sevr 1.5 and 1.7 inch broadheads

Sevr Broadheads Review | What You Need To Know

-By John Lusk

In this broadhead review, I tested broadheads from SEVR; The SEVR 1.5, 1.7, 2.1 and Ti 2.0.

SEVR Broadhead Offerings

SEVR originally came out with a broadhead that had a 2.1” cutting diameter. It was a great head with fantastic flight and it was tough. But, the penetration is about what you would expect from a 2.1” broadhead and it was a bit lacking in kinetic energy for my purposes.  

For a deer, or even for smaller game like turkey, if your number one goal is a big hole, the 2.1” SEVR is going to deliver. But to round out their lineup, they’ve come up with two additional offerings.

sevr broadheads 15. and 1.7 inch diagram
The 1.5-inch and 1.7-inch SEVR broadheads look the same in shape, but with some subtle differences in head and ferrule composition.

SEVR 1.7-inch Broadhead

To compliment their original broadhead, SEVR introduced a 1.7” head. It has a stainless steel tip and it has got a good grade aluminum ferrule. It has rear deploying blades that lock in place, which I love.

The 1.7” cutting diameter provides decent penetration and is a good all-around broadhead offering for pretty much any kind of game.

SEVR 1.5-inch Broadhead

SEVR also introduced the 1.5-inch head. The 1.5-inch operates just like the 2.1-inch with a few design differences.

On the 1.7-inch head, the tip is not quite as big as the 1.5-inch head and also has a smaller ferrule.  The 1.7-inch head only comes in a 100-grain and is a little cheaper, while the 1.5-inch head comes in a 100-grain as well as a 125-grain.

SEVR 1.5-inch and 1.7-inch heads | The details…

Firstly, just as the name implies, the 1.5-inch head has a 1.5-inch cutting diameter. Also, the ferrule and tip on the 1.5-inch head are titanium, as opposed to the stainless steel tip and aluminum ferrule of its 2.1-inch predecessor.

The blades of the 1.5-inch head are stainless steel and lock into place just like the 2.1-inch head.



The 1.5-inch head is designed for big-bodied, heavy-skinned animals. It is also better for longer distance shots, due to the smaller cutting diameter.

Although the cut is 1.5” wide, the chiseled tip itself is approximately 5/16-inch wide. So, with the 1.5-inch width cut in one direction and the 5/16-inch wide tip cut in the other direction, you get a total of a little over 1-3/4 inches of cut with a 1-1/2-inch hole.  


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Pricing

SEVR has a direct-to consumer approach, so you can only order them from their website. You can purchase them by the eaches, but you can get a better deal if you buy higher quantities.

At the time of this article’s publishing, the 1.7-heads are $11.99 each. The 1.5-inch head is $13.99. The 1.5 is more expensive due to the titanium head. You can purchase at SEVRbroadheads.com

Using code LUSKFIVE will give you $5 off any order at SEVRbroadheads.com!

Blades and cutting features

I love the way the SEVRs work. They have two small “wings” that are exposed during flight. When they come in contact with an animal, they actually “pre-stretch” the hide (skin) as the blades deploy. In theory, since the blades are rear-deploying, not only do you get a 4-cut entry, but you get a bigger cut.  



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The heads of the SEVRs also lock into place. So, unlike a lot of mechanical heads that can close down if there’s not a certain amount of pressure, these heads lock in place and they stay that way in the animal.

Because they lock in place, they will not give a smaller cut than they do at their full deployment. The blades will go back into pre-deployment position when removing from the animal, but will still lock back down in deployment position.



If you’ve ever shot a broadhead into a deer or other animal and hit bone, it typically deflects off course. But, the great thing about the SEVRs is that the will rotate to one side if they come they come into contact with bone or a hard medium like a rib.

The blade will simply fall to the side that encounters the bone, allowing the other blade to continue cutting and still keeps the broadhead on track.

sevr blade rotation

SEVR blades will rotate when coming in contact with bone or other hard surfaces, which helps prevent bending and breaking of blades and keeps heads on course.

This feature helps increase the chances of getting a good exit and getting better penetration of lungs and other vitals when the head encounters bone. And, because the blades stay locked even as they rotate, they just “dance” around the bone.

Another nice feature to the SEVR broadheads is that when there is heavy pressure on the blades – the type of pressure that might bend or break both blades – they compressed ever so slightly to absorb some of that impact. Because of this feature, they are difficult to break.




Blade Thickness

The 1.7-inch heads have a blade thickness of 0.035-inch thick. The 1.5-inch heads have blades that are 0.032-inch thick. Both heads have all the same features, locking in place and pivoting around bone, staying on track.

I was excited that they came out with a 1.7 and came out with a 1.5 because the 2.1-inch was just a little bit much for me to be able to be confident that I would be able to get a pass-through on an animal.

Although I knew I would get a big hole, I needed to be confident that I would get pass throughs. And, when hunting large animals like elk or bear, I want to be sure I get deep penetration.  



Blade angle and overall cut

Another thing I like about the 1.5-inch head versus the original 2.1-inch head is that the blade angle is much less. So, penetration is not only better because of a smaller cutting area, but it’s also better because of the smaller angle.

The same with the 1.7-inch head. While it has a slightly larger cutting angle than the 1.5, it is still less than the 2.1. So, the 1.7 also gets better penetration, not only because of the angle, but because of the smaller diameter cut.  



Now, you might think, “Oh, 1.5 or 1.7 inches is kind of small.” But, there are not many fixed heads that have a 1.5-inch cut. They might have a combined 2-inch cut, with 1-inch one way and 1-inch the other way.

But, what I have found with broadheads on game animals is that the wider a cut, the more effective bloodletting you will get.



On three and four-blade broadheads, although you may get more total tissue cut, you get a smaller cutting diameter. And, smaller holes tend to get plugged up easier with organs blood and tissue, resulting in less effective blood trails.

But, when you get a wider cut, even like a 1.5-inch, the hide and wound tend to stretch open as the animal moves, producing better bloodletting.



Of course, with the 1.7, you would get even more.

With the 2.1-inch head, you’re going to get a lot of bloodletting, but you are going to compromise penetration to do so.  

So, with the new SEVR lineup, you have something for everyone. But, what I really wanted to see was… how do they fly? They are really the same heads, so I just tested the 1.5-inch.  



SEVR flight

sevr broadhead in target

The SEVRs fly just like a field point, providing great accuracy, even at long distances.

