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VOIT "Swimaster" Spearguns, Anyone Know?

I have a 36" voigt carbine style. Needs bands and shooting line. Great tip. Also have a 48" Healthways. Similar condition. Great tip. Has mid handle. If interested PM me.
The design was originally called just Swimmaster. I still have a very corroded Swimmaster gun that I bought at the Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange in 1961. The design was later purchased by Voit, and I had a few of those. Then the line was purchased by JBL, and I think I may have had one or two.

I'm not sure, but I don't think the muzzle shown in the photo is the original. I may have replaced the original with this one.
I found some better photos of Bill's old gun and what lies inside it, this looks to be the right place to put them up. From the outside you might think that inside it might have a clever trigger mechanism, but it is just a single-piece trigger. These guns came with cocking stocks in the longer versions for hip loading and that also gave you something to grab onto when pushing the gun around underwater.

Note in the early days Chicago screws often held alloy guns together, these had a male and female part. They could also be used as pivot pins, hence the hole in the end of the pivot pin seen in the Spearfisherman handle which has been opened up.
swimaster gun early grip and muzzle.jpg

Spearfisherman Swimaster handle.jpg

spearfisherman guns.jpg
These guns came next, they were marked as Voit Swimaster guns and when the company decided to quit making spearfishing gear they were produced by the guy who made them for Voit, Joe LaMonica. After that they became JBL guns and most divers in the sixties and seventies have used one. A very long production run that only finished up recently, although Legacy gun parts are still available.
s-l1600 (11).jpg

s-l1600 (12).jpg


JBL gold platee commemorative edition.jpg

The gold plated commemorative edition above was really a wall hanger, although the gun was fully functional.
JBL 38 Special gold anodized.jpg

Another special edition, but don't know what it was for.
JBL Magnum muzzle 1.jpg

JBL Magnum muzzle 2.jpg
An advert from Skin Diver magazine for the Toploader version of their gun. Before it went all dive travel and photography Skin Diver was the magazine which was read by all spearfishermen and where people obtained their news. A computer back then was something in science fiction movies with lots of twinkling lights, spinning large width tape reels and usually announcing that it going to conquer the world.
Swimaster Magnum Toploader.jpg

What Swimaster did not mention in their advert is that the wishbones can crash into the “unique sling arrester” with the shot. The bands run under the spear rather than on top so the spear could be loaded over the top of them while they are being held along the barrel by the arrester. Some decided to remove this gadget on their Toploader guns. This was before the advent of the true glide plastic track which made loading of the spear down the barrel much easier as the track guides the spear tail into the sear box mouth.
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There were Explorer models which used the same handle and innards shape as the Magnum, but they had smaller front and rear tube mounting bosses to take a smaller diameter alloy barrel. I never had one of those but I did pick up a busted handle in a chuck out bin so know what they were like. Because the Magnums struggled with big band loads the XHD version had carbide inserts on the lever rubbing surfaces to minimise the galling you had with the standard levers. The bottom of the pile were the plastic handle Carbine guns that had single piece triggers, they had good barrels and spears in later years, although I have heard the spears were not as good as they once were, but I haven’t bought a new spear in ages. The Carbine guns were sold by department stores like Sears under a new name with different colour handles rather than the standard black.
I still have a severely corroded Swimmaster in the garage. I bought it in 1961 at the Navy Exchange at Pearl Harbor. Of course this thread is so old that I may have already said that.
I still have a severely corroded Swimmaster in the garage. I bought it in 1961 at the Navy Exchange at Pearl Harbor. Of course this thread is so old that I may have already said that.
You did, that is why I put the info here rather than create a new thread as a search uncovered the guns being discussed here. That Swimaster Spearfisherman gun was widely used, but most divers today would be unaware of them thinking only of the JBL models.
An immediate successor was this Swimaster Spearfisherman Magnum, but the gun was a stuff up because the safety was mounted too far forward. Based on Jack Prodanovich’s single piece trigger gun they realised too late their boo boo, but sold the gun anyway.
Spearfisherman Magnum by Swimaster R.jpg
When the guns were upgraded to floaters by sealing the barrel tubes they were more convenient if you had to drop your gun, especially while dispatching your victim, but the downside was recoil could make them a handful to shoot if banded up with triples. Water filled barrels added to the gun’s inertia and that also made them a favourite of scuba divers who don't want to chase their released guns to the surface.
At one time Voit Swimaster sold guns with or without sealed barrels, but the flooding barrel guns were discontinued by the time the guns appeared under the JBL name when Joe LaMonica decided to keep the guns he made going after Voit decided to quit spearfishing.
JBL offered a timber barrel version, the Woody Magnum, it looked just like the alloy Magnum but the handle was made of injection moulded black plastic and had boxy end sockets to mount the timber barrel and cocking stock. These guns had their problems as what worked fine in metal didn't transfer too well to plastic, especially the safety which stressed the plastic and the ribbed cheeks inside the grip handle that could catch on the trigger levers if the plastic scuffed up.

