How to Measure a Crossbow String

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When it comes to crossbows, many things need to be considered to ensure an accurate shot. One of the most important factors is the length of the crossbow string. How do you measure the string, and how to ensure that you order the correct size? Read on to find out.

How to Measure Crossbow String Length?

The first place to look is the manual. If you don’t have the manual, look online for the make and model of your crossbow. Once you have the manual, find the section that pertains to string replacement. This will give you the specifications needed to purchase the correct size string.

Contact the manufacturer if you don’t have a manual or can’t find the information needed. They should be able to help you out. Another way is to tune your crossbow, and once everything is set to where it needs to be, and you are happy with the results, measure the string.

So, in short: 

  • Look up the section of the manual that pertains to string replacement.
  • If you don’t have a manual or can’t find the information needed, contact the manufacturer.
  • Tune your crossbow and once everything is set up perfectly – remove & measure the string.

Are all Crossbow Strings the Same?

No. Not all crossbow strings are the same. You can buy crossbow strings made specifically for your make and model of the crossbow. These strings will be the correct length and have the right amount of stretch. They will also be made from materials that are compatible with your crossbow.

Southland Archery Supply 150Lb Crossbow...

Or you could order a custom-made set of strings and cables. Make sure to send in your old string (yes – with the exact number of twists); this will make it much easier for the string shop to make a set that will fit your crossbow precisely.

What is the Serving on a Crossbow String?

The string serving on a crossbow is approximately four inches long and tightly wound around the string.

“The serving performs a number of tasks. It protects the string material, provides a consistent surface for release from the trigger mechanism, reduces friction on the track, and protects the loaders fingers from potential damage by covering possible pressure points on strands of string material.”

Source: National Crossbow Federation

How do you Serve a Crossbow?

If you are a beginner. You don’t! If you know what you’re doing, be careful! Here’s a video explaining how to do it:

Excellent video series by Don Katsumi!

Do you Wax Serving on Crossbow?

There is conflicting information on this. Most manufacturers don’t recommend it as it can potentially damage the string. If you decide to wax the serving on your crossbow, be careful not to get any wax on the actual string material. Waxing the serving can cause premature wear of the string and may interfere with arrow flight.

But some manufacturers do recommend it. So, if you have a high-end crossbow and the manufacturer says it’s okay to wax the serving – then, by all means, do it!

Tenpointcrossbows“If your crossbow has exposed strands of the string or cables that are not served, then a coating of bowstring wax should be applied to the exposed strands.”

Excaliburcrossbow: “EX-WAX – Apply to string serving for longer life. Comes in a handy resealable container.”

Barnett RX 150 user manual“Apply lubewax to the center serving of string, rolling string forwards and backwards to ensure even application of wax.”

If unsure, contact customers support and ask before you wax the serving on your crossbow.

Do you Twist a Crossbow String?

Yes, you do! To keep the serving tight, twist the string counterclockwise. A string twisted in the opposite direction from how the serving was applied will loosen, resulting in premature string failure.

Do Crossbow Strings Stretch?

Yes, they do. Some of the string materials on factory crossbows are not top quality. Or the manufacturer didn’t apply enough tension when they built them. High draw weights require more tension and better quality string material to minimize stretch. 

How Often Should you Change the String on a Crossbow?

There is no set amount of time for a crossbow string. Many factors affect the lifespan of your crossbow string, including its material, tension, and length. One of the most significant factors in how long your crossbow string will last is how well you take care of it. Most people recommend changing their crossbow strings every two years, but it’s not unheard of that some crossbow users have been shooting with their crossbow strings for up to 4 years!

How many Shots does a Crossbow String last?

How it will last depends on several factors. As mentioned above, your crossbow string’s lifespan will significantly affect its material, tension, and length. In addition, how often you use your crossbow and how well you take care of it will also play a role in how long your crossbow string lasts. Generally, most people get around 100-250 shots out of their crossbow string. Some get even way more, but it’s always best to air on the side of caution and change your crossbow string every two years.

Should you Unstring a Crossbow when not in Use?

No. I believe it is okay to leave your crossbow strung. But if you are referring to leaving it cocked, then the answer is yes. It is 100% recommended that you uncock your crossbow. This will help to prolong the lifespan of your crossbow string.

The reason for that is simple. When a crossbow is cocked, the string is under constant tension. Over time, this tension will cause the string to stretch and eventually break. By decocking your crossbow when not in use, you are essentially giving your crossbow string a much-needed break and helping to prolong its lifespan.

How Long can you leave a Crossbow Cocked?

We reached out to Bear Customer Care and asked how long their X Saga 405 can remain cocked. And they recommend not keeping it cocked for longer than 5 hours. 

Uncock the bow for 30 minutes and give the string time to “de-tension.” So, if you plan to use your crossbow for an extended period, uncock it every 5 hours.


There are different ways to determine the length of a crossbow string. Check the manual; if you don’t have it, look online or contact customer support. The length of the string will be different for every crossbow model. If you are looking for a custom-made string, tune your crossbow, remove the string and send it to the string maker. They will then be able to make a string that is the perfect length for your crossbow.

There is no set amount of time when it comes to replacing your crossbow string. It all depends on the quality of the string, how often you use your crossbow, and how well you take care of it. Most people recommend changing your string every two years or so.

Last update on 2022-08-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I am the founder and chief editor here at BowAddicted. I love my kids, archery, and the outdoors! It's been an amazing journey so far with some ups and downs, but it's worth it to spend time outside with friends and family.

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