fbpx
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.

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.

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.

buck in velvet staring at trail camera

Mounting Trail Cameras | How To Get The Big Buck Intel You’re After

man mounting a trail camera to a tree
Buying a trail camera is only the first step to capturing buck activity on camera.

If you want to find an early chink in the armor of a buck cast a wide net. Trail cameras are a great way to do just that.

When it comes to trail cameras, there are definitely many options these days. But even after you pick one, there can be lots of questions…

  • How do you use trail cameras to their potential so that you can get pictures bucks frequenting your hunting property?
  • What is the best time of year to start mounting trail cameras?
  • Are there some strategies that work best for locating target bucks?
  • What is the best way to mount a trail camera?

If you are looking for some answers to these questions, read on…

You have a trail camera… now what?

When it comes to putting out trail cameras, I always start a little earlier than most people. But, it’s understandable that not all hunters want to waste batteries and time going to check them.

So, if you are already very familiar with the property you intend to hunt and have an idea of the summer patterns of the bucks on that property, you could wait until late July or early August.  

Trail Camera Hot zones | Bedding and Feeding Areas

As I have learned more and more about deer hunting – and more specifically, buck behavior – it has become clear that it’s imperative to determine where bucks are bedding and feeding.

trail camera picture of big buck in velvet
Locating bedding and feeding areas are the first step to identifying the travel routes that bucks are using to move between the two.

Once you have an idea of where they are bedding and feeding, set up your trail cameras on routes that deer take to and from these areas until you begin to get daylight pictures of bucks.  

Getting these pictures may be easier if you hunt near agriculture such as corn, soybeans, sorghum, etc. than if you are hunting large stands of timber or hardwoods.

If you only hunt large forested areas, then you might want to focus on open areas in the timber that have a lot of previous deer sign.

Another thing to focus on in these types of forested areas is browse pressure on native vegetation. For example, if you look closely, you may be able to see the tops of some of the plants and vegetation that have been nipped off.  If there is too much browse pressure, then you might need to use a supplemental food source or deer mineral until deer season (if it is legal in your area).

Set up cameras near scrapes

Another way to get great early season bucks on camera is to get trailcam pictures near mock scrapes or active scrapes from last season.  I look for open areas or trails that might have a brushy limb or vine hanging over bare ground or low vegetation. 

I’ve got some great video of a target buck tending a scrape and chasing another 3-year-old buck away from it.  These are the types of areas I will key in on and look for locations to put deer stands in hopes of taking a successful shot on a mature whitetail.

Then, I might set up a scrape dripper in hopes of increasing the buck activity in that location. If the bucks and does are already using a scrape now they will more than likely continue to use it during the season. 

I have seen as many as 20 open scrapes on a 300 yd trail that led from bedding to food.  Some bucks will travel up to three square miles for a safe food source.  The bucks on that particular scrape line were bedding 1,000 yards away and traveling almost every night to and from that food source to bed. 

Put in the extra effort

buck rub on a tree
Rubs and other buck sign are good locations to consider mounting a trail camera.

If you want to your trailcam strategy to yield the best intel possible, you need to be willing to get out of your comfort zone and do some scouting off the road. Some of the best sign and bedding areas are off the road a good bit, but may be closer than you think. 

I have cut through 10 yards of thick brush and vegetation off a main trail and all of the sudden, boom… a big buck travel corridor!  If you find water or a swamp, even better.  Now you have a funnel, bedding, and a water source.

Deer are edge creatures, so if you find where the terrain transitions from hard woods or pines to swamp or thickets, then you should find good sign, or at least some type of deer trail.

When I’m scouting, I look for droppings, deer tracks and old rubs. Once you practice looking for these long enough, you will begin to get an eye for a good place to hunt or hang a trail camera.

Swampy areas…

If you hunt swamps like I do in the South, then you might feel overwhelmed by the amount of water. But, deer like to bed in swampy areas because it is cooler, and they can detect predators farther away.   

A lot of times, aerial pictures taken when there is still foliage on the trees makes it impossible to see these deer trails coming in and out of a swampy area. So, because pines and hardwoods hold their foliage longer, pictures taken during Winter or before Spring green-up will show transition areas better. 

