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All About Guns What's your weapon of choice, and why? Discuss the beloved speargun here!

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Old 08-13-2017, 09:17 AM   #1
Impaler Spearguns
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how heavy is too heavy?

I have been playing with this for a while - but never needed to dial it in to the point of putting an exact number on it. Variances in wood density and batches - lead me to just use parameters and never worry about exact percentages.

I recently had some issues with a certain - picky customer - who actaully specified that he wanted his gun5% negative.
I laughed and just planned on using the same [parameters that I always use.

But it got me to thinking- what you other guys think- what is the best "weight"for a gun?

Obviously I mean - how negatively buoyant is perfect and when it is too much?

I know everyone is different - so I expect a degree of variation from person to person- no answer is right or wrong.

that being said - I like to take my reef guns - and put them in salt water without the spear and add lead until it just sinks.
I take that weight - subtract the weight of the spear - and then add 100 to 140 grams.
then go back to the dock and put spear in the gun and use lead shot to balance gun - so it is slightly muzzle heavy - is perfect.
so the gun "weighs 100 to 140 grams and is a little muzzle heavy.

with blue water guns - I like 150 to 200 grams- and barely muzzle heavy.

am I in line with others on this one?
how much does your gun weigh in the water?

if you have time to waste and you want to know - just weigh your spear with a small digital scale - in grams if possible
(I realize this is mostly obvious and I am not trying to teach anybody anything - just establish norms for rhetorical reasons)
then take your gun without spear -
tie a string to it
take baggies with lead shot or lead weights of some kind and tape them to stock-
starting with around 1/2 the spear weight
and add weight -( 10 grams at a time if possible) until the gun finally just sinks
record how much lead it took to sink the gun
subtract the spear weight from that number
now you know the exact amount of lead it takes to sink your gun
now you can add a little weight to that (I like 100 grams) and then play with
putting some at muzzle and some at butt - till it balances to preference.

This is how I am doing it for the science experiments - I am trying to establish more exact parameters-
accounting for different woods / different densities / among different batches
some wood (especially mahoghany) differs so much between batches and origins that it is essentially
a different wood each time - despite the technical relationships in the family "tree"

It would be nice to take a density test and use a formula and get the lead exact - without ever actually getting the gun wet during building
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:45 AM   #2
Diving Gecko
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Re: how heavy is too heavy?

Just one man's voice - and I only shoot shorter pneumatics - but I really like my guns to be very neutral both balance and buoyancy wise. Ever so slightly nose heavy feels nice since if I let go of it, it will end up pointing downwards which just feels nice and safe. I don't think I need it to be muzzle heavy to counter muzzle flip, I like to believe my guns shoot too fast for that anyways;-). I'll go to pretty great extents to get that balance out of stock guns (swapping for a carbon fiber outer barrel, lighter handles, minimal overhang on the spear are some mods).
Also, depends on type of hunting. E.g. I'd think spearos in shallower water or those doing a lot of aspetto don't like guns to be too muzzle heavy as they hold them horizontal for much longer than a lot of bluewater spearos. For the latter, it might be quite nice than the gun points downward a tad easier.

So, yeah if I ever ordered a custom gun you could laugh while you shaped it, but I'd still like/expect it to come out to my weird demands...;-)

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Old 08-13-2017, 10:14 AM   #3
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Re: how heavy is too heavy?

