arrow with broken nock in target

Pin-point accuracy | How nock tuning your arrows can be a game-changer

See if this sounds familiar…

Deer season is coming up. You know you need to get out and shoot your bow but you can’t seem to find the time. There’s just so much going on with work and/or with family.

So, you don’t get in the reps in shooting your bow like you need to.

two arrows near bullseyes on foam target

Nock tuning your arrows can be the X-factor in achieving superior arrow flight.

The next thing you know, deer season is here. You’re in a deer stand and Mr. Big walks by and you let an arrow fly.

You either miss, or that arrow doesn’t do exactly what you thought it was going to do, and you make a bad shot on that animal.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

I’d like to share how the flight of one arrow made me pay much more detailed attention to each of my arrows prior to hunting with them.

This is the story of how I decided it was time to start nock tuning my bare shaft arrows.


Click here to jump straight to the step-by-step nock tuning process with the N-Tune™ Arrow Wraps!



Did the arrow fail? Not quite, but it wanted to!

Shooting at a deer is not a good time to find out that your arrow is not flying true.

On one of our bowhunting retreats to South Georgia, my business partner, Josh Wells, was able to take a whitetail buck, but it was not without a little bit of drama.

buck laying down in high grass with lighted nock arrow flying toward it

When we reviewed the footage of the shot on this bedded buck, the lighted nock allowed us to see the corkscrew flight path of the arrow… not what you want to see.

When we reviewed the footage of the shot, the lighted nock allowed us to notice some pretty severe corkscrew movement on his arrow.

Thankfully, the fletchings did their job and the arrow found its mark.

But, this really got us thinking hard about bare shaft tuning our arrows.

We had not nock tuned our arrows in the past, but we knew folks who did and who recommended it highly.


What if bowhunting commercials were like drug company commercials?


Just give me one dozen arrows and let’s go hunting…

To be honest, like many of you, in the past we had just gone to our respective local bow shops, ordered a dozen arrows, and went hunting.

We had taken for granted that that arrow was going to fly true. After all, when it comes to bowhunting we just need to be a “good shot,” right?

Josh Wells of N1 Outdoors with a south georgia whitetail

Josh was able to recover his whitetail, but the corkscrew flight of his arrow left him wondering if he had in fact delivered a fatal shot.

Well, we were reminded of an important lesson on this hunt… when it matters most, no one wants that arrow to fly better than the person that’s actually releasing it.

So, as good as your bow shop is (and we have some great bow shops in our area), the truth is that they don’t grip your bow like you do. They don’t necessarily have the same anchor point as you, and they may not have the same release of the arrow that you do.


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So, while your bow shop can get your bow in center shot and “in tune,” there is much about your personal shooting method that can affect arrow flight.

So, it’s your responsibility to be sure that each arrow has the best chance of finding its mark when shot from your bow, by you!




In the moment of truth, we want great arrow flight

Now, some will argue that nock tuning is nock tuning is not necessary. If an arrow doesn’t fly true, it’s all the shooter.

Maybe it was poor form.

Maybe it was hand torque.

Maybe…

Well, while form is an extremely important part of bowhunting. We all don’t possess world-class shooting form.

arrow with nock tuning wrap in decoy

When it really mattered, we needed confidence that fletchings would not have a ton of correcting to do. This way, we could be ensured with arrow flight that is as straight as possible.

Our experience with erratic arrow flight on this hunt made us want to learn for ourselves how to get our bow, as well as our arrow shafts as tuned as possible.

Enter bare shaft nock tuning.

I had seen Troy Fowler (aka, the “Ranch Fairy”) talking about high FOC arrows and also how nock tuning bare shaft arrows was “witchcraft” and that it mattered greatly to achieving excellent arrow flight.

Now, when you start using words like “witchcraft” in regards to bowhunting, you have my attention.

So, the digging into the process of nock tuning began…


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If you are still reading, and are wondering what nock tuning is all about, I’m going to take you through the process step-by-step, so that you too can do this for yourself. Keep reading!

Why is nock tuning your arrows necessary for great arrow flight?

Nock tuning has much to do with finding the stiffest part of the arrow, known as the “spine.” The arrow most often flies best when this portion of the shaft is facing up when shooting.

The goal of nock tuning is to gradually turn the nock of your arrow to different positions on the shaft to find the one where the arrow flies the straightest.

One of the best ways to do this is to shoot a bare shaft (unfletched) arrow through paper until your find the position on the shaft where it shoots a “bullet hole.”



A bullet hole (or as close to it as possible) will give us a very good indicator that when this arrow is fletched and shot, the fletchings will have very little to correct.

