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How to Restring a Crossbow: A Guide for Recurve Bow Owners

how to restring a crossbow
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As a crossbow owner, knowing how to restring a crossbow is essential, especially if you want to avoid paying someone else to do it for you every time.

Crossbow string replacement is unavoidable, as it’s recommended that you replace your bowstring at least every year.

Also, there will be times when the string breaks or becomes too old and weak to be useful anymore.

Either way, knowing how to replace a crossbow string will undoubtedly save you time and money in the future.

Stick with us as we explain how to string a crossbow without a stringer.

How to Restring a Crossbow

Knowing how to replace crossbow string yourself not only saves you time and money, but it’s also a very handy skill to have when you’re out hunting.

Imagine your crossbow string breaking on you on the opening morning of hunting season.

Many hunters could think of few things worse, and being able to do crossbow string replacement while you’re out in the field is a massive advantage to owning a recurve crossbow.

It is also possible to restring a compound crossbow without a stringer. However, it requires tools and just isn’t practical, especially when you’re sat up in a treestand.

How to String a Crossbow Without a Stringer

Restringing a crossbow by hand requires a decent amount of arm power, so your weight and strength will ultimately determine how easy this is for you.

The draw weight of the crossbow will also affect the difficulty of restringing.

This is just one more reason why it’s better to buy a crossbow with a comfortable and manageable draw weight, rather than one that uses all of your strength just to cock it.

Here's how to replace crossbow string by yourself:

Step 1

The first thing you need to do is hook one end of the (new) string onto one of the nock grooves.

The nock grooves are situated at the very ends of either side of the bow.

Step 2

Next, you want to maneuver the crossbow so that the prod or stirrup (where you place your foot to cock it) is lying flat on the ground.

Position it so that the empty nock is on the same side as your dominant hand. Keep the loose end of the string in easy reaching distance.

All the while, make sure you keep an eye out so that the string doesn’t slide off the other nock.

Step 3

Place your foot inside the stirrup and your less dominant hand on the butt (or back of the barrel) to steady it.

Lean forward and into the crossbow to help keep it steady.

Step 4

Next, you want to grab the loose end of the string with your dominant hand (hopefully, you can still reach it).

You won’t be able to slide it onto the empty nock just yet, but you want to have it ready.

Step 5

Then, with your dominant hand, pull the limb that doesn’t have the string on it towards you.

As soon as it’s close enough, loop the loose end of the string onto the empty nock.

Step 6

Finally, pick up your crossbow and inspect the string on both ends to ensure it’s attached securely.

how to restring a crossbow

How to Remove Old String

If you’re replacing the string before it’s broken, you’ll need to remove the old string first.

To do this, all you need to do is reverse the process by laying the crossbow on the ground in the same position.

Pull up on one of the limbs and unhook the string from the nock before releasing it from the other side easily.

Crossbow String Maintenance

As soon as you notice some wear on your string, it’s best to replace it immediately.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much time or effort. Plus, it’s just not worth the risk of injuring yourself (or missing that big buck) just to save a few dollars.

Here are more crossbow string maintenance you want to keep in mind:

Wax Your String Regularly

Look after your crossbow string by waxing it regularly.

Apply the wax to the entire length of the string. Rub it in by sliding your fingers up and down.

The heat generated from your fingers will help melt the wax into the string, making it last longer.

You may even want to lightly wax your center serving to keep wear to a minimum, but you should avoid the end servings.

You can refer to the crossbow’s care instructions, but as a bare minimum, you should wax the bowstring every 50 to 70 shots.

Although, it also wouldn’t hurt to lightly wax your string every time your crossbow has been exposed to moisture, dust, or dirt.

Regularly waxing the string every time you take it out will help you avoid unwanted nicks and loose strings.

Lube the Rail

Aside from waxing the string regularly, keeping the rail lightly lubricated will also help to increase the string’s lifespan.

Reducing the entire mechanism's overall friction will ensure that the string isn’t placed under any extra and unnecessary stress.

It will also improve your accuracy and produce the maximum amount of kinetic energy and arrow speed. This is because you will have smoother traction on bolt release.

To do this, apply a couple of drops of oil directly to the rail and spread it across the entire rail with your fingers.

You would want to lubricate the rail every time you notice that it’s dry or once every 10 to 20 shots.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to restring a crossbow for yourself, don’t forget to take a spare string with you next time you’re out hunting.

Waxing your string regularly will help to make sure it lasts, and taking good care of your crossbow generally will also help to prolong the string’s lifespan.

Always make sure you use proper string wax and lube and oil that is meant for the job at hand.

Some people have to learn the hard way that vaseline and petroleum jelly do not make good crossbow lubricants.

Try to develop good habits by inspecting your crossbow and readying it for use each and every time you go out hunting.

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