Ever wanted to make your own lighted nocks instead of spending a small fortune on the ones in the store or online? Well, I am going to show you step-by-step how to make your own lighted nocks for bowhunting.
Advantages of lighted nocks
Bowhunters understand that arrows and broadheads can be expensive. On top of that, you never want to lose the animal you just shot.
Now, if you lose your broadhead, your arrow, and your quarry, this can cause full-blown bowhunter’s depression.
That’s where lighted nocks come in.
They can help you not only find your arrow in low light conditions, but in the event that you don’t get a pass-through shot, you will be able to get a better visual on where your deer or other game runs after impact.
Arrow nocks (NAP and Carbon Express Launchpad precision nocks both sell nocks with a diameter large enough to house most bobber lights. They also tend to have a longer shaft, which gives you more room to house the bobber light).
Sand paper (100-grit works great)
PVC pipe cutters or box cutter blade
Time needed: 2 hours.
Step-by-step instructions to make your own lighted nocks:
Remove (cut off) the back of an existing nock
So the first thing we want to do is remove the back of an existing nock with the pvc pipe cutters. Be sure to cut evenly cut all the way around so there’s not a burr on it (if you get a burr, you can use the sandpaper to smooth it out).
Be sure the end of the cut nock fits into the arrow shaft
Once you have cut the end off of this nock, be sure it fits in shaft snugly. If you have a burr from cutting it, use the sandpaper to smooth it out.
You want this part to be a tight fit in the arrow shaft, because whenever you get this inserted, you don’t want it to move back and forth when you’re pulling on the back of the full nock.
Super glue the bobber light bottom into the back of the cut nock
Put some super glue on the bottom end of the bobber light battery. Slowly insert the bottom of the bobber light into the cut nock.
Seal the bottom of bottom end of nock
Put a small bead of super glue on the open end of the cut nock to seal it. You can then set that bottom onto a paper plate to let it dry (2 hours).
Super glue lighted end of bobber light into the full arrow nock
Carefully put a bead of super glue aright around the top of the lighted part of the bobber light.
Be careful not to get glue in between the lighted portion and the battery part of the bobber light. (This would glue the two parts together and prevent the light from coming on when the string impacts the nock).
When finished, let that part dry 2 hours.
Be sure a regular nock will twist easily inside arrow shaft
BEFORE inserting the finished lighted nocks into the shaft, take one of your nocks that does not have a bobber light in it yet and be sure that when you insert it into your arrow, that you can still twist/move it back and forth fairly easily.
If it’s too stiff to move/twist, then take your sandpaper and lightly sand around the long part that goes into the arrow shaft (NOT the cut end) until it moves well enough for you to be able twist it fairly easily with your fingers.
Align nock with arrow fletchings
If you use a rest that requires your fletchings to be pointed a certain direction, be sure you insert the nock in such a way that you will achieve the proper alignment of your arrow with your rest.
Insert finished nock into arrow shaft
Once both ends of the lighted nock have dried, and you’ve also sanded the light nocks well enough for the string end of your nocks to move/twist easily, insert the lighted nock into your arrow shaft.
Test and shoot
Once you have inserted the nock into the shaft, test it by pressing on it to turn the light on, and then untwist the nock until it turns off. Then you’re ready to shoot!
(NOTE: you may need to do some fine tuning of your site, as the added weight at the end of the arrow may slightly impact your current bow site settings.
In this broadheads review, I tested a really creative broadhead on the market – the Zeus, by New Era Archery.
When you read the package, it says, “Zeus Broadheads – Smart Head Technology – Cut The Zeus Loose.”
So, what is a Zeus broadhead?
When I first saw these, my first thought was, “what in the world is that? Is it a mechanical? Is it a fixed? What is it?”
It never ceases to amaze me how creative people can be in designing broadheads. How creative can you be just putting a sharp object on the end of a stick?
Well, apparently, you can be really creative. And, the Zeus is about as creative as they come.
Zeus Broadheads Smart Head Technology
Zeus broadheads refer to “Smart Head Technology.” What that means is you’re getting the best of both worlds of a both a mechanical broadhead as well as a fixed blade broadhead.
Let me explain…
First of all, the diameter of the upper fixed blades is 1-1/2 inches. Then, the bleeders are 7/8 of and inch wide. So, you’ve got 1-1/2-inches in one direction, and 7/8 of an inch this way, providing almost 2-1/2 inches of total cut.
Additionally, they have a tip containing many little grooves.
And so, it’s designed to fly through the air, and as it spins, to circulate the air around it, much like a golf ball with dimples prevents a vacuum on the back of the ball from making it fly off course.
Similarly, the grooves on the tip help prevent a vacuum on the broadhead. And so, as the head rotates, it rifles and stays right on track, thus flying more like a mechanical.
Additionally, the way the Zeus broadhead penetrates is interesting.
In the wide-open position, it penetrates through normal tissue with that 1-1/2-inch cut. But, when it encounters a hard medium, the upper blades retract. (It takes 48 pounds of pressure to compress the internal steel spring). Once that amount of pressure is achieved, the blades compress all the way down to 7/8 of an inch, the same diameter as the lower bleeder blades.
So, say if they compress all the way into a bone and you go, “Well, then I don’t have a blade.” No, you still have 7/8 of an inch this way and 7/8 of an inch the other way. It’s not that much different from a Slick Trick standard. So anyway, it’s designed to do that.
But, after it cuts through whatever hard surface it has encountered, the spring forces the blades back open to their full 1-1/2″ diameter.
