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zeus broadheads original

Zeus Broadheads Review | The Inside Information

In this broadheads review, I tested a really creative broadhead on the market – the Zeus, by New Era Archery.

When you read the package, it says, “Zeus Broadheads – Smart Head Technology – Cut The Zeus Loose.”

So, what is a Zeus broadhead?

When I first saw these, my first thought was, “what in the world is that? Is it a mechanical? Is it a fixed? What is it?”

It never ceases to amaze me how creative people can be in designing broadheads. How creative can you be just putting a sharp object on the end of a stick?

Well, apparently, you can be really creative. And, the Zeus is about as creative as they come.

Zeus Broadheads Smart Head Technology

zeus broadheads diagram

Zeus broadheads refer to “Smart Head Technology.” What that means is you’re getting the best of both worlds of a both a mechanical broadhead as well as a fixed blade broadhead.

Let me explain…

First of all, the diameter of the upper fixed blades is 1-1/2 inches. Then, the bleeders are 7/8 of and inch wide. So, you’ve got 1-1/2-inches in one direction, and 7/8 of an inch this way, providing almost 2-1/2 inches of total cut.

Now at the same time, the profile of these blades is really small. So, in theory, they would fly really well, like a mechanical.



Additionally, they have a tip containing many little grooves.

And so, it’s designed to fly through the air, and as it spins, to circulate the air around it, much like a golf ball with dimples prevents a vacuum on the back of the ball from making it fly off course.

Similarly, the grooves on the tip help prevent a vacuum on the broadhead. And so, as the head rotates, it rifles and stays right on track, thus flying more like a mechanical.



Penetration

Additionally, the way the Zeus broadhead penetrates is interesting.

In the wide-open position, it penetrates through normal tissue with that 1-1/2-inch cut. But, when it encounters a hard medium, the upper blades retract. (It takes 48 pounds of pressure to compress the internal steel spring). Once that amount of pressure is achieved, the blades compress all the way down to 7/8 of an inch, the same diameter as the lower bleeder blades.



So, say if they compress all the way into a bone and you go, “Well, then I don’t have a blade.” No, you still have 7/8 of an inch this way and 7/8 of an inch the other way. It’s not that much different from a Slick Trick standard. So anyway, it’s designed to do that.

But, after it cuts through whatever hard surface it has encountered, the spring forces the blades back open to their full 1-1/2″ diameter.

Before testing, I was thinking, “Oh, that’s creative!” But, to be honest, I was a bit skeptical, so I wanted to put these broadheads through the wringer and see how they performed.

So, again, the thought here is that you get the best of both worlds. You get deep penetration due to the the blades compressing when they hit a hard surface. But, you get a larger cut through softer mediums like animal tissue and hide.

I realize that some might say, “Hey, I don’t care about that test, because I don’t hunt MDF and I don’t hunt steel plates.” Good for you. They would be kind of hard to eat anyway!



But, my goals are to provide hunters with data points so that you can make decisions that hopefully make you a better hunter. I don’t have a live deer during tests to shoot an arrow through. I shoot through wood just to give you a data point.

It’s easy to read the back of a package and gain some information on the specs of a broadhead. And, you can certainly read magazine ads about a head or look online to get info. But, if you’re like me, you want to know, “How well is this head going to hold up and how well does it penetrate?”

Well, hopefully my testing will give you some data points to consider as you are selecting your broadhead.



Broadhead Specs

In terms of materials, the Zeus broadhead tip is really interesting. It’s constructed of 441 steel, so it’s a really strong, hardened steel. The ferrule is 7075 aluminum. So, it’s stronger aluminum than any other broadheads are using right now.

All of the blades are stainless steel. The tip of the head unscrews. You can take out the 100-grain hardened tip and then screw in a longer tip that weighs 25 grains more, thus making it a 125-grain broadhead. I like that.


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And the 125-grain tip is a lot longer and looks like it would penetrate really well.

The Zeus head looks to be of good craftsmanship. It also spins true.

john lusk with a zeus broadhead
The creativity of the Zeus broadheads design is off the charts, but how would it test?

Let the tests begin

As in all my tests, I shot the Zeus head with my Bowtech Realm SR6 set at 73 pounds with a 27-inch draw length.

