• Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 44,280+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 516,210+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,441+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

USSR Lever loaded spring speargun from Kharkov Plant.

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

popgun pete

Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2008
Some years ago I saw a partial photo of this speargun which from memory had the name "PRUG" attached to it, but I never saw it again until one showed up on an auction site. I saved the auction photos as although this one was slightly smaller it was obviously another version of the same gun, but being short would have been impossible to get through our Customs. Another fortunate aspect was the photos showed the instruction manual that came with the gun, basically a folded sheet of paper. Recently another one of these appeared and happily this was the longer version, so I bought it and it arrived after a long wait yesterday. I will be photographing it once we have some sunny weather as right now we are in the last month of winter. The gun is very heavy being made from stainless steel tubing, milled out aluminium for the handle frame (not a casting), stainless steel bushes and steel for some parts as well as the long propulsion spring.
Kharkov plant spring gun.jpg

I found the instruction manual on another site which in turn referenced www.apox.ru, but for some reason the latter seems to have fallen in a hole as nothing appears to have been posted there for many months, at least in the spearfishing equipment sections. The English translation of the manual is shown below.
Last edited:



1.1. The spearfishing gun is designed for hunting fish in the sea and freshwater bodies with or without special diving equipment.
1.2. Please read this manual carefully before familiarizing yourself with the gun. Pay special attention to safety measures.

Overall dimensions of the gun (without harpoon), mm: 550x150x40
Harpoon length, mm: 440
Gun weight, kg: 1.6kg
Maximum flight range
(Limited by the length of the nylon cord), m: 1.5

3 COMPLETE SET (pieces)
Shotgun - 1
Harpoon - 1
Nylon cord 10 m - 1
Cuff - 1
Operation manual - 1

4.1 REMEMBER! A shotgun can be a source of injury to its owner and others.
It is strictly forbidden to hunt in the beach area or other places where people are concentrated.
4.2 It is forbidden to point the gun towards you with the barrel or towards people.
4.3 It is forbidden to insert the harpoon without putting the trigger on the safety catch.
4.4. You cannot go ashore with a loaded gun.
4.5. REMEMBER! A shot fired into the air is dangerous to others.
4.6. Do not transfer the gun to anyone who is not familiar with this manual.
4.7. The use of the gun by children is prohibited.

5.1. A spearfishing gun consists of a barrel (1), a spring cocking lever (2), a handle (3), a trigger (4), a safety catch (5), a harpoon (6), with a cord (7).
kharkov plant schematic.jpg

The cord with one end is fixed on the barrel lining by a knot to the ring on the harpoon and is wound on a special device, including a hairpin (8) and a grip (9).
5.2. The principle of operation is based on the force of expansion of the spring pushing out the harpoon. Protection against spontaneous operation is provided by a fuse. The reliability of the fuse is checked by pressing the trigger in the cocked state without a harpoon. In this case, the fuse handle must be turned as far as it will go on the arrow. The trigger should not fire.

6.1. Spearfishing is one of the underwater sports and requires swimming and diving skills.
When preparing the gun, first of all, it is necessary to attach the cord to the gun with a reliable knot, and the other end to the harpoon to special rings, see the figure). Cock the spring with the lever in the direction of the arrow, resting the bed (10) on the thigh until it clicks. Free return of the lever indicates readiness. Place the trigger on the safety catch by turning the lever 90 ° in the direction of the arrow. Check trigger lock by pressing. The trigger should not fire. Observing safety measures, insert the harpoon into the barrel hole completely, up to the stop with some effort to fix it with the cuff (11, see Fig.),
6.2. Wind the cord clockwise as shown in fig. (see 5.1), starting from the end attached to the gun. The rifle is ready to hunt.
6.3 Aimed shooting is carried out from a distance of 3-5 meters. Try to fire a shot with a smooth pressure, which will provide you with a higher probability of hitting the target.
If it hits the fish, pull it up and fasten it to the catch hook. ... Then release the harpoon.
6.4. At the end of the hunt, the gun must be thoroughly rinsed with fresh water and dried.
6.5 Carrying and storing the rifle in a discharged state in a case.

