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.
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 broadhead, click the appropriate link below:
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.
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 (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.
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.
Even with the larger cut of the Iron Will, it buried about a 1/2 inch further than the G5 Montec.
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).
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.
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.
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 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.
Penetration Testing of the Wide
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
There are a lot of good companies in the archery business, and Afflictor is certainly one of them. Afflictor has a passion for testing, they are ethical and they are faith-based.
Now, before testing the fixed blade heads from Afflictor, I was already a big fan of the Afflictor Hybrids. I’ve taken deer, turkey, and hogs with them. They’ve always performed really well. They flight great. They penetrate deep, they hold up well and they inflict a lot of damage in animals.
So, when Afflictor sent me the fixed blade heads, I thought, “Well, I really like the hybrids.” But, then when I started shooting the fixed blade heads, I thought, “Man, I really like these too!”
I first tested the K2 and the EXT models. They’re similar in design, but obviously, they have different specs. (Further down in this review, I also tested the Heavyweight versions of these heads).
When I first looked at the fixed blade heads, I thought, “Okay, they’re just like normal 4-blade fixed blade heads.”
And yes, they are, but there are some unique things about them.
First of all, the K2 has a super short, low profile design. That’s why it flies so extremely well.
I would put the K2 up there with any fixed blade head as being the very best flying. There are several that I put in that category that just are top of the food chain in terms of long distance flight. This one is one of those.
The EXT also flies very well, but at super long ranges, it’s not quite as good as the K2, and that’s just because there’s more surface area.
You can see the total length is greater on the EXT heads, and therefore more surface area. That’s why the K2, with less surface area tends to fly better at long distances.
Another unique feature of the K2 is that the blades themselves are extremely thick. They are 420 stainless steel, so they are a decent stainless steel. But beyond that, they are really thick.
The standard for many fixed blade heads is 0.030 or 0.035 inches thick. I have always liked how the QAD Exodus blades are 0.040 inches of thick. Well, the K2 blades are 0.059 inches thick. That’s impressive! (All four of the blades on both the K2 and EXT are 0.059 inches thick).
K2 and EXT tips
This tips of the K2 and EXT are also very unique. It’s not like a chiseled tip on other broadheads. It’s not like a true “cut on contact tip” though it does cut on contact. But it’s really thick. It’s actually double the thickness of the blades themselves. It’s 0.125 inches thick!
With that thickness, what that translates into is two things. First of all, durability. But, secondly, it’s going to make a really thick cut through the deer or animal. And, I found that with all things being equal with penetration, the thicker the blades, the harder it is for that wound channel to close up.
This results in better blood trails.
That’s why these Afflictor fixed blades perform so well for me in the field and have created such good blood trails; it’s the blade thickness.
A Horizontal blade cross? Yes, and here’s why
Another thing that is unique about these fixed heads is if you look really closely, the top of the cross blades are actually horizontal for a little bit and then at an angle.
This feature is not by accident.
Now, you might look at that and say, “Well, that’s going to impede penetration.”
Actually, what Afflictor found is just the opposite.
In all their testing, the folks at Afflictor weree surprised to see it that sometimes what really happens during penetration seems like it defies the laws of physics.
They found that the penetration through bone has actually improved by having a little bit of horizontal cut because the head is able to breach the bone. It pushes the bone out of the way more effectively with that angle as well.
I was interested to see how it does this in my own testing.
The ferrules on the K2 and EXT are aluminum. Now, I’m not typically a big fan of aluminum… unless it’s this kind of aluminum. The aluminum ferrules on these heads are made of 7075 T6 grade aluminum.
So, this aluminum is stronger than many steels. I haven’t had any problems with it in the field. Let’s see how it did in the testing.
For each of my tests, I used my Bowtech SR6 on the comfort setting, set at 72 pounds, 27-inch draw. I used Bishop FOC King Arrows (460 grains), Nockturnal Nocks and FOBs.
What I tested for
Because of the weather at the time of these tests (we were in the middle of a blizzard here in Iowa), I did not go outside to test long range flight.
I’ve already shot the K2 at longer ranges in the field and I know it is absolutely fantastic, the best of the best at longer ranges. I would give it a 10. It flies like at ATAC, Iron Will original, or a Bishop Holy Trinity… very, very good flight.
I would give the EXT a 9. It does really well out to about 60 yards. But, it’s a little more touchy beyond that. I can still pop balloons at 80 yards but I have to really focus on it.
I did, however test for penetration, durability, and edge retention.
Penetration testing of Afflictor fixed blade broadheads
I tested penetration by using a 1/2-inch inch layer of MDF, surrounded by 1/3-inch layers of rubber foam matting. On the back side of that medium is ballistic gel, made by Clear Ballistics. The clear gel allows you to see exactly what the broadhead is doing inside the gel.
I also measured the penetration, so that it can be compared to how other heads penetrate the same medium.