I shot the Bishop Mammoth FOC King Arrow, which can handle pretty much anything.



Zeus broadheads flight test

zeus broadheads flight test at 6 and 80 yards
The Zeus flew extremely well at both 60 and 80 yards.

Direct Penetration Test

zeus broadhead penetration in foam and mdf 1
In regards to total penetration, these heads did really well. They blew all the way through two boards there and completely came out the back board.
zeus broadheads penetration through foam mat
Now, as we examine the impact of the broadheads into the rubber mat, we see in the entrance there a perfect entrance and that is 1-1/2 inches by 7/8 inch just as the blades themselves are. Those main blades did not close in.
zeus broadhead penetration into first mdf board
Then as we look at first board, you can see the blades cutting right there and the main blade was an inch upon impact there. The bleeders is a 7/8 of an inch cross ways.
exit hole of zeus broadhead in first mdf board
The Zeus blew right through the first MDF board.
zeus broadhead penetration through MDF 2
As it came out, it made a nice hole coming out of the second MDF board as well.
exit hole of second mdf board by zeus broadhead
This picture shows the Zeus poking through here. None of the blades made it all the way through, but the head got really deep penetration.
zeus head embedded into second mdf board
And then it embedded in the final board. Here, you can see the bleeders didn’t quite go all the way into the board, but the blades had reopened up after they closed in the previous boards. So, that spring opened them back up a bit and you see a little less than one inch of cut right there from the main blades on this board and didn’t reach to the bleeders.
entry hole of zeus head into first mdf board
Here’s the Zeus after it went through those MDF boards. It wasn’t easy to get out. I had to push it all the way through which put a lot of extra pressure on it and it still held up remarkably well. The blades are just – it seems like just as sharp as they were. They are still shaven nail. They didn’t bend. The ferrule spins through. Everything held really well. The spring contracted a bit extra in there to where they are just a little bit – the blades are a little bit looser so they collapsed a little bit more than the original 1 1/2 inch. You can see there, it’s about 1 1/4 inch. But other than that, they just help up remarkably, and honestly, surprisingly well.

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Angled shot penetration test

In the angled shot test, I set up boards at a 45 degree angle. Let’s see how the Zeus broadheads did in this test…

zeus penetration through mdf on angled shot
In the angled penetration test, the Zeus stuck in really well. Here you see the impact of the angled shot. As for penetration, it stayed on course. It stayed straight and penetrated right through very easily. The blade and the head help up really well.
entry hole of zeus broadhead into mdf on angled shot
You can see the hole in the entrance hole that the head made in the angled shot and it blew right through. The blades contracted as designed and then it continued to penetrate right after it got through that board. The blade sprung back open and here they are at their full deployment again of 1 1/2 inches. And as for durability, it held up super well. The spring is fully intact. The blades are just as sharp as they were, and still able to shave my fingernail. nail. The head still spun true. A very good performance in the angled shot.

Steel plate penetration test

Out of curiosity, I wanted to see this head would do on a steel plate…

zeus broadheads penetration into steel plate
The head easily penetrated the steel plate.
zeus broadhead penetration into mdf after passing through steel plate
The penetration here was amazing. It went through the steel plate, blew through the second half inch MDF, and then almost made it to the third.
Here you see the head after it went through the steel plate and then another layer of MDF (and also after the angled shot). You can see that it held up remarkably well. The blades are a little bit loose because that spring is a little bit contracted. They are not the full 1.5-inch. They contracted just slightly. And you see those bleeder blades bent just a little bit. But, they did surprisingly well. A little bend like that big of an issue because they’re continuing to cut as they go in.



Conclusion

I’ll be honest. This head surprised me. When I first was reading about it, I thought, “Oh man, what kind of a newfangled weird thing is that?”

But, as you saw, even at 80 yards, it flew just like my field points. I was really impressed. It flies extremely well, just as advertised.

I was also a little suspicious of the durability. But, shooting it into two half inch sheets of this MDF, it held up really well. The blades were like brand new.



And then I shot it through another layer of MDF that was preceded by a stainless steel plate. And, it held up well to that as well. There was a little bit of bending in the bleeders, but that’s a lot better than breaking. If they bend, I can live with that. If they break off, I get concerned about that. And the tip, of course, held up well.

