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Bowstrings and bowstring accessories.

Bowstrings and Bowstring Accessories

Until three years ago, all modern bowstrings were made of multiple Dacron [TM] strands. These worked quite well, provided a string of proper length and the number of strands was chosen to match a particular bow.

Today, a new, space-age material called Fast Flite [R] is also used to make bowstrings. Fast Flite is stronger and lighter in weight than Dacron, and stretches very little compared to older strings. These characteristics impart more bow energy to the arrow, which in turn flattens trajectory. A Fast Flite bowstring instantly boosts arrow speed from an average compound or recurve bow. Speed increases vary between five and ten feet per second.

Fast Flite is not without its problems. When a bowstring of this material is attached to the cable-end buttons of the average compound bow, that bow turns into a potential bomb. It will shoot fine, but if an arrow nock ever breaks during a shot, or if the archer ever accidently dry-fires his bow (shoots without and arrow), the cable ends are likely to break off and reduce the bow to a pile of components. Dacron bowstrings do not cause this problem, because they stretch during a dry fire to absorb cable-breaking energy.

Compound bow manufacturers have solved the cable-breakage problem in two ways. Some use oversize "super cables" that withstand a Fast Flite dry fire. Others have redesigned compound wheels to accept Fast Flite strings that enter the wheels themselves. This eliminates steel cable ends altogether, and thus prevents the breakage problem altogether, thus preventing the breakage problem.

Nonetheless, as a retailer you should pay close attention to the warranties on compound bows. Warranties on bows that still incorporate standard-size steel cables are often void if you or your customer replace the Dacron string with one made of Fast Flite.

Bowhunters need four important bowstring accessories. These are a nocking point, a string peep, bowstring silencers and bowstring wax. You should stock quantities of each in your store.

A nocking point ensures identical arrow placement on the string from shot to shot. The arrow is normally nocked directly below this important bowstring accessory.

Two common types of nocking points are sold: heat-shrink, and clamp-on. The clamp-on variety is superior because it easily affixes with special pliers, and because it can be loosened and moved during the bow-tuning process. By contrast, a heat-shrink nocking point is tricky to install and cannot be moved again. If you use too much heat, the bowstring can also become damaged.

There are several types of bowstring peeps available. Since most of your customers will be bowhunters, you should stock peeps with large, light-gathering apertures. Any peep hole less than 1/8-inch in diameter works fine for target shooting, but makes aiming difficult or impossible near dawn or dusk, and under a heavy forest canopy. Most bowhunters prefer peeps with 3/16-inch apertures for optimum low-light shooting visibility.

A bowstring peep greatly enhances accuracy because it forces consistent eye-to-bowsight alignment from shot to shot. However, using some peeps is difficult because the archer must be an expert at rotating the bowstring in his fingers. If the peep hole does not rotate precisely in line with the eye during a shot, it completely blocks the bowsight and makes a shot impossible.

This problem is solved by a peep with a surgical-tubing umbilical. The Zero Peep II and several others have this important feature. The umbilical is first fastened to the bow according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the archer draws, the elastic tubing pulls taut and forces the peep to align with the eye. No fuss, no muss.

Some otherwise excellent peeps have holes too small for low-light hunting. These can be modified by enlarging the peep-hole with a 1/8-inch or 3/16-inch high-speed drill.

Silencers are necessary to hush the guitar-like strum of a bowstring. This noise can scare an animal before the arrow arrives on target. The most effective bowstring silencers are made of rubber. The best-selling model of all is presently the catwhisker silencer, which consists of multiple rubber filaments and is lashed into place with heavy nylon thread. Silencers placed on the bowstring about eight inches from each compound wheel will normally reduce string vibration to a dull, satisfying thud.

Every bowstring must be waxed periodically to lubricate individual strands and protect the exposed surfaces from fraying. Regular waxing can easily triple the life of a bowstring.

A number of companies sell wax designed for this purpose. Saunders and Martin offer excellent products. Ordinary beeswax is also effective. Some large archery stores purchase beeswax in quantity, cut it into small cubes, and sell these portions for a handsome profit.

As a dealer, you should know all about bowstrings and bowstring accessories. A correct bowstring setup is sage and accurate, but this happy situation never occurs by accident!
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Title Annotation:archery retailing
Author:Adams, Chuck
Publication:Shooting Industry
Article Type:column
Date:May 1, 1990
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