As we become better archers and our groups get smaller, broken nocks get to be a fact of life. They are in fact a sign that you’re coming along, busting nocks left and right.
Along with getting better we also need to become more aware. Checking our arrows, nocks and tips as we pull them off the target.
When you break a complete leg off a nock it’s easy to tell you have a problem. Even if you miss it at the bale you won’t be able to nock it onto the string, the damage is too great.
The problem comes when you strike a nock enough to damage it. The nock at first glance looks fine, both legs are there, however it may have a small crack or it may have changed shape and the nock no longer grips the string securely.
When I nock an arrow onto the string I am listening for a “click”. If the nock is sized to the string\serving correctly you should hear an audible “click” as the nock clears the string and snaps on. The sound may be faint depending on the fit of the nock to the string but should be there, if you don’t hear an audible “click” – STOP.
STOP and check the nock carefully, look for any visual damage. If you find any put that arrow out of commission until you get a chance to replace the nock. If you’re unsure nix it from the bunch until you can trade the nock out and re-test it.
Broken nocks can lead to dry firing a bow, wild arrows and even to someone getting hurt. Have enough arrows in your quiver that putting one out of commission is not a big deal and is an easy decision. Having spare nocks on hand is helpful and you can swap them out at the first opportunity.
When you break nocks also check your arrows. A broken nock can mean a damaged arrow. Look carefully, flex the arrow if it’s carbon and be sure. Don’t shoot damaged arrows, just don’t.
Your first indication that you may have damaged a nock is sound. While you’re standing on the line sending arrows downrange if the sound of the arrow hitting the butt is different make sure to check your nocks carefully when you retrieve your arrows.
It may be nothing, just a glancing blow but it may be something so stay aware and in control of your archery experience, for yourself and for those around you.