Ripcord Arrow Rests
Mechanical broadhead didn't open...
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
Earltex 22-Jan-19
Timbow 22-Jan-19
Elkslaya 22-Jan-19
GF 22-Jan-19
skipmaster1 22-Jan-19
HUNT MAN 22-Jan-19
GF 22-Jan-19
Earltex 22-Jan-19
joehunter 22-Jan-19
Tonybear61 22-Jan-19
joehunter 22-Jan-19
HUNT MAN 22-Jan-19
PECO 22-Jan-19
IdyllwildArcher 22-Jan-19
Matt 22-Jan-19
HUNT MAN 22-Jan-19
HUNT MAN 22-Jan-19
bad karma 22-Jan-19
bad karma 22-Jan-19
crankn101 23-Jan-19
Ermine 23-Jan-19
Nick Muche 23-Jan-19
trkyslr 23-Jan-19
ELKMAN 23-Jan-19
mattandersen 23-Jan-19
12yards 23-Jan-19
Ermine 23-Jan-19
Ambush 23-Jan-19
mattandersen 23-Jan-19
Ambush 23-Jan-19
StickFlicker 23-Jan-19
HUNT MAN 23-Jan-19
Matt 23-Jan-19
x-man 23-Jan-19
WV Mountaineer 23-Jan-19
KY EyeBow 23-Jan-19
GF 23-Jan-19
Ambush 23-Jan-19
Will 23-Jan-19
mattandersen 23-Jan-19
Shug 23-Jan-19
JTV 23-Jan-19
Lost Man 23-Jan-19
Matt 23-Jan-19
Tonybear61 23-Jan-19
spike buck 23-Jan-19
longbeard 23-Jan-19
ACB 23-Jan-19
RutnStrut 24-Jan-19
kentuckbowhnter 24-Jan-19
greenmountain 24-Jan-19
Earltex 24-Jan-19
wifishkiller 24-Jan-19
PAbowhunter1064 24-Jan-19
12yards 24-Jan-19
crankn101 24-Jan-19
JL 24-Jan-19
ND String Puller 24-Jan-19
Alaska at heart 24-Jan-19
Beendare 24-Jan-19
Matt 24-Jan-19
GF 24-Jan-19
ACB 24-Jan-19
joehunter 24-Jan-19
Earltex 24-Jan-19
Woods Walker 24-Jan-19
ground hunter 24-Jan-19
GF 24-Jan-19
crankn101 24-Jan-19
skipmaster1 25-Jan-19
joehunter 25-Jan-19
skipmaster1 25-Jan-19
Shawn 25-Jan-19
GF 25-Jan-19
crankn101 25-Jan-19
GF 25-Jan-19
crankn101 25-Jan-19
GF 25-Jan-19
Tonybear61 26-Jan-19
longbeard 26-Jan-19
joehunter 26-Jan-19
GF 26-Jan-19
skipmaster1 26-Jan-19
Matt 26-Jan-19
ohiohunter 26-Jan-19
Jack Harris 26-Jan-19
2 Points 27-Jan-19
2 Points 27-Jan-19
From: Earltex
22-Jan-19
I was talking to a young bow hunter recently and he told me a story of shooting a deer with a mechanical and failed to kill it because the blades didn't deploy. I am always skeptical when I hear such stories. I have used mechanical heads for many years on many successful hunts with many different designs and have never had such an experience. I would like to hear from the Bowsite nation of incidents (newer broadhead designs in the last 10 years) where a mechanical failed to open on what was considered to be a lethal shot. Please provide proof if possible.

From: Timbow
22-Jan-19
It's next to impossible to find anyone that has actually recovered a deer and the blades didn't deploy. When guy makes a crap shot on a deer and can't find it, it's easier on the ego to claim a perfect hit and blame the broadhead instead of putting the blame where it belongs.

From: Elkslaya
22-Jan-19
Put it thru the vitals, and that animal is dead. Regardless. Marginal placement? Then there’s no room for error. A malfunction could be the difference......

From: GF
22-Jan-19
The Proof would be the tricky part, wouldn't it?

Pretty hard to say what didn't kill an animal that didn't die, but failure of a head to open sounds at least plausible.. unless you're using a head that cannot fail to open up because it has no moving parts...

I don't have any fondness for mechs and will never defend them, but when n animal gets away (or is otherwise lost), you can make up whatever kind o' crap you want and nobody can prove you wrong, which (if you think about it) is why murder cases are rarely (if ever??) taken to trial without a body.

From: skipmaster1
22-Jan-19
Idk. I’ve killed probably 125+ deer with a NAP Spitfire and never had one fail in any way. I did once have a Piston Point ride along the outside of the ribcage on a quartering away shot. The arrow ended up hitting the leg and turning 46 degrees going though the neck but I’d call that one a failure

From: HUNT MAN
22-Jan-19

HUNT MAN's embedded Photo
HUNT MAN's embedded Photo
I shot this caribou with a rage Hypo 2 inch. Never opened. Pin hole in and out . Killed him but didn’t open.

