If you’re new to spearfishing, AB Biller is a name you’ll start hearing a lot. When it comes to what to buy, the AB Biller Padauk speargun is a decent choice for a wood speargun. It’s proudly American made, a solid, powerful speargun you can use to catch plenty of fish whenever you’re in the water. Click here to get your hands on the AB Biller Padauk speargun.
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AB Biller Padauk Speargun: Reviewed for 2023
In this article today, you’ll learn the ins and outs of a beautiful underwater weapon, the AB Biller Padauk speargun. Made by the all-American team at AB Biller, it’s a tank of a speargun you’ll find manoeuvres exceptionally well in the water and is highly accurate.
In our buyers guide to the best spearguns on the market, the AB Biller Padauk speargun held its own when compared to other wooden models and is a smart choice if you’re looking for an affordable wood speargun.
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Why Get the AB Biller Padauk Speargun?
Go spearfishing long enough, and you’ll come across more than one AB Biller Speargun.
Built to be a cost-effective model that still performs, it’s a smart choice for many new to the sport who aren’t yet willing to drop several hundred dollars on gear. At least, you’re not ready yet – there will come a time when you don’t even blink at these price tags. But for now, the AB Biller Padauk speargun is incredible value-for-money that won’t break your bank if you decide to buy it today.
The solid barrel is carved from a single piece of padauk, an African hardwood known for its brilliant dark red colours, stability in the water, and strong build. The AB Biller Padauk speargun has a grooved track along the top to guide the shafts as you fire and increase the speargun’s accuracy. This track also helps to absorb up to 80% of the firing noise and recoil. To me, at the 42″ (107cm) length I tested for this review, this speargun feels light in the water and is perfect if you’re going to be spearfishing from the shore or chasing small to mid-sized reef fish.
AB Biller does have alternative barrels. You can get a cheaper mahogany speargun or upgrade to their teak model, which is probably the best wood you can buy for a speargun. Of course, the teak speargun costs much more, while the handle, trigger and rest of the tech on the speargun remain the same. It’s up to you if spending the additional on the barrel is worth it, as I do see a lot of overlap between their wood spearguns. The AB Biller Padauk speargun is a good buy if money is a concern.
This is why you should get this speargun:
- Premium padauk barrel cuts shot noise and recoil by 80%
- Use up to 3x16mm powerbands for more punch in a shot
- Covered pistol handle for an easy grip with nice buoyancy
- Proven trigger mech composed of reliable stainless-steel
- Balanced weight with a long loading butt to offset the tip
- Cost-effective speargun that’ll help you catch more fish
What type of spearfishing is it good for?
To put the AB Biller Paduak speargun through the works, I compared their teak, padauk and mahogany models of the 42″ (107cm) length.
Using a speargun of this size, you’re not going to be chasing anything too big. But the size is just about perfect for spearfishing from the shore or in shallower water. Gives you enough range to hit your targets while still being able to handle the speargun in the water. Longer guns can be frustrating to manoeuvre underwater.
Now, AB Biller makes what’s known as an American style speargun. Compared to the sleek Euro-style spearguns most of us picture when we imagine a speargun), these are bigger, bulkier, and a lot sturdier. Perfect if you want a rugged speargun that’ll take whatever you plan to throw at it. I know myself, there’s a big school of luderick I like to hunt in the wash, but when I’m getting rolled around on the reef, you want a speargun that can take a beating.
AB Biller’s 5/16 shaft (that’s 8mm) is relatively thick for a speargun this size, but it’s incredibly tough and will not bend – even if you happen to shoot it directly into a rock. Like I did (several times), just to see how it held up. I ruined the tip, but the shaft remained as straight as an arrow. Or in short, you don’t need to worry about bending this shaft.