Before testing, I was thinking, “Oh, that’s creative!” But, to be honest, I was a bit skeptical, so I wanted to put these broadheads through the wringer and see how they performed.
So, again, the thought here is that you get the best of both worlds. You get deep penetration due to the the blades compressing when they hit a hard surface. But, you get a larger cut through softer mediums like animal tissue and hide.
I realize that some might say, “Hey, I don’t care about that test, because I don’t hunt MDF and I don’t hunt steel plates.” Good for you. They would be kind of hard to eat anyway!
It’s easy to read the back of a package and gain some information on the specs of a broadhead. And, you can certainly read magazine ads about a head or look online to get info. But, if you’re like me, you want to know, “How well is this head going to hold up and how well does it penetrate?”
Well, hopefully my testing will give you some data points to consider as you are selecting your broadhead.
In terms of materials, the Zeus broadhead tip is really interesting. It’s constructed of 441 steel, so it’s a really strong, hardened steel. The ferrule is 7075 aluminum. So, it’s stronger aluminum than any other broadheads are using right now.
All of the blades are stainless steel. The tip of the head unscrews. You can take out the 100-grain hardened tip and then screw in a longer tip that weighs 25 grains more, thus making it a 125-grain broadhead. I like that.
And the 125-grain tip is a lot longer and looks like it would penetrate really well.
The Zeus head looks to be of good craftsmanship. It also spins true.
Let the tests begin
As in all my tests, I shot the Zeus head with my Bowtech Realm SR6 set at 73 pounds with a 27-inch draw length.
I’ll be honest. This head surprised me. When I first was reading about it, I thought, “Oh man, what kind of a newfangled weird thing is that?”
But, as you saw, even at 80 yards, it flew just like my field points. I was really impressed. It flies extremely well, just as advertised.
I was also a little suspicious of the durability. But, shooting it into two half inch sheets of this MDF, it held up really well. The blades were like brand new.
And then I shot it through another layer of MDF that was preceded by a stainless steel plate. And, it held up well to that as well. There was a little bit of bending in the bleeders, but that’s a lot better than breaking. If they bend, I can live with that. If they break off, I get concerned about that. And the tip, of course, held up well.
The blades still stayed in great shape as well.
The spring got some damage, causing the blades to collapse a little bit more than the full inch and a half. But, they are coming out with a little assembly package where you can put in a new spring there and get it replaced like that.
So overall, I would say this is a really creative head. Penetration wise, it did really well. The penetration is the best I’ve tested so far in terms of this medium.
To this point, I’ve been shooting this medium of MDF with the foam in front of it on a dozen different broadheads. The Zeus penetrated the best of any of them.
Now, I will say, the blades collapsed. So, by design, it didn’t cut all that tissue as it’s going through all those mediums. But, it did penetrate deeply.
In this review, I tested the Cutthroat Broadhead. I really like this company. Everything is made in the USA and they have a great reputation.
Cutthroat broadheads have fans all over the world and I have long considered them to be one of the best two blade, single bevel heads made.
I tested it for long range flight, penetration, durability, and edge sharpness and retention. And, as always, I shot with my Bowtech SR6 set at 72 pounds with a 27-inch draw length, and I’m using Bishop Archery FOC King Arrows, with a weight of 460 grains.
Cutthroat Broadheads specs
There’s a lot to like about the Cutthroat. In some ways, it’s just a simple 2-blade single-bevel design. But, in other ways, there are some unique things that make it extra special.
First of all, Cutthroat broadheads come in several different weights, ranging from 125 grains to 250 grains. In this test, I shot the 125-grain version.
The Cutthroat is machined from a single chunk of 41L40 tool steel, which is really a high quality tool steel. And it’s brought to a Rockwell hardness of 55. It’s a good balance between being soft enough to sharpen and yet tough enough to be able to hold its edge well.
In addition, these broadheads are Teflon coated to protect the blades. It also has a really nice Tanto tip to help prevent blade rollover at the end.
The blades are 0.060 inches thick so a nice good thickness to them. And the single bevel is a 25-degree bevel.
I was eager to put this head to the test and see how it performed.
I have found that a 40-degree bevel is superior when it comes to how much a broadhead rotates in flight. So, the rotation of a steeper edge is going to produce a better bone splitting ability and more damage internally. At a 25 degree bevel angle with the .060″ blade thickness, the Cutthroat head should still do fairly well.
In the outof the box sharpness test, I test how many times a broadhead can still cut through paper after a stroke of an arrow shaft across it. I give 5 points for the first cut and then one point for every cut thereafter.
The Cutthroat broadhead was able to still cut paper after three strokes of the arrow, giving it a total score of 7 points.
In this penetration test, I shot the Cutthroat into ballistic get that was fronted by 2/3″ rubber mat and 1/2″ MDF board.
Steel plate test
I shot the Cutthroat five times through a .22 gauge steel plate. The head held up very well.
The head did have a bit of edge folding on each side, which would take a little bit of work to sharpen those out. But, overall, the head fared pretty well for five shots through the steel plate.
The “S-cut” made by the Cutthroat makes it more difficult for entry wounds to close up on an animal after impact. The S-cut also aids in prying bones apart, allow an arrow to slide through.
Final Thoughts on Cutthroat Broadheads
So, overall, the Cutthroat is a very nice head. I’ve long considered it to be a great head and putting it through these tests just proves it all the more.
It has a great price point, it’s made in the USA, and it flies super well. It keeps its edge well and is durable.