By: Phillip Estep of Wharton WV
I’d like to start this review by stating that I am not affiliated or employed by any of the companies contained within this report. I have never shot a “lighted” nock before, so I have no preconceptions toward any manufacturer. I was allowed to pick two other lighted nocks of any manufacturer.
There are 4 sequences to this challenge. They are as follows:
1. 25 shots- plain & simple.
2. 25 shots- leave the arrows, nocks lit, in the target for a week.
3. 25 shots- after the last shot submerge the arrows in tap water for 24 hours.
4. 24 shots- plain & simple
The 100th shot will be taken at a cinder block.
The nock is out of the challenge when it either breaks or fails to light. Batteries, if replaceable, can be changed.
The nocks I have chosen to compare against the Firenock are:
1) Doubletake Nockturnal
2) Carbon Express Lazer Eye
I had no reasons for choosing these nocks, except for the fact that they were the only ones at Gander Mountain offered in green. Green has always seemed to have shown up better than orange. That is my personal opinion. I tried to find a Firenock in one of the local shops and was not able to do so. The Firenock had to be ordered from Firenock’s web store. Prices were significantly different. The costs for the each nock are as follows:
1) Doubletake Nockturnal $8.99
2) Carbon Express Lazer Eye $9.99
3) Firenock “H” Series w/ Extreme Shock End Cap $30.95
NOTE: Firenock includes 2 additional nocks (1-red 1-green 1-clear) with practice weights.
NOTE: Extreme Shock End Cap adds $9.95 to Firenock’s price.
There is a big price difference between the Firenock and the other two nocks, but you have to consider that you’re getting two weighted practice nocks in the Firenock package. Also note that the Extreme Shock End Cap is optional. It is recommended if the Firenock will be subjected to extreme punishment or prolonged target practice. They basically act as a seat for the battery end of the Firenock. This prevents the Firenock from moving forward upon impact. The picture probably explains this better than I can.
I used a 2009 Elite Z28 (2010 cams) for this test. It is set at approximately 52lb and 29” draw. The rest is a G5 Expert and the arrows were either Beman Field or “old” Easton Epics cut at 27.25” – wrapped & fletched with 4-1.5” Vanetec HP vanes. My target will either be an Original Block or my Rinehart 9” ball. All shots were fired from an approximate distance of 20 yards.
Specifications & Photos
I am not including detailed installation instructions. Installation is fairly simple for all three. The Firenock is a little more involved. You have to install the battery. If the optional extreme shock end cap is being used, it has to be glued in. Screw the cap on the installation tool and stick it in the nock end of the shaft. The Firenock package comes with detailed installation instructions. Just make sure you read them. I didn’t and had problems.
Weight: 20 grains
Made in the USA
Battery Life: 20 hours
Weight: 18.5 grains
Made in Korea
Battery Life: 7 hours
Weight: 27.0 grains
Assembled in USA using parts from one or more of the following countries: USA, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, & Taiwan.
Battery Life: 24 hours (replaceable)
The Nockturnal and Lazer Eye were pretty easy to install. Take them out of the package and stick them in the shaft. Orientate fletching and shoot. The Firenock comes with much more detailed instructions than the others, but it’s not that bad. Put the O-ring on the end cap, screw it on the installation tool, put a dab of glue on the cap and push the tool in to the huckleberries. Wait for the glue to set and unscrew the tool. As for the nock itself, put the little O-ring on the battery, follow the directions for battery installation and insert the nock in the end of the shaft. Orientate fletching & shoot. All three nocks seem to be well made. I didn’t like the idea of having to manually stick something in the Nockturnal to turn it off. I had similar thoughts with the Lazer Eye. After the shot, the nock has to be pulled away from the shaft to turn it off. I don’t like the fact that there is a gap between the end of the shaft and the nock. As for the Firenock, it kind of bothered me that I would have to hit my $30 nock against something to turn it off. On to the first 25 shots.
The First 25(1-25)
The first 25 shots went off without a hitch for the most part. I was worried that the extra weight of the nocks would be a factor in accuracy, but all three grouped well together and shot pretty close to the Easton nocks (non-lighted) that I usually use. All three nocks never failed to light. The only problem I had was with the Firenock and it was my fault for not reading directions well enough. When I put the battery in, I tried to just push it in, but discovered (after reading directions) that you turn the battery counter-clockwise to install it and clockwise to take it out. I bent the battery wire a little, which led to poor contact and caused the battery to be a little sensitive to turning on and off. After bending the wire back into shape, the Firenock worked as advertised. Customer service at Firenock was very helpful with getting this matter resolved. I can’t speak about the other company?s CS as I didn’t have a reason to contact them.
My initial concerns for each nock were dispelled. After the first few shots with the Nockturnal, I could pretty much turn it off without looking. All you have to do is use the field tip from one of the other arrows, stick it in the hole on the side of the nock and slide the switch away from the arrow. I tried turning with several things I normally carry on me (keys, knife, pen, stick) and the field tip worked the best. Plus, you’ll pretty much have the field tip with you, anytime you’re shooting, to turn it off. The Lazer Eye worked great too. You only pull it back a little to turn it off. You can’t push back on the arrow too hard when you’re putting it on the string or it will slide back and turn on. Not a big deal, but I did do it once. The Firenock performed great also. As far as turning it off, not a problem. You just drop the nock end on something and it turns off. I tried several different surfaces.