When it comes to target shooting the SEVR heads, there is a feature that helps them stand out. Each head comes with a small set screw, so that when you shoot, the head stays in a closed position.

Because the blades do not deploy, they don’t touch the target at all. It’s very nice on your target and on the head itself.

So, in essence it makes the actual broadhead a practice head, and is easy to pull out of the target. Just be sure that when you hunt, you have removed the set screw, or the blades will not deploy.



Penetration and durability testing

For my penetration and durability tests, I shot the SEVR heads through 1-2-inch layers of MDF, with a foam mat in the front. I also shot them at a 45-degree angle on the MDF. After those tests, I shot them into a steel plate.

For testing, I shot the Bowtech SR6, set at 72 pounds, on the comfort setting. The arrows I used with the heads are the Bishop Mammoth FOC King, bsecause they are the most durable arrows made. These tests really put the arrows through the ringer and yet they don’t get damaged, as they are incredibly resilient.



MDF Board Penetration Test

I shot the 1.5-inch, 125-grain head and the 1.7-inch, 100-grain head into the MDF. Both broadheads penetrated all the way through the first board and then stopped into the second board.

In the back of the second layer of MDF, the 1.7-inch bulged out a little bit. The 1.5-inch bulged out quite a bit more.

On the entrance hole, both deployed upon impact even with the soft pad over the first board and the cuts are exactly as advertised.

The 1.5-inch head opened up to 1.5 inches. And the 1.7-inch head opened up to 1.7 inches exactly.

45-degree angle shot into MDF

I set up two MDF boards at a 45-degree angle and shot both the 1.5 and 1.7-inch heads into it.   

Both heads penetrated precisely straight through. There was no sliding off the 45-degree angle board at all. And, the penetration was great for both of them. You see the top one was the 1.5-inch, the bottom the 1.7.

entrance holes of 1.5 and 1.7 inch sevr broadheads
Both the 1.5 and 1.7-inch SEVR heads created their respective sized entrance holes in the foam pad and MDF board.
penetration test of 1.5 and 1.7 inch sevr broadheads
Both heads penetrated into the second layer of MDF board.
1.5 and 1.7 sevrs penetrating 45-degree angled mdf
The 1.5-inch SEVR penetrated slightly better through 45-degree angled MDF board.


Steel Plate Penetration Test

Because these heads held up so well in the MDF testing, I also shot them into a steel plate to evaluate what would happen.  

I honestly wasn’t expecting them to hold up that well after all those other MDF board shots. But, they went through the steel plate and then through the second board.

You can see that the 1.5-inch at the top, blew all the way through it. And you can see the tip of the 1.7-inch, 100-grain, sticking at the bottom.



Here are the heads after going through the initial two layers of MDF and then another layer of MDF and an angle, and then a layer of steel plate and then another MDF, half inch MDF.

All of them were half inch MDFs. And they both held up extremely well.

On the 1.5-inch, there was zero damage to the tip. The blades took very little damage, incurring only one nick. (The nick at the bottom is part of the design that holds the rubber bands in place.)

As for the 1.7-inch, they too held up really well, receiving small nicks both blades from the steel plate test.

Overall, the SEVR heads held up really well, including the blades, tips and ferrules.  

sevr steel plate penetration
Both the 1.5 and the 1.7-inch SEVR heads penetrated the steel plate and the first layer of MDF.

BONUS: SEVR 2.0 Ti Broadheads Review

Below I’m going to show you the results of my testing of the SEVR Ti 2.0, but first, a little history behind this head…

How the Ti 2.0 came to be

SEVR originally came out with their first broadhead, called the 2.1, which was just known as the SEVR. It had a massive 2.1 cutting diameter, and some really cool features (blades pivoting around bone and a super low profile in flight, titanium ferrule, etc.)

There was a lot I liked about that head and I did some initial testing on it when it first came out.

The only drawback that I saw in that head was that it wasn’t the best at penetration. Now, with a full 2.1-inch cut, you don’t expect it to penetrate super well, but I thought it should penetrate a bit better than it did.



So since that time, SEVR came out with the 1.7 and the 1.5, which I’ve covered above. They shortened the cut a little bit in the 1.7, and 1.5 (1.7 inches and 1.5 inches instead of 2.1).

I’ve since come to love those heads. In fact, the 1.5 is one of my very favorite heads, period. It’s more durable than most fixed-blade heads and by far the most durable mechanical that I’ve ever tested. I’ve taken animals with it all over the world.

Well now, they’ve come out with another big cut model that is also supposed to maximize penetration. And that is this Ti, (Titanium) 2.0.



The SEVR Ti 2.0 compared to the old SEVR 2.1

I tested the SEVR Ti 2.0 for penetration, for edge sharpness and retention, and for durability.

I didn’t test the flight because I’ve already tested the flight of the SEVRs quite a bit and they fly exceptionally well. You can see the low profile. They just fly like a field point.

But I put it through all those other tests and I want to compare the 2.1 to the new 2.0 and see what the difference is in terms of penetration.



The SEVRs have a solid titanium ferrule that is grade 5 titanium and one piece all the way up, including the tip.

The blades are made out of a hardened 420 stainless steel at 0.032 inches thick. The blades are held in place by a little O-ring at the base that fits into that groove and when they’re shot and penetrate into the hide when they first made contact, the winged tips pushed the blades back and they deploy and lock into an open position, giving a full  cutting diameter (in this case, 2.1 inches).

sevr ti 2.0 and 2.1 differences
Here, you can see the differences between the old SEVR 2.1 and the newer SEVR Ti 2.0.

These two heads may look similar, but there are three main differences.

  • The new Ti 2.0 has a slightly smaller cut, 2.0 inches versus 2.1 on the original SEVR.
  • The blades of the Ti 2.0 have a more swept angle (less straightness) to them, so they’re going to get easier penetration.
  • The little winged tips that caused the deployment of the 2.1, they protrude a little bit farther beyond the blade than they do on the 2.0. On the 2.0, they just slightly protrude, and that increases penetration.

So, those three changes and modifications from the 2.1 to the 2.0 are supposed to result in up to 15% deeper penetration by and large. So I was eager that to the test.

SEVR Ti 2.0 sharpness test

The SEVR Ti 2.0 was still able to cut paper cuts paper after five strokes of the shaft of a carbon arrow.

sevr ti 2.0 cutting paper test
The Ti 2.0 was able to cut paper after 5 strokes of the arrow.


