What Length Bowstring Do I Need for My Recurve Bow?

It is necessary to replace the bow strings on your recurve bow as often as needs be. This depends on how frequently you shoot with your bow, what environment you are shooting in and how well your bow is maintained and stored after use.

It is also important to get a bowstring of the correct length when the time comes around to replace it, as an incorrect bowstring length doesn’t just lead to frustration, but can lead to you damaging the bow and even yourself.

In our current culture of buying online, it is always good to read a bit about what the information is that you will see on the screen when looking to buy a bowstring, and what that terminology means.

How to Measure the Bowstring on Your Recurve Bow

  • First, unstring your bow and lay it on flat, level ground
  • Using a measuring tape, measure the distances between the 2 tips of your recurve bow
  • The correct length for your recurve’s new bowstring is 4 inches (10,16 cms) less than the distance measured from one tip to the other.
  • Confirm the distance that was measured by waiting 24 hours for your old bowstring to return to its original length
  • Loop the old bowstring end around an anchor like a nail and extend the bowstring out so that it is rigid and tight
  • Then measure the size of the old bowstring with your measuring tape again

Look at Your Recurve Bow Itself

Sometimes there will be writing at the bottom limb of your recurve bow, although it can often be on the side part of the riser too. The writing will typically read 58”/30# and that refers to the length of your bow (58” or 147,32 cms)/and the poundage of 30# at a draw length of 28” or 71,12 cms.  (Learn more about draw length)

If your recurve is 58” you may think that you then require a 58 inches AMO (Archery Manufacturers Association) bowstring. AMO measurements for bowstrings have set the actual string length to be 4” less so the 58 inches AMO string you buy is actually only 54 inches.

This is a very important point to remember as there are, confusingly, some places that label their string orders based on the string’s actual length and not the AMO regulation sizes.

So, if the bow specs on the bottom limb reads 60” than you must get a 60 AMO bowstring once you have checked that the AMO standard is the one used by the string manufacturer. The same thing goes if you measure your bow from tip to tip. You take that measurement and buy the AMO bowstring length to match it.

More Bowstring Information

Standard bowstrings are made from such hardy materials like B50-Dacron (or Dracrogen). This has a little stretch and provides solid shooting with a helpful leeway to the archer and the bow.

They are suitable for the recurve bow of an entry level archer all the up to competition level.

When selecting a standard recurve bowstring, first look at the draw weight for your bow.  (Learn more about draw weight). Next, choose the number of strands the string has that will be a good match to the draw weight of your recurve.


A standard B50 Dacron/Dacrogen string are generally selected by using the following method:

  1. A 10 strand B50 Dacron/8 strand Dacrogen string is for bows that are up to 30 pounds/13,5 kgs.
  2. A 12 strand B50 Dacron/10 strand Dacrogen string is for bows up to 40 pounds/18,1 kgs.
  3. A 14 strand B50 Dacron/12 strand Dacrogen string is for bows heavier than 40 pounds/18,1 kgs.


The more strands a bowstring has, the heavier and stronger it is. The thickness of the string will change as more strands are added, so the fit of your bow’s arrow nock will be affected by the thicknesses. Either a nock that is smaller or a fatter string may be needed for a beginner archer’s arrows to fit well with the entry level 10-strand B50 string. A 12-strand B50 string is most commonly used, as it gives a good balance between the strength, weight, nock fit, and size.

Larger size strings are mostly used for heavier bows where the added weight of the string will act as a small damper, which in turn makes shooting with a heavier bow more consistent. There may, however, be a loss of distance. A bigger string groove on the nock may also be needed.


These archery facts and knowledge will become more familiar to you as you practice and integrate with the sport. When in doubt, it is always best to ask your coach or another archery expert to help you understand. Once you are comfortable with the terminology, feel free to shop online for all your archery equipment.


Draw Length

The draw length tells you how far back a bow can be pulled. It varies from person to person, according to their build. There are some bows on the market that offer a variety of draw lengths to be adjusted by the user.

It is best to visit an archery retailer or ask your instructor to measure your correct draw length professionally before a bow is fitted. Your local archery club will also be able to help size up your draw length.

This measurement determines the size and length of the arrows your bow will use and the size/length of the bow.

Archers come is many sizes and age groups so a general rule of thumb to match recurve bow length to the person’s draw length is to follow the guidelines below:

Draw Length worked out by professional                       Bow Size/Length

Up to 25”/63 cm                                                             54”/137 cm to 62”/157 cm

Up to 27”/68 cm                                                             64”/162,5 cm to 66”/167.6 cm

Up to 29”/73,6 cm                                                          66”/167,6 cm to 68”/172,7 cm


Age: 6 to 12 years – smaller size bows of 54”/137 cm to larger size bows of 64”/162,5 cm

Age: Teen to adult – smaller size bows of 64”/162,5 cm to larger size bows of 70”/177,8 cm


Draw Weight

This signifies the amount of force the archer needs to pull the bow. Draw weight is always measured in pounds although metrified countries may have added a kilogram translation. Sometimes the pound is written as a hashtag # sign on the labeling.

A recurve bow’s draw weight will increase as it is drawn but a compound bow’s weight will not.

A quick assessment of the learner’s body weight, gender, and general fitness levels help work out their draw weight capabilities. Keeping in mind that beginners always place lower draw weights.

Small child (70 to 100 pounds/31 to 45 kilograms) – 10 to 15 pounds/4,5 to 6,8 kilograms suggested draw weight.

Larger size child (100 to 130lbs/59 kilograms) – 15 to 25 pounds/11 kilograms suggested draw weight.

Petite female & medium size female – 25 to 35 pounds/15,8 kilograms suggested draw weight.

Small frame male – 30 to 45 pounds/ 13 to 20 kilograms suggested draw weight.

Medium frame male – 40 to 55 pounds/ 20 to 25 kilograms suggested draw weight.

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