Broadheads and field points present archers and bowhunters two options with different designs, usage, and flight patterns. So which is best for what use and can they be used with the same results? Let’s review these types of arrowheads in detail.
When to Use Field Points
Field points are narrow, slender points that are best used for target practicing. They come in a variety of tapers and materials and go by different trade names like bullet points, blunt points, rubber points, stainless steel, and others that all share a similar slender tapered design.
Field points are used for target practice because their flight is true and their shape helps save the wear and tear on your archery targets. The narrow design means smaller entrance holes and an easier time removing the arrow from the target. If you are using screw-in points make sure that the diameter of the arrow shaft to be equal to the diameter of the point and seat collar. This will help when removing the arrow from the target.
It is important to note that field points are not to be used for hunting. Their design makes it possible for the arrow to pass right through a buck, causing so little damage that you merely wound the animal. A wounded animal can live for days, enduring an agonizing death. They are unethical and unsportsmanlike to hunt with, not to mention being illegal for hunting large game.
In short, field points should only be used for target practice and shooting competition. Their narrow design provides true flight, making them ideal for tuning bows, target practice, and archery competitions.
When to use Broadheads
Broadheads utilize wide, flat blades to cause large wounds in game animals. This design goes back to ancient times, with natives fashioning sharp cutting broadheads out of stone. Modern broadheads are surgically sharp and fly much faster, and therefore are excellent at taking large animals. The so-called “cut on contact” broadheads are deadly, and should only be used in the hunting context.
Broadheads should be used in hunting situations whether for whitetail deer, turkey, or shooting a crossbow. Field points simply won’t do the job when trying to take down an animal.
Types of Broadheads
Broadheads fly differently from field points, due to the design of the heads, and hunters can experience accuracy problems when moving from field points. The physical forces that a broadhead faces in flight cause the variance in flight trajectory. The wide blades have more surface area to create friction which causes broadhead flight speed to slow faster than a field point. The surface area also makes the arrow more susceptible to planning and drifting in wind conditions.
In contrast, the tapered and slender design of a field point is more streamlined with less friction or drag in flight. It makes perfect sense then that the field point flies truer for longer distances.
In similar shooting conditions, a properly tuned bow that is matched with the correct arrows will eliminate much of the differences in accuracy between a broadhead and field point up to the 60-yard mark. The rest of the pursuit for accuracy lies in consistent practice of the fundamentals.
Before you ever let either type of arrow fly you need to have your bow tuned and the arrows matched to your bow. What that means is that the arrow spine needs to be the correct length, grain (weight,) and matched to the draw and poundage rating for the bow. That little tip helps to improve the difference in flight between broadhead arrows and field points when your target is less than 60 yards away.
Since you are going to hunt with broadheads you should also be practicing with them to get the feel for how they fly. A couple of good tips include using an identical set of broadheads for practice and a set that you use only for hunting. When you tune the arrow, check its trueness on an arrow spinner. What you want to see is that there is no wobble in the head as the shaft spins. If you see wobble, then the shaft is bowed and should be replaced. When you target practice with broadheads, you are in a sense tuning them. You want to match the blades to the vanes which give you a bit more draw and you want to shoot every arrow. In so doing, you eliminate shaft flaws and improve accuracy.
Broadheads Vs. Field Points
There you have it, two very different types of arrowheads, with different usage and flight characteristics. For hunting always go with the broadhead, it’s what they were designed for. For developing accuracy, tune your bow to your arrows, shoot each arrow you plan to hunt with, and practice. Consistent practice habits over time make a big difference in the performance of even the best-tuned bow and arrow.