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All About Guns What's your weapon of choice, and why? Discuss the beloved speargun here!

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Old 08-22-2019, 09:19 PM   #1
Hpwatson
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Why do we open the end of an enclosed track?

Early on in my gun building experience I remember seeing in my research that when doing an enclosed track it was common practice to open up the last few inches of the track. I can't remember why. I've done it on all my enclosed track guns without question, but I've had problems with epoxy tracks chipping at the end when the shaft gets bumped. To avoid this on the gun I'm currently building right now, I've left about 1/2" of wood at the end of the enclosed track, and I was hoping to leave it enclosed all the way to the end so that the wood tip of the track can save the epoxy track from getting chipped. Does opening that last few inches improve accuracy, or what? This is a small light duty gun I'm building so I'd like to leave the whole track enclosed if possible but if anyone knows why its common practice to open the end up, I'd be interested to hear.
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Old 08-22-2019, 09:52 PM   #2
popgun pete
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Re: Why do we open the end of an enclosed track?

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Originally Posted by Hpwatson View Post
Early on in my gun building experience I remember seeing in my research that when doing an enclosed track it was common practice to open up the last few inches of the track. I can't remember why. I've done it on all my enclosed track guns without question, but I've had problems with epoxy tracks chipping at the end when the shaft gets bumped. To avoid this on the gun I'm currently building right now, I've left about 1/2" of wood at the end of the enclosed track, and I was hoping to leave it enclosed all the way to the end so that the wood tip of the track can save the epoxy track from getting chipped. Does opening that last few inches improve accuracy, or what? This is a small light duty gun I'm building so I'd like to leave the whole track enclosed if possible but if anyone knows why its common practice to open the end up, I'd be interested to hear.
If the spear hits something before it fully clears the enclosed track then it will bust the end of the track as the shaft levers on the gun body. Also it gives the shaft tabs a chance to align in the track slot when you first feed the shaft tail into the gun muzzle.
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:51 AM   #3
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Re: Why do we open the end of an enclosed track?

The end of an ET is usually open to allow easier shaft insertion when loading a shaft. At least that is the reason I used to do it. Today an ET is not necessary performance wise except for a few rare types of spearfishing systems (eg. free shafting). The disadvantages of an ET are many …. reduced shaft velocity due to higher friction … limited choice of shaft diameter … need of high shark fins to allow wishbones to catch the shark fin … danger of breaking track top off if shooting a large fish at close range before shaft clears the track … etc...

Advantages of ET are that with a poorly designed speargun it can tame the shaft and tone down shaft whip … is for some people much quicker to load without having to look at the gun … can use Kevlar or Spectra line with less chance of band tangle as you don't need to have line over shaft to keep shaft on track. I might have missed some advantages and disadvantages but I think I covered the most important ones.
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:52 AM   #4
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Re: Why do we open the end of an enclosed track?

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Originally Posted by popgun pete View Post
If the spear hits something before it fully clears the enclosed track then it will bust the end of the track as the shaft levers on the gun body. Also it gives the shaft tabs a chance to align in the track slot when you first feed the shaft tail into the gun muzzle.
I agree Pete. If you do a lot of shooting under wrecks/ledges, or if you take a real close shot on large fish, you run a much higher risk of damaging or even breaking off the end of the gun if the spearshaft does not fully exit the gun. Enclosed track guns do not have a lot of wood left between the bottom of the track and the top of the slot where the bands install. Therefore one way to lessen the chance of the gun breaking in this area, some mfg’s remove the track to the back of the muzzle slot. Like spearq8 says, this also makes it easier to insert the shaft.
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Old 08-23-2019, 07:51 AM   #5
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Re: Why do we open the end of an enclosed track?

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Originally Posted by popgun pete View Post
If the spear hits something before it fully clears the enclosed track then it will bust the end of the track as the shaft levers on the gun body. Also it gives the shaft tabs a chance to align in the track slot when you first feed the shaft tail into the gun muzzle.
And the shaft is not under power of the bands anymore at this point ..
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:26 AM   #6
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Re: Why do we open the end of an enclosed track?

Good inputs thanks guys. Yeah I'm building this custom gun for a guy that just loves ETs for some reason. I'm going to start talking people out of it after this build. They're a pain to make and as pointed out here there are several downsides.
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:10 PM   #7
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Re: Why do we open the end of an enclosed track?

It's done so it's easier to load the shaft.
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Old 08-23-2019, 03:40 PM   #8
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Re: Why do we open the end of an enclosed track?

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Good inputs thanks guys. Yeah I'm building this custom gun for a guy that just loves ETs for some reason. I'm going to start talking people out of it after this build. They're a pain to make and as pointed out here there are several downsides.
I am not a fan of enclosed track (especially if you are lineshaft/freeshaft shooting) because the perceived advantages of enclosed track do not outweigh the disadvantages. The exception would be if you really need to power up the gun to take long distance lineshaft shots with 3 or 4 bands. However, most folks who lineshaft/Freeshaft shoot only use one band and enclosed track has too much inherent track drag IMO to efficiently shoot with one band.
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Last edited by Spear One; 08-23-2019 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 08-23-2019, 04:39 PM   #9
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Re: Why do we open the end of an enclosed track?

A small light duty gun does not need an enclosed track. To stop the spear falling off the gun during loading used a closed muzzle. There are mini-tab shafts that will fly under the muzzle without collecting it on the way out or you can use slotted shafts for the wishbones.
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Old 08-23-2019, 05:49 PM   #10
Hpwatson
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Re: Why do we open the end of an enclosed track?

