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Old 10-25-2003, 07:40 PM   #1
Sheri
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Bands and accuracy

I was asking Daryl Wong about different band materials and shaft diameters and their effect on accuracy. It reminded him of something he wrote before for someone asking the same questions. He sent me this, and I'll post Part 1 of 3 for now, so it's not too long.

Sheri,

I am often asked why a gun shoots a certain way or why doesn't a gun shoot "dead on". There are many factors that determine how and why a speargun shoots a certain way, but let's start with band power.

I believe that one of the most common problems that divers have with a speargun is misses due to the power of the bands on the gun. We all would like to have a gun that shoots 25ft and hits center mass every time, but the reality is that an increase in band power gives more distance but at a sacrifice in accuracy. For every action, there is a reaction. When there is an increase in forward speed of the shaft, there is also an increase in recoil. For example, this can be seen when firing a pistol. Similarly in spearguns, the recoil will also cause the front of the muzzle to lift upward. When this happens, the muzzle will lift the end of the shaft upward as it leaves the gun and cause low shots. Some divers believe that low shots means the gun needs more power while the answer is actually less power.

Although less power means less recoil and less muzzle lift, it also means less distance. There is a fine line between distance and accuracy. Also some bands have more punch or snap than others (usually a characteristic of all-black bands....also harder to load). The more snap, the more recoil. Other bands (like some of the amber bands) have a softer, smoother release and less recoil, but less distance. It takes practice and experimenting with different bands lengths and band materials before you can find what works for you. I've shot rifles competitively for over twenty years and no serious shooter buys a gun off the rack without trying different loads of ammo and testing. Why should a serious diver be any different? Practice makes perfect.

Also, think about the fact that not everyone is created equal. A 6'2 225# male with twenty inch biceps may be able to hold a gun with four bands and shoot dead on at 25ft. while a 5'6 150# guy shooting the same gun gets a broken nose. It comes down to using the combination of bands and gun that works best for you. Accuracy is always more important than distance.

Aloha, Daryl
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Old 10-25-2003, 07:57 PM   #2
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thats the article he wrote for 2james.net Sheri. Check out the site. Its run by a buddy of mine who is now back in south Florida.
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Old 10-25-2003, 08:05 PM   #3
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Well said Darlyl, I couldn't agree more. I have been preaching the same concept for years. Distance vs. accuracy, I'll take accuracy every time. Better to practice closing gaps and reduce the need for long shots with good stalking technique. Great post!
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Old 10-25-2003, 08:07 PM   #4
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That is a nice site! But he only got Part 1 of 3.....so stay tuned.
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Old 10-25-2003, 08:09 PM   #5
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Old 10-26-2003, 09:43 AM   #6
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Waiting for part two and three.

Just a guess...How to maximize both accuracy and distance?

Chad
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Old 10-27-2003, 01:03 PM   #7
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Like everything else in life it's all about a balance. Different environments call for different strategies which means different combinations of shafts and bands.

I went back and forth with Daryl regarding tooling the MG gun to use a 3/8ths shaft. He said it was basically unheard of because the 5/16ths shaft is big and heavy for what most divers do.

You can call every dive shop within 100 miles of South Louisiana and not find any of them that regularly carry anything smaller than a 3/8ths shaft. No one uses them.

The combination of diving structure and the abundance of larger fish calls for a strong, heavy shaft that can have the punch through power down range and the strenth to not bend when torqued around pipes all day.

That said, It takes more band power to get that shaft down range. We use to overpower the JBL's so bad that the tubing would start to split and push back on the handle. Many guys had teeth knocked out as well. The trigger sear would wear so quick that all you had to do to fire it was take the safety off and BAM. Not the safest situation.

Accuracy is more important when you're free shafting than when using a riding rig. If we can punch through them with a riding rig there is a good chance of landing them.

So, with balance in mind I think that power is more important for the hunting the rigs or deep structure and accuracy is more important free shafting or free diving.

Of course being the way most of us are I wanted BOTH and that's why I bought a Wong... Still Jonesing to take it down though.
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Old 10-27-2003, 02:37 PM   #8
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Hey Stan,

I remember having the same argument with Chad Carney several years ago. At the time I used JBL Woody Magnums with the 3/8 shaft. My opinion was that the heavier the shaft the more damage it inflicted on the fish. Kind of like hitting an object with a 24 lb sledgehammer vs. a 16 lb hammer, you create more damage. And like you said, when you grab the shaft there is very little play.

