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junior25
April 12th, 2007, 10:15 PM
For the past two years I have been using my 36" AB Biller for Blacks and flats in CT. This has been working with no issue until i tried it in RI for stripers. Tried to avoid getting a larger gun by getting stronger bands but it still was not adequate to punch through for the floppers to open.

I am looking for advice as to what size is needed for 30lbs+ stripers. Figured it would be between a 48 or 54 but I wasn't sure if a 54" would be to large for easy maneuvering at the bottom. Not looking for anything pricey such as a Wong or Riffe and am still very happy with the Biller as a gun in general. Gun will be used both free diving and with scuba and not sure if i want a float line or reel yet.

Thanks for any help

oly5050user
April 13th, 2007, 11:16 AM
used to get them with my 36'' scubapro panther..maybe you need to get closer..try it with a breakaway head..no need for float line/reel..where in RI are you shooting? I used to go out of Newport on my Zodiac..

junior25
April 13th, 2007, 06:27 PM
Went all over last year, some by shore, some by boat. Mostly Jamestown, Watch Hill and Point Judith

pescador775
April 18th, 2007, 11:25 AM
Your 36 inch gun is too small for ranges greater than five feet. However, a 48 inch Biller will get the job done where range is ten-twelve feet. Rigging the gun is as important as the particular model or style. The arrow should be equipped with a detachable head which is fastened with locktight. A slip tip is also good but you really need to make these yourself. You might be able to find my archive on Deeperblue which illustrates how to do this. Three, 9/16 bands are needed. One band can be left slack for close in. These bands should be black and fairly stiff. Make or purchase these bands with dyneema wishbones or steel cable wishbones. See my archive on Deeperblue on how to DIY. The shaft should be standard length and tethered with a fine shooting line made of Spectra (dyneema). Polish the shaft slots using emory cloth. Stripers will spook with barrel movement so don't use any bright components on the gun if possible. Freediving will get more stripers and a reel is needed to reduce strain. Stripers have soft flesh and explosive personalities, so pay out line to avoid pulling out. A 48 inch gun does not have much flotation so purchase the mahogany version which is light weight. Good luck.
Pesky

pescador775
April 18th, 2007, 11:50 AM
This will get you started. You should be able to google my articles on "modifying the Biller 54" and "Biller Caribbean" and discussions and drawings of the DIY sliptip (keyword: Wally Potts, sliptip, hex, peskydor).
http://forums.deeperblue.net/american-spearguns/52475-modifying-biller-54-a.html
http://www.spearboard.com/printthread.php?t=29043&page=2&pp=15
http://forums.deeperblue.net/american-spearguns/52596-biller-caribbean.html

junior25
April 19th, 2007, 02:46 PM
I was on spearboard looking for the same advice and ended up with a 90 CM Carbon Fiber Rail gun from Aimrite. Seems some of the local spearo's use the same and are very satisfied. Now just need good weather and off to Fishers Island i go.

pescador775
April 21st, 2007, 04:11 PM
OK, but the Biller 48 is a competent striper gun and could be had on EBay for 100 bucks. The Aimrite single flopper shafts do a fairly good job but the holding power can't compare to the detachable type head. However, this head must be made of hardened steel, everything, including the socket. The JBL rockpoint is a good example of the right stuff to have when the striper spins, thrashes and breaks the surface. It can be used for bottom fish, too. Unfortunately, the Aimrite shaft is not threaded but can be ordered. The graphite tube guns have improved over the years and don't crack as readily as formerly. Same with the Aimrite grip ("handle"). They are stronger now and we don't hear so much from Aimrite users who boast that Aimrite repaired their guns "for free". Wood guns, even mahogany, are sturdy and well proven. Their stability and permanent flotation are strong points for the free diver. The versions of the Biller produced since the past ten years are much stiffer than the Australian versions and there is little to go wrong. I remember some problems with sticky line releases but I believe that was taken care of. It is fun to tinker with a wood gun because the material is forgiving and accepts all kinds of mods and improvements. FWIW
Pesky

junior25
April 22nd, 2007, 06:57 PM
I know, my friend has a 42 Biller and has stoned smaller stipers with it no problem. I am not a big fan of ebay or used equipment so finding one for 100 is out of the question. When looking at the Biller's i was looking between the 48 and 54 teak LTD gun. The cheapest I could find the 48 was for 350 which is only 20 less then the Aimrite. Throw in a lifetime warranty and it seemed like a good choice. As for tip choice, i believe the current world record striper was shot with a single flopper shaft so it must work fairly well. I discussed the issue with Rick at Aimrite prior to purchase and he said I would probably see better results with solid hawaiian single flopper shaft. To me that says alot seeing as i was ready to shell out 90 for one of his sliptips. So ill give this rig a try and if i dont like it, like you said there is always ebay. Here is a pic of the new toy.

cjv
April 23rd, 2007, 08:27 AM
Is that an Omer reel? How much is the shaft overhang with that set up?

