The Explosive Arrow is the most common lethal trick arrow across all genre archers. It is an essential tool that delivers offensive power to put the archer on a competitive level with some very powerful peers. For most purposes, it is basically a focused hand grenade; the explosion creates incredible damage over a large area of effect. Hawkeye especially uses the Explosive Arrow as a major part of his arsenal.
It is difficult to gauge the actual power of the Explosive Arrow because there are a variety of explosive payloads seen in action, from firecracker to bunker buster; it can attack a single target or destroy an entire building. We have seen that it is quite possible for the archer to get caught within the area of the explosion if they’re not very careful. The explosive may be housed entirely in the arrowhead or throughout the entire shaft.
Usually, the arrow is designed to explode upon impact. However, variations have been seen that explode after a set time or when triggered manually by the archer. The movie of The Avengers has a great example of the latter. When Loki catches the arrow before it can strike him, Hawkeye triggers it anyway. [Video Link]