View Full Version : Feedback and Opinions Regarding Predator Z Shaft

Chris in NC
02-28-2005, 09:16 AM
I've had my Predator Z shaft for about 2 weeks and all I can say is it is amazing! I've played with a 314 shaft for 9 years, so I really didn't expect much special out of the new Z shaft - particularly since even Predator reports that it is only about a 10% decrease in deflection compared to the 314 shaft.

Well, after I got over the initial shock of the looks of the tiny little ferrule and the noticeably smaller shaft and tip, it didn't take long to realize that the performance of this shift is awesome. It seems to me to be at least a 50% decrease in deflection over the 314 shaft. As a result of the smaller shaft and tip, I can get more english and action with less effort - and with less deflection.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that in my opinion anyone that uses this shaft is at an unfair advantage to everyone else not using it! In fact, my guess is that those who switch to this shaft and use it will be reluctant to tell others just how good it is - for fear of giving up their advantage.

I'm particularly curious as to feedback from other posters who have switched to the Z shaft after using the 314 shaft for a number of years? Thanks - Chris in NC

02-28-2005, 09:33 AM
Hello Chris,

It's always "good news" to hear someone has improved their game. You had a great game to start with, and now, from your report, its even better.

Was your original Predator shaft the 6 splice or the 10?
Seems I recall, that Predator started out with the 6 then went to the 10 after a few years.

There have been only a few players that I know (myself included) that have tried these Predator shafts and not been happy with the product.

Is the Z shaft the half inch ferrule? with 12.5 mm dia?

02-28-2005, 10:16 AM
Do you have any trouble with the shaft sliding through your fingers with the euro taper?

Did you play with a pro taper before?

Do you use a long 10 or 11 inch bridge or shorter?

Chris in NC
02-28-2005, 10:40 PM
In answer to Tom, yes it is a 1/2" ferrule and is suppost to be 11.75 at the tip.

In answer to Billy Bob, no I don't have any trouble with the smaller shaft sliding through my closed bridge. I'm 6'5" and have very long fingers, so I was worried about how the Euro taper would feel in my bridge hand after having played with a pro taper for years. I had absolutely no problem at all adjusting to the smaller shaft and gradual taper all the way to the tip.

Again, this shaft sends the ball precisely where you aim it, even when english is applied. It's taking a while to re-adjust my brain in the aiming process when applying english. There is absolutely no question it takes most of the guess work out of trying to figure out how much to compensate in the aiming process for deflection when loading up with english.

After being burned out for a while, due to this shaft I now have a new enthusiasm for playing again! - Chris in NC

03-01-2005, 05:44 AM
I having always used traditional shafts have stayed away from the high tech predator and new McDermott I shafts but after reading these post I am seriously considering one for my old D21 McDermott day to day cue which is needing a new shaft finally! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

03-01-2005, 05:58 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote MrLucky:</font><hr> I am seriously considering one for my old D21 McDermott day to day cue which is needing a new shaft finally! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif <hr /></blockquote>
Mr Lucky,

You should consider a laminated shaft! They are just as good but may be cheaper depending on the cue maker or business you get it from. You can get a wedge one usually with 8 wedges or they also have them layered. Usually approx 10-12 layers glued together with these you can get more boost with the top bottom and spin. If you look at the joint end of the shaft you can see the lines. If they are horizontal you can get more side spin if the are vertical you can get more top or bottom. Just a thought I dont know how much the predator Z shaft is going for now. But you could probably get a laminated shaft for around $150. You should check them out!

03-01-2005, 06:28 AM
I also use the Z shaft, after playing with the 314 for a year. Prior to that I also used a standard maple shaft for two years.

First of all, the Z shaft is much stiffer than 314. Much more solid (stiffer) hit on centre ball strokes. Little less deflection probably yes, but it could all be in my head. Both spin the ball very easy. To be honest, I have forgotten how 314 feels...it would probably feel too whippy to me now.

