Contributors to this thread:
Tuning decapitating turkey heads
So I’m going to try the decapitating heads this year. Take me through the process of buying arrows, tuning and sighting in please and what works best for you. Thanks!
I use Magnus Bullhead. Flew and performed much better than Gobbler Guillotine for me. I use 125 head; bigger cutting diameter and I shoot 125s anyway.
I use same arrow I normally shoot but full length, fletch with 6 fletches either Blazer or 4" vanes helical for better stabilization. I can get them tuned to fly the same to 30 yards as my normal FBB with normal arrows. I like to be tuned for both because sometimes situation won't allow me to use the Magnus (e.g. spot/stalk, grass/brush potentially interfering with the blades).
Once you get tunes, suggest to practice out the blind (if you use one). Last year I had a longbeard less than 10 yrds and killed my blind. Forgot the sight and arrow path is way diff.
Bare shaft tune your bow, and it shouldn't matter what head you use, as long as they are the same weight as the heads you used to tune with.
I use the arrow that Magnus sells for use with the Bullhead and it worked very well. You can bareshaft tune all you want, but when you toss on the big turkey heads, all that kinda goes out the window.
Smarba pretty much nailed it, other than I shoot the 100 grain heads. The Magnus lopper heads fly way better than the others that I’ve tried. Quality heads to boot. I use the Victory arrows that came with the kit. 4 fletch with 4” feathers, I believe. Arrows fly really well with that setup.
"You can bareshaft tune all you want, but when you toss on the big turkey heads, all that kinda goes out the window."
Well, I wasn't looking for a debate, but since we disagree, I'll relate my experiences.
If I bare shaft tune my bows out to 30 yards, or beyond, with whatever grain tip I expect to use, it doesn't matter what broadhead I stick on my fletched arrows, they will group the same. Fixed blades, mechanicals, small game thumpers, or big diameter turkey blades, it doesn't matter, as long as they weigh the same as the heads I tuned with.
The thing about bare shaft tuning is you need to know when to ignore the results of a less than perfect shot execution, so consistent form is critical. If you consciously punch the trigger, instead of a true surprise release using back tension, you might as well forget bare shaft tuning.
Just my experience, and I have tried the big turkey heads. I didn't care for them, because they were fragile and usually in pieces after one shot. Now I just use my tried and true fixed broadheads and try not to miss by 2-4". Grouse are especially fun to dome. ;-)
But, I'm more than willing to agree to disagree.
I shoot them successfully every year. i stick with the 100 grain bull heads. i shoot the magnus arrows but i cut them as short as i can get by with. My bow is bare shaft tuned through paper - then walk back tune to 25 yds - I want that arrow to stick in the taget perfectly straight. tuning is important for sure - but as other said - practice from a sitting position as you were in a blind.... all the the tuning doesn't matter when your sitting down and torquing your bow like crazy.
This is why I went for the 100 grain head. I found i was more accurate with the 100 grain as i feel like its a little more forgiving than the bigger heads and i have had several full decaps with it.
Here is my #1 Tip. I use a multi pin Sight -- I bet I missed 5 or 6 birds shooting my HHA 1 pin - i'm talking point blank 5 yds. I would shoot right over them - even after aiming hard. I set up an older bow with a 4 pin sight - settle that top pin on the beak and the bottom pin on the waddle feathers (if they are close) and let it rip - Head Falls off...
What are you guys using for a target?
I would think if you got shots every hunt this would be fun but for me I only get a few shots each year so I’m aiming for the body with a nice wide mechanical or fixed head. Won’t be long, good luck.
Target is old pillow, preferably hanging so when you hit it gives a bit. Still damage/break blades after several shots. Magnus will take care of you though. I agree that the blades pretty much get destroyed when you lop a turkey (maybe not if you turn your bow down, which I don't). Although Magnus will replace them, IMO they have done their job and no fault of Magnus so I typically don't get them replaced.
I've used both Bullheads and Guillotines. I learned from Dwight Schuh that it really helps to use a full-length arrow stiffer than you normally use. I learned that lesson the hard way before Dwight's advice. Since then I used the tapered 340 VAP shafts Magnus sells with the heads, and have been very pleased.
The thing I like most is that they are either dead right there or live to fight another day. No searching the woods, no digging around under logs for a wounded bird.
I target shoot at a pillow suspended by paracord from the clothesline. Works great.
Yes, dead right there. Except for flopping like a chicken with its head cut off...
