Home Forums Bows and Equipment Performance Report: A successful failure

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    • Ed Ashby
      Member
      Post count: 816

      I just received this information today from someone returning from an African hunt. Don’t have permission to use his name, but he’s the Lead Structural Engineer at a major, international construction firm. Here are the shot details.

      Bow: 60# Black widow
      Arrow: 29″ 5575 shaft GT with weight tube; 100 grain brass insert; one-piece 150 grain WW Elite BH; 4″ helical feather fletching; 625 grains; 21% FOC.

      The shot was at 22 yards on a gemsbok, standing, at an extreme quartering away angle. Impact was just forward of the left rear leg. The arrow traversed the gut and thorax without bone impact. Upon reaching the right (off-side) shoulder the arrow impacted the shoulder bone at an angle and, quote, “… almost desintegrated on impact. Two blades sheared off at the ferrule after sustaining permanent deformation; and the ferrule broke at the thinnest point. The broadhead rotated about 30 to 40 degrees in relation to the shaft.” After impact, the tip of the BH pierced the skin at the inside of the left front shoulder.

      Here are the photos:

      The red arrow points to the entrance wound.

      Here’s the tip of the BH through the skin, forward of the right shoulder.

      A Closeup of the BH tip through the skin.

      The broadhead, bent and broken.

      Closeup of the BH’s damage.

      Here’s a look at the broken BH from another viewing angle.

      And a closup from the photo above.

      With no bone hit, the EFOC arrow penetrated the soft tissues very, very well. No measurement was taken, but that would be close to 4 feet of soft tissue penetration … before bone impact. Now is the time to ask a few “what if” quaestions. Whot would have happened if that shot had hit a shoulder bone on entrance? How about what would have happened had the shot been a tad left and the arrow impacted on the hip joint, pelvic bones or femor? You be the judge, but I had very similar problems with the WW on buffalo entrance-side ribs.

      I’m promised some more photos of other WW failures on bone hits from this same individual, as soon as he get things sorted and catches up a bit of business. I’ll share them when I have them.

      It’s fortunate that this shot worked out as well as it did. In Africa, you draw a single drop of blood, you pay the trophy fee … and Oryx are NOT CHEAP to wound!

      Ed

      “When everything works we learn nothing. It’s only when a failure occurs that we have a chance to see what went wrong, and why.”

    • Steve Sr.
      Post count: 344

      OUCH! Lots of information there, Ed.

      Some awesome penetration and some equally awesome devistation on that broadhead that I wouldnt have expected if shot into a rock.

      Four feet of penetration??? Holy Moly!

      I’m really looking forward to more stories of success and failures here and examples like this that even though was definately hard on parts of the equipment, it is loaded with info too.

      Tough dang critters anyway.

      God Bless
      Steve Sr.

    • kingwouldbe
      Member
      Post count: 244

      WOW! that is amazing information.

      He did get vary good soft tissue penetration, and the momentum of the arrow was able to still have enough energy to DESTROY the broadhead.

      Thanks and keep the info stream flowing

    • Ed Ashby
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 816

      Consider that this gemsbok (Oryx) is smaller in body size than most any elk; and its bones are not as heavily constructed of those of even a decent young bull elk! That’s worth more than a bit of serious pondering.

      Ed

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      For those watching but not commenting, I would like to point out here that Dr. Ashby and “we” in general have no interest in, and no reason to attempt to demonize certain brands while boasting on others. This is simply “it is, what it is” stuff. What works, works. What doesn’t work, doesn’t. For the benefit of the animals we hunt, ourselves and the image and reality of modern bowhunting, we want to know what works and what doesn’t even when “stuff happens” we hadn’t planned on. In this ongoing examination there are no “favorite” broadheads based merely on personal anecdotal experience or manufacturer affiliations. We want data far and wide, win or lose, which is why Dr. Ashby and we so appreciate those who have printed out his field report forms and thereby entered their experiences into his records and study. What happens to individual bowhunters is only that. If the same things happen to a hundred or a thousand bowhunters, that is reliable information. Please keep it coming, both here and by way of the forms. You know, on a personal side note, I’d much rather be able to say that 3-blades are the most lethal under all circumstances, because they look so lethal and more importantly, they’re a snap to sharpen, which counts for a lot with many of us. Yet, shucks, both in my long personal experience and in the data, it just ain’t so. Shucks, dave

    • Ed Ashby
      Member
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      Post count: 816

      Dave brings out the correct point. This is all about sharing and learning from what we share. It’s neither to promote any product nor deride any product. At the same time, no effort is being made to be “PC”. As Dave said, “it is what it is”.

