fbpx
mechanical broadheads pre test

Broadheads | Selecting The Right One For Your Hunt

It wasn’t long ago that broadhead selection was a fairly simple process… There just weren’t that many options available.

Well, those days are gone. Now there are a plethora of choices due to so many different design variables.

There are broadheads with 2 blades, 3 blades and 4 blades. (and even some with 8!)

Expandable or fixed blades? Keep Reading! Fixed blade AND mechanical broadheads reviews videos are also further down the page!

Then there are single bevel edges and double bevel edges, chisel tips and cut on contact tips.

There are mechanical broadheads that deploy from the rear as well as those that deploy over the top.

There are hybrids (both fixed and mechanical in the same head), stainless steels, tool steels, aluminum, and titanium all of various grades and properties.

There are cutting diameters ranging from under one inch to over three inches and total head lengths of under one inch to over three inches and blade thicknesses of .020” to .080”.

And, of course, prices ranging from one dollar per head to one hundred dollars per head… and so much more.

closeup of toxic broadhead

It never ceases to amaze me how creative broadhead manufacturers can get. The trick is knowing which head to use in a certain situation or type of hunt.

So, bow hunters, how in the world do you make sense of it all? All the choices out there can make even an advanced bow hunter feel like a beginner. How do you know which heads are the best choices for you?

We’ll cover a quiver-full of things to consider when choosing broadheads in the article, so if you want to jump straight to your topical interest, you can click the appropriate one below:

Know Thy Broadheads

While almost any head on the market today can “get the job done” with a good shot, it is still important to make sure you are using the right head for your bow and the game you are pursuing. After all the time, energy, and money you’ve invested in practice and preparation, your broadhead is where the “rubber meets the road.”

broadheads thoughts pic

Be sure that you choose a broadhead that will fly accurately at your maximum range.

A little research and education can go a long way in making sure you are not disappointed after that hard earned shot. You will notice that I have provided some recommendations throughout this article. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but I have personally tested each of these heads and found them to be among the best.

Fundamentally, you must keep in mind what really matters in a broadhead. Regardless of the brand and the design, there are several crucial factors that really matter.

Flight

A broadhead should provide you with absolute confidence in its flight. Consider what your maximum range is and make sure you choose a head that will fly accurately at that distance—even with some wind, a racing heart rate, and shooting while a little off balance.

Always make sure your bow is very well tuned (get help from a pro shop if you’re unsure) and you have the correct arrow spine for your bow’s poundage and draw length. Also, make sure the arrow spins true when the head is installed. You can spin it on your hand or on a table to confirm there is zero wobble to it.

Furthermore, the smaller the overall profile of the head, in length and width, the more forgiving it will be in flight. This is why mechanicals are often a good choice for long distance shots.

Keys: Lower profile (shorter and narrower) = Better Flight
Truer Spin = Better Flight



Edge Retention

A broadhead should be be sharp and able to hold that sharpness after impact. How sharp it feels before it hits an animal doesn’t matter nearly as much as how sharp it is after it penetrates that first inch or two of hide, bone, and tissue.

If the edge chips or bends, it will not cut and penetrate effectively. This is why blades should be thick enough, and the steel strong enough, to hold their edge well. Broadheads with higher quality Tool Steels like 41L40, S7, and A2 shine in this arena.

(One of the most durable heads I’ve ever tested in terms of edge retention is the Valkyrie broadheads. You can see my tests on this head here).

Keys: Thicker Blades = Better Edge Retention
Higher Quality Steel = Better Edge Retention

Ferrule Strength

The ferrule of a broadhead must be able to withstand great force upon impact. I have had multiple heads, both fixed and mechanical, bend or break at the ferrule upon impacting an animal. That almost always spells disaster for a hunt.

Quality materials and solid construction make a big difference. The shorter, thicker, and higher quality the material of the ferrule, the better it will stay in tact. I prefer high quality steel ferrules over titanium and aluminum for this reason.

Keys: Shorter, thicker ferrules = stronger ferrules
Higher quality steel Ferrules = Stronger Ferrules

Cut Size

A broadhead must have sufficient cut size to cause great tissue destruction while still ensuring deep penetration. With any animal I shoot at, my goal is to get as wide of a cut as possible while still providing a good likelihood of a pass through. Two holes will almost always provide a better blood trail than one hole. Given equal penetration, a wider diameter cut will slice through more tissue than a smaller diameter cut.

In the past, I used a head with a cutting diameter of one inch and always got a pass through. However, I knew I could cut more tissue and still get a pass through. So, I increased the size of the cutting diameter of my heads, with great results.

Likewise, I have used a head with a very wide diameter cut and gotten poor penetration and no pass through. Finding that sweet spot between the two extremes is my goal.

Dead Ringer broadheads exit wound

A Dead Ringer Broadhead exit wound through three ribs and shoulder blade of a hog.

Match Broadhead To Your Quarry

So, I will even change heads based on what animal I am hunting. If I’m going to be hunting turkey or other smaller animals like javelina, I use a very large cutting mechanical head, because that will cut a lot of tissue and still allow for a pass through. For a bigger animal like a wildebeest or elk, I like to use a smaller diameter cut to make sure I am getting deeper penetration.

I have also found that when it comes to blood trails, cutting diameter is more important than total cut. Allow me to explain with an example:



Diameter VS Total Cut

A four blade head with a one inch cutting diameter will have a “total cut” of two inches. Likewise, a two blade head with a two inch cutting diameter will also have a “total cut” of two inches. However, with all other things equal (penetration and shot placement) the two inch cutting diameter head will typically leave a better blood trail than the one inch cutting diameter head—even though the same amount of tissue is cut.

The reason for this is that a smaller diameter cut is more likely to close up with tissue while the larger diameter cut is more likely to stretch and open up even more. I have seen this proven over and over again.

Another way to understand this principle is to “reduce it to the ridiculous.” Which head would you rather pass through your body: An eight blade head with one inch cutting diameter or a two blade head with an eight inch cutting diameter? Both will cut the same amount of tissue, but I would much rather have a one inch hole go through my body than an eight inch cut go through my body. Well, so would a deer!

