Tuning Lighted Arrow Nocks | Nock Out® Lighted Nocks 

Nock Out® Lighted Nocks | Tuning and Installing Lighted Nocks

Bow hunters have a responsibility to be as efficient and ethical as possible. This means making sure your equipment is tuned before the hunt. You wouldn’t shoot at a game animal without first making sure your new broadheads hit their mark, right?  The same can be said about installing lighted nocks to any hunting arrow setup. You should never add, subtract, or change anything about your bow, your arrow, or your accessories without first testing and tuning your bow. This is standard and common knowledge when it comes to broadheads, new fletching, a new rest, a new sight, a new release, or a new batch of arrows. This should also be extended to installing lighted nocks.  

Factors to Consider 

The fact is that the installing of a lighted nock means the arrow will fly differently than a standard or manufacturer’s arrow nock. Adding a lighted nock, like any other component of an arrow will not only adjust the weight, but the location and distribution of that weight,  the length of the arrow, and other factors to consider as they cause a difference in arrow flight. 

Arrow Nock Weight  

Regular nocks generally weigh between 8 and 16 grains, while contenders can run up to 25 grains, meaning Nock Out® lighted nocks are double the weight of most traditional nocks. This change in weight will impact your arrow’s front-of-center (FOC), requiring you to adjust your setup to compensate for the difference. Remember, the front-of-center helps determine your arrow’s trajectory.  This is especially important when choosing the proper field tips and broadheads.  In most instances, archers will want a higher front of center (more weight forward).  Most manufacturers often recommend an arrow with 10 – 15% FOC when fully assembled (with broadheads).

Weight isn’t the only factor that changes, as this can also affect your length. 

Arrow Nock Length

Length varies between types, brands, and even within brands. For example, the nock length is 1 5/8 for the original Nock Out® lighted nock, and 1 ½ for the Contenders. This difference changes the weight distribution of the arrow, and subsequently, its flight.


Indexing Your Arrow  

Finally, you’ll need to know how to properly index your arrow. This is one of the last things you should consider that could significantly alter arrow flight. This should remind you that you should never just insert a lighted nock without first indexing the arrow. The index (or cock) vane should be facing up directly in line with your string if you shoot a whisker biscuit, and down if you shoot a drop away rest.  

Knowing these factors ahead of installing a nock should allow you to shoot lighted nocks without sacrificing accuracy! Follow the information and steps below for installing lighted nocks.  

How to Install Lighted Nocks 

The new Nock Out® Contender and Nock Out® Contender 300 for Crossbows are the new leading lighted nock for the archery industry. The driving forces behind the Nock’s excelling features are the simplicity, strength, and functionality of the nock.  

The Nock Out® Contender comes with 3 black bushings, allowing it to fit X, H, and S/GT arrows.  

  • G nocks fit shafts with a .166-inch inside diameter. 
  • X nocks fit shafts with a .204-inch inside diameter. 
  • H nocks fit shafts with a .234-inch inside diameter. 
  • S nocks ‑ also called Super Nocks ‑ fit shafts with a .244-inch inside diameter. 
  • GT nocks fit shafts with a .246-inch inside diameter. 

Steps for Installing Lighted Nocks 

  • First, remove the regular nock from the arrow with a pair of pliers.  
  • Next, fit the right size bushing into the arrow shaft or in the case of X-nocks, the Contender directly into the shaft without the bushing.  
  • Next, you will want to install the Nock Out® Contender and index it so that the arrow vanes are properly aligned to your rest. This is also assuming that your broadhead and vanes are properly indexed. Improper nock indexing could cause improper arrow flight or contact with your arrow rest. This is especially true if you have long and/or helical vanes. The index (or cock) vane should be facing up directly in line with your string if you shoot a whisker biscuit, and down if you shoot a drop away rest.  
  • Once your nock is properly indexed in accordance with your vane, broadhead and rest, you are ready to sight the bow in.  
  • Sight the bow in like normal, adjusting the bow sight housing and pins in accordance with the yardage you wish to reference.

Ensuring your equipment is as accurate as possible is your ethical responsibility as a bow hunter. This includes your responsibility to realize the addition or subtraction of any gear, accessory, or arrow feature can and does alter accuracy.

Want more information? Check out the links below to find out more about Nock Out® lighted nocks or tuning your bow!


bow hunting hunting arrows

Fletching the Perfect Hunting Arrow for your Bow Hunting Setup

Bow Hunting | Fletching the Perfect Hunting Arrow

There are several components that make up a hunting arrow, but none more critical to its flight than proper fletching. Vanes on the back of an arrow steer the arrow during flight, keeping the front and back end in correct alignment. Mass-produced and fletched arrows are not always tuned properly and are subsequently the reason for inconsistent shooting. Accurately tuned and fletched arrows can greatly improve your shooting performance. Believe it or not, you don’t have to take your arrows to a pro-shop to achieve this!

