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The Hype Behind Roller Spearguns

The Hype Behind Roller Spearguns

The Hype Behind Roller Spearguns

Roller Spearguns (and their more advanced cousins, inverted and demultiplied roller guns) are what many call the future of spearfishing. They are the greatest strides in spearfishing technology over the past decade.


How a Roller Speargun Works

Roller spearguns work on the principle of starting your band stretch from the end of the speargun. The purpose of a speargun’s bands is to store energy. Bands only start to store energy as they get under tension. A traditional speargun does not start to store energy until the bands start to stretch, which means the part of the gun's length that the bands can lay over when not stretched is all area that isn't being used to propel the shaft. Roller spearguns fix this problem by pre-tensioning the bands, pulling them through a wheel at the front of the gun and anchoring them tight at the back or middle of the gun. This pre-tension ensures the bands are propelling your shaft forward through the entire length of the gun. 

Roller spearguns require proper pretension on the bands to work properly. Without pretension, or if the pretension is too light, the spear shaft travels faster than the bands accelerate. This is one of the biggest drawbacks of traditional spearguns, and one of the biggest benefits of roller spearguns (but only if you get the roller right). If a roller is properly pretensioned, the shaft will accelerate for the entire length of the speargun.


The Myths

One of the biggest myths behind roller spearguns is that they are more powerful. To a very small extent they are, but it is from having more distance for the bands to stretch. Mostly, however, roller guns increase effective range instead of power. Speargun range is the result of band stretch distance. Power is derived from the size and number of speargun bands. 

Another myth about these spearguns is that they don’t have recoil. They do have recoil, but it is reduced compared to similarly powered traditional spearguns. The reduced recoil is because the bands are moving towards the front and the back of the speargun simultaneously, but you still need to brace for recoil when firing a roller.


The Benefits

The primary benefit of roller spearguns is the additional range they provide. This is a result of the additional band stretch length. These spearguns typically have an additional 20%-30% of the range of the same size traditional speargun. 

Many spearguns can easily be converted to roller spearguns. There are kits, like the MannySub Roller conversion kits, that make converting Euro style spearguns into single or double roller gun. Wood spearguns can be converted with some Roller Kits, depending on the style of the speargun and how much room you have on the muzzle.



With so many benefits, there has to be a catch when it comes to these spearguns, right? The first hurdle most people notice about roller spearguns is that they are hard to load. This is true. You are adding tension to the bands the entire length of the speargun, which makes it difficult. That being said, it is effective, so if you want your speargun to perform properly you will need to deal with the challenges of loading it. One way to drastically reduce the pain of loading a roller speargun is with a load assist.

The next issue is that rollers tend to be complicated. These are not basic spearguns. You will want to become very familiar with how they operate before putting them to the test on trophy fish. 

The last hurdle is that some rollers are more expensive to maintain. Speargun bands are not crazy expensive, but you will be going through more of them if the bands are constantly under tension. That means your bands will deteriorate about twice a quickly as non-tensioned bands. Inverted rollers get even more complicated, because you have a larger number of bands to replace annually. Two bands is not crazy expensive to replace, but six or eight gets expensive quickly. 

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