On the downside the trigger could not handle too much power and the shafts & tips had a tendency to fail on large fish. I donít think this will happen with the Aimrite hardware.

However, after trying a Wong gun my opinion changed. The line shaft design on a Wong gun has very little affect on the accuracy of the gun. It simply does not slow the shaft down like conventional line systems. The better accuracy meant more kill shots and less fighting with fish and needless to say, I havenít used my JBLís or missed the 3/8 shaft since.

I always figured when using a line on my JBL, I would hit a moving target about 2Ē behind where I aimed. With the Wong, you hit where you aim and I am only using 2 bands. There is no need for me to have to over power the gun, although the trigger could certainly handle it. When I fire the Wong, I cannot see the shaft until it hits itís target, with the JBL I could see the shaft the whole way. There is a big difference in speed.

Anyways, I canít wait to hear how your new gun works on all those big fish over there.

Dave
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Old 10-27-2003, 02:56 PM   #9
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Hey Dave, Daryl reasurred me that the 5/16ths shaft would be plenty and I didn't argue since he's the master speargun builder and I'm not...

Happy to hear the same thing from you too. Rigdvr uses a Wong and basically told me the same as well.

Years ago I had built a long JBL with a 5/16ths shaft and put three wraps of Riffe mono and a wing tip trying to reach out for big snapper. I would hit them but the penetration wouldn't happen. Our bands (we would buy in bulk and make our own) didn't have quite the elasticity as the Riffe and Wong bands. They had a hell of a snap though. I still haven't fired a stronger gun for short range hunting than a beefed up JBL. Now, I'm a few years slower and the fish are a few years smarter so long range it is!
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Old 10-27-2003, 07:02 PM   #10
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I didn't want to post too much at once, so here is Part 2 of 3 (in response to my questions about bands/shafts and accuracy)....


Bands Are Not Created Equal

There is always ongoing tweaking of gear by divers to try and get that little bit of edge with their equipment. That is only natural because the better our gear works the more fish we shoot. The single most important piece of gear in our harvesting of fish is our gun. There are hundreds of different guns out there but they all have one thing in common. The guns shaft has to be powered by something...whether it be compressed air, explosive material, or bands. Band powered guns are by far the most popular, whether you have a production gun, a euro-style gun, or a custom gun.

There are several ways that latex bands can be made. The two most common are:
1. EXTRUDED - This is the most common way of manufacturing. It is made by pushing Latex powder through an extrusion machine under heat and pressure, kind of like making a hollow noodle. The quality of the material is good because of its homogenous structure, however, it does not have some of the desirable performance characteristics of the dipped latex bands.
2. DIPPED and CONTINUOUS DIPPED - This process of dipping a thin mandrel into a latex vat, produces concentric layers of rubber through its wall thickness....like rings in a tree. These layers enable the bands spring rate to remain relatively constant when stretched, even when elongated past 300%. This results in a smoother pull and rebound. It is also tougher and more resistant to tearing.
3. MOLDED - This process involves the manufacture of the bands with a mold. There are some European companies that have bands made this way. However, the length of the mold is a limiting factor and usually 30 in is the longest band they can make.

Band color....the most common colors are AMBER and BLACK.
1. AMBER is the natural color of latex. It is translucent, and therefore, UV rays can reach the inner layers and cause damage inside and out, which means that these bands will wear faster.
2. BLACK latex is formed by the addition of black carbon. It is added to bands because it is a proven method to prevent the aging of rubber. That is why tires are black and have been that way for the last 100 years. The black has no effect on the bands performance.
3. OTHER colored bands (like yellow, blue, red, or black-on-amber). These are just pigments added to the outside of the latex bands. They all slow the damage done by UV rays, so performance is the same, but they last longer.

Interestingly, there are trade secrets in the formulation of latex bands. Some are stiffer, some softer, and like fine wine, some batches are better than others because of the way it was formulated. Some bands may be better suited for some people, but not for others. It is a matter of personal choice. This is why it is important to try all the different bands and test them. In general, with some exceptions, the manufacturers of the opaque one-color bands (mostly black) have formulas which result in bands that are harder to pull, have more snap, pop, and recoil. In general, the translucent color manufacturers (clear amber or colors-on-amber) tend to make softer, smoother, and springier bands.

