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Midhandled Collins/Riffe vs RA 1.4 for pelagics in bluewater - please help me with!!

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Dec 27, 2004
Hi all
, I would like your learned opinion on speargun selection.

I am moving up to a very pelagicky part of WA up north and need to get a bigger blue water gun. I currently use a 1.2 RA with 20mm rubber and 7mm spear.

I hope to spear Macks, Doggies, Sailfish and others if I am lucky!!! and skilfull!!! :) :hmm

I had almost decided on a RA 1.4 but am worried about barrel flex with 2 16mm rubbers on an aluminium tube. People have told me they flex pretty badly.

then I saw these on the net

http://www.collinsspearguns.com/Products/BlueWater/bluewater.html#BlueWa ter

I am on love with wood now and am considering either the Collins, Kes or Riffe 1.5.

What do you guys think? Do these wooden midhandled guns track well compared to RA 1.5 ? do they have significantly more range than an RA of same size ?


= :wave :wave

Can't say I've had the pleasure of hunting a Rob Allen gun as of yet, however, I have owned and/or hunted with similar type rail guns. Omer has a slight flex when over loaded with multiple bands. Even under those conditions I never noticed any problem with accuracy. (Maybe, because I would have missed all those shots anyway!!) Collins claims that laminating teak is done to reduce cost rather than enhance the strength of a teak wood muzzle. This is simply not true. The tensile strength of ANY wood is greatly improved by proper laminating. That being said, teak wood is strong enough that laminating is probably not absolutely necessary. Over the past fifteen years out of the thirty-five that I've been spearfishing I have slowly weeded out all my guns and now I have five Riffe guns, 4 Teak & 1 Metal Tech. The oldest of those guns (the "Island") is as straight and true as the day it was born. That isn't to say that the Collins isn't a beautiful, deadly piece of engineering. As far as tracking goes, if you are trying to track your gun onto a pelagic, especially in open bluewater, you are either out of position in the first place, or you waited to long to pull the trigger. Don't take that desperation shot there, Bucko! Re-adjust your position (depth, angle, etc.) and hold steady. Chances are you'll get another shot. THAT is what is sooo beautiful about a Teak wood gun! They are solid and STEADY. My advice...go with the teak.

Re: Midhandled Collins/Riffe vs RA 1.4 for pelagics in bluewater - please help me wit

Hi guys, thanks for the input :wave

I've gone ahead and ordered a Riffe Islander Mid Handle and can't wait to try it out in the deep blue up north!!!

In the end i have decided against another RA as I already have the 1.2 and though it is an awesome gun with heaps of accuracy, I just love the smell, look and outright durability of good wood such as teak. Plus, all those bands make the riffe look damn sexy :p :p

God knows if i am skilfull enough yet to nail a good pelagic with it :hmm :hmm
but i'm up for anything!! Bring it on :martial :martial :martial

I'll let you know how it goes.

Be Careful of the Riffe Island Gun!!
It has a LOT of recoil, and if you dont brace the gun with 2 hands while shooting, it can come back at your face and knock out a few teeth. This has happened nultipole times to divers i know!!
Also, the Gun does not shoot straight right out of the box. It is definitely OVERPOWERED with 3-28"X5/8" bands. These bands cause the gun to kick so much and causes "muzzle flip" which ends up making the shaft shoot quite low (6-12" at 15+ft)

SO....I advise you to get 32" bands for that gun, or add some mass to the gun in the form of side stocks.Sidestocks will stabilize the gun and make a stable platform for the shaft to come STRAIGHT off of!!!

Here's a pig of some of my guns...the gun in the middle is about the same dimensions as the Islander gun, and with the sidestocks, the gun can handle 4 5/8" bands and shoots with NO recoil. This design of sidestocks is my personal favorite. Although the come up towards the front, they make the gun swing better side to side by cutting the water.

Hope you get your gun worked out and shoot some HUGE fish with it, and dont forget to post the PICS!!!

Good luck, Brandon


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Re: Midhandled Collins/Riffe vs RA 1.4 for pelagics in bluewater - please help me wit

Thanks for the advice and info on the Islander Riffe.

I've got a few questions for you and again I'd appreciate your input as you seem to really know what you are talking about (by the way, nice collection of guns! :p :p )

On the question of wooden wing stabilizers, I believe that the full riffe wing kit is not available for the Islander so what do you think of the smaller wing kit that they offer for the Islander? ie -muzzle stabilizer and stock ballast kit?

