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Mid handled wooden guns

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Mar 6, 2004
Now that the end is niegh and Miles has been converted, What are the advantages of these guns for the northen European spearo? I realise that the wood is going to quieten the discharge somewhat and its mass is going to reduce the recoil. I would think that most of us euorpeans would own wooden guns through choice if the were more easily available.
What Im asking is then, what is the advantsge of the mid handled gun over our rear handles? Given our relatively poor viz and small fish, is there a place for them over here? I dont see any advantage in more than one band over here (then I struggle to load one 16mm :( ) as the spear would go right though the fish and off into the horizon somewhere ;)
I know this topic has not gone down well in the past but Im not interested what a euro gun can do, I know! I want to know whats the deal with these mid handles? :)
Hi Alison
Not sure about mid-handles - think it is just a gimic personally (just kidding !).

But from first-hand experience of wooden guns (totemsub pelagos 100) this is what I can say:

They are so much quieter in the water. Basically I find it hard to hear if my mate has shot one off in the water (no puns please). Whereas before with a standard metal gun you can easily hear the loud metal twang from a long way off. Imagine what the fish hear... So I reckon with a wooden gun you get the advantage because the area is not spooked by some load twang.
Just my theory (and alot more bass with the wooden gun but that might be because I am improving or the fact that the spear actually goes through the fish rather than the previous problems I had whereby I had to shoot the fish, swim up to it and quickly shove the shaft all teh way through.... power, hmmmm).

Apart from that they are better balanced. They seem to handle better in the water - not sure how to explain it but they are more manoevarable etc and dont tire your hand so much - sure they are a bit heavier out of the water but in the water - wow.

As for the mid-handles that is an american trick I think - sure someone will post.

Alison - I think you should aim for a Totemsub or similar for Christmas - I have no regrets about blowing the cash on a wooden gun - (as I sit by the fire lovingly oiling it with teak oil with my slippers and pipe - ahhh, British winters !)

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If it is a teak woodie and a mid handle, regardless of wether you need the extra power or not, here are the benefits :

- Wood is just dead beautiful...:eek: . Will outlast any aluminum if maintain well.

- Mid handle allows you to swing faster. If the woodie you need is say under 110cm, the swinging is just sooooooo easy compared to a Euro of same OVERALL length. Mid handle at this length is just so balanced, this is another good point.

- You can always get a mid-handle woodie with 2 x 14mm bands shooting 7mm hawaiian shaft. Almost zero recoil at this kind of low power level and easier to load than your 16mm. Generaly accuracy is better too at such low power level for a mid handle woodie.

- In most cases if the brand/s you choose are top of the line, the trigger quality ( smoothness and sweet release ) is worth the extra money.

- Since teak is so reliable, there is no worry of barrel plug or foam injection like the Euro to fail....it will float with shaft out for as long as you own it.

That's all I can think of.
Originally posted by Alison
Given our relatively poor viz and small fish, is there a place for them over here? I


I did not used one but after lots of searching, searching, reading thinking i now heavily belive that they are not good for small med sea fished smaller that 2 kg. For bigger fishes they would be fine. I was on the same way looong ago...Look where from i am coming;)

This was my first thread/post:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

old nice days :)

just read the hole thread again and noticed that how pigheaded "those" newbies could be:D :head :head :duh
I own both. For short viz and small fish I'll take a short eurogun, personally. A mid-handle in short viz brings the speartip back closer to you though, which can be helpful. I know spearos who prefer short mid-handles in bad viz for that reason.
Hi :D
Interesting so far but from what I see the mid handle is winning so far except from hunting in holes. I dont see how its more manoverable than the euro gun (or vice versa), (5 mins futher on yes I can : duh
Keep this coming guys Im really interested :) Him indoors has just gone to bed muttering " Oh @&*kin ell eres another $%*in project cumin on!" LOL bless Colin and my brother are in the middle of building me a euro woodie already :)
It has better swing because there is less barrel out in front of you to move around. My mid-handle gun has the same shooting range as my R.A. (75cm), but swings with a lot less effort.

I bought a Euro gun when my buddy, Ted, bought a custom mid-handle one. I eventually ended up getting one just like his because it works out so well for the limited vis we have, but is very easy to swing when trying to shoot those fish sneaking over your shoulder while you wait in aspetto. When the vis is good it still has the same range as my Euro and allows me to "each out and touch" the skittish fish.

