There’s no purer form of hunting than the old-fashioned way, skulking through the wilds with bow and arrow in hand.
That said, we’re assuming you have more responsibilities now than the hunters of old had, and so you don’t want to spend all day trying to take an elk down.
This means you’ll need an arrowhead that will get the job done the easiest, it is the best for both you and the elk, after all.
That’s why we tracked down the best broadheads for elk, five of them to be exact, and have listed out their pros and cons so you can see their features at a glance.
We’ve also included information about which broadheads to use and which ones to avoid in our handy buyers’ guide, which also includes an FAQ section so that the questions many other hunters have asked are answered for your convenience.
In a hurry?
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If you’ve got your eyes on an old Monarch elk you want to bring down, and need to get on its trail straight away, we have our top choice of broadhead right here.
We chose the Rage Bowhunting Hypodermic +P Mechanical Broadhead, for its hybrid tip that will make short work of elk hide and bone.
See why we chose it in some more detail below:
These broadheads have a hybrid tip of both chisel and cut-on-contact to break bone and tear skin for better bleeding thanks to its 1.5-inch cutting diameter.
Swept-back blades reduce friction during penetration, ideal for going through the tough hide of elk.
Stainless-steel ferrules are durable from being made in one-piece, and have been made with aerodynamics in mind for the sake of precision.
Best Broadheads for Elk - Comparison Table
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Best Broadheads for Elk - Reviews
The first broadheads we have to suggest are the Rage Bowhunting Hypodermic +P Mechanical Broadheads. No prizes for guessing what type of broadheads these are from their name, but these mechanical broadheads are a hybrid of cut-on-contact and chisel tips, meaning they’re designed to cut flesh and bone in equal measure.
The Hypodermic +P blades have a swept-back angle and rear deploying blades to retain energy whilst being able to cut and draw blood, a key balance that needs to be achieved if hunting elk.
Their cutting diameter is 1.5-inches, which is useful for carving wound channels through animals but remaining modest enough to fly straight and true. What’s more, they also hold fast during penetration thanks to their one-piece stainless-steel ferrules which are designed with aerodynamics in mind.
The Rage Shock Collar Blade Retention System is great if a stable deployment is something you admire in mechanical broadheads, but it can make them awkward to pop back in after being deployed.
At number two is the Solid Broadhead Legend, a series known for the durability of their broadheads, but what else would you expect for their price? These are fixed broadheads that are fashioned from 100% S30V steel, highly corrosion resistant and able to keep up their sharp edge for an impressive amount of time.
Brand confidence is so high in these products that Solid Broadheads offer a replacement if the blades break during hunting use.
Speaking of the blades on these broadheads, it’s fundamentally a two-blade, cut-on-contact design with those blades curved for an aerodynamic flight, but there’s also two smaller bloodletting blades to ensure a blood trail.
These features all work in tandem to ensure a deep penetration, and the S30V steel is good for going toe to toe with thick elk bones and coming out on top. As fixed broadheads, you’ll find yourself sharpening these more, but this is an easy process thanks to how solid these broadheads are.It’s available in both 100 and 125 grain and will produce a 11/8 wound size at minimum, thanks to its over five inches of cutting edge. If you’re lucky enough to catch these broadheads in stock, and you can justify the price, then they might be the perfect option for bowhunters who prefer sturdy, bloodletting arrow tips.
The third option on our list are broadheads perfect for if your bow is shooting a low poundage, or otherwise has a short drawing length. They’re the Magnus Stinger Buzzcut Broadheads, and they’re designed to deliver the maximum amount of penetration with the minimum amount of kinetic energy.
One look at the shallow blade angles of this broadhead should tell you it’s as cut-on-contact as broadheads come, slicing through hide with ease and without sacrificing too much forward movement.
The blades are large too, but the arrows they get attached to don’t seem to know that, since they fly with them very well.
As for cutting power, you have the choice of two or four blades. Since you’re looking to hunt the sturdy elk, we assumed you’ll want the bloodier trails and so linked to the four-blade version. You also have the choice between whether the blade is straight or serrated, and solid or vented.
