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Riffe Ice Pick Slip Tip, Low Shots...Here is why...

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Mr. Long Post
Apr 22, 2002

If anyone has or will buy a Riffe Ice Pick or any Slip Tip which uses the kind of slide ring like the Riffe, here is a tip on how to set it right.

I was hunting yesterday Saturday and a friend with a brand new MT5 ( only two trips old ) was getting belly shots, meaning low shots. He shot three times and all were hitting low. It was unusual for him and it never occured to him with all his 3 other Riffes with Ice Pick Slip Tip.

I was holding a video and managed to capture on tape of one of the low shots.

The shaft was shooting low immediately when it was launched out of the gun. After some careful study, we found the culprit.

Below is the photo of his MT3 ( top ) with 3/8 shaft and Ice Pick. His MT5 is pictured at bottom. Also using 3/8 shaft.

It so happened that his Ice Pick Slip Tip on the MT5 was having the cable a bit longer than normal. Notice how the MT3 (top) Ice Pick's slide ring is at least 1" from the muzzle and creating a good tension. Look at the MT5 ( bottom) Ice Pick'c cable still loose when the slide ring is already all the way hitting the muzzle.

I read complaint about Riffe Ice Pick being in-accurate and wobble. Since I used them a lot begining of Day 1 with a Riffe, I could not figured out what was wrong because I was getting bull's eye most of the time.

I was holding a video camera when my friend shot his MT5 on a Dog Tooth Tuna. The shot landed on the belly. I thought he screwed up but he is a decently good shot. So we watched the video together and found out that the shaft was pointing down the moment it was launched out of the Riffe MT5. What happened was : ...........................

If the cable which attached the Slip Tip to the slide ring is not in tight tension ( too long ) when set up for a shot, the Slip Tip will point down. Thus it created a rudder effect for the entire shaft. The best set up is like the MT3 ( top photo ), it creates good tension, sits the Slip Tip well and will deliver accurate shaft flights. I thought it was the muzzle kick effect but it was not, it was the cable of the Ice Pick Slip Tip being too long.

One more lesson learned....:D
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Hey Iya did you get the pm I sent ya the other day.

Great observation. Most of us would never get a chance to exam a videotape and figure out exactly what was happing. Thanks for sharing it with us.

My dive partner redid my Ice Pick so it would work on my shorter shaft without the huge overhang. He said it was similar to Steve Alexander guns. What he did was cut the slip tip cable off, and then attached 500 lbs non-coated cable to the tip. He threaded the other end through the slide ring eye and put two heavy crimps on that end of the cable.

When loading I pull the cable tight so the ice pick is held firmly, lay the cable over the shaft, and then run the shaft line over the top of the cable and shaft. This holds everything tight.

Seems to shoot very accurate. I really don’t like a long overhang on a big gun and this solves that problem. If anybody wants a picture, I can take one and post it.
Originally posted by Iyadiver

I was holding a video and managed to capture on tape of one of the low shots.

Oh man ! ! ! You are unbelivable. Are you doing phd about Riffe spearguns?????

I just blast a 2nd PM to you. I guess ur PM and my reply were erased when DB computer got hanged two days ago.


Send us the photo of the re-worked Ice Pick. As far as I could remember, Steve Alexander Slip Tip has a different slide ring which has a hole to slide the cable and Riffe has a loop to crimp the cable. Steve's set up can be used on short shaft overhang, that's for sure.

BTW, the Carter Parachute float works great. With 3 strands of dental floss, we were getting good result. My second last trip the C02 fired (both) on a small doggie because it was not hit where vital and managed to pull the parachute. Last trip, my friend's parachute was ignited when he did that low shot, did not get the fish due to the tear off but for a while the Doggie managed to puncture the C02.

I got a small 26# Doggie and it was a stoned shot. What I did was to hold on to the parachute webbing so that the parachute would not get pulled by the fish dead weight and ignite the C02, it too worked.

I think a video camera is a great tool, it helps to ID problems in slow motion.

I think you still remember my super pneumatic gun. My test with it have proved to me that even the smallest of imperfection in the spearhead cabling ( it was a 200# mono ) can send the shaft some 90 degrees off course. It was a total joke. I shot the thick 16mm shaft, it went straight for about 4 meters and after that it will turn left 90 degrees like a missile chasing a prey. The designer later test the gun in a clean fresh water spring and found the same result. Later it was modified and shoots true with accuracy of 1x1 foot at 12 meters, all because of a simple connection of the shooting line/spearhead attachment. I guess this is why in some part of Florida freeshafting is so popular, it takes out the shooting line induced error.

Now if we can get 500lbs coated cable with 1/2 of its current diameter, maybe we can shoot better at the long range.

4th dive last trip, I seen ONE huge Doggie at least a 100# but me can't shoot with a camera, it was also very deep, I doubt I want to go that deep. Too bad on the 5th dive and my only dive I carry the gun , the water was so dark. I could not find the bigger Doggies anymore. Why is it when I can't shoot, the big ones seems to appear ???

Here is the photo of the boat crew posing with my Doggie :
Hey IYA,

Did you start freediving? Or you are using parachute float for scuba?

That Doggie would do me fine Iya, nice work :cool:

Murat.................me freediving....??....hell no..... If I can merely do 75 feet, I will save me money and go to Gilbaltar to hunt them Blue Fin....:D :D. With the Doggies being at least a 100 feet deep if not 150 feet, I might as well retire scuba diving if I were to force my screw up self to freedive.

