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Speargun Aiming

Demipouce

New Member
Aug 17, 2017
2
0
1
28
Sydney
Hi,

Do you guys have any drawings / video explanations / gif on what is the best way to aim a speargun ?

I have been to use to closed muzzle gun and I can safely say since aiming a 130 open muzzle I am slightly lost, I feel like I have lost any accuracy ... I could hit a little whiting swimming at the maximum range with a 90mm single rubber but since having a 130 I feel totally off aim ...

I have recently lost some large fish because of very poor shots.

Do you guy literally line up your eyes with the very flat end of the barrel, close one eye ? look on the side of the gun ? or head slightly higher up and look down on the spear ?

Since this got into my head I can't even instinct shoot anymore because I lost all my confidence ..

Any help is appreciated, thank you ..
 

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jan 27, 2005
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Are you shooting a mid handled gun or a rear handled gun? I've used mid handles for years, and Ive found that the more I try to aim, the less I hit. I'm better off holding the gun below my line of sight and just pointing at the fish.

I just recently started using a rear handled gun and I'm still trying to figure it out, but it seems that I should aim right down the top of yhe shaft, then lower the tip slightly so that the bands obscure the view of the fish. Its a work in progress though.
 
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landshark sa

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2011
350
173
83
South Africa
Below is what Rob Allen has to say about aiming his guns. You may find some useful info here:

"Aiming a speargun differs from person to person. Many old divers have had a problem trying to get used to railguns. I put this down to the way they were used to aiming the old non-rail type gun. A common method is to look at the tip of the spear, put this on the spot you want to aim at and then lift the handle up. As the tip disappears from sight, pull the trigger.

With the railgun having a shorter spear, if you try the same thing, the tip will disappear sooner behind the muzzle, as the spear is shorter. Therefore the handle would not have been raised enough and you now shoot over the target. Some compensate by fitting a longer spear but this affects the speed of the spear. The original railgun was designed to take even shorter spears than are now fitted. Customers did not like the spears that short. Too radical a change from what they were used to, but they do shoot fine. If an older diver used a completely instinctive method of shooting with no sighting at all there is no problem to convert between guns. Shooting at reef fish usually requires either instinctive or “point and tilt” aiming because there is often less time to prepare for the shot.

I have mainly hunted gamefish and before the advent of railguns I used to aim along the side of the gun, sometimes even turning the gun onto its side. (You can't do this with a railgun as the spear tips out the rail.) By aiming while looking along the side of the barrel you control the vertical axis better than the lateral. With game fish being long and thin, the vertical plane is obviously much more important than the lateral. When old guys had problems aiming the rail gun, I tried to get them to use this method but most would not change.

I needed to get into a pool and just shoot at a target. I needed to see just where the spear goes and what aiming method is best for pool and the ocean. In a pool with the pumps off, no disturbance you can tell exactly where the spear is going, as there are no other influences such as current, swell, moving target etc. To be able to do ongoing pool tests I built a large pool at home with sufficient length to shoot long guns. I soon picked up a few quirks. The main finding was just how much recoil affects the shot and, just how easy it is to adjust the flight of the spear by tweaking the barb. Another major factor was just how important a straight spear is. A very slight bent in the tip will set the spear off target a long way. This very small bend is almost impossible to see but can be detected when rolling the spear on two edges with the line disconnected and the barb taped up.
Rubber power was a big influence. I found that if the gun was powered up, the recoil caused the gun to shoot left or right, not so much up or down as one would think as with a handgun. How much deflection and which way was relative to how tight I held the gun, how stiff my arm was, which hand I held the gun in and, the power of the rubbers. I am left-handed and the recoil deflection for me is to the right. If I hold the gun handle with my right hand, it deflects to the left. I put this down to the way the handle kicks back into the thumb and then rotates the wrist.

