Wondering what the difference is between crossbow broadheads vs regular broadheads? Some archers find they can accurately shoot their favorite vertical bow broadheads on their crossbow. There is a fine line, but there are differences in design to account for higher bow speeds and kinetic energy.
If you are struggling to get good groupings with your normal compound bow broadheads, then it’s time to move on to a “crossbow broadhead”. Broadhead companies are coming out with more and more products designed specifically for crossbow shooters. This guide covers all the best crossbow broadheads for deer and the various factors you should consider.
Best Crossbow Broadheads Compared
*Last updated 2020-10-22 at 16:58 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Crossbow Broadheads vs Regular Broadheads
Many old-school bowhunters will tell you that crossbow broadheads are nothing but a marketing ploy, that the only difference is the word “crossbow” on the packaging. At one time that may have been true, but as crossbow hunting has exploded in popularity that really isn’t exactly true anymore. If you hunt crossbows, why wouldn’t you want to shoot broadheads made for crossbows?
- Heavier – 100 to 150 grains are quite normal for crossbow blades, where most vertical bows are in the 85-125 range. There is some overlap, but the heavier heads give the bolt some weight-forward balance to let the vanes work their magic. The heavier FOC flies straighter, hits with more momentum than a lighter, perfectly balanced arrow.
- Shorter Fixed Blades – Look closely at fixed blade crossbow blades, you will see they are a little shorter. Shorter blades compensate for the shorter length of crossbow bolts, helping the arrow fly truer, with less impact from wind and air resistance.
- Stronger Blade Retention – Many crossbow shooters rely solely on mechanical broadheads over fixed blades. The reason is simply due to the fact crossbow bolts are shot at higher speeds, and are thus impacted more the by the wind. The main issue with mechanicals is premature deployment at 400fps.
- Blades Clear the Foot Stirrup – Some mechanical broadheads designed for vertical bows can actually catch on the stirrup on some crossbows, triggering blade deployment. The result is dangerous and potentially damaging to the crossbow and the archer.
1. Rage Crossbow X – Best Mechanical Crossbow Broadhead
The Crossbow X is basically the same broadhead as the regular Rage 2 blade. They don’t specifically say what the difference is, but I speculate there is a small difference in the deployment mechanism to prevent the blades from expanding in flight.
The Crossbow X broadhead has all the other great design features Rage is known for. There is the Shock Collar system that keeps the rear cam deployment consistent.
The blades are a solid .035” stainless steel, and open to a massive 2” cutting diameter. If you have trouble with mechanical blades opening early, the Rage X would be a good head to try next.
2. Excalibur Boltcutter – Best Fixed Blade Crossbow Broadhead
The Boltcutter is a beefy 3 blade, 150 grain fixed blade broadhead for crossbows. Excalibur explains the choice of a 150-grain head as a way to improve the accuracy over 300 fps by increasing the front of center balance.
The entire broadhead is constructed from high strength stainless steel to withstand the high kinetic energy impact of crossbows.
The Boltcutter is a sweet balance of the strength and durability of fixed blades, with the speed and accuracy of a mechanical.
3. Muzzy Trocar Crossbow
The Trocar is a very sharp, three-cornered stainless steel tip, which is found on an instrument used in surgical procedures, and also on the tip of these broadheads. This feature is intended to increase penetration, which I suspect it does very well. Paired with a solid stainless steel ferrule, it punches through bone without deformation.
The Muzzy Trocar uses a helix design with a right-hand twist, which combined with a rather compact profile, is intended to increase stabilization while offering less resistance to the wind, resulting in consistent flight characteristics and accuracy. Muzzy designed these especially for use at higher speeds.
These broadheads are available in either 100 or 125-grain weights, with .035″-thick blades and a cutting diameter of 1-3/16″. One nice feature is that the blades are easily replaceable if they get bent or damaged just unscrew the old one and screw a new one on.
4. NAP Spitfire Crossbow
The NAP Spitfire is a 3-blade mechanical broadhead that has gained something of a reputation for reliable functioning and great performance. The blades are sharpened with NAP’s patented Diamize process and are thus razor sharp. Another patented feature is the hardened-steel Trophy Tip to maximize penetration and decrease deflection off of the bone. It also sports a micro-grooved ferrule which is intended to improve accuracy.
The Spitfire utilizes a mechanical spring clip retention system to keep the blades from deploying in flight, so there is no need to mess with O-rings, even when using high-speed bows. Users report that this patented (boy they have a lot of patents on this) retention system is very reliable, with hardly any reports of premature blade deployment. As a matter of fact, customer reviews on these broadheads are excellent, consistently citing accuracy and superior performance.
Available in both 100 and 125-grain weights, with a cutting diameter of 1-1/2″, these can be used on both carbon and aluminum bolts. An excellent choice for deer and elk as well as a turkey broadhead.
