Tying On Nocking Point Locators

One of the themes I address often enough is that “traditional advice” in archery tends to get locked in the past and doesn’t evolve . . . as equipment changes, for example. One possible new example of this phenomenon may be in regard to locating nocking point locators.

When second nocking points became the norm (late 1990’s?) the standard advice was to leave a little extra space between the nock and the bottom locator, otherwise the nock might be “bound” by the locators. There were a couple of things that made this advice suspicious. It was clear that nocks pressed on nock locators somewhat. Hoyt redesigned its nocks, in the brass nockset days, by carving out little half moons from the plastic to make room for the brass nocksets. This was because repeated rubbing of the brass nocksets against the plastic wore grooves in the plastic to the point that the nocks broke.

See the little half moon indent just to the left of the nock groove in the photo? That was clearance for brass nock sets.

But, at the same time, the bowstring between the top and bottom fingers was roughly vertical at full draw, so there wasn’t much pinch there, so it only happened after the string was loosed.

The venerable brass nocking point locator, also called brass nocksets.

So, when we stopped using brass nocksets (too heavy, required tools to put on and take off, etc.) we substituted thread tied on to make our nocking point locators . . . soft, nonabrasive thread.

So, since there was no brass to erode our plastic nocks, we didn’t need the little indent on the nock anymore, but did we need the little extra space between the bottom locator and the knock to avoid the dreaded clamping or binding of the nocks, which would inhibit the release of the arrow?

My experience is that tied on locators are soft and their shape will distort if pressure is applied to them often. That is the locators will change shape based upon the situations they are placed in. Brass locators were not so accommodating, so a space for them was molded into the nocks themselves, but I don’t think this is needed for thread nocksets. And, when you think about it, the job of the second locator is to prevent the arrow from sliding down the string, so if you leave “extra” room for the nock to move, you are saying a “little” slide is okay.

Currently I am recommending no space be left between the lower locator and the nock. If you then shoot a number of arrows, the locators will be shaped by the process. If you want to “lock in” those shapes a drop of super glue on each locator should do it.


Filed under For All Coaches

2 responses to “Tying On Nocking Point Locators

  1. Happy Everafter

    I tried tie-on nock locators, but no matter what I did – glue, more or less space, type of string or serving mtl – they would start to shred and unwind after several ends. With my 64″ 50# hunting bow, and with 3-under and a 31″ draw, there was quite an angle. Even with my 68″ target bow I had issues. Thus I had to keep the brass nock locators.
    The trick with them is after you place the top locator where you need it, you place the lower one. Attach the lower brass locator loosely, just enough to hold it on the string. Then nock an arrow, slide the brass up and snug it against the bottom of the arrow nock, and draw the bow to anchor. The arrow nock will push the loose bottom brass locator down the string. Slowly let down, move the brass one or two serving strands further down, and crimp it. Then you’ll have a snug fit and you won’t have a bind when you draw to anchor.


    • Absolutely! Always go with what works. Barebow and string walking are a variation on the theme, since the arrow ends up at quite steep angles to the bowstring at your longer crawls and more space is needed, I think.

      If your tied-on nocks are shredded after just a few shots, I would look carefully at your nocks. There is something sharp or abrasive there. Typically this is a sharp edge. Take off any sharp edges, just as you would on limb tip notches with a fine file.


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