Beuchat Marlin Elite Speargun Review

beuchat marlin elite speargun review

 

After getting my hands on the Beuchat Marlin Elite speargun I felt like a kid in a candy store. It’s a sleek designed speargun, light enough that it’s comfortable to track in the water, and it’s almost silent when you shoot.

It’s a great gun that I’d recommend to anyone wanting to invest in a speargun that’ll stand the test of time. Get the Marlin Elite if you’re wanting to spearfish around the headlands and are starting to push into deeper water.

 

Behind the brand

After developing a passion for spearfishing, George Beuchat started researching ways to better explore the underwater world. The first innovation of many was a mask that allowed divers to equalize on the way down, followed by a pair of jet fins to better swim through the water. This culture of innovation continues in the Beuchat company to this date.

Beuchat Spearguns

The Beuchat company produce a wide variety of spearguns to suit the needs of spearo’s at all types of experience. I’m also a fan of the Marlin Carbon, and they’ve got a great beginners gun, the Espadon. The Marlin Elite is one of their mid-range speargun models, and today I’ll be reviewing the 105cm model, after a weekend spent spearfishing with it.

The Beuchat Marlin Elite Speargun

What I liked best after using this speargun is how quiet it is when you shoot. The aluminum barrel has been cast with polyurethane foam which cuts down the scrape and strike you normally get with a metal speargun. This also helps keep it level and buoyant while you’re spearfishing.

The Beuchat Marlin Elite speargun comes in sizes from 75cm to 105cm, and uses their revolutionary fast-lock system for their QRS shafts. It’s so quick to load. I’ve been rather impressed after getting used to this speargun, at both how easy it is to use when you’re spearfishing, and it being still in an “affordable” price bracket.

Price

The cost of the Beuchat Marlin Elite speargun will differ based on the length of the gun you want to buy.

 

General specs of the Beuchat Marlin Elite speargun

  • 28mm aluminum barrel with polyurethane molded cover to reduce noise
  • Barrel has cuttlefish shape to aid lateral movement through the water
  • QRS fast-locking integrated shaft system for quick reloads
  • Can fit two 20mm rubber bands for increased power when spearfishing
  • Marlin 30 degree pistol grip for a handle that’s comfortable to spearfish with

 

The handle

The handle on the Beuchat Marlin Elite speargun is made from nylon polycarbonate resin, which makes it tough, and it’s quite comfortable to hold with a nice 30 degree angle. Plus, you can easily swap out the lateral line of the handle to either the left or right side depending on your preference when you’re spearfishing.

The trigger

Within the trigger mechanism the maximum resistance is 290kg which is far more than what I’m loading on my gun. About 6 times in fact, with the 18.3mm bands the Beuchat Marlin Elite comes standard with. I’ve since swapped these out to shorter 20mm bands, and noticed that the trigger is still light to pull, which is just how it like it.

The shaft

The Beuchat Marlin Elite speargun comes standard with a 6.7mm spring steel, stainless steel shaft. It’s setup Tahitian style, which is a single barb on the top of the shaft. I’d stick with this size shaft in the speargun, so you can make use of the integrated rail and the QRS fast-loading system.

The barrel

This is where the Beuchat Marlin Elite speargun really shines. It’s a 28mm aluminium barrel that’s been covered with molded poilyurethane. Essentially changing the shape from a pure cylinder to a cuttlefish shape, which makes it easier to track fish to the left and right when you’re spearfishing. This cover also helps the gun float.

The muzzle

On the Beuchat Marlin Elite speargun you’ll find their unique Marlin muzzle that was designed by the brand and is used on a number of their spearguns. It’s an automatic locking mechanism, which helps you to reload faster because all you need to do is set the shaft back into the trigger mechanism and “click” the spear into place. Saving you vital seconds which may just make a difference when you’ve got to get a quick second shot out to catch that prize fish.

How it actually feels to use

In the water, I was surprised at how light the gun felt, and can confirm about the benefits of the cuttlefish-styled barrel. Despite being a longer gun (I was trialing the 105cm speargun), I didn’t have any difficulties panning left and right to increase my visibility when I was spearfishing.

What I would recommend is swapping out the bands for thicker 20mm. I also shortened these a tad, as it makes it a bit more difficult to load, but the extra few feet of range can make all the difference in taking your catch home at the end of the day.

The best part though is the noise reduction. Normally with an aluminum gun, each shot you take comes with a grating “metal-on-metal” noise as the stainless-steel shaft slides along the metal rails of your gun. I’ve spooked and lost fish when this happens, which is never a good outcome. Compared to most other metal spearguns I’ve used, the Beuchat

Marlin Elite is almost silent.

The downsides

One of the biggest drawbacks with the design of the Beuchat Marlin Elite speargun is the loading pad on the handle. It’s just not comfortable, and you want to be sure you’ve got some padding in your suit if you’re chest-reloading like I do. With shortened 20mm bands, I had significantly more bruising after a couple of dives with this speargun.

I’ve also got to mention the trigger. It’s not a drawback for me, as I like a light pull, but I had a couple of mates also try this speargun and they came back with the same comments. The trigger is a bit light, and there’s a lot of “slop” before the firing mechanism activates.

The results

Overall, I’ve been rather happy with the Beuchat Marlin Elite speargun. It’s a good asset to have in your arsenal and it’s not one of the most expensive spearguns either.

I’d recommend it when you’re looking for a shore-diving gun, to kick out around the reefs and headlands. It’s been designed well, and whilst it isn’t a big railgun like the Rob Allen Tuna, or even Beuchat’s own Marlin Carbon, it’s accurate, deadly, and you’ll catch a ton of fish with it when you’re spearfishing. So what are you waiting for? Get your hands on the Beuchat Marlin Elite speargun today, and go catch a decent feed of fish.

 

Happy spearin’

Mares Cyrano Evo Pneumatic Speargun Review

mares cyrano evo pneumatic speargun review

 

The Mares Cyrano Evo Pneumatic speargun is hands down one of my favorite pneumatic spearguns to spearfish with. It uses compressed air to shoot the shaft out of the barrel, and packs a rather impressive punch for such a small speargun.

All up, it’s a rather impressive speargun if you’re looking for a pneumatic model, that I’d recommend without a doubt to beginners or even intermediate spearos looking to upgrade.

 

Behind the brand

Mares is a brand you’ll see again and again in the spearfishing world, after their founder, Ludovico Mares started designing masks and spearguns in Italy back in 1949. What started as a tiny factory in Rapallo has grown into one of the largest dive companies, who are consistently pushing the boundaries of what we humans can achieve underwater. Simply put, they know what they’re doing when it comes to building and manufacturing great spearguns.

Mares Spearguns

I’ve been consistently impressed with the team at Mares in pushing out quality spearguns again and again. In separate posts we’ve reviewed their Viper Pro, Bandit, Sniper, Sten Pneumatic, and of course the Cyrano which I’m reviewing today.

The Mares Cyrano Evo Pneumatic Speargun

This last weekend I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Mares Cyrano Evo Pneumatic Speargun. It’s a strong and durable little gun, and what I liked most was how easy it was to load when I was spearfishing out and around the reef.

The most distinctive feature of this speargun is the tapered barrel, which has been crafted to add additional air volume into the barrel, and give you more power when you’re spearfishing. I also found that it shot fast and true, and it was relatively easy to track fish while I was diving.

There’s three different sizes of Mares Cyrano Evo Pneumatic spearguns, from 100cm to 120cm, and I’m basing this review on the 110cm model.

Price

The cost of the Mares Cyrano Evo Pneumatic Speargun will differ based on the length of the gun you want to buy.

