Predator 314 Newbie - First Impressions

Predator 314 Newbie - First Impressions

Post by barenad » Sat, 05 Feb 2000 04:00:00


Just purchased a 314 shaft for my Schon from Joe Salazar's table
at the Derby City Classic.  After I got home I knocked some
balls around with it.  Here are my initial impressions:

1.  Sound.  The sound is a lot quieter than with my old shaft.
The familiar "tink" is gone, in fact there is no metallic sound
at all.  It sounds like my cousin's McDermott.

2.  The squirt test.  I couldn't get the CB to spin in place
before I ran out of shaft to pivot from.  I guess this means
that it's a lot less squirty than my old shaft, which had a
pivot point of 14".

3.  Maximum spin.  I put the CB on the foot spot and shot at the
center of the head rail with maximum right.  With lag speed, and
using a conventional straight stroke, I consistently hit about
4" to the far side of the side pocket.  With my old shaft the
best I could do with a conventional stroke was to hit the point
on my side of the pocket (to my great shame).  With a swerve
stroke and my old shaft I could hit the far side of the pocket
by 4" fairly consistently.  With a swerve stroke and the 314 I
can regularly hit the rail 8" to the far side of the pocket.  I
am getting more english with the 314.

4.  More squirt.  When shooting the shots in #3 with the 314 I
noticed that the CB was hitting an inch or so to the right of
the head rail's center diamond.  With my old shaft, and a swerve
stroke I hit the center diamond dead-on.  I could not see any
obvious CB curve to the right with the 314, so I don't know why
I kept hitting to the right of my aiming point.

5.  Things that make this unscientific.  My 314 shaft is about
12.5mm, and my old Schon shaft is about 13.25mm.  The 314's tip
is tighter than a dime radius, and the Schon's tip is right at a
dime.  The 314's tip was a little thicker, but my Schon's tip is
only a couple of weeks old so it's still pretty thick.

6.  Things that bias the observer.  I bought the 314 expectng it
to behave exactly the way it is, except for the noise which I
had no preformed notions about.  It is possible that I
subconsciously modified my stroke to favor the 314 in these
tests.

--
Dave <-- Lucky I got out of there with just a new shaft, what
with all the great cues for sale along "vendors row."

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Predator 314 Newbie - First Impressions

Post by Patrick Johnso » Sat, 05 Feb 2000 04:00:00

Quote:

> 4.  More squirt.  When shooting the shots in #3 with the 314 I
> noticed that the CB was hitting an inch or so to the right of
> the head rail's center diamond.  With my old shaft, and a swerve
> stroke I hit the center diamond dead-on.  I could not see any
> obvious CB curve to the right with the 314, so I don't know why
> I kept hitting to the right of my aiming point.

Less squirt.

Pat Johnson
Chicago

 
 
 

Predator 314 Newbie - First Impressions

Post by Ron Shepa » Sat, 05 Feb 2000 04:00:00

Quote:

>> 4.  More squirt.  When shooting the shots in #3 with the 314 I
>> noticed that the CB was hitting an inch or so to the right of
>> the head rail's center diamond.  With my old shaft, and a swerve
>> stroke I hit the center diamond dead-on.  I could not see any
>> obvious CB curve to the right with the 314, so I don't know why
>> I kept hitting to the right of my aiming point.

>Less squirt.

Yes, I agree.  Before, you had a lot of squirt to the left and some swerve to
the right, and the net effect was that the squirt was larger.  Now, you have a
little squirt to the left and the same swerve to the right, which is now
larger, so that is what you see on this soft table-length sidespin shot.

Of course, this means that these are the types of shots that will take the
longest adjust period.  Be patient, it's worth it in the end.

$.02 -Ron Shepard

 
 
 

Predator 314 Newbie - First Impressions

Post by w e » Sat, 05 Feb 2000 04:00:00

i just got one for my joss too. after 2nd time playing with it last night,
i have noticed a few things:

1, the tip the came with it is very soft (a LePro?) compare to the on on
the Joss (a Triangle tip i believe), the feedback was kind of vague when
hitting the ball, and like someone here mentioned, the hit is "mushy"

2, the shaft is really stiff when compared to the joss' one. it almost
does not feel like wood. is there a "breaking in" period for shafts?

actually i have just noticed quite a few people using it in the room, it's
like a secret or something, people dont really talk about it..

