View Full Version : Need Advice for L.A. area
06-16-2004, 02:50 PM
I'm pretty new to the sport and am looking for some advice. I'm in the LA area (Marina Del Rey) and want to get a new gun. I have a JBL 24 that I've used a few times but I'd like to upgrade in case I ever run into anything big (YT, WSB).
Looking at several posts on this site and others, I think I have my choice down to a Rob Allen Railgun (100cm) or a Riffe Metal Tech #1. I only freedive and I'm planning on using the gun for local beach dives and Catalina trips (anyone been to Parson's Landing?).
I've been told a midhandle is better for the kelp we deal with locally and a changable tip is important (RA guns don't have this).
Also, how many bands do you think I need. I always seem to have a hard time loading guns so I'd ideally limit bands to 1 or 2 (am I out of my mind?).
The posts I've read on this site are great. Any ideas/advice you have would help a lot.
06-16-2004, 04:52 PM
If you are going to invest in a gun, I suggest getting a gun you won't outgrow quickly. Whatever gun you decide on, go longer than you are planning right now. You will need the range for YT and WSB. I'd be thinking a 120 in a Rob Allen, and a Riffe MT2 or MT3, or a Competitor 2XS or 3S. If you go Riffe and want the changeable tip make sure to get a "standard" model, as in MT#2-S. You also get 3 bands on the standard models. Look at the Riffe website and see the difference adding the 3rd band makes in thier quotes for effective range! As far as bands go, 3 smaller diameter bands will be physically easier to pull than one large diameter band. The 3 band setup also allows you to only load 1 or 2 bands if you go for halibut or maybe a calico in a hole. You shouldn't need max power when shooting down into a halibut laying on the bottom, and he could be laying over rock. And you don't want to fire full force into a rock crevice or cave and risk slamming your shaft into the rock. Another gun to look at would be the Wong hybrid gun, likely my next gun.;)
Bottom line in my opinion is that a longer/multi-band gun can be powered down if needed, but a small gun will never make the long shot!
The euro style guns are extremely hard to load if you don't use the right technique, take a look in the guns section for kmoose's thread on this topic, some of the best reading ever!
06-16-2004, 05:48 PM
For So Cal shore diving, get a Riffe C2 with a single flopper.
06-16-2004, 07:55 PM
You're doing the right thing by asking for lot's of opinions, because there are lots of really solid alternatives.
I would suggest you spend the next few days formulating in your own mind what kind of fish you intend to pursue in the next couple of years and where you plan to do it (by the way, under the right conditions, Parson's can be epic). Then, make the journey to Dana Point on the 24th and attend the OC Hunter meeting (http://www.ochunter.com). Introduce yourself to Skip Hellen. He's about as knowledgeable a spearfisherman as has ever lived, and he's very open and helpful.
One or more of the Riffes also attend those meetings, and they can be helpful as well. They're really good folks.
If you like, shoot me an e-mail, and I'll make a point of introducing you (email@example.com).
06-17-2004, 12:04 PM
Hi guys! After being a lurker for over a year now, I finally decided to chime in with my first post. First I've got to thank you guys for your reports, stories, and general entertainment that I've benefited from over the last year ;) .
I've been freedive spearfishing and lobster diving for about three years now. My stomping grounds are from Pt. Dume to Deer Creek and everything in between. Over the last year I have made several dive trips to Cruz and Rosa for a couple of nice WSB. About a year and half ago, after diving with several different kiddie guns like JBL's and AB Biller's :rolleyes: , I dropped the coin for a real gun, a Riffe Metal Tech 3. Steve this is the perfect gun for the type of diving that you want to do. I have many dives under my belt with this gun, and I wouldn't trade for any other kind gun. In fact, last week I Ebayed another MT3 with a Riffe Reel already mounted on it. I had been using a break away set-up with a 50 ft float line, and I think that it is the perfect set-up WSB, but I am ready for a little variety and got this reel set-up at a sweat price :cool: . You are right about wanting to get a mid-handle gun for hunting in the kelp, but IMO a #1 or #2 wouldn't give you the range and the power ( to penetrate a LARGE WSB at 15 or more feet) that you need. And anything larger than a #3 would be to long and cumbersome to manuever in the kelp and hunt in 8-10 foot vis. The #3 gives you the best of both worlds. As far as the bands are concerned, I use 3 for hunting the kelp beds (4 in good vis, like out at the islands), and I uncock 2 bands and just use 1 if I go inside looking for halibut. Riffe make a spear shaft with a rest tab halfway back on the spear which makes loading bands a cinch. You just hip-load the band to the rest tab, then reposition and chest-load the band back the rear notch. If you decide that you want to get a MT 3, I have an extra one ;) that I was going to unload on ebay, but would much rather keep it the family. You can rest assured that this thing was treated with TLC after every dive ( freshwater wash, a little WD40, and stored in a cool/dry place). Anyways if anyone is interested...
