UPDATED – Product Review: Wac’em Archery Products 4-blade Broadheads

by Tom Ryle on November 1, 2014

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100gr4blade copy smallAugust 2015 update: In the spirit of integrity and full disclosure, I am updating this post.  At the time I conducted this review and ran the tests herein, I had no affiliation or relationship with Wac’em Archery Products.  Since this review, I made a personal decision (without compensation) to use this particular broadhead going forward.  I have recently entered into a formal relationship with Wac’em Archery Products.  I am updating this post to highlight changes and benefits to consumers but I have not altered the original testing results or my original analysis.  I am updating packaging images, product naming convention, pricing details, and a further clarification about shaft materials in my testing procedure for clarity.

 – Tom Ryle, FreshTRAX Outdoors

When it comes to business of broadheads, I’ve always preferred 3-blade designs mainly because I like to open up a triangular shaped hole in the hide of big game.  Wide, two-blade cut-to-the-tip designs are proven as well and I’ve used them plenty.  Four-blade broadheads have always interested me, especially since the trend toward smaller aspect ratios took hold several years ago.  With shorter blade length, you lose valuable cutting surface (cutting edge length).  So that additional blade equates to more cutting opportunity of vital tissues.

Over the years I have experimented with a variety of 4-blade models and have always experienced some level of windplaning or accuracy issues.  While I often enjoy micro-tuning my gear to perform, let’s face it – out of the box accuracy is optimal.  Given the opportunity to review Wac’em Archery’s 4-blade broadhead (formerly the “Exit” model), I was genuinely interested in testing their claim of “True Field Tip Accuracy”.

Let’s get to it.

Assembly

Compared to other smaller form-factor broadheads, I found the Wac’em 4-blade heads to be a tad more difficult to assemble.  But to be fair, I am comparing them to similar sized 3-blade heads, which, by design, provide more room to work when installing blades.  After I installed the blades of the first head, the rest were pretty easy.  The learning curve has more to do with technique than anything else.

Specifications

  • Material: Hardened Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 100 grains (available in 85, 100, 125 grains)
  • Blades: (4) Replaceable Blades
  • Blade Thickness: .027″
  • Cut Diameter: 1 1/16″
  • Sharpens on any flat stone surface
  • Made in USA

Price

UPDATE: Wac’em Archery Products is under new ownership.  Along with a new marketing campaign, including branding and packaging, they now offer hunters an even better value.  Previously, a 3-pack of 4-blade broadheads would have cost $38.99.  Now you can purchase a 4-pack for $37.99, and this pricing applies to their entire line up of broadheads, shown here:

wacem broadhead pricing

Sharpness

While I do not have a scientific approach to measuring sharpness at my disposal, I did examine the blades of the 4-blade broadhead under 20x power magnification and compared them with blades from two other popular broadheads.  They appear to be mechanically stropped to create a much smoother cutting edge than grinding alone can produce.

Specifications aside, the rubber meets the road in the field.  So to the woods I went with a quiver of Wac’em 4-blade tipped arrows.  On November 9th, I crossed paths with an old battle-scarred Columbian Blacktail buck that was intent on mounting a hot doe.  One fleeting shot opportunity through the ferns paid off.  As you can see in the lower photo, the pass-through exit hole was impressive!

2013 buck edited

IMG_2068

Shootability & Wind-planing

When installing the Wac’em 4-blade Broadheads I did not rotate my inserts to achieve consistent relational alignment with my fletchings.  I just installed them onto my hunting arrows and started shooting.  My first shots were at 15-20 yards to look for anything obvious.  Then I moved back to 30, then 40, and finally 50 yards, shooting three arrows at each distance, twice.  I saw no porpoising or fish-tailing whatsoever.  In short, the Wac’em 4-blade easily earns the label of true-flying broadheads!

I can finally make the statement my broadheads and field points do in fact shoot the same under normal field conditions.  No tuning, sight pin adjustments required for my set-up!