 

General specs of the Mares Cyrano Evo Pneumatic Speargun

  • 11mm Aluminum barrel with two-piece head and angled water drainage channels
  • Internal barrel is set off-axis to ensure a natural aim while retaining accuracy
  • Can disarm the safety switch with one finger
  • Adjustable trigger to accommodate a variety of different hand shapes and sizes
  • Trigger squeeze pressure is also adjustable to your preference
  • Pre-formed handle is comfortable and easily sits in your grip
  • Can operate at 24 bars of pressure
  • Comes fitted with a 7mm Tahitian shaft (single barb)

The handle

The Mares Cyrano Evo Pneumatic Speargun shares the same handle and trigger as the Cyrano Evo HF model, which I’ve found to be comfortable and easy to grip. It’s been performed to fit easily within your hand, and you can adjust the trigger distance to the handle which is a nice touch. It’s also got a sturdy connector ruing on the butt of the handle, to attach your float line, or whatever you like here.

The trigger

The trigger is highly sensitive, and Mares have given spearo’s the option to dial this down a touch with an adjustable screw in the handle. Personally, I like a tough trigger squeeze, so I had to dial the sensitivity down from the factory settings. Afterwards, it worked perfectly.

The shaft

Off the shelf the Mares Cyrano Evo Pneumatic Speargun comes with a threaded 7mm Tahitian shaft. I swapped this out after my first dive for one that’s just a bit bigger (7.14mm) as it felt a little too light and I had bounced off one of my speared fish. Using it now I am able to get a little more power, which is great), but it feels a little more imbalanced in the water.

The barrel

Remember how I said I’m a big fan of Mares? Here’s where the Mares Cyrano Evo Pneumatic Speargun really shines. It’s sleek, streamlined, and has a tapered tip that adds a heap more air volume to the gun, which means you’re able to pump it up for more powerful shots. The outer barrel has a 40mm diameter, which tapers down to a lighter, single piece muzzle.

The muzzle

The tapered tip of the speargun makes it lightweight and easy to track fish in the water, while still being easy to locate the end of the barrel and reload the speargun. What’s great is how the barrel has been offset, I found this really helped my accuracy when using this, and I was able to land 7 out of 8 fish, from only 8 shots. I’m surprised at how accurate it is, especially as it’s a completely new gun.

How it actually feels to use

Overall, I’ve been really impressed with the Mares Cyrano Evo Pneumatic Speargun. It’s light in the water and tracks well, making it the perfect pneumatic speargun to use around the reefs and headlands where I’m chasing small to mid-sized fish.

After I swapped out and upgraded the shaft I was still able to maintain accuracy, and there was just a little more “oomph” to my shots. It’s probably just a personal preference, but it made me much more comfortable with the gun in the water, even if the slightly longer shaft did knock out the balance of the gun. I was able to consistently land fish up to 10 feet away.

Now being a pneumatic speargun, it works by setting the pressure of the barrel to power your shots. Kind of like an underwater air rifle. Using just 15 bar of pressure it’s easy to load the spear into the shaft by hand, but as soon as you start pushing this up to 20 or 24 bar (the recommended pressure of the speargun), it’s going to get a little trickier. There’s an extended loader you can buy to make reloads easier, if you’re needing the extra range and power of the higher pressure, it’s a good buy.

Compared to my railguns and spearguns, the sound when you fire is probably slightly less noisy, but there is still a sound. It’s like a “thunk” of air and pressure as opposed to the “snap” you get when you release on a rubber-powered speargun.

What I particularly liked though was the handle. It’s comfortable, easy to grip, and adjustable so you’re able to modify both the position of the trigger, and its sensitivity. If you buy this speargun, looking for a tough, and easy to use pneumatic speargun, I have no doubt you’ll be happy with it.

The downsides

Of course, there’s no such thing as a perfect speargun (well almost), and there’s a couple of things I didn’t like about the Mares Cyrano Evo Pneumatic speargun.

The first is the line holder. It’s not so easy to “click” it back into place, and without doing so you’re not going to be able to reload the speargun. You’ve got to make sure you hear the click each time when you’re securing it back before reloading.

It’s also got far too many moving parts. As opposed to a simple wooden speargun, there’s far more things that can go wrong with a pneumatic gun. I’ve heard friends talking about shafts that won’t secure when reloading, to misfires and issues with trigger sensitivity. Personally, I haven’t experienced these with my gun, so I can only pass on one piece of very important information. If your gun is doing something dangerous, like misfiring if you bump the shaft. Something is seriously wrong. Take it to your local distributer or get in touch with the manufacturer, and get it fixed.

The results

Overall, I love this little gun. It packs a decent amount of power, and is probably one of the most accurate spearguns I have shot straight out of the box. It feels natural, and makes it very easy to go spearfishing and bring home a decent feed of fish. The Mares Cyrano Evo Pneumatic Speargun feels strong and durable in your hands, and the size of the internal barrel means it’s easy to swap out and use a variety of different shafts. For the price tag, it’s one of the best in class, and highly recommended if you’re looking for a pneumatic speargun.

Happy spearin’

Cressi Mohicano Speargun Review

cressi mohicano speargun review

 

I’ve got to admit, I rather like the design of the Cressi Mohicano Speargun, especially their Camo model. Even if you’re just getting started, it’s a good speargun to buy. It’s lightweight, packs a punch, and is available in a variety of different sizes, so you can easily track and stalk fish even if you’re just spearfishing from the shore.

What sold me however was the integrated rail that runs along the top. Whilst a little smaller than I imagined, it helps the shaft fly true when you’re spearfishing. Every shot you take is accurate. Get yours now.

 

Behind the brand

As two brothers started crafting the spearguns and masks they needed to hunt fish underwater, the Cressi brand was born. Back in 1938 in a small little town in Italy. These days the business is still in the family, and they’ve grown to be a major player offering a whole range of underwater gear. We owe the first freediving fins to Cressi, along with a number of innovations in underwater tech. Their success comes from their passion for the underwater world, which is reflected in all of their products.

Cressi Spearguns

The team at Cressi have designed and manufacture a number of different spearguns. The Comanche speargun is a basic little speargun that’s great for beginners, while their Geronimo is a step up from the Mohicano, I’ve gotta say I rather enjoyed shooting with this gun.

The Cressi Mohicano Speargun

You can get the Cressi Mohicano speargun in sizes ranging from 60cm to 95cm. It’s been designed for fast fishing, with a 26mm barrel (that’s a bit thinner than normal), supported by an integrated rail to keep your shots flying straight and true. In practice, it’s a smaller gun, but it doesn’t feel like it because it’s so solid. In today’s review, I’m covering the 75cm model, what I believe is the perfect size for exploring around the headland and reef that’s at one end of my beach.

Price

The cost of the Cressi Mohicano Speargun will differ based on the length of the gun you want to buy.

 

 

General specs of the Cressi Mohicano Speargun

  • 26mm aluminum barrel with integrated rail for additional strength
  • Low-profile muzzle for easy aim and traction while spearfishing
  • Camoflague coloring on barrel adds stealth while spearfishing
  • Band position is streamlined to aid visibility
  • Anatomical grip with chest loading pad
  • Comes with 16mm rubber bands (screw-in) along with space for additional bands
  • Comes with a 6mm stainless steel notched shaft

The handle

The Mohicano speargun builds on the success Cressi have had with their Apache series, and employs the same handle in both. It’s moulded from a new generation of thermoplastic which makes it both lightweight yet strong, and is rugged enough to hold up against the rigors of spearfishing in the open ocean. There’s a reloading pad added to the butt of the handle to aid with loading, and there’s space already to add a reel on.

The trigger

The moulded handle makes it a comfortable grip with the trigger, and I’ve not had any issues with misfires like a few other’s I’ve heard about. Of course, if you ever experience anything like this, take it back to your local spearfishing store and get it checked, Cressi have a limited 12 month warranty to fix any defective spearguns. What does happen sometimes though is the shaft doesn’t always set in right when reloading, so you’ve got to ensure it “clicks.”

The shaft

The Cressi Mohicano speargun comes with a 6mm stainless steel shaft, with notches for the wishbone. There’s a single flopper barb on the tip, and I found that while I normally prefer a thicker shaft, this performed really well with the stock setup that comes with the gun.

The barrel

Designed to be a low friction barrel, the integrated rail ensures the smallest amount of the shaft runs along the guides. It’s been camouflaged to help with spearfishing in both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and what I particularly like the position of the screw-in bands along either side of the shaft. It helps to keep your shaft flying straight, while ensuring you have maximum visibility.