You don't need to load up all of the bands for a close shot, as seen in this picture, but it does help to use all of them when trying to shoot through something thick- like a carp's skull. When the vis is good you can also load up all the bands to get the greater distance the gun will cover.

I was aslo able to make a camera mount for my wood gun, which I wasn't able to do for my Euro.

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I know Im just rehashing the same info but if you look at the pic above you will see how the gun extends less with a midhandle than a euro gun of the same size will. This would be the biggest advantage in limited vis. You will have the same power of the longer euro(if not more) but still be able to see the end of your gun:D (thats a definite plus)

Quiter, yes...Prettier, definately...durable, you bet...will both style kill fish, all day long:cool: Alot of it ends up being personal preference. Ive found nothing is more subjective than a divers choice in guns and trying to convert a euro guy to wood or vice versa is like trying to make a Democrat become Republican! Then there are those of us that recognize the benifit and drawbacks of each and appreciate them for what they are.
if Jon was using a euro of the same size in that phot he'd have to jab one of those fish instead of shoot it!rofl

There's a fish in Jon's photo??;)

Not that I have a bias or anything...:king but for your situation there Alison, as it is here and for that matter over on our North Eastern coast, and especially in light of your prey which is something that is as overlooked as swinging ability in the prevailing viz, I honestly think that the best options are in a small rear handled gun and the barrel material is up to you and your pocketbook.

Here in the Land of Your, where the viz might exceed 10 feet on a bitchin' day and the prey is either holded up in the rocks or are small freeswimming rockfish, (wait...if they're rockfish, why are they swimming:confused: ?) the tool of those in the know is a JBL Custom with a 5/16 shaft with a good sharp rocktip and a single 5/8" band. Boom. Dinner.

If you want to go abit bigger there is the .38 Special or Northwest Special. Same boom, same result. Hose both off at the end of the day and it'll last as long as mine which is pushing 30 years.

If you, like my girlfriend, are all over the wood :inlove then your choices are a little broader in terms of manufacturer. Both Biller and Riffe make a very nice short rear handled and mid handled gun. Of the two, you have know that my allegiance lies with Riffe in no small part due to their construction, dependability and their service. (By the way, daughter Julie just had a kid, congrats, Julie and Will.) For sticking a gun into the holes and cracks, you may want to go with the JBL's aluminum barrel as I will guarantee that you'll ding the wood, but then that's what spare time, sandpaper and tung oil are for.

Simply put, a midhandle acts as a pivot point that retains the physical length of a rear handle, in a gun that projects less in front. In a hole or crack, it might be the ticket, but in a freeswimming situation where you're able to extend the gun towards the eventual fillet, a rear handle is smooth. Either way, look for a gun that will allow for repair and parts without a hassle, even though you're on that side of the pond. And if it were me... I'd get a short Riffe Competitor.

And a big fry pan. :p
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There's a fish in Jon's photo??

Here's just ONE of the fish that we got on that particular day.;)

Rig said it better than I did, about having a full length gun, but being able to still see the end of it in crappy vis. I really like how my mid handle gun balances out compared to my rear handle gun. If I dove salt water with it that might not be the same.

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I would agree that wooden guns are nice and look real slick , BUT they also need that thing with the M word: Maintenance.
one small scratch on varnished wooden gun will probably bring tears to your eyes.
Think of the hours you will have to spend sanding and varnishing/oiling just to bring back that lustre.
I would hate to think of all the dive time I would miss by having to look after the woodie.
No thanks, not for northern european conditions.
I will have to get a woodie not because I particularly like them but because Bluefin need a gun with 7-8 bands euroguns just wouldn't hack that power.


Most teak guns comes with teak oil. It is not like varnish. In fact a scratch can be hidden with teak oil without sanding, unless the dent is huge.

Some people like to make their teak gun look abused, they think it is cool that way. Different people different liking.........
Every hunting style needs different guns, i don't preffer mid-handle gun for aspetto which is the most eefective technique to capture fish in the med sea;)

By the way, i am using 110cm wood gun for almost everything, i shoot everything and i hit all everything. Sometimes i need to make a shoot with it in tight caves for bigger groupers, like i did today. But still there is not even single scratch on the gun even a dot:D You just need to learn how to maneuver with such gun. Don't be afraid its easier to do so that non-wood euro guns even if its bigger. Soon it will be like a part of your arm.
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as far as maintenance goes....there is none on any of my wood guns. They are all sealed with 2 part clear epoxy. Its like looking into the finish of a fine piece of furniture.
Jon - what brand gun are you using? is that a riffe?

