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Preliminary input from Dr. Ashby's new study

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Preliminary input from Dr. Ashby's new study

Old 07-21-2004, 10:43 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Default Preliminary input from Dr. Ashby's new study

Duggaboy just posted this at AT-

Here is a short statement from Dr. Ed Ashby talking about some results of his current study in Australia and Asia. It was found by a fellow in another bowhunting forum.

To put it in a nutshell:
As expected he still favourites his modified grizzly broadhead (narrowed down to 1" cutting diameter) at least at very tough game like the Asian buffalo.

The Eclipse broadheads, convex glue-on tradheads (Zwickey clone) did very well, too.

I'm happy to hear some positive words about my broadheads as well.
I made the letters bold in the text below.
It seems that he likes the quality and was not able to damage them.

I'm not sure from which bow and at what kind of speed the results were achieved. So I would regard the penetration results as previously.

Interesting for some of you might be that a honed edge leads to a better penetration than a serrated one. Actually not really surprising since I always cut my steaks with a selfsharpened, plain edge knife. Works much better than the so-called steak knives anyway.

Here for your interest:

Hello to all from the Outback!

For all those aspiring to hunt the Asian Buffalo, here are a few things that I found out about the animals from my first round of testing on them. This information is from about 200 set-up test shots on freshly killed animals, plus some ‘ancillary’ testing on specific characteristics, and is just an early overview. More detailed analysis will have to wait until I have some ‘down time’ to put it all together. (Excuse the ‘British’ spellings, but the computer’s spell check is in Aussie!)

The animal. The Asian Buffalo is the toughest non-pachyderm that I have tested on. He is more difficult to penetrate than the Cape Buffalo. First, he’s more ‘barrel-chested’ and the skin thickness pattern is different. The thickest skin is on and just back of the shoulder – right where one needs to shoot. On big bulls, the average skin thickness in this area was a solid 1” (25.4 mm). On a young female, the average thickness measured 0.69” (17.5 mm), and .875” (22.5 mm) on young bulls. Coupled with this thickness is a skin texture more fibrous than on any other animal I have tested on. This fibrous characteristic carried over to the mesenteric tissues supporting the internal organs (see Sharpening, below).

Sharpening broadheads. I have long used Hill type serrations on broadheads for much of my hunting, but found them useless on these buffalo. The serrations collect so many strands of tissue fibres during penetration that the cutting edge is rendered useless.

To further test edge finishes, I did some testing on seven layers of fresh shoulder skin, about 2 feet square, laced together along the edge with wire. This was hung from a steel bar suspended between two trees, and weighted along the bottom with a heavy steel pipe, which was also supported by the two trees. The bottom weight was hardly necessary, as the skin alone was so heavy that I had to use the truck to hoist it aloft!

In the ‘skin test’, the same set of arrows was used repeatedly, with the method of sharpening changed between shot. Wet bags and shade trees were used to keep the skin hydrated during the periods when the broadheads were being resharpened. All shooting was from 20 yards (as were all the set-up test shots, with the distance being measured with a laser rangefinder). Serrated, file sharpened, and honed and stropped edge finishes were tested. (I had planned to do ‘micro serrations’ too, by finishing on a fine diamond steel, but ran out of both daylight and skin that wasn’t full of holes!).

Honed and stropped heads averaged 26% more penetration than smooth filed heads. The filed heads, as smooth as I could get them and sharp enough to shave hair (with a fine-toothed broadhead file) still picked up MANY fibres. The smooth filed heads averaged 46% more penetration than the Hill style, serrated heads! It is obvious that it is worthwhile to hone and strop broadheads for use on these animals. This advantage of the honed/stropped broadhead is also born out by analysis of penetration of comparable on the set-up shots.

Broadheads. I won’t get much into specifics here, except to say that it is clear that there are more good broadheads available today than there were a few years ago, and that I could get good killing shots SOMETIMES with most of the better broadheads … but … the CLEAR advantage in CONSISTANT penetration/performance still goes to the MODIFIED 190 grain Grizzly (narrowed to 1” at the back, with the ‘tanto’ tip retaining it original width, and the tip modified to a full cut on impact (COI) design, with a finished weight of 170 grains). Nothing averaged penetrating as deeply, and nothing averaged handled bone as well. On any reasonable weight shaft in never failed to penetrate through the ribs on either broadside shots or any reasonable quartering angle shot. It was followed by the unmodified 190 grain Grizzly. I had planned to look at the other weights of the Grizzly also, but the heads did not arrive in time for this round of testing.

A few other heads do deserve special mention though, but the broadhead test is still in its early phases, and YEARS of testing lay ahead, so please don’t take this as a ‘final’ evaluation’.

The SilverFlame 180 grain is a strong head, and a LOVE the quality of the steel in it. I was concerned that the ferrule might be too weak, but none have been damaged so far, and I went out of my way to ‘punish’ them during the buffalo test (and it might be hard to find anything more punishing!).

