By Todd Smith
Understanding Broadhead Sharpness
S cary sharp, razor sharp, hunt- ing sharp, lethal sharp… What does it all mean? Does it really matter? Oh yes it does! Broadhead sharpness is of the utmost impor- tance when it comes to harvesting big game quickly, humanely, and ethically.
We all know it, but not all our customers do… arrows kill by caus- ing massive bleeding (hemorrhage) which disrupts the delivery of life sustaining oxygen to the body. Or, arrows can damage crucial organs like the heart, lungs, liver, etc. which is also ultimately fatal. It’s a razor sharp broadhead on a delivery sys- tem with enough momentum to push the broadhead through the ani- mal that we need.
Today we’re going to discuss broadhead sharpness. We’ll describe a few different types of edge finishes and in the process perhaps you’ll draw your own conclusions on how broadhead sharpness relates to broadhead effectiveness. The infor- mation presented has been drawn from science, from controlled testing on big game animals, and from the personal experiences of many sea- soned bowhunters. At the least, you should find this information inter- esting and if you’re like me, it may
change the way you look at broad- heads and broadhead sharpness for- ever.
some lively discussions the bowhunters’ campfire if
you bring up the subject of broad- heads. How many blades are best; two, three, or four? Which brand is best? Which steel? Single or double bevel? Inevitably the topic of edge finish is mentioned and then you might as well settle back and get comfortable, because it’s going to be
a long night.
Words of Wisdom- Before we delve into this topic… I’ve known Charlie Lamb for decades. I first met him at Cloverdale, Indiana. He was sitting in the Magnus Broadheads booth wearing a big smile. I realized later that you could always count on a smile from Charlie, and for an opinion that was worth listening to. Charlie has been a bowhunter for many years and he’s an active con-
the topic of broadhead broadhead selection, and
broadhead sharpening comes up, he consistently kind of sage advice:
methods gives this
“Sharp is where it’s at. It’s what does the killing. It’s what promotes
About The Author
Todd Smith has been a tradi- tional bowhunter for over 40 years. After learning the art of handcraft- ing wood arrows in Alaska from his mentor John Dodge, he built arrows professionally for several years. In 2008, after a 19 year stint with 3Rivers Archery, he made the decision to help other businesses grow and currently offers market- ing services through his website ToddSmithCo.com.
Todd Smith’s Traditional Focus column in ArrowTrade is being sponsored in part by Alaska Bowhunting Supply.
penetration. It’s what puts blood on the ground. Getting your broad- heads ultra sharp (regardless of design) is like adding pounds of draw to your bow. It was a pretty common saying ‘back in the day.’”
Charlie knows of what he speaks, we would do well to listen…
Three Main Styles of Sharp Especially in traditional circles, there are three general schools of thought on broadhead edge finish- ing. They are; Howard Hill’s serrated edge style, the traditional file sharp-
The three basic edge types are serrated, file sharpened, and smooth honed & stropped.