Keys: Greater Tissue Cut with Pass Through = Greater Blood Trail
Greater Diameter Cut with Pass Through = Even Greater Blood Trail

So before you read any further, keep in mind the fundamental goal in selecting a head: A broadhead should fly well, not break, holds its edge, penetrate deeply, and cut a lot of tissue. Strive to find that balance between cutting as much tissue as possible and still providing a good chance at a pass through.

Now let’s examine some of the most important features of broadhead design. The more you understand about each feature, the more effectively you can decide what works best for your set up and your budget.



Broadhead Materials

There are three basic types of metals used in broadheads: aluminum, titanium, and steel. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Aluminum and titanium are lighter than steel, which is why many heads tend to use them. It is easier for a head to make it to the 100gr weight if aluminum or titanium are used.

Aluminum

Aluminum is not as strong as steel. The best aluminums hardened in the best manner are still only as strong as the weaker steels. And, some aluminums are much weaker than others. The best aluminum for broadheads is 7075, which is quite a bit stronger than 6061.

So, if you are going to consider using a head with aluminum, try to find one made of 7075. One such broadhead, is the Zeus broadhead, from New Era Archery.

If the manufacturer doesn’t say which aluminum is being used, it is probably 6061. That doesn’t mean its “bad” but it does mean that it’s a bit “weaker.”



Titanium

Titanium is stronger than aluminum. As with aluminum, there are different grades of titanium. Just because a head is said to be made of titanium doesn’t mean it is using the top grade. Typically, if the manufacturer doesn’t state what grade it is, it is probably the weaker grade. While titanium is stronger than aluminum, it is not as strong as many steels. Both titanium and aluminum have less resistance to impact than many steels, so I prefer that a head that at least has a leading tip made of well hardened steel.

contact tip vs chisel tip broadheads post testing

Contact Tip vs Chisel Tip broadheads (post-testing).

Steel

There are many different varieties of steel and they are not all created equal. While steel tends to be stronger than titanium and aluminum, there are significant differences in the various types of steel. When it comes to broadheads, two of the most significant ratings of steel are Rockwell Hardness (the “hardness” of the steel) and Charpy V Notch Scoring (the steel’s resistance to impact).

A steel may be very hard with a high Rockwell Rating, but may be very brittle and break apart or chip easily upon impact with a hard medium. Likewise, a steel can have a lower Rockwell Rating and not break apart, but may bend too easily.



Most steel heads use a 420 stainless steel, hardened to a level that is not too hard and not too soft. From my testing, it is obvious that some manufacturers are more successful at finding that balance than others.

There are also heads that are being made of tool steels and even very high end tool steels, such as 41L40, A2, and S7. With these premium steels, you will find a very high Rockwell hardness as well as a very high Charpy V Notch Score. Such heads will retain their structural integrity and razor edge far more effectively than typical stainless steels. They will cost a lot more money, but they are much more durable as well so they will last a long time.



Premium Tool Steels

In many of the tests I have done, I am continually impressed by how well premium tool steels keep their edge. While a typical stainless steel blade may become dull after cutting through 1/2” plywood, a head made of A2 or 41L40 or S7 will still be sticky sharp after cutting though that same board 5 times. That no doubt makes a difference in how well tissue, bones, and veins are cut. A duller head can often just bend veins over, but a head that is sharp all the way through an animal will effectively cut those veins, producing greater blood letting.

Within steel heads there are also different ways the steel can be formed. Some use MIM (Metal Injected Molding), some are welded together, and some are machined. The machined steels tend to be much stronger than the MIM steels and welded models.



Component Heads And Single Piece Heads

There are also a couple different types of construction of the heads themselves—component heads and single piece heads. Each has their advantages.

Component heads can be made with very tight specifications, as each piece is easier to construct than an entire head. These high specs can enable them to fly extremely well. They are then held together with some sort of interlocking design and bolt.



The best component heads do not use bolts that are load bearing, but rather that interlock, and then held in place by the bolts.

Single piece heads have the advantage of not being put together; they are literally one piece of steel. Thus, they tend to be more durable than component heads. But all single piece heads are not created equal.

As mentioned earlier, if the head is machined out of a single block of steel it will tend to be much stronger than a head that is metal injected molded or welded.



Blade Thickness

All other things being equal, the thicker a blade is, the stronger it is. The thinner a blade is, the weaker it is. Thin blades may feel sharper out of the package, but they tend to lose that edge and bend or get nicked up more readily than thicker blades. I prefer blades that are at least .035” thick, but again, the thicker the better. When premium tool steels are used, a blade can still be relatively thin and still very strong.



Chisel Tips vs Cut on Contact Tips

Like most other broadhead topics, this one can lead to a pretty heated debate. In theory, chisel tips are more durable and cut on contact tips penetrate better. You can see this difference by pushing both a cut on contact head and a chisel tip head through a piece of cardboard. It will likely take noticeably less pressure for the cut on contact head to penetrate. However, upon impact with a hard medium like bone, the cut on contact tip is more likely to fold over than the chisel tip.

From my testing, I only prefer a cut on contact head if is either a very thick two blade head made out of premium tool steel or a three blade single piece head, where all three blades come together to form the tip. Otherwise, the cut on contact heads are too likely to fold over. There are some chisel tips that are extremely sharp on their edges, like those of the QAD Exodus, or Wasp Dart for example. Those tend to have penetration closer to a cut on contact head but the strength of a chisel tip.



Fixed Blade Broadheads

Many people prefer fixed blade heads over mechanical heads because they are more durable and dependable. There are no moving parts and fewer things to break. Fixed blade heads typically come in either two, three, or four blade models. Let’s briefly examine each of those:



Two Blade Heads

These are a throwback to the proven designs of Native Americans and other similar societies around the world. They are simple, durable, accurate, and penetrate well. Two blade heads can either come in Single Bevel or Double Bevel Designs.

fixed blade broadheads

Fixed blade heads typically come in 2, 3, and 4-blade varieties.