From: GF
22-Jan-19
OK, that one counts!

From: Earltex
22-Jan-19
Hunt man...did you see any particular reason why it didn't open?

From: joehunter
22-Jan-19
Killed or have seen killed a couple hundred animals - never had one fail to open. Unfortunately, a very few where hit and not recovered but in each case the broadhead opened.

From: Tonybear61
22-Jan-19
How about one that opened too early and threw the flight off? I have recovered a few of those. One of which entered the animal half sideways. I did wait to recover the animal next day after I saw what it did to the shot (did a follow-up shot with a fixed blade.). Really didn't appreciate gut shot exit wounds when entry is in the heart/ lungs facing broadside.

On another occasion shot two deer within a minute. On the same trail, facing broadside, lung hit, same distance, almost the exact same spot. One with fixed blade, one with expandable(open on impact). No obstructions, yielded different results.. That however is just a testimonial not a study.

From: joehunter
22-Jan-19
Never had one open to early - I like O-rings on Wasp Jak-Hammers and band on rocket heads.

From: HUNT MAN
22-Jan-19
The collar never broke or released.

From: PECO
22-Jan-19
Hunt Man what broadhead are you using now?

22-Jan-19
There were tons of stories of people shooting the old rages where the arrow passed through and still had intact rubber bands. I hadn't heard of it being an issue with the Hypodermics till Hunt's report.

From: Matt
22-Jan-19
What was his basis for determining the BH didn't deploy? Unless a blade retention band was still in place upon recovering the arrow (or recovering the animal), it is pretty difficult to determine that.

From: HUNT MAN
22-Jan-19

HUNT MAN's embedded Photo
HUNT MAN's embedded Photo
I bounce around. But last deer I killed Was with a rage. It opened this time. Going to shoot vortex and rockets for Next years light skinned critters!

From: HUNT MAN
22-Jan-19
The Broadhead was still in the collar when we found it and when cleaning the caribou it had a arrow hole on one side and the same Hole on the other side !! I have shot Plenty of animals with all Kinds of heads. Stuff happens .

From: bad karma
22-Jan-19

From: bad karma
22-Jan-19
I shot a good sized boar hog at Shiloh Ranch about 3 years ago with a Grim Reaper. I found the head after 200 yds of tracking, and it was not open, blades did not freely move out. Found the pig after another 200 yds, no big hole....looked hike he was hit with a field point. I'm using Ramcats now, and am pleased with them.

From: crankn101
23-Jan-19
A non opened Rage is just about as big as a standard 2 blade fixed head, no biggie. Anyways, 50 or so kills and zero issues with Rage heads.

From: Ermine
23-Jan-19
I shot a mule Deer with a rage. Rage didn’t open up. I got a pass thru. 2 small holes probably the size of closed rage. Shot was perfect placement. Deer died... but it took a lot longer than normal.

From: Nick Muche
23-Jan-19
Couldn’t believe the pin holes in Hunt’s caribou but saw it with my own eyes. Field tip size hole. Luckily the shot was on the money and he died real quick.

From: trkyslr
23-Jan-19
I shot a buck about 4 years ago that I lost.. shot a Ulmer edge head and the blades didn’t open arrow sunk up to the fletch entered behind last rib mid body (quartering away angle) up into goodies toward front opposite shoulder.. if the blades would have opened he’d been dead in less then 200 yards. Blood trailed him for 600 until the blood stopped and no deer... the rancher saw the buck a week later with my arrow still in him trying to stay with the does but he was getting stiff. Im sure he died eventually... I was pretty upset about that one.

From: ELKMAN
23-Jan-19
I have never seen it personally and I have been shooting mechs. since 2000 and I've killed an animal or two. I will say that Hunts Caribou is the first time I've heard of one not opening that I would 100% believe it. Crazy bad luck there. I would say 99% of the time it's a hunter blaming the head for a poor shot placement/selection, and an animal and or arrow that were not recovered. (makes it easy) That is one of the advantages of the Rage design though. Your blades are always facing outwards so you are at the very least shooting a small diameter fixed blade.

From: mattandersen
23-Jan-19
I shot a buck about 10 years ago with an expandable, I think it was a Rage, shoulder shot for sure at only 10 yards. Was shooting 70lb compound and I got about an inch of penetration. Basically bounced off his shoulder. So I don't use expandables anymore because of this encounter.

From: 12yards
23-Jan-19
Is it possible the head got wet and was frozen closed?