Ballistic Gel Penetration test comparison

I shot both the 2.1 and the Ti 2.0 into ballistic gel that was fronted by a rubber mat and 1/2″ MDF.

sevr ti 2.0 and 2.1 penetration into ballistic gel
The 2.1 penetrated 6 and 3/4 inches and the new SEVR Ti 2.0 penetrated 7 and 3/4 inches.

Ti 2.0 MDF durability test

I shot the Ti 2.0 into MDF to see how it would hold up. The results were surprising.

sevr 2.0 ti after mdf penetration test
Here’s the head after going through the MDF five times. And as you can see, it looks brand new.

Then, I decided to see how it would handle a .22 gauge steel plate.

sevr ti 2.0 after steel plate test
Here you can see the SEVR after going through the steel plate twice and after having gone through the MDF. You can see the blades got pretty bent up and yet, it held together. Pretty impressive.

One last thing I think is worth noting on the Ti 2.0… If you already have the old 2.1 heads, you can just order the blades for the 2.0 and swap them out. These can be used with the ferrule of the 2.1. So, it’s nice that you can do that. If you want to pick up some penetration from the 2.1s that you already have, just get the new blades and put them in there.

sevr ti 2.0 scorecard
Final scorecard for the SEVR Ti 2.0


Sevr Robusto Broadhead Review

sevr robusto

The Robusto is marketed as a crossbow broadhead, but it can easily and very effectively be to used through a vertical bow as well.

A Closeup Look At The SEVR Robusto

So, let’s check out this Robusto broadhead!

sevr robusto profile view

The Robusto has the same blade deployment system as the other Sevr expandables, so it will work great out of vertical bows. It’s just 150 grains, so you have to account for that extra 25 grains if you’re used to a 125-grain heads or extra 50 grains if you use 100-grain heads. But, that also increases your FOC a little bit. It increases your momentum a little bit as well. So, I like that extra bit of weight in the 150-grain.

sevr robusto silicone ring

The blades are held in place really strongly by the silicon O-ring. It’s a really thin ring, but it’s silicon, so it doesn’t dry rod or freeze. The overall profile of the Robusto is super small in the closed position. That’s what makes these one of the very best flying heads. This, just like all of the SEVRs, should fly incredibly well.

robusto compared to 1.5 and 2.0

The Robusto is all-stainless steel, whereas in the 2.0 and the 1.5, the ferrule is made out of titanium. Here, it’s all stainless steel.


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robusto cut width of tip

The tip, by my measurements, has a 0.33″ cut when closed. And, when fully deployed, the Robusto has 2″ of cut the other way. So overall, 2.33″, which is a pretty nice cut.

sevr robusto screw hole

Now, you notice there is this little hole for a set screw right here. It’s in each individual pack of broadheads. And, you just screw it in. This keeps the blades in the closed position. So, you can practice with them and shoot the same broadhead that you’re going to be hunting with, but in the closed position, so you won’t dull the blades, since they won’t contact the target at all. You just have to remember to take out that set screw before you go hunting, or you’re going to be really disappointed when the blades would not open!

Also, when you’re practicing using the set screw, you don’t need to use the O-ring!

So, the way the Robusto works, is that the small deployment arms, are blunt and angled forward. As they press on a medium like animal hide, they push and indent the hide just a little bit and then the blades spring open and it gets a bit bigger cut than just the advertised 2″. That’s the theory of it.

sevr robusto starting to open

The pressure causes that O-ring to expand and it slides back or cuts off, and then the blades come into their open position and they lock in the open position. And that’s one of the things that’s really unique about the SEVR is that blades lock. They have a little mechanism in the back where the two blades butt up against each other and they come into the lock position.

sevr robusto blades locking in position

The Robusto in the fully open and locked position.

sevr robusto locking mechanism

Even if there’s not pressure pushing the blades, they’re still going to stay in that open position. Whereas, most Gator Blades, if there’s not pressure, they’re just going to collapse. They’re just going to go back down. These would not due to the locking mechanism.

Another thing this does is it allows the blades to pivot, and that’s kind of SEVR’s claim to fame is to cut straight through. A lot of times, what happens with a big 2-blade mechanical, is that as it penetrates, if one of the blades hits a heavy bone, which causes a deflection, drastically changing the arrow’s direction.

And, you’re thinking, “I made a perfect shot,” but then the arrow changes direction within the animal because of that deflection, and you can end up losing the animal.

sevr robusto cutting diameter with one blade closed

The pivot allows it to hit a bone and then the blade just folds back and it stays on course.

Now, you’re not going to get as much of a cut if that blade goes back. However, you’re going to get more than just that one blade because the blade is going to stick out. So, you’re not going to get the whole cut, but you’re still going to get quite a bit.

Now, one of the drawbacks of this can be that if it hits a bone one side right before it exits, then you might get an exit with just this cutting diameter. Now, you are still getting the 0.33″ one way, and you’re getting more than 1″ the other way, so probably about 1-1-4/” overall, which would be a smaller exit hole.

But, unless that happens, it’s going to return right back into its fully open position. But, the tradeoff is that you aren’t absorbing a lot of energy if one blade is hit, but then you might get a smaller exit.

I’ve taken many animals with the Sevr heads I’ve seen that happened one time where I had like an inch and a quarter exit hole, but it really was inconsequential as far as harvesting the animal.

sevr robusto blade thickness

The blades of the Robusto are 0.032″ thick, so pretty average thickness to the blades. But again, because of that design feature, they’ve proven over the years pretty durable.

sevr robusto o-ring receiver in blade

You’ll notice also there’s a little divot here in the blades. That’s just where the O-ring goes. It’s not like there’s a chip in the blade. That’s not because it contacted the ferrule or anything. That’s just where the O-ring goes so it doesn’t get cut.

sevr robusto how to unlock blades

To get the blades closed, I just like to put my finger over it. I’m not even really touching the blade. And then with my thumb nail, I push up on one of these little ends of the blades and then the other one just slides under it. It comes with a little plastic tool you can do this with, but it’s just as easy to do it with your nail like that. And then there it is in the closed position. When it opens, it pops. You can hear a little snap.

For the Robusto tests, I used my Bowtech CP28 for most of the shots. I used the SR6 for one of them. And, I used Bishop FOC King Arrows for most of the shooting, and the Bishop FAD Eliminators for the really hard impact shots because they are just so incredibly durable.