With a 1,3m gun with double 16mm rubbers, set up with a 7,5mm spear, rubbers a little shorter than normal, the left or right deflection is as much as 100mm at max range. My definition of max range is the range a spear will travel and just come out the other side of a good fish. I set up the target such that the spear tip will only go through it and protrude out the other side by about 300mm once stopped by the shooting line. (Single wrap) This 100mm deflection is with a normal grasp of the handle. It improves to about 50mm with a tight grip and stiff-arm but is 150 to 200mm with a slack grip. My personal game fish guns are 1,3m with normal double 16mm rubbers and a 7mm spear. With this set up the lateral deflection at max range is only about 30mm with a normal grip. This is nothing at max range on a good size fish.

Have you ever missed a fish at close range? This happens from time to time, you think it is an easy shot but then you miss totally. I put this down to the recoil. The shot was a dead cert so you just relax and pull the trigger. In this “relaxed” state the gun recoils so much more and… you miss.

To get the vertical accuracy right, I always sight the same way and adjust the barb accordingly. The trailing edge of the barb can be tweaked to raise or lower the spears flight. We used to bend the trailing edge of the barb out a little to help toggle on a fish. This was fine with spears made from 1840MPa steel that was more flexible. With the new 2100Mpa steel we now use, when shot, the spear would hit high with that barb setup like this so we stopped doing it. In the pool I found that a half mm (0,5mm) outward bend of the trailing edge of the barb would lift the spear on my 1,3m gun at max range by as much as 50mm to 70mm.

The way I now aim is to look over the top of my gun. You can't use the top edge of the handle to line up with as the rubbers sit higher than this. For me to sight properly, (using sighting points like a rifle) I look over the top of the gun and line up the rear rubbers with the muzzle (when loaded). When loaded the rubber creates a “V” like image between them. This is the “V” between the two diameters when looked at end on. The normal closed muzzle I line up such that the middle muzzle hole, the one the spear goes through, sits on this V as you would when sighting a rifle. If you try this and it still shoots high, lower the hole into the “V” more.
I practice sighting like this often so it feels natural when I go into the ocean. If you don't, it will feel strange. In the pool you will need to take many shots for it to feel right, it does get tiring loading and reloading 20 to 25 times in a row, but it is necessary. Make sure you are wearing a good loading pad. I also always set my shooting line the same way and always set the line to the same side of the spear. Once loaded I also pull the shooting line out from under the rubbers as this helps prevent muzzle wrap. It is a good idea to get into a routine like this. I always try to pool test every new rubber and or spear I fit to my gun before going on a trip. This also gets my eye in, very important before a trip. It costs a lot to go on a trip in terms of time and money; you don't need to spend the first few days getting your eye in or second-guessing your aiming technique. You might miss that one good fish – it’s just not worth it.
I now use an open muzzle that makes it even easier for me to aim as I can see past the muzzle, right to the end of the spear. With open muzzles I sight with the edges of the barb that I see when looking down the spear. I just “rest” these on the "V" of the rubbers at the back. The open muzzle is a little more difficult to load the spear line but once used a few times it becomes easier. When changing to an open muzzle it is a good idea to first pool test so you can get familiar with the spear loading and line wrap. It is not a good idea to try this in the ocean while there are fish about.

Point of interest, I have had several novices in my pool who had never shot a spear gun before. I load, hand it to then, then only tell them to keep their arm out straight, hold the handle tight and shoot, all shoot almost spot on. This shows that the way "old divers" aim is the problem, not necessarily the gun."
 

sharkey

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2013
360
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83
Here is a couple of views of one of my competition guns with different bridals. It isnt hard to see which bridal lets me sight down the spear better. This not only gives me better accuracy, but it makes aiming & shooting much faster & with greater confidence. There are a few other things which will help with aiming, such as raising the bands at the muzzle so they are parallel with the spear. Band elevators are not just for recoil management or preventing muzzle jump, their greatest asset is improving aim & the time it takes to decide if you are confident with the aim/shot. We are only talking about small improvements here, but a 10% improvement, particularly in competition is a lot.
20294291_504274279915825_1571858258461572575_n.jpg
20374705_504274273249159_6358629846682519770_n.jpg
20294291_504274279915825_1571858258461572575_n.jpg
20374705_504274273249159_6358629846682519770_n.jpg
 

SubSub

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2015
487
185
58
42
Stockholm
Are you shooting a mid handled gun or a rear handled gun? I've used mid handles for years, and Ive found that the more I try to aim, the less I hit. I'm better off holding the gun below my line of sight and just pointing at the fish.