You may want a slightly shorter version of this speargun if you do spearfish in close quarters, like cave hunting. AB Biller does a 32″ version (81cm) that will be much nicer to handle in these tight spots. The trade-off comes in the power your speargun delivers, shorter guns lose out on the range, but they’re what you need if you’re chasing cod or octopus along the cracks and caves on a rocky seabed.
How it feels to use the AB Biller Padauk Speargun…
Putting the AB Biller Padauk speargun to the test, I figured the fairest way to compare their different wood models was to get all three. Then running the 42″ mahogany, padauk and teak models through the works so I could give you a fair review. And I’ve got to say, I was wondering how big of a difference the wood would make once all else was equal.
It shouldn’t be a surprise the AB Biller Teak speargun won out. It’s the best wood for speargun use because it’s strong. Naturally water-resistant, and the buoyancy is pretty much spot on. But here’s what’s interesting. The padauk barrel wasn’t too far behind.
Similar to how it handles underwater, I was impressed with how level it was. There’s no need to strain your arm or death-grip the handle. I think the extra butt length AB Biller uses with their spearguns helps keep it balanced. For accuracy, a track has been cut along the top of the barrel, and it shoots straight and true. And being a relatively straightforward speargun, it’s quick and easy to reload. A smart buy if you want a wood speargun.
My favourite part of the AB Biller Padauk Speargun
There’s a lot to love with the big, tanky “American” style spearguns. In fact, my first speargun was an American style, and the bigger speargun with the thicker shaft is excellent for beginners as they can take a beating. I lost count of how many tips I replaced on that speargun, it was at least 4 or 5, but the shaft (to this day) is still straight as an arrow.
So if you’re worried about doing any damage, don’t worry. I was more interested in catching fish than protecting my gear, so it took a beating. I’d take shots in caves or up against a rock wall where my shaft would blast straight through the fish and bounce off the rocks behind. An approach that did bust up my shaft tips, but these were cheap to replace. On the AB Biller Padauk speargun, you get the same ability to swap these out as you need.
When it comes to downsides, probably the biggest drawback with the AB Biller Padauk speargun is your shooting speed. Because it is a heavy shaft, and as I’ve done more and more spearfishing with lighter, euro-style spearguns and their thinner shafts – these bulky American guns are slower in the water. That’s the problem with an 8mm shaft. It’s a tank, but that also makes it heavier in the water, killing your range. If you’re comparing other spearguns at 100cm or more, it does make a difference. You will need to get closer to your fish to ensure that you’re making an effective kill shot.
Changes I’d make to the AB Biller Padauk speargun?
To counteract the heavy shaft, my advice for anyone with the AB Biller Padauk speargun is to shorten the powerbands. That way, you’re getting more stretch and more power in each of your shots. However, this does mean that it’ll make it more challenging to load. The trick is to find the sweet spot where you can “just” load it to get max power.
If you still want to dial up the power in your shots, there is space to adda third 16mm powerband. Just be sure you’re not overloading it too much. There’s a point where adding power only reduces your accuracy, as it creates what’s knowns as shaft whip. That’s when too much force is directed into the shaft. Instead of flying straight, the shaft gets pulled off course. You can imagine what this does to your accuracy, so remember to test each time you shorten the bands.
Breakdown of the AB Biller Padauk Speargun
- Unique open-muzzle will fit and hold up to three 16mm powerbands
- Dark red padauk barrel is water-resistant and has good buoyancy
- Has an 8mm (5/16) stainless-spring steel shaft, and screw-on rockpoint tip
- Comes stock with two 14mm powerbands, so you get more range and power
- Patent-pending safety trigger is designed for easy, one-handed use
- Stainless-steel trigger mech makes a tough, reliable and accurate speargun
- Heavy-duty pistol grip with covered finger protection for additional safety
The handle & trigger mechanism
The solid finger protection is one neat aspect of the modified pistol grip on the AB Biller Padauk speargun. Built out of heavy-duty plastic polymer, it creates a slot for your fingers, while protecting them against any bumps or scrapes. This is especially important if you’re hunting in shallow water wash, one of my go-to spearfishing zones. It is rough water, but the handle makes it easy to hang onto your speargun. The only downside is the handle lacks a decent angle, which means it’s not as comfortable as other spearguns when you’re at a full arm extension and about to shoot.
