String Stretch on Bow: What You Should Do?

Your local bow mechanic might have told you a few days ago that you have a string stretch problem on your bow, and now you may be left wondering what you should do next?

The best advice that I can give you is to get a new one. Buying a new string is cheaper than risking your bow blowing up in your hand and causing you injury.

That’s honestly the best advice that I or everyone else in the archery world can give you.

Don’t be cheap on a new string; it’s better to buy a new string than purchasing a new bow since the latter will definitely cost you a lot more, not forget to mention all those medical bills that are going to rack up if you sustain an injury.

If you care about the nuts and bolts of string stretch, you may want to continue reading the rest of this post.

3 Reasons Why You May Want to Get a New String

Whenever I browse through online archery forums, I often see many confusions surrounding the terms “string stretch” or “creep”. What does it mean by a string stretch?

To make it clear, all strings, whether new or used, stretch slightly every time you load the bow and rebound when the arrow flies off the string.

A little stretch is beneficial; it allows the string to absorb excess energy and soften the vibration that occurs from the action of loading and unloading the bow.

However, too much of stretches can be harmful than helpful. Every stretch takes energy, and the more the string stretches the more energy it takes.

The more energy that the string takes, the slower the arrow will fly. The arrow becomes slower because the energy that is supposed to propel the arrow ends up used by the string.

In the case of a compound bow, string stretch can cause poor peep-sight rotation which makes you unable to aim correctly to shoot.

Furthermore, a string stretch can affect and degraded the compound bow’s draw length, brace height, profile height, and tunning adjustment.

This is the first reason why you want to buy and replace your old string when it has been diagnosed with a string stretch problem: the string that stretches too much make your performance lousy.

Overtime during the string’s life span, the string gains a constant and small incremental length due to continuous pressure resulting from loading and unloading the bow — this is what we call string stretch problem or creep.

In most cases, a new string stretches somewhere during the first 50-100 shots. When a new creep happens, you can counteract it by retwisting the string to return the string to its former length.

Still, there are just so many times you can safely re-tune the string before the strands to cut into each other and cut into the limb tips, damaging your bow.

This is the second reason why you want to replace the overstretched string: to avoid our bow getting blows up at the most unfavorable time.

Here we are talking about our bow getting blows up and hurting ourselves or anyone near us, which is something that happened a few times in real-life archery events.

This is the third and the most important reason why you don’t want to keep using the string that gets creep: to avoid injuring ourselves or other people on the course.

In a case of a compound bow, some archers use a rubber tubing to work around the peep sight-rotation issue. This is not a permanent solution, as time passed the rubber tubing can break as well at the most unfortunate time.

The Stretchiness of The Bow String

The stretchiness of the string is an important concept to know. In relation to the arrow speed, the more elastic the string, the slower the arrow will be, and the less elastic the string, the faster the arrow will fly.

Concerning its durability, the less elastic the string, the more durable the string. Some strings that are often referred to as FastFlight are built in such a way that they can last for five years without any changes.

In an ideal world, you want to get strings that are far less elastic for your bow since they offer better performance and a longer life span.

The thing is, it is not that simple.

Why?

Because not all bows are able to cope with all string types, some bows will break if you use a string that is too light or not elastic enough.

So you need to check with the manufacturer first to be sure if your bow can or cannot use specific types of strings. Nevertheless, when it is allowed, always use a lighter, low-stretch string.

Different Types of Factors Affecting String Strech.

Different factors can affect the string’s stretch, two of the most important are: the material that the string is made of and the way the string is created.

Most off-the-shelf bows come with a string made from a Dracon material. The only reason why most off-the-shelf bows use Dracon is that it is cheap, which makes it the most awful choice string material of all — it is highly elastic and heavy.

If you bow came with a Dracon string, I would urge you to replace your string with the new one ASAP.

There are many other string materials that are far less elastic. Some well-known brands include FastFlight, Winners Choice, Vapor Trail, and Zebra(link to Amazon).

Apart from the string materials, the way the string is made also affects its stretch. A bowstring can be made with either an endless loop or a Flemish splice method.

Flemish splice is the method of making a string where you twist two string materials (or more) and splice them to create end loops, hence where the name comes from.

Using the endless loop method, you need to repeatedly wrap the string material around pegs and then tying the ends and using serving threads to make end loops.

Because of the way the string is constructed, the string made by the endless loop method is more elastic and lighter than the string made by the Flemish splice method.

Suffice to say that endless loop strings have a slightly better performance than Flemish splice strings.

If that is the case then why would anybody use the Flemish splice string? Wouldn’t it be better just to use the endless loop string?

As mentioned before, not all bows can cope with all string types. A high-performance, low-stretch string such as FastFlight has a sudden acceleration and declaration when shot.

Bows that are not well-prepared to handle such acceleration and declaration will break on being shot. Especially the bows that are made of natural materials such as wood, horn, and sinew.

For that type of bow, it would be better and safer to use a lesser-performance-but-more-forgiving string, which is the Flemish splice string.

How to Lengthen Your String’s Life Expectancy

A simple act of storing a bow in a room with controlled temperature can go a long way to prolonging the string’s life span. Avoid storing your string on a high-temperature room for heat makes bow string stretch quicker than usual.

If you use a recurve or longbow, you should remove the string every time you finish your shooting session.