This review has been a long time coming. If anything could cause a delay, it happened! However, I am happy to finally post this review about Extreme Bow Strings.
For this review I worked with Ron Harmon of Extreme Bow Strings. I had asked him if he wanted to submit a set of strings for review and to have him pick whatever type of strings he wanted. Ron chose to submit a set of strings made from Brownell’s Astro Flight material. I thought this was a great choice because I have never used a bowstring/cable set made from Astro Flight and was very interested to see how it would perform.
The testing setup for this review will consist of a Hoyt Ultra-Tec bow using Cam & 1/2s initially set at 70 lbs. and 30″. This bow and cam combination requires a 56 1/2″ string, 43″ control cable and 40″ buss cable with a floating yoke.
Before replacing the strings/cables with the set from Extreme Bow Strings, it was using a set of strings made from BCY’s 452x material that has performed quite well, but has easily had 5000 shots and as been banged around through the woods for multiple years. While the current strings are still in good condition and shoot well, they are a bit frayed.
My hunting arrows for this bow are Easton ACC 3-60 with a broadhead weighing 125 grains, for a total weight of 447 grains. These arrows result in a speed of 282.6 fps on average with the BCY 452x strings.
Initial impressions of Extreme Bow Strings
I let Ron pick the color of the strings he wanted to see in the review, I only asked that they be something that photographed well with good contrast in the colors. Ron picked yellow and cocobola for the colors, something I never would have picked myself. However, when the strings arrived I could see why he picked these colors as they look excellent with the camo of the bow and the bronze colored cams. All end serving is done in black and the center serving of the string is a peppered color.
When getting a new set of strings, the very first thing I do is inspect all of the serving on the loops and center of the string. I search for any inconsistencies, loose threads, gaps in wrappings or anything else that might indicate a future problem. With these strings I was unable to find anything that seemed out of place and everything looks very well done. The wraps are tight and everything is finished so that there aren’t any tag ends or other oddities. Excellent craftsmanship!
One thing that I immediately noticed is that the Astro Flight material has a different texture than what I was used to. It has more of a “slick” feel to it and the finished string and all of the strands are nearly perfectly round. It’s difficult to feel the different strands within the string.
The next thing to do was to measure the strings to make sure they met specifications for the test bow. Measuring loose strings is only for making sure they start close to specifications because once on the bow, they will have to be twisted or untwisted somewhat to match the bow and cam settings themselves. The measurements of the loose strings were 56 3/16″ for the string, 42 7/8″ for the control cable and 39 7/8″ for the buss cable. Measurements were taken by looping one end over a nail in a board and pulling the string tight over a tape measure.
Installation and setup
Once I was satisfied that all looked good, I removed the old strings and replaced them with the new Extreme Bow Strings. Installation was smooth with no issues and once they were in place I immediately took the bow outside and shot 20 arrows though it to settle things in. When first installing a new string, it is important to get a least a few shots through it before making adjustments. This allows the loops to settle in and stretch and for the all of the twists in the strings to pull taught and form to the cams.
After another quick inspection to make sure all was well with the string set, I began to set the bow to factory specifications according to the brace height and ATA. To get the bow to exact factory specs I had to remove one twist from each of the cables and add two twists to the string. This brought everything to within under 1/32″ of the official specs. I was very happy with how little twisting and manipulating it took to get the everything set perfectly.
Next I shot the bow another dozen shots to re-settle everything and then installed the peep sight. This is probably the one step that can cause more heartache to archers than anything else, getting the peep at the right height and turned the proper way to line up with the archer’s eye and sight. As strings stretch (creep) and/or move throughout their life on the bow, the peep can often rotate out of position. The Extreme Bow Strings website claims “no creep” and watching how the peep behaves is the ultimate test.
Testing and performance over time
After installing the peep as well as a permanent tied-in nock set and d-loop combination, it was time to shoot the bow and its new strings in earnest. I grabbed a bundle of my hunting arrows with field points and headed outside to the range once more.
The first duty was to paper tune the bow which took relatively little time since the rest had not been moved and I put the nock set in the exact same location. Sighting in was also accomplished quickly and required only minimal adjustments out to 30 yards.
When I had finished sighting in, the peep had rotated a slight amount and required adding a half-twist to get it back to perfect alignment. In total at this point the bow and strings had around 50-60 shots. I shot another dozen times to make sure the peep stayed aligned and was satisfied that it was settled in and looking good.
Next up was to check the performance of the new setup. Using the chronograph and the exact same arrows as were used with the initial string set, I shot a dozen times and threw out the highest and lowest speeds. This left an average of 287.7 fps, or a 5.1 fps increase. For doing nothing other than putting new strings on and setting them to the same specs, this was a decent increase and one that I was happy with!
Now the long part of the testing…to get several hundred shots through the bow and strings. Over the course of several months and weather permitting, I was able to put about six hundred shots through the strings before a minor emergency occurred. Right before the leagues that my wife and I shoot started, we pulled out her bow and found that somehow her string had partially snapped. It was an older string that I had intended on replacing, but Murphy struck and I was left without time to get her a new set.
My solution was to take my Ultratec with its new strings and to reduce the draw length to 26 1/2 inches. This required moving the cam module, taking a couple of twists out of the cables and adding three twists to the string and reducing the draw weight. I didn’t really want to do this with the string review still in progress, but I would rather have a bow for my wife to shoot than the alternative!
Before making the above stated changes, I did take the measurements of the bow specs once again to see if they had changed. The brace height difference was undetectable and the ATA had stretched to maybe 1/32″ longer. From my experience with past bow strings, this was the least amount of change that I have ever measured.
Final thoughts and wrap-up
After the changes I had to make for my wife, the bow has been shot nearly one thousand additional times, for a total of around 1500 shots. Once I re-adjusted the peep sight to meet the changes for her, it has not changed positions at all and remains well aligned. The string has been waxed at least monthly and while there is some very minor fraying on the cables where they pass through the cable guard, the strings look in near-new and excellent condition.
For my first experience with the Astro Flight material and Extreme Bow Strings, I would say that I am very happy with the results and the performance of the strings and cables. I would heartily recommend these strings to anyone who is looking for a new set.
Extreme Bowstrings offers not only the Astro Flight material, but also 452X and Xcel materials. I have used the 452x in the past with excellent results, but after my experience with the Astro Flight I would have no problem recommending it as well. Full string sets run from $70 to $85 depending on your type of setup, with sales often lowering the price to $55. You can check them out and order directly from their website at: http://www.extremebowstrings.com/