The Rifle steel shaft line had been a popular premium or upgrade shaft since their debut in 1996. But like all good products, there is only a limited life span. The Rifle series was discontinued at the beginning of this year and no longer part of the commercially available Project X line. With so many shafts still being in use today, what if the shaft was to meet its fate and breaks? How would you or your customer get a suitable replacement?

First, let me give you a little background on the Rifle shafts. These started out as blanks or a longer untrimmed master shaft. There is a series of Rifle blanks that are responsible for creating all of the flexes you see, such as 4.0 (A flex), 4.5 (R flex), 5.0 (R+), 5.5 (S), 6.0 (S+), 6.5 (X) and finally 7.0 (X+). At the factory, they are carefully frequency calibrated by trimming a specific amount off of the tip for an individual iron. These were often pre-packaged in sets of eight shafts to form a set, but were also available for the individual shafts as Hireko sells here that would be eventually butt cut to length.

Let’s say one of your customers broke the shaft of their 7-iron. Normally you would first look at the shaft label on the shaft to detect what flex it was. For our example, we might have a 5.5 flex. Next, we would determine if the shaft was parallel or taper tip. Let’s say it is parallel. So we would look at our website to find the appropriate shaft for a parallel tip 5.5 #7-iron. Only one problem, one is no longer available.

There is a solution by looking for another 5.5 shaft in the set. Perhaps you found a parallel tip 5.5 shaft for a #3-iron. Could you use it in this situation? Yes and here is how it works. As we stated before, each shaft was frequency calibrated at the factory by tip trimming for a certain iron head. The following chart shows the progression on how much more a shaft for a particular iron is trimmed compared to that of a #1-iron.

The 7-iron would have been tipped 3.375″ more than a #1-iron in the set and the #3-iron would have been tip trimmed 1.125″ more than the #1-iron. Therefore, if you took the shaft dedicated for the #3-iron and cut the difference from the #7-iron, you would need to cut 2.25″ (3.375 – 1.125) and you would end up with the same flex as long as you made sure to cut to the same length and build to the same swingweight as it was originally.

If all you found were shafts for an #8 or 9-iron or the wedges, you would unable to use them and maintain the flex as they would have been tip trimmed too much previously than the #7-iron making the shafts too stiff.

What if this happened to be a taper tip shaft? Well unfortunately you won’t be able to tip trim the shaft and have the shaft fit back into the tapered 0.355″ hosel unless you re-bore the hosel, which is always a possibility.

What if you have a 0.370″ parallel bore head and all you could find was a taper tipped shaft, could you install it? In some cases, yes because the taper tip versions started out as parallel tip and the tips were swagged to form the taper for the first 2″ of the shaft. As in our example before (if it were a taper tip #3-iron shaft instead), we would be taking off 2.25″ or up to where the shaft is parallel. If the shaft was dedicated for #5 or 6-iron where tip trimming would be minimal, then the shaft would be too loose to rely solely on the epoxy without using a shim.

Luckily for you, Hireko still has inventory of some raw lengths and flexes that will enable you to replace a broken Rifle shaft with a little ingenuity and make a happy customer.

Rifle Steel – Tapered Iron #RIFM $16.95 each
Rifle Steel

#URIFM $16.95 each

22 Comments on Replacing Rifle Steel Shafts

  1. Neil Cameron says:

    Jeff,

    would you consider the FST pro 115 shaft as a good alternative?

    If so,how would you rate the flexes A/R/S/X against the Rifle Frequencies?

    thank you

  2. Jeff Summitt says:

    Neil:

    The FST 115 will much lighter and not nearly as stiff as the Rifle shafts. The Apollo Balistik (another stepless design) is closer to the same weight as the Rifles and stiffer than the FST. However, you won’t be able to produce the same frequency as the 6.0 or beyond, even by tip trimming the shaft more than what the directions say.

  3. James says:

    Jeff, you sure the Apollo Balistik steel shafts are stepless?? I’ve ordered plenty of those in the past, and while I don’t have any on hand to reference I am almost positive that they are stepped shafts.

  4. Jeff Summitt says:

    James,

    Yes, the Balistik is and always has been stepless.

  5. Laurence says:

    Jeff,

    Along the lines of replacing shafts with Rifle, can you answer the following question??

    I have a set of Ping i3+ blades that have Black Gold shafts in them. I had the frequency of them checked (7i) and it was 7.8. My driver swing speed is 109 (hit my driver about 275 on launch monitor), the builder said these shafts were too stiff for me because I was only hitting my 7i 154. I hit a few different shafts on the launch monitor (to see what fit me best) and it turned out that a Rifle 4.0 flex gave me the best results. In comparing their test club to mine, I hit my 6i 165 and their 6i 189. This shaft seems pretty weak for someone with a driver swing speed on 109, don’t you think??

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

  6. Jeff Summitt says:

    Laurence:

    Sometimes shaft flex isn’t totally determined by swing speed or distance hit, but tempo as well. By the book, the Rifle 4.0 may appear too flexible or not the target audience for a player with your swing speed. However, it you hit the ball toward your target and you had a consistent ball flight, then it really doesn’t matter what flex it is. But if the fitting was conducted solely by distance hit with no regards to accuracy, then I would re-think what flex you truly need.