Riffe MT-3, 5/16" threaded shaft w/ rest tab--new $415, 3 Mean Green hi-modulas 9/16" bands that are about 6 months old and have alot of life left in them--new $30, a Daryl Wong slip tip (design is much like the Alexander, but this is made out of 5/16" stock rather than 3/8", so it has a slimmer profile, matching the 5/16" shaft much better) --new $130, a quality homemade 50ft 5/16" floatline-- a 50ft Riffe floatline runs about $85. I will let it all go for $400.
06-17-2004, 06:40 PM
Hate to do this but here it goes, a three-band gun is great for kicking you in the teeth, especially one that is famous for it's kick.
If these guns were ballasted and properly balanced it would be different, but they are not. Three bands on a thin barrel with a 5/16th shaft (read No Ka Oi) have a nasty habit of shaft whip. This can be corrected, but it will cost you.
My first big ($$$$) wood gun was the No ka Oi. Three bands, mid handle, break away rig the whole bit. It was beautiful!!!! Only I couldn’t hit S**T with it. I couldn’t understand my 00 Comp was too sweet.
Anyway I know Riffes are the cats meow for some, but for me it was more a painful experience.
I sold the Riffe and bought a RA, yes I busted a gut the first time I loaded but it turned out to be a sweet rig. No recoil, you HIT what you aim at and at the time the price was very right.
Range was/is not a factor with RA’s, twin 16” with a 7/7.5mm shaft will reach out and touch anything you encounter in S. Cal. (120Cm) I'd say I 110, 120 would suffice for the kelps beds. My 130 was slightly unwiedly in the denser beds. If like you said you have a hard time/ dont like loading multi bands you can always get it with a single 16mm band.
For those that think the RA is too hard to load remember WOMEN routinely load the same guns. : )
Good luck shopping around
Wongs, RAs, Rabitech, Collins, Omer, etec etc etc etc
PS I’ve found that rear handle guns are easier to aim, there is no pivot off the mid handle.
Current guns, Yoohoji 55" rear plus, 130 RA, 00 Riffe Comp.
On the road
06-17-2004, 11:28 PM
I was searching for a gun for same application and I am going to have to agree with Hamrrhed, and go with the Rob Allen 120cm with 2 16mm bands. If you are having problems with loading I would not go with more than 2 bands. The Rob Allen’s can also come with a single 20mm band but that thing is a monster and hard to pull back. When I shoot a Riffe it seems that the bands are just throwing the shaft as hard as possible and not caring were the shaft lands. It all depends on your personal preference.
06-17-2004, 11:51 PM
Hamrrhed brings up the age old "pea shooter" vs. "tree trunk" debate, for more on this you should check out the Freedive List FAQ's. Try this link for more help on gun selection: http://www.freediver.net/freedivelist/faqstuff/faq_spearguns.html
You will also find alot of other useful information on other gear selection, hunting techniques, and saftey (read up on Shallow Water Blackout-SWB).
Hamrrhed--Three bands on a thin barrel with a 5/16th shaft (read No Ka Oi) have a nasty habit of shaft whip.
I doubt that that is true...3 bands is probalbly not going to cause shaft whip on a 5/16th shaft especially not one of that length. Shaft whip is not effected by the balance or ballast of a gun.
Shaft whip-Shaft whip occurs when you overpower a shaft. There is a limit to how much power you can apply to each shaft before it will begin to lose all accuracy. When you pull the trigger, the shaft actually flexes and starts to oscillate through the water like a snake.
Instead of shaft whip you were more likely to experience "muzzle flip". That is what happens when the upward kick of the front of the gun hits upward on the rear of the shaft as it is fired causing the front of the spear to go down and you miss low.
But again with that set-up I think the shooting problems you experienced were due more to your technique/form or lack thereof :rolleyes: , than with the No Ka Oi. After all I know several people that use that exact same gun and band set-up, and I don't think they ever miss a shot ;) . If you couldn't hit anything it's because you never put in the time to learn how to shoot your gun, and you shouldn't trash the gun manufacturer for that...
Don't get me wrong though, I want to get a RA one day to add to the arsenal. I have heard nothing but good reviews about them and their accuracy, but when it comes to hunting WSB ( a very tender fleshed fish) I want a slip tip on my spearshaft to increase my chance of landing it once it wraps up in the kelp. Besides that I like how easy it is to track and aim, with the nice pivot offered by the mid handle.
06-18-2004, 01:04 AM
I agree with Kayak that a No Ka Oi should have no shaft whip. 3 x 9/16 bands would not be overpowering a 5/16 shaft. Riffe switches from a 9/32 to a 5/16 shaft when powering up from 2 to 3 bands for that very reason.
They have a very cool enclosed track system you can add to the MT3 that KS is offering as well.
