Listen to the episode here:
ATA Day 1 – 4: Iron Will Broadheads
We’re here with Bill and Dallas from Iron Will Outfitters. Bill Vanderheyden is the creator and he’s an engineer and he’s meticulous. His broadheads are world class. I can say this pretty certainly, there’s probably not a better broadhead made in the world now. Bill, how does this all come to be?
Thanks, Bruce. I’m a mechanical engineer. I’ve spent several years designing and testing broadheads. Then I decided to make my own. I tried to use the best engineering practices to a couple of the best materials and manufacturing processes and test them to make a premium broadhead and not worry so much about what it would cost. Just what are the best materials and what are the best processes to make. We use premium blades steel, 60 Rockwell C, very high hardness. You can get extremely sharp edges, retains an edge well as well as good impact toughness. We have vented series just like our v100, our original broadheads. It’s a two blade with a Tanto tip and a bleeder. It’s a double bevel both the main blade and the bleeder. We also have our solid blade series that we introduced about mid last year. We’ve just come out with a solid blade hunter grain head. That’s what we’ve been asked for a lot and we’ve just come out with that as well.Technology makes everything super convenient. Click To Tweet
What’s the difference between a solid blade and a slotted blade?
The original was vented and that flies really well. It was vented to get the weight down to where we wanted to for 100 grain. I just put the vents through it, through structural analysis, just finding out where we could add vents and that affect blade strength. It’s still an extremely strong blade. I think vents make it a little more forgiving, a little less likely to plane if the arrow is kicking side to side, if you torque your bow too much or things like that. With our compact design, we found that with the saw blade, it flies really well also. Out of a tuned bow, you’re going to have a problem getting these shoot well at long range.
Dallas, what’s your role in the outfit?
I’m the social media manager. Essentially, I’m keeping up-to-date with everything media-wise. I’m running the Instagram, Facebook. I’m posting every day on Instagram, coming up with captions, coming up with new content, taking pictures. Just getting our name out there and keeping present with everything that’s going on. Keeping in contact through direct messages on Instagram. Making sure that everyone’s questions are being answered and concerns are being seen. That’s about my role.
Jeff just happened to be there and I was asking him if you have any relation to Tony, the world’s best photographer. He shoots for National Geographic.
Tony and I have yet to figure that out. We need to have a few beers and figure out how we’re related, but we’re confident there’s a cousin lineage.
Jeff is a customer of Iron Will Outfitters. Why did you buy their blades?
The story behind the Iron Will is what first attracted me to it. They were created for personal use and I’m not a scientist, but I recognize quality. When you look at the science that went into these and how they were created. They weren’t created under a traditional business model where we got to get just the right amount of material to make enough profit and sell as many as we can. These are created to be the best product on the market. There are a lot of celebrity hunters out there represent broadheads, but at the end of the day, there are a handful of guys that get the job done and I respect it a lot. Following those guys like Aron Snyder, those guys are putting animals down and stand behind these broadheads.
Did you know Aron?
I haven’t spent much time with him, but I know him social media-wise so does everybody else.
Bill, we need to give a shout-out for Aron right now.
Aron is a great deer guy because he tests a lot of products. If Aron’s using it, you know it’s good because he’s not taking money from anybody to use it. He’s just putting it to the test. He hunts all the time. He seems to spend a day in the office and he’s back out hunting again somewhere. I knew I wanted to get them in his hands and have him try them. I knew if he thought they were good, that they really were. He’s been using them a lot. He shot a mountain goat with them. One of the first well-known people to hunt with them was Aron.
What about your African success? More and more people are going to Africa with longbows or with crossbows. They need the heaviest best broadhead they can.
We’ve got a lot of interest from guys going to Africa. They had a lot of kudu, a lot of big plan games taken. I know of at least one Cape buffalo. It was taken with our broadhead and the guy used the same broadhead too then. He’s got a Cape buffalo and a kudu with the same broadhead, which is pretty cool.
Did he touch it off at all?
