13 Tips to Care for Your Compound Bow
I have been repairing Compound bows for 30 years and want to pass along some helpful tips. These tips are for the beginner and for the seasoned Archer.
Compounds and Crossbows are an investment to take care of. They are like a car, you must do things to keep it in good shape and working with out problems for years to come.
Years ago when I started repairing bows, Archers bought a new bow every 2 years. This is not the rule today by far as you know. The importance of maintenance and taking care of your bow is very important.
I hope the tips I have here help you, or remind you of things to do for your bow.
YOU do not want your bow to fail on you just before the Rut sets in, this could mean you miss the RUT and time in the woods!
Picture I took of a very old PSE bow with a broken string.
6 Helpful Archery Tips
1. Occasionally inspect your Compoudbow for wear or damage. If you hear any unusual noise or feel any unusual vibrations STOP shooting your Compound or Crossbow and check it completely for any damage. If you cannot pinpoint the problems do not shoot the bow, take it to a Pro Shop to have it checked out. The noise may become a problem that could be costly, like a cracked limb.
2. Check your bowstring and cables frequently. If worn or ragged, replace. Most manufacturers recommend replacing Strings and Synthetic Cables every 12 to 18 months or every 2,500 shots, whichever comes first, to maintain optimum performance. Bows today have a speed of over 350 FPS, not like in the 80's when 250 FPS was a very fast bow. Pluck the pull string and see how tight it is, it is very tight for speed and in time it will stretch. When a String stretches, the poundage goes up, and the Draw Length gets longer.
3. Never "DRY FIRE" your bow. If you do accidentally mis-nock or dry-fire, check the bow and arrow thoroughly for possible damage. Replace any nocks with cracks or arrows that are bent. Then read #1 again!
4. Do not draw the bow past its designed draw length setting. The Cable on the back side of the cam will be stressed and will break in time. Look at the serving on the cable and see if you have a big dent up about 6" from the cam. Some small dents are normal, but serving separation is not good. In time, the cable will be cut.
5. It is a state law that your bow must be in a bow case during transport. The case should be a soft Bow case able to zip fully, or the hard case to shut and lock fully. Sorry a pad lock on the string and cable will not work. If you have a Recurve or Longbow, taking the string off is a good thing to do and the law.
6. Apply a light coat of soft bowstring wax to your bow's string and synthetic cables on a regular basis. It is suggested weekly during peak use seasons. Use a high quality bowstring wax for synthetic strings and cables. If your string wax is hard, and not soft DO NOT use it. DO NOT rub the wax in to cause heat, this will cause enough heat to stretch the string or cable.
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7 More Helpful Archery Tips
7. Check your bow's 2 cam, one cam or cam in a half system synchronization periodically and have it adjusted if needed. Synchronization is very important for you in shooting tight groups.
Synchronization is the relative position of one cam to another on 2 cam bows as they rotate to load the limbs and store energy. Synchronization is necessary in order for the limbs to work together and be set up for optimum tune. Timing is defined as the position of the cam or cams relative to their ability to store energy and affect draw length. Bow timing determines the stored energy uniqueness of the bow and how the bow draws and feels. Timing also affects draw length and poundage. Timing is also called optimum cam location. Timing will help the nock travel as the bow is shot. This gives better arrow flight.
At full draw on 2 cam bows, either cams or wheels should rotate and reach the let-off position at the same time. If one cam is not in the same position as the other, one of the 2 buss cables need to be adjusted. For proper arrow tuning, the cams or wheels should be matched for rotation and full draw.
Note: If the cams get to far out of synchronization or timing it will lead to premature bowstring failure.
8. Check your bow's one cam or and a half cam system timing every so often and have it adjusted if needed. Timing is very important for shooting tight groups and speed with straight nock travel. Each manufacture has ways to adjust this, and some still think it is not important. You be the judge. You can see straight nock travel here in this You Tube Video.
9. NEVER ever allow your compound bow to be put into a center pulling bow press; this will cause twisting the bow riser (handle) will result in getting a new bow or riser. Also turn the poundage to lowest setting on the quad limb (split limb) bows, and use a press for parallel limbs only. Improper use of any bow press could twist your riser a little or very bad and even crack limbs.
10. Your bow is a mechanical device and as such, is subject to wear and need of periodic inspection, adjustment and service. Pro Shops recommends that you bring your bow in at least once a year for a yearly professional maintenance and inspection. Areas to be inspected are axles, spacers, lubrication of axle bushings, "E" clips, strings, cables, limbs and riser. Remember today's your compound shoots speeds that were never thought of just a few years ago.
11. Practice with your Broadheads before you go hunting. It's a known fact that Broadheads and field point can many times react differently at high speeds. If you're Broadhead DOES NOT FLY OR GROUP GOOD, TRY ANOTHER Broadhead; it may fly great. If when changing Broadheads does not help, bring your bow and a few arrows to see if your local Pro Shop can help.
12. Remember to keep your compound or crossbow away from any heat source that could damage it severely. Excessive heat, such as what could be experienced on a sunny day inside a closed vehicle, could cause limb failure. The extreme heat of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit also breaks down the new synthetic string and cable materials, allowing them to stretch. When shooting your compound or crossbow outside in the heat, the bows synthetic cables and string can also stretch. When the string stretches from heat or old age, the poundage goes up. When any of the synthetic cables stretch the synchronization or timing can be affected. Prolonged storage in a damp basement could also be damaging to any metal parts.
13. Keep your axles well lubricated with very good quality oil. Never use WD-40 or any other sprays that may contain any cleaning agents. If your bow does have eccentrics (cams) with needle bearings, do not oil them. The oil liquid breaks down the grease that they are packed with and will cause wear or damage to the bearing and the axles. Manufacturers recommend using a good quality lubricant, I like Tri-Flow.