There are factors you should look out for and consider to determine how often you should change your crossbow string. These factors include your crossbow usage, string age, and typical wear and tear.
Changing your crossbow string is one of the fundamental upkeep that you should do to make sure that your gear performs in tip-top condition. However, the frequency you should change your crossbow string differs from person to person.
The first factor you should consider is how often you use your crossbow. The more you shoot, the sooner your string will get worn out, prompting the need to change it.
The purpose of your crossbow also plays a role in determining how often you should change your string. People who use their crossbows for target shooting need to change their strings more than those who use theirs for hunting.
Crossbows used for target shooting, especially those in archery ranges, get used more than crossbows used for hunting. It makes sense to change them in a recommended 12-month interval, depending on how soon the string wears out.
On the other hand, hunters need the draw weight of their crossbows to be heavy so they can effectively kill prey. The heavier the draw weight, the more strain your string will experience. The more strain on your bowstring, the sooner you need to change it.
Another way to know how often you need to change your string is to check its age. Depending on the manufacturer, a bowstring lasts from one to 5 years, but you also need to factor in its wear and tear.
How long will a crossbow string last?
The lifespan of a crossbow string differs from person to person. To know how long your string will last, look at the bowstring lifespan indicated in the packaging. Moreover, it will help if you also consider how often you shoot and how heavy your arrows or bolts are.
To know how long your crossbow string will last, the first thing you can do is check your crossbow string’s lifespan. Bowstring lifespans vary depending on the manufacturer. You can find the information online or on the packaging.
Strings can last for as little as one to two years, while higher quality ones last for four to five years. However, do not rely solely on the lifespan indicated in the packaging. How often you shoot also contributes to how frequently you should change your string.
The more you shoot, the more you use your strings, and the sooner they are subjected to eventual wear and tear. You can extend its lifespan with regular upkeep, such as consistently waxing them. Also, remember to use the right kind of wax.
On the other hand, you should also check the weight of your bolts or arrows. With heavy arrows, your bowstrings will experience less strain with every shot. This situation is possible because, with heavier arrows, most energy goes to the arrow instead of the strings.
Aside from looking into how often you use your arrow and how heavy your bolts are, you should also pay close attention to the care you give your equipment. Regular maintenance of your crossbow will extend the lifespan of its parts.
How can you tell if your string is starting to wear out?
No matter how much you care for and maintain your bowstring, it will eventually succumb to the wear and tear caused by time and usage. The visible signs that tell you whether or not your bowstring is starting to wear out include dry, fuzzy, and stretched strings.
Consistently waxing your string is the bare minimum of taking care of it. However, when you notice that you are waxing your bowstring a little too often than usual, that may indicate that your string has dry strands.
Bowstrings, especially those appropriately maintained, should feel waxy when you touch them. When a string is waxy, it is easier to work with and fully functional. Dry bowstrings, however, are challenging to work with, affecting your performance.
If your string is dry, it will be prone to breakage, and your accuracy will not be accurate. These are more than enough reasons always to check your bowstring while preparing to shoot and ensure that you maintain its waxiness.
Furthermore, fuzzing is another telltale sign of wear and tear. Take a closer look at your bowstring. Do you see tiny hairs sticking out? Those little hairs make a string furry or fuzzy, which happens due to the friction between the bowstring and the arrow when you shoot.
When your string is dry, some fibers become untangled from the bunch and cause a fuzzy look. Make sure to wax your bowstring periodically to avoid fuzzing, as it can lead to a broken bowstring.
It is common for manufacturers to use durable fiber to create modern-day crossbow strings. They are more durable than classic bowstrings but are made of synthetic fibers, so they are still susceptible to breakage.
Other than fuzzing, other factors lead to a broken string. Check if your bolt is seated tight against the bowstring. If it is not, your bowstring is more likely to break.
Broken strands also happen more commonly under the center serving where the arrow nocks, and if you are shooting the arrow more often, your string will eventually get broken in this area. Using a nock incompatible with your bolt can also contribute to string breakage.
Broken strings result in dry firing, which is very dangerous. It can also cause the arrow to fire in a different direction than you intended.