From: Ermine
23-Jan-19
I know mine wasn’t frozen. It was warm September day

From: Ambush
23-Jan-19
mattanderson, do you think a field point would have gone through the shoulder in this instance?

From: mattandersen
23-Jan-19
I believe a field point or fixed blade would've gotten more penetration and stuck in the deer for sure. Not saying it would've ended up in a quick kill and easy tracking but definitely more penetration. That is exactly why you see so many TV hunters shooting/aiming for center mass. They know to stay away from the shoulder blade with expandables.

From: Ambush
23-Jan-19
So, if a field point would penetrate, why wouldn’t an unopened mechanical with a much sharper tip and as small a diameter? Reference Hunt Man’s caribou above.

A mechanical not opening does not somehow change the arrows momentum or KE so that it only gets one inch of penetration. Not from a seventy pound bow.

From: StickFlicker
23-Jan-19
"There were tons of stories of people shooting the old rages where the arrow passed through and still had intact rubber bands."

Idyll, On the original Rage, there were no rubber bands that were designed to break on impact. A little tail on the blade was designed to slide under the O ring, they were never designed to break. Therefore, they should all still have intact rubber bands (O rings) after being shot, unless someone added their own rubber bands to hold the blades closed.

From: HUNT MAN
23-Jan-19
I think if you play the game for a long time something is bound to happen. Bowhunting is truly a game of inches. Win most lose some. I have had weird things happen with fixed blades also. Never had any luck shooting them in the shoulder fixed or mechanical . Hunt

From: Matt
23-Jan-19
A friend/former blacktail deer guide has seen quite number of bucks hit in the scapula and never had one penetrate enough to kill, regardless of BH type.

Sometimes equipment won't overcome poor shot placement.

From: x-man
23-Jan-19
Most of my MBH's are closed when I recover them. The inertia of the arrow stopping usually closes the blades.

I could see a guy finding his arrow with the blades closed, and then (due to poor shot placement) not recover the animal, and blame it in the blades not opening.

23-Jan-19
Stuff happens. With everything and everybody. No one is immune from striking out if you bat enough.

From: KY EyeBow
23-Jan-19
Shot a doe this Fall with a Rage Hypo +P. Hit her where I was aiming behind the shoulder at 25 yards(no chance of scapula or spine being hit). At impact, I could tell something wasn't right as there was very little penetration(guessing 6 inches or less) and the way the deer ran off, was not normal for the location of the hit as they usually die within 75 yards with that hit location and broadhead combo. I found the complete arrow but did not find the deer. Trailed the deer approximately 500 yards and lost the trail after she crossed a river and the headed uphill. I examined the broadhead and one of the blades was bent such that it was almost impossible to get the blades to deploy. Of course, this was after impact and the arrow stayed in the deer for approximately 75-100 yards. Anyway, i hated it but I'm still shooting the +P's as I think they are a good head and I agree with Hunt in that the law of averages does come into play eventually.

From: GF
23-Jan-19
Appears to me that many of you are assuming that Matt (Andersen) is blaming a mech that failed to open for his poor penetration when in fact it was more likely the case that it was fully deployed and that’s what caused the failure to penetrate.

What’s troubling to me is that I’m getting the sense that the TV “Pros” are advocating stupid shot placement (“center mass”, AKA Gut Shots) specifically to overcome a design limitation of the products they’re getting paid to push.

Which would fall equally under Unethical, Immoral and Unprofessional.

Couple O-pinnions....

If I can tune a fixed-blade head to impact right on top of FPs out to 45 yards, then it can’t possibly be that hard. (I started out 3” off at 20 yards, and a half hour later I was dead nuts at 45 and out of room to back up any further)

If the closest a guy can get to a deer or Elk is 40 yards, he needs to either learn how to hunt closer or switch to a firearm.

If you are counting on a ridiculously wide cutting edge to bail you out on a poor shot placement, you need to develop the discipline to wait for a shot that you’re sure of.

If you can’t track a wounded animal without blood on the ground, you are WAY better off with two holes ahead of the diaphragm than one (or even two) behind it.

Q: What part of this does not add up to a decided advantage for a properly tuned fixed blade of moderate width (and great sharpness) placed square in the middle of the lungs?

Reminds me of the spectacular results from highly frangible bullets: highlight footage when it works and a boatload of unanswerable questions when anything goes wrong.

What’s NOT to like about a couple of drops of bright red blood every few yards leading promptly to a completely dead animal which expired within less than half a minute?

From: Ambush
23-Jan-19
Does that “G” in GF stand for God??

From: Will
23-Jan-19
If one doesn't find the animal, how does one "really" know the head didnt open?

Timbow nailed it I think. Point blank, I've eaten my medicine on this and it sucks, but is a good lesson if you learn.

From: mattandersen
23-Jan-19
"A mechanical not opening does not somehow change the arrows momentum or KE so that it only gets one inch of penetration. Not from a seventy pound bow."