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Originally Posted by popgun pete View Post
A small light duty gun does not need an enclosed track. To stop the spear falling off the gun during loading used a closed muzzle. There are mini-tab shafts that will fly under the muzzle without collecting it on the way out or you can use slotted shafts for the wishbones.
I agree. Unfortunately I have to build what the client paid me for! What I do is I offer completely custom builds rather than pre-made designs. So people can tell me every detail of what kind of gun they want, from components all the way down to curves and colors. So I end up building a different gun every time I make something. I'm surprised how often I get asked to do an enclosed track.
I was never a big fan of enclosed tracks anyway but these recent discussions have got me even more on the other side. Unless it is unavoidable I will urging future clients to let me design their gun with an open track.
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Old 08-23-2019, 05:58 PM   #11
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Re: Why do we open the end of an enclosed track?

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I agree. Unfortunately I have to build what the client paid me for! What I do is I offer completely custom builds rather than pre-made designs. So people can tell me every detail of what kind of gun they want, from components all the way down to curves and colors. So I end up building a different gun every time I make something. I'm surprised how often I get asked to do an enclosed track.
I was never a big fan of enclosed tracks anyway but these recent discussions have got me even more on the other side. Unless it is unavoidable I will urging future clients to let me design their gun with an open track.
That is a good idea. Too many new divers read speargun forums selectively without obtaining the full story, like reading the last page of a novel and then assuming you know everything. Best design fit for the intended purpose as there is no best design as such.
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:32 PM   #12
Hpwatson
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Re: Why do we open the end of an enclosed track?

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Originally Posted by popgun pete View Post
That is a good idea. Too many new divers read speargun forums selectively without obtaining the full story, like reading the last page of a novel and then assuming you know everything. Best design fit for the intended purpose as there is no best design as such.
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:46 PM   #13
Spear One
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Re: Why do we open the end of an enclosed track?

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Originally Posted by Hpwatson View Post
I agree. Unfortunately I have to build what the client paid me for! What I do is I offer completely custom builds rather than pre-made designs. So people can tell me every detail of what kind of gun they want, from components all the way down to curves and colors. So I end up building a different gun every time I make something. I'm surprised how often I get asked to do an enclosed track.
I was never a big fan of enclosed tracks anyway but these recent discussions have got me even more on the other side. Unless it is unavoidable I will urging future clients to let me design their gun with an open track.
The smart use of social media has played a big part in the growth and popularity of enclosed track guns especially among millennials. They have also used “brand influencers” to promote them as well. The unfortunate part is many of these guys promote only the perceived positives of enclosed track and almost never take the time to mention the downsides of enclosed track. I have talked to many spearfishermen who bought an enclosed track gun, quickly discovered the downsides, and are disappointed with their purchase.

When I do a spearfishing seminar or have the opportunity to have a one on one discussion with a perspective buyer, I always make it a point to tell them the advantages and the disadvantages of the speargun based on which rigging options they choose. I ask them what type of spearfishing they currently do or plan to do, and where they want to be in a few years. Only then can I make a short term and a long term recommendation on what will be the best rigging option for them. Once a perspective buyer understands all his or her options and the pluses and minuses of their decisions, the buyer is rarely unhappy with their purchase. I manufacture spearguns and I hope that folks buy them. However, any buyer should do their homework and make an informed purchase decision based on that homework.
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Last edited by Spear One; 08-24-2019 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 08-23-2019, 07:27 PM   #14
Hpwatson
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Re: Why do we open the end of an enclosed track?

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Originally Posted by Spear One View Post
The smart use of social media has played a big part in the growth and popularity of enclosed track guns especially among millennials. They have also used “brand influencers” to promote them as well. The unfortunate part is many of these guys promote only the perceived positives of enclosed track and almost never take the time to mention the downsides of enclosed track. I have talked to many spearfishermen who bought an enclosed track gun and quickly discovered the downsides and are disappointed with their purchase.

When I do a spearfishing seminar or have the opportunity to have a one on one discussion with a perspective buyer, I always make it a point to tell them the advantages and the disadvantages of the speargun based on which rigging options they choose. I ask them what type of spearfishing they currently do or plan to do, and where they want to be in a few years. Only then can I make a short term and a long term recommendation on what will be the best rigging option for them. Once a perspective buyer understands all his or her options and the pluses and minuses of their decisions, the buyer is rarely unhappy with their purchase. I manufacture spearguns and I hope that folks buy them. However, any buyer should do their homework and make an informed purchase decision based on that homework.

Yeah and I've definitely had guys come back after a year or so and say yeah I probably didn't need an enclosed track on this gun. I think it's something they think about when they dream up what kind of gun they want, then after some time shooting the gun they realize it's not necessary and might even be limiting the gun a bit.
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:00 PM   #15
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Re: Why do we open the end of an enclosed track?

More relevant if we jumped into a time machine and went back to the very dawn of mechanical weapon spearfishing we would see guys wrapped in dry suits of thin rubber or woollen jumpers wearing primitive goggles and sheet metal blade fins enclosed in an outer coating of crepe rubber staggering along the shoreline with huge metal spring guns or their rubber powered side-slotted barrel underwater rifle counterparts which were based on terrestrial weapon concepts.

When the Champion Arbalete appeared, no barrel save for the tube that held the gun head (muzzle) and a rear handle high mounted on the gun tube all those previous weapons were dropped like a hot rock. The rest is history.
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