Cheers/Safe diving,

pescador775
April 23rd, 2007, 04:50 PM
Well, if you actually bought a Biller 54, it would have to be the teak version. This is a fairly powerful, longer range gun which takes three rubbers and needs the weight of teak to stabilize the shot. However, the cheaper, plastic reels are better for this gun because of flotation issues. The 54 is basically an amberjack gun although precision shots on mackeral, tuny, barjack, kings, pompano, etc are entirely possible. Over the decades, I have killed enough game with the 54 to fill a 2 1/2 ton truck. The 48 is best for stripers except where vis is less than 10 feet. Mahogany is the right stuff for this gun. An arbalete like the Aimrite is versatile for smaller fish and can occasionally take large game. These guns are heavily promoted with pics of "records" but the serious free divers mostly use wood guns. This may be changing as a younger generation of divers come along and who are attracted to the shiny colors and jazzy advertising. The strong suit of true "euro" guns is alignment of the muzzle and grip. However, hybrid euros like the Allen and Aimrite either use a confusing closed muzzle or awkward "pin" muzzle (like riffe). I dislike both of those things intensely. I've never seen a better commercial muzzle than the Biller semi closed design, and, if one doesn't like it, mods are easy to make. If you look around the spearboard site (keyword; sea hunter) you will see some of the muzzles I have fabricated and experimented with. Also, there are custom muzzles made for the Sea Hornet by a company in Tampa/St Pete but I don't like the looks of them. A serious gun will be capable of holding three bands but, conversely, I have a specialty Biller "Caribbean" (Limited) which uses only two thick bands. This gun is equipped with some of the slick features of the "euro" but with changes, like a modified Tahitian flopper (it springs open), and includes the euro style kevlar or Spectra shooting line tethered to the shaft instead of a ring. Given the low drag of the shaft on this gun-- even though the shaft is slower-- this gun has respectable range. It is for shooting game fish like kings, and pompano but I have taken some grouper and snapper also. A Biller gun is so adaptable there is almost nothing that cannot be tried with it.

junior25
April 23rd, 2007, 07:01 PM
It is an Omer 50 reel, overhang is roughly 10"

junior25
April 23rd, 2007, 07:04 PM
Well, if you actually bought a Biller 54, it would have to be the teak version. This is a fairly powerful, longer range gun which takes three rubbers and needs the weight of teak to stabilize the shot. However, the cheaper, plastic reels are better for this gun because of flotation issues. The 54 is basically an amberjack gun although precision shots on mackeral, tuny, barjack, kings, pompano, etc are entirely possible. Over the decades, I have killed enough game with the 54 to fill a 2 1/2 ton truck. The 48 is best for stripers except where vis is less than 10 feet. Mahogany is the right stuff for this gun. An arbalete like the Aimrite is versatile for smaller fish and can occasionally take large game. These guns are heavily promoted with pics of "records" but the serious free divers mostly use wood guns. This may be changing as a younger generation of divers come along and who are attracted to the shiny colors and jazzy advertising. The strong suit of true "euro" guns is alignment of the muzzle and grip. However, hybrid euros like the Allen and Aimrite either use a confusing closed muzzle or awkward "pin" muzzle (like riffe). I dislike both of those things intensely. I've never seen a better commercial muzzle than the Biller semi closed design, and, if one doesn't like it, mods are easy to make. If you look around the spearboard site (keyword; sea hunter) you will see some of the muzzles I have fabricated and experimented with. Also, there are custom muzzles made for the Sea Hornet by a company in Tampa/St Pete but I don't like the looks of them. A serious gun will be capable of holding three bands but, conversely, I have a specialty Biller "Caribbean" (Limited) which uses only two thick bands. This gun is equipped with some of the slick features of the "euro" but with changes, like a modified Tahitian flopper (it springs open), and includes the euro style kevlar or Spectra shooting line tethered to the shaft instead of a ring. Given the low drag of the shaft on this gun-- even though the shaft is slower-- this gun has respectable range. It is for shooting game fish like kings, and pompano but I have taken some grouper and snapper also. A Biller gun is so adaptable there is almost nothing that cannot be tried with it.

Well, while i havent shot enough fish to fill a 2 1/2 ton truck, I could always buy a wong hybrid if the Aimrite doesnt work out:D

