Contributors to this thread:
Bleeder Blade Effectiveness
Does anyone have any experience with both single bevel broadheads with bleeder blades vs those without? Wondering if they are really needed and make the broadhead more effective. Considering VPAs without or IWs with. Thanks, TODDY
My son when he was a youngster he used Bear Razorheads, with no bleeder. He was shooting a 40 pound compound. He killed several deer, pass through and dead inside 50 yards. I’ve used Bear Razorheads, Magnus Stingers, Magnus Serazors, and Iron Will all with bleeders. I can’t say that the bleeder made a difference, but I’ll keep using them.
Simple physics. Bleeders cut more as they go through and make a wider wound that will produce more blood trail. If you are shooting a 35 lb longbow you might opt for no bleeders just for the teeny weenie bit of extra penetration (debatable). With a modern bow of adult weight, more cutting is always better.
I like the bleeder based on anecdotal evidence. I feel the cut stays open better. Made a marginal shot on a Hawaii goat once without a bleeder and took the goat forever to bleed out.
I've killed lot's of animals with and without bleeders. I can't say that the bleeder shortens the blood trail or makes it easier to follow. It makes sense that extra cutting surface would make a difference but I've not noticed any difference. Other factors seem to be way more important than 2 or 4 blades.
Not exactly on point. But I’ve not seen big holes or better blood trails than a two blade rage.
IW and if you want take the blades off. I believe they’re removable
what would the downside possibly be?
150 Grain VPA ( no bleeder)
150 Grain VPA ( no bleeder)
125 Grain IW (w bleeder)
125 Grain IW (w bleeder)
Thanks for the input, and yes i was leaning towards the bleeder blades, if for no other reason, than it can't hurt. The reason I was considering a no bleeder head (VPA) was it looks to be much easier to sharpen (one edge). The Tonto Tip and bleeder compounds the sharpening process, which I have proven not be the best at, but am determined to conquer. ;0)
Iron Will offers a version without bleeders. They are called BUFF. I think that’s your answer.
Shot my buck this year with a Magnus Stinger 125 4 blade. A perfect cross through the lungs. When I saw it, it reminded me to thank God for the kill! LOL. Honestly I don't know if they help with shorter blood trails or not, but a little more cutting can't hurt as long as it's not greatly impeding penetration.
In my experience, Bleeders can hurt as much as they help. It depends on you setup...and your priorities. My low energy Recurve blows through everything using 2 blades without bleeders- not so with the bleeders.
In a compound with energy to burn, its probably not a factor unless you hit bone.
The bleeder on the Phathead in this pic made the BH stop dead. I bet a straight 2 blade would have kept going and severed the backbone. [buddies bull, 70# bow, 420-ish gr arrow]
Only posting for reference.
I killed this buck at 12 yards over a decoy with a Ironwilloutfitters 100 wide with bleeder. This is the exit in the opposite leg, Note the cut on the exit wound.
It was a semi steep shot also.
I mostly hunt with 2 blade heads because I like things simple and I've had great luck with them for decades. A modern compound launches an arrow with momentum to spare so on most shots there is no downside to more blades and some potential upside opening a bigger hole and cutting more stuff on the way through. Sharp, tough and flying great are the big factors. After many years of tracking critters hit with all sorts of heads by buddies, clients and my own stuff, I can't say the number of blades is a big factor but it makes sense that on most bad hits, more blades are better. I say bad hits because on most good hits, things usually work out regardless of the head.
I like bleeders. More cut could save you with better blood trails and on a shot too far back in my experience...which are a more likely event than hitting a big bone where the bleeders might impede penetration. YMMV
I shot bleeders for many years on sharp Zwickey Deltas or Eskimos. And built a sharpener/strop that would sharpen all 4-blades quickly with the head on the shaft.
I posted the downside of bleeders but I do agree with Glunt, for the most part in modern compounds with energy to burn, a bleeder is probably better.
I gotta say.. I was a little bit underwhelmed by the penetration I got out of a Bowtech Commander at #50, 27” draw with about a 350 grain arrow and a Hellrazor. Sample size of 1 smallish WT doe.
Heavier bow, heavier arrow, I guess I wouldn’t sweat it. Much.
One thing to consider, though…. Bear Razorhead bleeders get dissed for being fragile and I was far from happy when I broke a Magnus bleeder in a Block target, but the important point that I missed is that they are apparently INTENDED TO BREAK if they hit something hard…. so as not to impede penetration.
Seems that building a really solid 4-blade COULD impose some noticeable limitations on penetration in the event of a heavy-bone strike. Even for a potent compound.
I don’t have a lot of KE to burn, even with my #62 on bigger stuff, so I’m happy with a 2-blade; if 1 edge hits something solid, the head will just slice away from the obstacle - minimal resistance.
That’s what I want most. 2 holes. As long as you can get that, you should be fine, but I would rather have the arrow sail clear through and drop out the far side. They don’t seem to run as hard when there is no arrow in ‘em.
Fred Bear's intent for the Razorhead bleeder blades were to create a bigger entrance hole to assist blood flow for trailing and to break off when they hit bone and keep penetrating, and is why the bleeders were so thin...
Some years ago I tested penetration (mostly in foam) and found virtually no difference or a slight advantage to the broadhead with bleeder blades; presumedly because of less shaft drag. Similar result in 3 blade vs. 2 blade.
I hated the flimsy bleeders on the Bear Razorheads. They commonly broke in the animal, and then it was always an adventure gutting the animals wondering if I was going to cut my hands on it. I always said an Razorhead with a durable bleeder would be perfect. So now I'm using 4 blade Stingers which is close to perfect.
