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Gun Basics

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

Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2002
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Here goes:
I think I'm dealing with a situation that is probably familiar to many.
I'm looking for a source of some basic, all-around information about spearguns; how they work, why the differences in design have evolved, and the like.
At the FreeDivers meeting tonight, Kevin recounted his trip last week out of Mexico: he stoned a Tuna weighing close to 200 pounds.
He had pics of the monster and the group gave him a round of applause and congratulations.
I asked what gun he used. Turns out he crafted it himself. [[moment of reverent silence]] He described it as 'an Alexander hybrid'. He was very modest about the whole thing. I'd sure like to see a gun that takes game that large. (Especially a custom-made one.)
Does a hunter evaluate a potential speargun by intended use, personal preference, aesthetics, phase of the Moon....or a combination of all of the above?
I realize that the quality of materials will certainly affect the dependability of the tool, as well as the balance, weight, and...for lack of a better word...harmony of all the elements working together.
How is a person to judge all of this?
What's more, how to separate fact from opinion?
I know this is a huge question: if I need to read a basic book on spearhunting to begin, please recommend one. :eek:
Thanks!
 

ivan

looking for deeper water
Jan 26, 2002
1,503
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hi

You are right in the way that each hunter should evaluate guns for their needs.

have you read Terry maas book called Blue water hunting. It has lots of cool info about Guns, shafts, tips, floats etc for the big game fish not to mention the good stories.

I think Sven put an article up a while back here on db about how to make guns, give it a read and send him a pm bout more detailed info.

later bru

cheers
 

SpearSlinger1

New Member
Dec 20, 2002
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Does a hunter evaluate a potential speargun by intended use, personal preference, aesthetics, phase of the Moon....or a combination of all of the above?

Yes, absolutely, and also where the constellations of the Zodiac are in the night sky.;)

Actually I look at the characteristics of a gun in this order: servicability (includes how it handles in the water), accuracy, range and aesthetics, with ease of maintenance thrown in there somewhere. The Riffe Competitor #3XS is my favorite and primary daytime gun. #1 (11 yr. old son) has a Comp #2S that I sometimes borrow and my night gun is a Metal Tech #1. I like the wood guns, but the wife thinks the Metal Techs look :cool:, which is kind of how I wound up with one. None of them are really all that hard to load with the stock bands. When I first got the #3 I would hip load to the helper tab, then chest load the rest of the way. Now I hip load or chest load, it just depends on how much of a hurry I'm in and how lazy I'm feeling. I was considering going to a 5/8" band on the #3, either the first or third band. But, I have been thinking I don't really need the extra wallop the 5/8" band would provide. :)
 

OceanSwimmer

Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2002
482
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"Actually I look at the characteristics of a gun in this order: servicability (includes how it handles in the water), accuracy, range and aesthetics, with ease of maintenance thrown in there somewhere."--Spearslinger1

--Thanks ivan and Spearslinger1! Good answers!

(Spear, tried to pass on some karma to you, computer won't let me...)
 
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icarus pacific

Human-in-training
Nov 7, 2001
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Sven who?

For a pretty rudimentry introduction to spearguns and such, Maas' s book is de riguer as is a looksee at the Kitto and Alexandr site, www.spearguns.netfirms.com.

Spearguns need to be chosen first for their application- it doesn't make sense to go after a small cave dweller with a gun suitable for tuna and vice versa. The length of a gun is all about getting the bands to stretch which is what propels the shaft- more stretch = more power. Handle placement is another big thing and is both a matter of personal preference as well as a way of manuevering the gun around. Handles at the end of the gun let you really extend the gun towards the fish but the ability to swing the thing will often suffer as the lever arm is waaay back there. This is especially true when working in the surge. A mid handle gun is just that- the handle is a bit back of the midpoint of the gun and the trigger sear is operated with a pushrod from the handle's trigger. A mid handle will let you really launch a shaft as the bands stretch clear back to the ass of the gun while your hand is comfortably at the barrel's balance point. Try swinging a crutch and you'll see what I mean.

And then there are the "Euro" guns.... :hmm

Euro guns are most often metal or composite tube barreled, use a single or double band and a thinner shaft. They're quick, light and easy to move around in the water. With the same amount of dicking around as a wooden or lumber gun, or another US styled gun, (JBL, AB Biller, etc...) they will put a serious hurt on a fish. And you heard that from me. A hybrid gun uses the tube barrel design of a euro with the wooden stock of a lumber gun to make the gun easier to swing and track the fish owing to ther reduced mass of the barrel.

Wood is used for the stock and barrel to provide not only a place to screw and bolt things to, but for the bouyancy of the wood to offset the weight of the shaft, rigging and trigger/handle. It's other main purpose is to provide some mass to counter the shock of pulling the trigger and sending a few hundred pounds of force forward in the form of the shaft. Can you say :blackeye ? Very often the lumber guns of big fish guys will have lead ballast added to them to absorb and balance the gun's recoil. This makes the gun about as easy to move as an ex Mother-in-Law, but that's where the skill comes in. JBL's and Billers offer guns with aluminum/stainless barrels and are relatively cheap and very easy to maintain and can be altered to suit your needs as well. It will all come down to preferences developed after time in the water and often at first using what the other successful divers are toting around. No sense rolling up to the Porsche show in a station wagon, ya know?

An Alexander hybrid can mean many things, but most probably is that the guy built his own gun, as do I, with Steve Alexander components, arguably the best out there, and wood (Teak)and did some things to the design and construction of the barrel/stock to suit his needs. I'll be bringing some examples of this gun down in Sept.

Being able to get parts for a gun can be an issue, but with any quality gun, you ought to be able to go online and order stuff at the least. Most shops will carry a minor amount of the usual nuts and bolts, but the real stuff is often a matter of calling the manufacturer.

And then there's the looks factor :inlove Yeah, well... whatever floats your boat and puts dinner on the coals.

Before anything else though, it's pretty important that the diver's skills be sufficient to be able to deal with the additional gear associated with spearing.
 

OceanSwimmer

Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2002
482
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Sven who?

Originally posted by icarus pacific
Before anything else though, it's pretty important that the diver's skills be sufficient to be able to deal with the additional gear associated with spearing.

:eek: Yep--guilty as charged; my skills need to be the priority at this time....I've got lots of work to do before I even think about hunting. :p

Many thanks for the thoughtful reply and references for speargun information, Sven....integrating components, use, conditions, practicality and appropriate priorities. Well stated.
 
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SpearSlinger1

New Member
Dec 20, 2002
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Perhaps I should have elaborated a little more on the subject of range. Maybe working range is a better term.
it doesn't make sense to go after a small cave dweller with a gun suitable for tuna and vice versa.
Sven is right, as usual. Also, if the average visibility where you normally dive is 8' you wouldn't want a gun with a 20' range, a smaller gun would be the way go. In this case the larger gun would be a handicap. Bigger isn't, necessarily, better.
 
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fuzz

Hawaiian transplant...
Sep 9, 2002
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Originally posted by SpearSlinger1
Bigger isn't, necessarily, better.

:hmm Too easy....


But as a side note, that is a very good point regarding matching the conditions(i.e. visibility). Today vis wasn't that great & since I was hunting in holes, I made due with a modified 50cm Concept Pro with a reel.
 
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icarus pacific

Human-in-training
Nov 7, 2001
2,880
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0
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yeah, but it don't hurt!

So what you're saying Harold, is that all these Viagra and penile-lengthening exercise ads poping up on my screen are wrong??!! :head
 
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