Measuring the Force to Penetrate Hide, Meat and Bone


Force testing was conducted to analyze the ease with which broadheads could penetrate hide, muscle, and shoulder bone. This test is used to measure the impact various blade shapes have on the force required to penetrate. Additionally, this test shows the speed with which various blade steels lose their edge after initial hide impact.

For this test, an Instron machine was used to measure the force to penetrate a thick moose hide, an aoudad hind quarter (hide and thick muscle similar in size to a deer), and an aoudad shoulder (hide, muscle, and scapula). Broadheads in the test included Iron Will s100, s125, and wide125 along with a leading 3-blade chisel point, 3-blade 1 piece cut on contact, and a rear deploying mechanical.

Instron machine performing a broadhead penetration test on a wild game carcass
picture of an Instron machine pushing an arrow through a carcass


Through the testing, we found the 3-blade chisel point and 3-blade one piece cut on contact broadheads took over five times the force to penetrate compared to the Iron Will broadheads and the rear-deploying mechanical took over ten times the force without ever fully penetrating.

chart showing broadhead force to penetrate hide, muscle, and bone test results.

The kinetic energy of your arrow is converted to work as the arrow penetrates an animal. Work = Force x Distance. For a given amount of useful work (kinetic energy of your arrow minus losses), decreasing the force required to penetrate directly increases your penetration distance. We have tested over 20 of the leading broadheads in recent years and believe that Iron Will Broaheads will give you multiple times the penetration on an animal compared to any other broadhead tested.

The following graphs not only show the force required for broadheads to move through the test animals, but they also show the speed with which the broadheads become dull after moving through hide, muscle, and bone.

Force to penetrate hide and muscle visual representation of data
Visual representation of broadhead shoulder blade bone test data