Rail VS Wood Spearguns
There are hundreds of different spearguns on the market, and each has its own quality that makes it different than the 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. Both have their benefits and their detractions.
Rail/Euro Style Spearguns
Rail spearguns are simple. Their design is generally an 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 easier to dive with. The other major benefit is they tend to be less expensive than their wooden counterparts.
Rail guns do have some challenges. Because they are so light weight they become inaccurate with too many bands on them. Two bands are pretty much the limit for most rail spearguns. Any more power than that and the muzzle will jump and cause inaccuracy. 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. Wood guns vary dramatically in design and style from size and track style. Some wood spearguns are small and simple with an open track and one or two bands, others can look like a rounded-off 4X4with six bands or more and an enclosed track. The variations in styles is one of the qualities people love 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 and screwed into if the owner wants to.
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 a little different. Another big risk is that they are made out of wood, 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. It’s not a guarantee it will happen, but proper care and maintenance certainly help 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 and you will use them in many different applications.