I already shoot a stiff arrow, so stiffer wasn't really much of an option. For me the key was 6-fletch, with helical same as my standard 3-fletch. That extra stability on the rear made all the difference.
"I would think if you got shots every hunt this would be fun but for me I only get a few shots each year so I’m aiming for the body with a nice wide mechanical of fixed head."
Charlie, I don't follow your point- not trying to be dense or argumentative, I honestly don't get what you mean. I know years ago Pat used to argue against head loppers too, and I frankly never understood his logic either. For me, I choose to shoot head loppers (most of the time at least) because I believe they work better, result in fewer lost birds (to me), and result in fewer birds that run off and die. I don't see how the number of shots a person might get/expect in a year factors in.
Agree with Scoot. I tried them way back when the GG came out and I found that head to be fragile and a pain when it was supposed to have straws attached to each blade for aerodynamics.
So I kept using mechanicals until I had a really difficult time finding a fatally wounded bird and decided to spend the time to sort things out and get something tuned. I like to have my setup dialed so I can shoot both MB/FBB and Bullheads because turkey season coincides with other seasons in which I'm hunting big game and I can't just have a dedicated turkey bow.
But after killing my last 4 birds with Bullheads 10-15 yards I greatly prefer them to MB/FBB. They go down RIGHT NOW. Not even a step. So fast other birds don't know what happened and I even was able to get a double last year when the 2nd bird realized he had suddenly become the top bird in the pecking order...
Well Scoot my point is I’m not a very good turkey shot and only get two or three shots each year and I like to eat turkey with my morels:)
I have no problem with others using them but they’re not for me. It’s ok that I have an opinion even if I’m wrong:)
Charlie....I feel that they actually make me a better shot (in theory at least) I know I’m not suppose to, but I oftentimes have a tendency to shoot center mass on turks when shooting fixed/expandable heads. The Bullheads force me to be more cognizant of my aiming point (head/neck area)
Lou X2^^ Last spring, I hit a nice tom too low and turned my head lopper into a beard trimmer. It knocked him back on his heels and turned him into a Jake, but otherwise not much damage was done, as far as I could tell. I watched him haul butt across the wheat field for 3-400 yards, so I’m pretty sure he was ok. Unfortunately, my wife got the shot on video :-(
Turks definitely go hand in hand with morels, Charlie!
I agree with t-roy: head loppers make it a lot easier to pick an aiming point IMO. The additional cutting diameter of 125 grain head versus 100 provides a lot more margin for error.
huh. makes more sense now..... I was thinking more along the lines of tuning the decapitated heads..... I mean, which end would you blow into???
Cool broadheads but I like mechanicals better. I have a long draw and trying to get an arrow long enough and stiff enough to handle the bullhead is a hassle. I use my same exact setup as Whitetails other than I might shoot a different mechanical. No sight marks to change or anything else.
I think bullheads are the best option for new turkey hunters but if you know where to aim a mechanical is my choice...plus I always feel rushed when gobblers come in because they go berserk on my Dakota Jake. All the the jumping around and attacking the decoy to me is better suited for a mechanical.
Of the 9 birds that i have missed attempting head shots i only got 2 follow up shots that were succsessfull and killed the bird. If your going to attempt it - set up for it. I have really good luck with a hen sitting on the ground with a strutter right on top of her and i use a string and a homemade stake to make the decoy spin.... its a game changer for getting the shot inside 10 yards. If they hang up and wont commit i shoot them with a 3" cut mechanical. Set your blind under a low limb or some cover and make sure its as dark as possible inside.
"Well Scoot my point is I’m not a very good turkey shot and only get two or three shots each year and I like to eat turkey..."
Charlie, my point is that I believe your argument led me to conclude you'd eat more turkeys if you used bullheads instead of large expendables. The points you make trying to defend your use of heads actually supports the heads you're saying you don't want to use. I used to think just like you until I had more experience with bullheads. It's just easier to kill turkeys with them IMO.
"It’s ok that I have an opinion even if I’m wrong."
Charlie, it's you're opinion and you're entitled to it. It's no skin off my behind if you use expendables. I was just trying to offer helpful info. If you don't want or care for that info, that's you're prerogative.
I use the Magnus shafts with the bullheads.I just double an old throw rug over a line and use that as a back stop.Arrows hit,then drop unharmed.
I don’t know anyone on Bowsite that kills more turkeys in more states than trykslr and Joe. Do you know what kind of broadheads they use?
