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diy lighted nocks

How to make your own lighted nocks for bowhunting

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.

diy lighted nock finished product
When you get finished, you’ll have something that looks like a regular arrow nock, but when the string impacts it, it will light up. Then, with a little pull back on the nock, you will be able to turn it off… all for about $2.50 cents each!

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.

For those of you who film your hunts, lighted nocks can also help you see the point of impact and other shot details upon video playback.

What you’ll need to get started making your own lighted nocks

There a few basic things you’ll need to get started making your own homemade lighted nocks:

  • Bobber lights (search for “bobber lights” on Amazon)
  • 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).
  • Super glue
  • 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:

  1. 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).

    cutting lighted arrow nock with pvc cutters

  2. 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.

    making sure bottom of nock fits snugly in arrow

  3. 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.

    gluing end of bobber light into arrow nock

  4. 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).

    sealing end of homemade lighted nock

  5. 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.

    super gluing bobber light to insert into arrow nock

  6. 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.

    sanding the bottom of lighted nock

  7. 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.

    aligning diy lighted nock with arrow shaft

  8. 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.

    inserting homemade lighted nock into arrow shaft

  9. 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.

    pressing end of homemade lighted nock

DIY lighted arrow nocks: Conclusion

We hope that you have fun (and saving some money) making your own lighted arrow nocks. They will help you have a better visual on your arrow and/or wild game on your next bowhunting adventure.

If you are hunting whitetail deer, mule deer, elk or any other game animal, be sure to keep honing your bowhunting skills and we hope you put a hole N1!

(P.S., if you liked this DIY project, check out my DIY deer mineral recipe how to article as well as my DIY euro mount instructions!)

diy lighted nocks shining while in target
The lighted nocks worked great and they fly great too! You can watch the instructional video on how to make your own lighted nocks here.
zeus broadheads original

Zeus Broadheads Review | The Inside Information

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 diagram

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.

Now at the same time, the profile of these blades is really small. So, in theory, they would fly really well, like a mechanical.

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.

Penetration

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!

But, my goals are to provide hunters with data points so that you can make decisions that hopefully make you a better hunter. I don’t have a live deer during tests to shoot an arrow through. I shoot through wood just to give you a data point.

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.

Broadhead Specs

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.

john lusk with a zeus broadhead
The creativity of the Zeus broadheads design is off the charts, but how would it test?

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 shot the Bishop Mammoth FOC King Arrow, which can handle pretty much anything.

Zeus broadheads flight test

zeus broadheads flight test at 6 and 80 yards
The Zeus flew extremely well at both 60 and 80 yards.

Direct Penetration Test

zeus broadhead penetration in foam and mdf 1
In regards to total penetration, these heads did really well. They blew all the way through two boards there and completely came out the back board.
zeus broadheads penetration through foam mat
Now, as we examine the impact of the broadheads into the rubber mat, we see in the entrance there a perfect entrance and that is 1-1/2 inches by 7/8 inch just as the blades themselves are. Those main blades did not close in.
zeus broadhead penetration into first mdf board
Then as we look at first board, you can see the blades cutting right there and the main blade was an inch upon impact there. The bleeders is a 7/8 of an inch cross ways.
exit hole of zeus broadhead in first mdf board
The Zeus blew right through the first MDF board.
zeus broadhead penetration through MDF 2
As it came out, it made a nice hole coming out of the second MDF board as well.
exit hole of second mdf board by zeus broadhead
This picture shows the Zeus poking through here. None of the blades made it all the way through, but the head got really deep penetration.
zeus head embedded into second mdf board
And then it embedded in the final board. Here, you can see the bleeders didn’t quite go all the way into the board, but the blades had reopened up after they closed in the previous boards. So, that spring opened them back up a bit and you see a little less than one inch of cut right there from the main blades on this board and didn’t reach to the bleeders.
entry hole of zeus head into first mdf board
Here’s the Zeus after it went through those MDF boards. It wasn’t easy to get out. I had to push it all the way through which put a lot of extra pressure on it and it still held up remarkably well. The blades are just – it seems like just as sharp as they were. They are still shaven nail. They didn’t bend. The ferrule spins through. Everything held really well. The spring contracted a bit extra in there to where they are just a little bit – the blades are a little bit looser so they collapsed a little bit more than the original 1 1/2 inch. You can see there, it’s about 1 1/4 inch. But other than that, they just help up remarkably, and honestly, surprisingly well.

Angled shot penetration test

In the angled shot test, I set up boards at a 45 degree angle. Let’s see how the Zeus broadheads did in this test…

zeus penetration through mdf on angled shot
In the angled penetration test, the Zeus stuck in really well. Here you see the impact of the angled shot. As for penetration, it stayed on course. It stayed straight and penetrated right through very easily. The blade and the head help up really well.
entry hole of zeus broadhead into mdf on angled shot
You can see the hole in the entrance hole that the head made in the angled shot and it blew right through. The blades contracted as designed and then it continued to penetrate right after it got through that board. The blade sprung back open and here they are at their full deployment again of 1 1/2 inches. And as for durability, it held up super well. The spring is fully intact. The blades are just as sharp as they were, and still able to shave my fingernail. nail. The head still spun true. A very good performance in the angled shot.

Steel plate penetration test

Out of curiosity, I wanted to see this head would do on a steel plate…

zeus broadheads penetration into steel plate
The head easily penetrated the steel plate.
zeus broadhead penetration into mdf after passing through steel plate
The penetration here was amazing. It went through the steel plate, blew through the second half inch MDF, and then almost made it to the third.
Here you see the head after it went through the steel plate and then another layer of MDF (and also after the angled shot). You can see that it held up remarkably well. The blades are a little bit loose because that spring is a little bit contracted. They are not the full 1.5-inch. They contracted just slightly. And you see those bleeder blades bent just a little bit. But, they did surprisingly well. A little bend like that big of an issue because they’re continuing to cut as they go in.

Conclusion

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.

zeus broadheads review scorecard
The Zeus broadhead scored very well in each category tested.

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.

This head will give you a deep penetration, but if you hit that bone, it’s not going to cut the bone all the way through, but then again, that’s what’s going to allow it to penetrate more deeply, right? So it’s a good tradeoff. I

So smart technology, indeed it is. Worth a try? Definitely.

Good job, Zeus. I appreciate the creativity.

cutthroat broadheads

Cutthroat Broadheads Review | The Inside Information

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

cutthroat broadheads lineup
The cutthroat broadheads lineup ranges from 125 grains to 250 grains.

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.

cutthroat broadheads specs
Above are the specs for the Cutthroat Broadhead.

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.

Balloon test

cutthroat broadhead balloon test
The Cutthroat head was able to pop a balloon from 70 yards out.

Out of the box sharpness test

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.

out of the box sharpness test of cutthroat broadheads
The Cutthroat head cut paper after three strokes of the arrow.

Penetration testing

In this penetration test, I shot the Cutthroat into ballistic get that was fronted by 2/3″ rubber mat and 1/2″ MDF board.

cutthroat broadhead ballistic gel test
In ballistic gel test, the Cutthroat penetrated 7-1/4″ with 45 degrees of rotation.

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.

steel plate test with cutthroat broadhead
The Cutthroat provided a good “S-cut” that you get from a single bevel broadhead.
cutthroat broadhead damaged blade
The Cutthroat had some dinged blade edges on each side after the test.

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.

If you are looking for broadheads that are 2-blade and single bevel, this is definitely worth a look.

Great job, Cutthroat.

John Lusk archery goat
John Lusk of Lusk Archery Adventures.

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