The blades still stayed in great shape as well.

The spring got some damage, causing the blades to collapse a little bit more than the full inch and a half. But, they are coming out with a little assembly package where you can put in a new spring there and get it replaced like that.

zeus broadheads review scorecard
The Zeus broadhead scored very well in each category tested.

So overall, I would say this is a really creative head. Penetration wise, it did really well. The penetration is the best I’ve tested so far in terms of this medium.

To this point, I’ve been shooting this medium of MDF with the foam in front of it on a dozen different broadheads. The Zeus penetrated the best of any of them.

Now, I will say, the blades collapsed. So, by design, it didn’t cut all that tissue as it’s going through all those mediums. But, it did penetrate deeply.

This head will give you a deep penetration, but if you hit that bone, it’s not going to cut the bone all the way through, but then again, that’s what’s going to allow it to penetrate more deeply, right? So it’s a good tradeoff. I

So smart technology, indeed it is. Worth a try? Definitely.

Good job, Zeus. I appreciate the creativity.

valkyrie jag and jagger

Valkyrie Broadheads Review | The Inside Information

Many people have asked me to do a review of the Valkyrie broadheads, and I finally got to do it.

Many people have asked me to test this broadhead. If you have read any of my other reviews, you know that I test a lot of high quality broadheads. The Valkyrie definitely fits the bill.

valkyrie broadheads side by side
Here you can see the Valkyrie close up. And man, upon close inspection, you don’t wonder where the money went in what you just purchased. These are some really high quality, well-constructed heads that just look wicked cool. I love the way the Valkyrie heads look as well as the overall design.

Valkyrie broadheads | An overview

The Valkyrie heads are machined out of a single chunk of S7 tool steel. that is brought to a Rockwell hardness of 58 to 60 which is really hard.

Now, it’s important that you don’t compare that to 58 to 60 in a stainless steel, because with an S7 tool steel like this, the impact resistance is many times greater than that of stainless steel.

So, you are getting the benefit of a really hard edge and really hard blade combined with really tough impact resistance as well.

The Valkyrie is a 3-blade design. The cutting diameter is relatively low at 1 inch. But, with 3 blades, you are getting an inch-and-a-half of total cut which is a lot more than most 2-blade heads.

The heads range from 160 grains to over 300 grains (for those needing a higher forward-of-center %).

The overall purpose of the Valkyrie design is to maximize penetration. And that’s why this “swept” design in the short Jag head, and in the regular-sized Jagger.

The blades of the Valkyrie heads are also completely coated with a Cerakote ceramic finish. This aids in resistance to the elements, which a tool steel typically does not have. It also provides a less of a glare and it aids in penetration, to give it a bit more smoothness through bone, tissue and hide.

valkyrie broadheads
Pictured is the 180-grain model and the 200-grain model. They go from 160 grains and some of them are vented like that all the way up to over 300 grains, for setups requiring higher FOC. So some are vented and some are not vented based on the size and based on the design. But the overall purpose is to get one tough head that penetrates extremely well.
valkyrie broadheads double beveled edges
The blades are .054 inch thick, yet they are much thicker at the front, due to being tapered from the front back and because of the chiseled tip. As you go away from the axis, they get a little bit thinner and are brought to a double bevel edge.


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The Setup

For this test, I’m used my Bowtech SR6 set at 72 pounds and I’m using the whole Valkyrie system pictured below. It comes with VAP arrows 0.166 diameter and with their titanium centerpin and the broadhead. The arrows even have their own fletching.

valkyrie arrow set
The Valkyrie Arrow System

Valkyrie testing

I was very eager to test these heads. They looked like they would penetrate well. They also spun very true and looked and felt very sharp. I also wanted to test for long-range flight, edge retention, penetration and durability. So let’s get to the results…


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Sharpness test

To test the sharpness of the Valkyrie Jagger, I examined its ability to cut paper not only out of the box, but also after up to five strokes of the arrow shaft against the blade edge.

valkyrie broadheads arrow stroke sharpness test
This head cut paper even after five strokes of the arrow shaft.
valkyrie broadheads paper cut test
Still cutting paper after 5 strokes of the arrow!

You can learn more about the Valkyrie arrow system by visiting their website, valkyriearchery.com.