After all, you may have gripped the bow too tightly during the shot, or even released the arrow abnormally.

Those fletchings will have all that to worry about without adding an arrow that is not properly tuned.



A word about arrow spine

We could certainly go in-depth about arrow spine, but we’ll keep it simple here.

When arrows are shot and released from a bow, a tremendous amount of stored energy is transferred from the limbs of the bow to that arrow.

arrow flexing in flight after being shot from bow

If you look closely, you can see in this picture that the arrow flexes when shot from the bow. Having the a properly spined arrow for your bow setup is critical to the nock tuning process being fully effective.

The arrow will flex during the shot and the stiffness of the spine is what determines how much that arrow will flex.

To fly properly, your arrow needs to flex, but it needs to flex the right amount. That is why having properly spined arrows for your bow setup is critical.

So, as I walk you through the process of bare shaft nock tuning your arrows through paper, I’m going to assume a few things right off the bat.

I’m going to assume that your bow is already in center shot and that you have properly spined arrows for your bow setup. Because after all, nock tuning is not meant to take the place of a properly tuned bow and setup.

The N-Tune arrow wrap and how it makes the nock tuning process easier

Please hear me.

I am not trying to argue for or against arrow wraps.

Many of you may have also gotten interested in the nock tuning and paper tuning bare shaft process by watching the Ranch Fairy.

Troy Fowler will tell you, he is not an arrow wrap guy. In fact, he is not for anything that adds extra tail weight. And as it pertains to high FOC, we totally understand why.



What we are saying is, we have found that in the process of bare shaft nock tuning through paper is tedious. It can take several, if not dozens of shots, and knowing where you are and where you have been on that arrow shaft is critical to figuring out where that arrow will fly the truest.

marking arrow number on the n1 outdoors n-tune arrow wrap

The N-Tune arrow wrap allows you to put a small indicator of which arrow you are shooting, so you don’t have to write on your fletchings.

So, we wanted to come up with a way to make the nock tuning process a little bit better, so that you can easily reference which parts of the shaft are tuning better through paper. We also wanted to be able to indicate which arrow you’re working on, so that you can reference that without having to mark up your arrows too much.

So, let’s get down to business of how to nock tune your arrows with the N-Tune™ Nock Tuning Arrow Wraps!

NOTE: (before attempting to tune arrows, you should always be sure that you or your local bow shop has properly set up and tuned your bow per manufacturer’s specs).

How To Nock Tune Your Bowhunting Arrows With The N-Tune™ Nock Tuning Arrow Wraps | Step-By-Step

Time needed: 15 minutes.

Here’s how to nock tune your arrows through paper using the N-Tune arrow wrap. (estimate: 15 min per arrow):

  1. Align hole/mark on nock with line on the arrow wrap

    Line up the center of the hole in the lighted nock (if you have one) with the number 1 line on the wrap. If your nock does not have a hole, you can mark any place on the nock with a dot as a reference point.

    lining up nock with marks on n1 outdoors n-tune arrow wrap

  2. Shoot bare shaft arrow through paper

    Shoot the arrow from about 10 feet away through paper (be sure you have a heavy target, such as a speed bag or crossbow target behind the paper that will stop the arrow. Also, be sure that your target is behind your paper more than a full length of your arrow, so that the arrow will not impact the target until it has fully passed through the paper).

    man shooting bow through paper while nock tuning

  3. Mark corresponding wrap number next to hole in paper

    Next to the hole in the paper, write which position on the N-Tune arrow wrap you were on when you shot that hole.

    holes in paper from nock tuning through paper

  4. Mark your arrow shaft

    Once you have shot using all 8 positions on the wrap, examine the holes and see which one is closest to a “bullet hole.” Once you determine this, make a mark on the shaft with a sharpie or other marker and be sure to shoot the arrow with this mark facing up. (Note: If you are fletching your own arrows, you may need your fletchings pointing a certain direction in order to clear your rest of cables. Just be sure that t this mark can always be facing up when shooting.)

    marking the n1 outdoors n-tune arrow wrap for nock tuning

  5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 on all shafts

    Continue the above process for all 8 positions on the N-Tune arrow wrap. (You may have to do this process more than once on each number if you know you had a bad irregularity on one of the shots that was not necessarily the “arrow’s fault.”

  6. Fletch arrows

    If you are going to fletch your own arrows, be sure that you fletch them so that the mark you have made on your shaft is pointing UP when you nock the arrow.

    fletching arrow with nock tuning mark facing up




Nock tuning your arrows [step-by-step]

Conclusion

So maybe you’re still asking, “why are you so worried about all this bare shaft nock tuning through paper stuff? That’s what’s the fletchings are for, to correct arrow flight!”