Chances are, you have experienced the result of shooting an ill-tuned arrow. Arrows that aren’t properly tuned can cause the vanes to graze the arrow rest, which in turn causes the arrow to fly erratically down range. Another likely scenario could play out like this: you have worked hard on form, you are consistently nocking at the same point, and executing a smooth release, but have a couple shots outside your group each time you shoot. Rather than an error on your part, the reason for this inconsistent shooting may be a couple bad arrows out of your practice batch. Properly tuning and fletching your hunting arrows takes a little extra effort, but will result in consistently tighter groups on target and better accuracy in the field.

Fletching Applications

There are three fletching application styles popular with hunting arrows:

  • Straight fletching is applied straight with the arrow shaft. This type of fletching results in the fastest arrow flight and is recommended for close range shots. Straight fletching can cause slight arrow drag and is at a higher risk of the flight being affected by the wind.
  • Off-Set fletching is applied straight with the arrows’ shaft, but are turned at a slight offset from front to back without twisting the vane. The off-set is comparable to the rotation of a bullet shot from a rifled gun barrel. This rotation offers arrow stability with the weight of a broadhead and is recommended for long distance shots. Off-set fletching will result in a slight loss of speed due to air resistance.
  • Helical fletching is applied with a slight curve or helical twist in the vane, often two to five degrees, depending on the arrow stability desired. Helical fletching offers the most stability among other applications and is ideal for shooting broadheads. The rotation of the fletching will decrease arrow speed at a greater amount than the other style fletching but offers great accuracy at longer distances.

Vane Styles 

The style of vane that you apply to your arrow shaft can affect arrow flight and should be taken into careful consideration. There are pros and cons to each style of vanes, but tuning and matching your hunting arrow vanes to your style of broadhead can greatly improve your shooting consistency and accuracy. A variety of vanes are available in different shapes, lengths, thicknesses, and colors.

Vane types vary, from small, long, and low profile vanes to short, high profile vanes. Higher profile vanes have more surface area and will offer more correction of arrow flight than low profile vanes. However, more surface area will slow an arrow down slightly. If you are shooting fixed broadheads, a higher, larger surface vane will offer the greatest stability for that style broadhead.

Smaller, low profile vanes offer less flight stability of an arrow but offer more clearance with the arrow rest and bow shelf. Lower profile vanes have less surface area allowing minimum wind drag for more speed.  Low profile vanes offer more stability of arrow flight with mechanical broadheads, blunts, or field points.

The “original” Nock Out® lighted nock.

Vane Adhesion

Secure adhesion of the vane to the shaft is critical to the proper flight of an arrow. Not all adhesives are the same. Taking into consideration the typical weather you plan to hunt in will give you some guidance as to which type to use. There are quick-set glues, thicker gel type glues, and glues that are similar to epoxy. Solvent based adhesives will take longer to bond and dry but offer a durable adhesion that can withstand varying degrees of weather and temperatures. Cyanoacrylate glues are fast setting, however, the brittleness of the glue is more susceptible to the vane breaking free of the shaft in different weather conditions.

Hunting Arrow Nocks

Nocks will often need to be removed to use some styles of fletching jigs. It is important to use the correct nock for your arrow diameter and the style of nock that works best with your bow string. Press-fit nocks will be labeled by common size, for example: G and F nocks fit shafts with a .166-inch inside diameter, X and A nocks fit shafts with a .204-inch inside diameter, H and H.E.  nocks fit shafts with a .234-inch inside diameter, S nocks fit shafts with a .244-inch inside diameter, and G nocks fit shafts with a .246-inch inside diameter. Smaller pin nocks are snapped onto a small pin on the nock end of an arrow. This allows for damaged nocks to be replaced with minimal effort in the field. The pin nock is mostly used in target competition because its purpose is to protect shafts from being damaged by other arrows.

Lighted nocks are favored by many hunters and are legal to use in most states, with the exception of a few out west. Not only do lighted nocks help you tune your bow before the hunt, they also make it easier for you to see your bow shot placement on game animals. Gone are the days of frustrating lighted nocks that came off in your quiver, were difficult to turn off, or added extra weight to the back end of the arrow. Nock Out Lighted Nocks are lightweight, extremely bright, and feature an easy off and practice mode. Each pack of Nock Out Lighted Nocks come with bushings to fit the five most common carbon arrow diameters for a custom fit.


