Bow String Inspection

Bow String Inspection

Posted by Brad Patsy on Jul 5th 2023

It's a good idea to inspect your bowstrings when you get your bow out for the season, whether that be hunting or target shooting. Here are some warning signs to watch for that will let you know when it’s time to get those bow strings and cables replaced. This applies to:

  • Compound Bow Strings.
  • Crossbow Strings.
    • Crossbows are usually tougher on bow strings and cables, but this will serve as a good guide.
  • Recurve and Longbow Strings.


Upon your first bow string inspection, watch for fuzzing on the bow string or cables. Light fuzzing is nothing to get overly concerned about, as this is normal wear. As time goes on, the fuzzing may get worse and is the most common sign that it’s time to start thinking about some new bow strings. Watch for this in wear areas, such as:

  • Where the cables pass through the cable slide.
  • Below the center serving where a lot of archers will rub the bow string with their arm.

Broken Strands

One of the most important checks for bow string inspection is to always keep a close eye for broken strands. Many times, broken strands will happen under the center serving where the arrow nocks. The constant on/off from nocks will break this down over time and you usually have no idea, since it is covered with serving.

The wear areas mentioned above are spots to watch as well. Any time you find a broken strand, you want to stop shooting. A broken strand in a bow string or cable can be an extremely dangerous thing and cause catastrophic damage. If a bow string or cable breaks, it can not only launch an arrow in any direction, but it can cause serious damage to you or your bow.

Stretched Strands

If you notice that your peep sight has started to twist when drawing your bow back, then your bow string has more than likely stretched. When the bow string stretched, it threw off the twist rate of the bow string and is causing the rotation. Many times, the servings on the bow string or cable will start to separate as a result of stretch. As they stretch, the serving slides at the same time causing the gaps.

Loss in Performance

Another warning sign, but one that a bow string inspection might not immediately find, is if you’ve noticed a loss in performance from your bow. Your bow used to feel powerful and really zip the arrows down range. It seemed to really bury the arrows into the target but now they seem to only be going in half as far. You check your poundage, and your 70 pound bow is now only pulling 64 pounds. After checking your axle-to-axle measurement, you realize that it is now 3/8” out of spec. How in the world did this happen? Once again, this is a result of a bow string and cables that have stretched over time but may not show the obvious warning signs listed above.

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