Broadhead testing for African plains game (Helix vs Exodus vs Slicktrick)

Thomasrey

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Hi everyone, I will be heading to Botswana in a month for plains game hunting. Animals on my list are eland, kudu, oryx, warthogs and wildebeest.
So I wanted to do some real life testing on big bones before the start of the safari. Yesterday I ordered 4 bones from my local butchery.

My set up is as followed:
BOW: Bowtech Reign 7 on performance setting at 71 pounds and 29'' DL.
ARROW: Easton Axis. Total arrow weight is 560grains
Bow shots at 259fps and produce KE of 83.3 ft-lbs. & M is 0.64 slug.

Broadheads (all in 100 grains ) tested are:
- Slicktrick Viperticks
- Strickland Helix (single bevel)
- QAD Exodus (never shot this BH before but after reading a ton of positive review, I wanted test them).

1- set up.jpg


SLICK TRICK VIPERTRICK
The arrow did not pass through or broke the bone. The BH was stuck in the bone and completely destroyed. I was a bit disappointed, was expecting the slicktrick to do much better.

8 - viper 1.jpg
9 - viper 2.jpg
10 - viper 3.jpg


STRICKLAND HELIX

SHOT No1:
Hit the bone on the top left side.
The arrow did not penetrate the bone and deflected to the left. The blade broke in 3.
4 - Helix shot 1 - 1.jpg
5 - Helix shot 1 - 2.jpg


SHOT No2:
Hit the middle of the bone.
Arrow penetrated well. It broke the bone in two and penetrated the target 7 inches. However the tip of the blade is bent.
*Note that I shot this bone at the bottom with the Viper-tricks before (see the hole below on the bone). It might have fractured the bone already.

Helix did much better than in the first test. I was expecting the helix to be tougher (test 1 blade broke and test 2 tip was bent).

6 - Helix shot 2 - 1.jpg
7 - Helix shot 2 - 2.jpg


QAD EXODUS

SHOT No1:
The arrow almost made it through the bone. BH was stuck on the over side of the bone. BH got some beating but was still ok compared to the Helix and the vipers. No broken blade.
11 - QAD shot 1-1.jpg
12 - QAD shot 1-2.jpg


SHOT No2:
Hit the bone to far to the left side (the hit was at the sample place as the Helix (broken blade)). The arrow broke but no damage to the blade. This same BH was used for the shot 3.
13 - QAD shot 2.jpg


SHOT No3:
Arrow penetrated very well. It fractured the bone in two and penetrated the target 14 inches. One blade broke.
14 - QAD sho 3-1.jpg
15 - QAD shot 3-2.jpg


Before this test, I though that the helix would do better than the exodus and the vipers. However after this test, I was very impressed by the Exodus. They are built like a tank, make big holes and penetrate as much if not better that the Helix.

To conclude, the Exodus will be in my quiver for my African plains game safari next month.

Thomas
 

Nkawu

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I bow hunted a lot growing up in South Africa and my go to broad-heads were Muzzy 125's. I always avoided direct-on shoulder shots and often had complete pass-throughs on warthogs. Good luck on your trip!
 

firehuntfish

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My set up is as followed:
BOW: Bowtech Reign 7 on performance setting at 71 pounds and 29'' DL.
ARROW: Easton Axis. Total arrow weight is 560grains
Bow shots at 259fps and produce KE of 83.3 ft-lbs. & M is 0.64 slug.

@Thomasrey

It's always interesting to conduct "field tests" on the actual material that you will be shooting like you have done with these real bone impact shots. I am not critiquing you here... I just want to offer a few observations for you to consider based on my own broadhead testing experiences, and after seeing hundreds upon hundreds of bow shots into African game with all different arrow/broadhead combinations. The common denominator with all of the best penetration results is always a heavy arrow, with an foc of 20% or higher, and a heavy-duty, fixed-blade broadhead.

Unfortunately, shooting into real bone will not offer a consistent medium to reflect sound, repeatable results. The joint ends of the bone sections are more dense than those areas along the middle of the shaft of the bone. Also, your broadhead will react differently depending upon the angle of the surface it hits upon making contact. Any round part of the bone will create a "mini" quartering shot angle that will usually always create a deflection bending blades and spending arrow energy.

Also, it is very important to consider that any broadhead is only as strong as its weakest point which is usually at the ferrule section where the blades join.... 2-piece broadheads and especially 2-piece broadheads where the blades are steel and the ferrule is aluminum, are inherently weaker than solid, 1-piece designs. I'm not sure if the Helix is offered with steel ferrules under 125 grains, but, they do make them all steel in 175 grains and up. I think you would have seen drastically different performance results in the Helix or any broadhead design with either solid or at least all steel construction.... All steel 2-piece and 1-piece will always be the stronger choice if you are looking for the best bone penetrating characteristics. Similarly, if your broadhead is steel and your shaft insert is aluminum or alloy, you may also see failure where the broadhead meets the insert especially on heavier foc arrow builds. Every component has to be beefed up...