Single Bevel Heads

A single bevel blade simply means that the edge of a blade is only sharpened on one side. A double bevel blade means that the edge of the blade is sharpened on both sides. There are advantages to each design. Typically, the choice between a single bevel or double bevel edge only comes into play with two blade heads.

The advantage of a single bevel is that the angle of the blade creates a torsional force upon impacting a medium, causing it to rotate. If fletching is arranged helically, the arrow is already spinning. Then upon impact, a single bevel head will continue to spin inside an animal.

 This does a number of significant things. First, it creates a spiral wound channel. I typically find that the entrance hole of a single bevel head is not a slit, but rather a hole. The arrow is already spinning so much and is forced to spin more upon impact, creating a rounded entrance hole in the hide of an animal. The head continues to cut tissue not only in the direction the head is pointing, but also in the direction the head is spinning—thus cutting both inwardly and spirally.

With internal organs, this can have a similar effect to spinning a fork when eating spaghetti, wrapping the noodles around the fork, then cutting them off. The twisting broadhead can twist the organs and then cut them as the head moves forward. I have seen this happen inside an animal many times and the devastation is undeniable.

Iron will broadheads through 16 gauge steel plate

Iron Will broadhead penetrating a 16 gauge steel plate.

Second, a single bevel head typically breaches bone very effectively. As the tip of a head enters a bone, the head also twists and causes that bone to split apart and not just get cut. Then the arrow passes through that split in the bone. This is especially significant when hunting very large animals such as Cape Buffalo. If a broadhead cannot effectively breach that bone, penetration will suffer.

A third way the single bevel head works is that due to its twisting inside an animal, it is not likely for the arrow to back out of an animal if there is not a pass through (try pulling one out of a target and you will see what I mean). Often times, heads are sharpened on the back edges to allow the heads to continue to cut tissue in all directions inside of an animal.



Double Bevel Heads

Double bevel heads do not have this spiraling effect. However, they can often penetrate more deeply for two reasons: First, they can be sharpened to a finer edge. Secondly, they are only cutting tissue in a forward fashion and not a twisting fashion. They will not typically breach large bone as effectively as a single bevel, they will not create a spiral wound channel, and the arrow can back out of an animal more readily than a single bevel. But, they will penetrate hide and tissue more effectively.

As for which is better, it really does depend on your bow’s set up and your quarry. If you are generating lower kinetic energy and need penetration to be as deep as possible, a double bevel may be a better choice.

If you have a bit more “normal” kinetic energy, or are hunting larger animals with heavier arrows, a single bevel will likely cause more damage to the animal.

From my testing, the only concern I have with two blade fixed heads is the size of the entry and exit holes. If an animal does not expire quickly, you are going to be forced to follow a blood trail.

Smaller diameter cuts do not allow the degree of blood letting that larger cuts do. There may be plenty of damage inside the animal, but the blood trail may be compromised.

Recommended Single Bevel Heads: Bishop Archery (Bridgeport/Pipeline), Cutthroat Broadheads. Recommended Double Bevel Heads: German Kinetics Silver Flame, VPA, Steelforce

Three Blade Heads

There are some great strengths to using a three blade head, as evidenced by their popularity on the market. Three blade heads tend to make more of a “hole” than a slit. This makes the hole more difficult to close up and facilitates better blood letting.

If the heads are a one piece construction with the correct angles, like VPAs or Bishops, you can easily sharpen two blades at a time by laying them flat on a stone and moving them back and forth, then rotating till all the blades are covered.

Recommended 3 Blade Heads: QAD Exodus, Bishop (Bridgeport/Pipeline) Holy Trinity, VPA, Muzzy Trocar

Four Blade Heads

Some heads use a four blade design. Most of those have two primary blades, followed by two smaller, “bleeder” blades. Others use four blades that are all the same size, such as Slick Tricks, Wac’ems or Wasps.

From my testing, I have come to prefer a wider cut three blade head over a four blade head with smaller, equal sized blades. That fourth blade does cut more tissue, but it also impedes penetration more, and the hole is not as big as that of a wider cut three blade head.

A wider hole tends to produce a better blood trail than a smaller hole, whether it’s three blades or four. That being said, the four blade design of two larger blades and two bleeders is a very good option. They tend to be more forgiving in flight than a three blade head, all other things equal.

Whether you want a two leading blade cut on contact tip or a chisel tip is another question as well. See the earlier section discussing the pros and cons of these two designs.

Recommended 4 blade Heads: Iron Will, Trophy Taker A-TAC, Slick Trick Magnums, Magnus Black Hornet.

Mechanical Broadheads

Mechanical heads have come a long way in recent years. They have two primary advantages over fixed blade heads: Smaller surface area in flight (which allows them to be more forgiving in flight) and larger cut once the blades are deployed.

For example, even with a very well tuned bow, it would be quite difficult to shoot a fixed blade head with a two inch cutting diameter and have it fly well. But with a mechanical, you can get that two inch cutting diameter in a small, great flying package.

There are two primary styles of mechanical heads based on how the blades deploy upon impact.

Over the Top Deploying

The first mechanical heads to hit the market worked this way. The blades are on hinges and folds upward toward the tip of the head. They are either held in place by friction or a rubber band.

Upon impact, the blades peel back like a banana would, opening up to their full cutting diameter. They will not open fully until after they have entered the animal, thus the entrance holes are basically the same size as the head in the closed position.

Recommended Over the Top Deploying Mechanicals: Rocket Steelhead, NAP Spitfire, Wasp Jak-Knife, Dead Ringer Trauma, Grim Reaper

Rear Deploying

mechanical broadheads

Mechanical broadheads (pre-testing). There is no shortage of them to choose from!

In recent years, many heads have begun using various rear deploying mechanisms. With these heads, the blades swing open from the rear and are fully deployed by the time they reach the hide of an animal. Thus the entrance holes are the same size as the fully deployed blades.

Both of these mechanisms have their loyal followings and both can work well on animals. I have successfully taken many animals with both. However, there are some observations worth noting.