  7. Tom M says:

    I have a new set of 2 year old Rifle 4.5 Flighted Steel Iron Shafts 3-PW. I would like to make them 5.0’s? Is this possible vis tip trimming & How much??

  8. Jeff Summitt says:

    Tom M:

    As long as they are parallel tip versions, you can tip trim 15/16″ or 1″ if you want to make it easier to mark the shafts.

  9. Tom M says:

    Hi Jeff; Yes they are parallel tip .335. For discussion, to go from 4.5 to 5.5 would be 1-7/8″ or 2″???

    Your help is appreciated :-)

  10. Jeff Summitt says:

    Tom M:

    It would be 1 7/8″.

  11. Tom M says:

    Thanks Jeff :-) A little off subject, but I have a Callaway Diablo 3 wood with a stock Stiff Mid Torque & Mid/Low Kick Point shaft. I never hit a club so well in my life :-) I’m a 10 Hcp with a 93mph smooth swing. Could you head me in the right direction to get a similar spec shaft for my driver? Manufacturer & model would be great :-)

  12. Jeff Summitt says:

    Tom M:

    You may want to look at the Fujikura Fit-On Max 56.

  13. Tom M says:

    Jeff, Thank you for your help. I will let you know how I make out with the shaft.

    Tom M :-)

  14. Daniel Bormann says:

    Hi Jeff,
    i would like to make my project x 6.5 flighted a little bit weaker. Comparison should be 6.0. Is that possible? My idea was to install the 3 iron shaft into my 4 iron head, my 4 iron shaft into my 5 iron, and so on.
    Would that work?
    How much weaker would it get? Of course i will but trim then after that to my usual playing lenght.
    Thanks,
    kind regards
    Daniel

  15. Jeff Summitt says:

    Daniel,

    By soft stepping once (i.e. putting 3 iron shaft in 4 iron), you would take a 6.5 down to @ 6.2.

  16. Daniel Bormann says:

    Hi Jeff,
    thanks for your help.
    Daniel

  17. Hello Jeff:

    What a quagmire the Rifle shaft is. Here is my story: I play Rifle Precision FMC 5.5 Flighted (That’s what the blue sticker says) shafts in my irons. My finished 4 iron measures 38.5″ from the floor to the end of the grip. I recently broke my five iron so I have become enmeshed in the Rifle quagmire. My broken 5 iron shaft measures 36 7/8″ when removed from the club and fitted back together. Before I broke it that finished club measured 38″ from the floor to the end of the grip. So, I infer from that that I must have a raw 5 iron shaft that measures 36 7/8″ in order to have a finished club that will measure 38″. My questions are these:
    1. can Rifle shafts be Frequency Matched and Flighted at the same time?
    2. Do I need to shop for a specific 5 iron replacement shaft that is both frequency Matched and Flighted? Do you have one of those?
    3. Assuming I am lucky enough to find such a shaft How long will it likely to be if it is an untouched, never installed Rifle 5 iron FCM Flighted shaft?
    4. For the sake of argument, let’s just say that it shows up and is 40″ long. How can I be sure that that is a 5 iron? Will it be marked some how as a 5 iron, FCM, Flighted shaft? If so,from everything I’ve read, all I have to do is cut 3 1/8″ off the butt (to get it down to 36 7/8″) and install it and I can be sure it fits my set. Is that correct?
    5. But now let’s assume that if it arrives at 40″ long and that it is really a 4 iron shaft. Now I have to tip it 9/16″ (from your chart above) to make it a 5 iron and the cut 2 9/16′ off the but to get an overall length of 36 7/8″. So the critical question is: are these individual shafts marked so you know what you are starting with? Thanks for your help.

    Wallace

  18. Jeff Summitt says:

    Wallace,

    This is the reason you pay a premium for the Flighted shafts as they could be flighted and frequency matched at the same time. When you purchase the shaft, they come much longer than what you need and the extra material is taken off the butt end only.

    The Flighted and standard Rifle are different. Could you take a Flighted Rifle 4-iron and tip trim it 9/16″ to create a 5-iron shaft? Sure and it would be fairly close and assuming it is parallel tip otherwise it will not fit without re-boring the iron head. The same thing wouldn’t necessarily occur if you were to make it a wedge. We don’t have any Rifle Flighted 5.5 #5-irons left, but we do have the #4-iron shaft.

  19. Thanks so much for your immediate reply. Could you tell me how long the un-cut 4 iron shaft is? Thanks.

  20. Jeff Summitt says:

    Wallace,

    If I can remember right, all Rifle shafts vary slightly in length as that is how they target a specific frequency.

  21. JimReine says:

    Hi Jeff I have a rifle shaft I am trying to identify.
    Markings 4758Isp 38.0″ 4I RALPT, these are on the butt

    Any idea what the flex or original shaft might be?

    Thank You

  22. Jeff Summitt says:

    Jim,

    All I can tell is this shaft was designed for a 4-iron. Did these come from an OEM set?

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