The stainless-steel trigger mechanism is another upside. Built to withstand a heavy load while still giving a smooth trigger press. So you’re always shooting accurately. Some people have had misfire issues with AB Biller guns, but I couldn’t replicate the problem in all of our tests. I loaded on thick 16mm bands that were far too short, and while I struggled to even load the guns, the trigger held up perfectly. Press was the same, and there was no chance of a misfire. So, in my opinion, AB Biller’s probably already fixed whatever component was causing the issue, and it’s no longer a problem.
The barrel & muzzle
AB Biller builds their wooden spearguns from three specific types of wood. We all know teak, the gold-class for marine use, is also the most expensive. But Padauk comes in a close second. It’s got a deep red colouring you won’t find on other woods and is hand-finished with linseed oil to bring out the brilliant shine. Crafted from a single piece of padauk, you’ll notice a track cut into the top of the barrel. This makes each shot more accurate while also helping to absorb recoil and any firing noise.
When it comes to balance and buoyancy in the water, the AB Biller Padauk speargun is wonderfully built. The speargun floats level at a full arm extension and is ready to fire. So, you’re not straining your wrist or your arm trying to keep the tip up.
Looking at the muzzle, AB Biller has created what is essentially a modified open muzzle design. Imagine you’ve got a closed muzzle that’s been opened up to leave two guiding wings on either side. It makes for an easy load and helps with the accuracy, as you get a perfect line of sight right down the shaft. I just wouldn’t call it an authentic open muzzle design because it’s something a little different. Not bad, just different.
The spear and tip
Off the shelf, you’ll find a heavy-duty 5/16 spring-steel shaft, otherwise known as an 8mm. This shaft on the AB Biller Padauk speargun is stainless steel, treated using a process perfected in the U.S. Navy. It’s been heated to Rockwell 44C to make it incredibly tough. It’s a beast of a shaft that’ll serve you well for years. No matter how badly you aim, it’ll continue to fly straight and true. Giving you plenty of opportunities to catch that fish.
For the tip, the shaft on the AB Biller Padauk speargun is a screw-on rockpoint tip. In fact, one of the best things for a beginner using an American-style speargun is the interchangeable tips. If you damage it, it simply screws off, and you can replace it. The double-barb tip you get on this speargun is excellent for hunting smaller fish, and there’s a locking ring to keep the barbs in place until you take a shot. This disengages when your shaft hits your intended target, so the barbs spring open, and your fish is stuck on your shaft.
To give the heavy 8mm shaft the power it needs, you’ll find twin 14mm powerbands on the AB Biller Padauk speargun. Right off the shelf, you get a decent range with the stock setup, but there’s a couple of ways to get a little more oomph out of your speargun. Upgrading to two 16mm bands would be one way to go, or you could always add a third 14mm (there’s space in the muzzle to fit this third band). Otherwise, you could always shorten the powerbands you get stock. That’ll give you a bit more range too.
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Price of the AB Biller Padauk Speargun
The price of AB Biller’s Padauk speargun depends on the barrel length you’re choosing. They’ve also got similar models made from different wood (teak and mahogany) that changes the price too, but all-in-all, Padauk is a good choice for a speargun.
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The Bottom Line: AB Biller Padauk Speargun
For those who want to learn how to spearfish, the AB Biller padauk speargun is one of the better entry-level wooden guns you can buy. It’s affordable and produced by an American company you can trust. When I used this speargun myself, I found it accurate in landing fish after fish, especially once you’ve added another band for more power.
The AB Biller Padauk speargun is a great buy if you want your first wood speargun.
