The Best Tips for Tuning Expandable Broadheads

NAP broadhead

A Simple Solution Will Have You Stamping the 10-Ring

I feel so strongly about practicing with the exact same broadheads I hunt with that, for many years, I refused to hunt with expandable heads simply because the models I liked best utilized a rubber band to hold the blades in place.

When I shot them into a target, the rubber band shredded, and I could never find replacements. So I didn’t practice with them, and, therefore, didn’t hunt with them. I used replaceable-blade heads that made it easy to practice with the real thing, then quickly and easily change out the blades when it was time to go hunting.

By Bob Robb

Today, many expandables come with a practice head, which the manufacturer claims will fly exactly like the real thing. All you have to do is practice with one of these points, they say, and when hunting season rolls around, trade them out for a real broadhead. All is well.

That hasn’t worked for me. I’ve tried a lot of these practice heads and have yet to find one that, for me, shoots into the same hole as a real broadhead.

As a caveat, I am a fanatical bow tuner. And unless my broadheads are giving me a perfect bullet-hole tear in paper at 10 yards, I will not go hunting — no exceptions. I’ve tried tuning expandable broadheads and the practice points, and they do not tear the same for me. Ever.

Close? Sometimes.

The same? Nope.

I have tried all sorts of fixes to allow me to be able to practice with a real mechanical head.

A little dab of Super Glue to hold the blades in place? It works for a shot or two, but then the glue breaks and the blades get covered with target gunk and I can’t reglue it.

I know. This is probably a lot of nitpicking, and I have been told I am way too fanatical about these little things before. But having a mild dose of attention deficit disorder, I just can’t help myself. I work too hard to get into position for a shot and know I can control my equipment and how it functions. I cannot predict or control what a mature buck will do.

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I was whining about this problem to a good friend, Jim Velasquez, this spring. He has been in the archery business more than 40 years and is a crack shot. He’s a superb bow tuner who used to own a quiver company and now works part-time in an archery pro shop while doing public relations for several archery companies.

“I can fix that for you,” Jim said.

“What I do is trim a small strip of Scotch tape and wrap it around the ferrule where the rubber band goes. The tape weighs about the same as the little rubber band and doesn’t change the flight characteristics of the broadhead at all. Give it a try and see what you think.”

So I did, and you know what?

It works like a charm.

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The width of the tape is actually a perfect one-wrap fit around the ferrule, making it easy to trim a piece to fit.

It only lasts one shot, but I actually like that. It forces me to take my time between practice shots instead of just launching arrows as fast as I can shoot them — a very bad practice habit.

I did a fair amount of practicing at longer ranges (40 to 80 yards) to see how the arrows fly when I taped the ferrule. The answer? The same as when I use the rubber band.

The Swhacker broadheads I used employ two blades that fold backward, meaning I tape the ferrule in front of the blade assembly when using them.

It is a bit more complicated when using a slip-cam broadhead like the Rage, but you can make it work with them, too. It just takes a bit more finagling and a little more time.

— Bob Robb is a professional outdoor writer and accomplished whitetail bowhunter from Arizona.




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