The muzzle

The compact muzzle has a couple of features I like. In addition to the two slots to screw-in the bands, there’s space to add a second rubber if you’re looking to add more power to your gun. Personally though, I found that for reef spearfishing off the shore the stock 16mm band the gun comes with gives more than enough power and range. Cressi have also increased the ease of reloading, by adding a larger gradient to the shaft entry slot. There’s a lot more “give” which makes it easy to get the shaft back into the gun.

How it actually feels to use

Underwater the Cressi Mohicano speargun is light, tracks well through the water, and is relatively quick to reload again and again. I like how solid the speargun feels, despite having a thinner barrel than most I’ve used, the rail Cressi have added makes it rigid and tough.

Off the shelf, I don’t think there’s much you need to upgrade to make this a neat little gun for spearfishing. The bands combined with the 6mm shaft mean you’re able to get a good amount of power and range, though you could always shorten these a tad for a bit more boost.

What I would recommend is to avoid any shots where you may send the shaft into any hard objects, like a rock wall or the inside of a cave. I haven’t bent mine yet, but it’s probably just a matter of time.

The downsides

One of the only concerns I have with the Cressi Mohican speargun is the loading plate. It’s just a tad small, so if you’ve got shortened bands or overloaded your gun with a second set of bands on there, you can get a little sore after constantly reloading.

I’m also not a fan of the plastic trigger mechanism. It just doesn’t feel as solid as a speargun with a stainless steel trigger. It’s also a little clunky to pull, and there’s no way to adjust the sensitivity. Personally, I prefer a lighter touch on the trigger.

Finally, the stock wishbands that come with the gun are jointed which can take a little getting used to if you’ve not had these before. It’s a bit trickier to reload than bands with a standard wishbone, but they do allow for a much more streamlined setup. This helps improve accuracy when you’re shooting, but they are a downside if you’ve never used these before.

The results

All up, the Cressi Mohicano speargun is a nifty little gun that’s pretty easy to use in the water. If you’re looking to get your first speargun it’s a good buy, not the cheapest in the market, but it’s not overly expensive either. It’s quick to shoot and reload, and if you’re looking to add more power as your skills improve its easy to either shorten the bands or add a second rubber.

The streamlined muzzle and thinner barrel is a plus in a smaller speargun, as it makes it much easier to handle. There’s space to add a reel once you start pushing out into deeper water, and I reckon it’s a great buy for both beginners and intermediate spearo’s alike.

Happy spearin’

Cressi Comanche Speargun Review

cressi comanche speargun review

 

When you’re looking for an entry-level speargun, you can’t really go wrong with the Cressi Comanche Speargun. It’s designed for accuracy and ease of use, without all the fancy bells and whistles that you don’t really need to just head out into the ocean and catch some fish.

All up, I doubt you’ll find a better speargun at this price range, as Cressi have put together a decent gun that’s wonderful to use underwater, and accurate to shoot with. So do yourself a favor. If you’ve been wanting to get started spearfishing, order one of these spearguns and you’ll be good to go.

Behind the brand

Cressi are one of the brands that have been dominating underwater sports for years on end. Two brothers, Nanni and Elgidio Cressi started making their own spearguns and masks back in 1938 in a little town in Italy, and the company has only grown since then.

Today Cressi offers a wide range of equipment for snorkelling, freediving, spearfishing and SCUBA alike, and is still run by the same family. What remains is their passion for the underwater world, which is reflected in all of their products.

Cressi Spearguns

As you would expect, there’s a number of different spearguns in the Cressi range. The Geronimo and the Geronimo Pro are similar, differing mostly on the sizes available. The SL Star is their pneumatic gas powered gun and is a great little speargun, and they’ve also got an Apache which is a good speargun for beginners. Today though, we’re looking at Cressi’s Comanche Speargun, one of my favorites in their range.

The Cressi Comanche Speargun

Available in lengths from 60cm (23.6″) to 110cm (43.4″), what you need to be careful of when looking at Cressi’s guns is their measuring system. Here, 60cm is the length the rubber stretches, so you’ll find the spearguns to be a bit bigger than you may expect after ordering.

For a speargun, the Cressi Comanche Speargun is a great deal. It’s aluminium barrel is strong, and the compact muzzle makes it easy to both track fish underwater and to aim correctly at your targets. You can fit up to two 20mm rubber bands on the gun, giving it more than enough power to hit your intended fish. Today, I’m reviewing the 60cm model speargun. All up, I believe it’s a great little speargun for the recreational or casual spearo.

Price

The cost of the Cressi Comanche Speargun will differ based on the length of the gun you want to buy.

 

General specs of the Cressi Comanche speargun

  • Aerodynamic muzzle that accommodates up to 20mm screw-in Cressi bands
  • Muzzle design allows for a second rubber band to be added for additional power
  • Anti-corrosion aluminium tube barrel that’s sealed for buoyancy
  • Comes with a 6.5mm stainless steel shaft with flopper (or 7mm with screw-on tip)
  • Rubber butt extension on the handle makes for fast and easy loading

The handle

Following Cressi’s success with their Apache series of spearguns, the Comanche makes use of the best learnings. The handle is molded from a new generation of thermoplastic which makes it both lightweight yet strong, and is rugged enough to hold up against hard wear. What’s nice is the soft butt on the speargun which makes reloading easy, and there’s an easy spot to affix a reel.

The trigger

Exactly what you’d expect on a sub $300 speargun, the trigger mechanics have held up find for me so far. A few people have commented about troubles they’ve had with the springs creating misfires, but I didn’t experience this at all myself. I’d just recommend a bit of common sense. If something doesn’t feel right, take it down to your local spearfishing store and get it checked, or send it back to Cressi as they’ve got a limited 12 month warranty to fix any defects.

The shaft

Out of the box the 60cm speargun comes with a 6.5mm shaft that’s not really all that impressive. The flopper is a little too big which cuts down on its aerodynamics, and I actually bent the spear after hitting a rock on my second dive. Not enough to ruin it, but it started throwing the accuracy off so I replaced it with a different shaft.

The barrel

The barrels on the Cressi Comanche speargun are made from high quality anodized aluminium which is perfect for marine use. Plugs seal the barrel to keep the speargun buoyant underwater, making it easy to track and aim with every shot.

The muzzle

The streamlined and hydrodynamic muzzle makes it easy to track your fish, and there’s a screw-in system to connect your bands. These are positioned either side of the shaft to give you an optimal forward thrust with every shot, as well as the ability to easily target your prey. If you don’t like the Cressi bands you can swap out the muzzle for an open end one, but I find it’s plenty. What I would recommend though is upgrading the 16mm bands to 20mm, to give your shots a little more punch.

How it actually feels to use

After getting the Cressi Comanche speargun in the water I was rather impressed. For a cheap gun it holds up well, and off the shelf I was getting good power up to about 6 feet. Which for a 60cm gun isn’t bad, and is plenty far enough as I bought this gun as a cheap little cave hunter.

What I would recommend though is upgrading the shaft. I knocked it hard into a shelf of rock on my second dive, and the stock shaft that came with the gun bent just enough to throw off the accuracy. I replaced mine with a 100cm Rob Allen spring-steel shaft, and I’ve not had a problem since.

Despite the cheaper feeling plastic handle I’ve not had any issues with the trigger mechanism or the safety, though I did notice the shaft doesn’t always “click” in properly and you might need to wiggle it around until the safety catches.

It’s nice the speargun actually floats once the spear is discharged, as in some of these cheaper models I’ve found that the plugs that seal the barrel actually leak, and the gun fills up with water. I’ve not had this problem at all with the Cressi Comanche speargun. All up, it’s been a durable gun, that for the price is almost unmatched in the industry.

Of course, it’s not suitable for big game hunting, but for getting into those tight spots where I knew I’d scratch up the gun and probably bend the shaft, it was the right amount of money to spend.

The downsides

Being a cheaper gun it’s to be expected that this speargun doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles, but it’s a downside none the less. The main thing that was annoying was the missing bungee on the shaft line, which I had to add in myself after I snapped it off.

