There is always some new bowhunting gear coming out, promising to be the latest and greatest gadget or last gizmo that you’ll ever need.
This includes compound bows which come every few days it seems. Hence, many shooters don’t own and shoot a bow long enough to need a replacement bow string. But if you do, it can be a bit of a concern.
Know the Essentials, Go a Long Way
Choosing, maintaining, and using a compound bow string is one of the technical aspects of bowhunting. Archery hunting equipment can be hard to shop for because it quickly gets expensive and it’s not like you buy a new one every day.
These problems can be fixed by taking your bow to a reputable pro shop and let them do all the work — tuning up your bow and getting it setup for the next season. The truth is, a good pro shop is expensive.
You can do the job yourself. But if this is a rare occasion, then the cost of tools to safely disassemble and reassemble is pricier than the rate of a professional refitting your bow with a good string.
The answer lies in the background knowledge of how to shop and care for a compound bow string. That way, you get the perfect gear, avoid overpaying, and make your equipment last long as possible.
When to Replace a Bow String?
Replacing the string on a bow, especially a high-performance one, can be a bit of an investment. There are some sure signs that eventually show so you should do it anyway.
If the string is fuzzy, loose, or it feels flimsy at full draw, replace it immediately.
Strings degrade over time. Even those that are taken cared of stretch and lose performance as they age. If it slips off a cam or the wall of the cam, it feels squishy and feels like it’s going to give way, that is the string stretching like a rubber band.
A snapping bow string is very rare since they are stretchy and it usually falls off the wheels before it snaps.
As a bow string stretches, you’ll lose performance because the bow will be fighting the resistance from the string elongating when the release lets go. The high energy stored in the bow’s limbs and cam will be wasted if you have a worn out or poor-quality bow string.
A performance loss of 15-20% can be experienced if you let your bow string get too long and the creep will slow down your bow. Put extra stress on the limbs, and hurt accuracy by manipulating the bow’s harmonics.
If you have a bow that you want to tune up, a new high-performance bow string can boost speed and precision. It is also cheaper than a new bow to boot!
How To Choose New One?
The right size of string for your bow depends on several factors that the manufacturer decided on when designing it. The strands and the length are the significant things to get right.
They come in different sizes based on:
- Length of the riser
- Diameter of the idler wheel
- Circumference of the cam
- Shape of the limbs
Many bows have a small range where the bow string can be wound around the cam for adjusting the draw length, that should give you a small range of variance.
When in doubt, use the manufacturer’s specifications. And if in trouble, go to a bow shop where they’ll be able to help you by removing the current string and cable set, and then re-rigging the bow with a cord that’ll then be measured.
There are a few materials used for bow strings. They’re all synthetic fibers made specifically for compound bows. Take note, materials for recurve or long bows are not suitable for compound bows.
This is one of the most popular bow string material used because it has an insanely long life. You likely won’t ever need to replace it unless you abuse or damage it.
It is great for hunting bows because of its longevity. But for target bows, there are better options.
Dyneema is one of the strongest fiber known and is used for all sorts of high-tech applications. Long life, durability, and minimal stretching make it one of the excellent bow string materials available.
However, you pay for every part of its performance. Since it’s cost prohibitive, many manufacturers don’t use it as the stock string on their bows. But it is an excellent upgrade.
It is a longtime favorite of producers because it has a very long track record of being used on compound bows. It is a cheaper option because it’s a blended material with some Dyneema in its construction.
Its working life is shorter than others because it starts to fray quickly and needs a lot of wax.
Other bow string materials are available on the market but aren’t as common.
Boutique materials have unique qualities like heat resistance, more abrasion resistance, but come with a higher price tag. These are also typically used by custom shops or as a material that you can utilize.
Getting Bang for Your Buck
If you’re picking up a used bow to get into archery shooting for the cheapest amount possible, haggle over a new bow string. Most small pro shops offer free installation if you buy the string from them.
Look for deals on the strings. Don’t be afraid to purchase online and take it for installation. Go ahead, especially if your pro shop won’t give a discount for it.
More About Mounting
Whether you bought the string or had it custom made, it’s going to require proper mounting and maintenance. Make sure to have the correct tools and materials.
Sadly for most hunters, mounting their compound bow string is out of the question. Cut costs where you can but don’t skimp on having a professional install it particularly if you’re not familiar with it. You may regret it come opening day.
Making Your Bow String
Making your string involves using specialized tools to weave and braid materials on a jig into a bow string.
If you’re thinking of doing this for the first time, I advise you to learn from a person who has done it successfully several times.
You’ll also need the equipment to install the string, including a bow press. To lessen the cost, consider making lines for your buddies and buying materials in bulk.
The biggest tip for making a string is to not be in a hurry while you’re making it.
Having made several, it is a tedious process until you get used to it. Compounded with the fact that many home builders use improvised jigs and tools, it can take you a good 4 or 5 hours to have your first full sized bow string done correctly.
If you’re going to do it just once or twice, you’ll be losing money. A jig, the materials, other tools, not to mention the press required to mount the string can be pricey. If you’re a competition archer or long time hunter, then it’s a worthwhile investment. The more you make, the less each string costs.
Preserve Your String
Taking care of a string can be done in many ways. One of the things that you have to avoid is dry fire. This is a given. Dry firing can damage the string just as much as the rest of the bow.
Small things are also relevant to help with the maintenance. Protect the bow while on the field.
- Don’t allow sand to come in contact with the string.
- Keep it out of the rain.
- Store the bow in a case when you’re not using it.
- Use a D-loop for your release.
- Always check the serving strings that hold the bow string together.
Cleaning and waxing your bow is vital as well. Wipe the bow string and only use a scentless wax made for the type of fiber that you’re using. This needs to be done at different intervals. But if your string starts to show little hairs, you’re very overdue.