With over the top mechanicals, the entrance holes are small but the internal damage is great. They do tend to penetrate more deeply than rear deploying blades, simply because they cut less tissue upon entrance. If they pass all the way through the animal, the exit hole is the full size of the fully deployed blades. But if they do not pass all the way through, you have a small entrance hole and no exit hole. That spells a big problem for blood trails.

With rear deploying mechs, the entrance hole will be great; it will be the size of the fully deployed heads. But because of that, penetration can be compromised because it has to cut through the hide with that wide cut. However, you can be confident you are going to have at least one big hole. Between these two styles, after all my testing I prefer the rear deploying mechanical heads by a large margin.

Recommended Rear Deploying Mechs: Rage Hypodermic and Trypan, NAP Killzone, G5 Deadmeat

Hybrid Broadheads

Several different manufacturers have come out with hybrid heads, which are a combination of both a fixed blade and a mechanical head. There is typically a smaller two blade fixed head followed by a larger cut of mechanical blades.

I have taken a number of animals with these and tested them quite a bit. They certainly have their niche. The only downside is that you will want to make sure you have enough kinetic energy to drive all those blades deeply into an animal. Again, I prefer the rear deploying mechanical blades in a hybrid head. If they are over the top deploying, you will not get a very big entrance hole and an exit hole will be fairly difficult to achieve due to the large cut.

Recommended Hybrid Heads: Bloodsport Archery Gravedigger, Muzzy Hybrid Trocar HB-Ti.

Conclusion

Selecting a broadhead can be a pretty daunting task. And it gets extra confusing when all of your buddies each have their own strong opinions based on their personal experience from the last season. But you owe it to yourself and to the animal to make the most informed decision you can about which head is best for your purposes. Hopefully, this article will help you to make a bit more sense of the options and choices available.

For specifics on other broadheads that may not be listed in this article, click on the names below:

Please also check out my YouTube Channel as well, Lusk Archery Adventures, to see more than 20 different videos of broadhead tests and over 50 hunts with those heads as well. And don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions through the channel.

John Lusk archery goat

(Learn about N1 Outdoors archery apparel and other hunting and fishing apparel designs.)


bishop holy trinity broadhead

Bishop Holy Trinity | Is This The World’s Toughest Broadhead?

“The world’s toughest broadhead.”

That’s a pretty bold claim, and I set out to see if it was true.

But, even before I shot the Bishop Holy Trinity 200-grain broadhead, I thought that it could actually be true.

Why?

Well, because there are four basic ways you can determine how strong a broadhead is before you even shoot it into anything.

So, before we look at what I found in the testing of the Bishop Holy Trinity head, let’s briefly look at those four indicators below.



john lusk holding bishop holy trinity broadhead
I had a suspicion, even before testing the Bishop Holy Trinity head, that it could in fact be the toughest broadhead on the planet.

Is the Bishop Holy Trinity the world’s toughest broadhead? Well, I was going to find out for myself! Keep reading to find out what I learned…

Four ways to determine broadhead strength

The four ways to determine the strength of a broadhead are as follows:

  1. Steel Quality
  2. Rockwell Hardness
  3. Steel Composition
  4. Geometric Design

Steel Quality

The first indicator of a broadhead’s strength is the quality of the steel itself.

What kind of steel is it?

To simply say something is all steel is nice, but there is a wide range of steel types, so the quality of the steel is important.

Rockwell Hardness

The second indicator of broadhead strength is Rockwell hardness.

How is the broadhead hardened and to and to what degree is it hardened?

To increase sales, some broadhead manufacturers will state that the head has been hardened to “x” degree of Rockwell hardness. But, if it’s the wrong kind of steel to handle that hardness, it’s just going to fracture and even edge chatter and shatter upon impact, which a lot of heads do.

So, this makes Rockwell hardness important, but also how the hardness is handled by the material.



I did some in-depth testing on the Holy Trinity, as well as the rest of the Bishop line of heads… Keep reading!

Steel Composition

The third indicator of broadhead toughness is the composition of the steel.

In other words, how is the steel put together?

For example, is the broadhead made from multiple pieces of steel that are welded together? A lot of broadhead manufacturers do that.

Is the head made up of multiple pieces that are held together by a set screw or two? Many companies go that route.

It could be a single piece head that’s metal injection-molded (MIM). Or, it could a single piece that’s CNC machined, which is by far the toughest. In that case, it would be machined out of a single chunk of bar steel.



Geometric Design

The fourth measure of toughness for a broadhead is geometric design.

How stout is the head? How thick are the blades? How supported is the tip of the head?

All these components of geometric design make a difference in the strength of the head.

john lusk showing the support feature on the bishop holy trinity broadhead
Talk about thick! Look at the geometric design of the Holy Trinity head!

Why Bishop Holy Trinity Could Be The World’s Toughest Broadhead

So, knowing the four factors covered above in determining a broadhead’s toughness, here’s why I thought the Bishop Holy Trinity could be the toughest broadhead on earth.

Steel Quality of Bishop Holy Trinity

The first reason I say it could be the world’s toughest broadhead is, first, they used a proprietary S7 tool steel.

S7 tool steel is one of the toughest steels there is. It’s incredibly tough. And this one particularly, the tool steel that Bishop uses, has a Charpy resistance impact in the 90’s (Charpy V-notch testing is a way to resist the impact of something to that steel).

To put that in perspective, it’s more than four times more resistant to impact than stainless steel.



Rockwell Hardness of the Holy Trinity

The steel of the Bishop Holy Trinity is then brought to a Rockwell hardness of 58, which is pretty amazing.

They can do that because of the type of steel that it is.

Steel Composition of the Bishop Holy Trinity

Then, the Holy Trinity head is CNC-machined, which is by far the strongest way a head can be designed. It’s very expensive to do that, especially out of that quality of S7 tool steel.

It’s really expensive but it’s also really tough.

Geometric Design of Holy Trinity

closeup of bishop holy trinity cross brace
Super thick blades! And, the extra support structure give the Holy Trinity a triangular wedge-like feature in between the blades!

Fourthly, the geometric design of the Holy Trinity (the 200-grain specifically) is that it has a really short geometric design.