A handful of other customers of the gun have complained about the difficulty loading the gun, however I have had zero problems so far, compared to some of my bigger guns it’s rather simple to snap the bands into place. Most average guys should be able to load this without issue, though if you’re stuck I recommend checking out the instructional videos that demonstrate “how to load a euro speargun.”

The results

Overall, I’m rather impressed with this gun for the price range it’s in. You cannot expect it to hold up against the more premium spearguns like the Rob Allen Tuna Railgun or the Riffe Padauk, because they’re simply in a different league. My advice is to get a Cressi Comanche speargun when you’re just getting into spearfishing or wanting to upgrade from your pole spear, as it’s the best speargun in the entry-level price range. All up, a rather fantastic gun for the price you pay, and I’m happy with mine that’s for sure.

Happy spearin’

AB Biller Stainless Steel Professional Speargun Review

ab biller stainless steel speargun review

The AB Biller Stainless Steel Professional speargun has everything you could want in a speargun, as they’ve taken the features we all know and love from their wood spearguns and incorporated them into a stainless steel model that’s sturdier than ever.

All up, it’s a quality weapon and one that I’d recommend for both beginners and even intermediate spearos when you’re looking to buy a new speargun.

Behind the brand

AB Biller builds their spearguns in the USA, and has provided the spearguns for many national and state spearfishing champions, which has quickly established them as a solid brand in the spearfishing community. Their guns fit a nice niche for beginners and intermediate spearo’s looking for a higher quality speargun without a hefty price tag, and they’ve got a variety of different models.

AB Biller Spearguns

You’ll find spearos with AB Biller spearguns all over the world. The range of spearguns available from AB Biller is typically named based on the materials used in the barrel.

Hence, the AB Biller Teak spearguns, AB Biller Paduak spearguns and AB Biller Mahogany spearguns are all constructed in the same way, and feature identical stainless steel trigger mechanisms, it’s just the barrel material that differs. What makes these spearguns great is their neutral buoyancy underwater, and the fact the wood absorbs both the recoil of the gun and muffles the sound of every shot.

They’ve also put together a limited edition speargun which is perfect for deep blue hunting, and the floridian which was specifically crafted based on real customer feedback. But today we’re looking into the AB Biller Stainless Steel Professional speargun, which has all the benefits of the wooden guns, and at 42 inches is a great little gun for swimming around the reef.

The AB Biller Stainless Steel Professional Speargun

Equipped with all the features we know and love from AB Biller’s wooden spearguns, the Stainless Steel Professional is a decent speargun that will serve both beginners and intermediate spearos well.

Along the barrel there’s nylon guide rings to reduce any noise from the shaft hitting the metal, and also keeps your shots accurate and flying true. Off the shelf it comes with two 14mm bands, which are easily upgraded to 16mm if you’re looking for a little more power.

The speargun is available in sizes from 24 to 54 inches (61 to 137cm) making it a versatile gun that will suit you both in close to shore hunting, as well as chasing the big pelagics as you head further offshore to deeper diving sites. Today, I’m reviewing the 42 inch (107cm) version of the AB Biller Stainless Steel Professional speargun.

Price

The cost of the AB Biller Stainless Steel Professional speargun will differ based on the length of the gun you want to buy. I chose the 42 inch model for this review.

 

General specs of the AB Biller Stainless Steel Professional

  • Open muzzle that can accommodate up to three 16mm bands
  • Stainless steel barrel that’s plugged for buoyancy
  • Comes with a 8mm stainless spring steel shaft and screw on tip
  • Silent safety switch with their patented design for one-handed operations
  • Stainless steel trigger mechanism for a smooth and reliable shot
AB Biller Stainless Steel Professional speargun handle in detail

Image Credit: The AB Biller Company

The handle

The handle on the AB Biller Stainless Steel speargun is comfortable to grip, and I especially like the protector for your fingers. The safety switch is interchangeable, and you can set this speargun up for single handed shooting whether you’re a lefty or right handed. What I really liked though was the rubber butt of the gun, which makes it very comfortable when reloading on your hip.

The trigger

The trigger mechanism is completely stainless steel, and solid enough to hold up to the stress of adding larger bands, though I probably wouldn’t put three 20mm bands on there. It’s a little bit too far from what the manufacturer recommends.

The spear

The shaft is hardened stainless spring steel, and comes standard with an 8mm shaft. It’s got a thread to attach the spear tip, which I didn’t particularly like as it kept coming unwound. To fix it I had to wrap a little plumbers tape around the thread, and use a pair of pliers to wind the tip on.

The barrel

In keeping with the naming trend of their spearguns, the barrel of the AB Biller Stainless Steel Professional speargun is made from stainless steel, that’s been plugged to prevent water entering the chamber. Off the shelf it’s rated to withstand pressure up to 200 feet, and I’ve taken mine on more than a few dives and the chamber is still water free. Along the barrel there are plastic guides to keep the shaft from scraping against the metal, I’ve got two on my gun but the bigger ones have three.

The muzzle

The open muzzle on the gun is made from a heavy plastic, with a slot opening that makes it easy to change out your rubber bands.

How it actually feels to use

Overall, I rather enjoy using this speargun when I’m kicking around the headlands. I’ve heard that the longer ones can get a little heavy underwater, but the 42 inch gun was comfortable in my hands, even with my habit of having it out and ready to shoot throughout my entire dives.

After swapping out the bands for three 16mm replacements the speargun shoots extremely fast, and I was impressed that this didn’t affect the accuracy. There was no flex and it was still shooting deadly straight. The safety switch is easy to flick on and off, and the trigger is just a little stiff, but not as tight as some of the other guns I’ve shot with. All up, it was effective to a range of about 10 feet.

What I particularly liked though was the rubber butt. It’s comfortable, and makes reloading the speargun easy, especially if you’re new to spearfishing.

The downsides

There are two big downsides with this gun. The bands that come stock are not powerful enough, so you’ll need to replace these fairly quickly if you want a decent chance of catching anything at a distance. I swapped mine out after my first dive with the gun and it made a big difference.

Second, was the ballast. Even without the shaft loaded the gun still sinks, which can make it a little nerve-wracking to reload if you’ve not got it attached to something (like your float line). Don’t ever attach your speargun to yourself people, that’s just not safe.

The results

Overall, I am rather happy with this purchase. It’s comfortable to hold and reload, and for the price, you’d be hard pressed to find a better speargun. It’s ready to go out-of-the-box, though you’ll need to power it up before you do any serious spearfishing with the AB Biller Stainless Steel professional speargun, and if you’re a fan of the brand be sure to check out my reviews on the Padauk, Teak and Mahogany spearguns AB Biller has too. They’re all good little guns.

Hammerhead Evolution 2 HI-Bred Speargun Review

hammerhead evolution 2 hi-bred speargun review

Hammerhead Spearguns are one of the originators of the open-muzzle design, and the Hammerhead Evolution 2 HI-Bred Speargun is a beauty.

The solid-stock mahogany barrel gives it both strength and class, so you get the ease of tracking you’d expect in a Euro-style speargun, along with the ability to overload the barrel and get a decent range without a huge amount of recoil. All up, it’s a decent speargun.

Behind the brand

As a youth in Hawaii, Kevin Sakuda graduated high school and went straight into commercial fishing. Trouble was, none of the spearguns on the market were able to deliver. Sakuda wanted a quiet gun, that would allow him to take multiple fish from a single school.

So he started tinkering. Designing new fittings for his spearguns and molding them in the kitchen sink of his little apartment in Hawaii. One of the main successes from these experiments was his open muzzle configuration, which after he began selling on eBay kickstarted his company.

But Kevin didn’t stop there. His first speargun, the Evolution, was a creation designed with the rigors of commercial spearfishing in Hawaii in mind, and they’ve continued tweaking and improving their products to this day. The latest Hammerhead Evolution 2 HI-Bred speargun is a great piece of tech, and what we’re reviewing today.

