Best Broadheads for Hunting: Expandable & Mechanical Broadhead Reviews

There’s no doubt hunting is a gear intensive sport, especially bow hunting. You have an endless list of mission-critical gear that needs to be reliable, so you can punch your tag.

To make matters worse, the outdoor market is full of low-quality imported products. It doesn’t matter if you are hunting with a compound bow or a recurve bow, these manufacturers make them to imitate the top-shelf designs from the U.S. Many importers focus on broadheads, too. So, how do you choose a quality broadhead for your next deer hunt?

Hopefully, you’re reading this well before opening day. You’ll need to have time to get a good broadhead on the end of your arrow. Here’s four of the best expandable broadheads for deer and other game. Read on to get some helpful tips to make sure you never lose your hunt because of poor selection.

What to Look for in a Broadhead

Choosing a broadhead can be hard. Putting aside all the professional sponsorships, the flashy magazine photos and what is on sale at the local outfitter, there are two main things your broadheads need.

Your broadheads need to be durable enough to penetrate 16 to 18 inches of flesh and bone, and dependable enough to allow you avoid worrying when you’re looking through your peep. You won’t get this kind of performance from inexpensive, knock off broadheads and other equipment you find online.

One of the best broadheads for hunting at the end of a silver arrow
Picking a durable Broadhead is extremely important.

Durability:  Above all, your broadheads need to be durable. The broadhead is the only piece of gear you carry into the woods to cut through the flesh of your quarry and cause tissue destruction. The more durable they are, the more likely they are to be intact after a double pass through a deer’s chest cavity. They should be ready for you to shoot again.

If your broadhead falls apart on impact, you simply won’t get the penetration and killing performance you need to be an ethical hunter. Lightweight, expandable broadheads in the past have been known to shred cutting surfaces as they move through tissue and contact bone. Not only will you lessen the diameter of your wound channel, the penetration of your arrow will be severely impacted. Stay with steel broadheads that are time proven with in-field experience on big game.

Dependability:  When you head into the woods, the last thing you want on your mind is if your most critical piece of equipment is going to perform under pressure. Gun hunters constantly obsess over the dependability and accuracy of their firearms. Bow hunters need to have the same reverence towards their arrows and broadheads.

Successful companies who market broadheads know exactly how to sell equipment. The two biggest things broadhead manufacturers offer are lethality and durability. These two aspects make a Broadhead more dependable in the field. If you know your broadhead can withstand a double pass, no matter the shot angle, you’ll be more likely to deliver a lethal shot on that big bugling 6×6 elk charging into your call.

How to Choose a Broadhead

Game Weight and Bone Structure:  Seasoned hunters and guides have banned expandable broadheads in elk and bear camps because they have a reputation for failure. Big boned, hard to put down animals don’t mix well with expandable broadheads. And to an extent, they’re right.

Be cautious about using a lightweight broadhead like a Rage or Muzzy on a big-boned elk. There’s just not enough in-field performance experience to justify it yet. If you must, make sure your bow is completely zeroed in with a scope to help ensure your kill is clean.  Make sure you proceed with an ethical amount of caution.

Bow Energy and Hunting Experience:  The one time you want to think twice about using an expandable broadhead is when you’re using a low poundage bow. This applies to youth hunters with little experience and traditional archers. These groups of people need a cut on contact fixed broadhead because it takes substantial energy to open a mechanical broadhead. And if you’re shooting a low energy bow, you don’t have the power to spare.

You must be sure when you assemble your broadheads that you’re doing it the correct way. Guessing or trying to “wing it” is a recipe for injury and equipment failure. If you’ve never assembled an expandable broadhead after sharpening, look for how to tutorials and YouTube videos. It’s well worth the 10 minutes of your time.

Expandable Vs. Fixed Broadheads

For thin skinned game like deer, modern expandable designs offer the best performance. In years past, hunters have had heated campfire debates on expandable blades. According to several studies, mechanical and fixed broadheads boast almost identical recovery numbers in the field. Expandable broadheads offer performance gains that outweigh any risks that a fixed broadhead would mitigate.

