The All-New Rob Allen Timberline range of railguns are causing a lot of excitement following their official launch into the Australian Market over the last couple of months.
We all know and love the quality, accuracy and reliability of the standard Rob Allen railguns and rollerguns. If you want value for money, a tool like the alloy barrel Sparid Evo and Snapper roller are a great option. If you prefer low recoil and deadly accurate carbon barrel guns, then head for the GT carbon roller and Samburu.
The evolution of this new Timberline series goes back a couple years ago to when Rob did a tour of Australia with the team from Spearfishing Australia. Talks with retailers and mad keen spearos around the country about the evolution of spearfishing equipment like roller heads, multiband setups, and the ever-shorter guns being used highlighted the need for new development.
Those seeds went back to South Africa with Rob, who with his genius Engineer Jeremy (also a hardcore spearo), together with a little coaxing from the team here in OZ, began developing the gun that would become the Timberline series.
This gun is cool! The gun ships ready to dive. The finish on the carbon barrel and timber wing pod is simple, functional and looks great. Unlike an epoxy finish, the Danish oil keeps the texture of the grain, so you know it’s a wood gun and it feels natural to the touch. These guns (in my case a 1100 roller and a 1300 standard) really make a statement.
All the common features and feel of my favourite 1200 Rob Allen Black Mamba carbon are there. The handle and muzzle are identical, and the grip and trigger location are all familiar and natural. Jumping into the pool for a couple test shots was like shooting my everyday gun from the first shot, but with some very good differences!
The Carbon Barrel is Rob Allen’s own unique design, manufactured in-house using a “pultrusion” process. This creates exceptional lightweight barrels that are extremely strong, perfectly straight, and consistent. Anyone that has used a carbon barrel knows they are accurate and reduce vertical lift recoil in the muzzle compared with alloy barrels. These barrels aren’t affected by humidity or temperature unlike many timber barrels.
Wood spearguns have been around for a long time and they have their strong points. Quiet shooting, high mass equals lower recoil, high volume/buoyancy to float heavier shafts. And more bands and larger reels. The challenge with wood is keeping it straight! If a gun isn’t straight, then no matter how good it looks it won’t shoot accurately, particularly in longer gun lengths.
The benefit of fusing these 2 technologies together is you get the straightness and consistency of the carbon barrel and its energy transfer, together with the increased mass and buoyancy of the timber stock. This results in an exceptionally stable and incredibly agile speargun. It’s a lethal combination
Not every barrel length has the same buoyancy, so why would you have the same barrel profile? The answer is you shouldn’t! The Timberline’s barrel profile is unique to the model and length, and each one is perfectly engineered, and CNC machined to exact tolerances. Every gun is then hand tuned in a seawater tank to ensure they are balanced perfectly.
Also worth noting are the two beautiful stainless steel loading hooks for your roller bands. These are a trick component bonded into the wood stock and offer two power settings on your roller gun. They are nice to use and secure the rubber well.
The barrels are finished with Danish oil. It’s a genius solution. Danish oil is available at pretty much any hardware store on the planet. It’s simple to apply and doesn’t require anything special other than a rag, and maybe some sandpaper if you want a nice finish to your repair.
Each gun barrel is laser engraved with the exact specification it’s been balanced for. For example: Custom Balanced, 1 x 16mm Band ROLLER, 7.5mm Spear
The Handle and Mechanism:
This is the latest generation of Rob Allen’s Vecta handle. Its rock solid and very comfortable. It comes standard with integrated loading Butt. I swapped it out for a handle without the loading Butt as this is my personal preference. It’s got a lifetime warranty, is super consistent on trigger pull, and has a nice stainless-steel sear activated line release. Both models have an integrated dove tail for easy reel installation, but it’s worth noting the ROLLER model includes the low profile Vecta 40 reel and 40m of Antline.
Not much new here. These are the ever-popular muzzles used throughout the line of Rob Allen guns. The traditional Timberline GT railgun model uses the double band open muzzle, with band lifters and integrated line anchor. The Roller has the excellent RA factory roller head, with a host of features that really sets it apart from anything else out there. It’s a super reliable, smooth, and fast roller head with 4 ceramic bearings.
If you’ve read this far, you’re clearly a speargun nut like me and you’ll be familiar with Rob Allen terminal gear. Their rubber is unmatched in performance and consistency, their spears are the best in the industry and all the little things like shark clips, gun bungees and snap clips are as solid as they come.
In Water Performance:
So now to the important part! How do these guns perform??? In one word…. LEATHAL! To be fair, I’ve spent more time with the 1100 roller than the 1300 traditional. It’s been more practical of late, and it’s the gun I got first.
When you first get in the water a couple things jump out:
- Feels natural in the hand like it belongs and it’s always been my gun.
- It’s almost weightless and the balance is perfect. The gun moves where you want it to with no effort – Point and shoot. SIMPLE!
- It feels like my Carbon RA gun but more stable “solid” in the shot.
Following a test session with some mates in the pool shooting targets, I will say that it’s very easy to get used to. There really isn’t any “break in” period. We all had quite a few shots and we were all accurate straight off the bat at mixed distances from 3m out to 5m from tip of spear. The most noticeable difference to any other gun was the stability in water and the total lack of any recoil. It almost feels like it’s bolted to a frame.
I’ve been fortunate over the past 13 months to have some great spearing trips, and as expected everyone onboard was excited to try the new Rob Allen Timberline. Those who had the opportunity to test it out, acknowledged the extremely clean shots it delivered and its resulting accuracy. The 1100 roller has taken everything from Big Eye Seabream to Cobia, Giant Trevally, Red Emperor, Green Job fish, Spanish Mackerel Dogtooth Tuna and everything in between over the last 13 months. It hasn’t let me down yet. I probably need to give it a birthday and some oil…… I don’t treat my guns well.
To say I’m happy is an understatement. The Rob Allen Timberline is now my go to gun. The reality is, I could probably sell everything else off and run with 2 guns to cover everything – a short roller for most of my spearing, and a 1300 or 1400 traditional gun for Bluewater. I’m a Speargun junkie, so that’s never going to happen!! The others will retire in the workshop for now and get used on odd occasions.
Regarding price – they are not cheap, and you can certainly shoot plenty of great fish with guns worth less, however I do think they are worth the money. If Spearfishing is your passion and you like great gear, then the Timberline deserves a spot in your quiver. You get what you pay for, and in this case “Buy once cry once” seems apt. Check them out at your local Rob Allen dealer.
Bjorn Nielsen – Ocean Enterprises