Firenock Challenge #13

LIGHTED NOCK COMPARISION:

Tracers, G-Force, Firenock

By: Cindy Lavender, Westmont IL

I was asked to perform this test with the most unbiased perspective, take detailed notes, and record everything exactly as they occurred over the course of a few days.

Bow: Mathews DXT
Arrows: Gold Tip Ultralight Pros

COMPARISON:

  1. Easton Tracer Nocks, purchased at Bass Pro Shops $19.99 for Two Pack
  2. G-5 G-Force, purchased at Bass Pro Shops $19.99 for Single Pack
  3. Firenocks-Target, purchased from Firenock website. $20.95 for Single Pack

Since I work in an archery shop, I get some feedback on the various nocks we sell, even though I am not reviewing Lumenocks, I will add a short review on these lighted nocks as well. Lumenocks have the most trouble with fit. Either the nock does not fit, is too snug or its too loose; about half of them sold fit perfect. Lumenocks suggests that you cut a strip of paper (from the actual included instructions) to shim the nocks that are too loose.
All 3 that I tested had a nice snug fit on my Gold Tip Ultralight Pro arrows, with a inside diameter of .246.
All shots were taken at 20 yards.

TRACER LIGHTED NOCKS – 90 Hours of Battery Life
The Tracers I purchased was a 2 pack that included 2 nocks with batteries and 2 additional replacement nocks, a little round magnet and a little round piece of Velcro. The instructions say that the nock is in sleep mode, and needs to be activated in order to use it. There are 3 steps to activating the nock:
1. Place the nock end of the arrow with Tracer installed within ½ inch of the magnet that came packaged with the Tracer Nock(s) and hold it in place. The nock should flash once.
2. Continue holding in place for five seconds. The nock should flash twice.
3. Immediately remove the magnet and the Tracer Nock will rapidly flash five times.
4. Tracer is now activated and ready to shoot.
Deactivation (Sleep Mode)!
This is just too much to think about for me. There are 5 steps in deactivation.

There is an option to install the magnet with adhesive Velcro, so that the magnet is always nearby. The light is activated by the nock being in ¾” to 1” proximity of the magnet. Therefore, the magnet would be installed on a strategic location on the inside of your riser shelf. When the arrow with Tracer nock installed is shot, it theoretically passes within the proximity of the magnet and turns on the light.
I really didn’t want to stick a piece of Velcro onto my bow so I almost ditched shooting this nock. It took a couple of times to figure out the correct lighting sequence of activation. I am pretty impatient so I just kept playing with it until I figured it was activated enough. I also hate reading instructions, so I got pretty impatient with that also. I attached the magnet to the side of my riser.

Testing began outside, 11am, at my property in Northern Wisconsin.
All lighted nocks were barely visible under the bright sunlight during the day, but detectable. I decided to hold off until early evening.
I placed the Tracer nock next to the magnet and it began blinking. I assumed it was activated. I took 1 shot with the Tracers and it did not light up so I repositioned the magnet, and that worked. I proceeded to take 10 shots, and noted:
• Shot 1 and 2 did not activate the light so I moved the magnet closer to where my arrows would pass and shot 3 lit.
• Tracer had fair brightness level.
• Shot 3-10 the nocks lit, and blinked a few seconds after impacting the target.
• Tracers blink on impact, until deactivated.
• For the next 47 shots, Tracers worked fine.
• For each new shot I had to wave the nock near the magnet to turn it off, then you are ready for another shot.
• After shot 50, I placed the Tracer near the magnet and it blinked a few times and I think I deactivated it (sleep mode).
• Tracers spent the night in a bucket of water.

Tracers Day 2

I placed the arrow with the Tracer end next to the magnet, the Tracer did not blink. I did this a few more times and nothing. Tracers were put on hold until they dried out. Tracers did blink after sitting overnight the next night.
• I took shots 51 and the Tracers did not light. I placed the Tracer near the magnet and it blinked, I don’t remember how many blinks indicates activated or deactivated so I played with it a few times and took more shots.
• Shots 52-57 did not light. I placed the Tracer near the magnet again, it blinked.
• Shot 58 lit up, and blinked a few second after impacting target.
• Shots 59-75 lit, each time, for each new shot I put the Tracer near the magnet to turn it off.
Next day, the magnet fell off my bow riser and I could not find it to turn the Tracer off so it kept blinking all night. I took note of when the Tracer ran out of battery, and it was approximately 19 hours (8:00pm – 3:00pm NEXT DAY).
Tracers testing canceled from drained battery.

