Home Forums Bows and Equipment Arrow / broadhead penetration testing

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    • Nick D
      Post count: 25

      I am interested in hearing about any experiences you have had in testing arrow penetration in your back yard. Specically,
      I want to test both wood and carbon set ups. Since I don’t have any 300-400 pound carcasses laying around the yard ( my attempt at humor, sorry ) I am interested in hearing what you think a good target set up would be. I have THE BLOCK target and a Glen Dells dear target.

      Any tips you could provide on a commercial target or some home made set up would be appreciated.

    • Steertalker
      Post count: 83


      In my opinion none of the commercially available, store bought backstops, target butts, etc are worth a darn. They all will wear ought rather quickly. If you want a good back stop then build it yourself. Personally, I would recommend using Celotex (sp???) fiber board. The stuff they use for siding on house before the bricks go on. It comes in 4′ x 8′ sheets which I cut into 2′ x 4′ sections. Then stack all the 2′ x 4′ sections on top of each other like a deck of cards. Build yourself a frame inwhich to hold the stack, preferably metal. The one I built for myself is over 14 years old and still works fine. I shoot pretty much every day and shoot heavy bows with really heavy arrows…….you aren’t going to put an arrow through it. You can even shoot BH’s into it if you want although they’re hard to pull out.


    • Treetopflier
      Post count: 146

      Nick — For a regular target I use recycled heavy plastic stuffed tightly into burlap coffee bean bags. Great for field points but doesn’t always stop broadheads. In order to compare penetration with broadheads, you need a uniform target substance that will stop them and which applies the same pressure to each arrow as it enters. Steertalkers Celotex setup or any good NEW dense foam target will do that (most foam 3D targets vary considerably in thickness and density from spot to spot so don’t work so well for this purpose). But as Steertalker says, foam doesn’t want to give up a broadhead and you’ll either pull heads off or really tear up the foam fast extracting arrows. So, to accurately measure relative penetration you need target that applies consistent resistance to every shot and yet releases broadheads. I don’t know of such a substance. The best I’ve been able to do is use field points that equal the weight of the broadheads I wish to test, and compare penetration that way. Granted it leaves out a vital component to penetration. Although it’s frustrating that we can’t duplicate Ashby’s tests precisely in our backyards, we still have his huge body of data to apply to our setups with predictable outcomes. For instance he has determined that in all cases, 2 blades get the best penetration on “400-pound carcases,” then 4-blades, and 3-blades last. EFOC is a major player, as is overall arrow weight and etc. We don’t have to duplicate his tests to trust that data in selecting our setups. My 2 sense, Snuffy

    • George D. Stout
      Post count: 256

      Arrow penetration with broadheads is more associated with arrow flight than broadhead type. Most target mediums are not really conducive to showing what field results would be.

      We know that most two blade, and even three blade heads will completely penetrate and or pass through whitetails with little trouble, providing the arrows are flying straight.

    • Bloodless
      Post count: 103

      George says: “Arrow penetration with broadheads is more associated with arrow flight than broadhead type. Most target mediums are not really conducive to showing what field results would be.”

      I agree! Only “target medium” that counts is a live, or recently dead, animal of the type we want to be sure we can kill fast and humanely when we hunt them. That’s why Ashby uses buffs … “There is no such thing as overkill when it comes to bowhunting.” The doctor also agrees with Mr. Stout insofar as perfect arrow flight being first and foremost requirement regarding lethality. Not the only requirement by a long shot (well, out to 20 yards anyhow :roll:) but first and foremost. Bloodless (not really, but I like the name, having borrowed it from the character “Painless” in the original flick Predator :twisted:)

    • Cottonwood
      Post count: 311

      Very informative topic here, glad I dropped in. Now to make some coffee, and cruise the board. 😛

    • Mudd
      Post count: 8

      I bet if googled it you could find some information about arrow/broadhead penetration. Do a search for a topic called “Dead Cow”. It’s a good read as I recall.

      God bless,Mudd

    • Cottonwood
      Post count: 311


      I really like what you made there, and think I will try that when my compressed carpet foam bale target wears out. I’ve just been retarping and tieing the bundle that I got at a local carpet store from tear outs for free.

      Here is something that I came across that works for broadhead testing. These interlocking squares are available at Walmart or Kmart for about $20.00

      Cut in half these fit right nice in a burlap rice bag that cost $1.99 ea

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