7.1. The shotgun is ready for use as delivered.
7.2. When preparing for a hunt, check the tightness of the screws, the reliability of the fuse.
7.3. Change the cuff (11) after 500 shots. To do this, unscrew the screws (12), remove the plug (13), wad (14), slider (15). Replace the used cuff with a new one from the kit. Assemble in reverse order.
7.4. It is recommended that the barrel lubrication be checked every season.
If necessary, lubricate the springs, the barrel through the slot in the barrel with Ciatim 201 grease or an equivalent.

8.1. The shotgun is manufactured in accordance with TU, accepted and checked by the manufacturer's technical control department. The warranty period is 1 year from the date of sale of the gun by the store, but no more than 2 years from the date of manufacture.
Last edited:
For now here are a couple of the auction photos which are quite good, note the tiny spearhead flopper!

KHARKOV 11.jpg
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Andrew the fish
Like many spearguns in the Ukraine, Russia and the former Soviet Union countries they were chiefly designed for use in freshwater and as a consequence galvanic corrosion was not such a problem. Saltwater would likely make a meal of this gun with slabs of aluminium being in close contact with stainless steel tubing, especially as the finish on the alloy does not appear to be anodized beyond the usual natural film of aluminium oxide that you find on aluminium after exposure once it has been cut. However I cannot be certain on this aspect until I take a better look at it.

Although a production gun the finish of components suggests a lot of hand work in the fabrication of parts and their assembly, hence I would be surprised if these had ever been produced in large quantities, especially as spring guns were quickly superseded by more powerful and much lighter weapons not many years after these would have appeared. The heyday of the spring speargun in the West was the periods before WWII and after through the fifties with the early sixties being their swansong as their inefficiency was always a turn off. Some big Italian and French spring guns with test your strength here loading turned out to be barely adequate performers, whereas the pneumatic gun with the same loading effort ran rings around the spring speargun with their much more powerful shots.

Spearfishing in Russia seems to be starting much later and their spring guns appear in the early seventies, or maybe the late sixties, and given the type of fish being shot in rivers and lakes amongst reeds and thickets of underwater vegetation they probably did the job required until the State factories churned out something better in the form of forward latching pneumatic spearguns.
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Andrew the fish
Attaching the shooting line next to the tip is totally wrong design idea. But cool piece for collection. Are you putting together a spearfishing museum?
I am just documenting this stuff so interested people can read about it, I leave museums to others. As we have seen there has been considerable ingenuity expressed over the decades to produce spearguns that will be suitable for the local environment and the type of fish being hunted there, but initially with few design cues taken from outside sources. Hence there is more variation as gun inventors and fabricators work from first principles and develop their own ideas. This is hard to imagine in the world of the internet where we can all see what is happening around the world at the press of a few buttons, but in the distant past if it was not written up in a specialist magazine then you never knew about it. Over a long period designs everywhere begin to converge as the less useful or poorly performing devices are discarded and often these are in danger of being forgotten if there are few survivors after the majority have been scrapped.
The spear for this gun is made from stainless steel and is 6.5 mm in diameter and 45 cm long including the speartip which has been machined down from 9 mm rod. That is a rather light shaft for a spring gun given that they are usually much heavier to compensate for the lower velocity derived from coil spring propulsion systems. So that the spear will penetrate the target the kinetic energy it carries relies on mass more than velocity, provided the fish is still there by the time the shaft arrives! With its small spear I expect that the idea was to shoot something close up that was lurking behind a screen of vegetation and hopefully take it by surprise. Given the noise of spring guns this may have been a forlorn hope.