Robusto Testing

I was eager to put the Robusto to the test! Let’s see how it performed!

Flight Forgiveness

sevr robusto flight test

I shot one field point and one Robusto at 30 yards.

Initial Sharpness

sevr robusto initial sharpness test

The initial sharpness of the Robusto registered at 200.



Penetration Test 1 (2/3″ rubber mat, 1/2″ MDF, FBI Gel):   

sevr robusto ballistic gel test

The Robusto penetrated 6-1/2″. I know it doesn’t look like that, but if you look closely, you can see this thing that happens with the gel. There is a cut that goes in front of the tip that extends about an inch-and-a-half beyond where the final resting place of the head is. And with gel, it shoots forward and then kind of compresses back sometimes. And that’s what happens. The blades opened very well and stayed opened. They’re at an angle and so it looks like they are pretty closed, but they’re actually their full cutting position.

Edge Retention Test (sharpness after Penetration Test 1): 225

sevr robusto edge retention test

The Robusto registered 225 after the MDF/ballistic gel penetration test.

Penetration Test 2 (layered cardboard):

sevr robusto cardboard test

The Robusto penetrated through 54 layers of cardboard.

Opening Test (Leather stretched over box):

sevr robusto entry hole in leather

You can see that the blades opened up almost to their full cutting diameter of 2″ on impact.

sevr robusto blade opening width in target

And, the blades locked open as you can see the impact into the target right behind the cardboard box here.

Durability Test (1/2″ MDF max 3 shots):

sevr robusto after 3 times into MDF

The Robusto was in perfect condition after going through the MDF 3 times.

Durability (22 gauge steel plate max 2 shots):

sevr robusto steel plate holes

Here are the holes the Robusto made in the steel plate.

sevr robusto after steel plate test

And it’s still in really good condition after going through the steel plate 2 times. And then here are the holes in the steel plate as well.

Durability Test (Concrete I Shot):

sevr robusto stuck in concrete

The Robusto stuck in the concrete block!

sevr robusto after concrete block test

So here’s the Robusto after all the durability tests. It went through the MDF and the steel plate, and held together very well through all of those. The blades are in really excellent shape. It actually stuck in the concrete, which was really impressive. But, you see that it did get a bend to it. It looks kind of like a Concord jet. The tip is actually really pointy. It got a tiny bit of a curl to it, but stayed together really well. Obviously, it’s not reusable with that kind of a bend, but it held together relatively well considering that it’s about 750 grains being shot out of a 72-pound bow at 5 yards into the cinder block. So, for that, to hold together, stick in the cinder block and to only have that kind of damage is pretty impressive durability, especially for a mechanical.

Final Thoughts On The SEVR Robusto

So what do you think of the Robusto?

Man, I tell you, it’s another winner of a broadhead by SEVR. I love their 1.5. I love the 2.0. And I like the all-steel Robusto as well. I like the slick design to it, and that tip penetrates just a little bit better. I like that it’s all steel. You get a little bit of extra FOC and momentum by being 150 grains.

I was a little surprised that it bent and buckled a bit when it stuck in the concrete. But, a lot of fixed blades can’t do that. It did hold together but it’s the first time that I’ve shot any SEVR in the concrete and had it experience a bend like that.

So, I don’t know if it just hit an extra hard part in the concrete or what, but overall, the durability was just incredible and its performance was very good.

It actually got an even higher score than the SEVR 2.0. The 2.0 had gotten the highest score of any broadhead mechanical or fixed that I had tested up to this point. And now, the Robusto just replaced that as like the highest score.

Things I Wish Were Different About The Robusto

There are a few things I wish were different with the SEVR Robusto, but the main thing is I wish the deploying arms didn’t cover up some of the blade.

You leave it open and you go, “Hey, how come these blades or these little deploying arms are sticking out like that?” People ask me that question all the time and yet at the same time, I would think that they would impede the penetration and yet, they don’t. It still penetrates quite well.

Everything in broadhead is a tradeoff. And, the benefit of having that mechanism that causes the blades to deploy properly and interlock, is the interlocking, pivoting, and strong, shock-absorbing nature of it. The drawback is it covers up some of the blades and yet, in terms of penetration, total cut size, blood-letting, and so forth, it really hasn’t been proven to be any kind of a problem.

I love this Robusto head. And, again, props to SEVR on another great broadhead!

sevr robusto lusk grade

SEVR Broadheads Review Conclusion

When I first heard the SEVR broadheads were hitting the market, I had a lot of hope that they penetrate well and hold up well with the changes made to the new models. These heads have exceeded my expectations.

In terms of flight, I knew they would fly extremely well. And, they fly as good as any mechanical head I’ve ever tested. They are like a field point in flight, flying right up there with the very best.

In terms of penetration, they were excellent, maintain outstanding durability as they were shot into 4 total layers of ½-inch MDF, a steel plate and foam mat.

So the SEVR 1.5 and 1.7-inch are really a good heads for bowhunters to consider for various animals.

vortex 125 broadhead

What A Super Huge Cut! | The Vortex Broadhead Test

In this review, I tested a classic broadhead that has been around forever… the Vortex.

I had been hearing about it for a long time and it’s been a staple in the market from the very beginning of mechanical broadheads.

For this test, I used my Bowtech SR6 set at 72 pounds and Bishop FOC King Arrows. I also used the Bishop FAD Eliminator, for the concrete test because they are just so durable. So let’s check out the Vortex 125 grain…

At the end of the review, I will post the score sheet, and give it an overall Lusk grade, so you can see how it did in each of the test and compare it to other broadheads.

The Vortex 125-Grain Broadhead

Let’s take a look at the Vortex 125-grain broadhead closeup…

vortex broadhead in closed position

As you can see it’s just this classic mechanical, over-the-top deploying head. I really like the looks of it.

Vortex sharp blades on front of blade opening

The blades in the closed position have 7/8″ cutting diameter. And, you can see they have the sharp edges going forward, so you’re going to get that cut initially. Plus, the chisel tip is going to put you at over an inch of cut. So, even if the blades didn’t open, you’d at least get that much cut.


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The O-ring on the Vortex head is really stout. It rolls back and is reusable.

vortex wide cut

When the O-ring rolls back, the blades of the Vortex open up, expanding to a full 2-3/4″ of cut, which is one of the widest cuts on the market. Pretty cool!

vortex chisel tip

It has an aluminum ferrule as well as a really stout, strong-looking, steel chisel tip. The blades are 0.032″ thick and are made out of a spring steel to aid in their durability.

