Best Fixed Blade Broadheads – 2019 | Bob Robb
Best Fixed-Blade Broadheads – 2019
by Bob Robb
While mechanical broadheads have become the rage these days, tried-and-true fixed-blade broadheads (replaceable-blade) remain extremely popular for good reason – they’ve been cleanly killing everything from groundhogs to grizzly bears for more than half a century.
So, how about a little history lesson? In 1956, Fred Bear perfected the replaceable bleeder blade in his Bear Razorhead broadhead, which made adding fresh, razor-sharp blades in tandem with a fixed main blade that had to be hand sharpened, quick and easy. Other creative bowhunters soon recognized the advantages of sharp replaceable blades and began experimenting with ways to make it happen. Jim Dougherty, Jack Doyle, and Duke Savora began gluing razor blades from their shaving kits to the ferrules of their broadheads in the late 1960s; Doyle began marketing the Zia Scorpion, which was the first razor-insert broadhead, as well as blades for the glue-on process, in the early 1960s, advertising both in the now-defunct Archery (now Bowhunting World) magazine. But it was Richard Maleski with his 1972 Wasp broadhead that first brought commercially successful mass production to the replaceable, fixed-blade design.
The big advantage of a replaceable fixed-blade head is, of course, the ability to easily swap out old blades for fresh, scalpel-sharp blades. I shoot these broadheads into foam targets a lot, then change the blades out before heading afield, which means I can practice with the exact same arrow/broadhead combination I’ll be hunting with.
In the old days, some replaceable-blade heads could be touchy to tune, and until modern manufacturing processes made it possible to create a 6-pack of heads that all weighed within +/- 5 grains of each other, consistent accuracy was difficult – particularly at longer ranges. Venting the blades helped cure the problem of wind planning, and today I have little trouble getting replaceable fixed-blade broadheads to fly like darts. One of their big disadvantages vs. mechanical heads is, with their larger diameter, wind affects them a lot more, and wind drift can be an issue when shooting at longer ranges.
With the best fixed-blade broadheads, you can choose between 3- and 4-blade designs. I’m not sure there is a great difference in terminal performance between the two, all other things being equal. For me, a selection has always been made on whether or not a particular head flies well for me.
While there are several excellent replaceable fixed-blade heads available today, my all-time favorite remains the Thunderhead in both 100- and 125-grains. I honestly cannot tell you how many animals I’ve killed with them, but the list includes black, grizzly and brown bears, elk, deer, wild hogs, pronghorn, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, mountain goats, and a slug of different African plains game, among others.
The last two animals I killed with a Thunderhead 125 are typical of my experiences over the years. I shot a big AZ bull elk (gross score: 361) at 27 yards through both lungs and watched him pile up after running 300 yards. A medium-sized Idaho black bear literally died on the spot.
In alphabetical order, here is my list of today’s top 5 replaceable fixed-blade broadheads.
Wes White Podcast Version
Bob’s Top 5 Fixed-Blades – 2019
- G5 Striker V2: The Striker V2 is an upgrade from the original G5 Striker. With a bigger cutting diameter (1 ¼-inches), super sharp Lutz blades, Anix blade locking system, and a machine steel ferrule, the Striker V2 is stronger and bigger than the original – which was an excellent head in its own right — and flies better great. I’ve shot several deer and a few wild hogs with Strikers, and like them. A lot. For more information, visit www.g5outdoors.com.
- Innerloc Slice: I’ve liked Innerloc heads since their first 100-grain Stainless head came up many moons ago. I’ve found it pretty easy to get them to tune and fly well with several different bow-and-arrow combinations. The Slice features patented tapers to precisely align broadhead rotation to standard carbon arrows, a 1-1/16-inch cutting diameter, .027-inch blade thickness, and weigh 100 grains. For more information, visit www.innerloc.com/product/100-grain-slice-3-pack.
- Muzzy Trocar 3-Blade: I met John Musacchia, Sr., shortly after he founded Muzzy Products Corp. back in 1984, and have been a big fan of Muzzy broadheads ever since. And so is the rest of America, as Muzzy heads are the nation’s biggest replaceable-blade seller. The company is now owned by Feradyne (which also owns Rage, among other archery products), and they have kept the line fresh and growing. Still, my go-to Muzzy broadhead remains the classic 100-grain Trocar 3-blade head. The Trocar line features a solid one-piece stainless steel ferrule and a right offset blade design, which helps produce consistently-accurate broadhead flight with right offset, right helical or straight fletching. The Trocar tip (originally designed in medieval times to penetrate chain mail) is known for bone-breaking penetration. For more information, visit https://www.feradyne.com/muzzy-broadheads
- NAP Thunderhead: There’s a reason I love Thunderheads (see above.) The late Andy Simo, who founded New Archery products and designed the Thunderhead, had a sharp mind and was a stickler for quality – and that’s what Thunderheads give you. They feature a Patented Micro Grooved Slimline Ferrule, which greatly increases flight accuracy, blades that undergo a Diamize sharpening process (just like scalpel blades) which creates a blade so sharp they scare me. I’ve always been able to make them fly, and they have never let me down. Ever. My most recent experience was in Idaho, where mechanical heads remain outlawed, so I shot a nice black bear with a Thunderhead 100. For more information, visit https://www.newarchery.com.
- Wasp Havalon HV: By now everyone knows about Havalon knives and their signature scalpel knife blades, right? Now, Wasp has partnered with Havalon Knives to create this new precision-made, replaceable-blade broadhead featuring a next-level degree of blade sharpness and stainless steel Trocar Tip. Other features include an aerodynamic, ultra-compact, aerospace-grade aluminum ferrule that facilitates field-point accuracy and easy tuning. The .035-inch thick surgical-sharp stainless steel blades provide a 1-3/16-inch cutting diameter. As with all Wasp replaceable-blade broadheads, the blades are easily replaced and each pack comes with three complete broadheads and 6 replacement blades. Available in both 100 & 125 grains. The heads are so new I have not had a chance to play with them, but given that Wasp’s Dick Maleski started the replaceable-blade industry back when Nixon was president, it seems fitting that Wasp would take it to the next level with Havalon blades. For more information, visit https://www.wasparchery.com/product/havalon-hv.
Looking for a Christmas gift for the bowhunter in your life? Check out Bob Robb’s Gift Guide | Fixed-Blade Broadheads.
Bob Robb has been a full-time outdoor writer since 1978, and a contributor to, and the editor of, several prominent hunting magazines down thru the years. He also lived 15 years in Alaska, where he held an assistant hunting guide license. The best part of his job, he says, is it allows him to be in the woods between 120-140 days a year; what could be better than that?