      If we, as bowhunters, are ever to get to the real meat of the information there has to be a open examination of true results, letting the “chips fall where they may”. There’s already plenty of special-interest promulgated misinformation ‘out there’; we need some straight talk, unclouded by personal loyalty, special interest or industry influence. Bowhunters need to know what really does work, and when and why it works. They also need to know what doesn’t work, and when and why it’s likely to fail.

      That’s the whole purpose behind this forum; to share real information, educate ourselves and, I sincerely hope, improve evey bowhunter’s chances of making a clean, humane kill on as many hits as possible. And that’s why we need each of you to become active in this forum. We need you to post your real results, from both your successful hits and your failures.

      If you ever begin to feel that the ‘negative reports’ are getting a lot more ‘air time’ than than ‘positive reports’, remember this: Most any setup works when everything goes perfect. It’s only when a shot fails that we are given an opportunity to find out what it was that caused the shot to fail. It’s the failures from which we learn the most. That’s a compelling reason to examine the failures much more closely than the shots that don’t fail.

      We need you to post your finding. We need you to download and send in those field report data sheets. Just like the Study, this forum won’t be a brief project, but the more information that comes in the faster the data builds, and the sooner clear answers emerge.

      Please become involved.

      Ed

    • IronCreekArcher
      Post count: 79

      To be honest I expected a failure like this to occur with those heads in particular. When you start removing metal you start taking structural integrity away as well. Look at the studies that Dr. Ashby did with the original Woodsmans…the blades above the vent were severely bent almost to the point of breakage. How could one expect any different with even more holes in it? Especially when no heavy bone was hit…

      On a side note I have been trying my best to harvest an animal and contribute the findings to Dr. Ashby’s studies. Between school dedication and bad weather the past week opportunites are few and far between…I am headed out tonight though to try again.

    • Patrick
      Member
      Post count: 1148

      Something to consider:
      The 175 – 250 grain Elites are NOT vented.

      Edit: Those weights are for the screw-in models.

    • rayborbon
      Post count: 298

      Is that the same broadhead getup they have advertised on 3 Rivers Archery shooting into a brick?

    • Ed Ashby
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 816

      Yes. Apparently it’s is a very good BH for hunting bricks (LOL). All jokes aside, I’ve found no other ‘test medium’ that gives a clear indicator of how any BH will perform on fresh bone. Bones are not only hard-surfaced, they have surfaces that simultaneously curve in multiple directions. Mother Nature specifically designed the skeletal system to deflect, redirect and disipate impact forces, forstalling penetration.

      Bones are also constructed is such a way that they can absorb a huge amount of impact force, relative to their mass. Our modern armor’s technology is just starting to catch up with that. The so called ‘smart armor’ now used on military vehicles and on bullet-proof vest function similar to bones. There’s a hard outer surface that’s set at angles, to the maximum amount possible, and then there are inner layers that are ‘less hard and less brittle’ than the outer layer. Those inner layers absorb and disipate forces during penetration, reducing total penetration.

      Arrow penetration seems so simple but, in reality, it’s a very complex process.

      Ed

    • Patrick
      Member
      Post count: 1148

      Were most Woodsman failures located at the vents? I know the tips also have a tendency to curl, which I experienced while practicing with the 150 grain screw-in Woodsmans

    • Ed Ashby
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 816

      Patrick, the photos shows a catastropic failure of the ferrule too. I’ve not had a total ferrule failure like this in my testing, but I must also say that I didn’t push the WW to the testing extremes I put most BH’s through. That’s simply because I encountered problems in the inital testing phase; broadside heavy-bone impact shots from 20 yards. I consider those the easiest shot, and there’s no reason to progress to the heavy-bone angular impacts; much less the extremely heavy-bone direct and angular impacts; with a BH that repeatedly fails on the ‘easy impacts’. I routinely had tip curls with the factory needle-tip, but they were easily cured by adding a pyramid tip; but there was no cure for the bent and collapsed blades.

      Ed

    • Patrick
      Member
      Post count: 1148

      Yikes. They seem hopeless. Cheap steel or bad temper, I wonder?

      Yes, technically the ferrule did fail. When I look at a photo of a pristine 150 grain WW Elite, it looks to me as though ferrule kind of ends right where the one pictured above failed…a VERY poor design indeed! That’s why I wondered if the completely solid 175 grain and above versions would seem to a least solve that problem. Sounds like there are many other hurdles though!

