By Jake Ramey
- 65-inch teak Ramey Customs Tuna Gun
- 11/32” Shaft – necked down to 5/16” with Mori slip tip
- Enclosed hybrid (wood and composite) track
- Band slot to accommodate four 5/8” power bands
- Two sets of muzzle ferrules for the option to ramp up to six 5/8” bands
It wasn’t until about a month, before I was slated to leave for Panama, that I was able to talk myself into building dedicated tuna guns. Most custom builders will tell you that 30 days is not nearly enough time to complete a build, let alone cure the blank properly, but I was going to give it a shot anyway. I actually had a stash of teak bench planks that I salvaged off a charter boat on which I had worked. These teak timbers had bourn the heavy burden of overweight cruise ship passengers for 25 years. If the wood was going to twist or warp, it had more than likely already done so.
I had worked out a design in my head quite some time prior and had always wanted an excuse to bring it to life. Why not now? Though the trip was more of a surf/bachelor party trip, we did want to attempt to hunt some yellowfin tuna for a few days. I try my best to prepare for the fish I plan to hunt and with advice from divers with ample experience pursuing yellowfin tuna, the 3-band Ono guns we originally planned to bring started to feel a bit inadequate. That was the push I needed to try this design.
Earlier, I mentioned guns in the plural because I was going to be building two. One was to be a wedding gift for my brother-in-law and travel partner Kai, and one was for me. Our travel bag was only 65 inches, so I decided to keep the gunstock and shaft within that limit. I wanted enough mass to launch an 11/32” or 3/8” shaft with minimal recoil, and a stable enough platform to keep its flight path true.
I enjoy building guns with curves, so rather than slap a couple of wings on a roof rafter, I integrated the band risers into the stocks. Wanting the bands to sit neatly on the top of the guns, I designed them with a combination of a four-band slot and two sets of muzzle ferrules to have the option of running five or six bands without adding a mess on the top of the guns. The guns also feature a taper on the horizontal profiles and a cutaway in the handle area to bring the handle closer to the power centers.
The issue with having such a short time with a build and even less time to test the guns is that when you’re put to the test in real life, your confidence is shaken. I was very happy with the results of this build but still didn’t feel comfortable with a gun this big or confident that I was going to be able to hit a target with it, not to mention a target moving 30 miles per hour! It was going to be trial by fire.
Fortunately for Kai and me, the guns performed incredibly. They track surprisingly well for their size, they have minimal recoil, and muzzle-flip is almost non-existent. We both managed to land some very nice fish; nothing huge, but it felt very good to get into the triple-digits and he fish definitely validated the time and effort I had put into these guns.