I don’t know, he just told me. He just sent me the pictures and said he used the same head. I think he probably didn’t touch it up. I had a lot of guys asking me, “What broadhead would you recommend for a Cape buffalo?” I really put some thought into it and thought I don’t make it yet. It would be our probably our 200, 250 grain, but I’d remove the bleeder just for maximum penetration. That’s one of the ones we just came out with as well was called the Buff 200 and the Buff 250 where it’s our solid blade but no bleeder. It’s just going for max penetration. You can’t beat a straight two-blade, extremely sharp edges and durable, just to get max penetration. I don’t think you’re going to beat this for getting as far as you can through a big animal and the Cape buffalo has those overlapping thick ribs. You’ve got to break a bone to kill one. I think it will be a good broadhead for that.
Historically, two-blade broadheads have killed either from a sphere or an arrow. Archaeologist will prove that statement.
It’s funny, people would show me old stone broadheads and the shape of the main blades are pretty similar to ours. I didn’t just come up with that. I tested different broadheads that had longer, more than three to one aspect ratio blades. I find out the tips play a lot on those and it won’t fly as well if they’re too long. They got shorter and shorter over time. I added that second angle to the tip, the Tanto tip to strengthen them up. I think the basic idea of the two-blade has been around for a long time.
Thousands of years or so, the idea or the concept but now Bill’s taken that concept. You can’t invest enough in a broadhead when you’re going after dangerous game and if you’re going after anything. I don’t care if you’re going a whitetail, we walked to the animal and figure out as ethical as possible, but it’s a trip, it’s creating memories and the broadhead costs so small to your F-150 4×4 power stroke or your $1,200 Mathews bow. You start running the numbers. The cost of a bullet that can shoot your bull or your broadhead is a very small percent. Your boots cost more than that.
We have a lifetime guarantee as well. If you do hit a rock even or shoot through an animal and damaged it at all, we replace it. I think over time, you’re probably going to save money because you’re not going to go through as many heads. I use the same broadhead years ago to shoot two different elk with the same head. A lot of times you’ll blow through an animal, stick in the dirt and still be able to shave hair with it. They retained the edge well and typically they’ll spin through and still shave hair, clean it up, put it right back in your quiver and keep using it.
You mentioned Rockwell hardness. Do you have special tools to tune them up in the field?
We sell a double-sided sharpening stone that you can use to touch them up. You can sharpen it like you would a knife. I carry a little stone in the field, and you can touch it up pretty easily with a flat stone. Back home, you can use like a KME or Gatco or Lansky type knife sharpening kit to put an edge back on. They retain their edge so well. If you’re shooting form targets, five shots in say a Rinehart and we cannot measure any difference in that edge up to 200 X, up to like 10,000th of an inch. It has not worn at all. I tell people, you can shoot every broadhead you want just to make sure it’s shooting well or that arrow is shooting well a couple of times in a target. Put them right in your quiver and don’t worry about it. You shoot about 100 times in a Rinehart, you’ll start rounding that edge just a thousandth of an inch or so, which is sharper than most broadheads that you buy in retail right now. Just touch up with the extra fine ceramic stone. We sell one of those, for a minute or so and you’re shaving hair again as well.You've got to break a bone to kill one. Click To Tweet
You got a fantastic product and readers check them out. Where do they check you out? Dallas, do you want to step in and tell people how to find you guys?
First off, follow us on Instagram to keep up to date with everything, but if you just look up Iron Will Outfitters, IronWillOutfitters.com and you’ll see our whole shop, our whole story, pretty much everything you need to know. If you didn’t catch any of this or you want to hear anything again, our whole story and products are there. Go check us out.
Bill, any last words?
I think that’s about it. We grew a lot this year. We’ve got a ton of people using the product and speaking very highly of it. Go on and search and you’ll see it. You’ll hear a lot of reviews and I think people are amazed at how much better a broadhead can be when you use premium materials and extremely sharp. A lot of guys are getting double the penetration they thought they could. It’s something worth giving a try.
This is Bruce Hutcheon saying that’s another episode of Whitetail Rendezvous at ATA 2019 with Iron Will Outfitters. Thanks.
ATA Day 1 – 4: AccuBow
We’re with Matt Pell and Matt’s going to demo AccuBow.
