Review: Iron Will Outfitters Broadhead
by Les Welch, Rokslide Staff
Over the past decade, archery technology has progressed farther and quicker than I think most of us would have imagined possible. It seems that if you want it, it's available or can be done. Bows are pushing or over 300 fps as the norm, not the exception. The list of advancements could go on.
There is a downside to all this technology though; all aspects of the industry need to keep up. It doesn't make sense to put a Ferrari motor in a Fiesta. Sure it'll run, but you will never be able to maximize the true potential of it. At these higher speeds, sometimes it can be a difficult to get broadheads to fly with field points, and fixed blade accuracy "seems" to not be there. I feel this is the reason many people switch to expandables; it's just easier to get them to fly the same as field points.
Iron Will Outfitters became a Rokslide sponsor earlier this year and were interested in the New Year New Season thread journaling my pre-season through post-season hunting life. They were game if I wanted to put their head to the test on the public thread.
As reluctant as I would be to switch heads, there was no pressure to switch, just test it out. It also stood out to me that a virtual "unknown" in the industry would be willing to put their head to the test in front of a market like this, for the first time! That took a pretty big belief in their product IMO. I liked it.
Upon arrival of the heads I was surprised to see a nicely crafted wooden box housing them. It was still winter here in Wisconsin, so all I could do was spin test them. All six heads spun perfect. With 20+ years in the machining industry, I knew these heads were made with stringent tolerances and they were more similar to a handcrafted product than a mass produced item.
As the days lengthened, I could start shooting them at short distances in the back yard. Out to 40 yards they were flying great and I only did a tiny tweak to the rest to get them to fly with the field tips.
Next up was ballistic testing. I found a recipe on the internet and was able to make a cylinder about 5" across and 27" long. Big enough I could get a few different arrow/broadhead combinations into. My son, Hunter, and I set up our test laboratory and started shooting. We compared the Iron Will 100, Rage Chisel tip 3-blade 100grain, Slick Trick Magnum 100, and the Solid 100. Test bow set up was a Mathews Halon, 28" draw, set at 72# shooting Easton FMJ 400's.
I thought that the Iron Will, Slick Trick, and Solid would all have similar penetration distance, and be a pretty good % greater than the Rage. To my disbelief, the Rage actually had the best penetration, about ¼" deeper than the rest. The other 3 were all very close. I shot each head four times for repeatability and always the same results.
Flight testing was next. At 40 yards, I was shooting great groups so I decided to head to 70. Aside from the given distance influencing my group size, impact was the same as my field tips. I strive for 1" groupings per every 10 yards of distance, i.e. 1" group at 10 yards, 10" group at 100 yards and so on. On this particular day, I was 8" at 70 with the Iron Wills and field tips. I'm no pro, I've struggled with Target Panic, and to shoot this group was OK with me.
On another trip to the range, I did shoot out to 100 yards and was in the same relative size groupings for the distance. It was obvious to me the only thing limiting their accuracy was the shooter.
I was starting to become really comfortable with this head. They spun good, penetrated well, and flew great. It was time to see what they could do on an animal.
With gear packed, we started the 12-hour trek to Manitoba bear camp. An hour before dark on the first evening, we spotted a bear. Thirty minutes later Hunter was given a steep quartering away shot. The Iron Will penetrated to the far shoulder. The bear stopped against a tree after a couple yard run, Hunter sent the second arrow. It impacted the center of the left rear quarter angling forward. He was shooting a Mathews Stoke, 26" draw length, set at 48#. When the arrow struck it knocked the bear down. He stood and hobbled about 10 yards before expiring. Upon skinning, we discovered the second head actually shattered the rear quarter bone. Absolutely amazing at 48# what kind of damage this head inflicted. I was hands down a believer in the head.
A few nights later I was given an opportunity at 20 yards. It was a clean pass through, punching both lungs and the center of the bear's heart. He was down in less than 30 yards.
Both of these heads are like new. You can't even tell they have been shot. I hope to run mine through a Gila Elk in a couple of months.
After shattering the rear quarter this head is not only perfectly intact, it will still shave hair.
The blades are manufactured out of A2 steel. A2 has the unique ability to combine a high hardness for edge retention and sharpness along with high impact toughness for bone shattering impacts. They are cryogenically treated for maximum performance.
I have no doubt from the time you open the box to the time you tag your animal you will not be disappointed in the Iron Will Outfitters Broadheads. I'm more excited about this head than I have been about anything in the archery industry in a long time. New company yes, but hold on because when word gets out they will be among the industry forefront.
First bear ever harvested with an Iron Will broadhead.
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