Archery | Arrow Nocks – Correct Size
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Archery | Arrow Nocks – Correct Size

August 15, 2019


One of the really small things that can be overlooked in archery. And I do mean literally small It’s the size of your nocks. Now for most people, this won’t really matter. But it does matter. As most of you know by now, when you nock the arrow it clips on to the string and the nocking points hold it in place. You draw the string back you let it go and the arrow comes off. What you may not know, is that arrow nocks actually come in different sizes. Having the wrong size can lead to significant spreads in your groupings. There are two aspects of nock size. The size of the throat and the size of the slit. Here, I have two different Easton pin nocks. The green one is large and the red one is small. Though bear in mind that these are just my colour choices and you can get these in any colour. For comparison, I have also got several other assorted arrows. There are a few simple tests you can do to check nock size. Nock your arrow and point the bow down. It should stay on by itself. If the arrow drops off completely, the nock is obviously too wide. Next, twist the string in your fingers. The arrow should stay in place. Finally, give the string a sharp tap. The arrow should fall off. If the arrow passes these tests you have got a good fit. Here, I am testing my smaller nocks on the same string. The arrow doesn’t rotate. So the throat is fine. But, tapping it, doesn’t achieve anything. So the slit, is too narrow. Here, I have got a much thicker centre serving. Using the small nock you can see that as I rotate the string the arrow also moves. If the throat is too small and thus the arrow rotates with the string the action of releasing the string off the fingers will induce a horizontal force. This will lead to left and right inconsistency. If the slit is too small then the arrow will have a harder time leaving the string. It will leave the string regardless. But, the tighter it is the more energy it takes, for it to leave the string. Which means it loses velocity. Not only that, if it has to fight it’s way off the string there are irregular forces acting on it. With a slightly larger nock it leaves the string cleanly. Which means there is less force acting on it and it’s going to be a cleaner, straighter shot. What this means, is that if you don’t have nocks that fit then, your groupings won’t be as tight as what you are aiming for. You can still shoot very well, but, this is one of those one percenters, which will come back to haunt you if you are trying to beat your personal best. In terms of exactly how snug the fit should be that doesn’t matter too much. For target shooters, having a slightly wider nock that can be easily be tapped off, means it is optimal for range. But, if you are a bow hunter and you are in the field that size might be too clumsy, because arrows can be knocked off. So you might want to use a tighter nock. But, if the nocks are way too wide and the arrow is falling off before you have even shot that is extremely dangerous. The arrow comes off the bow before you release it you have effectively dry fired it and that can destroy your limbs. It is worth noting that if you are are using factory made strings rather than making your own, the centre serving is usually on the slightly thicker side. So it is a tight fit for most nocks. If the centre serving is too thin and the arrow falls off too easily you will need to address this. You can use dental floss to add padding to the serving. But this is generally recommended as a short term temporary measure because the dental floss will over time wear out and you will have the same problem. The only way to properly address this, is to replace the centre serving or, replace the nock. You can take off the serving and use a thicker thread to make it thicker. Some people actually use a double layer of serving to make it extra thick. Or, you can work the nock itself. Some people would use a drill to widen the throat and slit. Generally speaking though, as long as the nock fits and the arrow doesn’t fall off, it’s fine. Getting that perfect fit isn’t as important for a beginner but if you are past that stage and looking to optimize your scores then, it starts making a difference. Anyway, I hope you have found this helpful. This is NUSensei, thanks for watching and I will see you next time.

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  1. not sure if correct nock size is not so important for begginers… Actualy 2 things that made the bigest difference for me was to start using bow sling and to adjust the nock size (from a bit to tight to perfect). Imho it was even more important than using the correct arrow spine (again from almost OK, to perfect).

  2. Quite a bit of good information in there, nice!
    I must however say that nocks on beginner (and all other) arrows can be too tight, I've seen a couple of nocks stick on the string instead of leaving with the arrow. 

  3. Finding the right combination of string material, number of strands, and serving material to fit a standard nock size can be helpful! Just learning to re-serve the centre serving has been beneficial. It's easier than it looks.

  4. Hi NUSensei

    Great videos, I really enjoy watching them.
    Will you be doing a video on what your current setup is at the moment – riser, limb model and length & poundage , string material and number of strands etc. Which arrows you use and what spine. And finally the stabilizer setup you use!!!

    Keep up the good work.