Durability and edge retention testing
I shot these heads through a 22-gauge steel plate. In this test, I will shoot through the steel plate as many times as possible (up to 5 times), until the blades really start to get damaged. When the blades start to get significant damage, I stop.
For the purposes of scoring, each time I shoot without them getting significant damage, I give the head 2 points. The maximum a head can receive is 10 points. The maximum is 5 shots.
As for the blades themselves, I shot both the K2 and EXT into the steel plate and examined them after each time. Both heads made it 3 times into the steel plate before the blades began to get pretty mangled.
The blades were not bent way out of shape, but they were definitely getting nicked up enough to stop shooting. So, three shots through the steel plate at that range is pretty impressive. The blades are replaceable and would need to be replaced. But, they will get a score of 6 because they made it three times into the steel plate.
Both the K2 and EXT are really good heads. For flight, for total cut size, and for damage being inflicted, I go with the K2 but both of them are really good heads.
Actually, in the field, I would say the K2 does even better on animals than it showsin the testing.
The Afflictor K2 and EXT heavyweight fixed heads
In addition to the K2 and EXT, I also tested the Heavyweight versions of these broadheads. All of the heavier Afflictor fixed blade broadheads are stainless steel and they vary in weights from 155 to 200 grains. In my tests on the heavier fixed blade heads, I specifically be testing the 200-grain models.
How the heavier fixed blade heads are different
The heavier versions of the Afflictor EXT and K2 differ from each other, as well as their lighter counterparts…
The tips and ferrules of the heavyweights
One main difference between the EXT heads and the K2 heads is the tip (The EXT tip is also used on the EXT Hybrids and the K2 tip is also used on the K2 Hybrids).
The biggest difference in the heavyweight heads over the 100 and 125-grain models is that the heavyweight versions are all stainless steel. The ferrules are no longer 7075 aluminum as they are in the lighter weight models. Now, they are stainless steel.
For example, the 155-grain model is basically the exact same head as the 125-grain model but with stainless steel ferrule, which adds the extra weight.
The tips on both of these heads are extra thick. By my measurement, it came out to 0.14 inch thick in that leading tip of both.
Now, some people note that the tip on these heads is not super sharp. And, that’s right, it’s not.
But don’t let that fool you in terms of its performance. It’s really about edge-integrity.
The tips on these heads promotes edge straightness, (the lack of chips and dings and bending that affects penetration) and they are really tough, holding a straight edge all the way into an animal. Then, the blades behind them do the cutting.
Blades, bleeders and cutting diameter
I really like the way Afflictor increased the weights of these heavyweight broadheads by beefing up the blades themselves. Very well done.
Some other things you’ll note about the different models is the EXT has a cutting diameter on the main blades of 1-1/4 inches and then the bleeders are 11/16 of an inch.
And then on the K2, the maximum cut 1-1/8 inches and then the bleeders are 1 inch. So, it’s kind of cool that you have different dimensions to choose from based on your setup and what kind of a hole you want to put in the animal.
Some other things that are noteworthy are the main blades on both the EXT and the K2 are both 0.053 inch thick. That’s a thick main blade!
Typically, bleeders are thinner and weaker, but not on these heads. These bleeders are 0.059 inch thick. So really thick bleeders right there.
I’ve taken a number of animals with the 125-grain fixed versions and they all performed really well.
Heavyweight Afflictor fixed-head penetreation test
I didn’t test the heavyweight heads for all the things that I tested the 125-grain model with, like flight. They are basically the same dimensions (just differing weights), so they’re going to fly the same.
I’ve also already tested them for edge sharpness and edge retention and they did very well.
But, I did test them for penetration and durability. And for that, I’m used the 200-grain version, just because I was curious to see how that heavier weight makes a difference in terms of the penetration and the durability.
So, let’s see how this heavyweight lineup of the EXT and the K2 Fixed-Blade Afflictors performed.
For the penetration test, I shot into a foam mat, backed by ½” MDF and a block of ballistic gel.
Check out the penetration results below:
Durability testing of K2 and EXT
I shot both heads into a .22 gauge steel plate. Both the EXT and the K2 heads really punch a hole, as opposed to “slits” like some other heads make. That’s what I look for in a fixed-blade head. I want something that punches a big hole, because it’s going to be a lot harder to close up that wound channel.
Both heads were impressive in this test, but I give a slight edge (in the way the hole looks) to the K2.
Now, as for the durability of the heads themselves, they both held up fairly well. Of course, the tips and the ferrules are all in perfect condition. The tip is really durable. You can’t even tell it has been shot into anything, let alone steel.
But, the blades got really nicked up, and that started on the second shot. You could see them start to get nicked up on the first shot and then a little more with each subsequent shot.
Now, they are replaceable blades. Their gradual bevel makes them really sharp, but it also makes them a little prone to a bit of edge bending and nicking when shot into a super hard medium like steel.