Making the transition from field point to broadhead should be done well before you plan to hunt. To ethically harvest animals, you need to be as accurate and confident with your hunting setup as possible. There is only one way to check arrow flight, and that is to shoot your broadheads.
Being that broadheads have more surface area than a standard field point, there is added drag during arrow flight causing minor, or major, arrow impact differences depending on how well your bow is tuned. Out of a properly tuned bow, broadhead flight should maintain a similar point of impact to within 3 inches of practice points. That doesn’t seem like much but apply that to the vital area of a deer, and it can easily mean a clean miss or non-lethal hit. As long as you are still grouping arrows with broadheads, the correction should be relatively simple. If you are not getting consistent groups, you may have a timing issue or your bow is not properly tuned.
There are a few important factors that apply to arrow flight that should be addressed before you hunt. Be sure that your bow is properly tuned and you have the correct arrow setup for your rig. Your arrow weight and fletch configuration can have a significant impact on arrow flight as well.
Consider an arrow with a helical for added stability and forgiveness for hunting. Also, consider using an arrow spinner to test shaft straightness and point alignment. If you see any wobble at all, try a different shaft until an effective arrow/head combo is found. A spinner can be purchased for about $30. This is also a good time to look over arrow shafts for any fractures in the carbon that may have been incurred during summer practice. If you find a fracture, get rid of the arrow right away.
Another often overlooked aspect of arrow flight is FOC or the front-of-center balance point. FOC determines the percentage of the arrow’s overall weight that is located in the front half of the arrow. The more weight that is located in the front half of the arrow, the further forward the FOC.An arrow’s front of center (FOC) location is critical in attaining optimal flight at longer distances because if the center of balance is too far back, the arrow will become unstable in flight. Ideally, you are looking for the weight to be front of center (FOC) on the arrow shaft to get optimum flight. For an arrow to fly true, you need an FOC point that is 10-15% forward from the true center of the arrow. There are a lot of FOC calculators available for free online that can make the process relatively easy. If all else fails and you are are ripping your hair out, swing by an archery shop and they will make sure you are shooting the correct arrow configuration for your setup.
Last but not least, some arrows just flat out fly better than others, and that is often due to how your vanes align with your blades. Obviously, this is more prevalent on fixed blades than on mechanicals, but perfect vane/broadhead alignment doesn’t always mean perfect arrow flight. Some setups just shoot better than others and by trying all your arrows with a broadhead set-up, you can pick your top 3 “best-flight” arrows for hunting.
The Block youth GenZ Target is perfect for broadhead testing. The GenZ can be purchased for $30 and it will take over 150 fixed blade broadhead penetrations without letting an arrow slip through. Will you destroy a target if you shoot a fixed blade broadhead, eventually yes, but it is well worth the money to get some solid practice from home before you hit the field.
Block GenZ Youth Target
You will also dull the blades on broadheads if you do a lot of target practice. By purchasing a set of replacement blades, or full broadhead practice set, you can switch over to a fresh set when you hit the field. Rage Broadheads have become very popular in the past ten years and hate ’em or love ’em; they make practice a breeze. The low profile design means that you can shoot them into any target and better yet, they come with a practice head. Personally, I have been shooting the Slick Trick Standard 100grn for the past three seasons and have had great results with them. The downside, I need to have a separate set of practice blades and I burn through a Block GenZ each fall.
The main reason that we practice is to be ready for making ethical shots on live animals. For $50, you can ensure that your arrow flight is true and also build the confidence that you need to effectively place your shot in the vital area of any big game animal.
Take the time to practice with your hunting setup before you hunt. It may make the difference between a clean kill and a clear miss.