G-5 G-FORCE – 25+ Hours of Battery Run Time

I liked the G-Force as it is activated by the force of the shot. I installed the G-Force on my arrow and began shooting.
• Shots 1-50 were good. Uneventful.
• To turn off light, I had to find a hard surface to tap the nock on 3 times. I liked this feature; however, not sure this would be practical in a hunting situation.
• The nock brightness is good, and fairly visible in daylight under shade.
• 38 grains total G-Force nock weight on my arrows is heavy. Especially on my ultralight arrows.
• Arrows were not grouping consistently.

G-Force Day 2
After submersed in water overnight, the G-Force nock performed fairly well.
• Shots 51-75: Shots 55, 67, 68, 71, 72, 73 did not light. Not sure why.
• The light is turned off by tapping the nock 3 times for each shot.
• I liked the ease of use of this lighted nock brand.
• Testing did not resume for this nock until 8 days later.
I removed the G-Force from my arrow and placed in cup of salt water. Next day, rinsed salt water and towel dried before shooting:
• Shots 75 – 97: All shots worked except for 80, 82, 91, 97. The 76th shot, the light shut off when it hit the target – not sure why, and did not light for the 80th shot, but resumed for the 81st, but not the next shot.
• Last 2 shots did light up, and I quit at the 97th shot for this nock.
In review, most of the time, the G-Force lit when shot.

FIRENOCK – Battery 24 Hours or 48 Hour with 1 Hour Burn Increments

The Firenocks did seem a little intimidating with the wires when you first open the package, however, installation I found, was very easy.
I couldn’t’ figure out why the Firenocks would shut off after a few seconds upon hitting the target, only to figure out I ordered the “Target” nocks, instead of the “Hunting” nocks, which stays lit. Be sure to specify whether you want the hunting or target nocks for your particular shooting needs.

Practice nocks are available, which is helpful for fine adjusting your sights with the heavier nocks. The nocks fit nice and snug when inserted into the arrow (Gold Tip Ultralight Pro, .246).
From testing the Tracers, I prefer a nock that installs and shoots right out of the box.
• The Firenock was fairly lightweight for a lighted nock, at 27 grains, it had no affect on arrow flight and groups.
• Shots 1 and 2 did not light. I pulled the nock out, and checked everything to make sure it looked like it was installed properly and replaced the Firenock in my arrow.
• Firenock worked on Shots 3 – 30 on first day of testing. Not sure why it took third shot to turn on.
• Shot 3 was when I noticed that the nock did not stay lit, only to find out later that this was the target model, designed only to stay on for about 15 seconds after impacting the target.
• Turning off the nock for each shot was easy; I had to drop the nock onto a hard surface ONCE, and the light turned off. I had to hold the arrow at approximately 8-9” to turn it off.
• Shots 31-50 was shot 5 days later, and all 31-50 shots activated.
• Overnight soak in water did not affect Firenock.
• Second testing day with wet Firenock, shots 51-75 the nocks lit without fail.
• Firenock was soaked in salt water for 32 hours and rinsed with water and towel dried.
• Shots 76-100, Firenock activated with every shot.
• Firenocks were the brightest of the three tested; and visible during the daylight at 20 yards.

I did not shoot any arrows into concrete block (did not have one; also did not want to ruin an arrow.

I wanted to do brightness comparison of all 3, but without the Tracers, I was only able to compare the G-Force and Firenock. Between the two, the Firenocks were noticeably brighter.

Summary:

Out of all 3 nocks, I liked Tracers the least. The magnet proved to be more of an annoyance than anything. I liked the G-5 G-Force, however, there were one too many times that this nock did not light, and I began to lose faith that it would be very reliable in the field. Firenock started out with the first couple of shots not lighting, but after checking it, it was very reliable thereafter.