Thursday, June 27, 2019
  • Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 40,000+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 496,000+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,300+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

JBL Open Muzzle??

unirdna

tropical wuss
Sep 16, 2002
1,016
219
153
45
Madison, WI, USA
Visit site
The "Custom" was my first speargun. Still one of the most exciting moments of my life was when I plugged my first fish (an 8 inch rock bass). My first thought - "I can't believe he didn't get out of the way".

Now, of course, I'm smug and would never use a JBL. They are noisy (CLANK!!), underpowered, slow, heavy, inaccurate, and that metal o-ring wreaks havok on delicate panfish meat.

But, it would seem that they have taken the cue from other manufacturers...

Open muzzle? Dacron wishbones? Shark-fins? My goodness! Someone must have walked into the bosses office and slapped him.

Anyone see/try/smell one of these yet? Oh, I'm sure they are still inferior to Wongs and Riffes, but not everyone can drop $400-$800.

What is JBL asking for these "new" guns?

JBL Spearguns
 

RydDragyn

still alive
Dec 25, 2006
50
4
0
Deepest Darkest California
Well the JBL Elites are basically pimped-out Woody Magnums and Sawed-off magnums. So being made of noise-absorbing wood, the "clank" issue isn't going to be that much of an issue compared to the metal guns. I have a SO woody magnum, and the only noise I hear when firing is from the metal wishbones.

The open muzzle on the Elites is basically a standard JBL muzzle with the top cleanly sliced off, and a hook added for threading the monofilament line. There's also a channel on the front to help thread the mono back along the barrel. The channel looks like it was carved into the muzzle with a dremel, though. It's not part of the original mould.

The shark fin shaft has a threaded point and wing, so hopefully balance would be better than the standard shaft, which has the heavy screw-on spearpoint. That plus it eliminates the slider ring, which seems to be cited as a common cause for inaccuracy.

I hear bad things about JBL trigger mechanisms, but most of these go along the line of "the gun went off while I was loading the third powerband while SITTING ON THE BOAT". 'Nuff said. I haven't had any problems, personally.

To sum up, in theory all these improvements probably make the Elite a really decent gun, especially for the cost. Leisurepro has them for well under $300.
 
  • Like
Reactions: unirdna

slingshaft

Well-Known Member
May 4, 2007
365
40
68
San antonio,Tx.
I' ve been looking at the development of the Elite series guns and it has modern features, the trigger mechanism looks quite stout, and I like the side mounted line release better than the under gun position on my Sea Hornet. Just imagine if JBL really shook the cobwebs loose and offered a mid handle wooden gun.:head
 
OP
OP
unirdna

unirdna

tropical wuss
Sep 16, 2002
1,016
219
153
45
Madison, WI, USA
Visit site
RydDragyn,

Thanks much for that info!! Sounds like JBL IS making the effort to take their guns to the next level - even if they still are working on a few mods (really?, a dremmel?). Getting rid of that slider ring will be a huge improvement. But, until they also improve their trigger mechanism, I just can't see a market for these guns - those triggers are the weak link in that chain. Once you try the slow-squeeze of a quality trigger, you just can't go back to those herky-jerky JBL's.

Slingshaft,

A MH JBL - hehe. I love midhandles, but I hope JBL fixes the foundation before starting work on the roof ;).
 

RydDragyn

still alive
Dec 25, 2006
50
4
0
Deepest Darkest California
Just to update this thread a bit - I upgraded my SO to an Elite series using all JBL parts, and have taken it hunting in SoCal, so I can speak with a bit more first-hand experience about the issue now.

Eliminating the slider ring has made a big difference both in terms of the gun's accuracy, and in terms of making it easier to aim in the first place. Beforehand, there was a definite downwards trajectory when the gun was fired, but that's gone now. And now I can actually aim using the tip of the spear. Just to put the gun's performance into perspective, I've been able to hit fast-moving calico bass and zebra surf perch from 15 feet away. These fish are about a foot long (surfperch a few inches smaller maybe, though their profile provides a better target), and move extremely quickly away from danger. Zebras in particular are ALWAYS on the move. I've hit both species while they were running away from me. That's no easy feat, especially when you have to deal with the rough surf waters they tend to inhabit.

The elite spearshaft is a few inches longer than the regular one, so that makes getting inside a smaller speargun bag a bit more difficult unless you take the shaft out.

In the water, the gun is perfectly neutrally buoyant - although if you just let go of it will float pointing down, due to the weight of the shaft and the lift of the wooden extension vertically counterbalancing each other. Tigerwood has a lower specific gravity than african mahogany (and of teak, for that matter), so I suspect the balance between shaft and barrel would be better with the tigerwood version of this gun. That could make a big difference in up-and-down tracking and aiming.

As far as comparing it to "premium" guns, my dive buddies have riffe competitors, and apart from a slightly jerky trigger, the accuracy is pretty comparable between the two series. Pricewise, it's a difference of several hundred dollars ($215 for a stock Elite SO).
 

scole

Member
Jan 30, 2015
21
8
18
Jalisco, Mexico
I, at one time, was foolish enough to buy a JBL 54 Mahogany gun. Fortunately I had some modifications made before using it, and it served me moderately well for several years before I retired it do to the constant danger of accidental discharge (not on the boat). The muzzle was the first change. The top was sawed off and rounded over to create what everyone else in the industry already provides standard. A fin was added to contain the shooting line and a groove cut to route it. The tip was changed to a single flopper and the glide ring was tossed in the trash. A third 5/8" band was added (which is why the trigger mech began to fail). Mark Morgan at Spear Shack in OB sold me the gun (against his recommendation) and did the modifications.

I took many grouper and cabrilla with this gun, along with one barely legal WSB and a couple of small halibut, but once it began to discharge whenever it felt like it I retired it and started building my own guns. JBL finally sent me a new mech after several months of emails, but I never plan to use the gun again. It was a lesson in listening to the experts. There are lots of quality guns available for a lower price that will serve for years without modifications.