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Old 01-30-2016, 05:44 PM   #1
quattroluvr
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Koah Roller Pics & Review

Hi all,

This is my 2nd review. The other review was for a short Riffe Euro set up as a hole gun for Pacific NW Ling cod. (Note that this version 1 is a dry land review and photos. I'll update this after a February pool session, and again this summer when the Oregon albacore are back, or maybe a Baja trip.)

This gun purchase was motivated by the first successful albacore tuna multi-spearo/multi-tuna trip in Pacific NW history last September, off the Oregon coast. For that write-up see http://spearboard.com/showthread.php?t=185203 I had a Riffe Euro 120, but I needed even more range for blue-water Albies. My buddies had many-band cannons and had the range to bag more fish.

I purchased the Koah roller through the only free-dive/spearo shop in the Pacific NW (afaik), in Portland, Oregon. http://www.oregonfreediving.com/ Thanks Dan!

(Note: i'm not looking for debates about roller vs
conventional, just citing some facts.)

First a few stats:

Brand: Koah http://www.koahspearguns.com/roller-guns.html

Model: 52" Rear Plus Roller (other handle configs are Standard and Euro) This is the longest roller offered. List price $925 Rear Plus, (less for Std-handle).

Wood: teak I think.

Muzzle to butt length 52.5" actual, 133 cm

Bands:
o 1 long band for roller, uses nearly full length of top deck
....Effective stroke length for roller band ~40" if using the rear bottom-deck retention notch, a few inches less for the front notch.
o 1 conventional band for extra kick start to spear
....Effective stroke length for conventional band ~25"
. Stroke length difference of roller band +15" or ~1.6x (40/25)

Power settings:
1. both bands engaged, roller band in rearmost bottom groove
2. Both band engaged, roller band in forward bottom groove
3. Top band only (eg short reef shot)

Reverse trigger: rear shark fin is 7" rearward from trigger's axle

Rigging: breakaway with float when used for pelagic
Track type: enclosed

Shaft: 55", 5/16", 8mm thread for slip-tip (a flopper shaft avail.)

Safety: Intuitive, color-coded slider left-right thru the stock.

Trigger feel: N/A yet, pool session should tell. Hoping it's as sweet as my Riffe Euros.

Load assist: there are TWO retention grooves in the bottom deck. So you can load the top deck starting with the bottom's forward groove, even hip style, then turn the gun over and finish stretching the roller band to the rear retention groove chest style. One of my big motivations besides less recoil/shaft-flip was ease of loading and a shorter overall easier handling length. I think that obtains.

Fit & finish: wow, beautiful, superb, ultra-precise, deep/many-coats finish

Photos: There is a paucity of photos on the Koah website and no close-ups, so these should help a lot. (...to position the roller band so you can see it, in a photo or two I put the shooting bungee through it to hold it down a bit, so if it looks a bit tangled that was on purpose.)

Pool update: coming in February

Ocean update: coming sometime later
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Last edited by quattroluvr; 01-31-2016 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 01-30-2016, 06:14 PM   #2
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Re: Koah Roller Pics & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by quattroluvr View Post
..... but I needed even more range for blue-water Albies....
Are you going to rig a line break away setup on it or a reel ?

And if you rig a break away, please post up more gun picts of your break away !!!!

I've shot the Koah Roller and what I really like about it is how you can change up the power depending on what you are shooting. The gun can go from full power pelagic action down to stoning reef fish with just the kicker band loaded.

If you love the range, you'll love the accuracy on long shots even more. Just fully push your whole shoulder and locked elbow into the shot.

For grins - I'm Koah biased !!
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Old 01-30-2016, 08:00 PM   #3
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Re: Koah Roller Pics & Review

Hi John,
yes breakaway. I'll move my Neptonics breakaway Y-fitting from my Euro 120 over to the Koah. Updated my OP. good thoughts.