I'm a big two blade fan as I feel they deal with bones better, tend to split or break them better than most 3 and 4 blades that are 3 or 4 sharp from the tip (snuffer style) which tend to "stick" into bone more than 2 blade. Have never seen a wound "close" on a two blade vs a 2+bleeder. Have seen stuff block an entrance or exit, (with both styles) but not the hole close up. Never cut myself badly and had it "close" on it's own without help such as tape, sutures or staples. Only time I can see a bleeder actually "killing" something is when a two blade might "slide by" a vessel turned at the right angle and a bleeder might have caught it. But honestly, hey... it could happen....
With modern compound gear I'd doubt they would slow anything down and you'd be digging it out of the dirt on the other side with or without. My only or main issue is with many if not most designs the addition of a bleeder weakens the ferrule to a degree. Some designs more than others. I've killed a ton of stuff with Stingers w/bleeders, but when you look at the design and how the ferrule holds the bleeder.... It can't be near as strong as their model w/o bleeders. Most will incorporate a slot of some sort, removing material from the ferrule, weakening it to some degree. And it's likely more of a "reusable" issue than a terminal performance issue.
But then if you're shooting a 40lb stick bow you're likely not bending a bunch of ferrules on stuff anyway. =D
Lots of variables. Last batch of fixed two blades I bought were w/o bleeders. No complaints.
I’ve had good success with 2 blade VPAs except for bears. No blood trail more than once. Now I shoot 3 or 4 blade for bear. VPAs sharpen well but keep in mind that they rust.
Good point TD. The Buzzcut and Stingers with the bleeder have 1/2 of a ferrule.
I prefer 2 blades also. I've used the Stingers with a bleeder and that bleeder blade doesn't make much of a cut.......its pretty insignificant.
First buck I killed with bow and arrow was a 10 [point and I was using a Bear Razorhead with the bleeder blade. He went about 25 yards and was down. I was using a 48# Bear Grizzly. Arrow was a Port Orford Cedar shaft that I made. Arrow went in to the feathers and was sticking out the other side. That was over 60 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday.
That was the main reason I was unhappy when I broke off a bleeder in a target… I was concerned about what might happen during the field dressing. I nicked a fingertip pretty good with a Magnus Stinger and that sucker bled for four days until I super-glued it shut.
Breakaway bleeders make sense in their way… I just don’t want to deal with one.
I wish I had known about super glue many years ago. I was field dressing a deer and reached inside and cut the heart out. When I was washing my hands I couldn't get rid of the blood, it just came coming. i was using a buck hunter knife and it was honed razor sharp. I didn't even know I had cut myself. I still have that knife.
This wound channel was created by a Magnus Black Hornet 4-blade…..which is essentially their 2-bladed head with a bleeder blade. The wound channel made was impressive…..I’d say it helps!
Nice Coues buck Roy and big hole in him!
I never understood people like Shuteye,,,,,,,,,,,,, Why would you not open up the deer to the throat, to easily remove heart, and all lung parts etc,,,,,,,,, Why would you reach up a cavity, to play around with a knife,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I mean unless you need the cape, your talking amateur hour
Yup, just the stuff I'm looking for Roy, thanks! Gonna build a new arrow up for this year with a bleeder broadhead leading the charge. TODDY
For a head to make those big entry holes it has to compress the hide…or enter at an angle.
Personally I don’t like the short wide heads that do that, it puts too much blade chopping through the hide.
Groundhunter some deer are big and mature enough that you can’t just cut easily up the ribs with a knife.
I’ve been waiting for Bill V. (Iron Will) to chime in on this topic but I got this off of Archery Talk. I like what it said and I figured they had some data to back up their numbers!
“ My original broadhead design was a 2-blade without bleeders. I was going for maximum penetration and didn't want to add bleeders. We used them for two years, shot a bunch of animals with them, and not too often but occasionally we would get a very poor blood trail. A single slice can sometimes close up I believe. Adding a cross cut keeps the hole open and gets more blood on the ground. Since I added the 3/4" bleeder blade, blood trails have been much better and more consistent. I believe it results in quicker kills also. There is a slight trade off with penetration, about 5-10% in our testing, but overall I highly recommend bleeder blades.”
Lead Engineer - Iron Will Broadheads
These comments confirmed my 40 years worth of anecdotal evidence.
Unless you are going for Cape buffalo, where maximum possible penetration is all that matters, I strongly recommend bleeder blades. They open up holes better and that extra tissue cut causes more bleeding for quicker kills and more blood on the ground. Single bevel with bleeder creates a nearly square hole due to the rotation. I pulled this deer out of a creek, so the blood is washed away, but you can see the shape of the hole. It went through shoulder bone and the arrow was 20 yards past the deer sticking in the dirt.
I totally agree with Bill V....my exact experience but with Zwickey Delta and Eskimo heads years back.
4 blades and SB creates tunnel wound with significantly higher bleeding
Here with a kayuga pilot cut
I have bowhunted 42 years and made broadheads for 38 years. 4 blade or as some of you put it-2 blade and bleeders penetrate exactly like a 2 blade but cut alot more. No broadhead is indestructible and never will be regardless of the brand. Our broadheads have taken every big game animal on this earth many times over. Every one is dialed in on a dial indicator to ensure excellent flight and everyone is made in american with american materials and labor. No hassle lifetime replacement guarantee. Damage one, email us a picture with your name and address and we replace its that simple. thanks