How To Measure Recurve Bow Length (in 2 Ways!)

By Andy Ryan


Updated at
an archer holding his bow

As a professional archer, I can tell you I suffered a lot of growing pains because I started with a bow that was a little too big for me when I was a beginner. Bow length is the distance between the top limb’s tip and the bottom limb’s tip. Although recurve bows are accommodating and will let you shoot with a larger draw length than what’s normally ideal for you, you need to draw to the perfect point to get the most out of your bow and maximize accuracy.

Here I will be discussing with you the two methods of how to measure recurve bow string length that both I and other experts use.

Method 1: Use the AMO Length

An AMO label is typically found on a bow and refers to the bow’s stated length. This label is quite helpful, especially when measuring the length of the bowstring on a recurve bow.

The AMO represents the whole length of the bow from tip to tip. In most cases, the bowstring length listed on the label will be sufficient for your bow.

Draw Length (inches)Bow Size (inches) – AMO
[You may click here to know how to measure the bow’s draw length.]

Consequently, if you have a recurve bow with the appropriate AMO length visible on it, you may utilize that to figure out how long your bowstring should be. It’s far more convenient than measuring by hand.

[The image above shows where to measure the AMO length for a traditional recurve bow]

However, if the label is missing, you may utilize what many professional or archery shops use. The AMO’s basic rule states that the bowstring length should be 3 inches lower than the original recurve bow length.

Method 2: Manual Measuring

There are times when you’ll need to measure the length of the recurve bow string manually. A label or AMO standard information lost from the bow is the most prevalent example.

Below are some basic instructions for measuring the bowstring length.

Step 1: Grab some measuring tape.

Step 2: Find one end of the string groove on your recurve bow.

Step 3: Choose a string groove end and measure along the curve of the recurve bow limb towards the belly side of the bow.

Step 4: Measure from that point towards the opposite string groove end.

Subtract 4 inches from the measurement you now have.

Height of the Brace and Recurve Bow String Length: Why Do They Matter?

An additional component to take into account in determining the length of a bowstring is the brace height.  In case you didn’t know, the length between a bowstring and the deepest end of the bow grip is known as brace height.

The interactions between brace height and actual bowstring length can assist you in launching arrows accurately with recurve bows.

Below are two examples to explain this:

  • If your bowstring hits your arm when you let an arrow go, your brace height is too low. As a result, the length of the bowstring is excessively lengthy.
  • The height of the brace will not be significant if your strings are too short, and you may have no control over your recurve bow.

In both cases, you will feel a reduction of power every time you shoot due to an incorrect string length resulting in a wrong brace height.

Complexities of Recurve Bows

Recurve bows depend primarily on your strength. Although most advanced recurve bows have a fixed drawback reach, drawing your bow correctly still relies on your upper body power. (1)

Recurve bows maintain and sustain the distinctive look found on the bow limbs when it comes to design. They have bent limbs to store enough force to propel an arrow towards the target. These bent curve limbs also best symbolize the blend of artistry and purpose.

Learn Further About Recurve Bow Strings

From tuning, grouping, and scoring to noise, vibration, and even the lifespan of the rest of your gear, your bowstring can have a significant impact on many areas of shooting and bow performance. (2)

Elements of a Recurve Bow String

  • The string  – The thread of materials used to create your preferred recurve bowstring.
  • Bowstring loops – These are what you use to attach the limbs of your recurve bow. Keep in mind that the loops are all different diameters. When stringing, you move the top loop down the bow limb, typically bigger than the opposite end.
  • Center serving – It is placed around the recurve bow string’s center and is where you should put your fingertips before drawing the bow.
  • Nocking point – This is the best spot to fasten an arrow on your bowstring were an arrow.

Types of Recurve Bow Strings

There are two types of recurve bowstrings. We will show you more in the description below.

Flemish Twist 

The strands on this bowstring are hand-made and usually manufactured by the best craftsmen. Unfortunately, when compared to the other bowstring types, this one is more expensive. However, you can perform old tricks with this string.

Endless Loop

Endless loops and Flemish twists require specific tools. Among the two recurve bow string varieties, this is the more commonly used. Although this is a realistic option, there is one significant drawback to be aware of. The ability to tweak or make additional modifications to the bowstring may be a nuisance.

The Proper Maintenance of Your Bow String

Lastly, I’d like to provide some valuable advice about recurve bow string care.

Store Your Bow Properly 

This will enable you to make your recurve bowstring last longer.

Wax Your Bow String 

When you’re not using it, wax your bowstring to retain its shape and durability.

A Thorough Inspection 

It’s never a good idea to have frayed or broken strands on your bowstring. If you notice any of these flaws, it’s time to replace your bowstring.

(1) upper body power –
(2) lifespan –