Spring Gun Maintenance" The world of grease, oily rags and patience

  • Here is a ”Hurricane” brochure/advert both in French and English where we can see exactly what the claims are for the “Carabine” dry spring guns. They are for the most part either wildly optimistic or deliberately misleading lies!


    Immediately the claimed shooting ranges are seen to be beyond being optimistic, they are impossible (for straight line, horizontal shaft flight). The working course of the piston in these dry spring guns is too short to deliver the performance stated here. The reference to a “pneumatic surcompressor” is also a lie as to be a surcompressor the air pressure in the guns would need to be well above ambient pressure, but any gun you can pump up with your thumb or finger acting as a non-return valve on the hole in the rear of the pump handle can only be pumped to slightly over ambient pressure before it again equalizes with the surroundings. The lack of any seals on the sliding piston and the sear tooth acting on its leading edge make elevated pressure behind the piston impossible as any air present inside the gun barrels is always connected front and rear. The “Carabine surcompressor” is the equivalent of blowing water clear of a drinking straw placed at the bottom of the glass, excess air bubbles out and if you close the top of the straw off by placing the tip of your tongue over it then the straw’s interior stays dry, but only while the rear hole is kept blocked off. In the “Carabine” gun a one-way valve does this job, but if you lift the muzzle up past the horizontal then air will bubble out of the muzzle as water gurgles in to fill up the gun. Dive down and water will penetrate along the barrel as pressure inside the guns equalizes with pressure outside at the tip of the muzzle. Hence the “Carabine” is a type of diving bell which is open at the bottom rather than a pressure sealed gun. Many of the claims here are basically over blown BS.


    No doubt “Carabine” speargun owners, having paid a lot of money for their guns, kept quiet about their disappointment, either that or their expectations were very low in the first place.

  • Well some years on I have been given a Hurricane "Carabine" to check out, the gun is the "le Baby" model and is the second smallest of the four models sold. External condition is very good, a few bumps and minor scuffs, but no sign of any rough use. The gun will need to be lubricated as everything is stuck due to it not being serviced for decades would be my guess and I have an uneasy feeling that it is "cocked to shoot" as the loose spear traveled here inserted inside the barrel! Someone has been taking risks they never knew about as with no barrel anti-suction ports you cannot see what is going on inside the gun, unlike the majority of compression spring guns with their multi-perforated barrels. The "le Baby" is a very heavy speargun as there is a lot of metal used in it and of course no plastic parts as they were not around when this gun was built except for "bakelite" which was sometimes used for the drums of the reels.

  • Here is the "le Baby" gun which is the second smallest "Carabine" model, although it is not as small as the name would suggest and is very heavy to hold, much less swim with. When pumped out using the rear air pump it must be a bit lighter in the water, as long as it does not flood, which is why it was designed that way in the first place. Right now it is being re-lubricated as it has been sitting around without any maintenance for decades, only then will I be able to check it out as everything is jammed up through being completely dried out. No sign of any rust, so I expect (and hope) that inside everything will still be OK. Unlike most spring guns there are no anti-suction port holes to peek through, so the propulsion spring is hidden inside the closed bodywork.

    The post was edited 2 times, last by popgun pete ().

  • The "Carabine" spear shaft is 10 mm diameter with an 8 mm diameter thread which is not unusual for a spring gun, however the shaft is solid when usually spring guns shoot tubular steel shafts. The use of tubular shafts allows the spear in other spring guns to be guided by the barrel tube without being too heavy, as the guns need the shaft diameter to be close to the barrel tube's inner diameter and that also applies to the compression spring’s outer diameter. The "Carabine" has a large inner diameter barrel tube and uses a piston on the nose of the similar outer diameter compression spring to push a smaller diameter spear from the gun. The Cressi-Sub "Saetta" spring gun also uses a similar arrangement with a captive piston on the nose of its propulsion spring as the “Saetta” also shoots a spear that is smaller in diameter than the inner diameter of its barrel tube, but they are tubular steel spears. Shooting a heavy shaft is asking a lot of a spring gun which in the distant past was avoided by using tubular steel or aluminium spear shafts in the guns, the latter being for attaining higher shaft speed when shaft durability could be sacrificed in order for the shafts to intercept long and slim fast swimming fish, as distinct from more bulky body reef fish.


    I have the piston measurements provided by Mel B that indicate that the "Carabine" barrel ID is 19 or 20 mm and the hole in the face of the piston is 10 mm diameter which agrees with the diameter of the spear, the spear tail having a short, slightly larger diameter rear collar that serves as the shaft stop diameter and also allows the spear to be trapped by the sear tooth against the face of the piston when the gun is cocked ready to shoot.

    The post was edited 3 times, last by popgun pete: clarification ().

  • It occurs to me that I did not post the piston photos on this thread, so here they are now. A "Rafale" which was missing its propulsion spring was able to be opened up and the piston was fortunately still in the gun.


    The other photos are of the air pump seal which is made of oiled leather, a dynamic seal material that was also used in the very early pneumatic spearguns.

    The post was edited 1 time, last by popgun pete: Added another photo group ().

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