I was eager to put this head to the test and see how it performed.



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Initial Sharpness Test

I tested the initial “out-of-the-box” sharpness of the Vortex 125 grain.

vortex initial sharpness test

The initial sharpness of the Vortex came in at 225 (the lower the number, the sharper the blade is.)

Penetration Test #1 (2/3″ rubber mat, 1/2″ MDF, FBI Gel):   

I shot the Vortex into ballistic gel, fronted by 1/2″ MDF and a 2/3″ rubber mat.

vortex ballistic gel mdf test

The Vortex 125 penetrated 6″.



vortex entrance hole in foam

Here is the entrance hole and you see that it cut a one-inch cut through the initial layer of rubber foam mat.



vortex opened in ballistic gel

One inch later after the two layers of rubber foam mat and the MDF, you can see that the blades had opened up well over 2″.


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Edge Retention Test (sharpness after Penetration Test 1):

vortex sharpness after ballistic gel test

I tested the sharpness again after the MDF penetration test and the Vortex came in at 300.



Penetration Test #2 (layered cardboard):

I shot the Vortex into layered cardboard to see how many layers it would penetrate.

vortex layered cardboard test

The Vortex broadhead penetrated through 39 layers of cardboard. And, just like some other long mechanicals, a lot of that penetration was the tip and not the blades. But, that’s how I count it, nonetheless.



Vortex Durability Test (1/2” MDF):

vortex after going through MDF

Here’s the Vortex head after going through the MDF 5 times. Now, I want to point out, you notice all the scratching on the ferrule itself… that’s not for the MDF. That’s from me trying to get it out of the MDF because on the fifth shot, it got like super lodged in there and I had to use a power saw to get it out. But, I was really careful to not bend the blades or the ferrule while I was getting it out, and that’s why I had to get so close like that. I’ve actually never had that problem, with it being so difficult to get out.

The ferrule held together fairly well. There was a little bit of wobble, which is not bad for such a long aluminum ferrule that had 5 impacts of the MDF. And, the tip obviously held together in excellent shape.

vortex extended blades broken after MDF test

As for the blades… the extended part of the blades on either side broke off on then second shot into the MDF. However, I kept going because I still had well over 2″ of cut, which is significant. And, even if at the very end, after the fifth shot, as much as these blades had bent backwards and lost those end tips, there was still 2″ of cut.



So, it’s really significant that it still cut a lot of tissue, even with the bent blades, because the blades are so long. They got a bit bent and after those two broke off on the second shot, then they got a little bit more bent up on the third shot and on the fourth shot. And, then of course, the fifth shot.

So, the good side is, you still have 2″ of cut after 5 shots in the MDF. The bad side is, they did lose those ends to the blades and they did get a bit bent up there.



Concrete Test:

I shot the Vortex into a concrete block, which is extreme, but it helps show durability on extremely hard impact shots. Here’s the 125-grain after impact in the concrete.

vortex after the concrete test

As you can see, the ferrule got pretty jacked up and bent. One of the blades also got bent. They both impacted the concrete a bit and one of them got bent back, while the other one didn’t. The tip really buried deeply in the concrete. It might be the deepest-penetrating tip that I’ve tested. I couldn’t get it out. And it broke off on impact. It broke off at the threading where it goes into the ferrule.

Now, when you’re shooting a broadhead with this wide of a cut, you have super wide blades, so you have to have a really long ferrule.

I know you won’t be shooting this head into concrete and you’re not expecting maximum durability. But, in this test, It actually performed a bit better than I expected it to.



Final Thoughts On The Vortex Expandable Broadhead

OK. So what do you think of the Vortex 125 grain?

You know, it did fairly well. For a really big cut like that, you’re not expecting the most durable broadhead in the world.

But, it actually exceeded my expectations in durability. Of course, you have the damage from the cinder block test and the damage in the center block and yeah, you see the damage in the MDF but that’s what a whooping big cut.

So if you got a really powerful setup or you’re going after a bit of a smaller animal like a turkey, a smaller deer, a hog, man, this is something really worth checking out because it’s going to put a whoop on whatever it hits.

Great job, Vortex!

vortex scorecard
The final scorecard.


vortex lusk grade
The Vortex scored 7 out of a possible 10 golden arrows.
iron will broadheads on arrows

Iron Will Broadheads | An In-Depth Analysis

By: John Lusk

My purpose in this review was to find out how the Iron Will Outfitters broadheads perform when it comes to penetration and durability.

The Original Iron Will Broadhead | Beauty In A Box

I have never held a broadhead and felt like I was about to propose. But, that’s just what I felt like when I received the Iron Will Outfitters broadheads.

The hand-made box that each broadhead comes in is the definition of quality. The broadhead lies flat in the box on a felt background. It’s really impressive.

iron will broadhead and hand made box

The hand-made box gives the Iron Will broadheads a head-start in visual excellence.

But enough about the box, it was time to start checking out and testing the broadheads themselves!

Firstly, even to the eyes, the Iron Will broadhead screams quality. I have tested many broadheads and there are some that you can hold before testing and just know, “this isn’t going to be very good.” However, the broadheads from Iron Will made me go, “OK. This is top tier for sure.”

You are paying for them to be top tier, so you would expect them to be. But, these broadheads literally fit the bill.

To go straight to the testing for each Iron Will broadhead, click the appropriate link below:

Head Design And Construction

The Iron Will broadhead is made of A2 Tool Steel that has been triple heat-tempered as well as cryogenically tempered to produce incredible hardness.

It has Rockwell hardness of 60 but also has an incredible resistance to impact.

Its Charpy C-Notch score is multiple times higher than a typical stainless steel. So, it has a really good resistance to impact and it has a fairly good resistance to wear which will make a difference on edge retention. The bottom line is that it is top-notch steel.

Another thing I like is that it is a “cut on contact” tip, which aids in penetration. It has two larger blades followed by two smaller bleeder blades. Both the main blades and the bleeders are really thick (0.063 inches). All the blades are replaceable as well, which is nice. It also has a solid steel ferrule.

When you take a look at the tip of the broadhead itself, you’ll notice it has a chisel tip, even though it’s a 2-blade head. The chisel tip provides extra lateral strengthening as the ferrule goes up high towards the tip.

iron will broadhead in box

You may feel like there’s a diamond inside the Iron Will Outfitters box, but it’s just a precision-crafted piece of archery beauty.