If you can only find does, keep looking, because the bucks will be nearby within a couple hundred yards. 

deer trail around edge of swamp
The “diamond in the rough” in swampy areas are trails in the mud coming in and out of the swamp as deer will often skirt around the edges of water.

Water, funnels and fences

Another way to use aerial maps to hang trail cameras is to look for tree lines and natural funnels. 

Agriculture, fence lines, and water all make great natural funnels for deer to travel.  Deer do not feel as comfortable going across an open field, through water, or over a tall fence.

While deer can jump over or go under just about anything, they will default to openings in fence lines.

When it comes to water, I have seen deer chase through two feet of swamp water, but they would much rather go around it if they can.  

Field Edges and corners

Field edges and corners are also great places to hang trail cameras. 

Deer will come out of just about anywhere if you have a good stand of bedding area along a field, but for some reason, they seem to prefer coming out of the corners.

On one of my hunting properties, there is a corner of a field that also has a water source that deer will skirt around.  This area makes for an awesome trail camera spot. In one pre-season, I have gotten pictures of 10 different bucks coming back to bed. 

If you are having trouble getting daylight pictures of bucks, try glassing the field and see where they are coming out at in the afternoon. 

I have also seen bucks come out of the middle of a strip of trees off a field.  It all just depends on where they are bedding, and you will not know that unless you watch where they come out at in the afternoon or go back to in the morning. 

Cellular trail cams… a game changer

If baiting is not legal in your area, cellular cameras are a great option if you do not want to intrude on the area once it is set up. There are certainly huge advantages to not disturbing or leaving unnecessary scent in the area you are hoping to hunt.

Cell cameras allow you to wait until you see the buck you want using the area before going in for the kill.

There are new guidelines out now for the Boone and Crockett club that you cannot use a cell camera to help you kill a buck that meets their scoring requirements if you want it entered in the record books.  The Pope & Young Club has also updated its guidelines regarding the use of cellular trail cameras as it pertains to fair chase.

If you are like most people, you probably do not have booners running around and may not necessarily care about making the record books. 

I typically run three cell cameras and eight regular cameras.  I use my cell cameras mainly to tell me when it is time to go refill the feed.  In my opinion, you can pattern deer just as well with standard trail cameras. 

You should, however, be more careful when you check the regular trails cameras.  Typically, I like to wait until around noon to check my trail cams, or I check them late at night after I know deer are already in the field feeding. 

I shot my biggest buck in 2019 after using a regular trail camera.  I noticed he was coming in the second day after I put out corn and deer lure, and I was able to take him just as planned. 

How to set up the trail camera | Best practices

When I set up a new trail camera, I mount it to a sturdy tree, at a height of about 3 feet off the ground. Or, I will set it up at a height where it can cover the most field of view. 

I make sure to clear vegetation and try and get a northern camera direction unless it has a lot of overhanging foliage or forest canopy to shield the sun.  Facing the trailcam East or West can cause the sunlight to interfere with the pictures as well as producing false triggers that result in unwanted pictures.

Mounting Tip: you can use is using your smart phone camera and flipping it to selfie mode.  Put the back of your phone on the trail camera, and you can get a good idea of what your camera will be seeing.

I also hang cameras parallel to the trail to catch the movement as well. 

You do not want to face the camera directly across the trail or you will end up getting pictures of just tails or brow tines. 

As deer season gets closer, you can also use video determine the direction the bucks are traveling to the bait sites or how they are using travel corridors.  (when using still shots only, it can be hard to tell which directing deer are moving). 

If you are trying to save your trail camera’s battery, I would set it to a three-picture burst and then switch to video when the season starts.

Conclusion

As you can tell, an effective trailcam strategy involves planning and attention to detail. Hopefully, you have learned some tips that will help you become a more successful hunter. Not only that, but you never know what unexpected pictures of rare things you might get on your trailcam.

Here’s to great trail camera pics and even better pics of you sitting behind a trophy buck!

If you have any more questions or would like to follow along this deer season, I am active on social media:

I use the HuntWise App and my username is jrwilliamsjr. 

On Instagram, you can find me under aon_whitetail

My email address is johnrwilliams@valdosta.edu if you would like to contact me there.  I am currently in school to become a wildlife biologist.

picture of john williams with a big buck
John Williams
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 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. 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.

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…

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, it 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

Cart