My biggest bluewater weighs 17 lbs. its 70 inches long and uses a 72 inch 3/8 shaft and slip tip with cable. It probab.ly sinks an inch every 10-20 seconds. Horizontal! Just a slight pressure to aim up or down. It uses 5-6 bands. That said-the best weight as a gun builder, is whatever the customer asks for.
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:37 AM   #4
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Re: how heavy is too heavy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diving Gecko View Post
Just one man's voice - and I only shoot shorter pneumatics - but I really like my guns to be very neutral both balance and buoyancy wise. Ever so slightly nose heavy feels nice since if I let go of it, it will end up pointing downwards which just feels nice and safe. I don't think I need it to be muzzle heavy to counter muzzle flip, I like to believe my guns shoot too fast for that anyways;-). I'll go to pretty great extents to get that balance out of stock guns (swapping for a carbon fiber outer barrel, lighter handles, minimal overhang on the spear are some mods).
Also, depends on type of hunting. E.g. I'd think spearos in shallower water or those doing a lot of aspetto don't like guns to be too muzzle heavy as they hold them horizontal for much longer than a lot of bluewater spearos. For the latter, it might be quite nice than the gun points downward a tad easier.

So, yeah if I ever ordered a custom gun you could laugh while you shaped it, but I'd still like/expect it to come out to my weird demands...;-)
ok - but how do you determine what % negatively buoyant IS?
it is quite subjective and unmeasurable
5% of what? the overall weight out of the water? in the water?
see the problem here?

I didn't mean that I was going to ignore his request - it must have sounded that way- I just meant that I didn't know HOW to determine an exact percentage .
Myabe it IS possible somehow? Idk - I just took his 5% and took that to mean - just barely negative by 40 to 60 grams - which is nothing

You can give the buoyancy in terms of weight but not percentages
or can you ? idk not 100% sure on that

btw - I have never seen a gun that was neutrally buoyant with spear in - anywhere but on the most expensive custom guns - all öff the rack"guns are quite negative with spear in- and most have no balancing or ballasting at all.
VERY surprised to hear that a pop gun would be neutral with all that metal and only a small air pocket to buoy the thing - very surprised.

i think the muzzle heavy thing is about aim being easier with a little weight to the gun at the muzzle
target shooting rifles are usually quite heavy for the same reason
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:50 AM   #5
Diving Gecko
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Re: how heavy is too heavy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Impaler Spearguns View Post
ok - but how do you determine what % negatively buoyant IS?
5% of what? the overall weight out of the water? in the water?
see the problem here?

btw - I have never seen a gun that was neutrally buoyant with spear in.
VERY surprised to hear that a pop gun would be neutral with all that metal and only a small air pocket to buoy the thing - very surprised.

i think the muzzle heavy thing is about aim being easier with a little weight to the gun at the muzzle
target shooting rifles are usually quite heavy for the same reason
Feel free to be surprised;-)
Very short airguns are hard to get neutral but my 90cm made it (a 90cm airgun is much shorter than 90 band gun). Above that it is easy. Keep in mind the reservoir on a classic airgun is 40mm in diameter vs. the 28mm on a pipe gun so the volume is substantially bigger on the airgun. Also, there isn't actually that much metal in those guns. The main culprit is the inner shooting barrel which, for a classic gun, is 13x18mm alu tube running the whole length of the gun. Other than that, it is just a plastic nose cone, plastic bulkhead and plastic handle. The trigger is just a spring and a sear without casing so that weighs next to nothing.
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Old 08-13-2017, 03:01 PM   #6
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Re: how heavy is too heavy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Impaler Spearguns View Post
I have been playing with this for a while - but never needed to dial it in to the point of putting an exact number on it. Variances in wood density and batches - lead me to just use parameters and never worry about exact percentages.

I recently had some issues with a certain - picky customer - who actaully specified that he wanted his gun5% negative.
I laughed and just planned on using the same [parameters that I always use.

But it got me to thinking- what you other guys think- what is the best "weight"for a gun?

Obviously I mean - how negatively buoyant is perfect and when it is too much?