5. Grim Reaper Crossbow Broadhead
These are nearly identical to the Grim Reaper Razorcut SS broadhead for compound bows, just modified for use with crossbows that shoot up to and beyond 400 fps.
The difference isn’t clear as Grim Reaper has next to zero info on their website. Get with the program guys.
The X-Bow heads are available in 100 and 125-grain sizes, with either Razortip or Razorcut SS tips. The cutting diameter is a large 1.5”, and crossbow hunters have been happy with the size of wound channels for humane take-downs.
6. Swhacker Two-Blade Crossbow Broadhead
Swhacker has earned a name in the industry for high quality and innovative designs, and these mechanical broadheads are good a good example of both. They feature stainless steel blades, an anodized aircraft aluminum ferrule, and a high-carbon hardened steel penetration point.
According to their website, their unique design provides two different cutting edges, a primary and a secondary attack. When the primary cutting blades are retracted, two short wing blades are deployed, much smaller than the main blades. These are for the initial assault, cutting through the dirt, hair, hide, and bones and penetrating into the interior. They point out that they use much less energy to penetrate than broadheads that open upon impact, and that they take some of the load off of the ferrule.
As they penetrate, they open the primary blades inside the body cavity, leaving them with “virgin edges” when they open. It really is a clever design. These are available in 125-grain weight, blades are .032″ thick, with an open cutting diameter of 2-1/4″. A good choice in mechanical broadheads.
7. Cabela’s Lazer Strike II Crossbow
Here we have Cabela’s brand mechanical broadhead, which is actually very popular. Normally I side with the saying “you get what you pay for”, but the Lazers have the performance and track record to push away fears of the low price.
Lazer Strike II crossbow heads are built with a hardened steel trophy tip design, with replaceable .030” stainless blades. You can tell the difference between these with the regular Lazers by the gold-colored ferrule.
These use the o-ring method for blade retention, so if you hate messing with o-rings, you may want to stick with the Rage or Reapers.
8. Muzzy Trocar HBX
The Muzzy Trocar HBX is a hybrid broadhead with a rather unique design. The hybrid construction combines the advantages of both fixed blades and expandable blades. They’re equipped with a tapered steel ferrule that is the same size as the bolt, and utilizing the same three-sided stainless steel surgical Trocar tip as used in the Trocar Xbow above. The mechanical blades are retained in a closed position using a friction washer.
The broadheads in flight with the fixed blades and the rearward-deploying mechanical blades folded are only 3/4″ x 1″ in profile, which the company says gives field tip accuracy, and by most accounts this holds true. At impact, the mechanical blades expand to a 1-5/8″ cutting diameter for a large wound channel. But here’s the twist. When the expandable blades meet bone, they close up to re-open after they have passed the obstruction, letting the fixed blades do the heavy work.
These are available in both 100 and 125-grain weights. Users report excellent results with the Muzzy Trocar HBX broadheads and they’re well worth giving a try.
9. Rage Hypodermic Crossbow
For years the Rage Hypodermic mechanical broadheads have maintained high popularity among hunters, earned by their consistent reliability of function, accuracy, and game-getting results. It’s a proven design that works well.
The simplicity of their design contributed greatly to their reputation. What the company calls Ferrule Alignment Technology (FAT) ensures proper bolt-to-ferrule alignment and contributes to the sleek aerodynamics. The steel ferrule is equipped with a very pointy hybrid tip for deep penetration. The system uses a reliable high-energy shock collar for blade retention. When deployed, the .035″ stainless blades boast a huge 2” cutting diameter for an equally huge wound channel. Available in 100 or 125 grains.
It’s hard to go wrong with this time-tested beast stopper.
10. G5 Striker Crossbow
For those who prefer fixed-blade broadheads, the G5 Striker is a top contender, known for its durability, accuracy, and stopping power.
It utilizes the unique patented ANIX blade locking system, which is basically a very sharp three-sided steel tip which locks over the lower part of the blades, taking the brunt of the impact off of the three fixed blades, protecting them from damage. The blades themselves are metal injection molded for flexibility, tapered for better aerodynamics, and honed with the company’s Diamond-Cut Sharpness sharpening technology. The whole unit is solid steel and spin-tested to ± 0.002″ straightness for maximum accuracy.
Available in either 100 or 125 grains, with a cutting diameter of 1-1/8″, the G5 Striker is an attractive high-tech alternative for the modern hunter.
A Crossbow Broadhead for Any Hunter
The selection of broadheads for crossbow hunting has never been better. Whether you prefer fixed blades like the Xcalibur Boltcutter or mechanicals like the Rage Crossbow X, or if you like a heavier 150 grain or lighter 100, there is a broadhead for you. Select the right grain and cutting diameter for the type of hunting you like to do and get out there with confidence. All of these broadheads are elite choices and fully capable of taking an animal with a good shot. If you are interested in crossbow hunting for turkey, check out our turkey broadheads guide.
*Last updated 2020-10-22 at 16:58 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API