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Mobasser

Retiring one of my old favorites

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Well, Ive decided to finally retire my ABU5500c. I actually bought this reel used, at a sporting goods store that took reels and reworked and rebuilt them. Purchased in 1989. Since that time I had the anti reverse pawl repaired once. Cleaned and lubed each year, it's done a great job. I couldn't guess the number of fish brought in with this reel. I've heard and read that the newer round ABU reels are not the same quality? Not sure about this. I've got my eye on a Shimano Calcutta. Round reels seem to work out best for me, and the Shimano seems to be the best one available. I'll be ready this coming season for sure.Any thoughts or recommendations from the round reel users?I know that folks who have these reels speak highly of them.

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The Abu C3, C4, and Pro Rocket are still high quality Swedish made reels.  It's the Ambassadeur S, SX, and STX that you want to avoid as they are crafted from Chinesium.  I have a new production C3 4600 and it's just as quality a piece as my 20 year old 5600.  In fact, they share most of the same internal parts.  Pinion yoke, clutch arm, clutch linkage, cog wheel, spool pinion gear, spool bearings, drag stack, position holder, driveshaft, and main gear are all the same.  The main exception being the pinion gear, as newer Abus have a 6-pin brake and the newer pinion has 4 grooves cut to accommodate it.  The only differences are external, the side plates, star wheel, and crank.  Newer ('07 and up) Abus also come with Carbontex drags from the factory.  The older ones used Teflon drag washers.

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47 minutes ago, Mobasser said:

I've got my eye on a Shimano Calcutta.

I have a couple of the Calcutta 200GTB reels and they perform very well.

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I'm a big fan of my older round Abus. Most of the newer ones are ok at best. Get the Calcutta, you won't regret it. I have some from when they first came out that are still going strong.

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1 hour ago, reason said:

I'm a big fan of my older round Abus. Most of the newer ones are ok at best. Get the Calcutta, you won't regret it. I have some from when they first came out that are still going strong.

The Calcutta is the pinnacle of round reels.  As much as I love my round Abus, the Calcutta is a whole different class of reel.  Both are reliable as all get out, but the Calcutta is simply a higher quality piece and far smoother on the retrieve.  Smoothness aside, my favorite aspect of the Calcutta is how it sits low on the reel seat.  Abus sit a good amount higher as their basic frame design is 60 years old, a time when reel seats were recessed.  To my knowledge, you can't purchase a brand new casting rod with a recessed reel seat.  Aftermarket frames can be had to make round Abus sit lower, but for the asking prices of them, you may as well buy a Calcutta in the first place.  

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The issue with Abu Ambassaor reels made after 2000 is the quality of the brass gears is poor compared to pre 2000 era Ambassasdors. Instant anti reverse came out in the late 90's.  The big difference between Ambassasdor reels and Shimano free a spinning spool that disengages from the level wind, 1 piece ridgid frame, superior drag and high quality components, in other words there is no comparison.

Shinamo Cardiff is a good reel at the price point and the Calcutta D will out live your grand kids.

Tom

 

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1 hour ago, WRB said:

The issue with Abu Ambassaor reels made after 2000 is the quality of the brass gears is poor compared to pre 2000 era Ambassasdors. Instant anti reverse came out in the late 90's.  The big difference between Ambassasdor reels and Shimano free a spinning spool that disengages from the level wind, 1 piece ridgid frame, superior drag and high quality components, in other words there is no comparison.

Shinamo Cardiff is a good reel at the price point and the Calcutta D will out live your grand kids.

Tom

 

This is the first I've read about the brass being of poor quality on new production Abu reels.  The only reason I can see gears stripping would be from lack of lubrication or improper assembly.  I've serviced quite a few round Abus over the last 20 years, many post '00 models, and I've only encountered one with damaged gears.  This wasn't the result of a faulty product, but somebody that incorrectly reassembled the reel and didn't include a couple of small but very important parts.  For what it's worth, this was on a late 90s 5500 C3.  Where most people will find the limit of the 4xxx/5xxx/6xxx Abu is hooking fish above 100lb.  At that point, you should be using a beefier 7000 series or Penn Fathom anyway.  For most freshwater fishing, either the Calcutta or the Abu will be fine.  It comes down to how deep your wallet is.  Both will last a lifetime and then some, but the Calcutta is an over all higher quality product.  Chevy Tahoe vs Toyota Land Cruiser

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3 minutes ago, redmeansdistortion said:

