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In the great debate of mechanical vs. fixed-blade broadheads, there are valid arguments on both sides. For the sake of this post, I’ll compare a Muzzy 100-grain 3-blade to a Rage 100-grain 3-blade. Both are among the most popular styles in their respective class (and both are now owned by the same company). I’ve used both on numerous deer (and hogs) out of half a dozen different bows. Both fly very well, but I give a slight nod to the Rage for perfect flight at longer ranges.
Run either through a deer’s lungs and the deer dies, fast. The Rage tears a bigger hole, particularly on entry, and, on average, spills more blood. I trust the Muzzy a little more around heavy bone or when shooting slower arrows. But I’ve seen 2-foot-wide blood trails from Muzzy hits and punched-through shoulders from Rage hits.
Just the other evening, I had arrows tipped with both in my quiver, and I shot two does in the same sit. I shot the first one with a Rage, and the second with a Muzzy. Both deer were standing in nearly the same spot, and both fell dead 100 yards away, within 10 yards of one another. The hits were nearly identical, with the Rage landing a touch higher.
What does all this mean? Not much. When it comes to whitetails and game of similar size, the broadhead style doesn’t matter a whole lot. The blades simply need to be sharp and put in the right spot. But there are other factors to consider. Cost, durability, and ease of use are three big ones, and in all of those departments, fixed-blade heads win hands-down.
After killing that deer with the Muzzy, I simply disassembled it, washed it, replaced one blade that was dinged up from a rib, and hit the other two on a diamond stone. It took about five minutes to make it hunt-ready again. Some of the Muzzy ferules in my broadhead box are seven or eight years old, and have accounted for 10 or 12 animals by themselves.
Mechanicals simply aren’t that durable or easy to maintain. A Rage is held together with four tiny hex screws. Three for the blades and a slightly larger one for the point. They require two Allen wrenches and the patience of a neurosurgeon to disassemble and clean. Failure to clean them means you’ll have fat, blood, hair, and mud stuck in the ferule, all of which interfere with the blades opening properly.
The blades are retained during flight via a tiny rubber O-ring on the bottom of the ferule. That ring usually breaks after one shot. Those big blades that make a Rage’s signature wide cut are supported by nothing more than a tiny screw upon impact, and so they’re usually bent and mangled after a shot and require replacement. Other styles of mechanical broadhead are a little less tedious to maintain–but not by much.
And now that all that’s said, there’s one more glaring fact: a six-pack of Muzzys costs about the same as a three-pack of Rages. The replacement blades are cheaper, too.
So how does it all boil down? If I were planning on a long shot–say a mule deer or pronghorn hunt out west–I might lean toward the mechanical heads. But this is a whietail blog, of which I shoot a lot, mostly does, in a season’s time. For everyday whitetail hunting, the Muzzys–and this could be applied to fixed-blade heads in general–are easier to use and more economical. The mechanical heads just aren’t worth it.
There you have it. Stand with me or shoot me down.