Like many spring guns that were more than a simple tube with a spring dangling inside this one has a travelling piston that is propelled by the compression spring behind it expanding during the shot, hence the spear tail jams in the front of the piston in some sort of rubber cuff according to the instructions. The spear shaft has no tail piece as such, just a short taper ground onto the shaft rear, thus I suspect the cuff stops the spear falling out of the cocked gun when the gun is pointed downwards. With no spear tail stop and the spear travelling through a bore in the muzzle nose just slightly larger than the shaft diameter the designer had to use a front tied spear, but given the range of the gun at 1.5 meters this was not going to be a problem. I assume that is the kill range rather than the harpoon flying range, but given the weight and relative complexity of the gun it seems a poor return on the investment in creating it. Too much gun and not enough horse!
Digging around I found this reference to a smaller model which was sold back in 2017.
"Dear buyers, I offer to you an original spear gun that was produced on Kharkov plant “Electropribor” (Ukraine) in 1990s. This gun has simple spring loaded system.
This gun was using barely. The condition is good. The functioning of the gun was not testing. The spring is working.
This speargun can be original present as a souvenir or part of collection.

Condition: new (lasting storage). All details (pros and cons) on the photos.
Weight: approx. 1.3 kg."
Kharkov gun small.jpg

That means these guns are a much later vintage if they date from the 1990's. The shooting range needs further checking as the 1.5 meters may be for this smaller model and not the longer version. Unfortunately the other auction photos are now deleted.
Well here is the somewhat crumpled front page of the instruction manual found on the Web. The page seems to be for the longer gun at 550 mm length, but someone has crossed out the numbers to reflect the shorter model at 350 mm in length. The shooting range is quoted as the “maximum range flying” and although obscured the figure appears to be a 10 (!), while the hand written alteration shows 5.5 meters which is the length of the supplied shooting lines for the respective models when new. Somehow I don’t believe it, at least for underwater. Spearguns many times more powerful are lucky to shoot 7 meters dragging a shooting line in a near linear trajectory. No kill range is indicated, this is usually expressed as "maximum range striking target".
front page Kharkov spring gun.jpg
Last edited:
I had some unused Soviet-era shooting line which came in a bag of spares that I received with an RPS-3 that some collector in the USA had owned which had multiples of consumables accompanying it. This shooting line was about 1 mm in diameter, but was soft stuff that crushed even thinner in the callipers down to about 0.64 mm! The line wrap hooks are 32 cm apart and I was able to put 7 wraps on the spring gun and maybe another one or two if I had not run out of line. Seven wraps works out at 4.48 meters, so even if you were using this flimsy stuff there is no way the gun would hold 10 meters.

I weighed the gun without spear and sure enough it checks out at 1.6 kg, maybe a touch under as the scale readings oscillated a bit while the gun dangled on a hook. Holding the gun is a chore after a short period so I would not fancy spearfishing with it for any length of time as it certainly is no lightweight. Cocking it with the lever is easy at first but gets rapidly harder as you approach the latch. It may be a trifle easier with the gun lubricated by water as while the lever action compresses the spring rearwards the piston it drags is pulled upwards against the barrel incurring some friction as does the buckling of the spring.

I know from experience that strong loading effort on spring guns is no guarantee of a powerful shot as the spear departs with the usual “kerchung” and heads towards the target who hopefully is snoozing.

I suspect that lever cocking is to spare the spear which is closer to 6.4 mm in diameter from being bent by the usual muzzle loading. However then you have the big no-no of inserting a spear into an already cocked gun, a recipe for disaster as you are relying on the gun’s safety which only blocks the trigger as far as I can tell.

Next I plan to take it apart and pull the propulsion spring out and check out the inner works. The gun does not seem to have ever been used, sure it has been cocked a number of times, but the spear is entirety free of the fine scratches that they pick up when shot through a muzzle or a travelling line slide. Corrosion of the plated steel rear hinge for the cocking lever looks like the storage rust that you get on dusty items that absorb moisture from the air.
Last edited:
Spring here was as gloomy as winter and the first week or so of summer was not much better, but finally sunny days have arrived. Note that here summer officially starts on 1st December, not on the Solstice as it does for the northern hemisphere.

