The Bow Mag arrowheads looks like a bomb and acts like one. It’s an arrowhead meant for hunting big game, and accepts standard 38 special or 357 magnum cartridge, turning the arrow into a bang stick. In order to test them, the experimenter used the highest pressure 357 Magnum rounds available locally with 125 grain FTX – a critical defense load that will tell what the Bow Mag is capable of.
The Bow Mag 357 Magnum body consists of a red collapsible head bonded to a black fin shell holder. The base holds a metal firing pin and threads onto the body once you’ve loaded the cartridge of your choice. When a bow mag hits an animal, the nose collapses, forcing the cartridge back onto the firing pin. With enough speed and power, the primer ignites the powder, which explosively expands inside the animal. Though the bullet is propelled forward, it does only a small part of the damage that the expanding gas does to the soft tissue it comes in contact with.
For the experiment, a block of ballistics gelatin and tanned hide was set up, because the Bow Mag needs enough resistance in order for the firing pin to hit the primer enough to cause an explosion. The gel block might be too soft to ignite, but the experimenter fired an arrowhead using his Hickory Creek vertical crossbow.
The Bow Mag did not go off but went straight through the gelatin in the first try. For the second try, they doubled the tanned hide to see if there is enough resistance this time, but still no explosion. On the third try, the Bow Mag finally exploded, and there was enough smoke coming out of the gel block to be wary. Upon inspection, there was a burn ring around the hide and the arrow had 15 inches of penetration into the block.
Next on the block was a watermelon with wooden shims in it. The arrow was fired, with no explosion but it went clear through to the back of the watermelon and out onto the backboard. The second watermelon had a wooden board inside it. Upon firing, the Bow Mag did go off inside the watermelon and blew out the entire melon’s insides.
The conclusion was that the Bow Mags may work for other people on live game but based on this test, it lacked the necessary power to make it a confidence booster when hunting.