A bowstring is used to connect both ends of the bow stave, and it also launches the arrow. One of the most important attributes of a bowstring is the material it is made of. It should be lightweight, resistant to water, and resistant to any type of abrasion like scratching, erosion, scuffing, or rubbing away. In order to get these results, it is important to use the right type of material.
Traditional materials that are used for bowstrings include rawhide, silk, hemp, linen, sinew, and various vegetable fibers. A popular material used today for compound and recurve bows is the polyester such as Dacron, which can sometimes also be used for a D-look for release. Polyester provides excellent stretch and durability. The high stretch reduces shock to the bow which is especially good for recurves with wooden handles. Natural fibers are not generally used for compound and recurve bows. Liquid crystal polymers are also used; however, the stretch is limited, which causes more stress in the bow limbs. Also, some liquid crystal polymers do not last as long; they tend to break due to bending at the nocking point. One advantage of this material is the higher density and smaller diameter which provides faster arrow speed.
There are three common types of bowstrings: simple, looped, and reverse-twisted. Simple is made of any type of fiber that is twisted into a single cord. The weight tends to be weaker and these strings can easily come apart if not kept under consistent tension. Looped strings are made of one or several materials that are continuously looped. Most strings today have one single continuous loop. Reverse-twisted strings are made of separate bundles. Each bundle is twisted in one direction, and then all of the bundles are twisted together in the opposite direction. This gives it a stronger weight than looped or simple.
Best Crossbow Strings
The mini crossbow polyester string made by Ace Martial Arts Supply is an excellent string for the crossbow. These strings are made for an 80 lb bow, which means the strands are thicker, and they offer superior strength. You get one string along with a replacement string and tips in a package.
Best Recurve Bow Strings
The B-50 Standard Endless Loop Dacron string is an ideal choice for the Recurve bow. This string comes in 12-strand which supports up to a 40 lb bow; 14-strand which supports up to a 50 lb bow; and, 16 strand which supports up to a 65-lb bow. The string is AMO (Archery Manufacturer’s Organization) specification measured at 100 lbs tension on a serving machine. General guidelines for recurve bows specify that the actual physical length of the bowstring will be 4 inches shorter than the AMO length. Length can be adjusted slightly for minor length variations, by twisting and untwisting.
Best Compound Bow Strings
A great choice for the compound bow is the Compound B-50 bowstring. This string is good for bows that are 50 lbs. Made of premium Brownell B-50 Dacron, it is a 16-strand, 36-inch string that also fits many older model compound bows from the 1980’s and early 1990’s.