My knowledge of nocks is limited to those which are useful for high quality bamboo, which is all I make or shoot. Most of these products are readily available anywhere. I use 3Rivers archery for most of my purchases because they are an excellent company.
My experiences with horn nocks is limited. I have not used them often, but they were fine for me. However, I have found that new designs are on the market. Typically the problem with horn nocks is that the small time sellers which offer the newer styles are not able to give you dimensions and specifications. Until they can provide this information, I simply stock the ones I know. They come from a supplier in China. The worst thing that might happen is that they might break. If this happens, they are easy to drill out and replace. This is easy to do and shouldn’t damage your arrows. So, I can see no reason why not…
There is one complaint I have heard from one customer. See the section below.
One complaint about horn nocks that is worth considering…
I recently had a black arrow customer for whom I put on 12 horn nocks for his long bow. They worked just fine for him for many months. However, after deciding to switch them to a horse bow, several horn nocks broke very quickly! After discussing this with the customer, we both suspect that there were two things which might have contributed to this failure.
The first thing is that a horse bow is a high efficiency primitive bow, while a long bow is not. This increased pressure may have been a factor in the failure of these nocks when moved from use on a long bow to a horse bow. I have had several customers who tell me this is not a problem for them. They can’t tell me why the failure happened, but they have these kinds of bows, AND THEY DON’T HAVE THIS PROBLEM.
The second possible cause of failure was that the horse bow had a “clamp on” style nocking point on his bow string, while the long bow did not! It is possible that this metal nocking point contributed to this failure in some way.
Many thanks to my customers who pass this information to me.
Plastic nocks continue to be nock I personally use for all the obvious reasons. They come in a plethora of sizes to get an exquisite fit. They are easy to replace, they can be shaped for specific purposes, such as the speed loading nocks for horse archery in the photo below. They are easy to find, they are inexpensive, and they are tried and tested.
However there are now “hardwood” glue-on nocks which I recently purchased from the middle east. I believe I have seen these for sale at 3Riversarchery.com as well. I have no experience with these, and so far I find that the sizes available are 11/32 which is too large for bamboo arrow shafts, and 5/16 diameter, which would fit about 30% of the bamboo arrow shafts and arrows I sell.
I did send some to a product tester who has reservations about them, but he is still testing them. I have not gotten any reports of them splitting when launched, which was my greatest concern. If they don’t work, they should be easy enough to carve off and replace, so they may be worth a try. I do not sell them yet because I can’t get them in a 9/32 diameter. However, if you want me to leave your plastic nocks off of an order so you can try these wooden nocks, this will be fine. I will simply send your plastic nocks along and you can use them if the wooden nocks fail. When I can find a reliable source for them, I will put them on the STORE page.
Plastic nocks stay on, even when split by another arrow.
I have found that there are several good glue-on plastic nocks that fit bamboo arrow shafts nicely. Since I have a white arrow product and a black arrow product, I’ll let you guess which colors I order. The nocks I use don’t come with an indexer. The reason is that most index nocks I have tried will interfere with the bitzenburger fletching jigs which I use. You should know that 70% of my arrows take a 5/16th nock. The other 30% take a 9/32 nock size. It is an almost certain bet that you will use either a 5/16 or 9/32 nock as a replacement, since 99% of my arrows are that size. Please be aware that not all the nocks listed here come in both sizes. ASK BEFORE YOU BUY. I find it helpful to have a few other sizes around…just in case.
Early on, this arrow was always slightly out of the group. Finally I looked it over and realized that the nock was not properly aligned. Well…that certainly did explain it! Always make sure you are checking those nocks when you glue them on. Duco dries in a few minutes, so take a look before it dries, otherwise you will have to carefully whittle the nock off and do it again.
High quality bamboo is dense. IT DOES NOT begin to shred apart when I use a tool like this. If the bamboo you are currently buying shreds or tears when you use a tool such as this for placeing nocks or heads, it will tell you a good deal about your bamboo shafts. You will see this photo again in another section, but is is worth showing here too
The upper bamboo shaft is the middle quality shaft that most of us end up with. It is not always straight, and it is a fat shaft, which bamboo fiber which is not densely packed. It is often dried out too. This bamboo will almost certainly shred when beveled, and it actually will break much easier than the thinner high quality bamboo which is below it.
THERE ARE MANY NOCKS WHICH WORK WELL WITH SMALLER DIAMETER, COMPACT, HIGH QUALITY BAMBOO ARROWS. HERE IS WHAT I HAVE USED WITH CONFIDENCE. They are available through 3Rivers Archery for a discount. Take a look, and don’t forget to use the KHANS10 code when you checkout.
There are other nocks out there, but I would have to test them prior to endorsing them. Use what you think is best.
Duco is cheap and tough. I love it for nocks and feathers. I do NOT recommend it for glueing on points though.