I know everyone is different - so I expect a degree of variation from person to person- no answer is right or wrong.

that being said - I like to take my reef guns - and put them in salt water without the spear and add lead until it just sinks.
I take that weight - subtract the weight of the spear - and then add 100 to 140 grams.
then go back to the dock and put spear in the gun and use lead shot to balance gun - so it is slightly muzzle heavy - is perfect.
so the gun "weighs 100 to 140 grams and is a little muzzle heavy.

with blue water guns - I like 150 to 200 grams- and barely muzzle heavy.

am I in line with others on this one?
how much does your gun weigh in the water?

if you have time to waste and you want to know - just weigh your spear with a small digital scale - in grams if possible
(I realize this is mostly obvious and I am not trying to teach anybody anything - just establish norms for rhetorical reasons)
then take your gun without spear -
tie a string to it
take baggies with lead shot or lead weights of some kind and tape them to stock-
starting with around 1/2 the spear weight
and add weight -( 10 grams at a time if possible) until the gun finally just sinks
record how much lead it took to sink the gun
subtract the spear weight from that number
now you know the exact amount of lead it takes to sink your gun
now you can add a little weight to that (I like 100 grams) and then play with
putting some at muzzle and some at butt - till it balances to preference.

This is how I am doing it for the science experiments - I am trying to establish more exact parameters-
accounting for different woods / different densities / among different batches
some wood (especially mahoghany) differs so much between batches and origins that it is essentially
a different wood each time - despite the technical relationships in the family "tree"

It would be nice to take a density test and use a formula and get the lead exact - without ever actually getting the gun wet during building

140 gr won't cause pain in the hand wrist after 6 hrs diving? when you said 5% I remembered a heavy gun (high density wood) I made with extra spear weight (neutral with 6.5 mm 125 cm spear but used 7.5 mm 130 spear for big fish) it add almost 140 gram extra ,when I stayed at bottom holding the gun in level I don't feel comfortable because of the extra nose heavy and the pain in my wrist increase with time ,gun that not cause wrist pain after long dive day & easy maneuvering is a perfect gun ,
I do small experiment for finding lead required ,after I glue my stock I keep extra 4 inch*stock width at edge , removed it and painted by epoxy or use teak oil as my final gun ,got 4 liters of sea water in bucket attached lead till stock sink very slow ,got ratio use it to estimate lead weigh for the gun .
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Old 08-13-2017, 03:27 PM   #7
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Re: how heavy is too heavy?

Depends , I like my personal bluewater guns to float at the surface with the muzzle neg and sit in the water at about a 45 deg angle , this is mostly for when guns get passed I and out of the boat , I've seen too many crew grab the wrong gun and toss it in without a line atached and if it sinks it's gone .

Inshore guns sink very slowly and hole hunting guns are negative so they stay where they are sat to mark holes

The reason for muzzle negative is , when any gun fires there is some amount of muzzle lift (some guns alot ,some very little ,but there is always some amount )weight in the muzzle counters that force .

I would think he said 5% to mean almost weightless ,but sinks very slow

Short guns can be more negative than long guns , hold a 5 #weight next to your body, no problem . Hold it on a fingertip with your arm straght out and it is hard to do for long .
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Old 08-13-2017, 05:04 PM   #8
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Re: how heavy is too heavy?

I don`t know how to measure 5% negative and i doubt your customer does either which means you are screwed (because it may be subjective). He may mean that he wants the gun to sink slowly and evenly, he may want the front end a little heavy so he has some feedback, I'd call him back and explain what he's really looking for w that request.
I try to get mine ballasted so they sink slowly and level. BUT, change up the shaft diameter (9/32 or 5/16), use a longer or shorter shaft and all that changes the equation. I don't always nail it but I do my best to give them a well balanced gun.

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Old 08-13-2017, 06:52 PM   #9
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Re: how heavy is too heavy?

Lead sinks at around 14 feet per second , so 5% would sink at around 8"per second .
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Old 08-14-2017, 06:37 AM   #10
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Re: how heavy is too heavy?

I used to like my guns to be slightly nose heavy like Phil described. Now I like my guns to float with the shaft in. Once you dive to any depth the balance of the gun changes. I like the neutral feel when aiming and shooting. A heavy muzzle at 100 feet is not easy to swing, aim and shoot.
The other advantage of a floater is you only loose guns 5% of the time. Hahaha!
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Old 08-14-2017, 11:26 AM   #11
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Re: how heavy is too heavy?

