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Euro vs. American???

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Master teak prototype

Here are some pictures of the Master America 115 Teak prototype I've been using alongside the standard Douglass fur version with epoxy overlay that is actually in production now. Aesthetically both have their own beauty. Omer made sure that the overall weight would be almost identical.

Since these are 115's they have additional ballast in the front end as long as a slot for the circular band. I use two 18mm bands in these guns with a 7mm(9/32") shaft or a 17/64" shaft without the second band.

As you can see this gun uses some concepts that are bridging the gap between the two styles of guns. The bands are in line with the shaft, the balancing can be perfected for whatever shaft setup you decide to use to avoid recoil and it still has the feel of a lighter single band gun. Both versions have six laminations of wood. The wishbones pictured are ideal for tying your bands since they don't drag the plastic wishbone coupling on standard screw in band across the wood to scratch it. This is needed when the bands are being pulled at an angle as opposed to strait as in most of our guns.

You also never have to worry about the wishbone breaking, all wire/cable/spectra eventually do except you have to be more careful since it will hurt more than a soft wishbone if you release the bands acceidently.

All together this gun is intended for someone who can really apreciate these concepts and technical differences compared to other guns.

bottom mid-section


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top side teak and top side varnish

top front view of both guns


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side and bottom view of muzzles

the front and bottom view of the shark shaped snout of the guns
with both sets of bands and without bands


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the brain of the gun

Here is the innovative front end balancing system. in 1999 I had a gun built with a similar balancing system with removable weights in the mid section of the gun and after some good thought we realized that the ballasting is more crucial in the front end of the gun where recoil and vertical forces from the bands have a major effect on the stability of the weapon.


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a wishbone with brass balls

the title should explain it:D


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Thanks for your thoughtful posts. They are very educational! Everything you have said makes sense to me, except “quick aim capability of a rear handle design”. I fail to see how having the handle in the rear, when this is the only factor, would make aiming quicker. Wouldn’t it be the other differences of the European guns, such as less weight, less water drag that would account for the quick aiming?

It seems to me that a mid handle would be quicker to swing and aim, with all other things being equal. I also thought the difficulty of swinging/aiming the larger and heaver wood/wing/ballasted guns was one of the reasons for developing the mid handle.
Just curious!

That teak gun looks damn sweet!!!!!! Is Andrew going to have one of those in Hawaii so I can check it out? BTW, we leave this Saturday. Fabricio's going with us as our alternate and Andrew's bringing Claudio and his brother as helpers. Russ Karnap is our 3rd teammate. We have a great team this year and will put in a good effort. Hopefully something will come of it.

BTW, I agree with Don. You've had some very nice informational posts lately. Keep 'em coming!

rear handle/mid handle

Hi Don, I'm glad you found some of my ramblings informative:) This topic is one which I have a great personal interest in. I've spent some time with the Italians studying and understanding speargun ballistics.

I was trying to find where I wrote what you quoted to see what context I said it in but couldn't place it.

To sum it up the beauty of a single band rear handle/Euro gun is the simplicity, balance, accuracy and power that is achieved through a single band design. This makes it particularly effective given a wide variety of circumstances and very adaptable depending on the size that is used to suit local conditions and quarry. The light weight as you describe makes the front end light so the gun is not muzzle heavy hence the ease of maneuverability and aim, and, with any thickness or strength of power band, so long as only one is used this balance and all it's attributes are not affected. These attributes translate into absense of recoil and an increase in accuracy, lightweight and maneuverability even at depth as well as an almost perfect compromise of power and speed with a 7mm (9/32") or thinner shaft with the single bands. This is what I meant as far as quick aim and light weight just as you said.

On the contrary, a rear handle design that uses a heavy aluminum or wooden tube that is over 120cm long generally is more heavy on the wrist and muzzle heavy. With two powerful bands aside from it being muzzle heavy it will suffer from recoil as it's not ballasted properly for two bands and be even more unbalanced. This is why carbon fiber tubes are used but even then with more than one strong band accuracy will suffer because it is too light for the power. Some don't care or just get used to it and adjust to it.