I have no experience with the Exodus, so I don't know if they are all of steel construction. If they are, you should do very well with them. If they also have aluminum or alloy ferrules, you will likely experience similar failures depending on where they impact the bone. Please keep in mind that broadhead design and construction are only one part of the "penetration" equation... Total arrow weight with at least 20% plus front of center weight distribution are actually more important factors than the broadhead design in achieving maximum penetration potential from your set-up. At 560 grains of total arrow weight, you should have plenty of weight, provided 20% or more is foc... I would not hesitate to go as heavy as 650 grains(taw), and experiment with broadheads up to 200 grains if you really want to ensure maximum penetration. You would be shocked at the difference another 100 grains will make up front properly tuned.... You will also be pleasantly surprised at how little it will affect your arrow speed and trajectory. Good Luck on your safari!
 
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bilmcc

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I would suggest Iron Will broadheads.
 

Thomasrey

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@Thomasrey

It's always interesting to conduct "field tests" on the actual material that you will be shooting like you have done with these real bone impact shots. I am not critiquing you here... I just want to offer a few observations for you to consider based on my own broadhead testing experiences, and after seeing hundreds upon hundreds of bow shots into African game with all different arrow/broadhead combinations. The common denominator with all of the best penetration results is always a heavy arrow, with an foc of 20% or higher, and a heavy-duty, fixed-blade broadhead.

Unfortunately, shooting into real bone will not offer a consistent medium to reflect sound, repeatable results. The joint ends of the bone sections are more dense than those areas along the middle of the shaft of the bone. Also, your broadhead will react differently depending upon the angle of the surface it hits upon making contact. Any round part of the bone will create a "mini" quartering shot angle that will usually always create a deflection bending blades and spending arrow energy.

Also, it is very important to consider that any broadhead is only as strong as its weakest point which is usually at the ferrule section where the blades join.... 2-piece broadheads and especially 2-piece broadheads where the blades are steel and the ferrule is aluminum, are inherently weaker than solid, 1-piece designs. I'm not sure if the Helix is offered with steel ferrules under 125 grains, but, they do make them all steel in 175 grains and up. I think you would have seen drastically different performance results in the Helix or any broadhead design with either solid or at least all steel construction.... All steel 2-piece and 1-piece will always be the stronger choice if you are looking for the best bone penetrating characteristics. Similarly, if your broadhead is steel and your shaft insert is aluminum or alloy, you may also see failure where the broadhead meets the insert especially on heavier foc arrow builds. Every component has to be beefed up...

I have no experience with the Exodus, so I don't know if they are all of steel construction. If they are, you should do very well with them. If they also have aluminum or alloy ferrules, you will likely experience similar failures depending on where they impact the bone. Please keep in mind that broadhead design and construction are only one part of the "penetration" equation... Total arrow weight with at least 20% plus front of center weight distribution are actually more important factors than the broadhead design in achieving maximum penetration potential from your set-up. At 560 grains of total arrow weight, you should have plenty of weight, provided 20% or more is foc... I would not hesitate to go as heavy as 650 grains(taw), and experiment with broadheads up to 200 grains if you really want to ensure maximum penetration. You would be shocked at the difference another 100 grains will make up front properly tuned.... You will also be pleasantly surprised at how little it will affect your arrow speed and trajectory. Good Luck on your safari!

Thank you @firehuntfish for your reply and advise which is very useful.

The QAD exodus ferrule is made of 100% stainless steel. Yesterday I shot a wild board (-+ 80 pounds). He was facing me, arrow entered in the shoulder, cut 2 ribs, broke the bone of the back leg. I was quite impressed.

I have been looking at the cutthroat broadhead in 125gr which is a single bevel head machined from one piece of 100% steel. Have you heard of this head?

With my actual set up I cannot higher than a 125gr BH otherwise my arrows will be on the weak side.
If you had to choose one BH for a plains game safari (100 or 125gr), what would be your choice?
 

firehuntfish

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The QAD exodus ferrule is made of 100% stainless steel. Yesterday I shot a wild board (-+ 80 pounds). He was facing me, arrow entered in the shoulder, cut 2 ribs, broke the bone of the back leg. I was quite impressed.

I have been looking at the cutthroat broadhead in 125gr which is a single bevel head machined from one piece of 100% steel. Have you heard of this head?

With my actual set up I cannot higher than a 125gr BH otherwise my arrows will be on the weak side.
If you had to choose one BH for a plains game safari (100 or 125gr), what would be your choice?

@Thomasrey ,

If the Exodus has a steel ferrule and you had that kind of penetration on a hog with no visible damage to the broadhead, you may have already found the best choice for your set-up....

