Unlike a bullet’s high-energy shock, a broadhead kills by cutting blood vessels. The result is usually hemorrhage. The edge of a broadhead should be razor-sharp to kill effectively. You want to cut and damage as many blood vessels as possible.
It is unethical to use a dull broadhead since it won’t do the job as quickly or efficiently as a sharp one.
So the answer to whether broadheads have a dull edge is no! You don’t want them dull. Your job as a responsible bowhunter is to ensure they’re razor-sharp!
How Sharp Does a Broadhead Need to Be?
The short answer is as sharp as you can get them! Sharpness plays a significant role in how well a broadhead performs. A dull broadhead is less likely to penetrate deep enough or do enough damage to the animal. Sharpness plays the biggest role when cutting veins and arteries.
It’s important to remember that a broadhead is only as sharp as its edge. The rest of the head can be incredibly strong, but if the edge is dull, it won’t do the job properly.
The Benefits of a Razor-Sharp Broadhead are
- Better penetration even with “lower” draw weights
- More damage to veins and arteries (higher blood loss)
- a cleanly cut wound is going to bleed more profusely
- a more ethical kill
Broadheads That are Dull from Factory
I am sure most of us have learned the hard way that unpacking a new broadhead must be done with caution. Those blades are SHARP! So I made a habit of not touching the blades.
But lately, I read about hunters who have purchased broadheads only to find that they were dull right out of the package. So why would any renowned manufacturer send out a product that wasn’t up to par?
There are a Few Reasons This Might Happen
- The broadhead was damaged in transit (unlikely)
- The quality control on that batch of broadheads wasn’t great (possible)
- Was done on purpose by the manufacturer (let´s hope not)
While it’s possible a broadhead was damaged while delivered, it’s implausible that this would result in dull blades. Quality control or something happening at the factory is a more likely scenario.
But the most likely reason for broadheads being dull from the factory is purposeful. By sending out dull broadheads, the manufacturer can save money. How? I can only guess, but I believe it has to do with where those blades are manufactured.
No name-calling, but let’s say that some countries have different standards than we do here in the United States. They may be saving on the costly finishing steps such as honing.
The other possibility is that the manufacturer sends out dull broadheads because they know most consumers will sharpen them anyway. I personally don’t think that’s ok. If so, they should tell us that the broadheads need to be sharpened.
I found an interesting article over at AmericanHunter.org.
After talking at length with broadhead engineers and some industry insiders, I’ve found several possible explanations. Frank Dougherty, an engineer with Wasp Archery reminded me that the issue is not as simple as one might think. “As bows get faster and faster, manufacturers must continually find a balance between sharpness and durability, or else the sharp edge will just be destroyed the moment it strikes something.”Source: https://www.americanhunter.org/content/are-the-latest-broadheads-too-dull/
Check out the full article. It’s worth a read.
So what can you do?
Test your broadheads once they’re unpacked. You can send them back for a refund or exchange them if they’re dull. If you’re not comfortable doing that, then take the time to sharpen your broadheads before heading out into the field.
Don’t try to save money and buy from a no-name manufacturer; chances are you’ll only end up frustrated. And if you end up with something that’s not up to par, don’t buy from them again!
There are a lot of great broadhead manufacturers out there. Do your research and buy from a reputable company. Ultimately, it will save you time, money, and a lot of frustration.