Custom Strings Increase Bow Performance and Accuracy
July 29, 2016
There are many reasons why bowhunters go the route of custom string sets, but three are primary: 1. Your current set is more than two years old, or has nicks, frays or worn servings; 2. You need a non-stock bow string length to match your exact draw length when you are between cam or module sizes; 3. You want a complete back-up set shot-in before you head on a major trip.
Other reasons may include the desire to increase or decrease holding weight by bulking up or thinning down your cables, and of course, choosing specific colors to highlight your rigs flair.
My draw length is 28-1/4 inches, which falls between standard half-inch increments on most cams and modules. I can use a 28-inch model and go with a long d-loop, or go to a 28-1/2-inch module and use a ridiculously short loop.
Both of those options are potentially detrimental to achieving optimal accuracy and a perfect tune, so I made a call to Steve Fondie at Vapor Trail strings and told him what I was looking to accomplish with a longer-than-stock bow string, and ordered a complete set of their VTX strings for my cam-and-a-half bow. "We can certainly do that, Mike, just make sure you specify exactly what you want on our website order form," said Fondie.
Vapor Trail has been making custom string sets for over 23 years, currently offered in BCY 452 and their own proprietary VTX blend, which is available exclusively through Vapor Trail. VTX material is renowned for its stability under varying weather environments, and once your peep is tied in — it stays set.
All the cables are served with Halo material to prevent serving separation, and even the end loops are served for easier installation and longer life. You can even get your end loops served in different half-loop colors, so you can more accurately track cable twists when making tuning adjustments.
All Vapor Trail strings are hand tied on high-tension jigs, with literally thousands of available color combinations available for a truly custom look for your rig.
When my set arrived, I double checked the lengths of my string and cables on quarter-inch pegs under 100 pounds of tension via a bow scale on my draw board. The string lengths were spot on, and after tying on a d-loop I anxiously drew the bow back to check the draw length, which felt much improved.
A few twists in the bowstring and it was perfect. After about 60 shots with the new string set, I put the bow back on my draw board to verify draw length and measure holding weight. Curiously, my holding weight was almost two pounds lighter than with my stock strings, which was probably due to the slightly thinner cables and possibly the longer string.
Either way, I liked the overall feel better, and appreciate the lower holding weight for hunting scenarios. On the chrono check, I picked up a few FPS, but that wasn't my goal, just a nice benefit.
After a year of hunting with the VTX set, I'm pretty impressed with their performance. I took a couple red stag and a fallow deer in Argentina, the biggest elk of my career, a couple turkeys and numerous whitetails.
All through this travel and hard hunting in all types of weather, my peep stayed solidly in place and the servings are tight and rock solid. Most importantly, my draw length feels perfect and that helps me shoot as accurately and confident as possible.
Limb Driver Pro-V
I also recently installed a new Vapor Trail Limb Driver Pro-V on this bow, which has developed a cult-like following among its devotees.
The only complaint ever registered on message boards about this rest was it was challenging to mount on some bows, and on others it made a distinct sound when the launcher arm came back to rest. Vapor Trail has addressed both these issues in the new version, making a very good rest great.
The Pro-V now features a larger, more contoured molded rubber bumper replacing the former smaller adhesive version. The new rubber bumper provides more cushion on the launcher arm, which in turn eliminates nearly all noise when firing.
In addition, the Pro-V has been redesigned to have a sleeker mounting system. Not only does this give the arrow rest a new, more streamlined appearance, but it also allows the rest to fit on a few bows that it previously could not.
I'm a big believer in limb-driven rests, as they eliminate some of the tuning issues that can come from cable-driven systems, and they offer flexibility in timing depending on where you attached the rest cord to the limb.
As a category, limb-driven rests also tend to support the arrow longer at launch, while positively clearing before the fletchings reach the launcher arm. A feature I really appreciate on the Limb Driver is the adjustable tension on the launcher arm, giving users the ability to micro tune the launcher support depending on arrow and tip weight. This feature can really help you achieve ideal arrow support for perfect flight characteristics.
The Pro-V's Capture Containment Cage keeps your arrow secure, and it's machined from aluminum, weighing in at a scant 3 ounces so it doesn't impact bow balance, and the Pro-V is available in 15 custom color choices. Learn more about Vapor Trail rests and strings at vaportrailarchery.com.