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The First Version of the Mares "Mirage" in photos

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popgun pete

popgun pete

Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2008
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The over-pressure valve has a heavier metal gauge coil and shorter length spring as it is not expected to open except in very unusual circumstances. The pumping valves work every time the gun is being loaded with the spear, hence have lighter springs. Are you sure that nothing is missing as right now I don't see how that gun goes together to trap the rear end of the pumping barrel. Plus there are threaded plugs on each face of the bulkhead when it would seem logical that they were only in the rear face abutting the nose of the grip handle. I will try drawing it all up in a sketch and see if I can figure out what is missing. The last diagram with two gun profiles was a start, now I have to finish it. I am thinking of diagrammatically showing the gun assembled without the tank from the side on or profile view.
 
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tromic

Well-Known Member
Aug 13, 2007
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Nothing is missing! I used the gun how it is and was using the pumping barrel too. Everything was working fine. I suppose only the overpressure valve had not any work.
 
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popgun pete

popgun pete

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Jul 30, 2008
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On occasion I have checked out guns purchased by someone else that have had an unknown number of previous owners and been dismantled in the past. One gun of an unusual type failed to work and on investigation the reason was shown to be a component reversed, but which still allowed the gun to be closed up and air pumped in, only to depressurise almost as soon as that was done. Can you be certain that a previous owner has not switched some part around in ignorance?
 
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popgun pete

popgun pete

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Jul 30, 2008
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For a gun that for years no one here had ever opened up to public view the “Mirage” has certainly been the subject of a number of threads, particularly this one: https://forums.deeperblue.com/threads/mares-mirage.84190/page-2

Now DG’s photos show what I had expected from Tomislav's photos of his gun, but here to refresh our memories are DG’s bulkhead photos now grouped.
MIRAGE_later bulkhead R.jpg
 
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tromic

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Aug 13, 2007
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Nice photos taken by Diving Gecko! He is a professional. What is interesting to me is that his bulkhead is hollowed from the back side - mine from the front side. Backside of the bulkhead on mine is flat.

 
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popgun pete

popgun pete

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I think this comparison of the three types dispels all doubt about what we are looking at, and that is the back or rear view of each one. Anything else defies credulity unless there is a confusion about what "front" and "rear" means.
Mirage bulkhead rears R.jpg
 

tromic

Well-Known Member
Aug 13, 2007
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Rear view of mine bulkhead is on the image above displayed images.
Pete, "mine - tromic" on the last image, was actually not mine. Front view of mine is very similar to your. Today I dismantled my Mirage again. I will soon post real pictures of mine Mirage with much more details. Sorry for some mess I caused. I have not looked on my Mirage for long time and forgot some details about it. I suppose things will be much more clear. Still my power regulator is different from yours.
Long nose handle - flat rear side of the bulkhead (PGP, tromic)
Short nose handle - hollowed rear side of the bulkhead (DG).
 
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tromic

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Aug 13, 2007
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Original Mirage muzzle, pistons and shock absorber anvil (rubber tubing is missing).

 
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popgun pete

popgun pete

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Jul 30, 2008
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Well now this makes more sense. I can tell that yes, the bulkhead's shape is the same as my gun, but they have redone the bulkhead mould to clean up the finish as injection moulds or dies wear out over time and this example is produced from a better and later made die. Note the sinks and swirls in the plastic and the clean sharp edges, whereas my bulkhead moulding has a beat-up appearance as the early injection moulding die and the injection moulding conditions, i.e. temperature and pressure, have not been fully sorted out. I know this from the lessons learned from my late Dad who made, designed and maintained such equipment.

Another sign of early moulding problems is the power selector gate on my "Mirage" gun's rear handle, note how the plastic does not fully cover the metal plate on the lower rearmost edge of the gate. This flaw was there from new, nothing has broken off since (fortunately!).
Mirage selector gate flaw.jpg
 
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popgun pete

popgun pete

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Jul 30, 2008
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My Mirage Power Regulator dimensions. Pete, this is obviously different from your although your handle is from outside like mine.
I would say mine is better design... No air leakage from power regulator if OR is 4 x 2 mm, as I already said before. Bended part of the shaft is actually shorter then on the image, 24 mm from the tip of the screw to the outer bend. The threaded part is 8 mm long.