That was the thing, it did open and therefore was stopped pretty much immediately upon impact. Guess I didn't mention that. Lack of penetration due to the expandable opening upon impacting the tough shoulder blade..not the same as Huntmans story. Regardless I choose not to use them in case I do hit the shoulder.

From: Shug
23-Jan-19

Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
I took this buck 15 years ago.. when I shot him I noticed the white mark on the shoulder. I was thinking it was an arrow or an antler that did it.

When I cut him up this broad head was in a pocket of puss in the arm pit.. never entered the rib cage. There was 6” of arrow shaft attached also.

That’s exactly how the head was, unopened. I never really looked at the entrance hole in the hide but I can’t imagine that the head completely closed while in the deer.

From: JTV
23-Jan-19
at one time a problem with Rages was they open IN flight ..... Ive used the Steelheads and the now discontinued XL's from the time they came out, killed many many deer with them and NEVER did one not open .... I still say the Steelhead series and the Wasp Jak Hammers are the best mech's ever made .. I still kill some nice deer with my stock of the XL's and have plenty of Steelheads for back up .... I'll use a Spitfire blade or Reaper blade for replacements if needed .... I'm down to 9 new XL's right now... thats 9 more deer in the next 9 years ....

From: Lost Man
23-Jan-19
I videoed my buddy stalking a doe right up to the shot...hit her perfectly and she didn’t go 50 yards...the kicker? He didn’t realize until we found the arrow that it had a field tip on it. He never made that mistake again but it worked nevertheless

From: Matt
23-Jan-19
Did Earltex die?

From: Tonybear61
23-Jan-19
Joehunter JTV, the head that opened early was a WASP Hackhammer with the band/O ring..

I have seen what Rage can do when there is a bad choice of shot selection, buck running around a metro hunt in a neighborhood with his intestines hanging out for a few days.

Also one ripped open on the side from end to end due to a frontal shot gone bad. Long slow , painful death.

From: spike buck
23-Jan-19

spike buck's embedded Photo
Rage did it's job on this bear!! Never heard of anyone in camp not having the mechanical opening up.
spike buck's embedded Photo
Rage did it's job on this bear!! Never heard of anyone in camp not having the mechanical opening up.

From: longbeard
23-Jan-19
Matt Anderson I too shot a big buck (my biggest to date) in the scapula and got relatively no penetration. I was shooting a brand new Elite bow at 65 lbs that I had just purchased about 2 months earlier.

I had been watching that buck and two others that were hanging together and that I would consider shooters. He was a huge 150” class 10 point. First day I hunted him was opening day which was a Wednesday and I only saw a couple of does and a spike. My next opportunity came two days later. I was in my stand for about 30 minutes and the smallest of the the 3 bucks (130 ish 10 point) walked right under my stand and was eating acorns in front of me. As I was waiting for a broadside shot on him, I looked up to my left and here comes the huge 10 point. He too walked right directly under my stand and greeted the “smaller” buck about 10 yards in front of me. They began to spar lightly and soon they were broadside. I took the shot on the big boy and I knew instantly by the sound of impact that I had hit the scapula. Then my eyes confirmed it as he ran off with my arrow sticking out, looking like he had an AM antenna protruding from his shoulder.

Point of my story is that shot placement is everything no matter what type BH you use. I got no penetration on that shot (still crying) and I was using a 100 gr Slick Trick. Every time I look at an old trail cam picture of that buck, I go into a deep depression!!

From: ACB
23-Jan-19
I shot at my first animal this year with a rage ( always been afraid of some type failure) open in flight veered left into a broom handle size hickory . My fear was founded . Just sat there and shook my head . Back to the fix blade’s .

From: RutnStrut
24-Jan-19
"Appears to me that many of you are assuming that Matt (Andersen) is blaming a mech that failed to open for his poor penetration when in fact it was more likely the case that it was fully deployed and that’s what caused the failure to penetrate."

I have dug muzzy and Rocky Mountain Iron head broadheads out of the shoulder of deer. A shoulder shot on the heavy part of the shoulder will result in little to no penetration regardless of broadhead. I have also shot through part of the shoulder blade on a mature 250 plus pound WI buck with a 2 blade Rage. It wasn't on the heaviest part of the shoulder and I was shooting a 576 grain arrow. Point is you aren't getting through the heavy shoulder with most set ups.

24-Jan-19
i have shot rockets for many many years and they always open fully and leave a full cut entrance. the ones i use have a pointed blade end, steelhead xl.