Of course, this review is based on my experience with the 42″ (107cm) model. Earlier, I did try a smaller model. A friend lent me the 36″ teak speargun for a different review, as I wanted to see if there was any downside of a thick 8mm shaft on a smaller speargun. As you’d expect, the shorter spearguns from AB Biller just don’t have as much range. So, in my opinion, you want to choose an AB Biller speargun that’s at least 42″ (107cm) to counteract the heavier shaft.
So, what else can I say?
Click here to get your hands on the AB Biller Padauk speargun. It’s a decent wooden speagun you’ll love to use.
Why an AB Biller Speargun?
AB Biller is a trusted American spearfishing company.
Walk into any spearfishing store, and you’ll likely see AB Biller spearguns on the shelves. Designed and manufactured in the U.S.A., AB Biller put a real focus on performance. Developing spearguns used by many U.S. National and State Spearfishing champions, their constant quest to improve and innovate sets the brand apart. From noise-reducing tracks to unique handle designs, AB Biller uses high-quality materials in their spearguns that will stand the test of time.
In my view, AB Biller is a brand chasing reliable performance. Their spearguns are tough and uncompromising and will hold up in a variety of conditions you’ll be spearfishing in. Yet once you get them in the water, the heavy wood barrels are surprisingly buoyant. And track nicely when you’re honing in on a target fish. Quite a good buy for your first wood speargun.
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Wait, why choose padauk?
AB Biller crafts their speargun barrels from three types of wood.
Padauk, teak and mahogany.
When you’re building a speargun, you need a robust and buoyant hardwood that won’t warp or deteriorate under continued exposure to wet conditions. Teak is the prime choice for marine environments, but padauk is a cheaper alternative with many similar qualities.
Comparing the two, padauk is slightly softer than teak, which means it’ll chip and dent a little easier. But it isn’t bad, considering a padauk speargun will likely save you a couple of hundred dollars. And in the water, padauk is also rot-resistant, and it’ll hold up well with a coat of linseed oil. Of course, if you want the gold standard from AB Biller perhaps consider their teak speargun, but this padauk model is without-a-doubt the most value-for-money buy.
Because if you’re buying your first wood speargun, you may not want to fork out several hundred dollars, and that’s why this is a wise option. You get the same mechanics in your speargun at a significant discount to the teak model. In addition, the AB Biller Padauk speargun needs only a little tender-loving-care after use, a wash, an oil and a bit of linseed oil on the wood, and it’ll last you for years.
AB Biller’s Different Spearguns
When it comes to choosing a speargun, the team and AB Biller do have a variety of different weapons for all kinds of spearguns. Where you see the most significant differences are the barrel stock and length. They build spearguns that range from 24″ (61cm) to 60″ (162cm).
I’ve been using the 42″ (107cm) model for this review of the AB Biller Padauk speargun. That’s because they don’t always have every barrel stock in every size, and I wanted a fair comparison across their teak, mahogany and padauk spearguns.
When you look at their more advanced spearguns, AB Biller calls these “special” or LTD editions. They’ve also got a model called the Floridian, which was designed based on feedback from professionals in the sport. Though much of the trigger mechanics and style is the same, this is probably a better buy if you’re looking for a longer speargun that’ll help you land bigger fish when you’re spearfishing.
Or, if you’re not sold on the wood barrel (and the expensive price tag), there’s also the AB Biller Stainless Steel Pro speargun. It’s another decent choice from the brand, and I did a full write up recently that you can read here. In short, you get a lot of the same components in the stainless-steel version as you do a wooden speargun. It’s just a more cost-effective option. When I reviewed the best spearguns in the market, this particular model holds up as a decent buy too.
But in my opinion, you can’t get much classier than a nice wood speargun, and the dark red of padauk makes for a beautiful underwater weapon.
For your first wooden speargun that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, the AB Biller Padauk is an intelligent choice. Solid and accurate, it’s what you need for your spearfishing adventures.