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Rail VS Wood Spearguns - How to Choose the Best for You

Rail VS Wood Spearguns - How to Choose the Best for You

Rail VS Wood Spearguns

There are hundreds of different spearguns on the market, and each brand, syle, and region have their own unique qualities that make them different than others.  That being said, there are two very broad categories of speargun styles.  There is the Rail speargun, also known as the pipe gun or Euro style speargun. The other is the wood speargun, or more generally, the American style speargun. Below, we'll go through situations where each does well or struggles. 


Rail/Euro Style Spearguns

Rail spearguns are often called pipe guns because their design is generally a simple aluminum or carbon fiber tube with an open track to guide the shaft.  The tube is sealed off with plugs and the ends have the handle and trigger mechanism on one end and the muzzle, which holds the bands, on the other.  Rail spearguns are streamlined in the water, which allows for quick tracking of fish and makes them easy to dive with.  The other major benefit is they tend to be less expensive than their wooden counterparts.

However, railguns do have some drawbacks. Because they are so light weight, they become inaccurate when too many bands are put on them. Two (maybe three) bands are pretty much the limit for most rail spearguns.  Any more power than that, and the muzzle will jump and cause inaccuracy.  However, they were not designed to chase 80+ pound fish. This style of gun has its strongest home in the mediterranean, where spearos are doing deep dives for small fish and want to prioritize mobility over power. Another drawback to rail guns is that there are only a few modifications that can be done to them.  Muzzles can be changed, ballast can be added externally, and reels can be added to some spearguns. Other than that, they tend to be factory stock spearguns.


Wooden/American Style Spearguns

Wooden spearguns tend to be bulkier and shoot larger diameter shafts for bigger fish. Wood guns vary dramatically in design and style from the size to the track to the muzzle type.  Some wood spearguns are small and simple with an open track and one or two bands, others can look like a rounded-off 4X4 with six bands or more and an enclosed track. The variations in styles is one of the qualities many American divers love most about wood spearguns.  Another benefit is the ability to modify the speargun.  Because it doesn’t rely on a plugged tube for its buoyancy it is able to be adjusted, cut, or screwed into if the owner wants to. Just remember, once you cut a gun, you can't un-cut it (so you better know what you're doing when you do make the cut). 

The down side to wood spearguns is that they tend to be more expensive.  A large number of them tend to be hand crafted by individual speargun builders, so every gun is slightly different.  Another big risk is water contact, and while wood spearguns are treated to prevent water intrusion, it can still happen.  When water comes in contact with wood, the wood runs the risk of warping or rotting, but proper care and maintenance will prevent this from happening.  

The best thing to do is to try out a couple different options and determine what works best for you. Over time, as you get further in the sport, you will inevitably end up with a few different guns and you can feel out which situations a particular kind of gun works best in.
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