We recommend the serrated to better chew through tough elk hide, and whilst the solid blade makes less noise, which is good if covert hunting is something you’re looking for, the vented version is far and away the most popular of these options.
You get all of this choice for a broadhead that is affordable and doesn’t require a high poundage ballista of a bow to make full use of.
The fourth broadheads on this list are a great option for those who want no-fuss, heavy and fixed broadheads to get the job done.
They’re the G5 Outdoors Montec Fixed Broadheads, bulky broadheads that may have crossbow written on the packaging, but should fit with any arrows you can fire with a compound bow, and the fact that they’re intended for crossbows means that these broadheads are heavy.
This means that if you’re not keen on heavier broadheads this won’t be the one for you, but if you do like some extra firepower the tough and simple one-piece metal injection mold construction method for these heads make them hit like a sledgehammer and penetrate deeply, perfect for powdering any bones in their way.
These simple broadheads are available in multiple grains, we recommend you go for either 100 or 125 for elk hunting. They’re cut from one piece of 100% steel fanned out into three cut-on-contact blades, and those blades are angled in such a way that re-sharpening them is as simple as these broadheads themselves.
Its sturdy one-piece construction makes these arrows very reliable, rarely breaking and almost always able to be retrieved, making them not only the simple but the efficient option.
Their place on this list is only an indication that they have less features than some of the arrows above, but don’t underestimate the damage a good old heavy arrow can do.
The last broadheads on this list are ones that have a big name to live up to, being the Grim Reaper Razortips. Another mechanical broadhead, these also have something of a hybrid tip since the tip itself is a trocar, but it has added razors.
This is what they call the Bulletrazor tip, and we recommend that you get the 13/8-inch cutting diameter version if you want a smooth tradeoff between cutting power and penetration.
The blade retention on these blades is quite secure, needing no other accessories like o-rings to hold them in place.
These broadheads also boast a patented design which allows the blades to spring open with less energy being expended in the process, allowing that energy to instead be focused on the target of your arrow.
These broadheads are somewhat let down by their aluminum ferrules, which some have a problem with bending and making these broadheads usable only a handful of times.
Best Broadheads for Elk - Buyers Guide
What to Consider When Buying Broadheads
When buying broadheads, there are many aspects of the arrow and the particular hunt you have planned which need answering if you want to guarantee the right purchase.
Not only do broadheads retail in different types, but within those types there are considerations like arrow weight, penetration capacity, blade sharpness, and how well they draw blood from the animal for tracking purposes.
Types of Broadheads
There are three predominant designs available for purchase on the market, all having their advantages and disadvantages to using them.
The simplest and most conventional of these designs is a fixed blade broadhead, which just means that the arrow has its blade attached via screws or an adhesive substance and it isn’t intended to be removed.
These work best in lower pull weight bows, and their tips are very sharp and great at piercing, especially solid skin like that of elk. That sharpness must be maintained, however, and so these kinds of broadheads will need re-sharpening more often.
Replaceable broadheads are, as the name suggests, broadheads whose tip can be removed and replaced with newer, sharper ones.
This eliminates the necessary maintenance of blade sharpness, but replaceable broadheads are expensive as a result, and tend to be less durable than other arrows as a consequence of their adjustability.
The third type, mechanical broadheads, are an example of state-of-the-art technology in the field of arrow creation in which blades spring out from the arrow in flight. Whilst adequate at flight and capable of great penetration with even the finickiest of bows, the mechanical broadhead is an arrow of extreme.
By that we mean that this arrow can deliver devastating shots in the hands of a hunter who knows what they’re doing, but if loosed as part of a poorly prepared shot they won’t perform very well.
In order to get the most compatible arrows for your bow, you’ll need to either be aware of the kinetic energy being produced by your bow. If not, then there are tools online that let you know by feeding them the specs of your hunting bow and the arrows you use.
This is because you must shoot at least around 75 lbs. to fire this bow and mechanical arrow setup. Elk are hardier creatures than most, and so for that you’ll want denser, and heavier, arrow weights more in like with 450 to 500 grains to make sure that you take that elk down.
