First, let’s make sure we all understand what “quartering away” looks like. Since a large number of bowhunters are after whitetail, that is the example I will use.
Yeah, Yeah, there can be severe quartering, or more toward broadside but quartering. Here’s the simple way to know IF THEY are quartering. Look at the front legs. If you see daylight, it’s quartering.
If a deer is facing away from you and you can see daylight between its front legs… it’s quartering away.
Why the quartering away shot is best
Now that we have that settled, let’s discuss why this shot is the best shot angle. I’ll set this up in order of operation.
They are looking away
Put simply, the act of drawing a bow requires movement. The animal is looking away from you, so that puts you at a significant hunting advantage.
The ears are pointed the other way
So, there’s some debate on a quartering away shot being better because a deer’s hearing would be reduced with its ears pointing away as well. A deer’s ears are cupped, so theoretically, if you make noise, this position would in fact be better.
My example above, of course, has an ear rotated back, just to keep me honest. Anyway, the ears aren’t toward you and that can’t be a bad thing!
The lethal part of the critter, any critter, is exposed in a quartering away stance
In the quartering away stance, there are no shoulder blades or ribcage to hit in most cases, even from a treestand. But, the big “kicker” here is that the arrow is traveling forward. Physiologically, and FACTUALLY, the arrow will be moving toward the more lethal parts of the animal.
So, a little anatomy lesson.. Below is a basic diagram of the broadside of a deer:
Now, you’re going to have to play along with me in this diagram and just imagine the deer is quartering away.
Each “arrow” represents a shot angle (from top to bottom), i.e. a tree stand, low tree stand, or downhill and ground level. That’s why I have the “arrows” as long as they are. They represent a possible wound channel.
But, no matter if the arrow hits the rear of the lungs or the middle of the lungs, the arrow is constantly moving toward the heart, lungs, and major vessels. This is key to WHY!
So, why does this matter Fowler??
Well, I’ll tell you.
Keep things moving forward, folks
The most forward part of the animal, (where all 3 “arrows” intersect and I have placed the “broadhead” in the picture above), include much larger vessels and airways.
Put simply, “it’s legit,” but it’s a bit more complex than that. So, here’s the redneck version…
Your potential to cut “bigger stuff” increases exponentially every inch that the arrow moves forward (let’s hope you’re shooting an adult arrow and hitting the Earth after blowing through).
Anyway, with the quartering away shot, Joe Bowhunter’s success percentage goes up and tracking distance goes down. WIN!
The wound channel is long
It’s pretty simple: The wound channel of a quartering away shot is long.
I laugh when I see these “wound channel” measurements. Mostly to justify a 3” wide mechanical penetrating only 9”.
Mathematically, sure, I get that. But come on man. Can’t we just shoot through a deer?
Let me step off the soapbox now and give 2 examples that will be pretty clear.
So, let’s get down to my level.
I am a simple guy. Below is a basic sponge. It’s an excellent lung example because it’s full of air and holes that represent blood airways and blood vessels, they’re longer than they are wide, and because, well, everybody has handled one.
A perfectly normal lung, with no damage, would feel very similar when compressed.
This sponge and tape measure help to illustrate wound channel length during a broadside shot.
And now, using the same methodology, a quartering away shot.The wound channel on a quartering away shot is longer than that of a broadside shot.
As you can see in the picture above, we get really long wounds with a quartering away shot. Again, the larger vessels and heart are forward, so that’s improving per the “lethal part of the critter” discussed in #3 above.
I’m not saying that broadside shots are bad, so stay on the rails here, this is a quartering away discussion!
But, just look at that wound length. I think it’s pretty clear.
Why the longer wound channel matters
Now, another thing your favorite professional bowhunting guru doesn’t recognize is basic physiology. Now, to be fair, few of them have had a cadaver to help clarify why this works.
The largest percentage of vessels in the deer or other animal are going lengthwise, (i.e. front to back in the lung), and have a little wrapper around them.
Imagine that sponge is inside a balloon but yet stays the same shape. The balloon is perfectly adhered to the outside of the sponge. This means all the air and blood have to enter and exit somehow. That “somehow” is tubes. And all the tubes go in and out of the front of the lungs and then to the legs, neck, head, etc.
That’s a fact. Separate systems for oxygen and blood, with their own committed tubes, running ’round God’s cardiothoracic plumbing system.
As an example, if you didn’t have pipes in your house, water would go everywhere. We have clean water pipes and plumbing pipes doing two separate things. But nope, the water comes in from the city, runs in a big pipe, then enters your house, in smaller pipes, then leaves.
In a lung, the air and blood flow is lengthwise because the entry and exit is in the front.