--

(please remove NOSPAM to respond)

 
 
 

Predator 314 Newbie - First Impressions

Post by Warren Lushi » Sat, 05 Feb 2000 04:00:00

Quote:

> 3.  Maximum spin.  I put the CB on the foot spot and shot at the
> center of the head rail with maximum right.  With lag speed, and
> using a conventional straight stroke, I consistently hit about
> 4" to the far side of the side pocket.  With my old shaft the
> best I could do with a conventional stroke was to hit the point
> on my side of the pocket (to my great shame).  With a swerve
> stroke and my old shaft I could hit the far side of the pocket
> by 4" fairly consistently.  With a swerve stroke and the 314 I
> can regularly hit the rail 8" to the far side of the pocket.  I
> am getting more english with the 314.

in a another thread i mentioned to ken bour how this very test could trick
people into thinking they are getting more spin because the shaft is less
squirty -- based on another exerpt from your post (deleted) i believe that is
what you are seeing because you mentioned the cue ball was hitting more to the
right (less squirt).  it seems to me that in order to use this test to compare
"spin" (not squirt) you have to adjust your aim so that the cue ball comes in
at the same angle and hits the same spot on the head rail.  otherwise, every
shaft that squirts differently will appear to have different amounts of spin on
the ball if you aim exactly the same (no squirt compensation) -- the lower the
squirt the more the apparent spin.  make sense?

warren..

 
 
 

Predator 314 Newbie - First Impressions

Post by Patrick Johnso » Sat, 05 Feb 2000 04:00:00

Quote:

> thinking they are getting more spin because the shaft is less squirty -- [...]
> you have to adjust your aim so that the cue ball comes in
> at the same angle and hits the same spot on the head rail.
> [...] -- the lower the squirt the more the apparent spin.

Another reason is when you get a new toy to try out you're particularly attentive
to your contact point and your stroke -- you've got on your "Sunday game" and
you're actually hitting the ball better.

Pat Johnson
Chicago

 
 
 

Predator 314 Newbie - First Impressions

Post by barenad » Sat, 05 Feb 2000 04:00:00

Patrick Johnson opined...

Quote:
>Less squirt.

Of course you're right.  When I took away most of the squirt
then the swerve became the *** factor, whereas with my old
shaft I had them working in pretty good harmony.

After several hours tonight I've got my stroke adjusted to
eliminate the swerve effect (for the most part), and so I reran
my spin test.  I can now report no appreciable difference in
sidespin range between the new 314 and my old shaft.  I did
notice a tendency to over-draw the ball alot with the 314, but
I'm prepared to assign responsibility for that to the fact that
the 314 has a softer hit than the Schon shaft.

I still can't do a valid squirt test with the 314.  The pivot
point is somewhere in my ***(of my cue :)) and the friction
caused by the finish, along with the very awkward stroking
position,  makes a consistent squirt test impossible.

Another thing - I'm unable to jump very well at all with the 314
on my cue.  Even with the Schon shaft I'm no Sammy Jones, but I
can clear most reasonable obstructions.  With the 314 it pretty
much needs to be a Heller Keller jump shot for me to be able to
clear the obstructing ball.

And another thing - When I first played with this thing this
afternoon it was 52 degrees in my ba***t.  Tonight for my
practice I had the temperature at a more reasonable 70 degrees.
This certainly affected my cushion performance but I'm not sure
how.

--
Dave

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Predator 314 Newbie - First Impressions

Post by Ken Bou » Sun, 06 Feb 2000 04:00:00


[SNIP]

Quote:
> After several hours tonight I've got my stroke adjusted to
> eliminate the swerve effect (for the most part), and so I reran
> my spin test.  I can now report no appreciable difference in
> sidespin range between the new 314 and my old shaft.

It's comforting to know that you came to this conclusion.  I have attempted
this very spin test numerous times with many different cues, shafts, tips,
etc.  With a lag speed stroke, the cueball invariably hits long rail above
the side pocket (from my position shooting up table) .   After repeating the
test over and over, the most variation I get is a couple of inches up or
down and I cannot pinpoint it to anything in particular (in other words,
random).  Spin seems to have more to do with where the tip strikes the
cueball than elements relating to shaft construction or tip type.   The
minor variations that do occur are probably attributable to 1)
inconsistencies in my stroke and tip placement, 2) amount of chalk on tip,
3) tip size/diameter.

Quote:
> I did
> notice a tendency to over-draw the ball alot with the 314, but
> I'm prepared to assign responsibility for that to the fact that
> the 314 has a softer hit than the Schon shaft.