The AccuBow 2019 app have got some all-new features with bow sight customization. I could program my sight anywhere from zero to five pins. If I click on my five pins, I can customize each pin. I could program the yardage of each one that I want. Once I do that, I’ll go into the shooting modes. We’ve got target shooting, Olympic archery, JOAD, novice, 3 SPOT Vegas targets, and then as well as 3D target shooting and elk, bear, turkey, whitetail 3D targets. If I get out of the target shooting mode, I can go into bow hunting mode. We’ve got four different locations, Western, Midwest, Alaskan and Australian. Each environment has animals that are specific to that geographic location. If I open up the Western, we’ve got an elk, we’ve got a pronghorn and then we’ve got a mule deer back there.
This is our bow hunting feature. If I get out of bow hunting, something all new for 2019 is bow fishing. With bow fishing, I can only shoot with either zero or one pin. If I shoot with one, I customize that, I open up the bow fishing mode, it takes a little bit longer to load. With bow fishing, just like in real life, you’ve got to aim underneath the fish. Because the distance perception when you’re looking at fish on top of the water, they’re actually closer than they look. The bow fishing has all new moving fish, swimming targets or aiming down at the water. If I go back into target shooting.
We’ll take a look at some of our 3D targets, we’ve got whitetail. We’ve got three targets in the target shooting mode 20, 40, and 60 yards. I’ve only got a single pin twenty yards sight here. If I want to change that, I can go into my customized bow sight here and I could set up a five pin, customize those yardages, and start shooting with those. We’re just shooting with fingers here. It comes with the D-loop attachment if you want to hook up your release and do all that. That’s entirely possible. This is the AccuBow 2019 app. We’ve got about fifteen new game modes as well as bow fishing. You all be sure to go and download AccuBow 2019. It’s both on iOS and Google Play.
Thanks so much, Matt.
ATA Day 1 – 4: Excalibur Crossbow
Welcome to another episode on the floor at ATA 2019 with Ryan Schned from Excalibur. Folks, this is not a paid commercial. I shoot Excalibur simply because I feel for me, with the two pins in my shoulder, it’s the best crossbow that I can use. It’s the simplest and easiest. I can change my bow strings in the field. There’s nothing this bow can’t do for me. My bow shoots at 380 feet per second and I can go out to 80 yards and stack my shots. There are a lot of bow companies out there, but I’m at Excalibur. Ryan’s going to tell us about the Excalibur Crossbow.
Thanks for stopping by. This is our new flagship for 2019. The Assassin 420, lots of cool new features that we’ve never had before. The biggest for us is the new takedown with Quick Loc Technology here. Essentially, you push one button and the whole bow comes right apart.
How does that work?
You’ve got to apply a little pressure on the stirrup and then that gets that release mechanism down, the stirrup goes forward like so and then it pops right off. It’s that easy.
I fly a lot with my crossbow. I have a wonderful SKB case, it’s bulletproof. Basically I’ve got my quiver, then I got my scope and that’s it. Is that what you’re telling me?
It’s easy. You can throw this in either our Explore case or if you want something a little more robust like an SKB case or even a takedown AR case that you can buy a hard one. This is perfect. Your point of impact doesn’t change at all. You pop that off, when you’re ready to get back out there, put it on at a 90-degree, turn it, and pop up it. That’s the way you go.
What a great feature because that’s one thing that I’ve wrestled with. Once I start coming, for a month, I’d never take it down until I start heading home.
The thing for me that I love about it, transporting crossbow is generally a clunky affair. The cases aren’t exactly the nicest to be putting in the back of your truck and that kind of stuff. They’re bulky and awkward. Now, when you can get a case like the Explorer case and fit all your gear in this little thing, you can put it behind the seat of your truck and away you go. That’s just one of the many features on this. It’s shooting 420 feet per second. It’s lightning fast. That’s for the 350-grain arrow. We also have our trigger that we launched in the Assassin 360 in 2018. We have in some of our new bows here, a new adjustable trigger. It’s called the PRO-SHOT ACP. That stands for Adjustable Accustomed Precision. You can adjust that from a single to a two-stage trigger. This one is our two-stage trigger that lots of people loved with our Assassin that we launched in 2018. It comes standard with our new Proflight arrows, which are 0.001 straightness.
The tolerances are phenomenal. Black Eagle makes them for us. We also have our brand-new TACT-100 scope. This is a lighted scope all the way out to 100 yards for the guys that want to practice at the longer distances. When it comes down to hunting distances, 20, 30, 40 yards, it’s a chip shot. What made the Assassin popular was the adjustability in the stock. Completely tool-less adjustments with both the buttstock and the cheek piece. You can have one bow and it will fit your daughter, your grandson, your mom, whoever. One bow fits all. What really put the Assassin on the map was the built-in internal crank. This is the first internal crank that’s completely silent on the market. It makes cocking our crossbows a breeze.