As much as the mid-handle design increases maneuverability and has more power than its rear handle,same-size, single-band counterpart if you take the former, a properly ballasted teak gun with three bands, and the later, with a single band and a carbon fiber tube, it's easy see which is easier to maneuver. I own both and in comparison the former is slow and cumbersome and this is why most of the divers I know choose the later for most of their diving. Mi bluewater gun weighs ten pounds the other one three.

Where the heavier mid-handle has it's advantages is when we're targeting a specific type of big blue water gamefish in clear water than can be over 50lbs where the strait and far powerful shot is a priority. You need penetration 20ft away. On the other hand, when the priority is fast action, manueverability and smaller prey than 50lbs with the occasional chance at a big one and you can get within 15ft for shot the later is a better compromise.

Today a compromise between these two designs is emerging, we are doing it with the Master America and others are doing it a different way. The result should be a fast action design that is properly balanced and ballasted to avoid recoil for the use of two power bands and has the advantages of the power of a bigger mid-handle design and the accuracy and maneuverability of a rear handle/Euro type design. Rick at Aimrite is doing it with a mid-handle design I think he calls his hybrid, while Omer has decided to take what was more natural for an Italian speargun manufacturer to start with, a rear handle design. Instead of ballasting the back of the gun the architect who designed the Master America, Marco Pisello, placed the ballast (more wood/more weight) throughout the length of the stock and even more so towards the front, not only increasing BALLAST but more crucially BUOYNACY/FLOTATION where it is needed- in the front of the gun.

This achieves two very desired results fundamental to proper speargun ballistics: avoiding RECOIL and increasing FLOTATION avoiding a muzzle heavy gun which is not possible to do in any other way on a rear handle two band speargun.

Lastly, the reason this beefed up two band design makes so much sense compared to a mid-handle gun has to do with the major horizontal forces during the shooting phase. The force created by the spearshaft and the bands going forward and the counter-reaction of the speargun itself forced backwards.
If you were to let go of a speargun underwater while you were shooting maybe it would be clearer. In short, the gun would accelerate at great speed backwards and your shot would have no power going forward. When you hold your speargun you are creating a solid platform for that shaft to launch from. That is why RECOIL is nothing else than a loss of energy, energy that the shaft is wasting that could be used to make it shoot farther, another reason the heavy 18lb blue water guns are so powerful.
The second problem with recoil is the axis of rotation of the gun around the lever, the lever is your hand and arm.
(This would be much clearer if I drew it all on paper but ballistic tests have proven everything I am trying to illustate)

Now picture these two forces vertical and horizontal; the vertical force-the bands trying to moove the front end of the gun up and down, the horizontal-the shaft and bands going forward and the gun going backwayd. These two forces pivot around your hand
and handle since the handle is not positioned DIRECTLY BEHIND THE HORIZONTAL LINE OF THE SHAFT AND BANDS causing a rotation of the stock around your hand. This rotation lifts the front of the gun and the butt down and the shaft shoots low as a result of the front end of the gun lifting the back of the shaft during this cycle. Unless of course it's encapsulated in an enclosed track. One of the other MAIN reasons a lot of people don't realize their rear handle Euro style design is so accurate is that your hand and handle are positioned directly behind the horizontal axis of the shaft which makes aiming easier and if any recoil were to be present, tends to kick the gun back directly behind the shaft as opposed to rotation it around the handle.
Look how far your hand is to the axis of the shaft in a mid handle and how close it is in a rear handle or euro style design.

1. By increasing the mass in the front end of the Master America it avoids muzzle lift created by the vertical forces of the bands. 2 by keeping the handle directly in line with the shaft and along the barrel, just like other Omer guns and other rear handle/Euro style guns, these horizontal forces are also dealt with since your hand provides the mass more closely centered behind the shaft.

