If you’ve every wondered how to spin test a broadhead or why you should, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you shoot mechanical or fixed blade broadheads, single bevel or double bevel, spin testing is an important part of making sure your arrow setup is ready for deer season. So, let’s get started!
Why Spin Test a Broadhead?
In bowhunting, it is critical to make sure your bow is tuned and your arrows are flying like darts. We owe it to the game we pursue to have ourselves and our equipment performing as flawlessly as possible. Any wobbling or inconsistency with your arrow flight can result in poor shot placement, reduced penetration, and a potentially lost animal.
Tuning arrows for perfect flight is a multi-step process, and one of those is ensuring your broadheads are spinning true on the arrow with no wobble or imbalance of any kind. Fortunately, this is one of the more simple arrow-tuning steps.
If an arrow isn’t spinning true, it’s not going to fly true, regardless if you’re shooting fixed-blade or mechanical broadheads. The easiest way to determine if your broadheads and arrows are balanced with each other is with a spin test.
Ways to Spin Test a Broadhead
There are a numerous ways to spin test your broadheads. Some are more precise and require specialized (although relatively inexpensive) tools. Others can be done with little to no equipment. We’ll touch on all of them in this article, so you can choose the method that works best for you.
Keep in mind regardless which method you use, you are looking for the slightest wobble or imbalance in the broadhead.
One of the simplest ways to spin test both your arrow and broadhead is with a simple arrow spinner. As you can see in the photo below, it’s a simple piece of equipment consisting of four wheels – two on each end – where you place your arrow to spin. By spinning the arrow on the wheels, you can see if the arrow or the broadhead has any wobble to it.
Any Hard Surface
Don’t have an arrow spinner and don’t want to spend the money? That’s okay. Spin testing a broadhead can be as simple as taking your broadhead-tipped arrow and spinning the tip of the broadhead on a hard surface to see if there is any wobble to the broadhead and/or arrow.
A Cordless Drill
This is the method I like to use in conjunction with an arrow spinner. I keep an arrow insert mounted in the end of my cordless drill that I can screw broadheads in. I then pull the trigger on the drill enough to get it spinning, and slowly speed it up while watching for any hint of a wobble.
What if They Fail?
So what exactly happens if your broadhead fails a spin test? That depends on which test you were using. With the cordless drill test, the arrow is out of the equation, so any wobble is going to mean the broadhead has a problem. The best thing you can do with a bad broadhead is toss it in the trash or return it to the manufacturer if that’s an option.
If you were using an arrow spinner or spinning the arrow and broadhead on a hard surface, then the issue may not be the broadhead itself. It could be an issue with the arrow itself. The end of the arrow may not have been properly squared when it was cut, or the insert may be installed incorrectly.
In this case, try a couple different broadheads with the affected arrow. If they all have a wobble, the problem is likely the arrow, not the broadhead. However, if the other broadheads spin true on the arrow, then it was likely your first broadhead that had the issue. Again, there’s not much you can do for a bent or defective broadhead other than tossing it in the trash or seeing if the manufacturer will replace it.
If the arrow is the culprit, you need to gently heat the end of the arrow shaft until you can spin the insert some. You can try spinning it into different positions and then testing the broadheads again to see if it corrected the problem. Most likely, though, you will need to remove the insert and use an arrow squaring tool like the one pictured below to square the end of the arrow. You can then re-glue your insert back in the arrow and give it another spin test. At that point, it should spin true.
One thing worth noting here is, depending on what glue was originally used on the insert, you may not be able to heat it and break it free. If no, then you really have no options other than tossing it in the trash or cutting in shorter. Of course, if you cut it shorter, then you’re going to need to cut the rest of your arrows to match…or just give it to a buddy who shoots shorter arrows.
I went years without knowing how to spin test a broadhead or even knowing I needed to. I now realize how important of a step it is in ensuring your arrow setup is ready for deer season. So before you head out in the yard or to the local archery range to start preparing for the upcoming season, put those broadheads on your arrows and give them a spin. It might just help you avoid the heartbreak of a missed or unrecovered buck this season!