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|