As far as bridging is concerned, I didn't notice much difference since I use a rather long 12 inch bridge. At 12 inches, the Z is just as thick as 314. Due to the fact that canonical taper on the Z is not severe at all, long closed bridges work OK for those that are concerned...

Still, you need to stroke more precisely than with the 314 because of the smaller tip. You will need to be more careful with tip placement on the cueball, which is always a good thing. If you stroke straight and true, you can use that smaller tip to your advantage. You can shoot slightly less off center to achieve the same spin as with standard 12.75mm shafts. Frozen to the rail shots are much easier.

The list could go on and on. My club mates agree that the Z is technically better than what they use, but they are reluctant to play with 11.75mm. Others don't like the taper. Better, but more demanding on one's stroke most would say.

03-01-2005, 06:43 AM
Thanks for the info! I was looking at the new McDermott I shafts do you have any experience or thoughts on them? http://www.billiardstore.com/mcdermot/images/SuperFeel-chart-pg.jpg

http://www.billiardstore.com/mcdermot/images/SuperFeel.jpg /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

03-01-2005, 12:50 PM
I've heard that the I-3 and the Z play nearly identical because they have much the same taper.

03-01-2005, 01:22 PM
Thanks ! I was hoping this is the case I would like to get a McDermott shaft that could match my joint design on the D21 which I've been led to believe they will do! if not then it doesn't matter which one I go with /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

03-01-2005, 03:56 PM
I purchased my Schon cue roughly 1 month ago with a 314 Predator shaft. When the Z's became available, I decided to grab one as a second shaft for my new cue. The difference was immediately noticible - less deflection, more control, more english, etc... as summarized above. The euro-taper really didn't really bother me -- I thought it actually felt easier to use than a conventional pro-taper. The only thing I don't like about the Z is its very thin leather tip. I know this prevents mushrooming, but I feel like I'll wear it out faster than my 314's thicker tip.

Keith Talent
03-02-2005, 08:20 PM
For anybody who might have missed this ... in New York Times a couple days ago. Interesting they would devote the time and space to this with their upscale demographics, but the Z is an expensive toy, after all ... couple of corrections will be needed, too, I guess.

The Z Factor in the Pool Hall

Predator Cues used a robot to test its new Z Shaft, which is lighter and more tapered than other versions.


Published: February 27, 2005

WHEN he talks about soil acidity and maple trees, Allan McCarty sounds more like a botanist than a pool-cue guru. "Michigan has sandy soil, and when it rains it doesn't hold the moisture," said Mr. McCarty, co-founder of Predator Cues of Jacksonville, Fla. As a result, he explained, Michigan hard maple never becomes too waterlogged, so the wood retains a whitish hue rather than turning a mushy gray.

His fascination with the nuances of wood discoloration is more than a hobby. Predator Cues uses only unblemished Michigan maple in its top-of-the-line Z Shaft. Lighter and more tapered than other shafts - the skinnier halves of cues - it is intended to minimize what modern players call cue ball deflection.

The Z - priced at $245, more than twice the cost of most conventional shafts - is so slender at the tip that the weight of the cue ball pushes it aside upon contact. Bigger conventional models, by contrast, slam through the shot, adding unwanted, unpredictable spin.

"By reducing the end mass, we allow the cue ball to push the shaft aside," said Mr. McCarty, whose interest in reducing cue ball deflection traces to a big-money game he botched in 1992. "That's instead of the shaft pushing the cue ball offline."

The Z Shaft's predecessor was the 314, which takes its name from a decimal-free approximation of pi. Both shafts are composed of 10 wedges shaped like pie slices, fused into a cylinder. When Mr. McCarty and his business partner, Steven Titus, began researching shaft design in the early 1990's, they discovered that the direction of the grain in the shaft's wood correlated with the direction in which it sent a cue ball askew. Joining together 10 pieces with differing grains mitigated that effect.

When the 314 was introduced in 1995, Mr. McCarty and Mr. Titus already knew that a more conical taper would improve performance. But the pool world, Mr. McCarty said, simply wasn't ready for the odd-looking Z Shaft, which looks frail next to the thick cudgels that line pool-hall walls. Development began in earnest in 2000, once the Predator brand had earned enough trust among pool aficionados.