There are three handle configs to choose from and scant info on the Koah website. So I got this advice from Koah via email:

... the roller band needs to go to the back shark fin as it carries the shaft further [down the stock than the kicker band]. Re-rigging the mono is the same as a traditional speargun except the line anchor is on the side [just like a Riffe, which I like] rather than the bottom to keep the roller band away from the mono. The 3 handle placements are as follows.

o Standard- back for the trigger mechanism is 8.5 in away from the bottom of the stock to assist in hip loading, handle is below the trigger mechanism. This is the most user friendly of the bunch.

o Euro - Trigger mechanism is 3.75 in from the bottom of the stock. This is to utilize the entire stock. Euros are chest loaders and are very difficult to try and hip load. Majority of freedivers use the euros to get the most reach from the gun.

o Rear plus- trigger mechanism is 2.75 in from the bottom of the stock , handle is 12.5 in from the bottom of the stock. This allows for better pivoting and utilization of the entire stock to get more power from a smaller gun. This is also a chest loader.

Last edited by quattroluvr; 01-30-2016 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 01-30-2016, 10:57 PM   #4
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Re: Koah Roller Pics & Review

I'm excited to see this thing in the water! We're going to set some (official) records this year
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Old 01-31-2016, 07:17 PM   #5
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Re: Koah Roller Pics & Review

Very nice looking gun. I think the bands could be slightly more optimized just based on some of the empirical evidence that has been circulating lately, but otherwise it looks to be a winner. Let us know how it shoots!
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Old 01-31-2016, 08:37 PM   #6
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Re: Koah Roller Pics & Review

Aloha TVA, regards 'optimized', links to posts? or ?
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Old 02-01-2016, 01:00 AM   #7
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Re: Koah Roller Pics & Review

It looks nice! Please let us know how it shoots. Looks very difficult to pull the bottom bands back after loading so I am guessing that you set the band to the slot underneath and then load as a single action? Or can you flip the gun over and then pull the bottom band back to the second setting? A single roller is just not enough power, so the second band will really improve things. Will be interesting to see this thing in action.
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Old 02-01-2016, 01:55 AM   #8
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Re: Koah Roller Pics & Review

For ease of loading the roller band:
1. put roller band in bottom deck's forward retention groove (kind of like a rest tab on a conventional gun shaft).
2. load the band on top onto the FRONT sharkfin, otherwise there's no room to engage the kicker band
3. flip the gun over and move the band to the rear retention groove. EASY. OMG, no more vein-popping effort to load like my 120 euro.
4. load the conventional kicker band on top to front fin. It's so much shorter than an equivalent conventional gun even I can do a sternum/chest load with ease. EASY reach vs my 120 euro, let alone a super long tuna cannon.

or... if you have freakishly strong gorilla arms and technique like spearq8, don't bother with the front retention groove! (background: the Riffe euro 120 shorter band length spearq8 suggested made me feel like a pathetic weakling and I'm 5'11' 200 lbs guy that does weights but not enough for those daunting bands).

Last edited by quattroluvr; 03-01-2016 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 03-01-2016, 02:36 PM   #9
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Re: Koah Roller Pics & Review

How did she do in the pool?
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Old 03-01-2016, 02:45 PM   #10
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Re: Koah Roller Pics & Review

We love hearing feedback on guns on passionate spearos.
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Old 03-01-2016, 03:14 PM   #11
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Re: Koah Roller Pics & Review

POOL REPORT:

Woohooo! This Koah roller is more powerful than my Riffe euro 120, and OMG! soooo much easier to load! The 'rest tab' type effect on the two bottom deck notches for the roller band is sooo helpful. Easy to pull the roller band to the bottom deck's rear retention notch after you get the roller band on the sharkfin. While it was a huge struggle for me to load the euro 120, even the conventional kicker band was easy to load. With the length being able to be shorter-for-power, I could reach the kicker easily with right hand, then grab the butt and with a few pounds effort shift the butt onto my sternum for a nice straight leveraged chest pull to the rear shark fin.

Oh be sure to move the roller band to the bottom deck's forward retention band before loading otherwise threading the spear is too tight at the muzzle.

For loading, shooting line mgt and band mgt is a bit more fussy, more floppy stuff around the muzzle, but I'll get used to it. I love the magnetized open track on the Riffe euro for quick shaft placement, while an enclosed track is a bit more awkward to insert the shaft, but that prevents shaft whip I suppose. That's a generic enclosed track comment; the Koah has one.

