfoil technology. As the arrow flies, the curved blades function as vanes or fletchings would, creating quick rotation of the shaft, which results in more accurate flight. This is supposed to prevent arrow planing.
The tip is made out of A2 tool steel, so a really tough, beefy chisel tip of a very high quality steel. The ferrule is 7075 aluminum, which is a very stout, durable aluminum, stronger than some steels.
The blades of the G2 broadhead are 420 G2 stainless steel. The main blades were 0.028 inches thick, which is relatively thick compared to some other blades. But, with so much blade cutting action going on, that probably isn’t going to be an issue.
We’ll see how it does in the durability test below.
One of the cool things about all of the Crimson Talon broadheads is that they have 100% lifetime warranty for any breakage, for any reason, with no expiration and no limitations. So, if any of these heads break, you just send them in and you get a replacement. That’s pretty nice especially at the price point that they are sold at.
The next broadhead I tested was the G2 Hyperspeed. It’s the same head as the G2, but without the airfoil design. So, the blades are all straight.
The Hyperspeed broadhead is like the G2, but without the curved blades.
Now, the bleeders are still offset at a 60-degree angle, but everything is just a straight blade. Some people that don’t want the airfoil designs will like this head.
I remember when I lived in Colorado, the Crimson Talons were illegal (at least at that time) because the blades had to exist in a continual single plane. They couldn’t be curved.
The Outlaw Specs
The last Crimson Talon head I tested was The Outlaw.
The Outlaw is it’s really basic in some ways and unique in others. It’s basic in the sense that it’s a 3-blade head with a 1-1/8 inch cut. It’s a little bit different in that all three blades are offset. The 0.040 inch thick, stainless steel blades are an offset design, to create a better wound channel.
The Outlaw broadhead has offset blades and a 1-1/8″ cut.
The tip is hard stainless steel and the ferrule is solid titanium. It also has a 3-blade locking system, keeping the blades in three different places, which is supposed to make these heads very durable and have really good blade retention.
Crimson Talon Broadhead Testing
I was eager to put all of these heads to the test.
I tested them for flight, edge retention, sharpness, penetration and durability.
Let’s see how this Crimson Talon lineup performed.
All three of the Crimson Talon heads were able to pop a balloon at 70 yards.
Edge retention results (out-of-the-box sharpness)
For the Crimson Talon G2, I just tested the sharpness and edge retention of the straight blades (Hyperspeed), because it’s too difficult to get it all lined up with the curved blades and they are the same blades anyway.
The Crimson Talon G2 Hyperspeed cut paper after 5 strokes of the arrow.
The Outlaw cut paper after five strokes of the arrow.
Penetration results (ballistic gel)
The penetration of these heads was pretty much as expected. The Outlaw penetrated the most at 8 and a half inches, followed by the Hyperspeed at 7 and a quarter inches. And then the G2 with the curved blades penetrated 6 and 3 quarter inches.
Down at the bottom there in the middle, you can see the wound channel of the G2 and you can see that rotation. The blades actually rotated from initial impact with the rubber foam mat to their final resting place. They rotated 90 degrees. So that’s pretty cool. That’s like a single bevel, 2-blade head in terms of rotation. And, that’s a wicked-looking wound channel as well.
Here are all three heads after going through the 22-inch steel plate five times each. I was definitely impressed with the durability. I really didn’t expect any of them to make it through all five times. I expected them to lose blades on maybe the second or third shot. But, none of them did. All of them held their blades together really well and stayed intact.
Penetration (steel plate)
If you look at the holes that the heads made in the steel plate, it’s really interesting. You can see that the Hyperspeed (top right) made the most impressive holes. It made really big, triangular holes with extra wide cuts in the tips.
Notice the G2 with the curved blades. I’m really surprised that it held together like it did. The blades did not straighten out when going through the steel plate five times. They really stayed curved together, which is really impressive. Also, the holes are still really big. You can see the curls in the ends. It didn’t make as big of a triangular hole as the Hyperspeed for some reason, but it still made a really impressive wound channel with those “S-cuts.”
The Outlaw held together as well. And you can see the holes are a bit smaller there, that at a 1 1/8 inch cut.
