The Backstory In my experience, field points usually have a much different point of impact than fixed-blade broadheads, and even a slightly different point of impact from mechanical heads. So I’m surprised each time I see hunters practicing with field points during hunting season and hitting the bullseye.
Most bowhunters know that fixed blades fly differently due to the fact that their blades' wind plane, and therefore they’ll have a different point of impact. But marketers of mechanical broadheads have consistently told consumers that their product will fly just like a field point. While it’s true that some mechanical broadhead brands come with a similarly shaped “practice point”—which seems like an admission that they do not fly the same as field points—others do not.
So I want to know: On average, do mechanical broadheads have a different point of impact than field points?
The Test Because there are a near infinite number of variables, including bows, the bow’s tuning, shooting styles, the shooter’s accuracy, wind, broadheads and arrows, among others,, we’ll have to make some assumptions. For one test I used a crossbow equipped with a scope and rested on sandbags to minimize the human error variable. I shot at 30 yards. I shot various types of mechanical heads (and practice points) using the same arrow and setup, and then compared the point of impact results to the field point results. I stopped the testing when one broadhead’s point of impact was significantly different than the field point, because my test wasn't design to evaluate all broadheads against all field points, but to prove or disprove that some mechanicals can fly differently. If some of them do, you need to test your set up rather than assuming your mechanicals and field points fly to the same point of impact.
Test No. 1 Parker Gale Force Crossbow/Red Hot Arrow • 100 gr. field tip: zero (+/- 0) • Rage 100-gr. X-treme Crossbow: +.59” • Comments: Slightly high, but good enough for hunting out to 50 yards
Test No. 2 Mathews No Cam/The Lumen Arrow • 100-gr. field point: zero (+/- 0) • Rage 100. gr. Hypodermic Practice Point: -2.6” • Comments: Because the Rage Hypodermic averaged a 2.6 inch lower point of impact than my field tips, I wouldn’t hunt until I re-zeroed my sights for use with this specific broadhead.
The Conclusion While some mechanical broadheads might demonstrate a point of impact similar to field points, many—even most—do not. You’ve known it all along, you just didn’t want to believe it, especially if your expensive broadheads of choice didn’t come with a practice point. Bite the bullet and sacrifice one broadhead for practice. You’ll be glad you did. I strongly recommend sighting in your bow’s sights to your broadheads, not your field points, for hunting season.