The Holy Trinity’s geometric design is shorter than others on the market like VPA.

VPA are great heads. But, the Holy Trinity is just a shorter, stouter design. So, it’s going to fly a little bit better than most other heads like that because it has a lot of surface area and it’s going to hold up better to impact because of that stouter design.

But, then the blades on this head specifically are 0.070 inch thick which is a really thick blade, one of the thickest on the market.

And then the 200 grain, unlike the 125 grain model, has an extra support that’s kind of like a blade in and of itself. It’s like a triangular wedge-type blade that is really thick.

john lusk showing blade thickness of bishop holy trinity
Here’s a look from the rear of the Holy Trinity. Notice the thickness of those blades as well as the triangular support in between.

For the thickness of the Trinity, it’s the sharpest it can get. It’s brought to an edge that’s going to cut through bone really well if something doesn’t get caught by the primary leading blades. It’s not a 6-blade head, but it’s almost like a 6-blade because it has the extra pieces in there that will make it more resistant to coming out of an animal as well.



So with everything about this, the type of steel, the hardness, the CNC machining, and the geometric design, this head certainly has the potential to be the “world’s toughest broadhead.”

I do a lot of research on broadheads. I don’t know anything that’s going to come even close to it except Bishop’s 41L40, their Bridgeport head that’s the same. It’s just a little bit lesser tier type of tool steel, but still way above most other tool steels that other heads on the market have.



Holy Trinity Sharpness

bishop holy trinity broadhead
Because of the blade angle, you can easily sharpen two blades at a time by laying the Holy Trinity down flat on the sharpening surface.

This head was straight out of the package and it was sticky sharp, which for a 0.070 inch thick blade, it’s as sharp as it can get.

You can sharpen the Holy Trinity just by laying them flat on a file or a diamond sharpener which is really nice.

You don’t have to sharpen every blade individually and you don’t have to worry about the angle. You just lay it flat and it sharpens two at a time so you just rotate it. So, as long as you do it evenly, it’s a super easy process to sharpen



Holy Trinity Toughness Testing

So, let’s see how the Bishop Holy Trinity did against some really tough stuff.

Steel Plate Test

I shot the Holy Trinity head straight into the 16-gauge steel plate. Now, 16-gauge is pretty thick, and it’s much thicker than a steel drum. I wanted to see how the tip and blades would hold up and if it penetrates through.

bishop holy trinity after shooting through 22 gauge steel plate
In a previous test, I used 22-gauge steel. Then, I found some 16-gauge, and man, it took a chunk out of it. You can see that it made a pretty nice hole. And, the head stayed in incredible shape. It’s virtually unscathed. The blades went in about halfway. As you can see, the tip and the edges themselves are in incredible shape.

Porcelain Tile Test

porcelain tiles to shoot broadheads through
I’d heard shooting at porcelain tiles was a good way to test a broadheads toughness…

The next test of the Bishop 200-grain Holy Trinity was shooting it at porcelain tile. So, I stacked up 5 tiles and taped them together, so that they made one chunk of porcelain tile.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I had heard that it’s a good way to test head toughness. Let’s see what happened.

holy trinity shot through porcelain tiles
Well, I guess I should have used a lot more tile. I’m sure it would have gone through more, but it deflected off the end of the Rinehart and it buried into the Rinehart beyond the head.
holy trinity after tile test
The tip got a little bit blunted to the side. The blades were scraped up somewhat, but still in good shape.

Cinder Block Test

The next test I did with the Bishop 200-grain Holy Trinity was the cinder block test.

holy trinity broadhead after cinder block test
After going through the cinder block, the head is in really the same condition it was after going through the tiles. Thet tip is a little less sharp than it was at the beginning, as are the blades. But, structurally, it’s in great shape. I put a file to it and it was be right back to normal.

The Verdict Is In on the Holy Trinity 200-Grain broadhead

So, the Bishop Holy Trinity is definitely incredibly tough.

The Bishop broadheads have all been phenomenal in every test I have put them through. Quite simply, they are in a class by themselves in terms of toughness and durability.

I would say the Holy Trinity 200-grain specifically is their toughest one because of its extra beefiness and the way they’ve added those extra ridges to strengthen it. Also, because this one is 0.070 inch thick. But, with that being said, all of the Bishop Holy Trinities are extremely strong.

I typically shoot the 125-grain but this one is going to get a little more blood. With the 1 and 1/8-inch cutting diameter of those extra 3 big wedge blades, they’re going to do some serious damage, and will hold up to anything the animal world throws its way.

Further testing of Bishop’s other broadhead offerings

I did some further tests on the other models of 3-blade, 1 and 1/8 inch broadheads that Bishop Archery makes.

As we have discussed above, they originally introduced the Bishop Archery S7 Tool Steel.

bishop broadheads lineup
The Bishop broadheads lineup from left to right: The Pipeline, Bridgeport and the Holy Trinity.

Bishop Bridgeport Broadheads

And then they came out with the second line they called their Bridgeport Line. It has the same exact specs of the original Holy Trinity. It’s a 125-grain head.

They both fly exactly the same. But, the Bridgeport model is made out of 41L40 tool steel, which is actually the second most impact-resistant steel of any broadhead on the market today.



Bishop Pipeline Series Broadheads

Bishop’s third line of broadheads is the Pipeline series. This series is made out of a really unique stainless steel that they came up with. I was looking forward to testing this head out.

It’s supposedly stronger and more impact-resistant than any other stainless steel on the market; even more than S30V and any other stainless steel broadhead out there.

There’s a significant difference in price between these heads. The Pipeline is more competitive with most other 3-blade heads on the market.

But, then the Bridgeport is a step up, and more expensive. The Bishop and the S7 are more expensive than that.

So, let’s see how all three heads performed in these tests.



The tests

In the following tests, there is a Rinehart target behind all of the mediums. That’s what’s stopping the impact.

1/2″ Plywood Test

bishop broadheads in 1/2 plywood
I wanted to know how the edges held up, and all of them held up extremely well. They all still bit into my fingernail. I really couldn’t tell any difference in the three after this first test.