Long Range Flight | Balloon test

valkyrie broadheads long range flight test
Both the short Jag and the Jagger flew true enough to pop balloons from 70 yards.


Penetration testing

In the ballistic gel test, the short Jag penetrated 8 inches.

valkyrie ballistic gel penetration test
The short jag head penetrated 8 inches through the MDF, rubber mat and ballistic gel.

In the steel plate penetration test below, notice the holes that the Valkyrie heads make. They are not just slits, they really put those nice triangular holes in the steel plate.

And, I will note too that it’s fairly easy to sharpen. When I’m sharpening it, I use a paper wheel. You can use whatever you want or you can just mail it back in. They actually sharpen them or will even repair them if they need repair… all for free. ($10 shipping and handling to send the head in).

valkyrie steel plate penetration test
Here’s the Valkyrie after going through the 22-gauge steel plate 5 times. And as you can see, it’s in pristine condition. It looks brand new! The only signs of wear are a little bit of the Ceracoat finish got stripped off of the edges. That’s it. Nothing on the blades… no nicks, not even scratches. This is amongst the very best in terms of durability through the steel plate that I’ve seen so far. Very impressive.



Final Thoughts

So what do you think of the Valkyrie? I’ve got to tell you, I was impressed. I was expecting quite a bit from these broadheads and I have to say, they exceeded even my high expectations.

This is one very well-designed, very well-constructed broadhead.

If you are looking for something that’s high quality that’s going to last you forever and that you can use on anything in the world, this is a head worth checking out.

Overall, the Valkyrie is just an incredible head, well-worth checking out especially if you are going after a really big-bodied animal. This is something that is really worth investigating.

Great job, Valkyrie.

Best of luck on your next bow hunt!

(Be sure to visit our deer hunting tips page to get ready for the upcoming season!)

John Lusk archery goat
John Lusk of Lusk Archery Adventures
toxic broadhead test

Toxic Broadheads Review | The Inside Information

In this review, I test a broadhead unlike any I’ve ever seen… the Toxic Broadhead from Flying Arrow Archery.

I love innovations and this broadhead definitely fits the bill.

Toxic Broadheads At First Glance

The Toxic broadhead has is six curved blades, each of which come together to form three different circles, and they call this the “meat worm technology.”

That’s a nasty-sounding name, but it describes how the head literally cuts three cores of tissue out of animals, leaving a devastating wound channel.

closeup of toxic broadhead

The Toxic broadhead has a chiseled tip and six single-bevel blades.

Head Structure

Each of the six blades on the Toxic come together at the top of the head, but there is a little space between them. Like some of the 2-blade broadheads that I have tested, they are single bevel blades, which is supposed to allow them to be able to flare out a little bit and go around bones, leaving a devastating wound channel. (I’ve seen them take down a moose, and it is definitely devastating).

The Toxic has a chiseled tip, which adds to its penetrating ability and toughness upon hard impacts. It also spins very true.

I wasn’t able to find any of the specs on the broadhead itself, the type of steel, and the thickness of the blades, and so forth. Usually, on most broadheads, I can find that information and supply that.

However, in this case I just had to gather information based on the test results themselves to test penetration, durability and penetration, durability, draining ability and flight.



Even though I had heard reports of the Toxic broadhead flying well, I had a hard time believing it. I was eager to find out for myself…



Penetration Testing

To test the overall penetration and durability, I started by shooting the Toxic into my medium which consisted of the following: a half-inch layer of MDF, surrounded by a third-of-an-inch of rubber foam matting, followed by clear ballistic gel.

I then shot it into a 22-gauge steel plate, with the intention of shooting it up to five times, as the blade will allow before they get seriously damaged. In this test, once serious damage occurs, I stop.

For each shot where they don’t get damaged, I give them 2 points for a maximum of 5 shots; a maximum of 10 points.

As in all my tests, I am shooting the Bowtech SR6, set at 72 pounds and 27-inch draw. I’m using a Bishop Archery FOC King Arrow, 460 grains and FOBs and a nockturnal nock.


