Cape buffalo bow-hunt arrow & BH set up

Thomasrey

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Hi, I’m going for a Cape buffalo bow-hunt in Zimbabwe in September.
I’m still trying to decide the BH & arrow I’ll use.

My plain game arrow is Victory RIP TKO 250spine, total arrow weight is 603gr @270fps.

If I put a 400gr BH on this same arrow, I still get a bullet hole through paper (even if the arrow was supposed to be under spine) using bare-shaft by and fletch arrow and they group well up to 50y with the Tuffhead BH dangerous game 400gr. The total arrow weight for this arrow is 878gr @224fps. Since the arrow is supposed to be under spine, is it going to affect the penetration and the durability of the arrow at the impact?

The 2nd choice is a goldtip kinetic Kaos 200 spine. If I use the Tuffhead dangerous game BH 400gr the total arrow weight is 906gr @ 220fps and if I use a Iron Will Single Bevel 250gr the total arrow weight is 815gr @ 232fps.

Has anyone used a Tuffhead dangerous game or an iron will BH on a buffalo? Any feedback on these 2 BH?

I’ll be using a PSE carbon Mach 31 EC, 81lbs and 30”.
 
With the victory rip tko arrow, I’ve a stainless steel hit insert of 150gr, a 40gr collar and 400gr BH. So it’s 590gr in front.
 
I love the Iron Will. Double lung shot on mine with an 830gn total weight
 
I love the Iron Will. Double lung shot on mine with an 830gn total weight

No issue with the IW durability? Since this is not a one piece BH, there is alway a risk of failure compared to single piece BH.
What was your arrow set up?
 
No issue with the IW durability? Since this is not a one piece BH, there is alway a risk of failure compared to single piece BH.
What was your arrow set up?
Broadhead looked brand new still when it came out. Used a 300 grain VPA on a springbuck. That broadhead didn’t survive contact with the ground after passing through.

I tipped a set of the Vector Custom Shop (now Method Archery) HMRs with the Iron Wills. I have some pics in my hunt report.
 
The total arrow weight for this arrow is 878gr @224fps. Since the arrow is supposed to be under spine, is it going to affect the penetration and the durability of the arrow at the impact?

Spine charts are guidelines, not Gospel, so don't assume that your arrow is underspined because the chart says it's supposed to be. I am surprised to hear that your arrow is flying that well with such a drastic weight increase, but If you are indeed getting bullet holes, you have near-perfect tune which is the ultimate goal and a far more important criteria for maximizing penetration.

Spine itself has very little to do with the actual durability of the shaft, and there is no correlation with penetration besides the necessity to have the correct spine to be able to achieve near-perfect tune. A higher spine is not necessarily more durable simply because it is stiffer. Momentum is the key to good penetration and that momentum comes from a combination of draw weight, draw length, and the optimal arrow build which has to include enough total arrow weight, with enough front-of-center weight and the right broadhead design.

There are now several arrow manufacturers that make heavier, beefed-up, tapered shafts which makes them much more durable choices for big game. However, you can also increase the strength and durability of a standard carbon arrow by using shock collars to prevent "mushrooming" of the shaft, and by utilizing glue-on broadheads or locktight on the broadhead threads to eliminate any gaps or possibility of movement between the components which will also cause a structural failure.

With a 30" draw length @ 81lbs., an arrow with a total arrow weight north of 850 grains and 20% front-of-center should perform very well on Cape buffalo. However, I personally always recommend the heaviest arrow you can build that still flys well from your set up. Don't be afraid to go as high as 950 grains for a Cape buffalo arrow.

Has anyone used a Tuffhead dangerous game or an iron will BH on a buffalo? Any feedback on these 2 BH?

I have personally used the Bishop 315 in proprietary steel on 2 Cape buffalo and they performed perfectly. I have seen other clients use both the Tuffhead 300gr DG and Iron Will SB250 (no bleeder) perform well for Cape buffalo. Good luck on your hunt!
 
@firehuntfish thank you for your help.
Yes indeed, this is very surprising to have bullet hole with this spine. I did nock tune all my bareshaft arrows prior to fletch them.
My arrows are cut to 27.75'' carbon to carbon. I am using a stainless steel 150 gr hit insert (which goes 3.5" into the arrow shaft - so it stiffen the spine as well) with a 40 gr stainless steel collar from ethics archery, this is total of 590 gr up front with 30% FOC.
I would like to use the Tuffhead BH as they have a 0.080 blade thickness and they seems to be durable but they are nearly no reviews on them on internet.
 
Following this thread closely. As of right now, I plan on using a 700 gr Grizzly Stick 240 tipped with a 250 gr Iron Will on my July 2023 Cape Buff hunt. Shooting an 80lb Hoyt VTM 34 with 29.75 draw.
 
I would like to use the Tuffhead BH as they have a 0.080 blade thickness and they seems to be durable but they are nearly no reviews on them on internet.
lusk archery tests lots of stuff on here/youtube. here is the link to a tuff head test:

 
lusk archery tests lots of stuff on here/youtube. here is the link to a tuff head test:


Thank you for the link.
I’ve probably already watched all his videos on BH.
This is the Tuffhead evolution, the bevel angle, blade thickness and the material is not the same as the dangerous game.
I’ll go the butcher this week to get some heavy bones and I’ll do a test with the Tuffhead dangerous game which I’ll be posting on this thread.
 
