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Speargun Ballasting - The Benefits of Ballasting your Speargun

Speargun Ballasting - The Benefits of Ballasting your Speargun

The Benefits of Ballasting your Speargun

Speargun making is all about the art of making something light-weight and maneuverable but also able to hit a fish like a freight train. The single most important but underemphasized component of achieving a gun with as much of both worlds as possible is ballasting. The reality is that there is no silver bullet speargun that can have the absolute best of both worlds, but proper ballasting can give you a final result much closer to perfect than an improperly ballasted or unballasted gun.

 

The Weight to Power Challenge

Some spearos just add more bands to a speargun in the hope of increasing power and range.  The problem with this is recoil. By itself, adding bands causes inaccuracy in your shots. Too many bands for too light of a gun can cause the muzzle of the speargun to jump up before the shaft leaves the speargun, or cause the shaft to wobble. This causes the back of the spear to rise up and pushes the front of the shaft down, causing the shaft to shoot low from where it was aimed.  That is one way recoil can impact a spear. Roller spearguns, double rollers, and inverted rollers have all tried to solve the problem, and have moved the bar forward in adding power while reducing recoil.

 

Adding Mass

The old-school method of compensating for more power, or larger spear shafts is to simply add more mass to the speargun. Bigger, wider, longer wooden guns would eliminate the recoil problem with the simplest of physics.  The same amount of force applied to an object with larger mass will affect the larger object less than if it was smaller.  The challenge with these larger spearguns is that they are harder for the diver to manuever comfortably and efficiently in the water. 

 

Internal Ballasting

Another challenge of adding more wood is that most wood floats. While spearos want their speargun to float without the spear shaft, they want it to sink slightly with a shaft in it.  The way to balance out the addition of more wood to achieve proper buoyancy is to add internal lead ballast to the speargun.  This lead can additionally help balance the speargun along its X axis and help make larger spearguns more maneuverable.  Speargun builders identify the best location to place however much lead they need to place through careful practice over time, but once the speargun is built, it become much more challenging to properly adjust the ballast internally. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LAea-Q3zM8&t=11s

 

External Ballasting

If a diver wants to modify the ballasting after a speargun is already built, most use external ballasting. External ballast is a great solution to add mass to a speargun, and it can help to balance a speargun that feels off in the water and help increase its maneuverability. For spearguns that are already the right level of buoyancy, there are neutrally buoyant ballast options. These simply add mass to enable more power on the speargun.

Proper ballasting is an often underrated and underappreciated aspect of how a speargun comes to operate well.  Next time you are in the water with your speargun, lay it flat on the water and let it sink a foot or two and see how it reacts.  

We hope this article helped you consider proper ballasting of your spearguns, and if you have any questions for the shop feel free to call us at +1-813-867-3250!

 

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