spitfire failures

Buddro

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Sep 4, 2019
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A few years ago I drew an elk tag and decided to move to fix blade strikers from mechanical spitfires. this year I am considering going back. The strikers just dont quite fly as well as the spitfires did (they still do pretty well.)

I have obviously combed over the forums pretty well but there are always more stories so I figured I would ask about all of your failure stories. Did you recover the animal? How did the head fail? What did you hit?
 

Fisherhahn

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Nov 2, 2019
Messages
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If the fixed blade still fly pretty well then why switch back to a mechanical head which will soak up energy to open and possibly cost you penetration? Especially a 3 blade mechanical. If anything I’d choose a 2blade mechanical like rage trypan. Either way I hope you are shooting a heavy arrow with a long draw length and heavy draw weight.
 

Planopurist

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Jul 11, 2017
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I have been shooting the NAP Spitfire Maxx’s for 4 years now. Similar to you, I flies great for me. I have killed many deer and pigs with them. I will very likely have it in my quiver this year for whitetail. Although, there are at least 2 heads (fixed and mechanical) I am interested in trying if I get them to group together, particularly the fixed head.

That being said, I have made 3 shots that made me question the broadhead. Two of those shots were on the same animal, a male wild hog that weighed very close to 300 lbs. if I had to guess. I did not want the hog, but I wanted to deliver a lethal shot as they are extremely invasive and detrimental to the ecology. I shot him in the shoulder and he ran off. About 45 minutes later he return with a noticeable limp in the foreleg. I put another in him in almost the same spot. He ran off again. Neither shot passed completely through. In fact, I saw the 2nd (because of my lighted nock) fall out of him as he ran off, about 30 yards into his getaway. I went to recover the arrow and heard the wounded hog growling in the brush. I backed out until daylight. When I recovered the arrow, the broadhead was closed with flesh stuck in it. I’m imagining that I hit too much shoulder bone, shield, and fat. It was a big mature hog!

Last year I made a poor high, forward shoulder shot on the biggest whitetail I’ve ever seen, probably 250 lbs. I immediately saw low penetration. Again, I saw the arrow fall out of him as he ran off, about 60 yards into his getaway. When I recovered the arrow, it appeared just like the one from the hog, mostly closed blades with meat chunks in it. I had about 8” of penetration. I think I’d hit the thick part of the shoulder blade. I was unsuccessful in recovering the buck. True heartache.

I believe all of these were my fault with shot placement. I really don’t hesitate to use the Spitfires, but I want to get to know a particular fixed head this year before my elk hunt and another mechanical for antelope in 1-2 years.
 
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Buddro

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Sep 4, 2019
Messages
25
Because I am getting plenty of penetration and to put things simply, I am more afraid of a chance breeze blowing my arrow into an animals stomach where penetration wont help me than of hitting a bone at a point that its thick enough to stop a mechanical but not thick enough to stop a fixed blade.

I'm in a rush to start work so I am over simplifying here, not trying to be too blunt or sound condescending.
 

SoDaky

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Apr 6, 2018
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sd
I have shot a deer and a turkey with Spitfires.Worked OK,no failures but really didn't hit much that could damage them.No elk.Did shoot quite a few deer,one bear,and one big bull with Strikers.Between the 2 I'd go Striker.I'd call both 'budget' broadheads for elk and in that category I'd try a 2 blade Magnus Hornet or Stinger over either.
Good hunting!
 

Felix40

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Jul 27, 2015
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New Mexico
I shot three animals with them the year I got back into compounds, 2017. Every one was a pass through and the couple arrows I was able to find had no damage.

I like to hug the shoulder pretty tight. The buck I killed that year was at 50 yards. The arrow went through the meatiest part of the shoulder and took a chunk out of the humerus. Complete pass through. He ran about 30 yards and tried to cross a dry creek bed but couldn’t climb up the other side with his shoulders not working right. He died right there in sight.

Spitfires are my favorite mechanical. I haven’t shot them since then because I’m not crazy about using them on elk. Once I get my bow tuned perfectly for fixed blades to elk hunt I prefer to just use them the whole season.
 

Blockcaver

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Sep 9, 2012
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BC
I've shot regular 1.5" original Spitfires for a few years and killed a Dall sheep, two Coues bucks, four black bears, a very large polar bear, Tule elk and a lynx with them. They are tough enough to spine animals, go through shoulder blades, etc. And they pass through most critters unless the shoulder bone or spine is hit.They fly very well. I need to boil out the bear vertebrae with a Spitfire in it from last week to see how it held up. Wasn't a failure no matter what damage the head might have incurred as the bear is in the freezer.

As per opening, mine have all opened fine. When they get pulled backward from a critter they may close up, but on entry they have all opened. That said, I always check to see the force required for the blades to open. I had a few that opened hard, and upon further investigation found they had changed the "dimple plate" retainer to a thicker material (0.005" vs 0.004") and raised the dimple from 0.013" up to 0.016" making the blades harder to open (7#s cumulative force on a trigger pull gage vs 4#s for the earlier heads) Simple answer is NAP made them into cross-bow heads that would withstand higher launch forces without opening. This was from 2019, not sure about 2020 production. Anyway I am a fan of the old NAP Spitfire heads, and will be cautious with the new ones that are not US produced.
 
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wapitibob

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Feb 24, 2012
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Bend Oregon
I've shot multiple Bulls with the original spitfire 125; better blood, better penetration, and faster kills than with almost every other head, all of which were fixed. Spitfire is the only mech I have used or will ever use.
That said, some entrance holes were about 3/4 dia. That hasn't been a concern for me but if it is for you, maybe a different head is in order. A lot of mech heads get that same 3/4 dia. entrance. One thing I mention when discussing mech heads and Elk, they aren't designed for leg/scapulae/spine type shots. Get close and put it in the center of the lungs and you'll watch him fall.
 