Now I better stop writing because I've used up all my minutes and I've probably bored you to death by now.

If you've read this please make checks payable to "Mark Laboccetta":p

take care, Mark
Master America

Scott, thanks-we'll see you in Hawaii. Andrew has no room to bring the gun since he's planning on using single banders and so he's going to leave it at Austin's in Miami on display while he's gone.

I might bring mine with me to the Nationals and the Expo the following day. Good luck you guys and see you in the isles of enchantment. Mahalo,

Thank you for the info Mark! I wonder if 10 or 20 years ago we
had so many choices in spearguns!
Omer Master America guns

Thanks. I never really thought of how having the hand attached at the rear of gun would help to keep it from pivoting and raising the muzzle with recoil.

To be complete honest, although I find your writing fascinating and appreciate it, I’m not at all excited by the Omer Master America guns. The first time I saw these guns in a magazine, I laughed and turned the page. Darrell Wong and Rick have attempted to take the best from each (American/European) which is the maneuverability and ease of aiming of the European gun by having a small water displacement and weight in the front of the gun, with the power of the American gun by increasing the mass in the rear of the gun; and with the one helping maneuverability of American guns - a mid handle.

In might be totally wrong from improper knowledge, but I think Omer has taken the exact opposite approach and married the worst of each type of gun. They have a full wide wooden wing that goes from the front muzzle all the way to the rear handle. Because of the difficulty in aiming, American guns are going away from the front wing to ballast (and buoyancy to offset it) built into the whole gun, especially the back 1/3. On top of this Omer put a rear handle on it, which further decreases its maneuverability.

I have spend considerable time using a full wing mid-handle gun in the Gulf of Mexico and although there was little recoil, the maneuverability in aiming and difficulty in lugging it down and back up in currents, was the pits. Imaging what it would have been like to aim the thing with one hand from the back of the gun is down right ugly.

Sorry to dump on your product, but if we are going to be honest, here are some other things I either dislike or don’t understand.

Hinged metal wishbones won’t break? Seems like Fuzz said something about a first hand experience with them breaking. I don’t know why people and Omer in particular are so concerned about getting away from cloth cord wishbones. Plain old braided nylon will easily outlast the rubber bands and its only $.05 per foot! It silent and doesn’t cause damage, and if by chance it does it get damage, its easy to see before it gives out. Spectra, dyneema, and Kevlar are all a step up from nylon, but I can’t see why some people want wishbones that will last 3 sets of bands, and especially if its metal (including hinged) ones that maybe difficult to tell when they are becoming fatigued. I can make a new wishbone in less time than it took to write this paragraph with such a small cost its not even worth calculating.

The direction of the laminates. Although the lines look pretty, isn’t the direction opposite of the bending force being applied to the gun? I’m no engineer, but it seems the direction of laminates will mostly stiffen the gun from bending side to side, rather than up and down which will be the direction it want to bend when the bands are loaded on the top of it. I might be dead wrong on this one.

Having too pull two 18mm bands at the same time. They have succeeded in making the band pull in-line with the shaft, at least on the gun not using the muzzle for circular bands, but having too pull two 18mm or 20mm bands at the same time sounds terrible! Seems much easier and more practical to pull multiple smaller diameter bands to achieve the power.

CNCing the wood. I know you didn’t say this, but Omer is bragging about in their ads.

The one thing I do like is the adjustable ballast. The rest of the gun though looks like it was made by a company who doesn’t really understand American guns and ocean environment and thinks we will get excited by lovely finish and laments that serve no real function.

Sorry again for saying this, but I just could keep quiet with how I feel the guns have major shortcomings and Omer’s approach to marketing them.
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Don...Im with you. I dont find the euro guns to be more menuverable than my mid handled hybrid. The only time I find them easy to swing at all is while moving forward. While laying in ambush mode I find the mid handle much easier to swing and track with. The pivot point thing isnt rocket science.

