Why Do Crossbow Strings Break?

Crossbows are very popular with archery hunters, and they are legal to use in many places. People love them because they can learn to shoot accurately, and it doesn’t take a lot of experience before you can head out hunting. However, sometimes new owners don’t fully understand how the crossbow works, and it can lead to issues such as a broken crossbow string.

Crossbow strings can break for different reasons. It could be the age of the crossbow strings, or the bolt may not be seated tightly against the string. The strings may not have been maintained correctly, or they could break from a broken nock or bolt. Another cause is an improper discharge of the crossbow.

It is important to understand your crossbow and learn how to take care of it so that it lasts longer.

Why Do Crossbow Strings Break

Reasons Why Crossbow Strings Break

There are different reasons why crossbow strings can break. It is important to understand your crossbow and how the different parts work, as well as proper maintenance so that you won’t be caught by surprise.

The first thing to know is the age of the crossbow. This is important because you need to replace your crossbow strings because they eventually wear out. Other reasons why your strings break have to do with improper loading of the bolt, dry firing, incorrect nocks, and a lack of care.

How Often Do You Need to Replace Crossbow Strings?

Generally speaking, your crossbow strings should be replaced every couple of years. People who don’t use the crossbow often think that the strings might last longer, but this isn’t the case. Even when you aren’t shooting it, they are under tension and they aren’t designed to last.

Some people will need to change their strings more frequently. You need to know how to recognize the signs that it is time to replace them. First, consider how you use the crossbow. You may need to restring a crossbow that you use for target shooting more frequently than the one you use for hunting.

If you use your crossbow for target shooting, you should replace the strings every twelve months. If you use it for hunting, you can do it every other year. If you don’t use it often and maintain it by waxing the strings and storing it properly, it may last longer.

How to Know When Your Strings Are Worn Out

When you wax your strings, you should assess how much wear and tear they have experienced. The strings should feel a little waxy, and when they start feeling dry or fuzzy, you are nearing the time to replace them. You may even see the fraying of the string fibers, which comes from friction over time. If there is a lot of fuzzing, you will want to replace them because it indicates that the strings have weakened.

If you see broken strands, it is time to change strings. Normally, you will find them under the center serving from nocking the arrows. In addition, your strings stretch each time you shoot the crossbow, and after 50 to 100 shots, you may actually feel the extra give in the strings. You should replace the strings when you notice this.

Strings Break From Improper Use

Another reason why crossbow strings break is improper use of the crossbow. This might be accidental, but it is one of the reasons that it is important to understand how the crossbow works. The most common reason why crossbow strings break is that the bolt isn’t seated tightly against the string.

The problem is that if the bolt isn’t tight, the string can jump over it, which causes the same effect as a dry fire. When this happens, it will sound louder, and the bolt will only travel a few feet from the bow. You will likely notice that the string breaks at one of both of the end loops.

The strings can also break from a broken nock or bolt. If you pack a few arrows tightly together, the nock or bolt can suffer damage. The force of the shot can cause the bolt to crack, which causes a dry fire effect. This will damage your bow and break your string.

If you use the wrong nocks, you can break your strings. Each type of crossbow has specific nocks that should be used with it, and you should always make sure that you are using those specified by the manufacturer.

Finally, crossbow strings break from improper discharge. This doesn’t happen often, but if you need to discharge your crossbow, you should try to shoot at a target. You should never aim at the ground to discharge it because if the bolt hits the ground before it clears the string, it will damage your bow and possibly break your strings.

How to Care for Crossbow Strings

It is important that you take care of your crossbow strings so that they are always ready for use. If you don’t, they can dry out and break much more easily. You can prevent broken strings by maintaining them.

First of all, you need to clean them to make sure that they have no dirt, dust, or debris on them. This will ensure that your crossbow always operates as well as it can. You also need to lube the rail of your crossbow to extend the life of your strings. This helps to reduce friction and increases the velocity of the bow.

You should check the serving for wear and tear regularly. The serving actually protects your strings and cables where they make contact with the cams and rails. The serving shouldn’t show any signs of unwrapping or coming apart, as this would leave the string exposed.

Finally, you need to wax your crossbow strings and cables. You may notice fraying, which is common wear on the crossbow string. However, you can apply premium-quality string wax to the strings and cables. You should use very little and rub it in with your fingers. You don’t want to have a buildup of too much wax. You should use just enough to keep the strings smooth.

Crossbow String Repair and Replacement Costs

When you need to restring your crossbow, you can get the string and do it yourself, or you can take it to a pro. It will cost more to have it done for you. On average, it costs around $70. You can pay anywhere from $20 to $50 for new strings, and the average labor cost is $20. However, you should check with your local archery pros because the price can vary a great deal.

Final Words

Crossbows are great for people who are getting into archery, but it is important to learn about the different parts and how they work. Parts of the crossbow are fragile, and if you dry fire it, you can damage the entire bow and break your strings.

You need to make sure that you maintain your crossbow, even if you don’t use it often. The strings require waxing and should be clean whenever it is stored. Make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for bolts and nocks to minimize damage to the bow. By taking care of it, you should only have to restring it every other year.


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Hi, I'm Sam! I used to work as a caregiver, and now I'm in medical school. My blog is about helping people get healthier through fun activities like archery, hunting, and powerlifting. If you like one of my articles, please share it with your friends and family so they can be healthy too!

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