  5. Great video all round. What I was quite impressed with was the nice and clean nocking point you have. I assume you use string serving material to tie them so can you make a video about it? I use serving string too but comes out a bit thick and chunky…

  6. Great video! But if you could help me with a little problem that would be great. Ive heard that only S type nocks (i havent seen any options for it's size) fit my Beman ICS Hunter arrows, but the nock is simply too small for my Dacron B50 string. Should i try to buy different type nock or something?

  7. Hi NUSensei. I'm just starting whit archery and I watched all your videos plenty of times, they where very usefull to select the proper gear to start and learn some of the basics, since I'm still waiting to join an archery club  and just practicing on my own.

    I hace a small request, could you explain (or make a short video better :D) how to make and adjust a fingersling?. I tried the tipical laces that are on internet but it get loose and sometimes I shoot unconfortably fearing for my bow to fall.

    Regards from the north of Spain!.

  8. My youth club tried the finger test (to bounce the nock off the string) and discovered that all the commercially made strings are too fat for their nocks.  So we were motivated to learn how to make our own strings, with several fewer strands, and that really helped to tune our bows and tighten the groups.  [Your endless loop video, by the way, came out after we watched several other videos on string-making.  I wish we had seen yours, first – it would have saved us a lot of frustration.]

  9. I've just bought 6 aluminium arrows for £16 and the nocks are way too tight, I have to apply quite a bit of force to even clip them on. I still have no idea on how they are going to perform.

  10. Can the nock size impact whether the arrow stays on the bow arrow rest? I've started archery and I'm having issues keeping my arrows on the arrow rest at the beginning stages of my draw. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  11. While looking at arrows in a local archery store, I see many different kinds of nocks with different letter values. Is there a specific type of nock for recurve v compound?

  12. You just solved my weird horizontal spread problem. Could not figure out why I could shoot my husband's bow so much better. Now I know . Thanks so much for your videos!

  13. im thinking about buying pin nocks for my 660 carbon one arrows. can you tell me what size the pin is ? (not the part that goes into the arrow, but the pin over which the nock is placed)

  14. What kind of horizontal spread can one expect from tight fitting nocks? The difference between a 10 and 9? or even more dramatic?

  15. There's a video which shows a way to Centre Serve a Bowstring with the serving ""tail"" running up inside the actual serving as you go along.
    It's a way to thicken up, for when your arrow nocks are too loose on existing serving diameter.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjVYgR8dlUY (Serving a Bowstring, Hunting resource Video)

  16. it's no wonder I can't use the three under technique on my bow because my nocks always slip off the string when I attempt it.

  17. it's no wonder I can't use the three under technique on my bow because my nocks always slip off the string when I attempt it.

  18. it's no wonder I can't use the three under technique on my bow because my nocks always slip off the string when I attempt it.

  19. I was having some easton arrows made up recently and I was asked what combination I wanted on everything except nock size which I was told comes in one "standard" size. I tested these on my string and, while they did not move side to side, they did not pass the tap test. The suggestion of the guy in the store was to reduce the strand count of my string from 18 to 16. Seemed like a bit of a weird suggestion and the concept of me wanting a larger nock seemed to completely allude him.

  20. Truth be told i have not even seen a wooden arrow available with snap on nocks. Even the fiberglass shitz and carbon predators i got are supplied with straight slits and would drop of the string with slightest provocation, all to minimise wasted energy. I always found it funny when arrow clips on the string with this loud springy sound. Some people clip it on and off the string when they are resting, almost like a relaxing fidget spinner thing xD I think that unless you are making ur own slit in the shaft using a dremel/angle grinder, you cant really go too too wrong.
    . . . Yes i have seen a person shoot arrows with cut-in nocks xD

  21. I've found out the hard way about having nocks too loose after having them come off of the string and causing a dry fire. No damage done that I could tell, but it sure gets your attention. (as well as looks from the people in adjoining shooting lanes)

  22. They can also be widened using a Dremel tool with a small sanding attachment. Closing them to the desired size can be done by squeezing them with a pliers or vice usually without damaging them.

  23. I just got my first bow (rented). The shop rents these kits with a decent beginner bow, all the equipment etc, and let you choose between a couple of arrows for it. When it arrived I immeadiatly noticed that something is not right: super thick serving on the string, super thin nocks. It's so bad, you essentially have to rip the arrow off the string with force.
    I got on the phone with the shop and they guy was trying to tell me that this is normal and I shouldnt worry about it. Even when I said I would pay them for a string with a thinner serving he kept on telling me that this wasn't possible and that there is no such thing. He advised me to make the nocks wider with either a file or a lighter, but according to the internet, both these approaches are not a good idea.
    I'm so mad at this company, I can't even describe it.

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