The Fletching Process

The supplies you will need to self-fletch your arrows:

  • Fletching Jig
  • Denatured Alcohol
  • Lint-free Rags/Paper Towels
  • Vane stripper
  • Fine grit sandpaper or scrub pad
  • Bare arrow shafts
  • Vane adhesive
  • Fletching
  • Nock Tool
  • Wraps (optional)

Fletching your Hunting Arrows

  1. Spine tuning arrow shafts is one step many archers don’t complete when self-fletching their arrows. Spine tuning helps you to find the weighted side of an arrow, allowing you to adhere the vanes in the same way on all of your arrows, making for a more consistent grouping. A small variance in shaft weight is common and normally does not make a significant change in the point of impact on the target. Matching the configuration of vanes on each shaft, identical to the other, will greatly improve consistency.

Using the float method is the easiest way to do this from home. Fill a bathtub up with about 6 inches of water and a few drops of dishwashing detergent to make a few suds for buoyancy. Place a bare shaft in the tub, making sure that the point and nock ends are not touching the side of the tub. Spin the arrow with your hand once, allowing it to stop. Then spin one more time and mark the top side of the floating arrow with a grease pencil or marker. This will be the light side of the arrow; you will place your cock vane on the opposite side of this mark.

  1. Prepare your arrow shaft by wiping the entire shaft down with a lint-free cloth saturated in denatured alcohol. One of the main reasons vanes do not adhere to the surface properly and pop off easily is because the shaft and vane surfaces were not clean at the time of application. Denatured alcohol is fast drying, however, you should still make sure the shaft is completely dry by wiping the shaft down with a dry, lint-free cloth. Never use a cloth that was washed with water softeners or dried in a dryer with anti-static/fabric softener dryer sheets.
  2. With the broadhead you will use in mind, select your ideal style of fletching in your preferred colors for your shafts and place them aside in groups of three. Make sure not to get body oils from your fingers on the adhesive edge.
  3. Your next step will be the actual fletching application.
  • Load the vanes into the fletching jig that you have chosen, making certain that you don’t touch the portion of the vanes that you will add glue to.
  • Place a thin, solid line of adhesive known as a bead along the base of the vane from end to end.
  • Place the shaft into the jig as instructed by the jig’s manufacturer, keeping in mind the correct tuning of the cock vane; in alignment with the heaviest side of the shaft.
  • Close the jig, placing the vanes against the shaft. It is important that you be patient and wait for the proper set time for the adhesive you are using before opening the jig.
  • Once the adhesive sets, carefully release the jig revealing the newly fletched arrow. Clean off any excess glue. Add a droplet of glue on the leading and trailing end of each vane for a strong, secure adhesion to the shaft.
  • Always wait several hours before shooting freshly fletched arrows.

Ultimately, choosing the style of vane and the application of those vanes will vary among archers. Some archers are more concerned with higher accuracy than faster speed because while speed may matter in the equation of kinetic energy, it is not as forgiving as accuracy. Deciding on what is good for your bow hunting setup will depend on what you are trying to achieve. By fletching your hunting arrows, you have the opportunity to experiment with different style vanes and fletching applications, giving you the advantage of having the best hunting arrow for your bow hunting setup.

best lighted nock colors hunting

Which Lighted Nock Color is the “Best”?

What is the Best Lighted Nock Color?

The hunting industry is ever changing, moving, and growing. Lighted nocks are becoming more and more of a practical tool for the modern archer who is moving and growing with the industry. While the industry might be taking the first steps, it is up to the hunters to carry the innovations and products into the field. Once this occurs, improvements, competition, and reviews are inevitable. Centered on this critical pivot, the discussion between hunters of the “best” product starts to occur. The same can be said for lighted nocks. While this blog won’t dive into the discussion between lighted nock brands specifically, it will deliver even better insight for hunters…what is the best lighted nock color to use?

Lighted Nocks in the Outdoor Industry

New products are constantly being designed, tested and adapted that are intended to help sporting folks afield. Two of the critical key driving factors for the archery industry are accuracy and shot placement. Accuracy in the field and accuracy in practice are paramount to ethical hunting practices and the hunter’s confidence in shot placement. The responsibility of accuracy and practice is no more imperative than in the pursuit of archery hunting. This pursuit has led to a multitude of archery improvements that seem like a world away from a primitive stick and string propelling a wooden dowel through the air. Compound bows, fiber optic sights, carbon arrows, mechanical broadheads, the list goes on and on when you begin to list improvements to accuracy for the archery hunter. One development designed to improve accuracy, shot placement, game recovery, and improve the value of time invested in practice and hunting is the lighted nock.