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Into MDF / Foam Rubber / Ballistic Gel Medium

In the penetration testing, the Toxic went a total of 6-3/4 inches into this medium. It was really cool to see the hole created by the “worm technology.” The wound channel created was incredible.

toxic ballistic gel test
In the initial few inches, there was a lot of “craziness” in the gel. After that initial couple of craziness, it just seemed to normalize. I’m not sure what happened, but it looks like a normal wound channel after that.
toxic meat worms
When I pulled the arrow out, it literally created these “meat worms,” hence the name “meat worm technology” that is used by Flying Arrow Archery’s Toxic broadhead. I can imagine this would do some serious damage on an animal.



Into Steel Plate

As for the edge retention, which was what I was testing it for, the Toxic really could only handle one shot. After the shot, the tip of this head looked pristine. I imagine it could have gone through steel a hundred times. It would probably stick in concrete as well.

The blades however, got pretty bent and the edges pretty mangled. I’ve had other heads do much better. I had to call the test complete after just one shot through the steel. So, I’ll give that 2 points.

So, the tip held up great. The edge retention? Not so good.

toxic steel plate test
Here is the hole made by the Toxic in the steel plate. I’ve never seen a broadhead make this size of a hole in the plate.


Water drain test

In the water bag drainage test, I was curious to see how quickly the Toxic would drain the water bag. I used this as a test to get an idea of what the wound channel would be like.

toxic broadhead water drain test

The Toxic drained the water bag in just 1.4 seconds, which is astounding. This is a result of the incredible amount of cut that this head provides.

Shooting at distance

You might think, “Wow, the Toxic has over 4 inches of cut. That’s impressive!”

However, you might also assume that with 4 inches of cut, “there’s no way that’s going to fly well.”

But, it actually flew relatively well. I could readily pop balloons at 70 yards.

Some fixed-blade heads have flown better, that’s for sure. But, some have flown worse. So overall, a good flying head.

The Toxic flew surprisingly well. I was able to pop a balloon at 70 yards.

Toxic Broadhead Recap

So, what do you think of the Toxic broadhead?

I have to be honest. When the Toxic first came out and I read about it, I thought this head was 100% gimmick. I didn’t see how it could fly well. I didn’t see how it could hold up or penetrate well.

However, after reading some of the reports and seeing some of the damage on animals, I finally got around to testing it. And I have to say, I was impressed.

The primary reason that I think it has done so well is the total cut size that you have as well as the total amount of tissue being cut (over 4 inches) as it passes through something.

The reason for this is the circumference of each of the blades that sort of curl into a circle if you will, is about 1.3 inches total. So, multiply that x3 and you’ve got over 4 inches of tissue being cut.

toxic blade damage

Now, the big drawback with the Toxic is durability. The chiseled tip is extremely strong. However, the blades themselves are relatively thin and then they come to a pretty thin point as they wrap around into the circle. They are sharpened at a single bevel.

Compare that cut to some other heads:

  • The QAD Exodus broadheads: 1.875 total inches of cut
  • Rage: 2 inches of cut
  • Slick Trick: 1-inch diameter, and 2 inches of cut
  • GrizzTrick broadhead, 1.25 inches of diameter and 2.5 inches of cut

In terms of penetration, you would think, “Man, with 4 inches of cut, there’s no way that’s going to penetrate well through MDF and rubber foam mat and ballistic gel.”

But, it actually did. It didn’t penetrate as well as some other broadheads, but for 4 inches of cut, it penetrated pretty well.

But the durability… not so good.

So, all of that means is that the blades are not super durable, and you saw that in the steel plate test, as they got pretty dinged-up and bent just in the 22-gauge steel plate.

And, while I have certainly had broadheads do much better, I have not seen another broadhead do this poorly in a 22-gauge steel plate.




Final Thoughts

The Toxic may be a “one-and-done” broadhead. However, the amount of damage that you are going to get from that one shot could be really significant.

So, how would I feel hunting with this head? I would be a little cautious because I worry about the durability if I’m hitting a hard bone, especially if I hit a bone at an angle.

However, with the amount of cut that you get, the good flight and the way it has performed well even through a hard layer like MDF, I would definitely give it a whirl. If it can cut through that much tissue while it penetrates that much and flies that well, it’s definitely worth a look.

So this is certainly not a gimmick. Give the Toxic broadhead from Flying Arrow Archery a second look.

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