Now that the bulkhead image confusion is sorted out I can comment on your good drawing of the power selector rod. Over time Mares would have tweaked the “Mirage” where changes were easily made, such as changing small components, but mould or die changes cost a lot of money if you cannot change an existing die easily (in the early to mid seventies). Taking metal away makes a moulded object larger, but putting metal back is not very practical unless an insert in the die can be changed over. Mares made the “Titan” before they made the “Sten”, and the “Sten” precedes the “Mirage”, so why have they such a long selector rod tunnel at a larger diameter in the “Mirage” handle as Mares guns before don’t have that and later guns follow much the same pattern as them. My thoughts after analysing these guns, I have dismantled all of them, are that the “Mirage” was planned to be a pumping barrel gun with only one dog leg in the selector gate for loading only and the rear gate position for shooting. The long tunnel is so that the brass piston can be backed up into the front end of the tunnel as otherwise it makes no sense for the tunnel to be so long otherwise at that larger diameter (the metal sleeves subsequently reduce the bore). At some stage it must have been decided to go for a dual power gun, three if you shot off the loading position (same as the “Titan”, except the “Titan” pre-chamber is larger, while the “Mirage” pre-chamber is tiny) which meant that the brass piston plug had to occupy different locations in the bulkhead transfer port that were now at stepped diameters rather than just a single diameter port. For that to happen the selector rod had to reach forward in the bulkhead more by making the rod longer, but then the brass piston comes forwards as well for “full power” and it then sits in the airflow. The length of the front sleeve on my gun halts the rearward travel of the brass piston so that the power selector knob’s cranked arm stays away from the back wall of the selector gate. In your gun, which is later, but before they have reworked the bulkhead, they have just renewed the mould instead, Mares have moved the pressure sealing “O” ring forwards and shortened one of the two buried sleeves and added the very short sleeve at the front. I cannot tell which one of the buried sleeves until I pull the rearmost sleeve out of my gun with a hook or I measure it by using the caliper’s probe arm. The 85 mm brass piston face to the rear of the regulator shaft is 83 mm on my gun, but I doubt that makes a big difference as you are meant to adjust the effective length by the screw thread on the selector knob.
Tromic handle.jpg
 
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popgun pete

popgun pete

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Jul 30, 2008
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I just found my “Mirage” gun’s original carry case and have wiped all the dust off it for these photos! I never used it as I could see sand soon getting into it where I was diving, particularly on windy days, so I used a towelling bag instead as that sopped up any saltwater left on the gun and was easily washed out later, as was the gun.
Mirage carry case 4R.jpg
 
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popgun pete

popgun pete

Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2008
3,038
591
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Australia
Here are the original "Mirage" and "Sten" hand pumps alongside their modern counterparts, namely a "Sten 87" series pump and the one from the "Cyrano". The hand pumps all have the same body OD, the same pump stroke length and air breather hole positioning, hence they should push the same swept volume into a gun. Now a curious thing is the original "Mirage" requires 1,100 pump strokes to reach 40 kg/cm^2, yet the same gun with small changes only needs 680 strokes to reach 40 bar many years later. A pressure of 40 bar and 40 kg/cm^2 are virtually the same with a factor of 0.98 being the difference (SI unit, 1 bar is defined as 10^5 Pascal).

Does the later "Mirage" have a bigger bore pump, or does it have a longer pump stroke? If it does then it differs from the "modern" Mares hand pumps shown below.
Mares hand pumps RR.jpg
 
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popgun pete

popgun pete

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Jul 30, 2008
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I think I may have the answer to my own question, the “dead space” is larger in the older hand pump's connection to the gun as you hear a “pffft” noise as you undo the pump (bayonet fitting connection) as pressurized air sits in the bottom of the connection well and it must escape as the hand pump draws in air for the next stroke, and on every stroke of the pump. If so then more air is lost than I had thought, especially after 1,000 plus strokes which I did in batches of around 300 at a time.
 
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popgun pete

popgun pete

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Jul 30, 2008
3,038
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Well now we know when the Mares "Mirage" first appeared in Italy, 1973.
http://blutimescubahistory.com/it/schede-tecniche/fucili-scheda/mares-mirage
Note that there is no part of the red lever visible with the lever folded into the grip handle. Later versions have a small piece of the red lever protruding at the top so that it can be pressed inwards to flip the lever out rather than pull on the lower end of the lever at the bottom of the grip handle.
MARES-Mirage-1.jpg

MARES-Mirage-2 R.jpg

MARES-Mirage-4R.jpg
 
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Diving Gecko

shooter & shooter
Jun 24, 2008
1,270
311
138
Shanghai
Thanks Pete:)
I still have one gen 1 Mirage in a box somewhere, so no need for another one:). Also, I have decided to get a Freediver's Recovery Vest, so need to divert funds to that. But didn't someone just ask the other day about vintage guns?
 

Diving Gecko

shooter & shooter
Jun 24, 2008
1,270
311
138
Shanghai
This "Mirage" does not appear to have its hand pump. You need the bayonet connection pump for these models as they predate the screw thread connection hand pumps. The correct hand pump is shown at post #52 https://www.ebay.ie/itm/253998560933
Just in case anyone is looking to buy this one: At least the barrel thread should be the same as the "newer" Mares standard, so it's a fairly easy job of just swapping the old valve for a newer one.
 
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popgun pete

popgun pete

Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2008
3,038
591
153
Australia
Just in case anyone is looking to buy this one: At least the barrel thread should be the same as the "newer" Mares standard, so it's a fairly easy job of just swapping the old valve for a newer one.
That means a new inlet valve body if you can get one. Probably have to order one as dive shops don't have these parts; the "Sten" version should fit.
 
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Diving Gecko

shooter & shooter
Jun 24, 2008
1,270
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Shanghai
Yep, Sten and also the Seac ones fit. Salvimar will fit, too but the pump thread itself is different and I think there are still fewer Salvi pumps in the world than Mares/Seac, so the safer bet is the Mares valve.
And true - often you need to go to the smaller shops like edosub.it for replacement parts shopping.