.22-Gauge Steel Plate Test

Next, I shot them through a .22-gauge steel plate.

steel plate test of bishop broadheads
I next shot the heads through a .22-gauge steel plate.
bishop broadheads after steel plate test
All three of the Bishop heads held up really well against the steel plate. And, I hadn’t touched them up after the half inch plywood, but they all help up really well and still bit into my nail.

Timeout For Some Comparison Testing

Just for comparison sake, I decided to shoot a couple of other popular broadheads through the same mediums (wood and steel plate). I tested an Allen broadhead from Wal-Mart and the Muzzy Trocar broadhead.

allen broadhead after plywood test
Here is the 125-grain Allen head after shooting it through 1/2″ plywood. The tips are in good shape, but the blades got pretty jacked up. I guess that’s what you get for a $6 pack of broadheads.
muzzy trocar after plywood test
The 125-grain Muzzy Trocar held up really well and most of the blades could still shave a nail. There are some nicks in the blades. The tip is still in close to perfect condition. Overall, they held up relatively well.
muzzy trocar after steel plate test
So, after shooting the Muzzy Trocar through the 22-gauge metal plate, this is what I ended up with. The tip is actually in good shape. The blades, not so much. I don’t know if you can see it, but they are marred beyond re-sharpening. All three of them are really dinged up. Also, the washer at the base that’s part of the broadhead is broken as well in one place. So, not bad. It made it through, but it’s not usable. I could replace the blades, but I would need a new washer at the bottom.
allen broadhead after steel plate test
The Allen broadhead did not fare so well in the steel plate test. The tip is actually broken off and each of the blades broke off. You get what you pay for here. (To see how all three of those Bishop heads came through this test pretty much unmarred is pretty impressive).

Cinder Block Test

Next I tested the heads by shooting them into a cinder block. First, I shot the Holy Trinity, then the Bridgeport, then the Pipeline. I also shot the Muzzy Trocar.

bishop broadheads after the cinder block test
That was a really interesting test into the center block. The Muzzy bounced off and it had the most significant damage by far. The tip was completely broken off. But the Bishop heads are another story. The Bishop, the Bridgeport, and the Pipeline Holy Trinities all performed extremely well. And none of these heads were resharpened in between shots. And honestly, there’s just very little difference between any of them.

The Grand Finale | The 1/8″ Steel Flat bar test

So as the finale to these tests, I shot the Bridgeport and the Pipeline into a 1/8-inch steel flat bar. ( I had tested the S7 in a previous test, so I did not include it here).

bent steel flat bar after shooting bishop broadheads into it
The steel flat bar took a beating.
steel flat bar after shooting bishop broadheads into it
Check out this flat bar! I was amazed at the force of impact even with these relatively light arrows, that they would put such a dent in this 1/8 inch flat bar. But, then both of them penetrated actually all the way through. Quite impressive. They left a nice little triangular hole in that which other heads have not been able to do.
bishop broadheads after steel flat bar test
The Pipeline and the Bridgeport after the steel flat bar test.
Bishop broadheads after all testing
These heads have gone through like the half inch plywood and then the 22-gauge metal plate and then into center block, and now they’ve gone smacked up into a 1/8 inch flat bar of steel. And they have held up extremely well.

Final Thoughts

I am really impressed with what these Bishop broadheads have done. I’m also a bit surprised.

I’m especially surprised with the stainless steel Pipeline. Bishop thought they had something really good in that new steel they’ve been able to create and sure enough, it proved out.

Now, it’s really important to understand a couple of things here.

First, you might be asking, “why does any of this matter? Why are you shooting heads into steel, teak wood and concrete, stuff like that? What’s the point? It’s not an animal.

Well, that’s true. But, consider this. The Allen head that was destroyed… Is that, or another head like it what you want shooting into an animal?

Failure is not an option

Personally, I want a broadhead that I trust is not going to fail no matter what. And so, especially when I’m hunting a big animal like an elk or a moose, or a big hog or hunting in Africa on a trip I’ve invested time and money into, I don’t want a broadhead that’s going to dull or break in half, or lose a blade.



Will it work when it matters?

Secondly, you could take a head out of the box or packaging and have it shave hair like even that Allen did and like the Muzzy Trocar did and that’s awesome. But, it’s not how sharp it is as soon as it impacts the animal that matters, but how sharp it is as it goes through the animal that matters; how sharp it is when it comes out of the animal?

Some people say, “Oh, I don’t care if my broadhead gets destroyed, as long as it kills the animal.” Well, eventually, you’re going to have an animal that doesn’t die because the broadhead was destroyed. And, when your blades are getting all nicked up, they are not cutting tissue effectively all the way through.

So, you want a head that’s not just sharp upon impact, but that’s sharp all the way through that impact, through the tough hide, through the muscle and all the different forms of tissue; the tendons, the ligaments, the cartilage, and even through bone.

You want one that is going to keep penetrating extremely well all the way through, especially if it’s a big animal where depth of penetration makes a significant difference.



Bishops are worth it

So, that’s how these Bishop heads show and prove their worth. They are able to take the toughest that there is and do extremely well through it.

I still shoot a lot of different types of broadheads based on the need I have and the conditions, as well as what animals I’m going after. But what you have here is the best deal, hardened in the strongest way and you have them CNC machined in the Holy Trinity as well as their two blade heads.

And then, you have the geometric design that makes these heads extremely strong. And, they do all that also in a really short design in the Holy Trinity, which allows them to fly really well.

I hope this helps you to understand broadheads and understand these three lines of Bishops a little bit better.

tooth of the arrow original and xl broadheads

Tooth of The Arrow Broadheads Review | Are they right for your next hunt?

Tooth of the Arrow broadheads have been around for while, but I was intrigued and finally got my hands one so I could test it.

Now, Tooth of the Arrow is certainly a cool name for a broadhead, but the company also has a great perk. They are so confident that you’ll like their broadheads, that they advertise that you can get a free sample.