If you are hunting with a broken string, your chance of a successful hunt is low. Furthermore, launching an arrow in any direction is dangerous, whether in the wild or the range.
Stretching is another sign that your string is wearing out. “But it is natural for strings to stretch,” you may say. Stretching as a sign of damage differs from the usual stretch when you shoot arrows or bolts.
Your string eventually stretches as you shoot more. As natural as it gets, a stretched string is still an ominous sign of wear and tear.
The more you shoot, the more energy the bowstring absorbs with each shot. When the string absorbs more energy, the arrow will not absorb enough energy, causing a weak, slow, and less accurate launch.
As your string stretches, it becomes longer, causing a slight reduction in draw weight. The serving on the bowstring can also separate as the bowstring stretches.
You can delay stretching by using high-quality strings and keeping up with the maintenance of your gear. However, once the bowstring has reached its limit and is stretched, there is not much you can do other than changing it.
Always bring an extra string with you to avoid any inconvenience when you are shooting in the range or hunting in the wild. Better yet, always check your equipment before heading out.
To gauge or estimate how long your bowstring will last, wax your string when you feel like it needs it. You will soon find a frequency pattern and estimate how long your bowstring will last and how often you should wax it. You can also keep a record of the waxing dates.
How can you prolong your crossbow string’s lifespan?
You can extend the lifespan of your crossbow strings with regular upkeep and maintenance. This maintenance includes waxing the bowstring, lubricating the rail, cleaning your crossbow, and tightening bolts.
The first thing you can do during maintenance is inspect the part that gets overused in archery, which is your bowstrings. You need to ensure that your string is still in tip-top condition to make sure that it is fully functional.
During string inspection, do a visual check. Is your string fuzzy? Are there broken strands? If the bowstring passes these visual checks, proceed to the touch check. However, if your bowstring is fuzzy or has broken strands, gauge if it can still function well. Otherwise, change it.
If your bowstring is dry, wax it. For the touch check, run your fingers along the string. If it feels only a little waxy, check your waxing record to see if it is time for you to reapply wax. Remember to use the right kind of wax as recommended by the manufacturer of your equipment.
After checking the strings, lubricate your crossbow rail. By doing so, your arrows will launch with minimum friction, resulting in a smooth and accurate shot. Your center serving will also last longer.
To lubricate your rail, apply the recommended amount of drops of lubricant at the center of the rail. Next, spread it across the whole rail with your finger.
Ensure that you are using a lubricant recommended by the manufacturer. Using the wrong kind may cause more harm than good. Furthermore, please do not use too much lubricant as it can damage the center serving.
After checking the string and the rail, move on to the scope lens. If you are a hunter, you can consider your scope your best companion in the wild as it helps you spot an animal from a distance. So what better way to pamper your best companion than to ensure it’s clean?
Out in the wild, dirt and dust is a scope’s worst enemy. To get rid of these, clean the lens using the applicable cleaning wipes that will not leave a residue on the crossbow scope.
Do not use tissue or wipes with harsh chemicals, as they can be abrasive to your lens. You can opt for a specialized eyeglass or lens cleaner. Do not spray the cleaner on the lens! You will damage the seal of your scope. Instead, spray the cleaner onto a microfiber cloth and not directly on the lens.
After cleaning the lens, clean the body of the scope. Then after cleaning the scope:
- Do structural checks on your crossbow.
- Ensure that the parts are complete and there are no missing or broken parts.
- Check your limbs if there are cracks on them.
- Check your arrow shafts if it has a splinter or bent.
Furthermore, make sure that you retighten all the bolts in your equipment. Along with an extra bowstring, ensure that you always keep a screwdriver hex key with you in case you need to retighten your bolts on the go.
Lastly, clean your entire crossbow. Remove any surface dirt or grime on the body. If your bow was exposed to external moisture, such as rain, dry the body with absorbent towels that won’t leave a scratch on the surface, and then use a hairdryer to dry the trigger box.
To be extra sure, you may want to spray WD-40 on your trigger box to eliminate any stubborn moisture. After drying the trigger box, make sure to re-lubricate it.
Remember, you can’t expect your crossbow and its parts to be at their peak condition on their own. You must do your part by doing consistent equipment maintenance; for your sake and those around you when you’re shooting.