Hammerhead Spearguns

To cater for spearos at all levels, the team at Hammerhead Spearguns have a few different varieties available. The most compact model is the Proteus, which is available up to 75cm, but if you’re looking for something a little longer the Jurassic model goes up to 110cm. For the price, it’s a good speargun option for a beginner.

Their premium models are dubbed “Evolution” and they’re currently on the second iteration of the gun. You can get a wood barrel like the one I have, or they also have a carbon barreled model.

The Hammerhead Evolution 2 HI-Bred Speargun

As the premium speargun in Hammerhead’s collection, the Evolution 2 is the culmination of everything their team have learned spending day after day building weapons to effectively catch fish. And it works.

It’s deadly accurate, and independent tests done by the Hawaii Skindiver magazine and Florida’s Spreading Magazine rated the Evolution 2 as the most accurate speargun. It’s tough, rugged, and the solid mahogany barrel is a nice touch, giving you an easy gun to hold in the water, without being overpowered by the recoil in every shot you take

Price

The cost of the Hammerhead Evolution 2 Hi-Bred Speargun will differ based on the length of the gun you want to buy. I went with the 120cm model, the largest in their range.

 

General specs of the Hammerhead Evolution 2 Hi-Bred Speargun

  • Open Muzzle with two band holes for accuracy and variable power.
  • Solid-stock mahogany barrel that’s been hand-crafted
  • Comes with a 6.75mm heat-treated stainless steel shaft with shark fin tabs
  • Bands use Hammerhead’s Helix system that makes swapping them out easy
  • Pistol-grip handle and a stainless steel side-line release
  • Trigger mechanism is stainless steel
  • Comes with a loading pad, bungee and mono shooting line, along with a reel mount

The handle

The ergonomic handle is one of the best features on the gun, as the pistol grip makes it easy to hang on to, and maximize your control with every shot. Underneath you’ll find a mount for the reel, and Hammerhead also have a specially designed camera mount to fit your Go Pro on.

The trigger

In addition to the stainless steel mechanics, the trigger has an adjustment setting that allows you to tweak it to a light or heavy pull. It’s nice to be able to adjust this so easily, as my wife can borrow my gun and as she normally wears gloves, she prefers a heavier pull.

The spear

One thing that’s particularly nice with Hammerhead Spearguns is that all their shafts are made in America. Stainless steel shafts that have been heat treated, they call it a welded hydro tab, but it’s really just their version of the shark fin tabs we all know and love with our spearguns. Oh, and the stock shaft comes with a heavy-duty Hawaiian flopper.

The barrel

I seriously love the mahogany barrel. It’s just nice, and you can load a little more power on this gun without feeling a noticeable increase in recoil. Along the top is a slightly recessed track for the spear to follow, which is what gives it the accuracy, and on the underneath you’ll see a big stamp of the Hammerhead logo. A few people have said they don’t particularly like this branding, but it reminds me of the carvings in old wooden ships, and I rather like it. If you’re into mahogany, AB Biller also do a nice mahogany speargun.

The muzzle

To work with the shark-finned shaft, the Hammerhead Evolution 2 HI-Bred speargun uses an open muzzle like many of the Euro-style spearguns. There’s two holes bored for your bands, and while it comes off the shelf with their Helix system that allows these to be easily changed, I’d much prefer a cut-out so I can swap in other bands easily without needing to retie them.

How it actually feels to use

Once I got the Hammerhead Evolution 2 HI-Bred speargun in the water it was game on. Out of six shots I landed five fish, and I only missed the last as I wanted to see just how far away I could be, and in retrospect I was being a tad optimistic for the snapper that was probably 20 to 25 foot away.

It’s an extremely accurate gun, but be careful if you’re planning to overload it. On my second dive I swapped out the bands for 20mm, and shortened them, and I noticed a little whip coming into the shaft that was affecting my accuracy. I’d stick with the factory settings on this one, as it looks like it’s been tuned to perfection right off the shelf.

After a shot the barrel floats, and it’s got a nice buoyancy even with the spear in. I didn’t notice any significant problems with the muzzle dropping like I’ve found on other guns I’ve experimented with, and it was nice I didn’t need to make any adjustments to keep the tip up.

Overall, a rather good gun that does exactly what you expect. Off the shelf it’s ready to go, and it’s a great intermediate gun when you’re after accuracy and a bigger range.

The downsides

The biggest issue I have with this speargun is the price. It’s almost too expensive if you’re just getting started, and I didn’t like the fact I couldn’t overload this gun and keep the accuracy up.

The results

Despite the price, I think the Hammerhead Evolution 2 HI-Bred speargun is great if you want to buy something off the shelf, and be able to take it straight out into the water.

Everything just works, which is great when you’re still relatively new to the sport. I don’t think I’ve ever shot something so accurate, straight off the rack.

For me, it’s a speargun I’ll happily take out around the headlands, but perhaps not into the deeper blue. For all the advantages it’s simply not a big pelagic gun like Rob Allen’s Tuna Railgun. You will catch a bunch of great fish with it though, you just need to remember what I always say. Buy the right gun for the fish you’re targeting and you’ll be sweet.

Happy spearin’

Beuchat Marlin Carbon Speargun Review

beuchat marlin carbon speargun review

Beuchat have been around almost forever, and pioneered some of the best technology that we still use, to this day, spearfishing all over the world. Today I’m going to share my thoughts on the Beuchat Marlin Carbon speargun, which is a good mid-range speargun for beginners and advanced spearos alike. It’s accurate, comfortable, and most importantly, they’ve got this amazing bit of tech that makes reloading a breeze.

Behind the brand

Building on his fascination with the underwater world, Georges Beuchat was a spearfishing enthusiast who started the company back in 1934. His inventions started us on the path to the sport we all know and love today, like the compensator mask that allows you to equalize, an isothermic wetsuit and even an early iteration of the modern speargun back in 1947.

Today, their team still strives to push the boundaries, offering consumers even greater variety with products that are not only easy to use, but lead the way in the spearfishing world.

Beuchat Spearguns

Within the Beuchat company there are a variety of different spearguns to suit the needs of different spearos. Their standard gun is the Marlin, which is an aluminum barreled model of the Marlin Carbon speargun I’m reviewing today. I bought the 95cm model.

They’ve also got a model named the Mundial that comes in both a standard and carbon version, which has a different type of handle. The Canon is another good speargun, but where the brand really stands out is the Marlin Revolution Speargun. Made from laminated teak and a carbon composite, it’s designed to hold up to the rigours of extreme spearfishing, and will set you back anywhere from $1200 to $1400.

The Beuchat Marlin Carbon Speargun

The Marlin speargun range was developed using the last 60 years of Beuchat’s experience in the spearfishing world. It’s been tested and endorsed by Pedro Carbonell, three-time world spearfishing champion, which means you’re getting a quality gun. The goal has been precision, ease of use, as well as range, and you can fir the gun with a reel to tackle whatever size fish you’re after. For an experienced spearo, it’s a decent buy.

The carbon barrel has been designed for strength without compromising buoyancy, and it’s easy to track because of the tapered barrel down to the muzzle.

Price

The cost of the Beuchat Marlin Carbon Speargun will differ based on the length of the gun you want to buy.

 

General specs of the Beuchat Marlin Carbon Speargun

  • Can switch the Stainless steel trigger mechanism and positioning system
  • Carbon fiber shaft length from 85cm to 125cm with integrated rail
  • Can accommodate two 20mm rubber bands
  • Marlin 30 degree pistol grip for a handle
  • 300 lbs. black monofilament shooting line

The handle

The handle on the Beuchat Marlin Carbon speargun is made from nylon polycarbonate resin, which makes it tough, and it’s quite comfortable to hold with a nice 30 degree angle. Plus, you can easily swap out the lateral line of the handle to either the left or right side depending on your preference when you’re spearfishing.

The trigger

The maximum resistance of the trigger mechanism is 290kg, which is about 6 times more than the average load recommended on my gun. Even fully overpowering the gun, I found that the trigger remained light, if perhaps a little too light, to pull.

