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Last spring, I spent a week tearing up broadheads. I shot 20 new models through sides of beef ribs to test durability and pene­tration. I further evaluated them for accuracy, sharpness, and consistency. What I learned can help you pick the perfect broadhead for your 2020 season.

Dull Blades Don’t Cut It

Once upon a time, some idiot screwing on a broadhead lacerated a tendon and then sued the broadhead company. At least, that’s the only reason I can think of for why broadheads of the past decade have been as dull as Popsicle sticks. No more. This year, many broadheads are frightening to touch. I used to accept broadheads that could be easily sharpened out of the box, but there are too many scary-sharp models out there now to buy something dull.

Heavy Broadheads Hit Harder

One hundred grains has long been the standard weight for hunting points, but the only good reason to use them instead of 125s is that they’re easier to find. The extra weight up front makes arrows punch through critters better. Several companies sent 125-grain versions of their flagship heads, including the Wasp HV, the Swhacker Levi Morgan Signature ­Series, and the Sevr Titanium 1.5. That’s a good thing. If you’ve always shot 100-­grain heads, try a 125 this season. They’re easier to find now, and upsizing is the simplest thing you can do to boost performance on game.

Blades Can Be Too Big

In broadhead marketing, cutting diameter is all the, well, rage. Some of the mechanicals I tested, like the NAP DK4 and the Rage X-treme No Collar, sport huge cutting diameters. But those big blades rarely survived impact with beef ribs. When one did, the cutting diameter of what was left was frequently smaller than that of the fixed-blades I tested (virtually all of which did fine). To be clear, I’ve hunted a lot with wide-­cutting mechanicals, and on whitetails, they’re devastating. But would I trust them on a moose now that I’ve done this test? No.

Read Next: The Best New Broadheads of the Year

There’s No Excuse for Poor Flight

Most of the broadheads I shot flew well, and a few—like the SIK SK2 and Montec M3—flew as true as field points. But some would’ve needed major adjustments before I could have hunted with them. If you’re having flight issues, be sure that your bow is in tune. If it is, change heads. In 2020, there’s no excuse for a wild-flying broadhead.

There’s Value in Practice

The best mechanicals I tested came with features that locked the blades for practice—like those found on the Sevr Titanium 1.5 and Swhacker Levi Morgan Signature series. Meanwhile, the best fixed-blades were either easy to resharpen (like the Muzzy One and Montec M3) or, like the Wasp HV, came with extra blades. A bandaged thumbs-up to such features. If I can’t afford to practice with a broadhead, I’m not hunting with it, and you shouldn’t either.