The top of my Block (plywood) was the most convenient. I also turned it off by hitting it on a rock, block, pavement, my boot (metatarsals), my bow, and the door sill on my Jeep…..just about anything. The softer surfaces may take a little more force, but it works. And before somebody makes a comment about hitting it against their $1000 bow, if a plastic nock is going to harm your bow….maybe you need to change brands. I don’t think you’re going to gouge the bows finish with a plastic nock. If you’re that worried about your bow, leave it hanging on the wall and put a frame around it. All I’m saying is you can turn the Firenock off pretty easy on almost any surface.
As far as brightness, the Firenock was brighter in daylight, dusk, and dark. I started shooting during daylight hours and progressed until it was dark outside. The Nockturnal came in second in brightness and the Lazer Eye would be last. All three show very well in the dark though.
Moving to the second 25 shots…
I lost my pictures from the first shoot. I did have a lot of pictures from the first shoot, but couldn’t find them. Sorry. I’ll try to get better.
The Second 25(25-50)
To check battery life, arrows will be left in the target with the nocks lit for eight days after this sequence is completed. I’ll check the nocks after work every day to see how long each lasts. I chose to shoot the last shot (50th) into my Rinehart 9” target ball. I didn’t want to tie my Block up all week.
All three nocks performed flawlessly during this test, with the exception of the Nockturnal. It failed to light on the second shot (52nd) of the sequence, but never failed to light on any of the other shots. Fifty shots into the challenge, everything looks good. I asked my wife to rate the shots in brightness. She rated the nocks the same as me: 1-Firenock 2-Nockturnal 3-Lazer Eye.
At the end of the week, there were only two nocks still lit. While the Lazer Eye did not make it past this interval of the challenge, it did a great job. It was lit for 6 days after being shot 50 times. That leaves only the Firenock and the Nockturnal in the challenge. Both were still very bright after 7 days being lit. I changed the battery in the Firenock and proceeded to the next shot interval.
Here is a picture of all three arrows hanging in my Rhino ball. The Nockturnal is on the left, the Firenock in the middle, and the Lazer Eye is on the right.
The Third 25(50-75)
Neither nock failed to light on this round of shots. The Nockturnal has really surprised me as far as battery life. I had really expected it to die after being lit for a week, but it seems to be as bright as it was on shot one. The Firenock is still working great too and I do like knowing that the battery can be replaced should it expire. After the 25th shot of this round, the nocks were immersed in tap water for 24 hours. While the Firenock lit back up after the water bath, the Nockturnal would not. That kind of disappointed me. I really wanted both of them to finish the challenge, but it appears that the Firenock will be the only nock in the last segment of the challenge.
Below is a picture of the two remaining nocks in the third round of the challenge. The Firenock is on the left and the Nockturnal is on the right.
I had a picture of the arrows in water, but I can’t find it. I think my 4 year old crumb cruncher has been playing with daddy’s phone again.
The Final 24(75-99)
The Firenock again performed flawlessly during the final twenty-four shots. It has never failed to light once during the entire challenge. I still think the Nockturnal is an outstanding lighted nock and would not hesitate to use it. Now, it is time for the final shot of the challenge.
The Last Shot
I have to admit that I’ve been looking forward to this part of the challenge. Partly due to the fact that it means that the test is over and partly due to the fact that I get to destroy something purposely. I’ve destroyed plenty of arrows in my time, but this time it’s on purpose. The last shot entails shooting the Firenock into a cinder block. I’m using a solid block for this test. I’m assuming the folks at Firenock know that the nock will survive the test, but I still have my doubts.
I took my shot and dead centered the block. I immediately saw a piece of nock fly back towards me, but I could see the arrow at the target and the light was still burning inside the arrow. After looking for over an hour, I couldn’t find the piece of broken nock that had flown towards me. So, I decided to take the broken arrow to my shop and dissect it to find out what went wrong. The nock was still lit inside the arrow. It appeared that the circuit and battery slid forward at impact causing the nock to shear at the shoulder of the nock.
My first thought was that the extreme shock end cap had come loose and moved forward in the shaft. This would have allowed the motion that caused the breakage of the nock. Wrong, I couldn’t get the end cap to move just by pushing. I had to use a hammer & punch to break the end cap loose & drive the circuit & battery forward. I pulled the nock out of the shaft and inspected it. Everything looked fine. By my best reckoning, I must have not had the end cap screwed on the installation tool before it was installed into the shaft. This would have allowed an extra gap between the end cap and battery, allowing the whole lighted nock to move forward and snap the plastic nock in two. I guess that’s better than destroying the whole lighted nock. Then the little light bulb turned on above my head. I had an extra end cap and spare practice nock. Why not take another shot at the block. After taking special care to install my extra end cap into another arrow and putting the spare clear nock onto the light circuit, I took another shot at the cinder block. Everything stayed together; the nock was still lit when I walked up to the target.
After the shot you can see the light is lit, but there is no nock present.
Results of the “second” last shot.
I forgot to take my camera to the actual shot. So these are just pictures of the results. I “sharpied” the two impact spots on the block. You can see pieces of the carbon sticking out of the block. Oh yeah, the Firenock is still lit.
So, after 99 shots, 7 straight days lit, a 24-hour water bath, and two shots into a cinder block…I am still using the Firenock. Barring the broken nock (which I truly feel was my fault) and incorrect battery installation, the Firenock performed every shot.
In my opinion, all the lighted nocks were excellent. The Firenock, without a doubt, is the superior lighted nock if you plan on repeated use throughout practice & hunting season. If you only plan on using a lighted nock during hunting season and a few practice shots before season starts, the Nockturnal or Lazer Eye would be the economical choice