These are just personal thoughts but the "euro guns are easier to track/swing" argument just doesnt hold water with me any more. Just ask all the fish on my stringer:cool: The wong hybrid is truly the best parts of both style.
I don't think we have a maneuverability problem here.

I do use only euro guns with a rear handle and with a long barrel you don't use the gun the same way as it is with a short barrel gun.

Let me explain, with short guns you do use all your harm and wirst aiming and tracking the fish.
In long barrel you can't do that so the solution is to move around your gun...
Well, I don't know how to put this in words but this is it, instead of moving the gun, move yourself around the gun to be in the right position...

Hope this helps
easy way to swing long euro gun

Don't try to swing the gun with your whole arm, wrist, shoulder,etc.. just push/pull the handle of the gun and let the barell go its way. Its pretty hard to explain, e.g if you want to swing your gun to the right, push the handle easily to the left or vise versa...

I know, most of you know this but just a reminder.

And, rear handle design suits europeand hunting technique better coz most of the time you use other hand to lamping the caves or grappling something on the bottom.
Hey Mark, great writing!

I am 100% with Murat! Longer Euro guns are really hard to swing, especially if you're in the water for 4-6 hours. So it's easier to push (or pull) the handle to the direction opposite to the one you want the tip to point at. Supported by the water, the gun will turn around it's point of equlibrium (?). Sometimes if you track the target for longer time you'll need to 'move around' the gun as Cece mentions...
Trying to turn the whole gun is harder and if you try to do that faster, the bands usually start to vibrate and scare everything around... I have this problem with both my Beuchat Arka (90cm, 18mm bands, 5 mm shaft) and O.ME.R Excalibur Carbon (100cm, 20mm bands, 6 mm shaft), but not mith my 75cm Excalibur, so it's always an issue with longer guns, despite the setup.


Cece, Murat and Ivan – thank you for your pointers on aiming a large European gun. It makes a lot of sense to push the back of gun in making the finally aiming adjustment or moving around the gun in a larger change of direction. For a gun with some kick, I usually try to keep it in front of me to control the recoil so moving the back of gun might not work as well, but for a European gun with little kick, that sounds like the way to do it. :)

I really don’t have a problem with European guns, but if someone gave me a choice between a Wong hybrid and Euro gun I would choose the Wong. The problem I have is with the new Omer Master America. I just feel it would be terrible to aim and not much fun to swim with either.

The one point I left out of my earlier post was American guns with either mid handles or butt extensions are made to shoot two handed. The leverage you have by having the hands 14 - 20 inches apart gives a diver the ability to make last minute aim adjustments quickly. To me it looks like that is all lost with Omer Master America. They took their rear handle, which is inherently harder to swing and then abandon the one aiming saving grace of Euro guns (a small front gun displacement), by putting full wings that extend clear to the front of the gun!

My pre-trial opinion is that when you extend that gun to shoot, if its not aimed exactly at the fish, you can kiss the fish goodbye, because with the full wing your not going to be able adjust its direction in time. Like I said, that’s my pre-trial opinion. Maybe Cece, Murat and Ivan rear handle Euro gun techniques will be enough to over come the extra drag full wing. The proof is in the pudding so maybe unbiased spearos will get to try it along side some other guns with similar power.
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i heard from friends that this opposite way butt moving technique works better on perfectly balanced wood "euro" guns because of the tip of the gun stay steady and it does not move beyond your will. I will gonna find out soon... Little winfs on the wood euros keeps the gun steady on the water and absorb "small" recoil of the light shaft and single band. That way you have real "no recoil" gun.
by the way welcome back ivan, desperatelly waiting your site's english version...
If any of you guys have watched Agguato Profondo by Dapiran you will have seen how he moves the butt of the gun (sort of uses the muzzle as the axis) and then pushes the gun forward and follows it along.

Murat, i am nearly finalised arranging my Sardinia trip to fish with Dapiran this September.

Fabrizio will also be there finaling a Totem movie and with a bit of luck i am in it ;)