Durability & Penetration

My favorite part of any product review is what I call “destructive testing”.  As a manufacturer, you can learn a lot about materials, design, manufacturing processes, etc.  As a consumer, you can learn so much about quality, performance, and value by simply putting a product through extreme conditions, whether they replicate real use cases or not.  Part of the objectivity in product testing is the reality that I will often ruin an otherwise brand new product in a matter of seconds.  And that’s the whole point!  Nobody is going to spend their hard-earned money on a product just to find out if it’s going to hold up.  Instead, we buy blindly and hope for the best.   The broadheads installed on the front of your arrows are arguably the single-most important piece of equipment you take afield.  After all, your broadheads are what kill game. They simply must perform and “hope” isn’t good enough.

For each test I shot both carbon and an aluminum shafting.  The purpose in using two different shaft materials is to evaluate any noticeable differences based on shaft design/material.  While each shaft responded differently to the destructive test, the observed differences of results to the broadhead itself were negligible.

TEST #1 – Destructive Test

SAFETY NOTE: AUTHOR ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR INJURY OR DAMAGE(S) SUSTAINED BY DUPLICATING THIS DESTRUCTIVE TEST PROCEDURE.  DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REPLICATE THESE TESTS.

Target: (1) 2″x12″x12″ concrete paver brick

Bow: LimbSaver Proton (62#, 27.25″ draw)

Arrow #1 Easton aluminum 2117, 4″ plastic vanes (3-fletch).

Total Arrow Weight: 514 grains

Arrow #2 Gold Tip XT Hunter 5575 carbon arrow, NAP Quickfletch (3-fletch).

Total Arrow Weight: 457 grains

Shot distance: 10 feet

IMG_1439

Shooting any broadhead into solid concrete is sure to reveal failure potential as well as any other test.  Material properties and assembly dynamics are challenged in a manner unlike any scenario presented by hide, tissue and bone.  Even large “live” bones have an inherent softness and shock absorption effect on ill-placed arrows.  Hard, dry concrete is indeed a hard stop.  I’ve watched some heads literally explode upon impact.

As usual, I was wearing safety glasses for this testing. The first shot with the Easton aluminum arrow produced a divot in the concrete block.  The broadhead was intact and the hardened stainless steel tip showed little damage. Impressive.

TEST #2 – Penetration Test

Target: (1) piece of 3/4″ laminated cabinet-grade maple faced plywood

Bow: LimbSaver Proton (62#, 27.25″ draw)

Arrow #1 Easton aluminum 2117, 4″ plastic vanes (3-fletch).

Total Arrow Weight: 514 grains

Arrow #2 Gold Tip XT Hunter 5575 carbon arrow, NAP Quickfletch (3-fletch).

Total Arrow Weight: 457 grains

Shot distance: 10 feet

wacem plywood

The purpose of this subjective test was to see how far the compact Exit broadhead would penetrate a dense, yet softer material than concrete.  As you can see in the photo, the broadhead is fully committed to the plywood now.  All blades stayed in tact for this test. Imagine the force imposed on the blade retention features in a test like this.  Again, impressive.

Final Analysis

Hair, skin, flesh, and bone all work against the kinetic energy delivered by your arrow.  Skill, restraint, good shot placement, and a well-engineered, razor-sharp broadhead is required to harvest game quickly and ethically.  No broadhead can make up for the first three; that’s your responsibility.  The Wac’em Exit broadhead certainly fulfills the last requirement.

As a formally trained machinist, I’ve always been a fan of precision manufacturing.  I weighed each Exit Broadhead on a calibrated digital grain scale and found each weighed in precisely at 100 grains.  Consistency is king when it comes to arrow construction.  To that end, you can rest assured these broadheads will deliver extreme accuracy and durability from package to package.  I highly recommend the Wac’em 4-blade broadhead to any bowhunter searching for an exceptional product.

For more information, contact Wac’em Archery Products at: www.wacemarchery.com or by calling 256-502-9770.

Copyright 2013-2015 FreshTRAX Outdoors.  All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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