Now that’s guaranteed satisfaction!

john lusk holding tooth of the arrow xl broadhead
Tooth of the Arrow is so sure you’ll like their broadheads that they’ll give you a free sample. Wow!

Tooth Of The Arrow Broadheads | An Overview

The Tooth of the Arrow broadhead is a 4-blade head that is similar to a Slick Trick head.

Each of the blades are exactly the same cutting diameter, so it’s a true 4-blade head. It’s a little bit bigger than a Slick Trick Magnum. But, rather than being 1 and 1/8-inch cutting diameter like the Slick Trick Magnum, this is 1 and 3/16 cutting diameter. So, it makes a little bit wider hole.

For the testing, I shot 450-grain Bishop mammoth arrows, using my Bowtech SR6 which is a 27 inches and 72 pounds.

What makes this head unique is that this is machined out of a single chunk of high-carbon steel. So, there are no blades to be replaced. It’s just one solid chunk.

So, as a negative, you can’t just replace the blades and put in new sharp ones. As a positive way, it’s a pretty stout, strong design. And, with it being such high-carbon steel, it’s not too difficult to sharpen. So, it’s intriguing to see this.

john lusk showing 4 blades of tooth of the arrow xl broadhead
The Tooth of the Arrow XL is a 4-blade head that is machined out of a single chunk of high carbon steel.

I’ve spun these heads and they spin very true. They also fly well for me. I’ve not tested them at super long ranges but they do – well, I think through a well-tuned bow, they should fly well at longer ranges.

I’d heard really good things about the smaller, standard head.

But, I’ll start off by testing the XL, which intrigued me the most because I just like to make a big hole if I can! I was excited to see how it performed.

So let’s see how the Tooth of the Arrow XL did. (Further down I’ll do a head-to-head battle between the XL and the original, so check that out as well!




Penetration Testing

I shot it into my broadhead box where I’ve got four layers of MDF and they’re half inch each, and two of those layers have a rubber foam layer in front to simulate hide and a little bit of soft tissue there in the beginning and the end.

tooth of the arrow XL shot into mdf board
Penetration wise, the XL did just about like most of the heads I’ve tested. It went well into the second layer of MDF. So, it went through that initial rubber foam mat and then through the first layer and then it almost buried the blades all the way into the second layer. You can see it protruding out, bulging out the backend there. It didn’t actually breakthrough the blade but it pushed the board out there just quite a bit.
hole in mdf made by tooth of the arrow xl
OK, it’s 1 and 3/16 this way, 1 and 3/16 this way. So it’s a total of 2.75 inches of tissue being cut. Comparatively, the QAD Exodus has a total tissue cut of 1.875. So, with the 3 blades of an Exodus and 1 and 1/4 inch cut, it’s 1.875 total tissue being cut, whereas, with the Tooth of the Arrow here in their XL model, it’s 2.75. So, it penetrated just about as well the Exodus, and better than the other heads that I’ve tested so far and yet the total cut is about an inch more than most of those heads. So that’s pretty remarkable.
tooth of the arrow xl blades after mdf test
If we examine the head after it went through the wood, it held up extremely well. The blades are in great shape. They are still remarkably sharp. They bite into my nail. It doesn’t look like they were dulled at all. Now, I should add as well that because it’s 4 blades and two blades covers a diameter of 1 and 3/16 inches, that means the total tissue being cut is 2.75 inches. If you see here in the hole that it made, you look and go,



Angled Shot Penetration

Next, I shot it at a 1/2-inch MDF board at a 45-degrree angle to see how it would do through that.

angled shot through mdf of the tooth of the arrow xl
Here is the head sticking out just as it went into the Rinehart target behind it. It protruded that far, which is very similar to the SIK F4 that I tested a while ago. You can see that in a video. However again, this has about almost 1 inch more cut than the SIK F4. So to penetrate that well, again, is pretty impressive and the blades are extremely sharp. There’s no nicks. Looking really good.

Durability Testing

I shot the Tooth Of The Arrow head into a 22-gauge steel plate to see how it would fare.

hole in steel plate made by tooth of the arrow xl
Look at the hole that this thing made. I have to say, I was pretty impressed with that. It’s like a giant square was cut out of the steel. I’ve never seen anything like this. What a hole!
blades of tooth of the arrow xl after going through steel plate
The blades still look pristine. They are in very, very good shape. There are no nicks. They still cut into my thumbnail. Really good. Impressive.

Cinder Block Test

The cinder block is the final test that I do with the fixed-blade heads. I don’t do this test or the steel plate test typically with the mechanical heads, but when you’re using a fixed head, you’re typically doing so because you really want to have some structural integrity and blade strength that’s above and beyond what a mechanical can do.

So, I just like to test the limits. Not many heads hold together after hitting the cinder block. A lot of them take chunks out, but then just kind of bend or fall apart. Very few heads hold together. There have only been a few that have made it. Let’s see how the Tooth of the Arrow did.

tooth of the arrow xl after hitting cinder block
Here’s the chunk that it took out of the cinder block. A finger goes right into it. And then if you look at the head itself, it did remarkably well, completely holding together. The nose got covered in concrete and got a bit nicked up there from the concrete. But, I would say that it’s amongst the top few in terms of structural integrity that I’ve tested. It’s right up there with the QAD Exodus and the Muzzy Trocar and the Trophy Taker A-TAC. I think the only ones that may have done better are the Bishop Archery and the Iron Will.

Man, for the price, the Tooth Of The Arrow XL is one impressive head. I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised. I give it an A+ in all categories.




Comparing the Tooth of the Arrow Original to the XL [Broadhead Battle!]

I wanted to compare the Tooth of the Arrow Original vs the XL version.

Now, I’ve done this in some other instances, like with the Magnus, where I tested the Stinger compared Black Hornet. And in this case, I tested the two models of Tooth of the Arrow broadheads.

The Tooth of the Arrow broadheads are 100% made in the USA.

I tested these heads for long distance flight (I was able to pop a balloon at 80 yards) and I’m going to test them for edge sharpness and retention, for penetration, and for durability.