Ballasting can be tricky ... a lot of factors ... but really perfect ballast is way overrated. Best is to get a ballpark figure and accept that. Perfect ballast is not a requirement for good results, but it is nice to have. I think it is a good idea to have a ballast compartment up near muzzle and inside handle ... this allows you to fine tune for changes.

Things that can screw up ballast

1. Change in salinity of water
2. Change in shaft diameter or shaft length
3. Wetsuit you use (yes the arm part of your wetsuit can make a difference)
4. Glove you use (5mm gloves have high flotation)
5. Adding or removing bands
6. Removing or adding a Reel, or just changing to a different reel
7. Gun absorbing some water (especially if not epoxy coated)

Remember also that when you go deep, that also screws up the calculation. So when you look at a video with a guy on youtube letting go of his gun and having it twist around ... looks cool but that really has no value to performance. I like my guns to be slightly negative with shaft on with a 1.5mm wetsuit. I can go half a diameter in shaft and not really worry about re-ballasting the gun. I sometimes even go from 7mm to 8mm without a problem. Sure ... a gun that is too nose heavy can put a lot of pressure on your wrist, but I regularly shoot guns ballasted in saltwater and have no problems shooting them well in a fresh water pool.

I think ballasting a gun by itself is not the way to go because there is a shooting arm connected to that gun. Good ballasting should be done in a way that helps you move the gun to target without excessive wrist energy required to keep the muzzle from dipping or floating.
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Old 08-14-2017, 01:29 PM   #12
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Re: how heavy is too heavy?

Unless you have a air chamber in the gun depth will not change the ballast of a gun itself , the band's have a small a small amount of air that will compress . Your suit and if you are using a floatline will make large changes to how the gun feels at depth .

Flotation only changes if a object is compressible, s.g. on a solid won't change until it colapses .

This is why a gun should be as neutral as posible that way it is still usible at the surface ,but when your suit is negative at depth it won't feel overly heavy
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Old 08-14-2017, 01:59 PM   #13
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Re: how heavy is too heavy?

it's crazy to think that the gun needs to be neutral when every mass production wood gun that I have ever seen will sink like a rock with spear in - and as long as it floats with spear out - then it is considered good.
I haven't handled many of the modern high end brands - I am supposing that they are quite neutral then?
I'm glad I started this thread because it seems people's expectations are a bit different than I suspected them to be.
I tend to agree with majd on this one -- in that - I think that a gun has parameters that have to be be kept - but not an exact number.
the gun that I am shooting right now - my friend said is muzzle heavy- but I don't feel it. I figured maybe I am not the best judge. I'm just not sure.

I am a whole lot more picky about what I sell - but not so much on what I use.
I can shoot whatever and make it work - I try to get pretty close to stuff.
But I DO need to know what the consensus is - now I do- pretty much neutral- with some people liking muzzle heavy and some don't.
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:11 PM   #14
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Re: how heavy is too heavy?

I prefer my guns to be slightly heavy. Neutral plus. For bluewater, especially for Wahoo in Baja and CA yellowtail which is what I most frequently hunt, a heavy gun with a fair amount of sink to it is a lot more stable near the surface. And now that I use primarily rollers, each of my guns is about a foot shorter with the same range so swinging them through the water at depth isn't a problem.
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Old 08-15-2017, 07:17 AM   #15
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Re: how heavy is too heavy?

My favorite quote on Ballasting comes from Dr. P where he describes shaving down his Padauk builds so that "He could come back in a week and they'd be in the same place he left them" I figure guns are supposed to be ballasted to be balanced horizontally and sink ever so slowly or be neutral. Perfect Ballasting matters more on a Bigger Bluewater gun.
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