Crossbow Nocks 101 | Types and Considerations for Lighted Crossbow Nocks
Which Lighted Crossbow Nocks to Use
Are you a new crossbow hunter just starting out and looking to learn more about it? Maybe you’ve shot crossbows for years but never stopped to think about the various types of crossbow nocks available to you. Regardless of where you stand, you could probably learn more about the best use of each kind, especially as it relates to lighted crossbow nocks. Below, we’ll discuss why you should use them, how to actually install the nocks, and most importantly, how to operate them.
First, Why Lighted Crossbow Nocks?
Just like bow hunting with a regular compound bow, there are several benefits of using Nock Out® lighted nocks instead of regular crossbow nocks. First, it allows you to see your bolt’s flight path with great visibility, which can help you pinpoint where you hit the animal. This is obviously very useful when hunting in low light situations (which are typically some of the best hunting times). It can be a vital feature when hunting predators (like black bears in the video below) so you are aware of when to safely take up the chase. Seeing your arrow’s flight path in low light when shooting a black bear is really hard, as you can imagine, and following a wounded bear (in the case of a poor shot) in the dark is a bad idea. However, when you can follow the laser-like light trail of your nock, you know exactly where you hit it and can decide how to proceed accordingly.
Also, you can easily find your bolt (made even easier in the dark) when the illuminated nocks are glowing. The red, green, or yellow lighted crossbow nocks from Clean-Shot® Archery really stand out, though you should think about which color is best for when and where you plan to hunt. While it’s nice on your wallet to recover your bolts, broadheads, and nocks from the field, finding your bolt can also tell you more about the shot you made. You can look at the color of the blood and smell the bolt to identify if you hit lungs, liver, or paunch. If you never find your bolt, you leave that all to chance. Check out the amazing bear hunting footage below using the best lighted crossbow nock around.
Types of Crossbow Nocks and Best Uses of Each
There are a few different kinds of crossbow nocks that you can use on crossbow bolts. Be sure to check with your crossbow manufacturer first to see which crossbow nocks are recommended for your model. Most normal crossbow nocks are made from plastic or aluminum. The Nock Out® lighted crossbow nocks from Clean Shot® Archery are made of high impact, polycarbonate material so that the super-bright LED lights are very visible, while still being able to handle high-speed modern crossbows that shoot faster than 350 feet per second (fps). If you were to use normal plastic nocks, these high-speed crossbows can sometimes exert too much pressure and distort or crack the material. While there are also capture nocks and hybrid nocks for crossbows, there are two crossbow nock types offered below by Nock Out®.
Flat nocks for crossbows are pretty much exactly like you would imagine. They consist of a flat disc that covers the back end of your arrow/bolt shaft. It is a very basic design that allows the bolt to sit in slightly different alignments without compromising the accuracy of the shot or the structural integrity of the crossbow. The only theoretical risk in using flat nocks is that the string could potentially slip off the end of the nock and you could dry-fire it. But since this risk is extremely minimal (non-existent if you’re careful), flat nocks are one of the most popular designs that have stood the test of time. The flat nock green 3-pack is a great deal for bargain shoppers too.
Half-moon crossbow nocks are different from flat nocks in that they have a horizontal groove in them. This groove allows the string to nestle into the lighted crossbow nocks and keep it from moving up or down. For this style of nock to work correctly, you need to mount the half-moon nock so that one of the vanes is directly up or down and the nock groove is horizontal in this position. The orange contender 3-pack (or any of the other colors) will stay indexed to the arrow vanes to shoot consistently.
How to Install and Use Lighted Crossbow Nocks
It’s very easy to install these lighted nocks for crossbow bolts, just like it is for the regular compound bow arrows. Each pack comes with three different sized nock adapter bushings to fit the three most common carbon bolts: small (.285), medium (.297), or large (.300). This practical universal fit makes your life much easier since you don’t have to guess at it or buy multiple types to find the right fit. Simply insert the correct-sized bushing into the shaft, and then press the nock receiver into the bushing. Follow the installation instructions that come with your pack to ensure it is correctly indexed with the vanes. Then you’re ready to roll!
It really couldn’t be easier to use your lighted crossbow nocks. Simply rotate the on/off tab on the activation collar 45 degrees into the Ready to Fire mode. When the bolt is fired in this mode, the sudden pressure from the string will turn the LED lights on. Nock Out® lighted nocks for crossbows come in red and green colors for both types, and yellow only for the half-moon nock. To turn it back off after you retrieve your bolt, simply pull the nock straight back until the light turns off again.
When you’re just practicing, you usually don’t want the LED lights turning on every time as it will waste the battery life. To solve this problem, you can turn the collar 45 degrees and switch the nock into practice mode so the LED lights won’t be activated anymore. If you want to just test it out before a hunt to make sure it works, switch it back to the ready to fire mode and keep it there for your hunt.
If you’re interested in trying some light up nocks for crossbows this season, pick up a pack of whatever color you like and give them a try. Their ease of installation and use make it a no-brainer!
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