The Trade-Offs

There are a few things about the Iron Will broadhead that are not my favorite. These are observations regarding design.

First of all, with the 2-blade tip and the A2 steel, the benefit is that you are going to get great penetration. But, you’re not going to get the lateral support that you would get with a real chisel tip or a 3-blade tip where all 3 blades come together. It structurally cannot be as supportive. So, while it’s a plus for penetration, it’s a minus on durability and hard impact.

And, then the protruding ferrule… again, there’s a plus to it in that it strengthens the blade going up pretty high. But, it has a little bit of a lip to it, and I can imagine that it could get stuck, not on flesh but maybe on bone, if it splits bone or a hard material.



Additionally, it’s a component head. And again, this is a trade-off. So it’s several pieces. The set screw has no tension on it that would go against the arrow itself and into the ferrule. But, you have multiple pieces.

Now, the plus side of that is that each piece can be stamped, ground and hardened to extremely high specifications with fine-tuned machining. The negative the the multiple pieces is that, in theory, is, it’s just not going to be as strong as a one-piece broadhead, especially a CNC machined head.

iron will broadhead diagram

The anatomy of the Iron Will Outfitters solid broadhead.




Iron Will (Original) Flight

In addition to the appearance and construction, I like the flight. I got to shoot these out to a hundred yards and it is extremely forgiving. I’ll put the Iron Will up there with the best heads I’ve ever shot in terms of forgiveness, if not the best.

I can pop balloons with this broadhead at 60, 80, and 100 yards fairly readily, and it groups extremely well.

But, how would the Iron Will perform in penetration, durability and hard-impact testing? I decided to test it against the best-selling 3-blade head on the market: The G5 Montec.



Penetration and Durability | Iron Will (Original) vs. G5 Montec

In my first penetration test, shot the Iron Will Outfitters broadhead into about 60 layers of cardboard with a Rinehart target behind it just in case.

iron will broadhead in cardboard

The Iron Will broadhead penetrated further into the layered cardboard than the G5 Montec.

Penetration Test #1: Layered Cardboard

First, I tested the G5 Montec broadhead and then the Iron Will.

For the first penetration test, the Iron Will shined. It penetrated a couple of inches further into the cardboard than the Montec.

For that first penetration test, you really can see that the penetration of the Iron Will shined. It went through 7 layers of cardboard, which was about 1-1/4 inch further than the Montec. Afterwards, the Montec’s blades just slid right across my fingernail. They obviously had been dulled. However, the Iron Will still bit into my fingernail. That’s A2 Steel for you.



Penetration Test #2: Compressed Fiberboard

In the second penetration test, I shot both broadheads through three layers of compressed fiberboard.

The Montec has a diameter of 1-1/6 inches as does the Iron Will. But the Iron will also has 0.75 inches in the cross bleeders. The Montec has only three blades. So, the Iron Will has roughly 1.8 inches of cutting cut, versus 1.6 for the G5 Montec.

iron will broadhead vs montec in fiberboard

The Iron Will also penetrated further into fiberboard than the G5 Montec.

Even with the larger cut of the Iron Will, it buried about a 1/2 inch further than the G5 Montec.

So, even with a larger cuts of animal tissue, you would be getting deeper penetration into soft material as well as hard material.

After this test, the Montec was again already dulled somewhat and would not catch on my fingernail. The Iron Will, even after this second test, shaved my fingernail and was still sticky.

Additionally, the Montec ferrule bent during the test and wobbled during spin, whereas the Iron Will still spun true.



Durability Test #1: 16-Gauge Steel

For the durability test, I shot the Iron Will into a 16 gauge steel plate.

The Iron Will had good penetration into the steel plate, but the top of the ferrule got stuck somewhat and was slightly chipped away. (Other broadheads that I have shot into the steel plate have suffered significant damage).

Iron will broadheads through 16 gauge steel plate

Here is the Iron Will broadhead penetrating a 16 gauge steel plate!

The tip of the broadhead held pretty firm. There was a little bit of a dent on it, but not as much as was expected. The Iron Will did really well compared to all the other fixed blades I’ve tested on the steel plate. The only one that has tested better is the Bishop Holy Trinity, with its 3-blade design of S7 Tool Steel.

The bleeders got a little thinned out and dinged up, but can be replaced.



Durability Test #2: Cinder Block

For this test, I shot another Iron Will broadhead into a cinder block to see how it performed on hard impact.

The Iron Will penetrated well into the cinder block. The bleeder blades did not make it into the block, so it was a relatively small area, but penetration nonetheless. The head got dinged up and the ferrule was cut, but still spun well post-testing.

iron will broadhead in cinder block

The Iron Will penetrated the block, and spun well after testing.




Durability Test #3: Steel Flat Bar

For this final test, I shot the Iron Will at a 1/8-inch fixed steel flat bar. I have shot other heads into this flat bar before and the only ones to survive it have been the Bishop Holy Trinity.

The Iron Will made made a nice cut in the bar and actually penetrated the other side. The ferrule we talked about was actually embedded into the steel bar.

The head itself did not fare too well. It also did not penetrate far enough for the bleeders to touch. The blades just disappeared; I’m not sure where they went, but they are somewhere in my backyard. While the Iron Will punched a hole in the steel bar, it didn’t endure it.

iron will broadhead after shooting iron bar

The Iron Will broadhead penetrated the steel flat bar, but some components went AWOL.



Iron Will Wide

I’ve had one small critique about the original Iron Will, and that is that it’s cut size. It’s 1-1/16 inches wide. It does have bleeders as well that are 3/4 of an inch.

So what that does in a good way is it maximizes penetration and it maximizes long range flight. But, sometimes you’re not going to be shooting over 60 yards and you have no trouble getting a fixed blade broadhead to pass through an animal, but you want a bigger hole, and that’s where the Iron Will Wide comes in.

iron will wide and iron will original broadheads

The Iron Will Wide (on left), is 1 and 3/8-inch wide. And, it has the same bleeders as the original (right), at 3/4 of-an-inch.

Iron Will Wide Flight

I was really impressed with the flight of the Iron Will Wide head. I didn’t expect it to be this good, especially at longer ranges.