This is the first I've read about the brass being of poor quality on new production Abu reels.  The only reason I can see gears stripping would be from lack of lubrication or improper assembly.  I've serviced quite a few round Abus over the last 20 years, many post '00 models, and I've only encountered one with damaged gears.  This wasn't the result of a faulty product, but somebody that incorrectly reassembled the reel and didn't include a couple of small but very important parts.  For what it's worth, this was on a late 90s 5500 C3.  Where most people will find the limit of the 4xxx/5xxx/6xxx Abu is hooking fish above 100lb.  At that point, you should be using a beefier 7000 series or Penn Fathom anyway.  For most freshwater fishing, either the Calcutta or the Abu will be fine.  It comes down to how deep your wallet is.  Both will last a lifetime and then some, but the Calcutta is an over all higher quality product.  Chevy Tahoe vs Toyota Land Cruiser

I've had great luck with ABUs. The 5500c mentioned, and 2 4600c reels, one of which is 22yrs old. Good reels.

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My source of info on Ambassador round reels was Don Iovino who has been rebuilding and super tuning the reels since the 70's and a expert on these reels. The problem, according to Don, is Chinese mfr'd parts, the brass metal being used may not be good quality.

I fished with legacy 2500C, 4500C and 5000C reels for about 35 years before switching to Shimano round reel and Daiwa alpha low profile reels in the early 90's. Caught a 37 lb musky using a 2500C, 8 lb mono, not your typical musky reel. Most salt water game fish in the Pacific like Calico bass, yellowtail or tuna between 10 to 15 lbs will destroy a Ambassador reel of any size, Shimano Calcutta can easily handle these fish...no comparison.

Tom

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8 minutes ago, WRB said:

My source of info on Ambassador round reels was Don Iovino who has been rebuilding and super tuning the reels since the 70's and a expert on these reels. The problem, according to Don, is Chinese mfr'd parts, the brass metal being used may not be good quality.

I fished with legacy 2500C, 4500C and 5000C reels for about 35 years before switching to Shimano round reel and Daiwa alpha low profile reels in the early 90's. Caught a 37 lb musky using a 2500C, 8 lb mono, not your typical musky reel. Most salt water game fish in the Pacific like Calico bass, yellowtail or tuna between 10 to 15 lbs will destroy a Ambassador reel of any size, Shimano Calcutta can easily handle these fish...no comparison.

Tom

I did not know this, thanks for the info.  I wasn't aware that ABU outsourced the manufacturing of their parts to China.  I know some of their reels are made there, but not parts for the Swedish reels.  That said, I'd think the materials used to make those parts would have have some degree of quality control behind it like in other industries.  

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Commercial products like fishing tackle is unregulated, it's up to the OEM's quality assurance to provide QC. 

Areospace has FAR's (federal aviation regulations) for commercial aircraft parts and various government regulations and certifications for MilAero parts. Parts made in China are Tabu unless the materials are supplied by the OEM and certified with metallurgy reports and certs on receiving parts mfr's in China. No stainless steel or heat treatable steel parts can used in US aerospace made in China. The reason is counterfeit products from China is common practice and part failure can be castrohphic. 

Tom

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Don't let anyone fool you. The old round Ambassadeurs are still great reels. There are LOTS of them still around from the '50's. The Calcuttas are easier to cast and they work better with light baits, but to say they they are MORE durable is a joke! There are Ambassadeur 5000's out there still being fished that were made in the '50's. I have one from the '50's that is all original that I do not use now but I easily could. I have a friend that fished both reels (actually he used Calcuttas & Abu 6500's I think) heavily for stripers on the Chesapeake Bay in saltwater. He said that the only issues he ever had with the Abus is the salt would occasionally corrode the stainless bearings over time (easy inexpensive fix). In freshwater, you would have to abuse them to destroy them. You get wear and tear issues (pawls, etc.) just like we do on our Shimanos and Daiwas (I'm a Daiwa fanboy but own lots of Shimanos too).  

The great thing about Swedish ABUs is that their vintage parts are still very easily acquired and there are LOTS of aftermarket parts producers. Many Japanese & American guys love the older ABUs and they collect them and pimp them up and trick them out (they have webpages and Facebook sites on this stuff). Shimano doesn't make parts available for their reels beyond a certain number of years after production ceases though you can often get early Curado and Chronarch parts on ebay and after-market bearings are readily available for them (ABEC 7's etc.). 

I still fish some 1990's era 4600's and 5000c's on occasion, and I have some '80's era Shimano baitcasters that I still fish occasionally too (a Bantam 10sg and Bantam 10 SGX). For the most part, however, I am more into Daiwa Zillions, Tatulas, and Tierras, etc. nowadays. The others are old technology but they are still fun to fish.

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