Skip to main content

The Importance of Proper Nock Fit for Bowhunting

The Importance of Proper Nock Fit for Bowhunting

As much as I wish shooting a bow consistently well was as simple as pulling it back, putting the pin on target and firing the shot, that’s just not the case. The truth is, if you want to be the best archer you can be, you have to pay attention to the tiniest details, such as the way your arrow nocks fit on your bowstring.

As with many of the topics I’ve discussed in this column, the majority of archers don’t pay enough attention to nock fit. If fact, most people just tie a nocking loop on their bowstring and call it good. But there are many factors to consider here, and all are critical: things such as how tightly your nock fits on the bowstring, how much vertical and horizontal play the nock has once attached to the bowstring and the amount of pressure (nock pinch) the nocking loop applies to your nocks at full draw. Each of these — if not properly calibrated — can dramatically diminish your accuracy.

First, let’s talk about how the nock snaps on the string. Obviously, you don’t want your arrow just falling off the string, but it’s just as bad when your nock snaps on too tightly. A good test is to nock your arrow and, with your finger, grab the nocking loop, pull the string back about half an inch and release. If the arrow doesn’t pop off the string, it’s too tight. To resolve thisissue, you can either replace your arrow nocks with something that fits better or replace your center serving with a different diameter serving thread that provides that perfect snug, but not too tight, nock fit. You can find instructional videos about serving on my Bow Life TV channel on YouTube.

The next thing to look for is after the nock snaps onto the string. You want to make sure that with very little pressure it will slide up and down the serving without binding. Then check and see if you can twist the arrow side to side. If there is sideways play, the nock fit is too loose, and if you have to really force it up and down the string, the nock fit is too tight. Remember, this is completely different than how it snaps on the string. This is the fit after the snap, while the arrow is sitting on the string. Now, if the nock snaps on correctly but doesn’t fit well after the snap, you need a different nock. Changing the serving material size will not help. In my experience, the best fitting nocks are Nockturnals if I am bowhunting where lighted nocks are legal and Gold Tip GTO nocks if I am shooting in competitions.


Lastly, you want to make sure there is no pinch or lift on the nock while drawing the bow. I always use serving thread to tie a small knot inside the bottom of my nocking loop to make sure there is some upward pressure on the bottom of the nock during the draw cycle. This presses the arrow down on my rest and makes sure it doesn’t lift up while I’m drawing. You also want zero gap inside your nocking loop above or below your nock when snapped on the string. The nock should be snug to the loop on the topside and to the knot on the bottom side.


When you’re setting up your bow, don’t overlook nock fit. This is the only connection your bow has to the arrow, and if it is not perfect, how can you expect the impact to be? Make sure the nock isn’t too tight or too loose when snapping on and off the string. Then check the fit after it is snapped on for slide and side-to-side twist. Lastly, make sure you don’t have any pinch while maintaining a snug fit inside the nocking loop. If you do, you will shoot better.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

Learn more about two new Elite Archery bows, the Enkore and Remedy, two new broadhead from Slick Trick and a new site from Custom Bow Equipment (CBE).

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021 are several hunter-defined products, such as the Excalibur TwinStrike Crossbow, BowTech Solution and Solution SS Bows, TightSpot Pivot 2.5 Quiver, Ripcord Cage and Code Red X arrowrests, and Black Gold Pro FX and Pro Hunter HD sights.

Mathews V3 - Flagship Bow for 2021

Mathews V3 - Flagship Bow for 2021

Mathews has announced two versions of their 2021 flagship bow, the V3.

New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows

New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows

New for 2021, here's a look at the new Rage Trypan NC, Nockturnal Shift Nock, Carbon Express Maxima RED Contour and D-Stroyer PileDRIVER arrows.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Bill Winke explains the benefits of both shooting techniques. Shooting Your Bow With One Eye Versus Two How-To

Shooting Your Bow With One Eye Versus Two

Bill Winke

Bill Winke explains the benefits of both shooting techniques.

Featuring sights, release aids, quivers and much more, there's a plethora of new bow accessories this year.New Bow Accessories for 2021 ATA Show

New Bow Accessories for 2021

Jon E. Silks - January 11, 2021

Featuring sights, release aids, quivers and much more, there's a plethora of new bow...

If its purpose is to get downrange, you'll find it here with the latest arrows and broadheads for 2021New Arrows and Broadheads for 2021 ATA Show

New Arrows and Broadheads for 2021

Jace Bauserman - January 08, 2021

If its purpose is to get downrange, you'll find it here with the latest arrows and broadheads...

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

A perfect shot requires a perfect release.Proper Archery Release Aid Technique How-To

Proper Archery Release Aid Technique

Larry Wise

A perfect shot requires a perfect release.

Here's how to prepare for the mental pressure of successful bowhunting.How to Mentally Prepare for Bowhunting Pressure How-To

How to Mentally Prepare for Bowhunting Pressure

Bill Winke

Here's how to prepare for the mental pressure of successful bowhunting.

Extreme practice will make you extremely prepared. How To Master Uphill & Downhill Shots How-To

How To Master Uphill & Downhill Shots

Randy Ulmer

Extreme practice will make you extremely prepared.

Follow this step-by-step process to quickly field dress your deer for the best possible venison.How to Field Dress & Quarter a Deer How-To

How to Field Dress & Quarter a Deer

Mike Stroff

Follow this step-by-step process to quickly field dress your deer for the best possible...

See More How-To

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Bowhunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Bowhunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now