The only real problem with an expandable broadhead is the possibility it may not open. You can mitigate this by using a cut on contact design. This will still ensure a double pass through. Just make sure you use a quality broadhead so you’re not wondering if your blades will deploy. If you shoot an arrow through the chest cavity of a deer, you want to know you will put that animal down and make your broadhead recoverable.

The expandable designs they sold in years past were not cut on contact. Modern expandable designs offer greater range and flatter trajectory. They also have astoundingly large cutting diameters that make them more lethal on contact.

Range and Terrain

A hunter in green camouflage clothing  stands in tall green and yellow grass aiming a compound bow
Both range and terrain can make a difference.

Depending on your situation, the range and terrain are going to be the determining factors in your broadhead selection. For example, you’re bow hunting on the great plains of Kansas. Big bellied, corn-fed mature bucks are on the prowl anywhere from 15 to 45 yards out.

Rolling plains, bisected by hedgerows and creek bottoms make up the terrain. Use an expandable broadhead. Not only is it plenty for a whitetail, the longer measured distances make the flatter trajectory and more useful.

However, hunting for a Manitoba black bear over bait, will call for a fixed broadhead. The short range means an expandable is less likely to open up. Plus, the flatter trajectory is irrelevant against a big, heavy boned bruin at close range.

At the end of the day, if you have a time proven design at the end of your arrow, you’re going to avoid disappointment. Some of the newer designs, especially expandable designs, are going to give you a slight edge. Just remember, your broadhead is a single link in the chain.

Outdoor equipment pails in comparison to skill when it comes to overall importance in bringing home the bacon. Being able to put the arrow where it needs to go is the most important part. The right skills coupled with the right equipment will allow you to have a successful hunt and get your broadhead back.

Four Broadheads for Deer & Game


1. Rage Bowhunting Xtreme

Rage Bowhunting Xtreme Series Mechanical Broadheads, 2...
  • PRECISION - Rage broad heads...
  • FERRULE ALIGNMENT - (F.A.T.)...
  • TECHNOLOGY - comes with...
  • VERSATILE - Available in...
  • RAGE - Leading the Evolution...

If there’s a name in expandable broadhead that screams reliability and innovation, its the Rage Xtreme series. No other broadhead has garnered the same cult following as these broadheads. Rage broadheads are second to none. If you can stomach the cost of these bad boys, they’ll serve you extremely well in the field with excellent performance and lethality on game.

Rage Xtreme broadheads work via the addition of a silicon rubber band that spring loads the blades. When the cut on contact tip hit your target, it opens up the wound channel which applies pressure to the blade petals as they slide in. The rubber band keeps the blades retracted until there’s enough pressure to shoot the blades outward, slicing open the wound channel to nearly three inches. The only downside to this system is keeping it clean, sharp and assembling properly.

Rage makes these broadheads using stainless steel and aluminum. They are available in several different types, all of which are excellent. If you choose to buy them, get a target so you can test shooting them. Also, make sure you know how to properly assemble them.

The Rage broadheads are uniquely well suited for thin skinned game because they open early and explosively. They lack in performance on big boned, or thick-skinned game like elk, hogs or bear. If you decide to use these on a durable target, stick to broadside shots on relatively close targets.


2. Muzzy Trocar HB Hybrid

Muzzy Trocar HB Hybrid 4 Blade Broadhead
  • HYBRID BROADHEAD - Two...
  • 2-5/8” TOTAL CUTTING SURFACE...
  • AERODYNAMIC - .035" offset...
  • BONE SHATTERING TIP –...
  • MADE IN THE USA -Founded in...

A smooth flying, hard hitting broadhead, Muzzy broadheads are excellent on game. The trocar tip with the four blades produces a devastating three-dimensional wound channel. You don’t have to worry about it closing on a thick-skinned animal like a hog or bear. By far, the best feature of Muzzy trocar hybrid is the tip.

This is not a cut on contact blade, but the trocar tip is easy to sharpen and has an exceptionally well penetrating design, making this an award-winning broadhead. The geometry that engages the expandable blades are extremely effective on these broadheads. This is because it happens early as the broadhead penetrates the wound channel. This conserves energy, allowing for a more consistent payment of the four cutting blades.

The stainless-steel shank and overall construction of this broadhead mean you can trust it to go through several deer. Afterwards, you only need to clean and re-sharpen these each time. It opens up to over 2.5 inches reliably.


