A few weeks ago I posted on Facebook about a little vane test I was running while building arrows for this fall. Here’s a quick summary of my findings and what I've decided to run.
I fletched two shafts per vane style in order to help lower the chance of a particular shaft influencing the results. The vane choices were, AAE Pro Max 1.7”, TAC Driver 2.75” and Bohning Blazer 2”. I chose these based on their popularity and their ability to cover the “smallish” vane spectrum. AAE Pro Max covers the very short with medium profile. The TAC Driver is slightly longer with high profile and the Blazer splits the difference on length with the highest profile. The tests involved speed, trajectory at distance, field point consistency, broadhead poi in relation to field point, and adhesion/price.
AAE - 4.9 grain - 1.7”x.460”
TAC - 6.2 grain - 2.75” x .475”
Blazer - 6.1 grain - 2” x .53”
Elite Ritual 35
Draw length - 30”
Draw Weight - 70lbs
Easton Axis 5mm Match Grade
300 spine - 10.7 gpi
75 grain halfsert
100 grain point
Slick Trick Grizz Trick 4 blade - 100 grain 1.25” diameter
This test really surprised me. Simple math would tell you that AAE would be the fastest followed by TAC and Blazer but I consistently clocked AAE at 279, TAC at 281, and blazer at 278. I’m not sure why the heaviest vanes clocked the most speed at 5-6 feet, but it was a consistent measure across all shafts. You’ll see below how this did/didn’t affect the main consideration for speed… trajectory.
This was a consistent and more expected result. AAE topped out as the flattest shooter, Blazer had the most drop and TAC split the difference. This correlated directly with the profile of the vanes. At 40 yards, TAC was 0, aae +2, blazer -1.5
FIELD POINT CONSISTENCY -
This of course is somewhat anecdotal as it is based solely on my shooting ability. However, after many groups, Blazer consistently grouped better at 40 yards with AAE a close second and TAC rounding out at the bottom of the pack.
Similar to above, this is based solely on my ability to shoot well. After many groups all three shot broadheads consistently. AAE and TAC shot similar to one another. However, both had slightly larger fixed blade groups than the Blazers.
AAE and Blazers both attached extremely easily and held a very strong bond with good shaft prep. TAC bonds well enough, but does require a little more effort in clamping and was much harder to be consistent with. This caused me a few wasted vanes before I got the hang of it. I'm certain this wouldn't be an issue with more practice.
AAE/Blazer were similar in price with different suppliers dictating who was cheaper in any given instance. Generally they were around $12/36 pack. TAC is slightly more expensive with most places running $16/36.
As expected, all three of these vanes will do the job with nominal differences. If I was on a western bow hunt with longer distance and higher winds I’d without a doubt run with AAE Pro Max for their trajectory/speed benefits. TAC seems to try and fix problems that don’t really exist. Their rigid style make them more difficult to fletch and their higher price didn’t prove to supply any real benefit. They didn’t supply the trajectory of the AAE Pro Max and they didn’t provide the accuracy of the Blazer. I will admit that there is more experimentation possible regarding vane length/styles. However, this test proved to me that for a Midwestern deer hunter who will almost never shoot past 35-40 yards, the Blazer still fits the bill. Their main drawback is their trajectory. For me, at these ranges, that extra inch or two of drop is negligible. Their cost, strength of bond, and most importantly, their accuracy, more than make up for it.
At the end of the day, familiarity and confidence will always win.
Hope this helped!