24-Jan-19
I butchered a deer some years ago . It had a broadhead (fixed) lodged in his scapula, a .22 bullet on one of his ribs and a muzzle loader round ball in his brisket. This was a 2.5 year old deer and the wounds were not visible before the hide came off. What was he killed with you ask? It was a Ford F150. Deer are tough critters but any of the projectiles would have done him in with slightly different placement. I bet you could kill a deer with a field point if you hit him right. It disturbed my sense of ethics to make the last statement.

From: Earltex
24-Jan-19
Matt....happy to report that I am not dead yet.

So far I count 4 confirmations by Hunt Man, Ermine, Trysklr, Shug, (not including the very old punch cutter report from Pat). Although its a limited data set, modern day MBHs, in my opinion, appear to be quite reliable.

From: wifishkiller
24-Jan-19
I wish you guys would post arrow weight, I've seen one mech not open on a hog (caught him with dogs later) punched the big dude right in the shoulder (grim reaper).

That still, 95% of the time I'm still shooting rages.

24-Jan-19
"I shot at my first animal this year with a rage ( always been afraid of some type failure) open in flight veered left into a broom handle size hickory . My fear was founded . Just sat there and shook my head . Back to the fix blade’s ." - ACB

Allen, not trying to discredit your claim, but are you actually saying you "physically" saw the blades deploy mid flight, and that's what made your arrow miss it's mark? I have pretty good eyesight, but about the only thing I can see on my arrows midflight is the lighted nock. The reason I ask, is because I had a brother in law who claimed the same thing, who also shot Rages. We got the targets out, and shot a few arrows...he put 3 field points in the ten ring. He was POSITIVE it was the broadheads. We spun the arrows, inspected the shock collars, and made sure the blades worked properly. Just for grins and giggles, I told him to do a few pushups, run a few short sprints, pick up his bow and put another field point tipped arrow in the kill zone. He did this, picked up his bow, drew, and sank an arrow into the deer forms hind quarter. What we figured out that day, was when the adrenaline was pumping, he was torqueing his bow considerably....causing erratic arrow flight, and not hitting the mark. Once he was able to get this under control, he became a killing machine....and yes, he still shoots Rages. Just some food for thought....if you can see blades deploying in flight, you have much better eyes than me! ;-)

From: 12yards
24-Jan-19
I agree that fixed heads up your odds of killing a shoulder hit deer, but it is still up in the air. The only deer I've hit in the shoulder and didn't get into the vitals were with heavy arrows and fixed heads. One a 3 blade and one a 125 grain Bear Razorhead Lite. These were on arrows in the 600 grain range. I like Rocket Steelheads also and used them for about ten years with amazing results, but I've gone down in bow weight to 50-55 pounds so have gone back to fixed heads. I also agree that we've gotten obsessed feeling a need for a huge cut. Bazillions of animals have been killed quickly and with good blood trails with broadheads with a diameter of 1 to 1 1/4". You don't need to throw an axe through them.

From: crankn101
24-Jan-19
Well, if a heavy arrow and a small cut head wont get through the heavy part of the shoulder I would rather shoot a moderate weight (500) arrow and a 2" cut mechanical.

From: JL
24-Jan-19
Never had a rage problem on many deer and a bear. Did have a Montec G5 fixed blade break after a hit.

24-Jan-19

ND String Puller's embedded Photo
ND String Puller's embedded Photo
ND String Puller's embedded Photo
ND String Puller's embedded Photo
ND String Puller's embedded Photo
ND String Puller's embedded Photo
ND String Puller's embedded Photo
ND String Puller's embedded Photo
This thread should live quite awhile with these new offerings.

24-Jan-19
There are always lots of unverified stories...."tons".....to support your views. Having shot and hunted with trad gear for over 30 years, I also had a knee-jerk bias against mechanical heads based on nothing but those same stories. It was enough for me to shy away and even bash them without personal experience. When draw shoulder issues prompted me to a compound to continue bowhunting, I used only fixed heads but began to read reports of many good mechanicals.

"I shot a buck about 4 years ago that I lost.. shot a Ulmer edge head and the blades didn’t open arrow sunk up to the fletch entered behind last rib mid body"....this mirrors my first experince with expandable heads. I shot a doe at about 12 yards from a treestand....easy shot....pass through......then about 30 minutes later the sky opened up to a torrential downpour. We tracked for over an hour, then called it for the evening to come back the next day. Should have found that deer in 100 yards.....I thought....never recovered and I was done with mechanicals.

A couple years later I ran across a pack of NAP Spitfires on the classifieds of another archery site and bought them to try for turkey hunting the next spring. Well that fall I got curious again and put one in my quiver. Ended up shooting a nice doe that was down in less than 100 yards with a solid blood trail. OK.....that was better results.....so I continued to alternate and have killed close to a dozen deer and two turkeys with Spitfires. I hone the blades before use, so I know they open up and have never had an issue. Still own and hunt with Magnus Stinger 4 blade, NAP Hellrazors, TT Shuttle-T and have a pack of TT A-Tacs to try out. However the Spitfires have proven to be accurate, reliable and deadly.....for ME. Anyone who claims to have hunted for years with fixed only and never lost an animal is highly dubious in my opinion.....stuff happens and it is far easier to blame something else than operator error.