Maybe the smaller tip diameter enables you to "feel" like you can strike
lower on the cueball.  Another possibility is that the longer pro taper on
the 314 gives you more confidence in following through properly.   I used to
have just the opposite problem.  For a time, I felt that I could not draw at
all with the 314 until I gave it to one of the excellent local players and
he pulled the cueball back a rail and a half.  Then he proceeded to show me
a few things in my stance and arm position that had fallen into ineffective
form.  I became convinced that "draw" is primarily in the stroke, not in the
cue/shaft.

Since draw is, after all, just spin on the bottom of the cueball, it ought
to be related to:  1) stroke technique (tip placement and follow through),
2) chalk, and 3) tip size/diameter (maybe).

Quote:
> I still can't do a valid squirt test with the 314.  The pivot
> point is somewhere in my ***(of my cue :)) and the friction
> caused by the finish, along with the very awkward stroking
> position,  makes a consistent squirt test impossible.

Most of us that have performed the squirt test on Predators have found the
pivot point to be somewhere near the end of the cue, around 50-52" or so.
This test has always been difficult for me to perform as well.  One
technique is to pivot about the end of the cue and then slide your bridge
hand down the cue without changing the angle.  Doubtless your 314 has a
pivot point in the wrap area consistent with all the others that have been
tested.   Now that you know that, it's not terribly unimportant except to
note that it is significantly different from almost every other shaft that
you could try (I have Schons as well and, yes, they are noticeably
squirtier).   If playing with a lower squirt cue matters to you, then it's
an advantage.  If not, it could be a liability!  (-:

Quote:
> Another thing - I'm unable to jump very well at all with the 314
> on my cue.  Even with the Schon shaft I'm no Sammy Jones, but I
> can clear most reasonable obstructions.  With the 314 it pretty
> much needs to be a Heller Keller jump shot for me to be able to
> clear the obstructing ball.

Everyone who owns a Predator has complained about the fact that it cannot be
used for jump shots.   The reason for its poor performance on jumps is
probably due to the lower mass in upper end of shaft, which reduces squirt.

Ken Bour

 
 
 

Predator 314 Newbie - First Impressions

Post by Ken Bou » Sun, 06 Feb 2000 04:00:00


Quote:


> > 3.  Maximum spin.  I put the CB on the foot spot and shot at the
> > center of the head rail with maximum right.  With lag speed, and
> > using a conventional straight stroke, I consistently hit about
> > 4" to the far side of the side pocket.  With my old shaft the
> > best I could do with a conventional stroke was to hit the point
> > on my side of the pocket (to my great shame).  With a swerve
> > stroke and my old shaft I could hit the far side of the pocket
> > by 4" fairly consistently.  With a swerve stroke and the 314 I
> > can regularly hit the rail 8" to the far side of the pocket.  I
> > am getting more english with the 314.

> in a another thread i mentioned to ken bour how this very test could trick
> people into thinking they are getting more spin because the shaft is less
> squirty -- based on another exerpt from your post (deleted) i believe that
is
> what you are seeing because you mentioned the cue ball was hitting more to
the
> right (less squirt).  it seems to me that in order to use this test to
compare
> "spin" (not squirt) you have to adjust your aim so that the cue ball comes
in
> at the same angle and hits the same spot on the head rail.  otherwise,
every
> shaft that squirts differently will appear to have different amounts of
spin on
> the ball if you aim exactly the same (no squirt compensation) -- the lower
the
> squirt the more the apparent spin.  make sense?

Yep, I remember.  The harder the stroke used to perform the spin test, the
more serious is the problem that Warren mentions.

When I do spin tests, I try to use a "lag speed" stroke so that squirt
doesn't enter into the picture as much.  The harder the stroke on a sidespin
shot, the more a squirty stick will deflect the cueball to the opposite side
before the spin bites into the rail.   The Predator will APPEAR to be
spinnier, but it's really attributable to its lower relative squirt.

Thanks, Warren.

--
Ken Bour
Sterling, VA
http://www.erols.com/kbour

 
 
 

Predator 314 Newbie - First Impressions

Post by tom simpso » Sun, 06 Feb 2000 04:00:00

::
::2.  The squirt test.  I couldn't get the CB to spin in place
::before I ran out of shaft to pivot from.

Here's a post of mine from 9/98, giving a procedure for how
to do the Aim & Pivot Squirt Test for a long pivot-point
cue:

"The test works consistently. The problem is
finding good, reliable ways to pivot for the awkward
pivot lengths. Once I get back past where I can pivot &
shoot with a very long bridge, I use the rail to help
with the pivot.

