Many manufacturers compare their mechanical heads to field points, claiming that they fly just as well as the low-profile target tips. I assume it’s a marketing gimmick.
So, do mechanical broadheads fly better? The aerodynamic design of the broadhead helps it fly straighter compared to a fixed blade broadhead, but it may not match the impact point of your field tip.
When the blades are contracted, the mechanical broadhead has a slimmer profile compared to a fixed blade broadhead. The low-profile limits wind resistance, making the arrow more aerodynamic. However, there is more to this explanation. Here is what I found…
Do Mechanical Broadheads Fly Better Compared to Fixed Broadheads?
Most bowhunters would agree that mechanical blade broadheads tend to fly better compared to fixed blade broadheads.
Field & Stream completed a test comparing the accuracy of the two types of broadheads. The mechanical and fixed broadheads didn’t match the target tip’s point of impact.
On average, the fixed broadheads were 1.44-inches away from the field-point impact. The mechanical broadheads were 0.89-inches away.
When testing fixed versus mechanical broadheads at 40 yards, Field & Stream editors found that fixed heads grouped better. At 60 yards, mechanical broadheads had tighter groupings. This led me to wonder what causes the difference in the accuracy of the broadheads.
The main difference appears to be due to the design of the arrow. When the blades are closed, the mechanical broadheads are much slimmer.
Fixed blades are prone to wind resistance, which can slow the momentum of the arrow and cause it to veer off in windy conditions or across long distances.
Every time you shoot fixed blade broadheads, you get a different point of impact. You can tune your bow and arrow to achieve tighter groupings, but mechanical broadheads require less tweaking.
Do Mechanical Broadheads Fly Like Field Points?
Mechanical broadheads tend to fly better compared to fixed blade broadheads, but they don’t fly like field points.
When I look at the best-selling mechanical broadheads, they typically come with a field point. This should prove that manufacturers know their broadheads don’t fly as straight as field points.
You can get field points with the same grain size as your broadheads and still get different points of impact. The difference is the design of the field point.
Field points, which are also called target tips or target points, have aerodynamic designs for minimal resistance. You either screw or glue the tip to the arrow shaft. After attaching the field point, the arrow still has a small profile.
Fixed blade broadheads have an average cutting diameter of 1-3/16-inches to 1-1/4-inches. The average diameter of the field point head is just under half an inch.
Most of the mechanical blade broadheads that I compared had a cutting diameter of two inches or more. When the blades are closed, the profile is smaller compared to a fixed blade broadhead, but still larger than the field point.
The bottom line is that the mechanical blade broadheads are less aerodynamic, so they won’t fly like a field point.
What Type of Broadhead Should You Use?
The type of broadhead you use depends on your preferences, bow, and prey. Some people prefer the simplicity of fixed blade broadheads. There are no mechanical parts that may fail.
Others prefer mechanical broadheads for their ability to fly straighter. However, the type of bow you use should also impact your decision, as some bows deliver greater force compared to others.
Mechanical broadheads have folding blades that rest in the ferrule of the broadhead. The blades open on impact, reducing energy for penetration. There is also a risk that the blade may open before impact when passing through brush.
With a recurve bow or compound bow, you may need every bit of penetration power that you can get. Modern crossbows deliver much more energy. Any loss of energy from the opening of the blades should be negligible, so you can use mechanical broadheads without limiting penetration.
Another consideration is the type of animal that you’re hunting. If you’re hunting deer or smaller-sized animals, penetration isn’t as much of an issue, unless you hit bone.
With a mechanical broadhead from a compound bow or recurve, there is more that can go wrong when targeting medium-sized or small-sized animals.
With larger animals, you typically want large wound channels and easy to see blood trails. Mechanical broadheads are often better at causing internal damage and taking down prey quickly.
How to Improve Your Accuracy with Any Type of Broadhead
No matter if you choose mechanical broadheads or fixed broadheads, you need to adjust your setup to achieve consistent points of impact. With proper tuning, both types of broadheads should offer the accuracy that you want.
I’ve found that improper broadhead alignment is a common problem. If the broadhead isn’t perfectly aligned with the arrow shaft, wind resistance is more likely to cause the arrow to fly off course.
After placing the broadhead on the shaft, I should be able to spin the tip on my hand without it wobbling. You can also try placing the shaft on a V-shaped cutout in a block of wood or cardboard box with the tip against a piece of cardboard taped to the wall.
As you spin the shaft, the tip shouldn’t move from its point on the cardboard. If the tip creates a circular pattern, it is misaligned. Apply pressure to the broadhead to adjust its alignment and try again.
Before tuning the broadhead, you may need to tune the shaft. This is best achieved with two bare shafts and two fletched arrows. The shafts and arrows should have similar impact points.
If the shafts land to the left of the arrows, you may need to use a longer shaft or a shaft with a lighter spine. Using a heavier target tip may also help weaken the spine.
When the shafts land to the right of the arrows, you may need a shorter shaft or lighter target tip to strengthen the shaft.
You may also notice a low nock point or a high nock point. When the shafts land above the arrows, move the nock point up or the arrow rest down. If the shafts have a lower point of impact, move the nock point down or the arrow rest up.