I personally like a band that has a smooth stretch and slingy release, while others may like the quick snap of a tougher band. It also depends on the situation for which the band will be used. On my primary fish gun, I like the softer release because of the lower recoil. This is because most the fish I shoot in Hawaii aren't large, and I would much rather have accuracy than distance. However, when I go bluewater hunting, I need a band that can power a 5/16 or 3/8" shaft 25-30 feet and punch through a 100-300 pound tuna. For that, I need a band that has more snap than my fish gun uses. Also, since I have a larger target, I can afford some loss of accuracy. Again, it comes down to finding what you need for specific situations.

A type of band that is not in production anymore was called Hi-Modulus, and it was popular with the West Coast California divers who hunted bluewater. It had a specific formulation which gave it superior qualities over the
stock latex bands found on the shelf. Due to the relatively small orders for band material, and the rising popularity of condoms in the AIDS era, it was not cost effective for the manufacturer to remain in that niche. Today there are still divers who hoard the small amounts of original Hi-Modulus bands in their fridge and only bring it out when going on special trips. My partner in Aimrite, Rick, and I were guilty of that until we used it all up.

Bands should be changed as soon as there are signs of cracking and nicks that show up around the wishbone area. This means that the bands are starting to degrade and can become unsafe. Also, by then, it does not have the same properties as when it was new, so you are not getting optimum performance. Why spend thousands of dollars on high quality gear and equipment and skimp on cheap band material? Who wants to be in the water with fish everywhere and have a band snap? It could ruin your day, not to mention possibly hurt you. So when you go out diving again remember to get bands that match your needs and replace them as needed.

Aloha, Daryl
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Last edited by Sheri; 10-28-2003 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 10-28-2003, 09:45 AM   #11
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Thanks Daryl, articles like this are what is so great about Spearboard. Keep em' coming!
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Old 10-30-2003, 12:54 PM   #12
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Arrow Fixing the problem (bands/accuracy)

i sat down with an engineer/avid spearfisherman after noticing his odd shaped homemade speargun. his guns shoot dead on with insane distance, he has one that will shoot 41 feet!! i did not understand how this was possible..... until he explained.

Just as mr. wong said, an increase in band power will decrease accuracy because the front of the gun will kick up causing low shots. But if you want the power then you must figure out how to increase the accuracy and this is done by increasing weight and surface area.

I will do my best to explain. You must look at your gun as if it were a teeter-totter and your handle is the fulcrum. When your gun recoils/kicks up, it will do so from the pivot point (handle). in order to reduce recoil in many guns people will add weight to the gun making it heavier.... this does work, but placement of the weight is the key! You must add the weight to the front of the gun, near the muzzle.....again, keep in mind the "teeter-totter".

One of the best ways to do this is to add a front floater wing kit, very similar to the Front stabilizer that Riffe has. Adding this wing kit in the front will also increase surface area of the front of your gun. Increasing surface area will now increase water resistance when your gun wants to kick up. If you take your hand in the water and lay it flat in the direction your moving it (side to side or up and down) your hand will cut through the water without much effort, but if you rotate your hand (showing palm) in the direction your moving it you will notice resistance and it requires much more effort to move especially at increased speeds.

So now, you put the 2 together, weight and surface area. You can drill slots into your front wing kit and add lead as needed. Basically you want the front of the gun to be wide and heavy so if you were to let the gun go, the muzzle would sink and the rear would float, handle out of the water. Keep in mind the teeter totter! Now the front is heavy so in order to balance the gun out, you grab the gun by its fulcrum, the handle and then you become the weight that compensates/balances out the gun.

the most important thing is accuracy, hands down! you may get only one shot at the biggest fish of the trip, your personal best or a world record.
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Old 10-30-2003, 01:13 PM   #13
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Sask: Wouldn't it also help to move the handle fulcrum forward (closer to the muzzle as in mid-handle guns) in order to gain more leverage and thus control over the muzzle particularly when shooting two handed? This would allow you to get away with less weight while maintaining accuracy?

I'm no engineer, but intuitively that makes sense to me.
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Old 10-30-2003, 02:20 PM   #14
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youre correct kite, there is no reason to put that much weight towards the front of the gun, youre looking for balance and a stabilizer in the front and wieght on the sides is the best way to create balance which is what youre looking for. also the mass produced by the sidestocks is the main factor in absorbing recoil. The GURU of blue water guns Steve alexander makes his guns like a toothpick in the front and adds all the weight to the back. Daryl wong still provides the best of all worlds
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Old 10-30-2003, 02:24 PM   #15
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actually, a rear handle gun is better... according to the engineer. his guns are all rear handle, but he did add a small piece to the rear to make it similar to a mid handle...and he said this is to make it easier to manuver the gun (swing the gun) in the water
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