pescador775
April 24th, 2007, 11:04 AM
I should clarify my use of "hybrid". I referred to guns which combine euro designs and USA designs. The Aimrite is a good example. If you need a hybridized American/Euro gun the Aimrite is probably the best. The trigger is much stronger than most euros. The other hybrid, the RA, adopted the USA idea of controlling the arrow in a track of some sort. With the RA, it is a simple rib glued to a tube and vaingloriously advertised as a "railgun". I used to work at the Dahlgren Navy Lab including projects related to the real Railgun. I get a laugh at young fellows expense, those who "ooh and aah" at the little South African pretender. You gotta admire the marketing though. Some of these euro/hybrid guns have provision for a looped rubber band, another USA design. On the other side, US manufacturers have been quick to adopt features of the euro gun which have been commercially successful such as the Tahitian shaft, the strung shaft with no ring, and the rib. To be fair, the Tahitian flopper shaft and the Hawaiian version originated outside of both continents so it gets a little complicated. Although Americans have long emphasized the grooved barrel and have been ambivalent about the band riser, one manufacturer has been a maverick who used the riser but not the grooved barrel, JBL. Lately, commercial pressures have lead to thinner and longer shafts and even the shorter gun shafts need support in the center; thus, JBL has come up with some knockoff rib designs of its own. However, the ultimate JBL for slick shooting medium sized fish is the Hawaiian version of the JBL Explorer with its rib epoxied to the round barrel. That is a slick setup made in Hawaii and for a reasonable price (last time I checked). IMO, anybody could figure out how to duplicate it. Outside the majors, a characteristic of the USA is proliferation of specialty or boutique manufacturers. For example, the "Hammerhead", a neat idea. Again, the pin muzzle which I dislike but the built in riser is nice. The riser was invented by an American, Jack Prodanovich, and the JBL gun is his design from circa 1960. Euros and others made good use of the riser and continue to do so. Riffe guns started out as evolutions of homemade guns strictly for bluewater and trophy fish. By borrowing designs from US Divers(grip and butt) Underseas (Australian trigger) he put together a stout, reliable gun. By artful advertising and word of mouth Jay Riffe has continued to expand which is helped by copying and modifying everything and anything which comes along. This expansion is not limited to trophy hunters because he has somehow convinced the average Joe Spearo that a Riffe gun has the mojo. Heh. All in all, the objective of all manufacturers has been to sell the sizzle. Fancy bass lures are sold to hook the fishermen, and maybe a fish, and sometimes it is the same with spearguns.

pescador775
April 24th, 2007, 12:17 PM
I have never regarded the Biller as a perfect weapon right out of the box. That is, there are some accuracy issues with the standard setup. These can be fixed. The Biller includes a bulky slide ring which slows the arrow. This can be replaced with the slick little Biller ring or Riffe ring which are made of hardened steel, 3/8 diameter and weigh practically nothing. Only thin, 2 mm kevlar or spectra line will thread through the Biller. That is good because high tech shooting line has less drag. The big ring was originally used by the Aussies to center the shaft in the muzzle. This is redundant on the Biller because the muzzle itself centers the shaft. Alternately, order the Biller Tahitian shaft. Inspect the arrow. It should have a hole drilled where the slide ring stop would normally be. Tie your shooting line through this hole and run the line through the muzzle. The line must not be allowed to slip under the arrow. To aid in line routing do this: make a mark where the line wraps around the front of the muzzle and then heat a 3/16 rod and, if right handed, press it to the front right side of the muzzle at an angle consistent with the line routing (remove the shaft first). The plastic will melt and create a groove which controls the line position. Finally, look again at the arrow, this time the front. If the flopper is mounted on top, Tahitian style, remove it and place on bottom. This will require a new rivet.

Why this? The Biller muzzle is a fairly complex design which includes varying radii to control the arrow. However, this design does not take into account the slide ring stop. This stop is pinched into the shaft and when fired will contact this muzzle rear edge as it exits the gun. When it strikes the muzzle edge the butt of the shaft will jump up and deflect the flight path causing the gun to shoot low. After many shots, the muzzle becomes "worn in" and the effect lessens. However, converting the arrow to "line shaft" as opposed to "ring shaft" has several advantages for range and accuracy.
Pesky

junior25
April 24th, 2007, 05:03 PM
So what guns you using these days?

pescador775
April 24th, 2007, 06:15 PM
Depends on what I'm after. Once upon a time I was a left coast trophy shooter after white sea bass, tuna and yellowtail but I never shot anything really big, nothing close to a record. On the other coast, travelling regularly to the Tortugas, I landed a 350# Jewfish and a lot of other stuff, some of which were unofficial world records. The gun was a custom mahogany type made by Wally Potts. It was a strange experience shooting alongside freeshafters. They were intrigued by my spring steel arrows and I admired their skills. These days, I shoot sheepshead, black drum, tautog, Spanish mackeral and amberjack. I use modified USD Sea Hunters or a stock Biller 36 for close range (low vis) and a modified Biller 54 for AJ and Spanish. When cruising the windward Islands and such places I take along the Biller "Caribbean". (Descriptions of these modified guns can be found on Spearboard and DeeperBlue). In 1999, I landed an unofficial record Cerro Mackeral with the Caribbean. The fish was over three feet long. A really big one is about two feet.

junior25
April 24th, 2007, 07:49 PM
Ya, I think i am gonna stick with my Biller for Blackfish in the shallows or when murky and will stick with th aimrite when going deeper and in better vis


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