Did your bow string came off the cam while shooting? I have been through this situation many times as a new archer. When this first happened to me, I took my bow to an archery shop and got it fixed but after that experience, I have been able to restring my bow myself.
In this guide, I will first help you identify the cause that led to the derailment of your string then we will move to the solution of this problem.
Let’s first figure out why your string might have come off the cam. In my experience, I have concluded the following reasons.
String derailments are often a result of excessive torque applied to the bow handle or the string. In cases where shooters use their fingers, there’s a possibility of torque causing the string to come off the cam.
A similar experience happened to me with my bow. Pulling it with my fingers caused the string to come off the cam. After a thorough inspection at the shop, I learned that the torque on the string was the primary cause.
Compound bows are built to be drawn with release aids. The release causes the string to be drawn straight while fingers introduce torque in the string because of the force applied to the string by the fingers. This causes the string to jump off the cams.
Checking whether your bow’s limbs are backed out can be essential. “Backed out limbs” refers to adjusting your bow’s limb bolts to reduce the draw weight, making it easier to pull the bowstring
When you back out the limbs, you effectively decrease the tension on the bowstring. This lower string tension can make it easier for the string to come off the bow’s cams or wheels, particularly if the string is old and has stretched over time.
While perfect form should prevent derailments, these factors can increase the risk even with less torque. It’s advisable to invest in high-quality strings, especially if you prefer shooting with backed-out limbs.
This can be another but minor reason for derailment. Cam lean means tilt of the cam with the straight bowstring. If the cam is tilted or leaning, then there is a chance of the bowstring coming off the cam.
Only the extreme cam lean can be considered a reason for string coming off the cam. Line up a scale with the bowstring and check the angle of the cam. If the cam is not parallel to the scale and is tilted, then fix this issue with the complete cam tuning guide I have written for you.
Now if you are an experienced archer like me, you would know how to inspect your bow cams and string for damage. But if you are a new archer then I recommend you take your bow to the archery shop.
The next thing you would wanna do is restring your bow. If you have access to a bow press, you can proceed with restringing the bow yourself. However, if you’re not experienced with using a bow press, I recommend you let an archery shop handle this task.
Here are the steps to string your bow.
- Use the bow press to de-tension the string. This is done by loosening the limb bolts alternately, typically half or one rotation at a time. De-tensioning the string ensures that it’s safe to work on the bow without any risk.
- To replace the string, start from the top cam. Remove the old string from the top cam, and carefully place the new string in the grooves and tracks of the cam. Repeat this process for the lower cam. It’s important to note that replacing the old string at once can be challenging and require some effort and energy.
- Once the new string is in place, begin re-tensioning the bowstring by tightening the limb bolts. Similar to the de-tensioning process, tighten the limb bolts alternately, typically with one rotation on each side. This ensures even tension across the string and cams. Tighten until you regain your draw weight.
- Apply the bowstring wax.
If you want more detailed steps with visual steps to restring the bow, check out my complete guide to restring the compound bow.
After restringing the compound bow, you might face some issues. I have addressed the problems I first faced when my bow string came off. But with some help, I was easily able to fix the issues.
Cams are not just wheels fixed on the bow and strung, they are carefully placed so they are identical in their movement. This means the two cams are exactly in synchronization during the draw cycle.
There are points on cams like holes or markers to position the cam when stringing the bow. This check ensures that both cams reach the draw stop together. A lot of new archers struggle with this issue. I would suggest you check out this guide to synchronize your cams.
Please do not attempt to restring your bow without a press, you can seriously injure yourself or your bow. There is a lot of tension in the string which keeps the limbs in their shape. If you loosen one limb of the bow without a press, the string might snap out. By pulling the limbs together forcefully, the limbs can get damaged. Go to an archery shop if you do not have the press.
To prevent any future string derailments and ensure a smoother archery experience, I’ve adopted several practices:
A release aid might be worth the investment to improve your form. The release aids are recommended for compound bows by manufacturers so that the string is drawn straight without any torque.
This tip has been the game changer for me. I worked on my technique, refined my form, and lined up my shot perfectly straight. You should also emphasize your grip, stance, and posture to minimize the torque.
I always prioritize the use of high-quality strings that are specifically recommended by the bow’s manufacturer. Every compound bow model has specific strings and cable lengths, strand counts, and serving lengths.
Consider using an arm guard if your technique is not perfect. An arm guard will be your protection against the high-tension string slap on your arm incase the string is derailed.
How much will the archery shop cost me for this fix?
If you take your bow to the local archery shop they would typically take about 40-50 dollars for this fix.
Do you need a new string?
It depends on the condition of your old string. After the derailment check your string for any damages. If there seems to be a damaged, weakened, or unwinded strand then you might need to buy a new bowstring.
I’ve shared insights on addressing the common issue of string derailment in archery. By pinpointing potential causes like torque, backed-off limbs, and cam lean, you can take informed steps to prevent future derailments. Additionally, I’ve highlighted post-restringing issues, emphasizing cam timing and synchronization. To reduce derailment risks, consider using release aids, refining your shooting form, and investing in manufacturer-recommended strings.