KS - FYI There are several places selling the MT3S for $380 w/ bands and shaft. But the Wong slip-tip is definitely cool.
Steve, you also have several votes now for an RA 120.
If you are leaning towards a railgun, you should check out the new Wong/Aimrite railgun and the Rabitech models as well. These both offer carbon fibre models that are supposed to be awesome. All 3 railgun makers are well regarded for craftsmanship and accuracy. Wong guns have a lifetime warranty!
My buddy will be getting a Wong hybrid in carbon fiber, and I will probably follow when I have $$.
06-18-2004, 10:11 AM
A lot of good stuff above. I would only question if you need a 120 RA. That seems a bit long, particularly if you dive off the beach where the visibility is usually kind of crappy. I frequently wish my 110 Picasso was shorter. Just last month I had to bring the handle back by my ear to shoot a halibut.
Wasn't there a post recently by Brandon who was selling his 120cm gun because it was too long? And he's an exceptionally skilled local diver who knows the local conditions as well as anybody.
06-18-2004, 04:30 PM
That is why you have different guns for different purposes. You should use a 70cm gun for halibut not a 110cm. That is why you had to bring the handle back by your ear
06-18-2004, 05:42 PM
Thanks to everyone for the advice. I really appreciate it. I get the feeling that once you get to a certain level of gun, it's all about personal preference. KayakSpearo - would love to check out your MT3. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set something up.
06-18-2004, 06:24 PM
You are right, I was referring to muzzle whip, not shaft whip, my bust. You may also be right about the time I gave the gun, about a year between Florida, California and Europe.
But I’d have to disagree on the accuracy issues and I’m afraid so would A couple of renown speargun makers on principal at least, “….Accuracy suffers for two reasons: 1) there is more recoil which kicks the front of the speargun upward which pushes the rear of the shaft up knocking the shaft off course and 2) the shaft actually flexes (in front of the fin tabs and behind the spear tip) from the extreme power applied when the trigger is released causing the shaft to lose power and accuracy. This flexing, often called "shaft whip," occurs with as few as three power bands. Divers try to "fix" this problem by adding side stocks, sometimes called "wings", which does help reduce recoil but only enclosed track can eliminate shaft whip….” http://spearguns.netfirms.com/
As for that matter my accuracy issues miraculously went away when I bought my RA, hmmmm I wonder : ).
I also know people who have done well with this particular setup, as mentioned in my post—Cats Meow. Then again I know many who did not care for it all. I was not necessarily trashing the manufacturer, like I said before I love my 00 Rife. I was merely stating my opinion and experience with a particular gun. Chances are good the Comp models are set up better, small dia. shaft and with only two bands.
I‘d also have to disagree that this is a peashooter vs. tree trunk deal, I am not against wood guns at all, my buddies ballasted Collins open water gun is great. Not to mention my hybrid Yohoji (sp?).
For all I didn’t mean for this to be Riffe vs. RA, I was just trying to shed some light on the options. So again in MY EXEPERIENCE my RA out performed my RIFFE for half the cost, with all variables being the same (me).
FYI…RA makes slip tips for their guns.
Almost forgot, like Joe Spearfisher said its best to have two guns for different conditions, for low vis and up in NorCal I use my Riffe 00, for better days and offshore I use my larger RA/Hybrid.
06-18-2004, 07:42 PM
Like I said, "I doubt that that is true...3 bands is probalbly not going to cause shaft whip on a 5/16th shaft especially not one of that length. "
Though you found a nice sound bite off of the Kitto/Alexander gun site, it does nothing to back up your claims. The shaft whip that occurs with as few as three power bands is not with a 5/16" shaft :o , but a thinner more flexible shaft like a 6 or 7 mm. For example if you loaded up your RA with three power bands, that is if the trigger mech could support that kind of power, and fired that toothpick of a shaft you would probably get shaft whip, :p
As far as the accuracy issue is concerned if you aimed your Riffe the same way (sighting down the shaft like you would a riffle) as your RA that explains it all. The Riffe guns, and other multi-band tree trunks, require a different method of aiming. There was an exellent discussion on this topic about 2 years ago, on the Deeperblue.net forum. It is a good read, for those interested check out this link:
FYI...If you use a slip tip on tht RA you will lose range, accuracy, and shaft speed. And also you may experience shaft whip, with just two bands, because of the added weight and drag created by the slip tip on a thin flexible shaft.
06-18-2004, 09:28 PM
"I doubt that that is true...3 bands is :rolleyes: probably :rolleyes: not going to cause shaft whip on a 5/16th shaft especially not one of that length. "
You are right, I am sorry, I made the whole thing up.
Wether you think its true or not is irrelevant, it was a factual event.
I go to Cali at least twice a year maybe we can meet up and do some hunting together instead of squabbling over opinions;).
Take it easy
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