The spear

The Beuchat Marlin Carbon speargun comes standard with a 6.7mm SS Rockwell finned Hawaiian shaft with triface point and heavy gauge barb. While you can fit up to a 8mm shaft in the gun, I’d be careful about going too heavy and losing power with each shot you take.

The barrel

Crafted out of a piece of carbon tube, the barrel isn’t completely uniform like you’d expect, but tapers down towards the open muzzle from a 38mm diameter to 28mm at the end. This makes the weight sit better in your hand, and also means it’s far easier to track and aim at your target. Inside the barrel is filled with ultra-light PU foam, that’s guaranteed water tight up to 40m.

The muzzle

On the Beuchat Marlin Carbon speargun you’ll find a unique muzzle that was designed by the brand. It’s an automatic locking mechanism, which helps you to reload faster because all you need to do is set the shaft back into the trigger mechanism and “click” the spear into place. Saving you vital seconds which may just make a difference when you’ve got to get a quick second shot out to catch that prize fish.

How it actually feels to use

I was surprised at just how light the 95cm gun felt in my hands, and taking it out in the water it proved to be accurate, although the trigger was a little too sensitive. I did find though that the rubber bands that came stock with the gun were too long, and I had to remove about 10cm from these in order for the spear to truly fly with each shot.

Once this was done, it greatly improved the range of the weapon, and I found it both quiet and accurate to shoot. For me, I didn’t notice any problems with the trigger, but I was warned to be careful overpowering this speargun. Despite the recommendations from the manufacturers, I’ve had a number of friends seen the trigger mechanism fail, primarily because they’d put far too much tension on their bands.

The downsides

My biggest frustration with this gun was that it wasn’t ready to shoot straight off the shelf. The bands it came with were far too long, so be prepared to make the necessary adjustments before heading out on a dive. You don’t want to be fiddling with bands when you’re out in the boat on the water.

The second was the trigger. It just felt a little too easy to pull, which meant that I was hesitant at even resting my finger on there in case I misfired or hadn’t lined the shot up properly yet. And there’s nothing worse than taking your shot a half second too early.

The results

All up, the Beuchat Marlin Carbon speargun is a decent speargun.

If you’re wanting a light and easy to maneuver speargun that can serve you well along the reefs, it’s definitely worth considering. The speargun’s accurate, comfortable in your hand, and you’ll get enough power to take down most of what you come across.

The only time I wouldn’t recommend the Beuchat Marlin Carbon speargun is when you’re wanting to overload the gun. I’ve heard too many stories about the trigger mechanism failing, and seeing just how light it is, I’d put my money into customizing a Rob Allen or another big gun brand before I went to town on this one.

The real trick is to buy the right gun for what you want, and this is definitely a versatile weapon that will help you catch a ton of fish.

Happy spearin’

Riffe Padauk Competitor Speargun Review

riffe padauk competitor speargun review

When you ask around about quality spearguns, Riffe is a brand you’ll hear about time and time again. They make some of the best stock spearguns you’ll find on the market, including the Riffe Padauk Competitor Speargun.

For an off-the-shelf model you can’t really go wrong with Riffe, and really the only way to get a better model is to start looking into custom-built guns. But that’s a topic for another post entirely. Today, I’m going to review the Riffe Padauk Competitor Speargun, as it’s one of my favorite spearguns in my collection.

Behind the brand

Since the age of ten, Jay Riffe had a passion for spearfishing, chasing fish around the reefs of Southern California with his trusty hand spear. Just a few years later he entered his first spearfishing competition, and at 22 he was crowned the Pacific Coast Champion. Then he hit the nationals before landing a spot on the World Spearfishing Team. But that’s not the coolest part.

See, Jay Riffe wasn’t happy with the spearguns on the market, so he set out to design his own. With a focus on creating silent yet powerful builds. He used the guns he built to set three world records. Three. Then realized we could all benefit from his knowledge and expertise, so he started selling them to the public. They’re just damn good spearguns.

Riffe Spearguns

The different types of spearguns Riffe makes are broken down into series, starting with their Standard guns. These are the toughest they make, but it also comes with the price tag. The Competitor series is a little more budget friendly, and the Paduak is an identical gun, but the barrel is crafted from African blood wood instead of teak laminate, so it’s a little cheaper again.

They also do a nice Euro series, along with a modular gun that breaks down for travel. Oh, and if you’re looking for big guns their Blue Water elite is fantastic, with a mid-handle so you can still maneuver the 142cm gun when you’re chasing big pelagics in the open ocean.

The Riffe Padauk Competitor Speargun

The quality of workmanship you get in a Riffe speargun is unparalleled in this price range.

The Riffe Padauk Competitor speargun is essentially a carbon copy of their competitor model, but made from African blood wood instead of teak laminate. It’s a cheaper wood yes, but it’s incredibly stiff, as the natural grains of this hardwood keep the barrel straight, without the need to laminate. After testing both versions, I opted for the Paduak 3XS. And it’s been great.

It’s built to be a blue water gun for all levels of spearos, off the shelf it’s got about 15 feet of shooting range, but adding thicker bands gets this to about 20 feet with a good degree of accuracy for a 54 inch (137cm) speargun.

Price

The cost of the Riffe Padauk Competitor Speargun will differ based on the length of the gun you want to buy.

 

General specs of the Riffe Paduak Competitor Speargun

  • Barrel carved from a single piece of Paduak
  • Fits up to three 16mm rubber bands (it comes with 14mm bands)
  • Comes with a 5/16″ x 55″ threaded spear shaft, but will fit from 6.5mm to 9.5mm
  • Heavy duty handle with a urethane butt-end for comfortable loading
  • Riffe’s stainless steel 2-piece trigger mechanism
  • 5″ bungee shock cord uses 500lb pigtail swivel

The handle

The Riffe Padauk Competitor Speargun comes with a heavy-duty ABS plastic handle that fits comfortably in your hand. What I particularly like though is the butt of the gun. The padded extension makes it easy to load, and I don’t feel like you even need a padded wetsuit to get your bands loaded. It’s easy whether you’re used to loading from your chest or your hip.

The trigger

On every speargun Riffe makes, they use the same trigger design on all of them. Because it works. No matter how many bands you’ve got on there or the amount of tension, it’ll release smoothly without any extra effort. A claim that you can’t make on many other spearguns, when they’re overloaded the trigger is so stiff you can barely pull it. Riffe definitely got their triggers right.

The spear

You can load shafts from 6.5mm to 9.5mm in the Riffe Padauk Competitor Speargun, however it comes with a standard 8mm stainless steel that’s been heat-treated. They’re tough, and you’ll have a hard time getting them to bend. What’s nice though is the use of the shark fin tabs, which also makes for a stronger spear.

The barrel

It’s easy to see why Paduak is also known as African blood wood. Once it’s sealed the wood glows like the dark red coals in a fire. Of course, you could also leave the barrel unsealed (how it comes stock), as it doesn’t really affect the performance at all.

I’ve found the barrel to stay strong and true, a buddy of mine has an old Paduak that’s going on 17 years old now, and it’s still one of his favorite guns. The Riffe Padauk Competitor Speargun is just built to last. They’re also able to accommodate crazy high tensions, so you can add shorter bands to further boost your range and power.

The muzzle

Nothing special here, it’s a simple open muzzle to accept shark fin shafts, at the end of the barrel and cut into the wood. It follows the same recess cut into the barrel to help guide every shot, and there’s a slot cut out to make it easy to swap out your bands.

How it actually feels to use

At 54 inches (142cm) the Riffe Padauk Competitor Speargun 3XS is definitely a big gun, but they do have models starting at half this if you’re not wanting an open water gun.

Overall, it’s been one of my favorite spearguns to use. I had it out offshore of the coast of Australia on a trip over Christmas, and I pulled in two big kingfish from the same school.

Loaded up with three 16mm bands, the gun is simply powerful, and the only sound it makes is the “thwack” of the bands snapping back when you shoot. The trigger is soft and easy to pull, which I think also adds to this spearguns level of accuracy. It’s dead on, shooting true time and time again.