3. Swhacker 2 Inch Cut Broadheads

Swhacker #207 2 Inch Cut Broadheads Set of 3-100 Grain,...
  • Each set includes 3 broadheads
  • 100 Grain Expandable 2-Blade...
  • Blade: .032" thick, stainless...
  • Ferrule: Anodized aircraft...
  • Hardened high carbon steel...

Swhacker follows the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And they certainly made this broadhead right because dozens of companies have tried to copy it. There’s nothing like the original and this is the cheapest expandable broadhead you’ll see commonly recommended. Swhacker made an aluminum body with a carbon steel trocar tip and stainless steel replaceable blades. Rather than replacing the blades, you can add a new broadhead.

Best of all, you can buy these broadheads for less than half what others cost. Hunter have made this broadhead field proven on thin skinned game like deer. It performs exceptional lethally in this role. It also excels for new hunters who are getting into using expandable broadheads.

When sharpening and assembling these broadheads, there’s little to mess up. The trocar tip is easy to sharpen and the long straightforward blades are easy to manage. Also, there’s no shock collar or loading mechanism to worry about engaging. Essentially speaking, this is everything you want from an expandable broadhead. Look to this broadhead for a simple to use, time-proven design that flies flat and hits hard.


4. G5 Outdoors 100 Grain Broadhead

G 5 Outdoors T3 100 Grain Broadhead (3 Pack)
  • 100 grain, 3-pack
  • 320% stronger than...
  • Huge 1.5" cutting diameter
  • 100% all steel construction
  • Spider slip blade retention...

From the people who made the legendary G5 Montec, this is an exceptionally durable and cost-effective broadhead because it lasts so long. They’re compact but stout, hiding all three blades behind a pointed guard that delays expansion to get straight penetration. The 100-percent all steel construction is reportedly over 30 percent stronger than the competitor’s aluminum models. You can tell with better infield performance on game and beefier blades that make sharpening easier.

Straighter, more robust wound channels are possible with this broadhead because of the durable cross-section and heavyweight steel blades. This is one of the few expandable broadheads that are rugged and reliable enough to use on hard to put down game like elk. The cutting diameter does leave a bit to be desired, at a modest 1.5 inches. However, the Spider-Slip retention system on these broadheads, combined with the three-blade design means it’ll always open up.

This broadhead will create a three-dimensional wound channel that won’t close under fat or hide. If you’re looking for an exceptionally durable and cost-effective broadhead, look at this model from G5 Outdoors. It’s got strength in spades, enough performance to kill anything, and brings exceptional confidence every time.

Types of Hunting

Big Game Hunting

Big game hunting is one of the most common types of hunting in existence. This sport involves hunting elk, deer, wild boar, sheep, mules, alligators, and other large animals.

Baiting

This kind of hunting is for catching fish. The bait used is usually insects and nightcrawlers. Recently, plastic bait and electronic lures have been used to attract fish.

This kind of hunting is also for luring leopards, antelope, and other safari animals similar to these.

Bear Hunting

Bears have been hunted since the beginning of time. They are part of big game hunting, but this is such a specific type that it deserves a category of its own. Bears live all over the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. When hunting bears, it’s very important to know the specific regulations for the specifics. Bears have begun to go extinct because of all the poaching, so they are now in a vulnerable spot as a species and have many regulations around hunting. The methods of bear hunting include shooting, mainly.

Camouflage Hunting

Camo is a combination of colors and materials that are meant to conceal hunters from their prey. This idea came from animals because they have camouflage built into them naturally, such as the leopard’s spots or the katydid’s wings.

Beagling

This type of hunting is usually used for rabbits or other animals like rabbits. This type of hunting is usually used by people who want to handle smaller animals before they get to bigger ones.

Mountain Hunts

Mountain hunts are challenging by any standard. You will be challenged physically, mentally, and even technically. It can also be difficult not to fall under the spell of the mountains harsh but magical beauty. Since mountain hunts are also up in the mountains, you will find some of the most sought-after catches in the world, for instance, Snow and Blue Sheep, the Mountain Goat and maybe even the famous Markhor. It is absolutely right that many of these trophies are only found in some of the planets most remote corners and are fairly expensive, but it is also certainly possible to try out mountain hunting at a price level that by far most hunters can afford.

