Does Mass Matter? Right up there with Ford vs Chevy and fixed or mechanical blades is the debate about broadhead weight. It’s generally accepted that heavier arrows penetrate better than lighter ones, but what about broadheads?
To test the difference between 100, 125, and 150-grain mass, I took to my shooting bench to see “what’s up.” The bow is the Centerpoint Amped 415 shooting carbon 300-grain arrows that came with the crossbow package. I probably spoiled the suspense with the lead photo, but the minimal difference may surprise you.
Understand that this bow shoots over 400 fps which helps to reduce arrow drop at 30 yards. With a compound shooting in the high 200’s or low 300’s the difference would be greater.
I hunted for antelope with the inventor of Grim Reaper broadheads a few years ago and learned quickly of his inventive mind. While I slept in camp the first night, he had his welding gear fired up creating a two-man mobile cow decoy. Grim Reaper is one of the few broadhead companies that offer their heads in three weights, 100, 125, and 150-grain mass, perfect for this test.
Grim Reaper broadheads are sold in a 4-pack that includes a practice head so that I didn’t have to burn several hundred dollars in heads for this test. Additionally, I had two brands of carbon arrows and Easton FMJ which combine carbon and aluminum.
Increasing the mass of your broadhead may help tighten groups, but will do little to increase penetration. I once set up a crossbow for a Cape buffalo hunt and experimented with arrows from 600 to 950 grains in mass. Shooting them into a new foam target I expected there to be vast differences with the heavier arrows. Not true. Penetration in foam increased 10-15 percent. However, I believe that foam melting in the target block tends to stop all arrows the same. This would not be true for animal tissue.
One of my tests used a Gearhead crossbow that shoots traditional arrows. During those tests, I tried the narrow Axis shafts, and that improved penetration dramatically. the improved diameter of the arrow shaft nearly doubled penetration. Fortunately, most modern crossbows have such high kinetic energy that penetration is rarely a problem. You’ll find information like this in my new book “Crossbow Hunting- A YouTube Quick Guide” along with many helpful videos.
Variables, Variable, Variables
Here’s what I learned:
- Does the brand of crossbow matter? Yes
- Does the brand of arrow matter? Yes
- Does the nock type matter? No
- Does the arrow speed matter? Yes
- Does the brand of broadhead matter? Yes
- Does the shape of the broad matter? Yes
- Did some heavier broads strike the same hole at 30 yards as lighter ones? Yes
The trajectory difference between 100, 125, and 150-grain heads at 30 yards is minimal, however, all of the above variables affect impact. It’s critical that you test your broadheads from your bow shooting your choice of an arrow. Once you get the right combination, you are ready for any big game animal.