Product Tests: The Helix Broadhead and the Ghost Blind Products
Posted on September 28, 2011
The key to a good blood trail and fast recovery is to shoot an arrow that penetrates well and to use a shaving-sharp broadhead that cuts a large wound channel. When these two criteria are met and proper shot placement is achieved, animals usually fall within sight.
However, modern bowhunting equipment has forced us to compromise a little in this area. After all, today’s bows are amazingly fast, and when combined with fairly light carbon arrows, big broadheads don’t fly well from such setups. This has brought about a unique line of compact-style fixed-blade and mechanical broadheads.
Many of these heads certainly work well enough, but some either don’t penetrate as well as we’d like or they use a narrow cutting diameter in lieu of better aerodynamics. They essentially provide a good balance but don’t deliver the best of both worlds.
Then, you have the new Helix broadhead, an odd-looking two-blade with a long, narrow cutting tip. For many bowhunters, smaller-type two-blade heads spell trouble, since they tend to cut a small, slit-like wound, rather than a gaping hole for blood to flow out of–something modern three- and four-blade heads do provide.
Personally, I’ve always considered modern two-blade heads a specialty item that is ideal for maximizing penetration when using low-poundage setups, especially when tackling super-tough animals like wild boar or African game. Otherwise, I pretty much avoided them, because of their narrow cutting ability.
However, the Helix is no ordinary two-blade. It’s different. It uses large, single-beveled blade edges that are designed to work with the arrow’s fletching. As it flies, air flowing over the beveled edges forces the broadhead to spin, just like fletching does for the arrow. This feature makes the broadhead more aerodynamic, more stable when flying at high speed and consistently easy to sight-in and tune.
To confirm this head’s accuracy, I shot several groups (using a shooting machine) at 50 yards and found the heads to be exceptionally accurate, even in a heavy Arizona crosswind. In fact, they grouped right alongside the mechanical heads I was using as a comparison–in the wind. Now, that says a lot. My test bow shot 380-grain arrows at about 295 fps–certainly a fast setup.
A fringe benefit to this head’s high-spin ratio is a more ragged, enlarged wound channel. Since it spins faster in flight than other broadheads, it tends to “drill” more through flesh than just cut, thereby creating more devastation and increasing blood flow.
This hybrid feature, combined with the deadly penetrating ability of a traditional-style two-blade configuration, means this broadhead comes as close as you can get to the best of both worlds.
Beyond that, the Helix is a top quality product. It’s remarkably consistent in weight, spins true every time, and the blades are extremely sharp. It feels like a basic “chunk of steel” that will drive through anything. Its narrow profile–thin like a knife blade–will give it more integrity when encountering bone and driving straight on through, instead of causing a deflection.
Overall, I came away very impressed with this broadhead. Given its unique shape and long, slim cutting tip, I have no doubt it will deliver the best straight-line penetration any setup can achieve.
The Helix head can be ordered in either right or left wing to match the offset of your fletching. For more information or to buy a set, visit www.helixarrowheads.com. –Joe Bell, Editor
Be a Ghost
A blind that’s guaranteed to blend well with any surroundings? Could this be true? Well, it absolutely is, and it’s found in the Ghost Blind.
Best of all, the blind is lightweight and folds together for easy carrying. There are two models available–a two- or four-panel–depending on your concealment requirements and style of hunting. The two-panel weighs about 7 pounds, while the four-panel weighs about 15 pounds.
I decided to try out the four-panel for spring turkey hunting. When I received the product, I couldn’t wait to give it a go. I immediately took it out to my backyard to see how it would react to the sun. No matter how I moved, the blind didn’t reflect the sun.
Then, I got all set up and began shooting over the top of the panel. It all worked without any issues. I could shoot easily from kneeling on my knees, and I was completely concealed, except for my head and upper limb of my bow.
One thing I did notice, however, was that anything more than a slight breeze made the blind move. Luckily, the manufacturer provided strings with a toggle ball that went easily into the predrilled holes on both ends of the blind, allowing the hunter to stake it securely to the ground. I simply left the strings attached during the entire turkey season for quicker staking.
One Friday afternoon, I got to try the blind out for real. Four jakes were called in for my friend from an open field. We were set up just inside the tree line. My friend shot one with a shotgun, and the remaining birds had no idea where we were hiding. After about 10 minutes, they wandered back into the field.
On the next outing, I tried it out for bowhunting. I got set up in the timber, just inside an orchard, and immediately had a gobble. The tom was moving in quickly. He came in parallel to my blind, got within 20 yards and quickly realized that something was awry: He saw the side of the blind and me trying to “melt” into it. He went from a strut to hightailing it back to where he came from.
Although the Ghost Blind didn’t work out, I was very impressed by its effectiveness. Obviously, the blind hid me but not my movement.
I think the Ghost Blind is a great tool for any turkey or deer hunter. I liked the fact that it quickly tears down and sets up anywhere else in short order. I look forward to trying it on deer this fall. It will allow me to set up on trails based on the wind and not on available cover or tree location.
Ghost Blind Industries’ website has a plethora of information, pictures, testimonials and all sorts of fascinating information about this product. Check it out at www.ghostblind.com.–P.J. Selinski, contributor