Here's how I do it. Place a ball or a chalk next to your
cueball position. The distance from the cueball to the
rail is your pivot length. Use the rack to space the
cueball and object ball, so they are always the same
distance apart. Shoot & observe the result. Then, for
the next shot, if you are trying a longer pivot, move
the cueball marker forward a little, place the cueball,
and use the rack to place the object ball. Now, place
the cue with the tip at the cueball, lined up for a
vertical axis hit. Hold the cue with two fingers at the
point where it crosses the rail. Manually pivot it for
an extreme english hit. Hold the cue in place. Without
changing the new aim line of the cue, carefully put your
bridge hand in place and shoot down that line. When you
find the true pivot point, you can measure from the rail
to the cueball, or look for a distinguishing mark on the
cue to remember where the pivot point is.

This takes a bit of patience, but it's not really
difficult.

One reason I know it works is this: I was demonstrating
the test one day, using my own cue. I have my standard
shaft, which yields a 15" pivot point, and my Predator,
which yields a 48" point. I forgot I had the standard
shaft on (since I never use it), and started doing the
test. As I kept lengthening the pivot point, the result
kept getting "worse". It took me an embarrassing 7 or 8
tries to finally believe what I was seeing and realize
that the pivot point was in the other direction, and not
further back, as I was trying to demonstrate. ;) "

        tom simpson

 
 
 

Predator 314 Newbie - First Impressions

Post by tom simpso » Sun, 06 Feb 2000 04:00:00

::
::2.  The squirt test.  I couldn't get the CB to spin in place
::before I ran out of shaft to pivot from.  I guess this means
::that it's a lot less squirty than my old shaft, which had a
::pivot point of 14".

The amazing thing to try after you actually locate your
pivot point is to shoot some shots using the pivot point to
make your squirt adjustment.

Since most Predators test out in the 36" to 52" range
(according to results posted here - and my lamo memory),
your pivot point might fall somewhere around where your grip
hand tends to be. In my case, the pivot point is 48".

Aim a shot using center ball. Then, leaving your GRIP hand
*** in space and your tip close to the CB, pivot your
BRIDGE to one side to move the tip to an extreme english
position on the CB. (It's better if you can move the stick
in your bridge by moving your fingers a little, than by
sliding your entire hand to the side.) Do not allow the grip
hand to move any to either side - it's the pivot point for
the adjustment.

Now stroke and shoot down this new aim line. It takes an act
of faith, since it will probably look pretty wrong to you.
This is because your head and stance alignments don't match
the new stick alignment. Of course, it works, though, since
this is really the point of knowing your pivot point.
Pivoting at the pivot point allows the aim adjustment to
cancel out the squirt, and allows you to consciously
compensate in your aiming. (This is an MP thing. FP's will
not have read this far. ;^))

I use this frequently (and successfully) when I need extreme
english.

        tom simpson

 
 
 

Predator 314 Newbie - First Impressions

Post by Ken Bou » Mon, 07 Feb 2000 04:00:00


Quote:
> >It's comforting to know that you came to this conclusion.  I have
attempted
> >this very spin test numerous times with many different cues, shafts,
tips,
> >etc.  With a lag speed stroke, the cueball invariably hits long rail
above
> >the side pocket (from my position shooting up table) .

> I have no problems hitting below the side pocket (i.e. on the other side
from
> where I'm standing) on this shot.  Make sure the tip is chalked, so you
don't
> miscue, and "aim on the small circle" to get the maximum natural roll
> sidespin/speed ratio for the tip offset.

Communicating with words is a very exacting process, isn't it?

To my way of thinking, in my paragraph, "above the side pocket (from my
position shooting up table)", would exactly be "on the other side from where
I'm standing."  That's what "above" means, no?

I'm having many problems with stroke, for sure, but, fortunately, not this
one...

--
Ken Bour
Sterling, VA
http://www.erols.com/kbour

 
 
 

Predator 314 Newbie - First Impressions

Post by Ron Shepa » Mon, 07 Feb 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
>To my way of thinking, in my paragraph, "above the side pocket (from my
>position shooting up table)", would exactly be "on the other side from where
>I'm standing."  That's what "above" means, no?

I thought you were saying that "up table" was "above" the side pocket -- you
know: up/above, down/below?  That is the way I was using the terms.

In any case, it should not be difficult to get this much spin on the cue ball
with a lag speed shot.  In fact, you might start edging down toward the diamond
below the pocket this way.  It is more difficult when you hit firm because you
can't take advantage of the drag on the cue ball to increase the spin (actually
the spin/speed ratio, of course).  On a firm shot (say hard enough to run
around the table and hit the far end cushion twice), the best I can usually do
is hit the side pocket.

$.02 -Ron Shepard