However, I am now armed with the custom Carter Parachute float and I have no more fear shooting a 100# Doggie if they ever appear and come within 7-8 meters off my MT5 tip. Worst come to worst I loose the shaft & float. This time I will make sure I cut the reel line if I ever get dragged to 160 feet again...:D BY then I think me must rigged 2 Carter float on my gun.....he he he.

Can't wait to see how the 20 liter Carter parachute float fights against a Doggie 30kg or bigger and not stoned..... :p :p

The last small under 10kg Doggie seems to swim backwards being dragged to the surface by the Carter float....it was so funny, almost unfair.
I will take and post a picture of Ice Pick tonight when I get home. I think you have it figured out correctly. With the riffe slide ring the cable has to make two 90 bends to thread through the eye from the slip tip and then back to the shaft. It would probably be better with the Alexander slide ring, but so far it seems accurate, plus the kinks in the cable seem to lock the slip tip in place. I wish I had the testing facilities to check the accuracy. I took a 15’ shot on a 17” snapper (small target) and nailed it.

I’m glad to hear your carter parachute float system is working good. You must feel less stressed to know you have a good back up to save your gun, if you spear something big again. I have been a little frustrated with mine in trying to get a line to pull the CO2 lever and then break. Problem with freediving in deep water is you don’t get a lot of chances to get it right and keep your gun. Once, after getting my shaft stuck in the rig, I had to set the gun on top of a support and surface. Luckily it stayed. I have gone to 20lbs mono line for the lever actuation, but I’m still not totally satisfied.

I am doing a combination of surface float with a breakaway for off the rig and deep diving, and carter inflatable for in the rig. When diving deep, it’s really nice to break totally away and swim straight to the surface with no drag or distraction. But for chasing fish around rig supports in shallower water, nothing beats the freedom of no float line.

A few weeks ago, I was diving with a float line with my partner in front of a rig. The current was taking are floats and lines into the rig. Between entanglements with rig and each other, it was a nightmare. My snorkel was broken in the process. I went back to the boat and put the carter float on. Then I speared the state record horse eye jack, 20lbs and 36 inches. Not a huge fish, but hey its still a state record and they taste pretty good to.

I watch the Jack inside of the rig swim in a weaving pattern around five vertical supports at about 30’. I planned my dive to start the moment he went out of sight on the backside of the support. I swam down as fast as I could but I didn’t quite make it in position when he came around and saw me. He turned and swam on the other side of the 5 vertical supports as I chased him on my side of the supports. We came to first opening and I was still behind him so we both kept going. Second opening same thing. Third opening I was there when he was and made the shot. Something I could have never done with a float line.

Good job on the Doggies.

P.S. After trying both coated and non-coating riffe 500lb cable, I like the non-coated better. Its smaller, more flexible and you can clean all the crude out of it by soaking it in vinegar. I don’t notice it scratching the gun either.
Iya, et. al, Try this:

Instead of or after you lop off the excess cable, take a couple very small rubber bands, like the kind you or the kids wear when they have braces on the teeth, and use them to hold not only the cable to the shaft, but also loop one around one of the flares of the tip and under the socket... No more wobbles and the wire, which sometimes needs to be long to allow for separation and letting the fish fight against the cable gets to stay nice and snug next to shaft.
You can cut 1/8” wide (or any width you want) bands from a piece of surgical tubing too, for holding cable loops against the shaft and keeping the ice pick tight. Loops will definitely cause some side drag, but the further down the shaft from the tip, the less steer effect you should get. I did this before I went to the cable end stop setup. After shooting, sometimes I would find the bands on my shaft line. I guess entering the fish would push them all the way down the shaft.
Thanks Uncle Sven and Don,

Indeed it is nice to have the Ice Pick cable a bit long for those extra thick fishes. I heard the Alexander tips is good with rubber bands/tubing too for securing it. Good idea.

The key to my Carter float auto deploy has been the D ring that Mr Carter made for me in order to create a 90 degrees pull in relation to the C02 lever activator. I can imagine one using a float line in the rigs and getting is criss crossed when there are more than 1 diver.

I could rig my carter parachute float for breakaway if I use the hole in the gun's butt instead of attaching to the reel but I probably need to pull hard on that small breakaway bungie till the float confirmed inflation.

I tried 200 feet float line and a Riffe Torpedo float but in anything but zero current, I can't make it past 100 feet without getting drag backwards...........:confused: Then when I dove with total of three divers.............saphegetti.....:head .

The Carter float rigged as I do now is so far the best in freedom I can so for scuba. However, sometime the two C02 cartridges bang on each other and make some noise....:eek:

With 4 legs of the rigs and at least 1 middle platform, there are a lot of obstacle for you using a surface float or C02 powered float, that is tough enviroment.
I didn’t notice the D-ring on your pictures. I’m sure it was there, I just over looked it. Can you post a picture of it again? That thread is too old now and is no longer in the forum. I'm interested in anything to make activation more reliable

Actually the use in the rig of the carter float for me is more for getting my shaft stuck than pulling up a big fish. Knock on wood, but I have never had to use it yet for pulling up a fish in the rig. The fish I see inside of the rig are snapper, sheephead, a few horse eye jacks, and barracuda. I have never had any problem yanking up any of those from 40 feet or less, but I have gotten my shaft stuck twice. The bigger fish are usually on the outside of rig.

Another potential problem with an inflatable float is that if it surfaces and then gets pulled under, the water pressure could reduce it floatation. But that were your parachute shape helps. Good design!
Here’s my cable end stop setup. The slide cable has a few kinks in it, but I believe it lays flat against the shaft when fired.


  • ice pick slide stop.jpg
    ice pick slide stop.jpg
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Thanks Fuzz,
That’s it. I didn’t realize you could go back beyond the last 23 threads.
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