Breaking Down Bow String Materials

Every day we get asked several times about bow string material and what is best or what should be used on a certain make/model of bow. It seems that there is an abundance of false information from 'string gurus' on various internet forums so we've decided to write an article based on the firsthand knowledge we've gathered from years of building bow strings.

With all the bow string materials out there it can be mind boggling trying to decide what material you want your new bow string and cable set made from.

Each bow string material is composed of various raw materials that give each one its own properties. I'm no scientist and could really care less about blended/non blended or what grade Dyneema, Vectran, Gore and so on that goes into each material. I will be referring to some of this info for comparison later on though.

I will start off with custom compound bow string materials. This seems to be one of the most debated topics. There are a handful of bow string materials on the market today that work very well when it comes to producing a custom bow string that will be durable and stable while providing good arrow speed. These materials would include D97, 8125G, trophy, 8190, 452X and X.

452X has been around forever. It has proven itself time and time again. 452X is the material that all others are compared to. It is EXTREMELY stable and gives good arrow speed. It is available in solid and speckled colors which is very nice for giving virtually unlimited color options for your custom bow string. The one drawback to 452X is that it is prone to fuzzing. This was addressed when BCY introduced the trophy material.

Trophy is basically 452x with an added gore fiber to improve durability. While the added gore fiber definitely improved the durability we did not care for the material. We found it to be inconsistent from color to color and batch to batch. We also experienced a loss in stability when we switched from 452x to trophy. I still don't understand how adding a single fiber can hurt stability but that was our experience. For that reason we quit using trophy after a short time and went back to 452X. 8125(G) is another material that has been around for quite a while. Originally 8125 the new 8125G has the added gore fiber for better durability. This is the fastest bow string material we've tested. Due to its makeup it is more prone to stretch in the heat. While some string builders have had success with this material we do not use it for this reason. 8125G is a great material for modern recurve bow strings both traditional and Olympic.

D97 is a good all-around bow string material that is generally used as an 'economy' material in today's industry due to its cheaper price. D97 was once a major step up from fast flight bows string but has since been replaced by several other better materials. While no longer a top choice for a compound bow string, D97 is still very popular with crossbows and recurve bow strings. It's 'sponginess' helps to absorb the shock on these bows without damaging their limbs.

8190 has been around a few years now. Comparing it to 452X it has improved durability and better speed. I do feel that 452X has the edge in stability though. I don't want to give the misconception the 8190 will be stretching all over the place but we have had reports of some minor retiming issues needing to be done. While we prefer X over 8190 for compounds we have found 8190 to be a top shelf bow string material for crossbows and recurves.

X is the newest BCY bow string material. In a nutshell it's the best parts of 452X and 8190 wrapped into one material. The gore fiber has been removed (from 8190) and replaced with Vectran (from 452x). Vectran is fiber that gives 452X its stability. We have found the X material to give the best combination of speed, stability and durability all in one material. For this reason the BCY X is our bow string material of choice.

Other bow string materials include 652 (fast flight) and B55 (Dacron). These are both still widely used on older compound bows, crossbows and traditional bows. Dacron string works well on older tear drop style compound bows and crossbows. It is also the best bow string material to be used on wooden traditional bows with non-reinforced limb tips. Fast flight is mainly used on traditional bows with reinforced limb tips and older compound bows.

I hope this little article has helped to answer some of the questions about bowstring materials. If anyone has any bowstring related questions or topics that you would like to discuss or even have us write about Please visit us at: 60X Custom Strings

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