I have seen the Cutthroats, and while I have not personally used them, they appear to have all of the characteristics necessary for bone penetrating performance.... My wife shoots the Helix, but in 200 grain, which has the all-steel blade and ferrule combination that I mentioned. I shoot Bishop Archery Bridgeports in 200 grain on my plainsgame arrows. I also used a Bishop broadhead in 315 grain for my Cape buffalo last year with excellent results. Bishops are an excellent choice for a 1-piece all steel design, but when I first bought them, the owner was just starting out and they were relatively cheap. Now, he must be doing well, because they are quite pricey! Regardless, the owner is a nice guy and the customer service is great. They make 1 piece, solid steel 2-blades from 100 grain all the way up to 600 grain.

If you want to keep experimenting, in 100-125 grain, you have lots of choices in a solid steel 1-piece that will all perform well. The Cutthroats look great, and I would also tell you to check out VPA, Magnus, Abowyer, and Zwickey. Good Luck!
 

mrpoindexter

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I used a 150 grain silver flame from GrizzlyStik on my first safari and got a pass through on a Cape buffalo. They make them in 125 grain and 100 grain versions as well. At 200 grains, I do like the Masai broadheads from GrizzlyStik. They are fixed single bevel two blade and very very tough. I do think there are plenty of good broadheads on the market today, but even in Africa, there are only a few plains game that truly need some beefy gear and most of those are on your list. Having put in the effort you already did is going to put you way ahead of the average person on their first trip. Kudos to you for that.

There is a large club for bow hunters who have gone to Africa and wounded and lost a Wildebeest. I hope you don't join it, but they are considered the poor man's buffalo for a reason.
 

Thomasrey

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Thank you all for the tips/advise.
Made my choice and will be going with the Exodus in 125 grains instead of the 100gr.
My total arrow weight will be 582gr & FOC 17.1 %. The speed is 252fps, KE is 83 ft-lbs. & M is 0.653 slug.
I know that shot placement is the most important factor tho.
I'll keep you posted in a month :)
 

lpace

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Thank you @firehuntfish for your reply and advise which is very useful.

The QAD exodus ferrule is made of 100% stainless steel. Yesterday I shot a wild board (-+ 80 pounds). He was facing me, arrow entered in the shoulder, cut 2 ribs, broke the bone of the back leg. I was quite impressed.

I have been looking at the cutthroat broadhead in 125gr which is a single bevel head machined from one piece of 100% steel. Have you heard of this head?

With my actual set up I cannot higher than a 125gr BH otherwise my arrows will be on the weak side.
If you had to choose one BH for a plains game safari (100 or 125gr), what would be your choice?


For what it is worth - I was recently messing with tip weight and shied away from heavier heads because of weakening my arrow. In the mean time I saw some work done by a humorous guy on YouTube that calls himself 'the Ranch Fairy' regarding penetration shooting feral hogs (perhaps the most durable critter North America has to offer in terms of resisting arrow penetration). Anyway, he makes the comment several times to 'just give a heavier broad head a try, what have you got to loose'? So I did. I tried a 200 grain tip vs. a 150 grain tip (the 200 grain making the arrow too weak) and the 200 grain tip grouped better! This observation was made over several days and a pile of arrows shot in comparison. Of course I had to try broad heads as well. They grouped and grouped with the field points at 55 yards (the farthest I shot them) very well. The additional 50 grains of tip weight only cost me just shy of 10 fps! Perhaps it is just that my bow likes this particular setup, I dunno - but if you haven't tried a heavier tip, what have you got to loose to give them a whirl?

By the way, I have shot a pile of African critters with the Helix with outstanding results - see my PH's comments on the Helix at 10 minutes on this video.


He is a bit colorful, but was very impressed with the broad head. Enjoy your trip!
 
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firehuntfish

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Nice shooting there @lpace ...! That video is a clinic on African game shot placement. I love the footage on that last warthog! Man that was crazy! I have a warthog shot very similar to that on video somewhere. He got hung up in the brush pile we used to detour access to the waterhole, and went crazy...I will have to dig it up.
 

lpace

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Nice shooting there @lpace ...! That video is a clinic on African game shot placement. I love the footage on that last warthog! Man that was crazy! I have a warthog shot very similar to that on video somewhere. He got hung up in the brush pile we used to detour access to the waterhole, and went crazy...I will have to dig it up.

Thank you kindly Dan @firehuntfish, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while! ;)
 

Hunter101

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Any of those broadheads will work well! I love Magnus 4 blade black hornets pass through on everything. Leave a path of blood!
 

Ty Howard

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Any will work well that you’re testing.

My only broadhead in my quiver is a Muzzy MX3. Deadly, accurate, tough.

Shot placement is your friend. Hopefully the bone tests will be for nothing.

MX3 shots...all pass thrus

IMG_1903.JPG


IMG_1854.JPG


51456779757__D206C6BF-51C5-41D6-8EE8-89B0FB28691C.JPG


IMG_1689.jpg


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IMG_1599.JPG


IMG_1670.JPG
 

Hunter101

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Ty, nice shot placement! Who you hunt with?
 

Synergy

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Exodus is my go to Broadhead for the compounds, and it flights true.
VPA penetrator for the trad bow.

Good luck!
 

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