One thing I like about the silent, because I typically don’t cock the crossbow because personally, I don’t like to leave my crossbow cocked all day all night and then transporting it cocked so I have to uncock it when I get home.
That’s the beauty with this, it’s completely safe to decock it. We have this fail-safe strap here that you put around your wrist to decock it. When you are letting it down, if it ever does get away from you, it’s not going to swing around and bust your knuckles up. It’s a great feature and again, it all comes down to making this the safest crossbow by far on the market. We’re happy with it. That’s our new flagship, the Assassin 420 Takedown, packed with features.
How much is the weight?
Fully loaded, you’re probably close to ten pounds, give or take right in that range. It’s a super exciting time for us. It has lots of new features. It’s going to be a good year.
I’m excited about it. I was going to buy it. I have to sell my 380 to step it up. Why the regular scope rather than the red dot? What’s the thinking with that?
It gives you a little more adjustment in terms of being able to shoot out to 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60. In the case now with our TACT-100 scope, 100 yards for practice. The red dot with some of our bows that were coming out with that, up to 440 feet with the new Bulldog 440. You do get laser-flat trajectories. You could almost get away with the red dot pretty close out to call it 40 yards. Your point of impact won’t change too much from 20 to 40. What’s nice with that speed is if you misjudged the distance a little bit, if you’ve got a deer coming in hot and you don’t have time to range it and you think he’s twenty yards but really is 35 or 30 yards, you have a little bit more wiggle room with the shot placement there.
I shoot a Vortex red dot on my Excalibur and I had set up for an elk hunt and I didn’t change it. I had a hole in the bottom of the deer to put it in the heart. That’s six, eight inches and I had to do that and I had to remember that. I don’t recommend that. That was my style and that’s what I did. I think with what Excalibur has going now, if you stay with their factory setup, you’re probably going to be better off.
At the end of the day, we’re guys that all love hunting, hunt with our products. Before I started working here, I hunted with an Excalibur for years and we’re out in the field testing it. What you see that comes on the bow, it’s all been tested by hunters, not people that just designed crossbows and ship it across the ocean. We’re proud of everything that we’ve been doing. This is the bow that I’m most excited about. This is the new Micro 360 Takedown Pro. This is a dealer only bow that you can only buy in your local pro shops. You can actually get it at your box stores, but it comes fully loaded with a lot of the new features that you saw on the Assassin 420. It comes standard with the TACT-100 scope, radical is going out 200 yards. It has that new PRO-SHOT ACP Trigger.
Why do you have four arrows? You only need two or three the most.
Hopefully one. Hopefully, you get it done with the first shot. It’s just a couple of extra arrows. You get a little more value out of it. A lot of guys are obviously going to be doing target shooting as well and why not be able to shoot a few arrows rather than having to walk down every time to go pull them out to the target. The biggest thing with this, again is take down technology. It makes everything super convenient. Pull up that back lever forward and pop it off just like so. It’s super easy. I can’t stress enough how important it is. Once you start playing with it, it grows on you really fast. You like it even more and more. A lot of our marketing collateral and all of our videos and stuff that you see. It shows all the different situations where having a case like that Explore case and being your bow so small, it shows you how easy and convenient it can make a crossbow travel.
It comes with that trigger that we were talking about. You can adjust that from one to two stage. Essentially all you have to do, if you see that screw in there, you’re going to be a one stage trigger that breaks cleanly at three pounds. When you take that screw completely out, you’re going to have the two-stage trigger just like what’s in the Assassin. You get that in this bow as well. It comes fully suppressed. This is the quietest crossbow we’ve ever designed. That’s all the major features with the 360.
The cheek piece is different.
This is a fixed cheek piece, but it’s ambidextrous. You just take the screws out, if you’re left-handed you can flip it over and put it on the other side.
I like the flexibility.
If you want to have that flexibility to make those changes, you have to be in our Assassin platform of crossbows. The next one and really exciting for us is the Bulldog 440. This is by far the fastest bow we have ever designed. It comes standard with our Charger EXT with a draw weight of 300 pounds to get that speed of 440 feet per second.