Billy Goat

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I shot them for a long time and I didn't have a failure, I have switched to a fixed head. My opinion is they are best mechanical out there.
 
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Buddro

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Sep 4, 2019
Messages
25
I have a little more time I will try to input a little more info. My philosophy is that there are essentially 2 modes of failure caused by broadheads. 1 is failure to penetrate to vascular tissue. The other is steering the arrow in such a manner that they do not travel through vascular tissue regardless of penetration (a miss)

Side note. I have only shot strikers and spitfires, they have both performed well. I have probably half a dozen packs of each and I have no real desire to try any other.

I have not been able to make my fixed blades fly as well as the mechanicals I have shot so for me there is a trade off between accuracy and penetration.

Being as I am operating under the rule that accuracy degrades penetration and Visa versa. I have to decide if I feel my strikers are more likely to cause a miss than my spitfires are to under penetrate. I have hunts this year where random breezes will be a greater likelyhood than usual which had me more nervous about the possibility that the strikers will steer my arrow. This has me reconsidering the spitfires.

What I want to try to understand through anecdotal evidence is how large is the area of an animal, elk in particular, that will stop a spit fire but not stop a striker. I feel this gets forgotten a lot when talking about mechanicals. For the mechanical to be the reason you did not recover the animal, a fixed blade MUST have been able to kill with the same shot. I have personally seen fixed blades get stopped on small deer. Had the shooter been using mechanicals he would have blamed the head when it was really his shooting.

I've left blade failure out for a few reasons but my lunch break is over so they will have to stay out for now...
 

Fisherhahn

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Nov 2, 2019
Messages
62
No way a broadhead should be causing a miss. Lack of accuracy could be many things. A properly tuned bow should throw any arrow consistently if you do your part. If the blades are planing and steering the arrow maybe go to a bigger fletching with more surface area to steer it or try 4 fletching them. Accuracy should never cost you penetration.
 

5MilesBack

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My philosophy is that there are essentially 2 modes of failure caused by broadheads. 1 is failure to penetrate to vascular tissue. The other is steering the arrow in such a manner that they do not travel through vascular tissue regardless of penetration (a miss)
IMO both of those are preventable, and should in no way be attributed to the BH alone. If it failed to penetrate then you need a heavier arrow or more draw weight.........or a smaller BH or one that takes less energy to penetrate. But all of those are fixable before the hunt. Just talk to Wapitibob.........I know he's shooting 60lbs with an average draw length and has used the 125gr Spitfire for decades.....as he posted above.

The other is tuning.......the BH should never be "steering the arrow". But tuning also affects penetration. More fletching surface area that provides more drag.....means more control over the BH. I always BH tune with a fixed blade head, and when it's perfect at 60 yards both my fixed and mechanicals are good to go. I've used both the 125gr Spitfires and 125gr Grim Reaper Fatal Steel (similar head). Both work great.

My philosophy of BH failure is blades breaking off, broken ferrules......stuff like that. That's why I test everything. If it can handle my abuse, it's good to go.
 

Farmingdale's Finest

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Dec 30, 2017
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Not a spitfire failure but a NAP SlingBlade that uses the same Trophy Tip as the spitfire. This was on a doe I shot at 30 yards. I was a big fan of the Rocky Mountain Gator and with the reputation I had heard of the spitfire I bought several packs from Camofire last summer.

I am glad this didn’t happen on an elk we came close on a cow but the wind shifted and she took off. This could have been catastrophic on an elk considering this happened with 130 pound doe. Yes I did use several in practice to test and had no issues.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Buddro

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Sep 4, 2019
Messages
25
As far as tuning goes I have tried several fletching styles, I spin my arrows I align fletchings with blades. I have in the past worked very hard to tune the bow to the broadheads as well. While I am able to get my accuracy good enough that I feel confident shooting at animals with them, the fixed blades have never shot *as* well as I was able to get the spitfires. I get that it is possible, I have seen video of very impressive shooting with fixed blade broadheads, however in practice I have never achieved equal accuracy out of both and dont expect this season to be any different.

I agree expandables are capable of more than enough penetration to ethically kill an elk with the right set up my set up is pushing plenty of energy/momentum. However energy used to open mechanicals, larger cutting surface, shallower angle of attack in the blades all mean they are less efficient in terms of penetration than the striker. There are no doubt angles and shots where the one will drive through and cut something fatal where the other will not. I'm not looking to push limits or take risky shots here I am very diligent in my shot selection. But at the end of the day critters move, wind comes up, nerves get frayed and arrows go where they shouldnt.

I am attracted to mechanicals because I do feel the greater cut helps the chance I will get lucky and find a vein or nick a little extra lung or otherwise "get lucky" in the event that my shot goes too far back for whatever reason. I feel I am shooting enough energy/momentum however you want to place priority that I will penetrate at least to the back ribs if not full pass through on a shot too far back.
 

dexnrex

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Sep 3, 2016
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Location
Montana
I’ve been shooting Spitfires for many years. Killed elk, mulies, whitetail, antelope and sheep. Never had a failure. I like them for all of the reasons mentioned above.
 

deerhunter2881

Junior Member
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Mar 29, 2020
Messages
15
I’ve been shooting Spitfires for many years. Killed elk, mulies, whitetail, antelope and sheep. Never had a failure. I like them for all of the reasons mentioned above.
I’ve killled many deer with spitfires as well and they do work great but I noticed all the deer I shot ran farther and harder after shot due too the loud snap when it opens. But that’s just my opinion..
Also a good broad head is a sharp one
 
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