Our 5 strand rope is quickly becoming one of our top sellers as it is extremely smooth, snappy, and feels great — but it’s not a great fit for everyone. Here are some things to consider with a 5 strand rope:
Durability: When you compare a 3/8 scant (slightly smaller than a 3/8) rope in 3 strand, 4 strand, and 5 strand, each one has the same amount of material to create the size, however, this material is divided by the number of strands in the rope. So a 3 strand rope will have the thickest strands, with the 4 strand next, and the 5 strand having the smallest strands. When you compare this in an 11/32 or 5/16 size, you have even less fiber per strand. With less fiber per strand, the individual strands are not as durable and it can be easier to break a strand although the rope as a whole will be similar in strength and durability. Also, repeated stretching of a specific area (ex: around the back legs during branding) will usually result in a weak or “broken down” spot in your rope. The remedy is to cut the rope back past that area and re-tie the rope, or switch ends of the rope.
Popping a Strand: Our 3 strand rope is not made with a core and this enables the strands to sit against each other very tightly leaving very little room for the strands to move when pressure is applied. The 3 strand design will be the least likely to pop a strand and can take the most abuse as far as weight of the animal and speed of the dally / turning hard and fast. This doesn’t mean it won’t break – all of them will if enough pressure and speed is applied. The 4 strand with or without the core has a chance of popping a strand again if enough pressure and speed is applied. It has a greater chance of popping a strand than a 3 strand, but less than a 5 strand – so a nice middle of the road choice. The 5 strand is only made with a core and all 5 strands are balanced around this core. Referring to the paragraph above about the smaller strand size, it takes less pressure (or a combo of pressure / speed) to push the smaller strand out of place. Sometimes this will correct itself if it is just a short burst of pressure and sometimes (like on a dally) it will not correct itself and the core will become exposed and look like a “knot”. Pulling the rope straight may allow the strands to realign but if enough damage has been done, it cannot be fixed and will need to be cut out. Due to the small strands, the 5 strand is not the best choice for large, heavy animals or any animals that will be roped and then turned hard and fast. If you are roping larger animals, or hard and fast with a 5 strand, you should aim to control your speed and be cautious of higher pressure points such as quick / sharp turns.
Dally Speed: A 5 strand rope is much smoother with smaller crowns than a 3 or 4 and will run more quickly on a horn and therefore can be harder for a person to dally. For this reason, we do not recommend 5 strand ropes for those just learning to dally.