I allways used mid-handle guns. I had a nemrod Torpedero and a nice USD mid-handle rail gun. They were unquestionably (to me) superior to rear handle guns for maneuverability and not being so far out in front of you that they spook the fish. I also had a small mares pneumatic but it was poorly weighted (mid handle) with the bulk of the weight behind the handle - very difficult to aim. The Torpedero (also a pneumatic) was fitted with a slip tip (because of the stupid line catch on the shaft due to barrel tip trigger release) and was extremely effective often punching clean through large carp so the whole shaft came out the other side and turned sideways! Pneumatics are loud though; and that snap sends the fish jolting off into the void.

I tried a couple arbalete style guns and, while very easy to aim, they were a poor choice in lower visibility - because of the tip being too close to the target and because they cannot be moved as quickly to track close, fast moving targets - unless they were very short with alot of bands. In clearer waters the ranges are such that you can move behind the gun (rear handle) and the tip being closer helps. My findings anyway.

Jon - inspiring fresh water photos! Those don't look like 'rough fish' in the first one - but I'm sure there was a large carp or something lurking amidst all those edibles :)

I'm up for recommendations for a reasonably priced mid-handle gun for our type of water.
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I see an advantage from Jon's first piccie of multiple low power bands that hadn't really crossed my mind is that you can use just one when your likely to be shooting up against the reef (Rocks! Before someone bites! ) that¡¦s a plus. I don't think (at least for me) there¡ts a worry about worrying about scratches or dings, wood or metal, the thing is a tool not a work of art and as Sven says thats what sandpaper and oil are for, (Colin's explained to me about the advantages of oil over surface coatings) not sure about knocking it about on purpose though.
I'm more curios about them than I am considering a new gun, but when the time comes its either going to be another Esclapez (adjustable handle) or a custom made gun due to my damaged wrist. Colin and my brother are in the process of making me a carbon/teak (may have to change that to carbon/Mahogany to gain some buoyancy, its unbelievably slim :)) rear handled gun, hope that will be ready next year (loss of finger tip stopped play :( ). Must say though I'm having difficulty seeing any disadvantages of the mid handle at the moment, certainly bringing the spear tip closer by 400mm sounds appealing in 2M viz. I suppose the trouble is even if we wanted them we couldn't buy one without sending away for one, no ones got one so we cant try them out before taking the plunge, I did see Riffe¡¦s for sale in Doha I should have tried one then. I still don't understand why or how the mid handle can be anymore manoeuvrable than a rear handle, surely that will depend on the side area of the gun and not the handle position?
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The wrist/hand leverage is better. Plus you can bring a hand up on the back of the gun to help if you need to - without seeming to approach the fish - and not lose your aim. I like the weighting of the rear handle guns for long shots however. But shots that long don't happen much around here.
The mid handle is a Cressi innovation. A member of the 'Addicts' club decided to build a rubber band gun which would exploit the maneuverability inherent in the Cressi spring gun. The natural material for a home builder was wood. Laminates were used to simplify the construction. Short and long lams were laid out horizontally to create pockets or voids for the push rod, trigger, arrow groove, etc. When the carefully positioned lams were laid together and glued, virtually no mill work was needed. Most of the hard components, including the muzzle, were stainless steel. The trigger was a long, folded piece of stainless to gain leverage as the Addicts had not figured out how to make a sear work without pressure induced resistance. The old timers like Wally Potts knew but held their own counsell vis a vis the rival Addicts. The first commercial guns were the Nemrod and the US Divers Sea Hunter which was a metal tube with grooved barrel. The trigger employed a roller sear invented in Hawaii by home builders who originally used a ball bearing as the release. This Seahunter gun had considerable recoil. Later, Riffe popularized the Addict gun which was newly christened as a 'mid handle'. This type of gun has retained popularity because of its maneuverability while exploiting unusual power potentials. The bigger guns are all 'two handers' because of the side torque generated by recoil forces. As long as this is controlled the Addict gun is as accurate as any although a different aiming technique is needed.
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