Is a String Loop Right For You?

January 14th, 2009 / Posted by edersbow.com
Is a String Loop Right For You?

by Bob Robb
A How-to-video is embedded on the bottom of this article.

Archery industry estimates put the number of shooters who use some sort of mechanical release aid at somewhere between 80-90 percent of the total number. While a release will help virtually every archer shoot better, they do create some problems of their own. The two most common are added noise at the shot, and excessive wear on the bowstring’s serving. Also, a release that affixes to a single point on the bowstring — which is usually below the arrow nock — will exert an upward pressure on the shaft at the release, which tends to hamper the shaft from traveling in a perfectly straight and true direction from the get-go.
Tournament shooters — whose success and failure can be measured in fractions of an inch — discovered that adding a “string loop” in place of a standard nock set not only solved these problems, but also helped them shoot a more consistently-accurate arrow.

The String Loop

Pete Shepley, President of PSE and an ardent string loop shooter, prepares raw cord for use as a string loop. Shepley likes to roll the ends of his raw loop cord in epoxy, then let it dry, before tying the loop. The hard glue knot makes working with the loop easier and prevents fraying.

Pete Shepley, President of PSE and an ardent string loop shooter, prepares raw cord for use as a string loop. Shepley likes to roll the ends of his raw loop cord in epoxy, then let it dry, before tying the loop. The hard glue knot makes working with the loop easier and prevents fraying.

A string loop, which is sometimes referred to as a “release rope,” is nothing more than a small loop of heavy-duty nylon string or rope permanently attached to the bowstring. Basically, instead of using a standard nock set, you tie the loop above and below the arrow nock, leaving just enough room once the arrow has been nocked to clip on the jaws of the release aid. In a nutshell, the string loop acts as both the nock set and the connector between the release aid and bow string.

One of the first to promote the use of a string loop for bowhunters was Pete Shepley, president of PSE, a highly-accomplished bowhunter and heckuva bow shot who uses one himself. “The string loop relieves the unbalanced pressures on the arrow nock/string contact point,” Shepley told me during a break in a Texas deer hunt a few years ago. “It makes the shot quieter, prevents unnecessary bow string serving wear, and if you use a release aid that does not attach itself to your wrist with a strap, you can attach the release aid to the string loop and leave it there while sitting in your tree stand.”

 Tying The Loop
While commercial string loop sets are available for four or five bucks at archery pro shops or through catalogs, you can make a satisfactory loop using an inexpensive piece of 1/8-inch braided nylon cord sold in backpacking shops and hardware stores for pennies a foot.

Step one is to cut about six inches of cord off . The string loop is tied by using a pair of reversed half-hitch knots. The reversed half-hitches actually pull against themselves when the pressure of the release aid being drawn back is applied, keeping the knots snug and tight on the string. It can be tricky to figure this out at first, but your local pro shop professional can show you how in no time. Don’t leave much of a “loop” yet, and don’t snug the knots down tight yet, either. Make sure you have short tag ends extending an inch or so past the knots.

 After loosely tying the loop onto the string, adjust it to the estimated proper nock height using a bow square. Next place an arrow nock in the center of the loop, which will allow you to create the proper spacing. Now insert a pair of needlenose pliers into the loop, and forcefully open them up. This will both stretch open the loop itself, and tighten the half-hitch knots.

You should play with the loop until it is short enough to leave only a smidgen of space between the arrow nock and release aid jaws. Once you’ve got it right and everything tightened up, use a butane lighter and carefully burn the tag ends on the rope until the excess is gone, and a hardened knot is left at the ends. Careful — don’t burn the bow string! This hardened tag end is usually enough to keep the knots from pulling through, although some shooters — myself included — dab a little epoxy on them, “just in case.”

Once the loop is tied in place, you can proceed with bow tuning just as you would if a conventional nock set were used . The string loop can be slid up and down the bowstring during the tuning process until you’re shooting bullet holes through paper. While a properly-tied loop will stay in place on its own at this point, being something of a “doubting Thomas” I usually crimp a standard nock set above and below the loop to prevent any minute slippage over time.

If playing with string and tying half-hitches isn’t your thing, a metal string loop — the Ultra Nock and Ultra Nock II — are available. These use a small metal “loop,” which is clamped over the bow string and secured using four small screws.

Tying The Loop
While commercial string loop sets are available for four or five bucks at archery pro shops or through catalogs, you can make a satisfactory loop using an inexpensive piece of 1/8-inch braided nylon cord sold in backpacking shops and hardware stores for pennies a foot.

Step one is to cut about six inches of cord off . The string loop is tied by using a pair of reversed half-hitch knots. The reversed half-hitches actually pull against themselves when the pressure of the release aid being drawn back is applied, keeping the knots snug and tight on the string. It can be tricky to figure this out at first, but your local pro shop professional can show you how in no time. Don’t leave much of a “loop” yet, and don’t snug the knots down tight yet, either. Make sure you have short tag ends extending an inch or so past the knots.

  After loosely tying the loop onto the string, adjust it to the estimated proper nock height using a bow square. Next place an arrow nock in the center of the loop, which will allow you to create the proper spacing. Now insert a pair of needlenose pliers into the loop, and forcefully open them up. This will both stretch open the loop itself, and tighten the half-hitch knots.

You should play with the loop until it is short enough to leave only a smidgen of space between the arrow nock and release aid jaws. Once you’ve got it right and everything tightened up, use a butane lighter and carefully burn the tag ends on the rope until the excess is gone, and a hardened knot is left at the ends. Careful — don’t burn the bow string! This hardened tag end is usually enough to keep the knots from pulling through, although some shooters — myself included — dab a little epoxy on them, “just in case.”

Once the loop is tied in place, you can proceed with bow tuning just as you would if a conventional nock set were used . The string loop can be slid up and down the bowstring during the tuning process until you’re shooting bullet holes through paper. While a properly-tied loop will stay in place on its own at this point, being something of a “doubting Thomas” I usually crimp a standard nock set above and below the loop to prevent any minute slippage over time.

If playing with string and tying half-hitches isn’t your thing, a metal string loop — the Ultra Nock and Ultra Nock II — are available. These use a small metal “loop,” which is clamped over the bow string and secured using four small screws.

Features/Advantages of a String Loop
PSE special services (Box 5487, Tucson, AZ 85703) offers the following features/advantages sheet on using a string loop:
Eliminates arrow fall-off at full draw
makes nocking point location less critical
 No need to re-nock the shaft after let-down
 No serving damage from release aid contact
 Assures easy one-hand loading
 Releases can remain attached to bowstring in perfect location
 Eliminates gaps in serving from pressure on nocking point
 Controls peep sight location
 Eliminates nock warping due to pinch at full draw
 Allows release aids to be held at right angles rather than level
 System is suitable for all types and lengths of bows
 Extends sight range due to peep being higher above arrow
Prevents the nock sliding down string during the shot.
Permits high cheek anchor without release aid rope slap
Use of loop improves shoulder alignment
Loop adjustment has same effect as bow draw length adjustment
Eliminates chin slap from release aid ropes
Can be used with all types of release aids
 Loop also functions as a string silencer.

To purchase string loop material see: http://www.eders.com/categories/release-loops/

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