Just. Like. That.
A quartering away shot is more devastating than a broadside shot because the the blood vessels are running to and from the front, which is where we want that arrow headed!
Where to aim on a quartering away shot | Tic-Tac-Toe!
So, you can use this simple example for any shot angle.
Imagine the board from tic, tac, toe. The front legs are the vertical posts. Imagine a line running on the spine (we prefer not to hit that). Then, another line on the brisket.
Now, shoot the middle of middle box. On any angle, the middle box widens or narrows. Shoot the middle of the middle box.
An imaginary tic-tac-toe board can help provide guidance on where to shoot when taking a quartering away shot.
Whitetails are generally found in the middle and Eastern U.S., extending both North and South of the border. But, whitetail are remarkable at adapting, and thrive in all kinds of environments, from swamps to forests to grasslands.
Typically, mule deer like higher territory in the mountains and are found in the central and western parts of the US, Canada, and Mexico. However, the territories of the two breeds overlap greatly. Therefore, geography can’t be relied on as a great indicator of whether that deer you see off in the distance is a mule deer or a whitetail.
Size is another characteristic where there is overlap between mule deer and whitetail. Size can vary depending on geographic location, available food sources and habitat.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, typical mule deer weights range from 130-280 pounds. However, In rare cases, very large mule deer can tip the scales at 450+ pounds.
Whitetail deer are generally smaller in average weight, averaging around 90-220 pounds, but those big bucks can, in rare cases, come in near 400 pounds.
With size varying so much based on diet, age, and location, it is impossible to tell a whitetail from a mule deer based on size alone. Even characteristics like hoofprints are not distinguishable between the two.
Now that we’ve covered some basic characteristics of whitetail and mule deer, let’s look at some differences between mule deer and whitetail that can help you distinguish between the two.
If you look more closely at the face, whitetails have more solid-colored brown heads with white around the eyes and often a white patch under the jaw at the top of the neck. (Rare genetic mutations like piebaldism can affect the amount of white markings).
Mule deer (sometimes referred to as muleys) have a lighter top bridge of the nose, with a darker forehead above the eyes. These are the general colorings, but each individual deer is different and color can change with weather, age, and location. Because of this, you can’t rely on coloring alone to distinguish between the two.
With so many similarities between whitetail and mule deer, there are a few key differences to look for when peering at them through your scope or binoculars.
One is the ears.
True to their name, mule deer have larger ears relative to the size of their head. They are also often more pointed and angle slightly more to the sides than the whitetail deer.
It is tough to compare the angle of the ears as deer have a habit of always moving them. So, try to look at the size of the ears as one indication to identify mule deer from whitetails.
While the ears are one of the differentiating characteristics on the head of these animals, the other end of the animal has a great defining characteristic as well.
Mule deer have a white colored rump that is almost always visible. They have a skinny rope-like tail tail, often with a black tip.
Whitetail deer on the other hand, have a more brownish rump and outside of the tail when relaxed. If a whitetail is startled, however, that wide flap of a tail lifts showing a bright white underside as a “flag” to warn other deer of possible danger, thus the name “whitetail deer.”
Whitetail males have one main “trunk” or beam on their antlers with the tines all coming from that main stem.
Mule deer, however, have a main trunk that branches in two before forking into tines. Because of this, the mule deer’s antlers often look taller and more upright compared to the forward “hug” of a white tail’s rack.
The difference in antler structure between whitetails and mule deer is something a trained eye can pick up. However, some individual antlers can be too small or even grow oddly, so make sure to look for other characteristics too.
The way these two types of deer typically run can be a clear distinguishing characteristic of whitetail and mule deer.
When fleeing, a whitetail has a typical run or gallop, similar in style to a horse. They may bound over fences or obstacles, but in general they have a quick, fluid motion.
Mule deer on the other hand, often flee with a stodgy hopping motion called stotting. All four hooves contact and push off the ground at once like springs, bouncing across the terrain again and again until slowing to a trot.
So, make sure that when you are trying to identify a mule deer versus a whitetail, that you compare multiple characteristics.
There are many similarities, and even the distinguishing traits can vary based on age, location, nutrition, and time of year. One can easily be mistaken for the other. Even some of the sounds these deer make can be similar.
So, be sure you know the differences – some subtle and some more pronounced – so you can easily tell the difference between the two.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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 Tryiniy 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.
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.
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.
Porcelain Tile Test
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.
Cinder Block Test
The next test I did with the Bishop 200-grain Holy Trinity was the cinder block test.
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 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.
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
.22-Gauge Steel Plate Test
Next, I shot them through a .22-gauge steel plate.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.