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If you’re looking to dive into archery, it’s understandable that you’ll want to choose a compound bow that can stand the test of time. Besides, compound bows can get rather expensive, rather quickly. So you are going to want this to be an investment that you are not going to have to repeat too soon, or too often. Today, we’ll be walking through all you need to know.
So, do compound bows wear out? With enough wear and tear, any compound bow can be susceptible to breaking or wearing out over time. To clarify further, your compound bow won’t fall apart in your hands as it’s more common for individual parts such as the limbs to give out after extensive use.
Not all compound bows are made with the same quality, nor do they all come with the exact same features.
That being said, and generally speaking, the better quality brands and bows do tend to last longer.
Not always, and there are certainly caveats and other factors to take into consideration here like how often and how they are used.
But you do tend to get what you pay for when it comes to compound bows.
As we shall now continue to explore in the following sections…
How Long Does A Compound Bow Last?
Based on years of research and data, compound bows are known to last at least 15 to 18 years, depending on care and how it’s used.
Moreover, this lifespan can be increased with top-notch care, which generally entails replacing parts and steady upkeep throughout the bow’s lifetime.
Regarding some of the more high-quality compound bows, with proper care, they’re known to last up to 50 years, which can turn into a lifetime with necessary replacement parts and adequate care.
It’s essential to know that not all compound bows are built with the same designs or material quality.
The bow’s entire design will have an influence on how long you can expect it to hold up.
From another perspective, regardless of how high-quality or durable your compound bow may be, if you don’t take care of the individual parts or keep it safe from external harm, that lifespan can be shortened by quite a bit.
Sensitive Parts Of A Compound Bow
Below, I’ll dive into the details about some of the most sensitive parts of compound bows and what to look out for.
They may seem quite durable considering how much tension they go through with every pull of the bowstring, but they can break or splinter like many other parts on a compound bow.
You’ll also find that many modern compound bows are made with fiberglass limbs which give them added strength and are much less likely to break after years of repeated tension.
That doesn’t mean you won’t come across compound bows that offer limbs made of wood, but it isn’t nearly as common.
Moreover, out of all of the parts that are susceptible to breaking, it’s usually the limbs that break first as they take on a lot of stress in comparison to many other parts of the bow.
At a glance, bowstrings look fragile, and to novice archers, it makes you wonder how the bowstring is able to take on so much tension.
Although they may receive the most hands-on use out of any other part on a compound bow, they’re nowhere near as fragile as they seem.
Most bowstrings are crafted with synthetic materials that are surprisingly strong, usually by twisting fiber strands together to form the reliability that every compound bow requires.
Furthermore, not only can pulling on a bowstring cause wear over time, but the release of the bowstring also adds to this factor.
That repeated motion on top of minor knocks or abrasions from releasing an arrow can eventually lead to your bowstring fraying or snapping entirely.
Once again, if you pay attention to these pain points in your compound bow, you can be proactive and replace necessary parts before they pose a safety risk to you or anyone around you.
When compared to other parts on a compound bow, cams aren’t as likely to break, but it can still happen with enough time and tension.
When shopping around for a bow, you’ll want to always consider the quality of the cams, as they’re also available in varying materials.
Plastic is usually the cheaper option, but they aren’t as durable as metal would be.
Bow cams may not just explode mid-pull, but a damaged one can easily hinder the bow’s functionality.
Most problems associated with bow cams come down to either the bowstring derailing from its grip or simply being damaged, as even the slightest bends in a bow cam can put a stop to your compound bow’s ability to shoot.
Do Compound Bows Lose Power Over Time?
The notion that compound bows lose power over time is a misconception of what’s actually happening, as they don’t lose power from aging or too much time on the range.
Either with repeated use or minimal activity, you may find that your bowstring may lose some tension, or it may need to be replaced altogether.
When your bow isn’t in constant use, it’s common for some parts of your bow to ‘relax,’ which means your bow might just need a simple tuneup.
Then again, if that isn’t the case and you can’t seem to get your bowstring to perform how it used to, never write off looking into a full replacement for your bowstring.
It’s important to remember that if you feel like your bow has lost some power, it may be more than just your bowstring.
Other parts, such as your bow’s limbs or cams, could have an effect on the power of your bow.
Never forget that if it feels like your bow has lost power, it isn’t because of age, and you should take a close look at individual parts on your bow to find the source of the issue.
How Often Should You Replace A Compound Bow?
There isn’t a direct answer for this question as it can be somewhat subjective, and the fact that compound bows are known to last from 15-50 years depending on its quality and care.
It’s actually quite rare that you would ever need to replace the entire bow, as you can switch out many individual parts that break, and compound bows can be re-tuned for optimal performance.
In the most extreme cases, it’s understandable to look for a new bow if yours is shattered in pieces, but outside of that, you can repair compound bows in many different ways.
From a cost perspective, compound bows can range from just a few hundred dollars all the way up to thousands, so it isn’t very cos-efficient to put a bow in the trash over minor faults or damages.
No matter if a limb, bowstring, bow cam, or screw snaps off of your bow, it can be fixed even if you have to take it to a professional bow shop to get it done.
In most scenarios, paying for repairs will be much more advantageous than spending money on a brand new bow.
As stated previously in this article, your compound bow can easily last you a lifetime with the proper knowledge and care.
How To Ensure Your Compound Bow Lasts As Long As Possible
There’s a lot you can do to ensure the longevity of your compound bow, but some of the most important are waxing your bowstring, applying servings, keeping it out of inclement weather, and frequent inspections.
Considering the bowstring and limbs take on most of the wear during long-term use, these will generally be the first parts that need to be repaired or replaced.
At the same time, proper form with your compound bow will help as it’s being used the way it was designed to be.
Excess force or improper handling of your bow can also lead to premature damages.
Waxing your bow string is vital for smooth transitions when firing and less wear on the bowstring itself, as your fingers and arrows won’t add any unnecessary friction.
The wax isn’t a requirement per se, but it can make a massive difference if you plan on being pretty active with your compound bow.
Servings are also an optional add-on meant for the most sensitive parts of your bowstring. They aid in preventing direct contact with clothing, nocks, fingers, and more.
The limbs of your bow are another story as there isn’t much you can do to prevent them from potentially weakening over time.
This part of your compound bow requires frequent inspections to avoid splintering or even a full break when pulling on your drawstring.
There are some clear signs that your compound bow may need repair, and a splintering limb is enough reason to look into a limb replacement or repair.
Of course, the material your compound bow is made of will play a factor in how long it holds together after substantial tension over and over.
Some bows are less reliable than others, and each person’s experience will be slightly different than your own, so it’s always best to keep a close eye on your bow.
It’s also much more cost-efficient to be proactive about repairs, as it can be pretty expensive if a part of your bow explodes and breaks off entirely.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an archery expert or looking to purchase your first compound bow; there’s a long list of requirements regarding proper care.
A compound bow can last you a lifetime, but this won’t come without your fair share of repairs and consistent upkeep.
And be sure to store it properly too!
Whether you start off with a cheaper option or a high-quality bow made from the best materials, each bow should be treated with the same level of care for the sake of your wallet and physical safety.
I live in Alberta, Canada where I enjoy indoor and 3D archery with traditional bows and compound bows. On this site, I share everything I’ve learned about archery along the way.