Choosing to shoot a turkey in the body is a viable alternative way of hunting them. My advice is not for committed laupers but for those that are looking for alternatives. Sorry for the confusion.
Cindy Lauper believes in Bullheads.. ;-)
As for me, I have not lost a wounded bird since switching, have not had to track one. The head and neck are 1.5x the size of the kill zone of the internal organs and you can use s much wider head to hit it. Plus, its REALLY cool to have them just go down instantly dead. The one downside is that their head bobs a lot. Last couple I've shot have been strutting, which keeps the head fairly steady.
Or just hit them in the wing butt....they don't go far. This one did a complete backflip and died on the spot.
Definitely more than one way to skin a cat. It matters not to me what method people choose. But... see Lou's post- it's spot on.
Regarding Joe and Chris- they are stone cold killers. However, 99% of people lack the experience they have. Because it works for them doesn't mean it's the best choice for most people or for the average turkey hunter.
Regardless of what pepple choose I hope out works out for them and they make good on their opportunities this spring.
The only birds I’ve killed have been with expendables and body shots but TBH I’ve lost more than I’ve killed because I couldn’t find some of them after they ran off. It drove me crazy to lose those birds and I would look for hours and hours. I’ve been bow hunting for over 50 years and I get it...totally my fault the vast majority of the time for missing the vitals. A few I KNOW ran off and died because I stumbled upon them weeks later much further than I ever thought one could go. I hunt in Georgia where it’s generally very thick in the woods. Lots of my birds I call into power lines or food plots and then run or worse, fly off into a briar thicket or swamp full of privet. So all that being said I’ve decided I want to kill em right there or cleanly miss and have the piece of mind to know they’re not wounded and die and go to waste or get eaten by a coyote because they can’t fly. Thanks for all the good advice! John
Never used them because I wanted to use my same arrow setup that I always hunt with.
I shoot them at about 5 or 6 yards normally and I've only lost one turkey ever and that was with a fixed head. Big mechanicals are hard to beat.
I think the Bullhead type heads would be great if you were only using your bow for turkey. I shoot leagues and 3D's during turkey season and don't want to tune / site-in for the set up needed to shoot those heads. For me, a big mechanical is the only real option. I agree the wounding rate may be higher with the mechanicals, but I will only shoot if the bird is right in my decoys at 10 yds or less.
See my post above. I don't have a dedicated turkey bow. I played with arrow setup until I got a Bullhead tipped arrow to hit the same to 30 yards as my normal big game setup. So I can shoot FBB and standard length arrows for turkeys, predators, or other big game but use my Bullhead arrow when circumstances are right.
Remember your Bullhead arrow doesn't need to be full-length, depending on your draw length. It just needs to be long enough so the blades clear your fingers. I have a long draw length, so in my case they're full length, but my standard arrows are only about 1.5-2" shorter. That's not a lot of difference to tune with a dropaway and release. I didn't want to use feathers or overly long fletching but found that 6 fletch (Blazers, for example) provided the steering I needed for Bullheads. So I have a couple of longer arrows with 6 fletch for lopping, and the rest in my quiver are my standard big game arrow.
What confuses me is the stiffer spine and longer length shaft. Guessing the longer length shaft is to keep the blades away from sight and fingers. But if that is not the issue a shorter shaft is way stiffer than a full length shaft. My intuition tells me that a heavily fletched tuned arrow should work?
I shoot both head killers and big mechanical . There is a place for both in my turkey game. Come on spring!! Hunt
Love that pic Hunt! How far did that gobbler run? ??
You need a longer shaft so the blades clear your sight ring and your fingers. I rotate my inserts to maximize the clearance of blades to sight ring, but you still want those blades far enough of your fingers for safety. Since you need a longer arrow, in some cases it needs to be a stiffer spine. In my case my standard arrows are already about as stiff as they come, but another 1.5-2" didn't adversely affect my arrow flight.
They didn't fly well for me with only 3 helical Blazers, but with 6 they fly great.
I shoot lopper heads 10-20 yards max. In this range they fly the same as my standard FBB big game arrows.
I don't change my bow tune at all. I tune the arrow and setup to the bow, then learn where my single pin needs to be to compensate for a little extra drop. But that big head gives a pretty good margin of error, too. The tapered VAP arrows come with four-fletch helical feathers. I read somewhere that the extra arrow length makes it more stable because the drag (fletches) are further from the disrupting force (big wide head). I'm not an engineer so can't say if that's true. But at 20 yards they hit where I aim with no spiral or wobble.