The limbs are bigger.
Because to get the speed, there’s a little bit of a trade-off there. If you went down towards your micro limbs that are about two inches narrower on either side, the draw weight stacks up exponentially more on those shorter, more stout limbs. Similar to the two other bows that we walked you through, comes with the TACT-100 scope to practice out to target ranges of 100 yards. It comes standard with our new Proflight arrows, the ones that Black Eagle make for us, with high tolerances.With bow fishing, just like in real life, you've got to aim underneath the fish. Click To Tweet
Does it come with the quick release?
Not this one. You have to either be in the Micro Takedown models which we have six of or the 420 Assassin TD. This one is for your guys that just want speed, 440 feet per second. It’s going to have the most kinetic energy downrange for sure out of any of the crossbows that we’ve made.
My 380, I can shoot. It probably won’t shoot a game.
Even with that 380 at 100 yards, you’re pulling it out of the target pretty good still there. A lot of your guys that want the fastest bow that we make, this is going to make them upgrade from the Bulldog 380 like yourself for the Bulldog 400 that’s some of the other guys may have got. This is going to be a good seller for us. This one retails for $1,399 with the Charger EXT included in that price. You get everything you see here, pretty much everything you need to hunt other than broadheads.
With the Assassin, does it come with a cocker?
Not a rope cocker because it has the built-in crank mechanism. You don’t need a rope cocker for that. You can still with all of our bows, even whether it has a built-in crank or you are using the rope cocker, you can still do all the great things with Excalibur crossbows that you always could. You change the string, decock, all of that in the field without needing a bow press or having to go to your local shop to do it for you.
One thing I’ve called Excalibur about is decocking. I’m still looking for that. I think the solution is the system here for decocking my bow. Can I put that on my Bulldog 380?
Yes, the back of our bows has two holes in them for you to affix this bracket to. Once that bracket is on there, you have that quick release mechanism that’s just opposed, and it just pops right on.
Those holes are already in my matrix.
Then to pop it off, all you’ve got to do is pull the little pin and it slides right off. It is a true quick release.
Folks, I love Excalibur Crossbows because they’re simple, they’re quiet and most important to me is their flat depth. Ryan, thank you so much for sharing your expertise about the Excalibur Crossbows.
Thanks for stopping by.
I’m with Ryan Schned at Excalibur. I wanted to show all my audience how easy their new cocking is. Ryan is going to show you.
This is the Charger EXT. It’s a similar crank to the one that’s built-in with our Assassin that we launched last year, except this is an external version. It pops on and off easily. We have a bracket that gets put on with two screws here. It takes five seconds to do. It pops right on with nothing to it. We have a release button here and a push to cock button. When it’s in the release, it works both ways. When it’s in the push to cock, it’s a one-way bearing. You can only crank it the one way. We’re going to want to be in the release position. We’re going to take our hooks off. We’re going to make sure we’re down in the group. Slide the one hook on, then slide the other hook on. We have our fail-safe strap, which you’re going to put on. What this does is it makes decocking your crossbow extremely safe. When you’re cranking that back, you don’t have to worry about it getting away from you at all. When we start cranking, if we leave it in the release position, the bearings work both ways.
That’s how you can let it back down. If you’re in the push to cock, which is what you’re going to want to do when your cocking this. You can start cranking and stop anywhere and you don’t have to worry about it free spooling back on you. Even if it does, when you’re decocking it and you’re in the release position, that’s the worst that’s going to happen. It’s not going to swing around and hit you on the knuckles or anything. It’s super easy to use. It’s completely ambidextrous and completely quiet. That’s one of the biggest things. Nobody likes their crank sounded like a boat winch. That’s our new Charger EXT which we launched in 2018. Starting in 2019, we’re going to have this model available with several of our bows as a package. You’ll end up saving around $80 retail if you buy the crank in with a crossbow package. It’s a good incentive. If you do need a crank, make sure you look out for all of our new packages that we have them included. I’ll also show you how the Charger works with the built-in Assassin.