I had loosened the four main grip screws, then put them back in as any photography was unlikely at the time, but never tightened them right up. To my surprise when I picked the gun up the grip halves spread and the handle came away from the barrel as I was about to recommence my attack on the gun. The stainless steel barrel is held on by three vertical screws that thread down into the grip in holes that have been tapped when the grip halves were assembled, but split the grip and those bolts just pull out of the threaded holes which are now split in two. These vertical bolts are tightened up with the propulsion spring out of the gun as there are matching holes in the top of the barrel to gain access to them. On reassembly these vertical threaded holes will need to be checked that the screw thread halves still line up or the vertical bolts will not screw in without damaging the threads in the soft alloy.

A curious feature was the metal brackets seen on both sides of the handle and just above and behind the trigger, but their purpose is now revealed to be the means to support the pivot location for the trigger. This gun uses a single-piece trigger which only works if you have the pivot pin sitting directly behind the sear tooth and usually that will not work as the propulsion spring will have to pass through it on a spring gun. Here the designer has placed a yoke on the trigger to divide the pivot holes into which the two short pins projecting inwards on those metal brackets can provide a pivot position which flanks the propulsion spring. An interesting and perhaps bizarre way to do it, but this imposes cocked gun load on those metal brackets as they are all that resists the trigger being ripped out of the gun, plus the pivot pin diameter is kind of tiny at 2.5 mm!

The parts show no sign of corrosion and my impression is that this gun has never been wet, particularly as the stainless(?) steel bolts are rust free and the threads in the alloy are clean as a whistle, something that would be unlikely if water had ever sat around the threads as you get galvanic corrosion with the different metals in contact.

Note the grip halves are totally machined out of the solid as can be seen by the flat interiors and they are definitely not castings. Weight saving was of zero priority when these guns were made. A magnet sticks strongly to all the parts that are not aluminium alloy, so not sure if any of it is stainless steel.



Note the sear tooth is caked with black grease and I even had to wipe two blobs of it off the grip interior on the right hand side before taking the photos.
Next I will remove the propulsion spring which is swimming in grease, same stuff as on the trigger's sear tooth.
Last edited:
Another photo showing the grip interior. The safety lever pivot pin serves as a dowel to line up the grip halves coupled with the four attachment screws that are accessed on the right hand side grip.
The right hand side grip, note the pivot hole for the safety lever pivot pin below the trigger pivot pin bracket.
Kharkiv or Kharkov is in Ukraine and it is entirely possible that the manufacturing plant has been flattened along with most of the city by the Russian invasion, but there is no information on this, although TV images show widespread destruction.
Here is another one of these rather heavy freshwater spring guns being sold from Ukraine.

Evidently someone who is very strong overdid the loading effort as the top lever is bent but it should be easy to straighten, this gun uses stainless steel tubing while the handgrip is alloy. The screws and washers don’t look to be stainless, nor do the rear bracket and side brackets that support the pivot pins for the trigger. This one looks to be complete except for the line attachment ring that pivots on the spear, you can see the holes where it was located just behind the spear tip. Ditto for the line attachment ring at the muzzle.

I have bought stuff from Ukraine even after the war started, so no problem with getting it delivered.
spring gun 1.jpg

spring gun 9.jpg
It is interesting to note that a lot of the former USSR spearguns were actually made in Ukraine, it being a manufacturing hub as well as a food supplier. Small wonder then that Vladimir Putin wants to grab it by any means possible, including murder and now drowning of its civilians.
DeeperBlue.com - The Worlds Largest Community Dedicated To Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing


ISSN 1469-865X | Copyright © 1996 - 2024 deeperblue.net limited.

DeeperBlue.com is the World's Largest Community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving, Ocean Advocacy and Diving Travel.

We've been dedicated to bringing you the freshest news, features and discussions from around the underwater world since 1996.