In the case of releasing the arrow, the potential energy is converted into kinetic energy which propels the arrow forwards.
However, some of this energy is transferred into the string, providing the familiar oscillation.
As objects oscillate, they produce sound waves, which is the twang heard when shooting an arrow.
Bow silencers work by absorbing and dissipating kinetic energy in the bowstring (which is passed through into the limbs and grip).
This reduces vibration through the bow itself, and also dampens the sound created by the string.
Be aware, however, that some of this kinetic energy is absorbed during the release of the arrow itself.
This means that, although quieter, the bow shot is actually less powerful than without silencers.
Where to Put a String Silencer on a Bow?
Deciding where to place your bow silencer is a trade-off between sound and power. The more central on the bowstring, the less sound is created but more power is lost, and vice versa.
Ideally, for maximum noise reduction, they should be placed on the knocking point.
However, that is obviously highly impractical.
This means that the silencers have to be somewhere above and below this position, the key being that they should balance – one on either side of the nocking point.
As a rule-of-thumb, place one string silencer six to eight inches from both limbs.
It’s worth experimenting to find the optimum position on your bow to satisfy both your sound reduction and power requirements.
How to Install a String Silencer
The old adage, ‘always read the manufacturer’s instructions’ holds true here.
Different bowstring silencers, combined with the large variety of bows available, means that there is not one method to suit all.
Some silencers require the bowstring to be removed before fitting.
For a longbow, this may not prove too difficult for the experienced archer.
However, for compound bows this could be too complicated for some. If you are in doubt, seek the assistance of a professional.
Many silencers can, however, be simply attached by tying onto the bowstring while it is still on the bow.
Here are the steps to follow for a typical fur or cat’s whiskers silencer:
Measure eight inches from both limbs on your bowstring and mark with chalk (it is preferable to ink, which can weaken the string).
Begin by securing one end of a piece of serving string an inch above the chalk mark.
Slowly wrap the serving string around the bowstring.
Each turn should move closer to the mark. After each turn, pull tight to ensure it remains as taut as possible.
When you are just less than a quarter of an inch away, put the silencer in place.
Depending on the design of the silencer (whiskers, fur etc.), wrap the serving string around an appropriate location point five times.
Pass the serving string over the silencer, and again wrap five times around a securing point.
Finish by wrapping the serving string around the bowstring until you are one inch past the chalk mark.
Complete for the other limb.
What to Look for When Purchasing Bow Silencers
As with choosing your bow, string silencers are down to personal preference. These are some of the factors to take into consideration.
Fitting – if you wish to attach the bow silencer yourself, but are uncomfortable removing the string, choose one that can be attached with the bowstring still in place.
Quality – choose a silencer that will last, especially if removing the bowstring is required for fitting. You do not want to be replacing them every few weeks.
Noise level – if you are a game hunter, noise reduction should be at the top of your priorities, less so if you are simply looking to inhibit vibration.
Waterproof – indoor archers, or fair-weather shooters, will have little use for a waterproof silencer. However, if you are in the great outdoors for any length of time, choosing a waterproof silencer can be invaluable.
Natural or Synthetic – their efficacy is very similar. If you are looking for the ‘traditional’ hunter look, natural materials such as fur may be more appealing. Conversely, if you are against animal products, synthetics such as rubber or plastic are ideal.
Top Bow Silencer Reviews
When considering which bow silencers to purchase, the choice can be initially overwhelming.
Hence, we have taken time to review the current available options.
Here are the top five we believe are a good choice to keep your bow silent and vibration free.
Mountain Man Beaver Balls
Being one of the most natural and ‘traditional’ looking of all bow silencers, Mountain Man Beaver Balls offer effective noise reduction together with a pleasing aesthetic.
The ‘balls’ refer to the shape of the bow silencers, not the anatomical part. They are made from 100 percent beaver hide and can be fitted without removing the bowstring as detailed above.
However, removal and separating the string twists can provide a more secure fitting.
When mounted on the bow, they give an authentic, almost Native American appearance.
This makes them ideal for the game hunter looking for a real outdoor look.
Functionally, they perform as well as synthetics, and better than other hides, such as otter. Their composition means that they are naturally waterproof, shedding water as the string is released.
They will outlast most synthetics as they are less liable to perish through water or extreme temperatures.
Customer testimonials praise their ability to function well on longbows, recurve or compounds, making it a great all-round choice. One pair is included in each pack.
If there is one negative, they are a little heavier than some synthetic silencers.
100 percent natural beaver hide
Perfect for the ‘traditional’ archer
From a manufacturer with a pedigree in archery equipment
Heavy compared to some synthetic silencers
Not suitable for people who do not use animal products
Bow silencers are a good way to improve your shooting experience. Whether you are looking for a more comfortable release, increasing the life of your equipment or increasing stealth during hunting.
The ideal silencer for you will depend on the aesthetic look you are trying to achieve and the results you demand.
In their own way, all the above bowstring silencers can enhance your equipment. However for us, the Mountain Man Beaver Balls slightly edge above the rest for ease of fitting, sound and vibration improvements and long-lasting quality.