Edge Retention (steel plate)
Now, in terms of the edge retention and the durability of the blades themselves after going through the steel plate; again, all of them stayed intact. None of them bent out of shape. But, all of them did get really nicked up.
The one that probably got the most nicked up was the G2. Because of those curved blades, the head hits the steel in a new place each time as it curves around. And so, those edges would have had to be replaced after probably the third or fourth shot. But they still held intact. You can imagine there might be some damage when coming in contact with a rib, shoulder or other bones of a deer.
The Outlaw has the thickest blade, so they took a big brunt of the impact on the steel and they got next most nicked up (although the tip held together perfectly and the A2 tip on the G2 and on the Hyperspeed look brand new).
The Hyperspeed got the least amount of damage on the blades. It made it through four times before it would have had to be replaced. So, it stayed in relatively good shape. Some of the blades were still perfectly intact and some were nicked up.
So overall, really impressed and surprised with the durability of these heads.
After reviewing these heads, if I had to pick a winner between them, it would definitely be between the G2 and the G2 Hyperspeed. And which one would be the winner would be based on my setup and on what animal I’m pursuing.
The Battleaxe is a hybrid (but it’s not called the Hybrid… That’s a different one that I already tested.)
For all these tests, I’m using my Bowtech SR6 set at 72 pounds and I’m using Bishop FOC King Arrows for most of the shots. (I’m using the Bishop FAD Eliminator for the really hard impact ones.) Let’s check out this Battleaxe 125-grain head!
The Battleaxe broadhead up close
Now, let’s take a closer look at the Crimson Talon Battleaxe broadhead:
Here’s a good look at the Battleaxe. Now, this is the 125-grain model. What a cool-looking broadhead! I love that main-leading blade.
It’s got a fixed, cut on contact leading blade that is 7/8 of an inch. It’s 1 mm thick or 0.039″ thick. Both of the blades are made out of 420J2 stainless steel.
The ferrule is made out of a 7075 aluminum, which is stronger than some steels.
It’s also got this mechanical blade in the back. Now, in a closed position, it’s got 1 inch of cut and is sharpened on the edges with a single bevel.
Even if nothing were to open on impact, you’d have 7/8 of an inch cut in the front and 1″ of cut from the expandable blades in the back, which is nice. But, it’s going to open. And as it is forced to open, these main mechanical blades deploy and they reach a full cutting diameter of 2″.
They also make 100-grain model thatyou can see right here. It’s exactly the same. It just has a smaller leading blade in the front, has a 7/16 of an inch cut. So the 125-grain has 7/8 of an inch and the 100-grain has 7/16 of an inch. Everything else is identical.
Now, I would think that the 100-grain is going to be a bit more forgiving in flight than would be the 125-grain, just because of that extra wide leading blade. However, it’s still pretty small, at 7/8-inch and just two blades with a really low profile to the back mechanical ends of the blades. So, I thought it would fly really well.
I was really eager to put this head to the test and see how the Battleaxe performs. So, let’s see how it did!
The Battleaxe penetrated through 52 layers of cardboard. And I want to note that it actually cut quite a bit of cardboard as it did that because of that blade-forward design, compared to many mechanicals that just have like a long narrow tip at the front.
Here’s the head after three shots through MDF. On the good side, everything stayed perfectly intact. On the negative side, the cutting diameter of those arced mechanical blades did decrease by about a half as those blades bent back a little bit more with each shot. (I’m showing it here compared to the original size that it was before those shots.)
Here it is after two shots into the steel plate. As you can see, it made really nice holes. You can see the blades got a little bit of edge chatter and nicked up as expected. The back curved blades just continued to hold in that smaller cut pattern, and maybe they even shrunk just a little bit more in their cutting diameter. But everything stayed intact.
Here is the Battleaxe head after impacting the concrete. As you can see, it didn’t do very well on the concrete. The leading blade broke in half and the ferrule broke in half as well. But to be honest, don’t think that that means that this head is not durable. For a mechanical with that size cut, to make it through MDF three times and make it through the steel plate twice is really impressive. So, the concrete is just kind of an extra test of the outer limits of durability and it only counts for 3 points out of 100-point scale. But overall, the durability of this head was pretty impressive.