I just recently started using a rear handled gun and I'm still trying to figure it out, but it seems that I should aim right down the top of yhe shaft, then lower the tip slightly so that the bands obscure the view of the fish. Its a work in progress though.
I'm on a rear handle Pathos. Some days I seem to hit everything spot on like a ace, other days I'm misplacing just about every shot. :)
 
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Stamatis

Active Member
Aug 29, 2017
106
33
43
44
Athens
Hi! I have been using Pathos open 90 for a decade. Its really simple actually. When you aim, you use the tip of the spear as a reference. Here is what I do: With one eye I do the "tip aiming", and when I am ready to shoot, I slighly adjust, so the tip is no longer visible, open eyes and shoot. I use one band, with the short pathos metal wishbone. Much better visibility compared to rope wishbone! Not that I wont' miss easy shots! When the fish are scared and suspicious, they evade the shaft!
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
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Jul 14, 2005
7,453
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Below is what Rob Allen has to say about aiming his guns. ..

"... it does get tiring loading and reloading 20 to 25 times in a row, but it is necessary. Make sure you are wearing a good loading pad.

... I have had several novices in my pool who had never shot a spear gun before. I load, hand it to then, then only tell them to keep their arm out straight, hold the handle tight and shoot, all shoot almost spot on. This shows that the way "old divers" aim is the problem, not necessarily the gun."
Interesting article. I currently have a bruised sternum area from repeated loading, having chosen not to pack my "good loading pad" (an old sandal sole held in place with a thick triathlon number band and a slim elastic neck lace) last week. Apparently for 90cm spearguns with 19mm rubbers (inc. those equipped with a loading butt, not just RA railguns) I require it. :(

The tip about keeping your arm straight and a firm grip is a useful reminder (I did miss at least one " sure thing" shot last week and Rob's explanation seems quite plausible). My spearguns are very light, it would be easy to forget to keep a firm grip/straight arm and then suffer recoil effects.
 
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Mr. X

Forum Mentor
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Jul 14, 2005
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I'm on a rear handle Pathos. Some days I seem to hit everything spot on like a ace, other days I'm misplacing just about every shot. :)
:D I know what you mean. I had one particularly inaccurate evening in Devon a few years back, at a spot I'd visited several times before & since. I managed to spear some decent mullet but my shots were really odd and I missed some easy shots. When I thought about it carefully afterwards I realised the strong current ripping through was changing the flight path of the spears. Sure enough, next day, same spot, no current, everything was back to normal.
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
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Jul 14, 2005
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I am not one for aiming much - if I take the time to try to aim, the fish is almost always gone. Instead I take more of a shotgun/"Single Point" approach, both eyes open, point and fire. It usually works quite well but changing to a longer, differently configured speargun last week really threw my accuracy. I have since reconfigured both spearguns so that they are much more alike - I am hoping that will help fix things. Time will tell.

I was so frustrated by my inaccuracy one day last week, that when I saw a large grey mullet swimming with pollock, rather than trying to aim and missing yet again, I decided to give chase, just as Len Jones describes in his spearfishing booklet. I started accelerating hard before the fish did, so I gained ground. To my surprise and delight, the fish responded pretty much as Len describes and after several slight turns it offered me a broadside while attempting to disappear into the weeds. I got it.

It's not a sure thing though: I tried the same trick a few days later but the fish started moving before me and just sped away from me, like the proverbial torpedo.

Perhaps having fish on my waist stringer helped me gain a few fractions of second? It often helps.
 

billder99

Doyle
Dec 23, 2006
91
15
98
63
Loreto, Baja Sur, Mexico
... There are a few other things which will help with aiming, such as raising the bands at the muzzle so they are parallel with the spear. Band elevators are not just for recoil management or preventing muzzle jump, their greatest asset is improving aim & the time it takes to decide if you are confident with the aim/shot.
Hi Sharkey... do you have a photo of a "band elevator"? Your comments on this are very interesting.
 