Well, that’s true. But again, if you’ve bow hunted long enough, you know that a lot of things can happen when you release that arrow.

Maybe your stance wasn’t exactly right.

Maybe you were wearing baggy clothing and the string slapped your sleeve when you released the arrow.

Maybe you had hand torque when you released the arrow.

Maybe you had facial pressure on the bow string.

All these things can negatively affect arrow flight.

Yes, when these things happen, the fletchings will help correct the flight of that arrow. But, you want them to have to correct as little as possible.


Nock tuning your bare shafts through paper is a great way to be confident of your arrow flight when it really counts.

Minimal correction is best

Would you rather your fletchings be correcting lots of imperfection because the arrow was not properly tuned? Or, would you rather the fletchings be correction small imperfections because you had taken every precaution to ensure that the bare shaft was flying as true as possible before any of that other bad stuff happened?

I’m choosing option 2, because not only do I want to be the best hunter I can be, I want my arrow to have the best chance possible of making an ethical impact on my target deer or other animal. This will result in me having the best chance possible of recovering that animal.

I hope you’ve learned some helpful information regarding nock tuning through paper.

If you’re interested in the N-Tune arrow wraps, just visit our online store!



Giles Canter of N1 outdoors with archery buck
Giles Canter of N1 Outdoors.
various types of kayaks leaning against a wall

Whatever Floats Your Boat! | Types of Kayaks Compared

Despite what some may believe, there are, in fact, many different types of kayaks to choose from depending on your kayaking goals.

These different kayak types have distinct features that can impact function and should be selected for your specific needs.

various types of kayaks on shore

Some kayaks are longer or wider to promote increased straight-ahead speed and stability in calm waters. On the other hand, if you see yourself in a whitewater situation, then a short, stubby, and maneuverable craft will serve you best. So which type should you choose? Keep reading!

Well, don’t get intimidated by what is ultimately a simple boat! Let’s take a look at the different types of kayaks so you can find out for yourself!

Types Of Kayaks

Lucky for you, this guide will provide guidance and information surrounding some of the main kayak types, to direct you toward the best kayak for your next adventure!

You can click on the links below to jump straight to the various types:

Sit-In Kayaks

man and woman in sit-in kayaks

Sit-in kayaks are probably what you imagine when you picture a kayak.

Also called recreational kayaks, sit-in kayaks have one seat that is in the center of a boat that usually ranges from 8-12 feet long.

Sit-in kayaks are designed for comfort; with the bodies being wide, making entering and exiting easier. They typically also have a lot of leg room for the occupant.

The comfort-oriented design of a sit-in kayak lends itself to calm water travel. A recreational kayak like this can travel at decent speeds and stays stable in a relaxed water environment.

The downsides, however, are that these designs can struggle through rough water, in strong wind, and over long distances.

On the upside, recreational kayaks are usually one of the more affordable options given their widespread availability. Their versatility and price point make them a great option for any kayaker.



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Sit-On-Top Kayak

pelican sit on top kayak

Sit-on-top kayaks are similar to the standard sit-in, recreational kayak.

The key difference is that instead of the occupant sitting inside the kayak structure, they sit on top, as the name implies. (photo credit: Amazon)

The open-air design of sit-on-top kayaks makes entering and exiting even easier than the typical sit-in kayak. What’s more, the lack of walls around your legs and feet provides significantly more room for a rider, making these types of kayaks extremely comfortable.

This open-air concept also makes for a more efficient hunting kayak setup, giving the hunter more range and freedom to move about.

The sit-on-top kayaks are also great options if you are looking to do some fishing.



The downside to the open-air design, however, is the fact that the rider has little protection from the outside elements.

These kayaks, similar to sit-in kayaks, do well in calm waters. But again, these type kayaks can struggle greatly in maneuvering rough waters.


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Whitewater Kayaks

man paddling in a whitewater kayak

If you have rough water adventure in your sights, a whitewater kayak may be what you’re looking for!

While the first two kayaks we discussed excel in calm waters, whitewater kayaks fill a different niche.

These kayaks are designed for fast, rushing whitewater with rapids and they tend to be shorter in length to increase maneuverability and stability in these difficult conditions.



However, the shorter length makes distance traveling in calm waters particularly difficult. In this sense, whitewater kayaks can struggle outside of a whitewater setting, which makes this model of the kayak a one-trick pony of sorts. 


