Types of best crossbow broadheads for hunting. Introduction to bow hunting

It is not easy to determine why, day after day, both veterans and new hunters choose the bow, nor can we deny the evidence that it is fashionable. Moreover, the future prospects indicate that, just as in the United States, the number of followers of this hunting discipline will continue to increase around the world, which is why we are starting this series of articles in the hope that they will be useful for those who wish to enter the world of bow hunting. 

If you want to know in details what are the best crossbow broadheads this article is the one you definitively must check.

It seems logical to me to start by introducing the reader to the different types of bows used nowadays for hunting and the pros and cons of each one of them.

Hunting bows can be grouped into two families: the composite and the traditional. The former belong to a group of modern bows that use the latest technology to increase performance. 

This type of bow is far from the traditional aesthetics and the image that a priori we could have in mind of what a bow is. Instead, within the family of traditional arches, we find the classic wooden arches, which, although they have also evolved over the years, still retain the aesthetics and purity of the arches we dreamed of as children.

The traditional arches

They are the most classic arches, the simplest in their design and those that everyone knows from films or literature. They are generally made of wood laminates and synthetic materials. They do not usually have aiming elements, so the hunter must shoot using only the skills of sight, muscle coordination and memory as the only reference. This concept is known as instinctive shooting.

To help you better understand the concept of instinctive shooting, we could simplify it by saying that it consists of shooting the arrow where we look, look and shoot. Mastering this form of shooting requires constant training.

The traditional bows in the hunt allow us to make very fast shots, being ideal for the hunt to the flight, the small hunt and the hunt in hooks or beaten.

Their lack of performance (performance being understood as the energy that the bow is capable of transmitting to the arrow), compared to composite bows, must be made up for by the use of heavier arrows and fixed blade tips that favour penetration.

We could say that these are the ideal bows for those hunters who want to feel the contact of the string in their fingers, enjoy the leather accessories and the natural feather and with it go into the most romantic part of bow hunting.

Within the traditional ones we find two other subtypes of bows: the longbows and the recurved ones. These are their main characteristics:

The Straight Arch


Straight arch

The straight bow or longbow is light and manageable. The longbow is also known as the “English longbow”. It was developed in Europe in the Middle Ages and is the traditional hunting bow that has most preserved the aesthetics of bows of yesteryear. It is the representative par excellence within the traditional bows.

The longbow is suitable for both big and small game. Its power curve is progressive and will increase as we open the bow.

The longbow is not the choice for hunters looking for maximum performance from a bow; instead, it is ideal for those who love traditional archery and want to enjoy the purest instinctive shot.

The recurve bow

A man with a crossbow in the woods. Shooter.

Like the longbow, the rebaud is constructed from wood sheets and other materials, such as fiberglass or carbon.

Unlike the longbow, which is basically a flexible stick, the rebauds usually have a well-differentiated body of the blades, which are responsible for flexing and doing the work.

Its main characteristic is the double curvature of its blades, which improves the performance of the bow. Generally, it is shorter than the longbows, but with a larger handle and thicker blades that form a heavier and more stable bow when handling.

On the market we find detachable and one-piece models, it is even possible to have the same bow body with several blades of different powers and lengths to adapt the bow to different needs.

The precision and power/speed ratio of recurved bows is better than that of longbows, so it is usually the most widespread option within traditional bows.  As in the case of longbows, they are valid for any type of hunting.

What should we take into account when buying a traditional bow?

The specifications are marked on the lower shovel of the bows

Power. Is the force required to tension a bow to a defined opening (usually 28 inches, measured from the bottom of the shaft nock groove to the vertical line through the bottom of the handle throat, measured in pounds). For hunting in Spain I would recommend a minimum of 50 pounds for big game and 45 pounds for small game, although I must emphasize that if the bow is handled comfortably it is preferable to use more power.

Opening. The value indicated on the blade corresponds to the defined opening value at which the bow reaches its indicated power. The opening is the distance between the string and the inside of the handle taken with the bow drawn in the anchored position. In traditional bows, each archer, depending on his physical constitution, will have his own opening, making two archers of different height and span using the same bow to obtain different powers.

The pulley bow or compound

The popularity of bow hunting is undoubtedly linked to the creation of the composite bow, the so-called “pulley bows”.

Thanks to them, bow hunting has become accessible to countless people, as their use does not require as many hours of training as traditional bows and their performance and precision are much greater.  Composite bows are characterized by having pulleys at the end of their blades, which are driven by a cable system. These pulleys are responsible for reducing the tensioning force required to keep the bow open.

A compound bow, unlike traditional ones, has a fixed maximum opening, regardless of the size of the handle. When this maximum is reached, the pulleys generate a “relaxation” effect that allows the bow to be held without much effort and to aim calmly.

Unlike traditional bows, pulleys are equipped with aiming systems, stabilizers, arrow rests and triggers, accessories created with the aim of increasing the precision and performance of the equipment.

Since Holless Wilbur Allen created the first pulley bow in the 1960s, composite bows have evolved by modifying their design and maximizing their performance in a continuous race to achieve more manageable, faster and more stable bows.

When buying a composite bow, there are many terms that appear in the specifications. These terms help to know the characteristics of the bow as they indicate the size, the power, the speed at which it can be shot, how stable it can be a priori and what its let-off is.

What should we take into account when acquiring a pulley bow?

These specifications are marked on the lower blade of the bows and on the labels that accompany them

  • Power 

Force required to tension an arc to a defined opening.

Compound bows are adjustable in power and have a usable power range generally of 10 pounds. The value indicated on the blade or on the label is the maximum power point reached by the arc. That is, a 70 pound arc can be reduced to 60 pound by loosening a few screws.

  • Opening

In a compound or pulley arch, the opening is a determining factor. Bearing in mind that the characteristic of the pulley arches is a stop at the end of the travel to be opened, this stop must be housed in different positions according to the size of each shooter. That is why we could say that each archer needs a correct size of bow and this is imposed by the opening of the archer.

  • The let-off

It is the percentage of force exerted by the pulleys to reduce the effort when keeping the bow open. For example, with a 60-pound pulley bow and a 65% let-off, we would need 21 pounds of force to keep it open. In the case of an 80% let-off we would need a force of 12 pounds.

Currently, most composite bows are manufactured at one of two standard let-off levels: 65% or 80%. Although, as with everything, we can find exceptions and bows that even reach 99%.

  • Measurements

Ropes and cables

They tell us the length of the wires and strings of our bow. This information, which does not appear on all bows, is very useful when replacing them.

  • Measurement of the bow

This data indicates the size of the arc (measured distance between axes or outer end of the blades). As a rule, longer arcs are usually somewhat more stable, while shorter ones are usually more manageable.

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