Manny Sub Roller Power Head conversion first impressions
So I’ve finally done it, I’ve gone roller. After interviewing Emmanuel Bova from Manny Sub and shooting my mate Champ’s roller gun it was time to give it a go. So here are my first impressions after unboxing, fitting and one dive with the Roller Power Head Conversion.
What I ordered
Roller Power head conversion
Pre made 18mm rubber
16mm clip on assist rubber
7.5mm stainless steel spear with triple loading fins (two of)
8mm stainless steel spear with triple loading fins
First and foremost I want to start with the ordering process. What I like about the Manny Sub process is that the kit is customisable. You choose the length of your gun or desired length if you’re cutting it down, the thickness of the rubber 14mm, 16mm or 18mm to suit your strength and conditions, and the diameter of your barrel so that you get the correct conversion plug. Manny Sub have taken a lot of the guess work out of it which I really liked as there are a few nuances to roller guns that are best left to the pro’s in my opinion. For me I just wanted to fit the kit and start shooting fish.
The Roller Power Head
I’ve looked at a couple of different models but I like this one the best so far. It’s simple, robust and finished off nicely with glass bearings that won’t corrode in the marine environment. I have used other rollers without bearings that use bushes and the bearings definitely make a big difference. The roller bearings make for extremely smooth loading and spin easily when flicked. The molding of the head is simple and provides good line of sight. All of the line guides work and there’s even a bit of carbon fibre which looks nice.
I ordered 18mm pre-made rubbers. First of all they look fast because they’re red, everything red is fast but besides being red the rubbers are a work of art and everything works beautifully. Manny Sub have taken a lot of pride in getting these right. The knots are neat, the dyneema is of a high quality and the rubbers are tapered to fit into the roller head around the rollers. It’s plug and play at it’s best. This gun is powered up to shoot blue-water pelagic’s so I also ordered the 16mm clip on power assist band. The end of the power assist bands have a small loop of dyneema which attaches over the ends of the roller axel. I liked this as it means I can take them on and off when needed with ease making the gun very versatile.
Keep in mind that the Roller Power Head kit usually comes with the rubber and dyneema kit so you can make your own rubbers as per the instructions. Champ did this and it was really quite a simple process and a good skill to learn.
The tri-cut on the 7.5mm Manny sub Spear is extremely sharp and I have not seen a better tuned flopper.
Spears, I’ve had good ones and bad ones in both stainless steel and spring steel and until now I’ve been hard pressed to find something as good as the Rob Allen spring steel shafts. So how do the Manny Sub spears stack up? The new Manny Sub stainless steel shafts are by far the nicest spear I have ever seen or used. It’s a big call but I just can’t fault them in any way. The tri-cut tip is extremely sharp, the shaft has a super smooth polished surface, all of the line connection points are rounded and smoothed to prevent line damage. The flopper is tuned to perfection and locks off solidly. The flopper is thick and strong with no sharp end, and the pin is fitted perfectly.
What I really like is the loading fin arrangement. Manny has really thought about this and how to place the fins to suit roller guns. Traditionally loading fin tabs are stacked three in a row towards the back end of the gun. Manny Sub have changed this up with the first loading fin placed half way down the spear, the second one in more of a traditional location towards the back and the third right at back of the spear just before the flat section enters the trigger mech. This means loading can be done in stages and I have the option of powering the gun up and down depending on what loading tab I choose. It’s a simple yet elegant improvement to a piece of equipment that has seen little improvement in a long time.
I’ve been happily using a Rob Allen 1.2m Tuna for a long time and it’s suited my needs perfectly so I really took some convincing to change. I used my mates 1m roller gun with 16mm bands last year on a reef trip and loved it. I got to experience the power, range, maneuverability and lack of recoil. Also on literally my first go I took one shot and nailed a Coral Trout, I never loaded the gun or had much to do with the setup though so my experience was somewhat incomplete. With my setup I have found a few points worth mentioning. Roller guns particularly longer guns of 1.1m and up with larger bands are somewhat different and harder to load as the rubber is under tension direct from the muzzle. This took me a bit to get used to and ultimately change my loading technique. With this setup I hip load to the first loading notch then re-position the gun to my chest to finish the load. It’s not a major change and I find this method quite easy. I don’t think this would be necessary on shorter guns or guns with smaller bands.
The next thing I noticed was once I’d shot the gun, was loading it and dealing with the double wrap. I’ve never used double wrap before and in the beginning it’s messy. Once again it’s something that can be overcome easily with time and by the end of the day wasn’t much of an issue for me. I don’t think anything will be as fast to load as a single wrap, single rubber gun but then again a single wrap, single rubber gun will never perform as well as a roller gun.
The muzzle itself doesn’t seem to impede the view of the fish and the accuracy is fantastic. The complete lack of recoil means the shaft flies true. The fish that I shot on our testing day were small but both were strung on the shooting line demonstrating the range of the gun. This is further exemplified by the spear reaching the end of the double wrap and then taking line off the reel! I didn’t even have the rubber at full pre-tension yet it was still outperforming my standard 1.2m Rob Allen and it’s clear Roller Power Head has the power to penetrate big fish even at long range.
So, is all the hype true? Well yes, it’s night and day in performance. My gun now shoots further, is more accurate due to lack of recoil and is shorter than it was before so it tracks better. I’m very impressed and I can’t wait to really get to know this gun on our Coral Sea trip.
Thanks for reading I hope this helps you make the plunge into roller guns and I’d love to hear your opinions on Roller spearguns. Stay tuned for part two of these roller speargun post’s where I will review the gun after a week in the coral sea. Also if you want to convert your own conventional speargun into a roller speargun watch my video guide here
I would love to hear about your experience with Roller Guns, hit me up in the comments and if you would like to get yourself a Manny Sub Roller Power Head you can get one here. Just remember to use the noobspearo code at checkout to save $20 on purchases over $200.