    • Ed Ashby
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 816

      Patrick, perhaps the biggest hurdle of all is that no three-blade BH penetrates heavy bone well; at least none of the ones I’ve tested, and that’s most of them. When heavy bone is hit the four-blade BH’s average far better penetration than the three-blades. A lot of that difference in bone-performance is a result of the same reasons why there are no three-sided splitting wedges; that profile isn’t very efficient at splitting things.

      Ed

    • Patrick
      Member
      Post count: 1148

      Dr. Ed Ashby wrote: A lot of that difference in bone-performance is a result of the same reasons why there are no three-sided splitting wedges; that profile isn’t very efficient at splitting things.

      Ed

      Excellent analogy.

    • boomer
      Post count: 1

      Why was he using such a light broadhead on African game? I guarantee much better results with the 250gr. non-vented model. There just isn’t enough steel in such a light broadhead for African game.

    • Steve Sr.
      Post count: 344

      I would like to point out here that Dr. Ashby and “we” in general have no interest in, and no reason to attempt to demonize certain brands while boasting on others

      Agreed! Please let me address this to “newbies” or “non believers” if you will.

      Such incidences are simply more substantiation, for those that still need it, that indeed The Ashby Report has and is giving us solidly PROVEN advice to use selecting arrow set ups and broadheads to provide us with penetration from our set up to minimize or eliminate such things happening, or worse.

      By description, style and design, the head failed exactly as expected contacting bone and is not a finger pointing expedition at this manufacturer or any others.

      Allow me, if you will, to be the “devil’s advocate” here.

      Without a doubt this same head has taken other game of this class and done so successfully, and performed as advertised, when NOT contacting bone and probably even a few times doing so.

      I’m positive some reading have thought “this head was NOT MADE to penetrate bone!” and the best part about that is that we ALL agree there. It was not, and does not on a regular basis and survive undamaged. JUST like a great many otherwise EXCELLENT soft tissue heads that will ALSO normally fail.

      The broadhead designs and comparisons of use have simply been expanded upon, through Ed’s work, giving us new considerations and probabilities never before given to us.

      Some broadheads ARE made to do things others will not even though their “end use” for the customer was similar.

      “What if” considerations are unfortunately (IMHO) NOT part of all bowhunter’s equipment choices. Each(including you and me) make decisions on our own as it should be.

      Many of the older “no arrow is a bone breaker” school undoubtedly will stick to their life long beliefs and pick “bad shots” as cause of such failures, or “the arrow did it’s job” comments,etc, etc. That is all fine and well and I personally don’t and wouldn’t, and have seen NO indication anyone here, including Dr. Ashby, make anyone’s decisions for them ……or trying to.

      Worth repeating, The Ashby Report is meant as a means of you to EDUCATE YOURSELF. Repeat “YOU”. This example is yet another of a PREDICTED failure, therefore a “success” for the Ashby Report and us adhering (mostly,hehe) to it.

      In that light…”WHAT IF?”

      :arrow:What IF, that was YOU on that hunt?
      :arrow:What IF, that was YOUR elk or deer or bear?
      :arrow:What IF, YOUR shot went astray for any reason?
      :arrow:What IF, YOUR choice of broadhead failed or arrow didn’t penetrate for other reasons, and a disaster remained?

      Do YOU “need” a failure, a wounded and/or lost game animal to convince you to take advantage of information at hand to drastically REDUCE the odds of it happening?

      Not me!!

      Meant with the best intentions to all.
      God Bless!

      Steve Sr.

    • Konrad
      Post count: 62

      Even if this hunting tip had NOT struck bone and had only become lodged in the shoulder socket and then been destroyed as the animal moved forward, its design/construction still remains questionable.

      Who can believe they will never encounter bone(s) and/or forces contrary to “simple” penetration when hunting?

    • sapcut
      Post count: 159

      Regarding bows and arrows in general…There are a pile of people who may believe they may hit tough resistance like bone but they will not admit it. They will deny it, ingore it, not prepare for it and defend their light weight setups.

    • SlowBowInMO
      Post count: 13

      As an aside for those interested, I’ve done a fair amount of testing with the new Elites as we have considered carrying them. I am convinced the glue on’s are the better heads at this point.

      If you were to look at the glue on twin to the head pictured above, the 125 gr glue on, I believe it would have fared better than the 150 pictured. I’m not saying it wouldn’t have been damaged, and certainly I’m not disputing Ashby’s work regarding 3 blades or Woodsmans (I love his stuff). What I am saying is if you’re going to shoot a Woodsman Elite, I’d take a hard look at the glue ons over the screw ins.

      I’m currently using a few 125 Elite glue on’s mounted to steel adapters, which I believe are a stronger set up then the dedicated factory screw in versions.

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