To test the Z Shaft's novel shape, Predator enlisted the aid of Iron Willie, the company's 70-pound robot. Equipped with an elbow that never tires, Iron Willie was charged with shooting a cue ball toward a piece of carbonless copy paper, moving five millimeters to the right or left and then shooting again - and again and again - until Predator determined exactly how much taper could virtually eliminate cue ball deflection without making the shaft susceptible to fracturing.

The shaft is so slender that it produces a fair amount of tactile feedback when it meets the cue ball. After a few hundred games, Z Shaft users can sense the pleasant vibration that indicates a perfectly struck cue ball, versus the rough twitter that accompanies an uneven stroke.

Great care is taken in selecting the wood for Z Shafts, 10,000 of which have been sold since the introduction in July 2003. The century-old Michigan hard maples must be quarter-sawn, which only a small percentage of the nation's mills can do. Mr. McCarty also noted that Predator uses only maples that have already been harvested for syrup. "If there's sugar left in the trees, it leaves these brown lines in it," he said.

As it did with the 314, Predator has marketed the Z Shaft by putting it in the hands of what Mr. McCarty calls "influencers" - touring professionals, of course, but also expert players who haven't quite cracked the big time or are simply content to be big fish in little ponds.

"We might go into a space like Columbus, Ohio, where there's a No. 1 player who isn't quite good enough to make it on the pro tour, but to the average player he looks like a champion," Mr. McCarty said.

Average players in Columbus, consider yourselves warned: if a pool-hall habitué ever challenges you to a money game, and you notice a "Z" embossed on his cue, run away as fast as you can.

03-02-2005, 08:55 PM
Good read Keith, thanks for the post.

03-03-2005, 05:48 AM
if I start using sandpaper to clean my 314 will I eventually end up with a "Z"?


03-03-2005, 07:19 AM
I'm sure you are joking but never the less not a great idea! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

03-03-2005, 12:05 PM
The thought of an 11 3/4 mm shaft does not appeal to me. A long time ago, well a few years, I had one of my McDermott shafts turned down to 12mm and now it sits in the case. It sure is a completely different feel and a requires a more precise hit/stroke. But it seems that more and more players are now going to the smaller diameter shaft. But I don't think I am quite ready for that.


Pizza Bob
03-03-2005, 12:36 PM
The shaft is not 11.75mm, just the tip. This shaft has a European taper - kind of like a 3C cue. That's where it gets its stiffness. Not sure I could get used to that continuous taper going through my closed bridge. I play snooker, but I use an open bridge and the continuous taper doesn't really come into play. Everybody is searching for the magic bullet. Can't wait to get to VF and see Strouds piezoelectric wonder-shaft.

Ah well, build a better mousetrap....


Pizza Bob

03-03-2005, 03:45 PM
Do you know if they have removed the pesticides from the new shaft?

Ecological Applications: Vol. 13, No. 6, pp. 1515–1521.

Rick A. Relyeaa

aDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260 USA

Abstract.Amphibians are declining globally, and biologists have struggled to identify the causes. Pesticides may play a role in these declines, but pesticide concentrations in nature often are low and considered sublethal. Past research has found that the globally common pesticide carbaryl can become more lethal under different environmental conditions including differences in temperature and competition. A recent study has found that predatory stress, a situation common for most amphibians, can make carbaryl 2–4 times more deadly to gray tree frogs (Hyla versicolor). To determine whether this is a general phenomenon in amphibians, I examined how carbaryl affected the survival of six amphibian species in the presence and absence of predatory stress. Higher concentrations of carbaryl caused higher mortality. In two of the six species, carbaryl became even more lethal when combined with predatory stress (up to 46 times more lethal). This suggests that apparently safe concentrations of carbaryl (and perhaps other pesticides with similar modes of action) can become more deadly to some amphibian species when combined with predator cues.