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sharkey

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2013
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I have them on all my guns. The ones on the little guns on the end are made with ballast inside to add extra weight to the muzzle also.
29103805_606709279672324_3735952838291881984_n.jpg
 
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Mr. X

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Nice collection Sharky :)
....The ones on the little guns on the end are made with ballast inside to add extra weight to the muzzle also.
Interesting that your smaller woodies need ballast at the end. The aluminium and carbon barrelled railgun and euro-spearguns I have used tend to be a little (or lot) tip heavy. I used to jam a cork in the muzzle of my old railgun to give it some lift, to relieve my shoulder. I get a lot of problems with shoulders these days, I think that may have been a contributing factor - so worth sorting out. As the Mark Allen, 6x Iron Man triathlon Champion, recommended "listen to your body".
 
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sharkey

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2013
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Nice collection Sharky :)Interesting that your smaller woodies need ballast at the end. The aluminium and carbon barrelled railgun and euro-spearguns I have used tend to be a little (or lot) tip heavy. I used to jam a cork in the muzzle of my old railgun to give it some lift, to relieve my shoulder. I get a lot of problems with shoulders these days, I think that may have been a contributing factor - so worth sorting out. As the Mark Allen, 6x Iron Man triathlon Champion, recommended "listen to your body".
It's not so much that the little guns "need" the ballast, I like having it & think anyone who uses a tube gun would be surprised at how little these recoil. They have the displacement, so might as well add the extra weight & putting it in the band lifters reduces recoil more & also acts as stabilisers.
The little guns will be used in comps (the small one is going to the UK with me this year) & we have some species on our score sheet as small as 500grams, so accuracy & consistency has to have a higher priority than a light gun which may track well, but kicks & twists when fired. I do use the same principle on the big guns & I expect better than a tennis ball accuracy 8m from the muzzle on the largest. There is no value in having that power & potential range, if the spear wont go where you want it to.
A set up I am really excited about is that two rubber gun 4th from the left. The bare stock is over 3 kg & that is a 7.5mm spear which most people would use in their long tube guns. When I shoot that gun, recoil is absent & this gives me squash ball accuracy at just under 6m from the muzzle. The trade off is they dont track as fast as tube guns, but for me the accuracy & range takes a much higher priority.
 
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billder99

Doyle
Dec 23, 2006
91
15
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Loreto, Baja Sur, Mexico
Guys, thanks so much for continuing to expand on this subject. I used to think I was just the worlds worst shot with a speargun... then I began finding a tiny shaft bend here, a catch in the shooting line there. I think the sum of comments on this thread will really help me dial in my accuracy... I hate when I get good shot opportunities and I miss.
 
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doyenofcastle

Well-Known Member
Oct 30, 2012
226
13
58
UAE
I think if we look at the design of aluminum gun ,it usually used a notch spear for a great reason ,if the band is laying low it clear your sight and make your aim much better beside they raised the butt and make a Vee cut with little high so you point to your shoot ,wood gun people usually use a shark fin which lift the band little high and that why a lot of shooting high complain come from ,if your gun is perfect in design and there no problem {bad ballast ,obstacle of band ,low stretch value ,muzzle flip} still you shoot high try to shoot at the lower part of your fish or target ,or during cutting the stock keep the spear deep as possible and mechanism also prefer to be flush with stock and remove from the track level to keep band always under the trigger as possible ,this should clear your sight , twenty three cm is perfect overhang if your band laying low ,if cant you try thirty five cm overhang .
 

billfish3r

New Member
Oct 21, 2019
2
1
3
19
New Jersey, USA
I've been wanting to try on spearfishing but I just couldnt find the confidence to actually try it. This thread helped a lot. Thanks for the insights you guys. Ill do more research on spearfishing before I go out this weekend.
 
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