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Tandem Kayaks

woman and kid kayaking

Kayaks are traditionally sleek and made for just a single person. But, then there are tandem kayaks…

Tandem Kayaks are designed such that two people can be seated in the watercraft as opposed to just one.

Tandem crafts can be found in numerous styles, including the sit-in and sit-on-top models. However, the tandem version of these two types of kayaks is going to be heavier and more expensive.

Fitting an extra person with you in a tandem kayak comes at a price. You are giving up speed and maneuverability due to the extra weight. However, you should expect to be more stable on the water with your extra passenger.

Plus, who doesn’t love kayaking with a friend?



Portable Kayaks

man and woman riding in inflatable kayak

Portable kayaks can encompass any of the kayak types we outlined avove.

The key difference between portable kayaks and regular kayaks is that portable ones can be broken down into smaller, more manageable packages to transport.



There are two types of portables: inflatable kayaks (like the one pictured above) and collapsable kayaks.

Portable kayaks are usually more affordable and easier to transport. However, they have factors you’ll want to consider before purchasing. For example, you’ll have to inflate or assemble them once you get to the waterfront.

woman in collapsible kayak

Portable kayaks can make transportation a cinch. But, you’ll also be giving up some conveniences…

Portable kayaks also tend not to move through the water as efficiently as other types due to their design. They may also lack some of the comforts of a more standard-construction kayak.

With that being said, there is a range of portable kayaks available on the market, with some costing more but providing more features such as stability, upgraded seating, propulsion systems, etc.

Just like with most things, in the world of kayaks, in one way or another, you get what you pay for!


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Final Thoughts On The Different Kayak Types

people sitting in calm water in kayaks

At the end of the day, there are several types of kayaks to choose from depending on what you want from the boat and the specific activity you’re looking to take part in. There is truly a kayak for all styles of life, for all cars, and for all different types and speeds of water.

Consider the bodies of water you wish to explore in your kayak, as the speed of the water will help guide you towards the correct boat.

Kayaking is a great experience alone or with friends and should be a staple for any person who enjoys being on the water.

So, get on a kayak and get paddling!

arrow building header image

Arrow Building 101 | How to make your own bowhunting arrows

Are you looking for tips on how to build your own bowhunting arrows? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

We’ll walk you through the process step-by-step so you can start enjoying the process of arrow building.

arrow in target with N-Tune wrap on arrow

First things first… Be sure you have selected an arrow shaft that is appropriate for the draw weight of your bow.

Before building your own arrows, it’s important to be sure you have selecting an arrow shaft that is appropriate for your setup. What poundage you are pulling back and what forward-of-center % (FOC) you are looking to get from your arrow are a few factors.

So, you may want to consult your local bow shop before purchasing your bare shafts.

Arrow Building | What you’ll need to build your own arrows

Before you get started with arrow building, there are some items you will need to get started:


Once you have decided on and purchased your arrow shafts, you are ready to start building! If purchasing Sirius arrow shafts (including arrow spinners and adhesives), use code N1Outdoors during checkout for a 12% discount!



How to make arrows step-by-step

30 minutes per arrow 30 minutes.

Here, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process here of building your own hunting arrows (plan on about 30 minutes per arrow:

  1. Spin your arrow shafts

    Before we get to cutting our arrow shafts, we want to spin them to see which end of the arrow needs to be cut. Use an arrow spin tester and spin your arrow (test both ends). Watch the ends of the shafts as they spin. Whichever side is more wobbly is the end you want to cut on. Make a mark on the end of the shaft that you will cut, just to be sure you cut the correct end.

    .spin tester spinning arrows

  2. Cut arrow shafts

    [IMPORTANT: BEFORE you cut your arrow shafts, be sure you know exactly how long the shafts need to be. You want to be sure you have accounted for the length that the nock will add to the shaft and also be sure your arrow will be long enough that your fingers will not be cut by the broadheads when you shoot!]

