You don’t have to be a technical wizard to be a proficient archer, but every archer should know basic maintenance skills. Recurve archers, for instance, must learn how to adjust their bow’s brace height.
What’s Brace Height?
A bow’s brace height is the distance from the grip’s deepest part to the bowstring. When you get your bow, you’ll set its brace height based on the manufacturer’s recommendation, which is the range the bow is designed to shoot. You need to experiment in that range, and find the spot where your bow shoots best. Once you find your ideal brace height, periodically check it to ensure it hasn’t changed. Brace heights can change as bowstrings stretch, or you repeatedly remove and restring your recurve.
Below are some brace-height ranges. These guidelines work for most recurve bows, but always follow the manufacturer’s recommended brace-height range.
- 62- and 64-inch bows have 7½- to 8½- inch brace heights.
- 66- and 68-inch bows have 8- to 9-inch brace heights.
- 70- and 72-inch bows have 8¾- to 9½-inch brace heights.
How to Adjust Brace Heights
What You Need:
Step 1: String your bow.
If you have a three-piece bow, install its limbs by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Next, locate the top string loop. The top loop is larger than the bottom loop. Slide the top loop down the top limb. Then place the bottom loop into the string grooves on the bottom limb. You’ll see the string grooves near the tip of each limb. These distinctive grooves hold the bowstring.
As with the bowstring, attach the bow-stringer by starting with the top limb. Place the bow-stringer’s “saddle” end over the limb just behind the string loop. The saddle end is open and flat so it lies flat on the limb.
Next, place the pouch end securely over the bottom limb tip. The pouch end is enclosed to securely hold the bow’s tip. Your bow is now ready to be strung.
Step on the bow-stringer with both feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the bow by its grip and pull straight up to flex its limbs. The bow-stringer will support the bow’s draw weight as you slide the top string loop into the limb tip’s string grooves.
This step might seem daunting to new archers. How do you know if you’re flexing the bow far enough? Are you sure it’s OK to step on the bow-stringer? Talk to your archery shop’s pro. They’ll show you how to properly string your bow.
Once the top string loop is secured, remove the bow-stringer. Turn the bow so its limbs face away from you. That’s the position you would use to shoot the bow, and it’s a precautionary move. If the string slips off a limb, the limbs will release away from your body. If this step makes you nervous, visit an archery shop for help. A staff member can demonstrate the process and ensure the strings are in place.
Last, ensure the bowstring is secured in both string grooves. Your bow is now strung and ready to go.
Step 2: Measure your brace height.
Place the bow square in the grip’s deepest part, and check the measurement at the bowstring. Is the brace height at your desired brace height? Is it too high or too low?
Step 3: Remove the bowstring and make adjustments.
Bowstrings have twists. Change the brace height by adding or removing twists. To adjust brace height, unstring the bow, remove the bottom string loop, and then twist or untwist the string. If your brace height is too low, give the bowstring two twists to increase the brace height by about ¼ inch. If your brace height is too high, unwind a few twists from the bowstring. After adding or removing a few twists, restring your bow and recheck the brace height.
*If your brace height is off by several inches, your bowstring might be the wrong length. For recurve bows, bowstrings are usually 3 to 4 inches shorter than the bow’s length. The manufacturer suggests bowstring lengths on its website or in the bow owner’s manual.
Do you need a bow square or bow stringer? Visit an archery shop to pick them up. You can find an archery shop by clicking here.