From: Beendare
24-Jan-19
I think I've seen it all...with mech and fixed heads....hundreds of animals.

Seems to me the majority of claims that mechs didn't open were due to them closing back up when the arrow popped out....though I've seen one elk that needed 2 more arrows that the head was corroded shut.

I think the worst cases of true mech BH failure I've seen where when the mech head blades deployed on the shot and the bowhunter said the arrow just made big circles to the target.

The worst case of fixed head failure I've seen was with those old plastic ferrule Gold Tip Bh's [80's] that just folded on contact.

From: Matt
24-Jan-19
"Matt....happy to report that I am not dead yet."

Good to hear. But the question remains, what was the basis for the hunter you referenced to claim the blades didn't deploy?

From: GF
24-Jan-19
"Well, if a heavy arrow and a small cut head wont get through the heavy part of the shoulder I would rather shoot a moderate weight (500) arrow and a 2" cut mechanical."

I'm not following.

The mechanical wouldn't penetrate as well as the fixed, but it WOULD most likely result in a very large, easily-infected gash in the shoulder, which would be less survivable.

No, there are no guarantees, but a 1 1/4" fixed blade with favorable edge angles is VASTLY more likely to penetrate well on heavy muscle and lighter bone, which allows the hunter to holder closer to the shoulder and hit larger, higher-pressure blood vessels and through the higher-volume portions of the lungs, which tends to lead to a shorter, heavier blood trail and a quicker expiration on the animal. Plus, the smaller head is more likely to zip right through and leave the animal standing there wondering what the hell that was, rather than hauling butt for the county line.

Speaking of "No Guarantees"...

Longbeard's tale of woe added a useful bit of information...

At close range like that, with a steep shot angle... The head will penetrate into the scap, then "grab on" and slide it across the ribcage, dissipating the energy. On a less-than-perfectly broadside shot, the scap gets moved across the underlying ribcage both vertically and horizontally...

It's not so much that a scapula is thick and tough as that it MOVES when you hit it. Yeah, there are some thick, tough parts to it, but it's nowhere as heavy as a humerus, and those can be shattered by a solid hit with good head.

From: ACB
24-Jan-19
Joshua I turned 59 this December. Started hunting deer with a recurve bow at 14 . Few years before I killed one and not sure how many I have killed over the years , but several . Did not see it open in flight my eyes were not that good at 14 , but the sound it made in flight and the erratic flight Path of the arrow makes me 90+ % the thing open in flight . Now I may have not put the collar on correct or it pop open when I removed it from quiver and did not notice. Not saying I did nothing wrong, but I assure you it opened in flight and as you just described a lot of things can go wrong so I need to mininize all I can . So back to fix blade .

From: joehunter
24-Jan-19

joehunter's embedded Photo
joehunter's embedded Photo
"Tonybear61" O-ring must have been rotten or you hit something. I shoot 73 pounds 415 grain arrows 30 inch draw for whitetails out fast PSE Xforce bows at over 315 plus feet per second. My Xpedite I now shoot is even faster. Never had one open! I bet most of the issues on this thread are user error and not really the heads fault!

From: Earltex
24-Jan-19
Matt, our encounter was brief so I didn't get a lot of details. I think he had poor arrow penetration and assumed such. Nothing more to offer.

From: Woods Walker
24-Jan-19
A mechanical head has a 100% chance of not opening as compared to a fixed head, so why the discussion? You either take the risk or you don't.

24-Jan-19
What none of you talk about, is the main issue... Mechs kill well, BUT you have to have the right poundage and arrow weight to do so,,,,,, I have seen so many guys show up at a bear camp, and I say, are you kidding me? Guys constantly use too light of arrow and bow set up,,,,,,,

No one ever addresses this, and I have no reason why

From: GF
24-Jan-19
“ I have seen so many guys show up at a bear camp, and I say, are you kidding me? Guys constantly use too light of arrow and bow set up,,,,,,, No one ever addresses this, and I have no reason why”

How powerful a bow do you think you need to kill a bear?? (I’m assuming black bears, but that’s a pretty important distinction to have straight before we go any further...)

From: crankn101
24-Jan-19
"Well, if a heavy arrow and a small cut head wont get through the heavy part of the shoulder I would rather shoot a moderate weight (500) arrow and a 2" cut mechanical."

I'm not following. ................

Its simple, the only place a small head out performs a large head is trough bone and if it cant do that then Ill stick with a 2" cut that out performs the smaller head in several other scenarios.

