August 08, 2023
There’s bowhunters that have the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset, then there’s the “gear junkies”. If you’re a gear junkie—like a lot of us—now’s the time to look at broadheads for this coming season. It's easy to get caught up in the latest gimmick guarantee, flashy name or extremely aggressive design. Here’s my criteria for putting a broadhead in my quiver. Is it sharp, accurate and durable? Will it penetrate the animal I’m hunting? If those boxes are checked, I’m game to try it.
Hunting Western big game with archery equipment can be challenging; the animals are larger, they have thicker hide and bones, and are plain tougher than whitetails to the east. For that, we’re going to look at the best options for broadheads for those elk, mule deer, mountain goat or sheep hunters of the bunch.
This broadhead is proven to be sharp, accurate and effective straight out of the box. With the engineering to help arrows stabilize during flight and maintain spinning through impact, this single bevel is a monster for big game. Availabe to be fitted with bleeder blades perpendicular to the main 2-blade design, it has a rectangular cut designed not to close. It has a 1 1/16-inch main-blade cutting diameter, with an additional ¾-inch cut made by the bleeder blades if you so choose to have them installed. Available in seven weight options, hunters can easily achieve the front-of-center mass ration they desire. Iron Will also backs these heads with a lifetime warranty when shot in a hunting scenario.
$120 per 3; ironwilloutfitters.com
It would be hard pressed to find a 3-blade broadhead that’s stood the test of time like Muzzy has. I’ve personally taken seven species of big-game animals across the country with this head. The Trocar has a solid 1-piece stainless-steel ferrule and blade design with a right offset for optimum flight and accuracy. With its Trocar tip known for its ability to penetrate, this compact design is proven to be deadly. Available in 100-grains it has a 1 3/16-inch cutting diameter.
$45 per 3; feradyne.com
The original T-LOK was an extremely accurate fixed-blade broadhead that’s been around for more than a decade. New for 2023, Trophy Taker has taken it’s original T-LOK and gave it quite the boost by adding a fourth blade. This increases the Maverick’s cutting surface to 3 1/8 inch with a 1 3/16-inch cutting diameter, upgraded from the 1 1/8 inch in the original 3-blade design. Available in 100-grain heat-treated stainless-steel these are sure to be just as reliable as the originals.
$45 per 3; trophytaker.com
The Hemoshock DP (Deeper Penetrating) Mechanical Broadhead from Ramcat takes the company’s Airfoil and Firenock Aero Concentric Technology to increase accuracy. That’s a lot of fancy jargan to say, these are built to create deeper penetration due to a narrower 3-blade angle and profile. With a cutting diameter of 1 ¼ inch and overall cutting surface of 2 1/16 inches, the Hemoshock DP would be great for deer and antelope. Available in 100-grains, these heads can be shot out of both compounds and crossbows.
$45 per 3; ramcatbroadheads.com
New for 2023, the SEVR Ti 1.75 helps bridge the gap between their already successful 1.5 & 2.0. Boasting a 1 ¾-inch wound channel, this broadhead finds the sweet spot between cutting diameter while still providing good penetration. With its one-piece titanium ferrule and Lock-and-Pivot rear-deploying blades the SEVR is extremely durable and reliable. Available in both 100 and 125 grain models, you can find the right weight to assure proper a front-of-center weight ratio.
$16 per broadhead; sevrbroadheads.com
The Swhacker brand has been around for years. I’ve personally taken a few deer with them and had great results. Available in packs of 3 the Swhacker #207 is a 100-grain expandable that has a 1” diameter in-flight and upon impact opens up to a 2-inch cutting diameter. With the company’s unique blade design, it gives you two distinct cutting edges. The “wing blades” are used for initial cutting of the hide during entry and help to open the main blades. As the broadhead continues penetrating, the second set is deployed, allowing razor sharp edges to wreak havoc within the body cavity.
$44 per 3; swhacker.com
Fixed vs Mechanical
When it comes to hunting big-game animals out West, I feel fixed-blade broadheads are the most reliable across the board for all species. Sure, I’ve shot some Mule deer, whitetails and antelope with expandables over the years, but if I were only going to pack one style of broadhead in my quiver for the entire season, and confidently shoot anything from antelope to elk with it, it’d be a strong 3-bladed fixed head.