Let’s see which one prevails!

tooth of the arrow original and xl broadhead
On the right is the Tooth Of The Arrow Original, and on the left is the XL. These are the 125-grain models of these heads. The Original is 1-inch, while the XL is 1-3/16 inches. They are machined from a solid bar of 11L41 steel, so a high carbon steel. They’re brought to a Rockwell hardness of 45. As you can see, they are plated with a black oxide to cut down on glare in the field.
blade thickness of tooth of the arrow broadheads
With the Tooth of the Arrow Original, more than 85% of the weight is kept within the diameter of the arrow shaft. That’s going to really help in long range flight and spinning. With the XL head, more than 80% of the weight is kept within the diameter of the arrow shaft.

These heads have a unique feature about them, in that they keep a lot of the weight within the diameter of the arrow shaft.



Out of the box sharpness comparison

I tested the Tooth of the Arrow broadheads for out-of-the-box sharpness. The purpose is to see if they can still cut paper after a stroke of a carbon arrow shaft. Because both the Original and the XL have the same blades, I only tested one of the heads.

carbon shaft running across blade of tooth of the arrow broadhead
tooth of the arrow cutting paper
The Tooth of the Arrow broadhead was able to cut paper still after 5 strokes of the arrow.

Penetration comparison

I tested the Tooth of the Arrow Original and the XL for penetration. My medium was ballistic gel that was fronted with a rubber mad and 1/2″ MDF board.

ballistic gel test with tooth of the arrow broadheads
The XL penetrated 8 inches. Tooth of the Arrow Original penetrated 9 inches.

Durability comparison

I shot both heads into a 22-gauge steel plate 5 times to test the durability. Check out the holes these heads made in the steel plate!

tooth of the arrow XL holes in steel plate
The holes themselves are really what sets the Tooth of the Arrow apart. OK. Here you can see the holes from the XL. OK. They are just bit squares. They are not just like four crosses or two crosses, four little slits. They are true squares!
tooth of the arrow original holes in steel plate
Here is the Original, the 1 inch. So the 1 inch, the 1 3/16 inch, and you can see even with that, it’s just a nice chunk of a hole. There are very heads that are able to punch a chunk out like that. The Exodus does it in a triangular shape. And as you can see here, the Tooth of the Arrow does it extremely well in a 4-blade shape. So that’s going to be a really difficult hole to close up in an animal.

You can only see on one of the XL blades a little bit of cosmetic marking. I don’t even know if you can pick that up in the picture below. It’s very hard to see.

These heads have extremely impressive durability. Some of the very best that I’ve tested.

tooth of the arrow broadheads after steel plate test
Here are the heads after they’ve gone through the 22-gauge steel plate 5 times. And as you can see, they look brand new. As a matter of fact, it’s hard to tell that these were even shot at all, let alone shot through the steel plate as well as in the penetration test through the MDF. Really impressive durability and edge retention through that really hard medium.

Now, I have heard some reports of people shooting them and hitting them into a big heavy bone and one of the blades bending or shearing off. That can happen with any broadhead.

There are all kinds of crazy things that can happen in the field as you hit heavy bone at different angles. But through the steel plate as you can see in the picture below, they faired extremely well.



Cinder Block Test

Let’s look at these heads and see how they did after being shot into the cinder block.

cinder block after tooth of the arrow shot into it
The cinder block didn’t fare too well!
tooth of the arrow broadhead after cinder block test
Here’s the Tooth of the Arrow after going into that center block and busting it apart. It’s just in incredible shape. It spins perfectly true. The tip is still super pointy and didn’t bend over at all. The blades are in great shape. They only got a just a little bit nicked up on the top of each blade, but they could be sharpened again.
tooth of the arrow broadheads after being sharpened
I spent about 5 minutes touching these blades up just to show how easy it is to do it. And I understand they have a sharpener that you can purchase on their website. I don’t have one of those. But, honestly, I do really well with just a little sharpener. This is the thing that I use. It fits in there perfectly.
sharpening a tooth of the arrow broadhead
This sharpener is from a Spyderco, but you can use any brand. This is like a little file. I just sharpen the blades individually, about 10 strokes on each blade. And, then on the tip, I just use the same thing but I just use it flat ways to cover both blades at once. I don’t know if you’re supposed to do that but it sure worked well for me. And this head, it’s now like shaving nail. I mean it’s just like it was. The tip was super sharp. And this is right after going into that concrete block.

Conclusion

So, what do you think of this broadhead battle, the Original versus the XL?

Each of them has their distinct strengths. In terms of overall flight, the Original flies incredibly well. It’s one of the very best flying and forgiving broadheads I’ve ever tested.

In terms of penetration, the Original penetrated much more deeply. But, in terms of hole size, man, the XL really ruled in that department, though both of them really made a nice square hole in the mediums that I shot them through.



And the winner is…

In terms of which one is the winner, really, it’s a toss-up. I have to call it a tie. I hate to do that. But, this really is a draw. It just depends on your personal setup and what you’re hunting.

If you’re going after a really big animal where penetration is the most important thing then man, the Original is the way to go. If you have a lighter setup and you’re concerned about your penetration, then the Original is the way to go.

If you are going after a really long range shot like a pronghorn or something like that that you’re going beyond 60 yards, then the Original is the way to go.

But, if you are going for a shot under 60 yards and you really want to make a nice big hole and you have the kinetic energy to drive it through, (and honestly, it really doesn’t take that much kinetic energy to drive it through), then man, the XL is the way to go. For whitetail and hog shots under 50, 60 yards, I would definitely choose this one.

What I think is the best combination is to have a few of both in your quiver. If a shot is going to be longer, then you pull out the original. If the shot is going to be shorter, use the XL. And that way, you’re ready for any situation, and honestly, any animal as well.

There are several things to consider when choosing a broadhead. These heads have it all. They are fantastic broadheads.

Great job, Tooth of the Arrow!

score card for tooth of the arrow original broadhead
Score card for Tooth Of The Arrow Original broadhead.
score card for tooth of the arrow XL broadhead
Score card for Tooth Of The Arrow XL original broadhead.


Cart