From: skipmaster1
25-Jan-19
If you set up your bow/arrow right, there isn’t a bone in a deer that a fixed blade won’t get through. Period. If I hit heavy bone I want s fixed. If I gut shoot one I want a giant mech.. there is no perfect head for every situation

From: joehunter
25-Jan-19
"If you set up your bow/arrow right, there isn’t a bone in a deer that a fixed blade won’t get through. Period. If I hit heavy bone I want s fixed". Scapula of a big game is what everyone talks about penetrating with a fixed head. Well, the true scapula (not the shoulder) is way to high and will be above the lungs. Plus, very few shot angles and bow broad head set ups will penetrate a live animal scapula that has heavy muscle and flexes. Also, that ledge that rises down the center of the scapula bone really stops shots from above. Good luck if you hit it!

From: skipmaster1
25-Jan-19
Joehunter- I probably shoot through the center of a deer scapula every season. If they get close, especially slightly quartering to you, it’s the best way to get into the chest. Hell, this year I had a big doe in close and broadside and I cut the spine nearly in half before passing thorough and burying in the dirt. I sometimes shoot mechs but lately I’m shooting Vipertricks and Iron Will’s. 565 grain perfectly tuned arrow with 17% FOC. 74# and 29” draw Pro Defiant. This year I made a bad shot with my recurve at 20 yards. That bow is only 52# but I’m pushing a 700 grain arrow. The shot hit a big doe dead center through her hindquarter on a broadside shot. The arrow went through the quarter, completely destroyed the offside femur before putting 20” of arrow out the offside.

The only thing I worry about avoiding is the very front joint on a scapula where it meets the leg.

From: Shawn
25-Jan-19
I disagree with longbeards statement, I do agree shot placement is everything but I have shot plenty of deer through the shoulder shooting 65 to 70 pounds with a super sharp cut on contact head(VPA 175 Grain) and out to 30 yds with no issues with penetration. Shawn

From: GF
25-Jan-19
Cranky - Just My Friendly Opinion.. You’re suffering from a serious case of All-Or-Nothing Syndrome.

An ultra-wide mech will NEVER outperform a fixed-blade, COC head for penetration. It OFTEN will not matter, because if you get an exit, it doesn’t matter MUCH how much farther the arrow travels (although there is a case to be made that having it end up sticking out of the animal is substantially less desirable than having it stuck INTO the dirt). But on those occasions when the mech comes up an inch short of poking a second hole, the difference may loom very large indeed.

If you make a solid hit with ANY 2-blade, there should be enough blood on the ground to follow. Maybe not at a jog, but if you’re patient, it is quite rare for it not to be there... and when it isn’t, it’s most likely due to inadequate penetration, in which case the Odds favor the Fixed.

On anything else, you’re relying on the projectile to make up for a bad hit, which has never struck me as a wise choice.

For a long time, Archaeologists spoke of “bird points” - very small stone heads which they assumed were only used to hunt geese and ducks and turkeys and such. ASSUMED, that is, until people started finding them stuck in the ribs and vertebrae of deer, Elk, Bison....

The typical legal requirement for Broadheads for big game is only 7/8” for a reason, which is that 7/8” is ENTIRELY adequate when put through both lungs.

If you think about it, you’ll come across VASTLY more cases in which mechanical heads have provided sub-par penetration (like seemingly every shot ever captured on video ;) ) as opposed to stories about a fixed-blade which cut two holes and didn’t leave enough blood on the ground to follow.

Too, there are dozens of reports of animals which had a fixed-blade COC head whistle through their ribs and the animal reacted to the shot about the same as they’d react to a bug bite. They don’t panic into a death run; they just stand there and die.

Doesn’t matter how fast they bleed if they walk slow enough, and I have yet to hear of an animal hit with a big Mech they did NOT vacate the area in Full Burner.

And I’m gonna disagree with Shawn. I know longbeard well, and he’s only a knucklehead about SOME things. (LOL)

A shoulder blade on a big buck is a large, massive and mobile obstacle to penetration. Not on every shot, but stories of high-powered rigs failing to penetrate a shoulder blade are a dime a dozen, and it only makes sense, if you think through the anatomy.

Anyway... Guess the point is that EVERYBODY needs to steer clear of the beefy part of the scapula, but only mechanical users are so concerned about it that they would deliberately risk a gut-shot animal rather than risk a peripheral hit on the thinnest bone anywhere on the animal....

And FWIW... if you want “wide”, just check out those Ace Super-Express.

From: crankn101
25-Jan-19
So far, every time I have made a bad shot I was very thankful to have a 2" cut head. Never once have I looked back and thought I would have been better off with a small 2 blade. Im sure that time will come but after 50 or so kills with a Rage, I believe the "risk" is worth it.

From: GF
25-Jan-19
Well, 2 thoughts for you there..