Lighted nocks became a possibility with the advent of translucent plastics used in the design and construction of arrow nocks. Those new nock designs coupled with the availability of smaller and smaller LEDs and batteries made lighted nocks a reality. By adding a lighted nock to an arrow shaft, tracking the flight of an arrow moving at speeds of three hundred feet per second or more becomes much easier. The use of lighted nock during practice provides immediate feedback on your shot and arrow flight. Identifying issues in form during practice such as hand torque become much easier to identify with the use of a lighted nock. The task of identifying arrows out of tune that fly contrary to rest of the quiver is much less time consuming with the use of a lighted nock and the ability to identify each arrow’s flight path before the target. The point of impact on target is also much easier to establish from the shooting position when using lighted nocks both in practice and hunting scenarios.

best lighted nock colors hunting

The use of lighted nocks in hunting scenarios is becoming more and more commonplace. The ability to track arrow flight to the point of impact in low light conditions can be a valuable tool in the field. Considering a shot taken in the field and examining the placement on the game animal is critical when determining the recovery approach. Arrow recovery after the shot, whether a complete or partial pass through, is often critical in the follow-up and tracking of downed game. The use of a lighted nock can make finding that arrow, and the associated blood trail much easier.

What is the Best Lighted Nock Color?

When considering lighted nock selection, don’t discount the choice of color as a key decision point for the application you intend to use the nock and arrow setup for when hunting. While camouflage and concealability are critical components of bow hunting, hunters should consider the visibility of an arrow before, during, and after the shot for recovery. The key advantage to a lighted nock is its visibility and obvious contrast to the surroundings.  Finding the exact location the arrow impacted the game animal and finding the blood trail can sometimes be frustrating and difficult to identify after the shot.  Angles, perspective, entry’s and exits, and even shadows change when you climb down from a tree stand or exit a blind to examine an area after a shot is taken. The ability to locate a glowing lighted nock shining in contrast to its surroundings is a great start to tracking that game animal.

best lighted nock colors hunting

Color choice in a lighted nock can mean the difference between quickly finding an arrow after the shot or scanning the ground in a seemingly endless search for your arrow.

Green Lighted Nocks

Choosing a neon green lighted nock for a spring archery turkey hunt, for instance, may not be the best choice.  A bright green lighted nock attached to a camouflaged arrow may be next to impossible to find in a green feed or fescue field where turkeys are feeding and strutting. That same green lighted nock on the end of an arrow on a western antelope hunt on the high plains, or in the orange and red November woods of the Midwest will stand out like a sore thumb against the backgrounds. Green lighted nocks serve as the best color choice in nearly every scenario that green does not exist in the landscape, at least by majority compared to other colors in the landscape.

best lighted nock colors hunting

Red Lighted Nocks

A green lighted nock color literally serves as the best choice for nearly every season except the spring green up.  The color in its place during this time of year by far, also one of the most popular colors besides green, is red. The green and lush habitat extends from turkey season well into the summer and early autumn, when early season whitetail hunters or elk hunters start hitting the woods. In these scenarios the best color nock for the hunter would be a color that stands out against the different shades of neon green and in some cases yellow grasses/leaves in early autumn. Red nocks in spring and summer are the best choice. This means that a red nock should be used for spring turkey hunting, early season whitetail hunting, and September elk hunting.

best lighted nock colors hunting

Yellow Lighted Nocks

Consider how many times a hunter has mistaken an orange or red fall leaf or turning grass in the fall whitetail woods for a spot of blood after a shot. Many hunts depending on season and ecosystem lend themselves to distinct colors and hues. A neon yellow lighted nock on a hunting arrow shot during a fall hunt is not likely to show up against the autumn browns, reds and oranges of October and November. Again green nocks are the best in this scenario, leaving yellow nocks with not a lot of great options as far as the hunting application. A lighted nock should glow and act as a beacon against the darkness on an early morning or late evening hunt regardless of the color.

So Which Is the Best Lighted Nock Color?

Color, light, and shadow are all critical in the pursuit of game. Camouflage and stand or blind placement should always be cognizant of the surrounding colors, hues and shadows of the hunting area.  Most times we are concerned with blending into the natural environment and to go unnoticed. In the case of a lighted nock, this tool is best served to contrast with the surrounding environment. Hunters work tirelessly to better their odds in the field and to respect the animals they pursue with ethical practices. Improving confidence in shot placement and the odds of arrow recovery with the use of a lighted nock can go a long way to enhance an archery hunt.

As you can conclude, each season, hunt, and environment have considerations for the best lighted nock color. One color does not, unfortunately, cover the spectrum of hunts. Rather two different colors, red and green, perform together as the best colors for lighted nocks.