Driven Hunts

Driven Hunts is probably the most intense hunting and wildlife experience out there. A line of beaters will drive the game forward towards a path of waiting guns, making sure that they arrive directly in front of the hunters so they have easy aim. Driven hunts are one of the most challenging types of hunting, posing an excellent challenge on the hunters skills. Preparing on your local shooting range is often the key to a driven hunt. Countries such as Poland and Hungary host most of the driven hunts, as over decades they have succeeded in creating a great setting for these hunts, which are carried out here with great professionalism. In recent years, European countries such as Romania, Croatia, Turkey, and Spain, have appeared as excellent driven hunt destinations, and are now giving Poland and Hungary a rightful competition in the race to become the best destination in Europe for driven hunting.

Pigeon Shooting

If you like challenging hunting, then pigeon shooting could be just what you are looking for. Here you will enjoy an ample opportunities to take shots time after time. It is possible to hunt Pigeons for the entire year places like England and Scotland. While the hunting is fun in late summer, many people enjoy hunting in the spring. In the fall you have many opportunity of combining this type of hunt with other types, including hunting for pheasants, woodcock and hares.

Hunting Recreationally

Recreational hunting is about having fun out in the open rather than getting the best shot at ideal prey. In this hunting type, a score of zero doesn’t matter as much because you are not there to kill every animal that moves. This type of hunitng is done for the sake of the sport.

Hunting Lifestyle

In this case, hunting becomes part of your lifestyle. If you spend hours in the forest even after the hunt is over, then you are embracing the hunting lifestyle. This lifestyle tends to keep you in the forest for longer times, not just because you are after something but out of sheer joy and satisfaction from the sport.

Small Game Hunting

Small game hunting is most likely the most common type of hunting and it can extend to year-round. Dogs can play an important role in this hunting as well if they are properly trained for it. Small game hunting is not as deadly as a big game hunting, but it is far more active, and a single miss can cost you.

Active Hunting

For an active hunter, it is important to stay close behind your prey. You have to carry your gear with you, and you might even have to travel through the forest, woods, bushes or even swamp. This means you need to have adequate gear that is lightweight and clothes that are properly ventilated.

Safari Hunting

Safari hunting involves hunting in warm latitudes with high temperatures. To do this type of hunting successfully, you will need to have lightweight garments to have a relaxing time while hunting through dry climates. This is important to avoid the heat.

Using Decoys

Decoys are typically used for hunting water animals, though large game decoys do exist. Generally, these are used with fowl luring calls or scents; these decoys are placed in the sight of hunters who are camouflaged within a hide or a blind. Decoys usually reduce the skill level a successful hunt needs, as they typically bring animals right to the hunter. Decoys also amp up the chances of having a successful hunt, which is especially important if you are hunting to eat instead of for sport or for wall trophies.

Blinds and Hides

Using blinds, hides, lodges, and similar hiding spots is more common than tracking because it does not require anything more than the ability to wait to have a successful hunt. Blinds and hides are set up in the areas where the game you want to catch is commonly found, and then the hunters (you) simply wait in your hiding spot for your targets to arrive. Abundant hunting gear can be stored in the blind. The main drawbacks to using a blind or a lodge are that they require time to set up, and there is no guarantee that the desired game will make an appearance.


Choosing the Right Broadhead:

Finding the right Broadhead for your next deer hunt shouldn’t be confusing.  Hunting is definitely a pay to play sport, where your hunting gear always matters. The last thing you need on your next deer hunt is to try and take a deer with a poor quality broadhead, resulting in a less-than clean kill.  That leads to unneeded suffering for the deer, and can cost you many hours of tracking time on an otherwise clean kill.

Any of our top 4 picks should help you head down the right path on your next hunting expedition.  Keep in mind that gear is just one of the few things that matter.  You’ll likely want to make sure weather conditions are perfect, because if they aren’t – the type of broadhead may not matter at all if you aren’t able to properly fire your bow in the wind or poor weather conditions.  If you decide that gearing up with arrows is just too difficult, you could always venture out with a 30-06 or a .308 (only partially joking here)!

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