There were three experienced shooters in the pool and we got to watch the Koah roller vs a Riffe Euro 130 re recoil. We all agreed that the Koah's recoil is about half maybe less than the 130. And while veins were popping at max effort to load the 130, loading either Koah band was easy peasy.

Accuracy is hard to say, 'cause i'm so inexperienced with long guns. 99.9% of my shooting up here in Oregon is with a 55cm hole gun for rockfish and Lings. By the 7th shot I was starting to get used to the sight picture and hit once within 3-4 inches at 18 ft, but like I say, I'm not the right guy to give judgement on accuracy. I suck at aiming long guns till I get way more practice.

Sans spear, it floats perfectly level in the water.

It's got heft but being a roller it's shorter and more nimble than an equivalent-power long conventional gun. Easier to transport too.

An overall observation is that the Koah roller is a completely designed, balanced roller-gun-SYSTEM. I don't think a roller conversion or the like gives the same benefit. For example, a strong roller needs a higher mass shaft to take advantage of that long top deck stroke. i.e. this has a 5/16" shaft. A conversion or less thoughtful design might not give you the rest tab effect or ease of loading either.

More pool sessions to come maybe, then Baja East Cape April 10-20.

Can't wait for albacore to come back to Oregon offshore this summer. We've been having delicious seared albacore steaks all winter.
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Old 11-25-2016, 05:41 PM   #12
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Re: Koah Roller Pics & Review

Well events conspired to keep us from going out for albacore, but I've had a couple of pool sessions and a Baja trip, though the fishiness was pretty bad so few shots taken and sprained my ribs so didn't get to go out as much as i hoped.

One definite conclusion though is to shorten both bands from stock OEM length, which Koah agrees is for kind of lowest common denominator spearo strength/reach. If you're 5'11" and lift some (not that much) you can easily take 4" off the roller band and a couple inches off the kicker band, or even more, which really amped up the velocity from just ok to much faster/flatter. Up in Pac NW I'm so used to shooting a 55cm gun 4-8' range, that I'm a bit clueless on long-range aiming a longer gun like the Koah.

Last edited by quattroluvr; 12-21-2016 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 11-25-2016, 11:06 PM   #13
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Re: Koah Roller Pics & Review

It is interesting that a lot of the new rollers are coming with an added booster band ... that sort of defeats the purpose of a roller! Why not just have two booster bands on top and forget about all the roller stuff and just call it a day

Seriously though ... with a roller what you need to look out for is if the shaft is diving. I found that if you power up a roller it starts to cause the shaft to dive. A diving shaft is very hard to control as the elevation adjustment is drastic ... for long range shooting you need a flat shooting gun as it makes accuracy much easier since you don't have to adjust for elevation. A diving shaft is also a shaft that will shed velocity very quickly. Of course ease of loading and lack of recoil can be enough of a draw to go for such a gun like that. But if you are not able to shoot accurately at long range, I would look again at the setup rather than blame the shooter. From my experience most spearos with a couple of years of spearfishing under the belt are pretty damn good accurate shooters. I would recommend that if you want to increase the power on the roller, pay attention to when the shaft starts to dive, then back off. You should not push beyond that as it is better to have a flat shooting gun than a more powerful shooting gun that has a diving shaft.
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Old 11-25-2016, 11:55 PM   #14
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Re: Koah Roller Pics & Review

Shaft diving on powerd up rollers is usually due to too light a shaft and the shaft out accelerating the band's retraction speed . This causes you to not get the full power out of the stroke Ether switch to a thicker shaft or thinner bands .
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Old 11-26-2016, 01:53 AM   #15
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Re: Koah Roller Pics & Review

interesting inputs from both of you. I think a lot of roller conversion do have too-light of a shaft. I think the heavier shaft Koah uses is correct. Koah's roller band is smaller diamater but tiny hole in it, so it has less friction around the rollers, but nearly equivalent in power to 5/8" band with conventional larger center hole.

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