A Woody Magnum user solved the jamming problem by adding washers on each side of the mechanism to serve as hard cheeks for the levers to swing against. http://www.spearboard.com/showthread.php?t=200413

The grips were the same size, these spare part photos are from the JBL website, the Woody grip is on the left.
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Here you can see some traces of ideas being reused in a different form for the Voit-JBL and Prodanovich 2P trigger mechanisms.
Comparison Voit and Prodanovich 2P.jpg
The Voit Swimaster, later JBL speargun handle could have been rescued with a better trigger mechanism. Using a similar cam lock to the Aquacraft guns and a set back buried trigger we end up with something like this requiring not a huge amount of changes to the casting dies.
JBL Magnum mech revisited.jpg

Bandito Aquacraft.jpg
As a matter of interest I was sent parts of a Voit Swimaster Magnum by Ron Mullins when some POS stole the muzzle of the JBL Travel Combo, the short two band version of the muzzle. Now in recent years the biplane wing muzzles have switched to plastic, not really such a great idea, and I wanted the alloy original, so Ron sent me the pieces of a gun on EBay. I used the muzzle and slide ring, but kept the balance as spares. I had tried to open the handle up, but although the screw and tube nuts undid easily the grip halves seemed welded together. The answer is the stainless steel pivot pins get virtually welded into the pivot pin mounting holes in the alloy castings and if you try to lever them apart you could easily snap the castings as they are not built for enduring loads in those directions. Well just last week using every trick in the book I sprung them apart, next the photos to see what and if anything had changed over the decades.
Here are the photos, any differences will be in the detail, if there are any.


One thing that I notice straight away is that there is no sign of the trigger leaning hard on the frame of the casting. That would indicate that the trigger is cam locking, which is what it is meant to do. The later JBL does not.
It is interesting to note that all the Voit triggers which I have had out of their respective clamshell handles are punched out from metal plate as on the right side you can see the curved edge as the metal presses into the punching die, but the actual contact edge has been ground flat on all of them. I don't see how they can cam lock, but if the contact force from the sear lever step passes close enough to the trigger pin axis then the torque produced in the trigger will not lean so hard on the frame, especially if the gun is using only two bands which I think this one did. Another indication of efforts in this area to improve the trigger action is new guns had a dab of grease there, just a tiny bit which gradually would be worked away with usage.
trigger from Voit Explorer or Magnum R.jpg

You can see a wear mark where the ground flat surface has been abraded by repeated firing of the gun due to the sear lever rubbing hard on it.
If we compare the wear on the nose of the JBL to the Voit Swimaster trigger it is obvious that the older gun has a much better contact with the sear lever which in turn lowers the contact pressure and the friction between levers. Note that in the older guns only the sear lever is made from harder steel with the trigger being a more silvery colour, whereas the much later JBL guns are using levers which are both made from the same hardened steel.
contact wear patterns.jpg

It is instructive to note that when Fred Biller made his changes to the Sea Hornet trigger mechanism he made a point of stating that the new sear lever was made of heat treated stainless steel to create a better bearing surface with the softer stainless steel of the trigger. Having a problem with galling of the contact surfaces in the Voit-JBL guns no doubt spurred the choice in that situation, in fact the XHD versions of these guns have matching carbide inserts for guns using much greater band loads than the Magnum models. Whether that was the right way to go is hard to say, but the Sea Hornet/Biller has way better gearing than the Voit-JBL guns and the contact pressures will therefore be lower. The Sea Hornet, built to a price and a lower weapon weight, which is what the burgeoning sport then wanted, has problems which lie in its slim width levers that are designed to cope with the bands supplied with the gun as the sear lever can deflect laterally and bend and then jam in the plastic cassette housing otherwise. I know this as I have bashed a couple of them flat again with the aid of a hammer and anvil, but this is not necessarily a cure if the plastic housing has been sprung out of shape or gouged as the levers can catch and not roll when the trigger is dry fired.
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Anyone know what is happening with Spearboard, a lot of this material was posted there as well. Site does not open, instead this notice is displayed.
Spearboard sign.jpg
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