Following this thread closely. As of right now, I plan on using a 700 gr Grizzly Stick 240 tipped with a 250 gr Iron Will on my July 2023 Cape Buff hunt. Shooting an 80lb Hoyt VTM 34 with 29.75 draw.

Are you planning to use the single bevel or the double bevel without bleeder?
 
Spine charts are guidelines, not Gospel, so don't assume that your arrow is underspined because the chart says it's supposed to be. I am surprised to hear that your arrow is flying that well with such a drastic weight increase, but If you are indeed getting bullet holes, you have near-perfect tune which is the ultimate goal and a far more important criteria for maximizing penetration.

Spine itself has very little to do with the actual durability of the shaft, and there is no correlation with penetration besides the necessity to have the correct spine to be able to achieve near-perfect tune. A higher spine is not necessarily more durable simply because it is stiffer. Momentum is the key to good penetration and that momentum comes from a combination of draw weight, draw length, and the optimal arrow build which has to include enough total arrow weight, with enough front-of-center weight and the right broadhead design.

There are now several arrow manufacturers that make heavier, beefed-up, tapered shafts which makes them much more durable choices for big game. However, you can also increase the strength and durability of a standard carbon arrow by using shock collars to prevent "mushrooming" of the shaft, and by utilizing glue-on broadheads or locktight on the broadhead threads to eliminate any gaps or possibility of movement between the components which will also cause a structural failure.

With a 30" draw length @ 81lbs., an arrow with a total arrow weight north of 850 grains and 20% front-of-center should perform very well on Cape buffalo. However, I personally always recommend the heaviest arrow you can build that still flys well from your set up. Don't be afraid to go as high as 950 grains for a Cape buffalo arrow.

Spot on Mr. Dan!

You can always come work some hours for me in the bow shop when you finally retire!
 
This is the Tuffhead evolution, the bevel angle, blade thickness and the material is not the same as the dangerous game.
I’ll go the butcher this week to get some heavy bones and I’ll do a test with the Tuffhead dangerous game which I’ll be posting on this thread.

I'm going to make a prediction and say the BG Tuffhead penetrates better than the other design with the steeper angle.. Tuffhead designed that BG head with the 3:1 angle for a reason, likely based off of Ashby's work. Looking forward to what you find out..(y)
 
My two cents.....
I agree that the heavier one that flies straight is better, plus other factors as indicated by Ashby; however, do not underestimate shot placement. Broadside shots for a cape buffalo are tricky; if you look at the ribcage you will see that moving from the front to the rear some of the ribs overlap, but there is more, if you look at the ribcage from the top you will see that it forms an isosceles triangle with the apex at the head; this means that when broadside, the ribs are inclined by about 45-50 degree; this in turn, presents a thicker surface to penetrate (is the same principle of sloped tanks' armor).
To make your life easier, slightly quartering toward and in the area just above the elbow going straight up from the leg (lower 3rd on the line between the front leg and the shoulder) the ribs are not that tight and will present perpendicular to the shot. That means that the area is not that huge despite the size of the animal. Precise shot placement is as important as everything else, more so with this animal.
Paolo
 
A couple of thoughts:

It's all about flight. I don't care about bullet holes. Never chase them. I only use paper to nock tune bare shafts and gross cam shimming at 15'. As long as my arrows all tear under an inch in the same direction I'm done with paper.

I then go outside and tune my bow. I start off at 20 y 3 bare shafts, 3 fletched (1 broad head, 2 field points) one eye closed using POI til I'm happy.

Then I fine tune at 30 & 40 y both eyes open. This time I don't really care about POI but I only look at flight. Once the arrow flies without any wiggling at all I'm done.

Not a fan of IW at all. Don't like ferrules, really don't like the short/fat design either. NO BLEEDERS. My PH is adamant about getting through bone- no short/fat, no bleeders, etc

I use Sirius Apollo 200, VPA single bevel 250 gr, 200 gr half sleeve with a 75gr HIT behind it for a TAW of 930 gr (575 gr up front).

Good luck!

ps Kinda heavy for the plains game. At 80#, for you, Ashby stuff really doesn't need to be followed as dogma for PG. Unless of course if giraffe is on your list- thick skin.
 
Last edited:
My set up has changed a bit.
I am now using a PSE carbon Mach 34 EC 80lbs
After the testing on heavy bones I’ve settled on the following set up :
Goldtip kinetic kaos 200 spine arrow shaft
Stainless steel insert and collar 190gr
Tuffhead dangerous game single bevel L 400gr
Total arrow weight is 949gr with 30% FOC @ 215fps with a momentum of just over 0.9 slug
 
What kind of distance can you accurately shoot with the lower velocity of these heavy arrows? I assume you need a range finder and some kind of easily adjustable sight? I've done quite a bit of deer hunting with a bow in the past, but never shot much past 30 yards.
 
What kind of distance can you accurately shoot with the lower velocity of these heavy arrows? I assume you need a range finder and some kind of easily adjustable sight? I've done quite a bit of deer hunting with a bow in the past, but never shot much past 30 yards.
My buffalo setup last year was dialed in out to 50. I was using a standard 5 pin fixed sight. My pins were set 20, 30, 40, 45, 50
 

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