It’s the same deal with this. We have the release and the crank position. When you’re in the release, that allows that crank to work both ways. You have to depress your full draw latch and then push on that trigger catch until it clicks all the way down like so. Then you’re going to want to engage your safety, which are these big blue oversized knobs. Put your fail-safe strap on, so that it can’t get away from you. It’s completely ambidextrous. If you’re left-handed, you slide it in on this side. If you’re right-handed, you slide it on that side. You’re going to put it in the crank position so that one-way bearing is engaged. It’s completely silent. You can stop anywhere, and you don’t have to worry about that getting away from you. When you’re ready to decock it, you’re going to enter it into the release position and let it down. If that ever does slip out of your hands, you don’t have to worry about it free spooling and hitting you. Our engineers did a phenomenal job making the safest, quietest crossbow crank on the market. That’s in all of our Assassin models, built right in.
I had only one time that I’ve had crossbows in the last several years. It got away from me and I had gloves on.
Cushioned a little bit, but I’m sure it still stung a little.
It woke me up and I finished it. There’s nothing wrong with Excalibur but you just have to be aware. Just like in anything, you have to be aware. What Excalibur has done is they’ve taken that completely out of the picture. Ryan, anything else you want to say?
Make sure you come by. Check out the booth, if you’re here. We’d love to walk you through all of our new product. Lots of exciting new things between the Assassin 420 Takedown, Micro 360 Takedown, and the new Bulldog 440 as well.
- Assassin 420 Takedown
- Iron Will Outfitters
- Instagram – Iron Will Outfitters
About Iron Will Broadheads
The pursuit began by analyzing the physics behind every aspect of the shot and reading scientific studies. Current broadhead offerings were researched, purchased, and thoroughly tested. Bill was looking for a broadhead that would achieve maximum penetration, pass through bone undamaged, maintain a razor sharp edge, and fly great at long distances. Every broadhead tested fell short in one or more of these areas. Frustrated with the offerings, he decided to engineer his own broadhead. This started the seven-year process of designing, analyzing, prototyping, testing, and iterating on the design.
I’m 26 years old and I have been shooting a bow since I was 10 years old, and bowhunting since I was 13 years old. While I’m an engineer by trade, my true passions lie in archery, bowhunting, and being in the outdoors. I’m sure we can all relate to not having enough time to pursue the hobbies we are truly passionate about. I could never seem to find enough time to make it to the archery range as much as I would have liked to. However, I knew that in order to improve my archery and bowhunting abilities, the practice was necessary! One day, I thought, “If only there was a way I could practice from anywhere without having to fire and retrieve arrow upon arrow….” And so, the idea of the AccuBow was born!
The first prototype of the AccuBow was very basic with a resistance band connected to a PVC stick and a laser pen taped to the stick so that I could see where I was aiming. I simply used this product for my own personal strength and accuracy gains. After seeing so much improvement in my archery abilities, I decided to stop being so selfish and get this product out to the world! However, I knew that my design had to be significantly altered so that I could make this product usable for all age, strength, and skill levels!
About Excalibur Crossbow
At Excalibur, we aren’t big business cashing in on crossbow hunting, we’re crossbow hunters who build crossbows. Our first priority is not to produce a lot of cheap bows with star wars styling, but to make the most efficient, reliable, and accurate hunting crossbow that money can buy. Our ideas don’t come from engineers, they come from experience, and nothing leaves our drawing board without being subject to extensive testing by the toughest, most uncompromising product evaluators in the deer woods… US!
With Excalibur, accuracy is more than just a word, it’s a guarantee! We guarantee that each and every bow we produce is capable of shooting groups of 3″ or less at 25 yards using broadheads… Target arrows? Better shoot one per target or you’ll be buying more!
How can we deliver this kind of performance? Simply by sticking to the basics! Our lightning-fast recurve limbs turn out more speed than compound systems with a fraction of their weight, noise, or mechanical failures, our trigger mechanism has a pull that would make your rifle jealous, and our composite and aluminum stock is virtually indestructible. Tie these all together and you’ve got a crossbow that can weather all the abuse you can hand out, and still deliver the speed, accuracy, and reliability that you need for a lifetime of service.
Ever since we began Excalibur in 1983, it’s been our aim to help crossbow hunters to enjoy their sport by providing them the very finest in equipment and service. We would welcome the opportunity to introduce you to the exciting new dimensions that only Excalibur can bring to your hunting experience!