Fixed VS. Mechanical
Fixed blade broadheads are generally preferred by elk hunters because the secure blade delivers a more forceful impact, which is better for penetrating through their thick skin and even useful for breaking bones.
They’re also less hassle since you don’t need to worry about the mechanical function of the arrows malfunctioning, and so the blades not emerging, since there is none of that fancy setup required for a fixed blade broadhead. T
hey’re the arrows you go for if you need a simple, no-frills product that will get the job done.
Mechanical broadheads, however, trump the fixed blade broadheads when it comes to their flight capabilities, and they’re less vulnerable to drifting after leaving the bow. The blades of these broadheads have large cutting diameters which are good for making larger, bloodier wounds for easier tracking, but that’s if the arrow penetrates enough, since mechanical arrows have less kinetic energy behind them which doesn’t perform so well against elk hide.
The cutting diameter is important because it affects how well the blade flies through the air. Smaller cutting diameters fly better since they don’t gather as much wind resistance when in the air.
This only really applies to fixed or replaceable broadheads, however, as mechanical blades are unaffected by the size of their cutting diameter since the blades spring from the arrow mid-flight.
Sharpness and Sharpening
Sharpness is naturally going to be one of the big considerations when buying arrows, whether you’re a novice or master huntsman. Elk skin is strong, so you want a good and sharp broadhead that can penetrate their hides, or maybe an arrow with more blades than you’re used to.
The best way to ensure that sharpness continues after your purchase is to use a sharpener for blade maintenance.
If using a fixed blade broadhead, it’ll need to be sharpened quite often, and it's good practice for a huntsman to ensure that their arrows are sharp regardless. This can easily be done with a sharpening knife, sharpener or a sharpening stone.
Style of Point
Of the large variety of options available, the two main qualities you’ll find in broadhead point styles are either cut on contact or chisel tip.
These interact differently with the hide of an animal, with cut on contact broadheads taking less energy to shred through the hide whereas chisel tips are designed to break bone and will work best when used on a heavier arrow.
A good arrow will not only be sharp and have a lot of cutting capacity but will have a lot of penetration power behind it to strike deeper and break bones to better incapacitate elk. Without penetration and force enough to break bone, hunting can be a frustrating experience.
Penetration and cutting power are important for hunting as you don’t want your shots to deflect or jump out of the animal.
An important part of hunting is usually following your quarry after the animal bolts, assuming you didn’t incapacitate it the first time. For this the bloodletting quality of an arrow must be considered, as it’ll allow for blood trails to be left in the animal’s wake, which makes tracking them easier.
Fixed blade broadheads have deeper penetration but don’t let that much blood out, whereas mechanical ones do. If you have your heart set on fixed blade arrows, you can get specialized ones that’ll perform better.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a heavier arrow better for hunting?
Whether a heavier arrow works best depends on a number of other factors, however, like the game you’re hunting and the specs of your bow. This is a debate that has been going on for some time between people in both camps.
Each has their own advantages, but if your goal is to get the animal dead as quickly and humanely as possible then you’ll want penetration, and its penetration that heavier arrows are better for. This is because heavier arrows carry with them more momentum which allows for deeper penetration no matter the kinetic energies at play.
What is broadhead grain?
The industry standard for measuring the weight of arrows is grains per inch, abbreviated to GPI, which measures the shaft’s weight, and often confused with GPP which is grains per pound. Under GPI calculations, five grains per inch is lightweight whilst seven is midweight and arrows ten or over are heavy.
For GPP this is slightly different, instead with light arrows being five to six point five grains per pound, midweight arrows being six point five to eight and heavy arrows weighting over eight grams.
Why are barbed broadheads illegal?
Barbed broadheads are illegal due to the higher risk they pose to wildlife and also due to the unnecessary pain they cause should your shot be non-lethal. In the same spirit, poisonous, drugged, and explosive arrowheads are all also illegal to use due to ethical concerns.