The tiny, Australian made, 125 gr. Blackstump, non-vented, did amazingly well. I only had one sample of this head with me, but that is a situation I have corrected for future testing. It was second only to the Grizzly and modified Grizzly in average penetration (on comparable shots), and deserves a real close look at its overall performance.

The Eclipse (both 125 and 145 grain) also did very-very well. They certainly have something with the Teflon coating. In the ‘skin test’ it far out-penetrated any other heads OF SIMILAR PROFILE, and non are yet damaged. The Teflon coating did not appear to have much effect on penetration on bone though. Only broadhead design and construction seem of importance there. These will also get a lot of future testing too.

There are a number of other broadheads that remain undamaged, and are still SOLIDLY in there for a run at the group of ‘best quality’ broadheads, but: ‘mechanicals’? – not for buffalo; modular broadheads? Some … possibly … with VERY HIGH levels of impact momentum, but the damage rate – bent/broken blades and ferrules and – has been pretty high, even at the low energy levels I did this initial testing at. (This time around, I was LOOKING for the lower threshold of impact energy to be ‘adequate’.)

Another fctor I looked at was cut width. I have often used very narrow broadheads on game animals. One I call a Grizzly Extreme. It is the 190 Grain narrowed to 11/16th inch width. When used on 'soft' animals it give much highr penetration than either the 190 gr. Grizzly or the Modified Grizzly. In the Buffalo data, I found that the 1" wide modified Grizzly gave 26% MORE penetration than BOTH the 190 Gr. Grizly AND the Grizzly Extreme. So ... for buffalo, there is definitely a 'too narrow' cut width to reduce the skin drag on the shaft.

Shafts. Arrow mass and drag factors are important. Analysing comparable shots with the same broadhead, the best penetrator was a 2018 Easton with a Carbon Express Youth Arrow inside (960 Grains with modified Grizzly). This shaft combination is not a ‘slip-fit’, and a ¼” single wrap of silk thread was served on each end of the carbon shaft to achieve a slip-fit with the aluminium shaft, and it is the best shooting double shaft I have ever used. Next was a 2219 Easton with a 1916 Easton shaft inside, weighted with 135 gr. of steel rod just back of the insert (1115 gr total mass).

The big surprise were Troy Breeding’s TAPERED hickory shafts. They actually out penetrated my Forgewoods (by a whopping 0.58” average penetration – or ‘pretty much the same – but that’s not bad good company for them to be in!). On the buffalo, these tapered shafts out penetrated the barrel tapered hickory shafts by a substantial margin, even though the barrel tapered shafts averaged about 50 grains heavier than the tapered shafts. This, I think, is because the very elastic skin closes down around the shaft, and has to be spread apart again as the shaft taper increases. It is worth noting that I used a new (to me) finish on these hickory shafts, and it’s about the ‘slickest’ and toughest finish I’ve come along. When I had blood on my hand it was difficult to hold on to the shafts with this finish on it. That may be a factor … have to look more at it.

Next were the 5/16” diameter Forgewoods, followed very, very closely by the Grizzly Stik Safari. I did not have a sample of the new “Big Five” Grizzly Stick to test with, but it’s the one from Ed’s line that I would opt for as a buffalo arrow from my longbows. I hope to have them in next year’s test. I DO like the way the Grizzly Stiks shoot, and have lots more planned for them.

With the right broadhead, any of these shafts proved enough to deliver a consistent double lung hit and, in reality, they fall into just two groups, with just fractional differences in average performance. There are the double shafts and the other shafts. All always give double lung hits (again, with ‘right’ broadhead and ‘kill zone’ hits’). I was working at near minimum threshold impact energy – the level that would sent the very best penetrating arrows CONSISTENTLY up against the off side chest wall on a broadside shot. (Impact momentum ranged from 0.51 to just over 0.60 Slug-Ft/Sec., depending on shaft/broadhead set-up.) To this end, I was using the SLOWEST of my 82# longbows. By trial and error, it was found to deliver the level of energy I was looking to use in this test.

There are probably a number of other shafts that will work well, and I had ordered 15 dozen other assorted types of shafts, but they did not arrive in time for this first buffalo testing session. I’m also anxious to test with some extreme FOC weighted carbon shafts. Ah, next year! I also did some separate high velocity testing, with velocities over 300 fps but, except for saying that a little mass does a lot more for penetration than a ‘whole bunch’ of extra velocity, I’ll save that info for later.

Shot Placement. I did a great deal of dissection and measuring. Too much to include here, but here’s the ‘nuts and bolts’. Broadside the ‘kill zone’ is narrow horizontally. The placement should be RIGHT ON THE SHOULDER CREASE and 38% to 40% up the body (brisket to back). The easy way to be ‘in the ballpark’ is to divide the body height into quarters. Don’t shoot at the bottom 1/4th. Shoot at the MIDDLE of the second 1/4th. The vertical ‘kill zone’ will be up about 5 ½” and downward 7”. The horizontal problem is … six inches back (on a trophy bull) and one is at the diaphragm … gut hit … and the diaphragm moves significantly forward as one goes downward, so a ‘low and back’ shot is REAL trouble. Two-and-a-half inches to three inches forward of the crease, into the shoulder, and one has 10 inches of meat to penetrate before reaching the ribs!!!