I found it quick and easy to reload, especially with the rest tab on the shaft which can give you a breather if you’re wearing out towards the end of a dive. The balance is almost perfect, though the tip does dip ever so slightly as you swim forwards while holding the gun. It was such a small thing though, I wouldn’t really call it a downside.

The downsides

There’s no such thing as a perfect gun, and while the Riffe Padauk Competitor Speargun is one of my favorites, there’s a few downsides worth mentioning.

First is the recoil. With a big gun loaded up with a heap of tension, you’ve got to hold firm as you take each shot lest the recoil affect your accuracy. Second is the price. You’re paying for quality, and while I believe it’s worth it, dropping over $500 on a stock speargun that may then need a new set of rubbers or a larger spear (depending on what size fish you’re targeting), it all starts to become a very expensive endeavor.

The results

If you’re looking for power, Riffe is the brand for you. You can safely load it up to tension levels like you get in the top-tier custom guns, at a fraction of the price. And you won’t need to worry about the mechanics in the trigger giving out, or the barrel breaking. The Riffe Padauk Competitor Speargun is tough, while still maintaining accuracy.

For what you get, in terms of the overall craftsmanship and quality in each speargun, you won’t find better than Riffe at this price range. Take care of it with a little care the gun will essentially last forever. My friends is still going strong after 17 years. But if you’ve not got the cash, you could always check out the AB Biller Paduak speargun.

But that’s still not the best part. What truly makes these spearguns unique is just how quiet they are. The only thing you will hear when you take a shot is the bands snapping loose. That’s it. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more deadly speargun. Off the shelf it’s great, but if you invest a little more in powering it up, that’s when this gun is going to truly shine.

Happy spearin’

JBL Woody Elite Sawed-Off Magnum Speargun Review

jbl woody elite sawed-off magnum speargun review

When you’re just getting started and want an entry-level speargun, you can’t really go wrong with the JBL Woody Elite Sawed-Off Magnum Speargun. It’s just a nice gun. Shoots straight, easy to use, and virtually indestructible.

My buddy had an older version of the woody when we first started diving, and that thing got put through the works. Even with the old dud (plastic) handles, it held up for years. So when I had the chance to get my hands on this gun I couldn’t wait to see how far they’d come.

Overall, I was impressed. It’s not a premium gun by any means, but when you can pick up a new one for $300 to $350, it’s a good deal.

Behind the brand

JBL have been making spearguns for over 40 years now, and they’re one of the most common names you’ll hear when it comes to cheap and effective spearfishing gear. In days gone by some of their products were a little inferior, but they’ve made some good changes and I do recommend their spearguns now. Especially the JBL Woody Elite Sawed-Off Magnum Speargun.

JBL Spearguns

Where JBL stand out for me is the gun design. Each of their spearguns are simple and to the point, which makes it a great gun to learn with.

All up, there’s three main “series” JBL use to describe their different guns. The Woody is the entry-level gun, and as you can imagine it’s carved out of a piece of wood. African mahogany to be exact. Take it up a notch and you’ve got their Elite line, which comes with a better shaft and you can swap out the wood barrel for an aerospace alloy. And finally you’ve got the Magnums. With a cast aluminium handle and stainless steel trigger mechanisms, this is the line that helped JBL step up their game and really make a name for themselves with spearos the world over.

The JBL Woody Elite Sawed-Off Magnum Speargun

In my mind, this gun takes the best that JBL has to offer, and bundles it together so even a novice is ready to take it out on their first hunt. Being 44 inches long (111.75cm) it’s a nice mid-sized gun, which is perfect both in and around the reefs or if you’re venturing out into deeper water.

The Magnum grip and trigger mechanism is what makes the gun great, and it can fit up to an 8mm shark-fin shaft. The spear is threaded, so you can easily replace the tip, or swap it out for a break-away tip if you’re targeting larger pelagic fish.

Now I’ve got to be clear here. This is a good beginner’s gun, and if you’re just getting started in the sport you’d get a good run from a JBL Woody Elite Sawed-Off Magnum speargun. But if you’re an advanced diver or looking for something a little more premium, this isn’t the gun for you.

Price

The cost of the JBL Woody Elite Sawed-Off Magnum speargun will differ based on the length of the gun you want to buy, and comes with a limited warranty that covers the metal components of the gun only.

 

General Specs

  • Barrel carved from a single piece of African mahogany
  • Fits up to two 16mm rubber bands with Spectra cord wishbones
  • Ergonomically designed 45° handle with JBL’s M8 trigger mechanism
  • Hardened 8mm spring stainless-steel shaft with 2 shark fin tabs
  • Integrated open muzzle

The handle

The handle is well, amazing. Combined with the M8 Trigger, you can understand why JBL are suddenly back on every spearos radar. There’s a honeycomb pattern on the grip that helps you control the gun, and the angle of the handle is perfect.

But that’s not even the best part. The trigger is almost effortless to pull, which makes every shot enjoyable. JBL designed the 3 piece trigger mechanism especially for their spearguns, and it’s the stand-out on the speargun.

The spear

After using euro-style guns, the 8mm shaft felt a little heavy, but that’s also a good thing. Especially if you’re new to the sport it’s a little tougher, so you’ve got a bit more protection against bending the shaft. What I also like is how easy it is to swap out the tips. I’d recommend getting a break-away if you’re targeting big game fish. Otherwise, stick with the flopper.

The barrel

It’s well, beautiful. That’s probably the most apt description I can give. The lacquered wood and the grain just looks awesome, and it gives a nice heft to the gun.

The muzzle

Known as the integrated open muzzle, the shaft rail guides the spear to improve accuracy and it’s spot on. The only thing I didn’t particularly like is the weight of the muzzle. I had to add a little foam for buoyancy so it’d sit comfortably in the water.

How it actually feels to use

It’s such an easy gun to use, it’s got to be one of your go-to choices when you’re in the market for your first gun. I’ve tested mine in both open water and the shallow reefs around the headland and it’s caught me a bunch of fish. And that’s the real test, right?

I’d recommend it when you’re targeting anything up to about 30 or 40 pounds, bigger than this and you’re going to need a more premium gun, because of the range. It’s important to touch on as JBL maintain it’s good up to 22 feet. Maybe. But not with the setup that comes stock. It’s more like 10 feet right off the shelf. If you want to up the range you’re going to need to shorten the bands.

What I didn’t particularly like was the buoyancy. The gun doesn’t really float with the shaft in, and as soon as you add anything, like a reel or even strap a GoPro in it just sinks like a stone. I modified it with a little foam to keep the tip up, but it just feels a little too “heavy” in the water. Once you take a shot though it’ll float just fine, which is handy once you need to start detangling the fish you caught.

The downsides

The biggest downside for me was the buoyancy. Without modifying the tip you’re going to wear yourself out trying to keep the gun stable to aim, and it’s a bit too heavy if you’re planning on a long dive or anything that involves a heck of a lot of swimming.

I also thought the finish on the wood seemed a little rushed. If you start looking closely in and around the trigger pocket the cut is a little rough, though I’ve noticed this on a few other brands too.

The results

Overall, it’s an inexpensive gun that will serve a beginner well to learn the art of spearfishing. The JBL Woody Elite Sawed-Off Magnum Speargun is tough as nails, and can take a beating if you’re zooming around in the surf, or even just a little rough with your gear (like me). I don’t like things that break too easy.

The weight of the gun helped offset any recoil you get as you shoot, and I found the open muzzle to be incredibly accurate, which is a definite confidence booster as you learn the sport. The mechanics in the M8 Trigger are phenomenal, it’s so smooth to shoot.

All aesthetics aside (the wood really is pretty), what matters most is this guns ability to perform. It’s precise, accurate, and easy enough to use. In this price range, you’re going to have a tough time finding a better gun.

Happy spearin’

Omer Cayman ET Roller Speargun Review

omer cayman et roller speargun reviewNothing beats the power you get when you’re using a roller speargun. I’ve wanted to get my hands on the Omer Cayman ET Roller speargun for a while, and once I did I had to share my thoughts. Because the gun impressed the hell out of me.