Now, I will say that it’s not as forgiving, accurate, and consistent as the Original. With the Original, I can pop balloons even in a crosswind and so forth at all different ranges.

With the Wide, I’ve got to really pay attention to my form and even then, it’s a little bit touchy.

Iron will wide broadhead in a target

I’d feel a lot better taking shots with the Wide under 60 yards. But, as you can see, it can still work out to 80. But, on animal (mule deer, whitetail, elk, etc), I’d shoot the Original if I was going to be shooting past 60 yards.

Penetration Testing of the Wide

iron will original vs wide in ballistic gel penetration test

Here, you can see the penetration of the Wide into the ballistic gel. As expected, the Original penetrated a bit more deeply. It measures 7 and 3/4 inches. And the Wide penetrated 6 and 1/2 inches. The way I have the ruler set up there, you can’t quite see it, but that was the actual penetration, 7 and 3/4, and 6 and 1/2.



Durability of Original vs. Wide

The cool thing about the Original Iron Will vs. The Wide is, you have a choice. If you have a setup where you need to maximize penetration or you’re going after something really big and you need maximum penetration, or if you’re shooting something at really long range, man, the Original is the way to go. It flies like a dart and penetrates really deeply.

But, if you’re shooting something under 60 yards, the Wide shoots plenty well under 60 yards and it’s going to make a really big cut if you have the kinetic energy to handle it.

So, you can have something for any situation. Some people may want to consider putting both in their quiver. Say, if you are like a Western hunter, maybe you have a really long shot, well then, you can use this like a follow-up shot or something.

original Iron Will and wide head after going through steel plate

Here, you see the two heads after going through the MDF, of course into the gel, and then also through a 22-gauge steel plate. As you can see, man, this A2 steel is just – it’s just something. And the Wide on the right, again, has gone through a couple of deer, a raccoon skull with the raccoon in it, the raccoon skull, and a rabbit and into the ground multiple times because of those things. So these heads are just amazingly resilient and resistant to impact. They hold an edge incredibly well.

iron will wide vs original making holes in steel plate

Here’s a good way to see the difference in the hole size. Quite a significant difference. Of course, the Wide on the left and the Original on the right.

The Iron Will Wide Solid Broadhead

In addition to the Wide, Iron Will now also makes a WIDE version of it’s original SOLID (unvented) broadhead. It sports a 30% greater cut than the original.

The blades, as in all of the Iron Wills, are 0.062 inch thick. The ferrules are made out of a grade 5 titanium. This is a really stout titanium that is stronger than many steels, but a lightweight material which allows it to keep the weight down to 150 grains, even in this solid model.

I tested the Wide Solid for long distance flight, edge sharpness and edge retention, for penetration, and for durability. Let’s see how the Wide Solid performed.



Iron Will solid and wide solid broadheads

Here’s a good look at the Wide Solid in 150 grains. It has a cutting diameter of 1-3/8 inches x 3/4 of an inch (30% greater than the original solid). For comparison, the original solid is shown as well.

iron will wide solid edge retention test

I made this edge retention test a bit challenging. After every two strokes of an Easton HEXX shaft over the edge, I did a push paper test over the blades. I gave 2 points for every time it cuts paper after every two strokes.

Iron Will wide solid cutting paper in test

The Wide Solid cut paper after 10 strokes of the arrow.

iron will wide solid vs solid ballistic gel test

In the ballistic gel penetration test, the Iron Will Wide Solid penetrated 7 inches and the double bevel Solid penetrated 7 and 3/4 inches.

Iron Will Wide solid cardboard penetration test

In the cardboard penetration test, the tip of the Iron Will Wide Solid penetrated through the 51st layer. The Iron Will Solid with bleeders cut through 60 layers.

iron will wide solid steel plate test

I shot the Iron Will Wide Solid through a .22 gauge steel plate five times. Here’s the Wide Solid after going through the steel plate 5 times. You can see it’s still in excellent shape. It basically looks brand new. And, it makes very nice holes. You can see those bleeders just widened that hole up and made a really make a nice oval cut. That’s going to create some serious blood-letting.

iron will wide solid broadhead after going through cinder block

Here is the Wide Solid after the fifth shot through the steel plate and then after being shot into the concrete and it still spun very well. So, this head went through a lot (steel plate PLUS broke the concrete in half after the third shot). And, you can see the tip did not curl and that main blade did not bend at all. Impressive!

The Wide Solid by Iron Will is a fantastic head. I’ve always really liked the Wide 125-grain vented version but I like this one even more!



Iron Will Single-Bevel Solid Broadhead

Iron Will also has a single-bevel solid head. They have a 2-blade, as well as one with bleeder blades.

The one with the bleeder blades adds and additional ¾ of an inch of cut.

The bevel angle of these heads is 32 degrees. The thickness of the blades is 0.062 inch thick. The ferrules are made out of a grade 5 titanium.

And it’s interesting with all the Iron Wills that use that titanium ferrule, the blades are completely interchangeable. So, you can interchange the double bevels. You can interchange the Wide series. You can interchange them with any of the heads that use that titanium ferrule.



The blades themselves are made out of an A2 tool steel. They are brought to a Rockwell hardness of 60, which is extremely hard which allows them to get really, really sharp, a fine edge on them.

Because the blades are made of the A2 tool steel, they have an incredible resistance to impact. That’s especially important with a single bevel, because as the head rotates, there’s a lot of pressure that is put on the blade’s leading edge in the rotation.

iron will single bevel solid broadheads

This is the 125-grain version of the Iron Will single-bevel solid broadhead. They’ve got a 2-blade and then also one with bleeders (both shown above). They both have a cutting diameter of 1 and 1/6 inches. It has the bleeders. The bleeders on the 4-blade add an extra 3/4 of an inch cut. The beveled edges on these heads aids in rotation during flight.

In stainless steel or carbon steel broadheads, you’ll often see an edge chatter, or bumps or dents that are in that leading edge as they hit a hard substance. But, given the resistance to impact of this steel, that really should not be an issue.