The IDEAL SHOT is quartering away at 15 to 20 degrees. The AIMING POINT now moves 2 1/2’” to 3” back of the shoulder crease and in the same vertical position, 38% to 40% of the way up the body. This opens a much larger shooting area – more room for error.

In looking at shot angles, I also did some ‘skip-angle’ testing. Because of the overlapping ribs on buffalo, broadheads are more likely to skip off them than they would be on an ‘open-rib’ animal. I used SEVERAL DIFFERENT BROADHEADS IN EACH CATAGORY – steep angled 3 blades; long narrow 3 blades; COI four blades that all taper to near the tip; COI 4 blades that have a short bleeder blade; bone-breaker type modular heads; wide single blade heads; and long-and-narrow two blades. A protractor and string were used to set the angles, and shots were from 20 yards. Six shots were taken with each type broadhead tested. Up to 25 degrees quartering from the rear there were no skips. At just 30 degrees the steep-angle three blades had near a 50% skip rate. At 35 degrees the long and narrow three blades, bone breaker modular heads’ and COI 4 blades that taper to the tip all had near 50% skip rates. At 40 degrees all but two heads had from 33 to 50% skip rates. The 2 best performers had no skip until the shooting angle reached 45 degrees. Then, these two heads showed skip rate of 42%. These were the Howard Hill and the Modified Grizzly. There is an obvious advantage to the long-marrow head (though I have had problems with the Hill broadhead’s ferrule getting through heavy bone, and with bending of the ferrule at the rivet). This advantage of a narrow head also showed with the three blades, between the ‘short-fat’ head and the ‘long narrow’ heads.

Hope this is of some help to those desiring to take the Asian Buffalo with bow. I will be returning for more buffalo testing next year, and have hundreds of questions of my own I still want to look at on these interesting animals. I’ve only been back a few days, and I’m off after some deer tomorrow, so might be a while before I can answer any other questions. There will be a much more detailed article in Archery Action when I get more time to look at all the data and put it together.

IMPORTANT TIP: The Asian Buffalo shows that it is getting ‘agitated’ by making a VERY SLIGHT rocking of the head, raising first one horn tip, then the other. This MOVEMENT is SLOW and VERY SUBTILE. O will not even notice it unless aware to be looking for it. We DID have some aggressive animals, so watch out for this ‘warning signal’ when you hunt!

Dr. Ed Ashby
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Old 07-21-2004, 11:33 AM
Giant Nontypical
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Default RE: Preliminary input from Dr. Ashby's new study

Honed and stropped heads averaged 26% more penetration than smooth filed heads. The filed heads, as smooth as I could get them and sharp enough to shave hair (with a fine-toothed broadhead file) still picked up MANY fibres.

Thanks for that Rangeball, the man sure loves his grizzlies!
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Old 07-21-2004, 11:56 AM
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Default RE: Preliminary input from Dr. Ashby's new study

Thanks for the Link.

This is a New One?

Why does it sound like he is using products from the 80's every time he writes?

How did my Wasp Jackhamers and GT pros do in his tes??????t......[8D]
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Old 07-22-2004, 11:25 AM
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Default RE: Preliminary input from Dr. Ashby's new study

This time around, I was LOOKING for the lower threshold of impact energy to be ‘adequate’

...the broadhead test is still in its early phases, and YEARS of testing lay ahead, so please don’t take this as a ‘final’ evaluation’.
Patience, Rack! Patience.
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Old 07-22-2004, 02:55 PM
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Default RE: Preliminary input from Dr. Ashby's new study

Why does it sound like he is using products from the 80's every time he writes?
If he is, the answer is very simple. Some of the archery wheels did not need to be reinvented, and a lot of the "rad" and "zoomy" gear on the market today is not necessary if you are not a "Gucci shooter," or unless you have found a recipe for "foam" deer.
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Old 07-23-2004, 08:24 PM
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Default RE: Preliminary input from Dr. Ashby's new study

I think the reason you see Dr ashby recomending ideas and using equipment more likely used by traditional archers is fairly simple.Because of the lower energy produced by recurves and longbows hunters had to use heavy arrows and streamlined cut on contact heads to get the most terminal performance on game.In short you are more focused on efficently using the energy you have.Shooting big ,tough nasty critters requires the same type of mindset.Lets face it,shooting whitetails with a compound you can shoot a light arrow and a broadhead with wider blade angles etc and still get adequate penetration because the game is thin skinned and the compound produces enough energy to get the job done.You don't see too many guys cape buffalo with 400 grain arrows and big wide broadheads.Not if they don't want to get stomped by a wounded ticked off buff.

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