Well said. Yes, experimentation. And you may find you preference changes now and again.Its not only speed and band life, it's also draw weight in the equation, along with enough power (apart from speed), to actually hurl the ammo.
There is not a single answer to this question, as everyone has different priorities regarding speed, longevity, ammo used, draw weight, etc.
I have personally developed my preferences, but only through trial and error. I never use the extreme Chinese tapers for example. I use a 5:4 taper usually.
What was the active length and what ammo. 500 shots seems pretty good. But I find when trying to get speeds 220 fps that is stressful on a heavily tapered band set.A band set I made using "Precise" red rubber (0.7 mm thickness) cut to the Chinese specifications (22 cm length, 22 to 12 mm taper) survived 500 shots, :thumbsup: which I would say is excellent for highly tapered bands: the band set gradually severed and broke at the pouch.
The "Precise" brand is top notch in my opinion.
I should add that I used the Chinese band tying material, which may also make a difference in band lifespan.