It’s not just the power that makes it great. It’s the accuracy. Deadly straight shots again and again, with a similar amount of force that you’ll get on a much larger gun. And I only have the 115cm.

This gun is a serious weapon, and I’ve shot a lot of fish with it. The Omer Cayman ET Roller is definitely a premium speargun, and you’ll be able to pick one up for $650 to $800.

Behind the brand

To meet the needs of a handful of Italian spearfishing champions, Omersub started manufacturing spearguns back in the 70s. But not on their own. They pulled firearm manufacturer Beretta in as an investors, and have benefited enormously from their experience with weapon design and high-quality manufacturing. Today, the brand is still recognized as a leader in the spearfishing field, offering a range of products for everyone from novice to expert.

What’s a roller speargun?

If you’ve never shot a roller speargun before, you have to get your hands on one. Trust me. They’re like the compound bow of spearfishing, and pack an almost unimaginable amount of power into every shot. It works using a pulley system, that pulls the rubbers tight along the entire length of your barrel.

Imagine a typical speargun. The rubber bands flopping around at the top. Once you start applying tension and pulling these tight, the power builds. The downside though is that on every shot, you lose acceleration along the last 25 to 30 percent of your spear because the bands have returned to normal. To compensate for this power loss, we normally just buy longer guns.

On a roller gun, the rubbers attach at two locations. On the underneath of the barrel, then stretching up and around the “rollers” in the muzzle, and then onto the shaft. This design means no acceleration is lost when you take a shot, allowing you to use a shorter gun without compromising its power. So it’s easier to track your fish too.

Omer Spearguns

There’s a variety of different spearguns that Omer makes, and we’ll review their full range before too much longer. Where they really excel though is their enclosed track spearguns, and you’ll see spearos sporting these all over the world.

My first Omer gun was the 130cm Cayman ET, and is one I regularly take out on the boat when we’re going after those little bit bigger fish, just offshore.

The Omer Cayman ET Roller Speargun

While this speargun is a little trickier than the traditional models, it’s not that much more complex. You just need to get used to it. Perhaps the biggest difference is how the bands are setup. They connect underneath, and thread up through the rollers to lock into the shaft. You can then reposition them on the underside of your gun if you’re looking for a little more power.

I bought the 115cm Omer Cayman ET Roller speargun and I have to say I’m suitably impressed. It’s got a similar range to a 140cm gun, but it’s just that much easier to maneuver underwater. Of course, that comes with the price tag, and it most certainly is a premium speargun.

But it’s also rather versatile. The enclosed track along the top fits up to a 7mm shark fin shaft, which also works to reduce any shaft whip as you shoot. You’ve got three different positions underneath the gun to change up the tension, so you can modify the power you’re using at any time.

What I particularly like though is the lack of recoil. The way roller guns work almost eliminates the recoil that happens when you shoot a traditional speargun, helping each shot to stay true.

Price

The cost of the Omer Cayman ET Roller speargun will differ based on the length of the gun you want to buy.

 

General specs

  • Enclosed track rail gun with a cuttlefish profile
  • Fits up to two 16mm rubber bands with Dyneema wishbones
  • Lower rail features 3 fins to change tension level
  • Muzzle with a 2-pulley system and “anti-sand” cage protection
  • Stainless steel guide for shooting line
  • Fits up to a 7mm shark fin shaft

The handle

Inside the Cayman handle all the mechanics are stainless steel, to hold up against the sheer amount of tension you can load onto this speargun. The angle of the grip is comfortable to use and rather ergonomic, and you can actually swap this out for a left or right-hand version, depending on your preference. I also like that its white, which makes it easier to locate should you ever need to ditch your gun on a dive. The only thing I would mention is the loading pad that it comes with is a bit too large for my taste, but you can also swap this out rather easily.

The spear

Now this is just a preference after I’ve bent a few of them, but I’m not a real big fan of the America One shafts that come standard with the Omer spearguns. I’ve also had a few friends complain about their floppers, so unless you want to risk losing a fish, I’d recommend swapping the spear out. My go-to is usually always the Riffe shafts, a 7mm fits perfectly in the enclosed track of my 115cm speargun.

The barrel

On the 115cm Omer Cayman ET Roller speargun, the barrel is made out of 1.5mm aluminium, but the tube has been “flattened” into the cuttlefish profile which makes it easier to track left to right on a dive. Along the top runs the enclosed track rail, which I rather like. It feels solid and there’s no “shaft whip” when I shoot, even with the tension maxed out, it’s impossible to bounce the spear out.

Along the bottom of the barrel are the three notches to adjust the tension. This is a brilliant solution, and it allows you to adjust your rubber length mid-dive, turning this model into a very versatile speargun. There’s a spot to attach your reel, and it’s simple and quick to reload.

The muzzle

This is where things start to look a little different to a traditional speargun. The open muzzle has a pulley on either side with the rollers, that the rubber bands feed through. Omer have developed a unique “anti-sand” protection for the spheres inside, and you’ll be able to fit two circular bands (up to 16mm) in this gun. There’s also a stabilizer to help fight against any recoil, but I’ve not noticed any at all when I’ve been using this speargun.

The open muzzle is definitely my preference as it allows you to look straight down the shaft and aim true, and they’ve even got a small compartment tucked into the muzzle where you can adjust the lead weights and the ballast of the gun. Such a simple idea I wonder why more manufacturers aren’t doing this yet.

How it actually feels to use

It’s amazing to use. I was expecting the Omer Cayman ET Roller speargun to be a powerful gun, but the reality far exceeded my expectations. The first shot I took ripped out all three passes of mono and started onto my reel. Definitely not what I was expecting, but it was a pleasant surprise. The range on the Omer Cayman ET Roller speargun is just incredible. It’s what you need if you’re going after big fish. The cuttlefish design of the barrel makes tracking easy, and once you take a shot the gun will float alongside you in the water.

In addition to the power and speed, I found the gun to be deadly accurate. Continuing to load it does take it out of you, because the bands are so tight, but it makes up for it when you’re landing shots that would not be possible on a traditional gun of this size. You will need to adjust your aim though. I found my shots dipping, so I had to aim a little higher, especially when I started getting a little further from my targets.

omer cayman et roller speargun how to use

Image Credit: OmerSub

The downsides

No gun is ever perfect, though the Omer Cayman ET Roller speargun is rather good. Perhaps the biggest downside is the price, because this is definitely a premium gun it’ll make a similar dent in your bank account.

Oh, and despite being versatile, changing things on the go can be difficult.

There are no slots on the muzzle to replace the bands, so it’s rather time-consuming to tie a new one in if you need a fresh band. It’s not a huge deal, until you need to change the bands of course.

What you’ll also need to watch out for is bending the spear. If you’re shooting close range along the reef, or anywhere with a hard surface, be careful. If the spear tip hits the reef while the rest of the spear is in the gun, it won’t pop out like the spear does on some of the other enclosed track models. It’ll just bend the spear, which will stop the dive until you replace it. Bent spears don’t work well in general, but with an enclosed track speargun a bent spear means you won’t be able to even reload it. And changing out the spears is not easy. You’ve got to remove the flopper to slot the slide ring on, and then reattach a new flopper. It’s rather fiddly, and not something you want to be messing around with when you’re on the boat and missing out on the dive.

The results

Overall, the Omer Cayman ET Roller speargun is a decent gun. Like a compound bow, you will not believe the amount of power that you can get from your speargun. I was making shot after shot, having no trouble consistently landing fish that were 15 feet away, and there was no recoil like you get with a traditional speargun.

Underwater it feels light and maneuverable, but you will need to do a little target practice the first time you use it to adjust your aim accordingly. Plus, it works great with 14mm rubber bands, so if you’re not as strong, or a little younger, you’ll find loading this gun ridiculously easy.

For me though, this gun gets a spot in my boat on a lot of dives, but it’s not my go to. There’s just too many things that can go wrong, and it’s too difficult to fix these on the fly because of the speargun’s design. It’s a good gun, that’s for sure, and I’ve never used anything as powerful at this length.

Happy spearin’