On the question of rubbers, you say that they are too powerful for the gun so I should put longer 32inch rubbers on the gun. If I do this, do you still advise wing kits etc? Also, would changing the 7.9mm shaft to a 10mm shaft negate the effects of overpowered rubbers on the gun?

Anyway, thanks for the advice and help

Adrian :D
Although I dont really like the shape or style of the Riffe muzzle stabilizers, they will definetely help add ballast and reduce recoil to your gun.
I personally like the full wings, because they seem to be much more effective, while not being much more difficult to manuver.

The problem with the riffe guns is that they have too high of a power:weight ratio. It doesnt necessarily have to do with shaft whip. Actuall, putting a thicker shaft on the gun will cause MORE recoil, and cause your gun to shoot even worse.

If you add 5-8 lbs of ballast to your islander gun, it will will shoot Very well. One of my dive buddies has a Riffe islander with the same sidestocks i use on my spearguns, and he can shoot 1-1.5 in groups at a target!!!! altogether, his gun with the stabilizers weighs 16 lbs. A bit heavy out of the water, but magical in the water and very easy to manuver.
The trick to ballasting your gun is where you put the weight and how much you put on.
Try to get in touch with a local dive club and see if there is anyone woith experience with woodworking, etc. Im sure there is. I can send you the dimensions of my side stocks if you like, and instructions for ballsting them.

If all else fails, I'd make you a pair and ship 'em out to you if you need.

Let me know how it goes!!

About the bands:

If you use 3- 9/16(14mm) X 32" bands, you wont need the stabilizers, but you wont have the power to "reach out and touch someone" at 25 ft. It wouldnt have much more than 18-20 ft MAX.

The optimal plan would be to add the sidestocks and then you could have 4 5/8 X 30" bands, and you could shhot 27+FT accuratetly!!!
Re: Midhandled Collins/Riffe vs RA 1.4 for pelagics in bluewater - please help me wit


Wsb has a point regarding gun recoil, however, I have not had the type of recoil that he has described. ANY gun, no matter how well made, will buck hard if over loaded and I HAVE heard of a diver that came away with a broken mask so the warning should be well taken. The larger diameter spear will NOT, I repeat, NOT reduce recoil from your gun. On the contrary, the larger spear will cause MORE recoil due to the greater drag of the heavier spear against a light weight gun. Remember, the powerbands are pulling the front of the muzzle toward the back of the spear and vice versa. Riffe makes a smaller (about 18" length) teak wing ballast that mounts on the back end of the Island gun and also a small front wing that mounts, guess where, on the front of the gun. The front wing comes in either Teak or composite plastic. I have this setup on my Metal tech gun and it works like a charm. Try the Island gun the way it comes and then clamp on a set of ballast wings after a bit. Have fun

Re: Midhandled Collins/Riffe vs RA 1.4 for pelagics in bluewater - please help me wit

Hi again and thanks for the advice :) :)

I haven't received the gun yet but look forward to trying it out.
On the subject of stabilizer wings, can you adapt the blue-water wings to the Islander? or would that be a waste. :confused: :confused:

In any case, i'll try the gun as is and add the stabilising stuff if i need it, though it sounds like I probably will eventually.

WSB - I sent you a PM.

thanks very much


:) :)
Re: Midhandled Collins/Riffe vs RA 1.4 for pelagics in bluewater - please help me wit


Skill is born from desire...and you definitely seem to have the desire!! After that, being in the right place at the right time is the next important step to success in hunting blue water pelagics. Wsb mentioned getting in touch with local divers, clubs, etc. for intel on where & when. Excellent advice! I'd add to that the need for a little self help (my preference) by obtaining offshore nautical charts and real time ocean surface temperature and current satellite feeds off the internet (such as www.terrafin.com). Look for high spots, trenches, current and temp breaks, etc. At sea, the hunt takes place, for the most part, while you're still in the boat. Stay sharp and look for anything floating on the surface, bait and fish boiling the surface, listen to radio chatter (I do this so I know where NOT to go. Fishermen tend to get there panties in a wad when they see a diver in the water.) Stay safe and be patient. Congratulations on your Riffe Island. While you may find better custom guns here and there, you won't find a better made production gun than Riffe, anywhere. (My opinion) Oh yeah! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Agua Fina
Re: Midhandled Collins/Riffe vs RA 1.4 for pelagics in bluewater - please help me wit

Thanks AF - Happy New Year to you also

Adrian :wave
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