#1: 2-blade, fixed COC is one thing; “small” is something else.

#2: If you think you need a 2” mechanical to ensure a quick, clean kill, you’re very clearly NOT ready to make the jump to “Trad” Gear.

The bow I started with almost 30 years ago is more than most men seem to be able to manage any more; my newest bow puts out about 30% more KE than my first; and it puts out about HALF of what a lot of compound guys are using.

Tradbows and mechanicals just DO NOT to seem to mix. JMO, you might want to get comfortable with what a fixed-blade COC can do before you switch to a recurve or LB, because if you combine a sensible Stickbow draw weight with a Mech, you’re going to run an extraordinary risk of Woe & Intrigue.

And that would be Stupid. You don’t seem Stupid. No sense starting now!

From: crankn101
25-Jan-19
I dint need you telling me what im ready for...

From: GF
25-Jan-19
Whatever....

I’m just thinking that if you’re thinking about using mechanicals with a recurve, you just might.

From: Tonybear61
26-Jan-19
I think the worst cases of true mech BH failure I've seen where when the mech head blades deployed on the shot and the bowhunter said the arrow just made big circles to the target- O rings can rot in the package or after afew seasons, my eyes are still good but even on my best day can't see every single stick, blade of grass between me and the target. Since they can open in flight before the intended target, not likely to use again. Fixed heads don't open or change their ballistics in flight due to a blade opening or falling out ,etc.. Seen that too, Thunderheads, Koplin and few others.

From: longbeard
26-Jan-19
Shawn first you say you disagree then you say shot placement is everything. That was my point; shot placement is everything!! Unless your shooting 75+ pounds why would you go near that should bone.

As I said, I was shooting around 63# with a fixed blade broadhead. Before you try to tell me my bow is not tuned, I get pass throughs 95% of the time at all different distances

All I can tell you is that when my arrow hit that deer it sounded like someone taking a 2x4 to the side of a barn. Shot placement is everything; don’t learn the hard way like I did!

From: joehunter
26-Jan-19
skipmaster- got any scapula pics?

From: GF
26-Jan-19
“Fixed heads don't open or change their ballistics in flight due to a blade opening or falling out ,etc.. Seen that too, Thunderheads, Koplin and few others.”

OK -

I’m fairness to the Broadhead makers, having a blade drop out in flight is NOT the fault of the head, but rather the knucklehead who didn’t check everything out before he hit the field. Yes?

And in fairness to mechanical heads, if an o-ring is tired or worn out or damaged or whatever, that, too, is on the Operator.

Just like hitting one in the shoulder blade is (ultimately) on the shooter. So you can be (or listen to) the guy who insists that a particular bad outcome is simply not possible, or you can listen to the guy who didn’t expect it.... but learned from it and would take that shot back if he could.

From: skipmaster1
26-Jan-19
Joe- I don’t think I have any saved, although I might have one from the doe I shot last year with my recurve. I have a big bodied buck hanging in my cooler. Maybe later I’ll go shoot it through the biggest part of the scap. I’ve probably shot 50 deer through the scapula because I’m usually 25-30 feet up a tree. If they get inside 20 yards the shot is steep and it’s good to keep it close to the front because if you hit low and back and only get one lung the recovery can be tough to impossible. Granted for years I was shooting an 88# compound so I paid no attention to angle. Now in the low to mid 70’s I still don’t really worry with a good fixed and arrows over 550 grains

From: Matt
26-Jan-19
So, exactly how many people who have good success with one style of BH are going to change to another because of the opinions shared on this thread?

From: ohiohunter
26-Jan-19
None until it happens to them.

From: Jack Harris
26-Jan-19
"So, exactly how many people who have good success with one style of BH are going to change to another because of the opinions shared on this thread?"

I feel like I read this thread 10 years ago on bowsite... And every year since... I reported a Rage bouncing off a big buck, was accused of not having a tuned bow but I know the damn thing opened in flight, I hated those original 2 blades they always opened on me had to constantly pinch them. Anyway - been happy with VPA performance ever since... I learned a long time ago just shoot what you have most confidence in, what you know to be best for you. Broadheads, in many ways - are a lot like women...

From: 2 Points
27-Jan-19
Like someone else said, if you have one pre-deploy, that's your fault. You didn't check it before you put it in your quiver. You obviously didn't practice with them to check flight. If you had one not deploy, that's your fault. You didn't check to make sure blades were loose and not damaged. You obviously didn't practice with it.

I have been shooting mechanicals for almost 20 years and shot all brands up, until about 5 years ago. I tested them to see what difference I liked with what arrow. I have shot rabbits to buffalo with them with complete pass-thrus and have never seen or witnessed a pre-deploy or none-deploy

From: 2 Points
27-Jan-19

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