Testing Proper Nock Fit – The Complete How To Guide
Why Nock Fit Is Important
It controls how the arrow leaves the string
Adjusting your nock fit will massively change your arrow tuning. It is also important to make sure the arrow fits on the bowstring properly for safety. It’s dangerous to shoot with a fit that is too loose or too tight on the string.
If the nock is too loose, the arrow could fall off the string during the shot. If the nock is too tight, over time it could cause the nock to crack. This could lead to the nock exploding when you release. Both examples are dangerous.
It’s important to get your nock fit correct before you start any tuning, and you should re-tune your bow if you change it. You can read more about tuning your bow in our Recurve Tuning Guide.
Testing Nock Fit
Use our chart & these 5 checks
The Nock Fit Chart
Finding the right nock fit can involve lots of trial and error. We’ve tested 240 of the most common string/nock/serving combinations for you, and put them in a handy chart. Hopefully you can use this chart to get your nock fit perfect straight away.
The exact nock fit you get can vary depending on how you made & prepared your string, what tension you made the centre serving with and what serving tool and colour material you used. Even for the same material and stated thickness, different colours can vary in thickness slightly.
We made this chart using the procedure below:
1. We made the string and put 15 twists in. We then placed it on a bow.
2. We used a piece of leather to slightly heat the string & melt some of the wax.
3. We used a piece of centre serving wrapped around the string to rub up and down the string whilst pulling it together. This is to tighten the strands into one ‘cable’.
4. We made the centre serving using a Beiter Professional Winder. We tightened it down as much as possible whilst still being able to serve the material.
5. We tested brand new nocks.
Image 1. Nock Fit Chart for Brownell FF+ Bowstring
Image 2. Nock Fit Chart for BCY 8125G Bowstring
5 Checks For Good Nock Fit
Here are some simple checks you can do to make sure your arrow fits on the string properly. You can see these demonstrated in the video below.
1. SOUND: The nock should locate on to the string with a clearly audible “clip”.
2. ROTATION: When you rotate the nock around the string, it shouldn’t grab and rotate the string with it. It should be able to rotate fairly freely.
3. SIDEWAYS WIGGLE: There should be a TINY amount of wiggle room between the nock and the string.
4. VERTICAL SPACING: The nocking points shouldn’t be so close together that they pinch the nock. There should be a tiny bit of extra space.
5. STRING TAP: A firm tap of the string roughly 1 inch from the nock should throw a hanging arrow from the string.
Adjusting Nock Fit
How To Safely Loosen/Tighten The Fit
There are some things you should be aware of:
1. NOT RETUNING: If you adjust your nock fit, always make sure to retune your bow.
2. COMPARING SERVING DIAMETER: You would think that a 0.015″ serving from Brownell and a 0.015″ serving from Angel are the same diameter. They are often not. Only compare serving diameter’s in the same brand/material.
3. FILING/BENDING NOCKS: Never do this. Many people think that this can solve their nock fit issues but this can be extremely dangerous. Doing this can weaken the nock and could lead to it cracking or exploding when you shoot.
4. NOCKING POINT DISTANCE: Many people think their nock fit is wrong, but it is actually caused by the nocking points being too close together. If this is the case, the nock can’t locate properly on the serving and it will feel like the fit is too tight.
Acceptable ways to adjust the fit
These are the simple, safe ways that you can adjust your fit. Make sure to re-tune once you’ve done this.
1. CHANGE SERVING/NOCK: This is the most obvious, and the most effective adjustment. You can use our guide to find the right combination for you.
2. TO LOOSEN: You can put the bow string and/or the centre serving under more tension when you serve it. You can also take a piece of string and use it to make the string into a really tight cable before serving.
3. TO TIGHTEN: You can serve the centre serving with less tension. You can also place an extra strand of string or serving material underneath the centre serving area before you serve it. This will act to thicken the string underneath the serving, so it will make the nock fit tighter.