So, I was eager to put these to the test. I tested them for long distance flight, for edge sharpness and edge retention, for penetration, and for durability. Let’s see how these single bevel Solids performed.

single bevel iron will broadheads in target

Here are the two single-bevel heads at 70 yards, aiming for that lower left circle. As you can see, they grouped really well. Really great flying heads.

iron will single bevel cutting paper

The Iron Will Single Bevel cut paper after 10 strokes of the arrow.

iron will single bevel broadheads in ballistic gel

The Single Bevel without bleeders penetrated 8-1/4 inches. The one with bleeders penetrated 7 and 1/8 inches.

iron will single bevel broadheads after cardboard test

The Iron Will Single Bevel with bleeders cut through the 54th layer of cardboard. The Iron Will Single Bevel with no bleeders penetrated through the 56th layer. Both of the Iron Will single-bevel heads rotated just about 40 degrees, almost identical rotation.

iron will single bevel broadheads after steel plate test

Here, you can see a really good look at the wound channel that’s created by these single bevels. Here, the 2-blade is just your classic S-cut, nice hole. And then here with the bleeders, a nice S-cut going both directions. I’m really glad they made the bleeders single bevel as well, because that is a wicked-looking wound channel. Wow! And as for the heads themselves, you see here in the 2-blade, you literally can’t even tell it has been shot, let alone through steel plate. The onee with the bleeders got a bit more of a rotation and got a little bit more dinged up on the edges. But it’s almost entirely cosmetic.

iron will single bevel embedded in cinder block

The Single-Bevel just embedded in the concrete during the cinder block test.

iron will single bevel after going through cinder block

Here’s the head after going through the concrete. The tip did not curl at all and it held up really well and still spun true. (Since the concrete would keep the bleeders from impact, I did not shoot the 4-blade head into the concrete, since it’s essentially the same head).



Single Bevel Solid vs. Double Bevel Solid Battle

iron will single bevel vs double bevel solids

I decided to test the 100 grain Iron Will Solids head-to-head!

These heads are identical in every attribute except the beveling.

I used my Bowtech CP28 for most of the shots and the Bowtech SR6 for some others. I used the Bishop Archery FOC King Arrows for most of the shots as well and the Bishop Archery FAD Eliminator for the really hard impact stuff.

The ferrules in these are made out of titanium, which has a really good weight to strength ration. That’s to keep them at a 100 grains.

The blade thickness is 0.062″ both in the bleeders and in the main blades. The cutting diameter is 1-1/16″ this way and 0.75 or 3 quarters of an inch from bleeder tip-to-bleeder tip. this way.

There is one set screw that is not load-bearing. It just holds everything in place there but you don’t have to worry about that pin breaking or anything because all of the pressure goes back on to the arrows insert.



Now, what’s interesting about the 100-grain is they’re the same width, same size cut and the same blade thickness as the 125-grain and yet, they have a shorter overall profile. And, that’s going to make them a bit more forgiving in flight because there is less surface area. I would imagine it’s going to help them to penetrate a bit more because there’s less friction on the blade surface.

single bevel tip vs double bevel tip

Now, one thing I will note is if you look at the double bevel, you can notice that because of the double beveling, the very tip gets really narrow. It’s really pointy, which is impressive.

The single bevel. OK. Same material, same dimensions, but rather than having a double bevel on every side, it has a single bevel and that is brought a bevel angle of 32 degrees which is a really good balance of penetration, sharpness, and still getting a bit of a rotation.

Now as mentioned earlier, you can see that the end of it stays thicker longer because it has a bit stouter Tanto tip to it being single bevel in this design. I would imagine that’s going to make that tip just a little bit more durable, though I expect both of them typically really durable.

So, I was eager to pit these against one another!



Flight Forgiveness Test (1 Field Pt then 2 DB, then SB @ 40 yds):

single bevel vs double bevel flight test 40 yards

Here you can see the flight test results from 40 yards. The unmarked arrow on the farthest right is the field point.

Initial Sharpness

single bevel pre-test sharpness

Pre-test sharpness of the Single Bevel.

double bevel pre-test sharpness

Pre-test sharpness of the Double Bevel.



Penetration Test 1 (2/3″ rubber mat, 1/2″ MDF, FBI Gel):  

single bevel vs double bevel ballistic get

They each penetrated exactly 7-1/2″ (although it might not look like it from this angle.)

Edge Retention Test (sharpness after Penetration Test 1):

single bevel post test sharpness

Single Bevel post-test sharpness was 200.

double bevel post-test sharpness

Double Bevel post-test sharpness was 225.



Penetration Test 2 (layered cardboard):

single bevel vs double bevel cardboard test

They each penetrated through 68 layers of cardboard.

SB Rotation Test ( FBI Gel):

single bevel 15 degree rotation

The single bevel rotated 15 degrees at 10-1/2″ of penetration.

Durability Test (1/2” MDF, 3 shots):

single and double bevel after mdf test

Both of the heads are in absolutely perfect shape after going through the MDF 3 times.

Durability (22 ga steel plate, 2 shots):

single and double bevel after steel plate test

Here are both of the heads after going through the steel plate 2 times and they both did very well. The Double Bevel is on on the left and lost the very tip of the blade. The single bevel on the right got a little bit of edge chatter on one of the top edges. But, otherwise, they both did excellently.

DOUBLE BEVEL VS SINGLE BEVEL IRON WILL METAIL PLAT HOLES

And here are the holes from the Double Bevel on the steel plate as well as the Single Bevel. You could it got a bit more of an S-cut due to that single bevel rotation.

Durability Test (Concrete 1 Shot):

single bevel vs double bevel concrete block test

Here are both heads after going through the MDF 3 times, the steel plate twice, and the concrete block. Notice that the tip is broken off of the Double Bevel. That’s not from the impact, but rather from me trying to get it out with a hammer and a chisel. It still spun true. The Single Bevel didn’t stick in the concrete, but that’s not a knock on the broadhead. There are so many variables that affect that. It took a huge chunk out of the concrete and it stayed perfectly intact and spun true. I was really impressed with the durability here.

double bevel scorecard
iron will single bevel scorecard

Conclusion

The Iron Will was very forgiving, flying very well at long range out to a hundred yards.

In the penetration testing, it out-penetrated the G5 Montec, which has a smaller cut than the Iron Will does. The head also did really well against the 16-gauge steel plate. It did better than all the other fixed plates I’ve tested with the exception of the Bishop Holy Trinity.

And then in terms of a concrete or the cinder block, it did really well, sticking deeply into the block with the two main blades, remaining strong.

The Wide Solid and the Single-Bevels also performed amazingly well.

The only place that the original failed (and you can’t really call it a failure) was when it was shot into the 8-inch steel flat bar, where it just kind of fell apart.

But overall, I have to give this head an A+. I put these broadheads up there towards the very top.