    Set your arrow saw guide to the correct length. When cutting your shafts, be sure to “roll” the shaft as you cut.

    cutting arrow shaft

  3. Mark the ends of your arrow shaft

    After cutting your arrow shafts to length, use a sharpie or other marker to make a mark around the top edge of the shafts.

    marking the end of arrow shaft when arrow building

  4. Square the ends of the arrow shaft

    Using an arrow squaring tool, sand down the tops of the shafts until all the marker is sanded away. Squaring the ends of your arrows is critical to achieving the best arrow flight possible.

    squaring the ends of an arrow shaft

  5. Clean arrow shafts

    Next, you need to clean the dust/debris left over from squaring the shafts. Take a Q-Tip, dip it in acetone or denatured alcohol, and clean the top edge and inside of the front of the arrow shafts.

    cleaning ends of arrow shaft with q-tip and acetone

  6. Heat arrow insert

    Screw in a field point to the insert you will be using and hold field point with a pair of pliers. Using your butane torch, heat up the insert (it only takes a few seconds of heat, but it takes a few more seconds for the heat to work its way through the insert).

    heating arrow insert with butane torch when arrow building

  7. Apply cool melt to insert

    Once you have heated the insert, apply the cool melt to your insert. (do not put the cool melt directly in the flame). If it the cool melt doesn’t melt when touching it to the insert, heat the insert some more.

    applying cool melt to arrow insert

  8. Load arrow inserts

    After coating the insert with the cool melt, insert it into the end of the arrow shaft that you cut while slowly rotating. The rotation will ensure that the cool melt will fully coat the inside of the shaft, resulting in better adhesion.

    inserting arrow into arrow shaft

  9. Cool the arrow shaft

    After inserting the insert that you coated in the cool melt, dip the tip of the arrow in the cup of cold water.

    dipping arrow shaft into cold water

  10. Remove excess cool melt

    Once you have cooled down the arrow shaft, you can peel off the excess cool melt from around the insert.

    remove the excess cool melt from arrow shaft after cooling

  11. Apply arrow wraps (optional)

    If you like to apply arrow wraps to your shafts for added color, ease of fletching, or nock tuning, follow these instructions.

    Lay a hot pad or mouse pad on a hard surface. Lay the arrow wrap on the pad with the adhesive side up. (The mouse pad/hot pad has some “give” to it, which allows you to press down and apply even pressure, making the wrap application a little easier.)

    Lay the arrow shaft on the pad, parallel to the long edge of the arrow wrap. Line up the nock end of the arrow shaft with the end of the wrap. Once you have it lined up, slowly roll the arrow shaft forward over top of the wrap, applying even pressure, until it meets the other edge.

    (You can also check out this video about how to apply arrow wraps)

    apply arrows wraps to shafts

  12. Insert the nock

    Insert your standard or lighted nock into the end of the shaft.

    insert lighted nock into arrow shaft when arrow building

  13. Bare shaft tune your arrow (optional)

    If you want to ensure that you will get the best arrow flight possible, it’s a good idea to nock tune your arrows through paper. (this is where the N-Tune arrow wrap is extremely helpful).

    bare shaft tuning arrows through paper when arrow building

  14. Fletch arrows

    If you are going to fletch your own arrows, you will need a fletching jig. There are several brands of jigs available, but for the purposes of this illustration, we are using the Bitzenburger jig.
    NOTE: If you have bare shaft tuned your arrows, be sure to fletch your arrows so that when nocking your arrow, the mark you made on your arrow shaft during bare shaft tuning is facing up and that your fletchings will clear your rest and bow cables.)

    Place you vane in the jig clamp and apply primer to the vane (if necessary for your vane type). Then apply fletching glue/adhesive to the vane.
    NOTE: Be sure to mark on the jig clamp how high up you want the bottom of your vane to be on the shaft. Then, line up the bottom of all vanes with that mark when fletching.

    Seat the bottom of the clamp on the base of the jig and then gently press the jig clamp down onto the arrow shaft. Hold the clamp and the shaft together with light pressure for 10 seconds or so to ensure you get good adhesion between shaft and vane. Let the vane (still in clamp) dry for 5-15 minutes. Then, remove clamp, rotate knob on jig. Then use this same process for the second and third/fourth vanes.

    fletching arrows with bitzenburger jig

  15. FOBS (alternative to fletching)

    If you are using FOBS instead of fletchings, simply apply the FOB to the end of the arrow shaft and insert the nock and you are finished!)

    installing fob in arrow shaft

  16. Seal ends of vanes

    Once you have finished fletching your arrows, be sure to dab a small drop of adhesive on both ends of each vane, to seal them so that the vanes will not rip off when passing through an animal or target.

    sealing the ends of the vanes when arrow building




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You’re all done! Now you have arrows that are ready to send down range! If you need help knowing what kind of broadhead to choose before your next hunt, be sure to check out our all-encompassing broadheads article!

We hope you put a hole N1!



Arrow Building Videos

Check out our video on how to build arrows!
More specific arrow building tutorials!

How To Apply Arrow Wraps Video

Check out this video on how to quickly and easily apply arrow wraps


Giles Canter of N1 outdoors with archery buck
Giles Canter of N1 Outdoors