Serious bow hunters know there's no time like the present to stay sharp while waiting for the fall hunts to begin. Some shoot in target or 3-D leagues, while others simply take a few shots in the back yard every so often to keep their arm strong and mind focused.
Off-season shooting (along with planning and scouting) is the key to success come wild adventures months down the road.
Both new archers and seasoned pros might also use the warm-weather months to try out new broadheads. Many archery shops have some test heads available, and employees there can help you figure out what might be best for the type of game you'll be after.
Today's bow hunters have a dizzying array of broadhead styles to choose from—more than 100 at last check—but it still comes down to what works for your set-up and skill level.
Mechanical broadheads, like Barrie's Snyper and other similar models, are gaining in popularity thanks to flight performance similar to that of target points.
Bill Pluff of Hunter's Choice Archery in Peshtigo, Wis., said mechanical broadheads are increasing in popularity, mirroring the rise in bow speeds and carbon arrow sales. In addition, fall-away rests that enable archers to use helical fletching can aid broadhead accuracy.
New Archery Products' technical support specialist Cary Pickands said no matter what type you choose, broadheads are reactive and must be screwed on straight.
"If they're off center, it can be the way they were screwed in, or an insert issue, a ferrule issue or a machining issue," Pickands said. "No matter what, they won't fly straight if they're not screwed in straight."
Pickands said hand torque, too much spring pressure on an arrow rest, and an under-spined or over-spined arrow are among the other factors that can throw off your shot.
Experts recommend tuning your broadheads for the best flight. That means practice shooting with actual broadheads and not just field points of the same weight. If your hunting heads don't hit the same spot as your field points, move your rest left, right, up or down until they do. Also, be sure to check your arrow nocking point. The best advice is to seek the help of an experienced shooter, either at a local target league or an archery pro shop.
Obviously, only razor-sharp broadheads should be used. That's the beauty of replaceable blades, or in the case of Barrie Archery's Warhead, a whole new blade cartridge that easily slides on.
Here's a closer look at the Warhead and a number of other hot new products:
NAP's Thunder Heads, available in 85-, 100- and 125-grain weights, are now available for carbon arrows.
New Archery Products
New Archery Products is the manufacturer of arguably the world's most popular archery equipment, including America's number one seller: Thunderhead Broadheads. The company also makes Spitfire and ShockWave mechanical broadheads and the new Razorbak 100 cut-on-contact broadhead, as well as arrow rests, holders, launchers and stabilizers.
QuikTune 2000 & 4000
If you're looking for the best value in drop-away arrow rests, the new QuikTune 2000 might be your answer. If you insist on the best, the micro-adjustable QuikTune 4000 is probably the way to go. Both offer improved arrow flight and enhanced accuracy, and are easy to set up. The 4000 has incredibly precise tuning; using a single wrench, both centershot and elevation are micro-adjustable. A calibrated elevation scale makes initial adjustments a snap.
Neither model has bulky or complicated linkages, nor do they have wimpy and uncertain strings or unreliable rubber tubing. An improved cable guard slide and rugged braided steel cable are the only mechanisms required.
As the bow is drawn, the cable slide moves back, and the arrow rest is pulled precisely up to launch position. When the bow is fired, the slide moves forward, and the rest spring-rotates instantly down and out of the way. That totally eliminates fletching contact and the disastrous effects that such contact can have on both arrow flight and accuracy.
Exaggerated launcher arms act as built-in arrow holders and are factory-fitted with New Archery Products’ durable and silent Teflon fork tamers. An innovative second-arrow holder mounts to the riser's shelf and silently holds the arrow before the bow is drawn.
The Razorbak's unique four-blade design is a recipe for devestating penetration.
Great penetration begins with the Razorbak 100's lead cutting edge, a muscular, .039-inch-thick stainless steel blade set in a super-tough composite core. That setup is backed up with two more razor-sharp blades, creating a 1 1/8-inch-wide, four-blade cutting path.
All four of the blades are locked into the composite core, which rotates around a strong central shaft. The blade-rotating technology further enhances penetration by allowing the arrow's energy to push straightforward through the wound channel. The head weighs a precise 100 grains for fast arrow flight and easy tuning.
Thunderheads for Carbon Arrows
Thunderheads are now available packaged specifically for carbon arrows, available in 85-, 100- and 125-grain weights, and each package includes universal broadhead adapter rings. The rings make mounting the broadheads to small diameter carbon shafts easier, ensuring perfect alignment and peak penetrating performance.
Barrie Archery’s Warhead and Snyper
Barrie's new expandable Warhead features a bone-shattering, tri-cut tip and slide-on, replaceable blade cartridge with no set screws. Three surgery-sharp stainless blades can open large entrance and exit holes. When a blade gets dull, simply slide the blade cartridge off and replace it with a new one.
When blades on the Barrie's Warhead become dull, simply slide on a new cartridge.
The Warhead comes assembled with the blade cartridge system. The three-blade, 100-grain head has a 5/8-inch closed cutting diameter and 1 3/8-inch expanded cutting diameter. Blades are .030-inch thick. The tri-cut tip is pre-aligned for increased penetration and the head has a self-centering collar system.
Barrie's Snyper, meanwhile, is a super-tough, two-blade expandable broadhead with a cam-action blade system. The 100-grain, open-on-impact design comes assembled with rearward-sliding and expanding blades that eliminate deflection on angled hits.
Blades on the Snyper are .035-inch thick stainless steel. Like the Warhead, the Snyper has a 5/8-inch closed cutting diameter and 1-3/8-inch expanded cutting diameter.
Muzzy doesn't offer mechanical broadheads because the company believes nothing can perform with the strength and speed of a fixed, locked-blade broadhead. That being said, the company says its new 75-grain, three-blade broadhead is every bit as "bad to the bone" as its big brothers.
Muzzy also has a new product called the Zero Effect Arrow Rest. The rest operates with the movement of the cables by attaching to the cable guard. It lifts into place when you draw and drops away when you release, with nothing to affect the flight of the arrow.
Game Tracker has a new head called the First Cut Expandable Magnum, a combination broadhead with two cut-on-impact and two mechanical blades. The company says the fixed leading blade offers instant penetration and the expandable opens to a large 1 3/8-inch cutting diameter.