Why your brace height keeps changing and how to prevent it

Most target archers regularly check their brace height and make changes if necessary. Having a reasonably consistent brace height is important since the brace height will influence the speed and accuracy of the arrow. How this exactly happens is a topic for another day, but it’s important to note that you should try to keep your brace height relatively consistent. You might notice, however, that your brace height keeps changing on your bow. In this article, we will discuss why this may happen and how you can resolve this. If you are just looking for a quick fix, the summary below will help you out:

In most cases, the brace height decreases because the bowstring stretches. This is completely normal and you just have to correct for it every once in a while by adding some twists. When the brace height increases you are likely turning the string while assembling and disassembling the bow.

In this article, I will discuss these possible causes in more detail. So, I would highly recommend continuing reading, if you are still wondering what causes your brace height to change. I will also discuss a less common option and at the end of this article, we will quickly discuss how important the brace height is.

Stretching of the bowstring

Most archers know that strings will stretch over time. But if you are new to archery you might not know this. Therefore, you shouldn’t be worried if your brace height slowly decreases, this is often just the string that stretches a little. You can just add some twists every time the brace height is too low.

When your string becomes longer, the brace height will become shorter. Therefore, every time the string stretches the brace height will become a bit shorter. Although this shouldn’t happen in a short time, over a longer period of time this can make a significant difference.

How much a string stretches differs on the materials of the string. Cheap strings are often the most prone to stretching, but even really expensive strings often stretch. I have the best experience with fast flight string material from Brownell. But understandably this material is more expensive than most other strings.

You can remove most of the stretchiness by putting it under tension for a long time. A good way to do this is by hanging the string and adding a heavy weight at the bottom. This will make sure that most of the stretch is removed from the string before you start shooting.

Archers often use a bow square to measure the brace height

If you are looking to replace your string, you might want to give the article below a read. Apart from string stretch, I also explain other aspects which are often overlooked while choosing a bowstring.

How to choose the right bowstring

Accidentally twisting the bowstring

As you know, you can increase the brace height by adding more twists to the string. If you want to decrease the brace height you have to remove some twists from the string. We do this by turning the string clockwise to add twists or anticlockwise to remove twists. But you can also do this unintentionally.

When storing the bow, most archers remove the string from the lower limb and place it onto the upper limb. This makes for easy storage and makes sure that your string doesn’t become untwisted. But you have to be wary when you do this since you can turn the string while you do this.

This isn’t an issue if you do this just once since you will only add one additional twist. But if you do this consistently you will accumulate the twists over time, which can make a huge difference. Therefore, you should try to twist the string as little as possible, while storing and assembling the bow. If it’s necessary to twist the string to store it properly, you can always make sure that you do the reverse motion when you are assembling the bow.

A loose tiller

The last possible reason I can imagine why your brace height keeps changing is due to a loose tiller. With the tiller, we can configure how much pre-tension is on that particular limb. In general, we only use the tiller to manipulate the tiller height, but it also slightly changes the brace height. Therefore if your tiller is loose, your brace height might keep changing.

Therefore, I would check whether the tiller is secured. In most cases, you would notice this immediately since you will hear rattling noises, but you can always check it to be certain.

Not solved yet?

If someone at my local club had issues with their brace height, the issue was always related to the 3 things I mentioned before. But of course, there are other possibilities, maybe your string is damaged and therefore keeps stretching, or maybe there is something wrong with your limbs.

We can’t always anticipate all causes; therefore I only discussed the causes that I found for this issue. If your issue wasn’t resolved by this article, please let me know in the comment section below. I will not only try to help you with the issue to the best of my abilities but also feature it on this page, to help fellow archers with the same issue. I will respond to your comment as soon as possible and you will receive an email notification.

How important is the brace height?

Let’s briefly discuss how important it is to maintain a consistent brace height. Like some other metrics like the tiller height, limb alignment, and center shot, you shouldn’t obsess over it. Although your brace height shouldn’t vary more than ½ inch (1 cm) you shouldn’t worry if it varies a few just a few millimeters.

Brace height does impact arrow speed and your accuracy, but the effect is very minor if it’s just a few millimeters. Therefore, for most archers (me included) it’s not necessary to be so uptight about the brace height. Checking it once every 2 months should be enough. I would only worry about it when it changes majorly or if you notice that your accuracy starts to suffer.

Tim van Rooijen

For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by archery. First due to its historic significance but later because I like being outdoors. With this blog, I share my knowledge about Archery and how you can improve your shot. More about author…

2 Replies to “Why your brace height keeps changing and how to prevent it”

  1. John Lucas says:

    Hi there, I have a Spigarelli rev 2.
    I shoot with a a 8112G string and have checked the tiller,limb alignment and check my brace height before each shooting session. However my brace height reduces by between 1/8” and a 1/4” after approximately 60arrows every time I shoot. Any advice would be appreciated,I am shooting barebow.regards John

    1. Tim van Rooijen says:

      Hi John,
      I don’t know how old the string is, but most strings will stretch the first few times you use it. That is normal, and it will stretch less the longer you use it.

      What I would recommend is to put the string under tension for a few days. This can help to get the stretch out of the string.

      If that doesn’t help, and the string keeps stretching for one or two months, I think there is something wrong with the string. Maybe a manufacturing error.

      I hope this helps!


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