Will the Gas Mask Core Ever Die???
Tweener: Coach T (350 rpm)
We used a pin down layout for the Hammer Jet Black Taboo. I was looking for a smoother reaction off the spot. This 45 x 4.25 x 70 should get into a roll with medium speed and transition on the smoother side while being relatively high flaring. We also finished the ball with 4000 abralon for the test. With the factory polish, it was pushing downlane further than I wanted in terms of where I wanted this ball in my arsenal.
Remember that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core will create the dynamic shape. Your drilling will alter the shape to suit your game and conditions you bowl on. Please work with your local pro shop operator to find what best works for you.
THS: Modified Kegel Stone Street, 42 ft, 9.6:1 ratio, 20 ml
Sport: WTBA Athens, 40 ft, 2.3:1 ratio, 26.55 ml
It’s no wonder this core just won’t go away. The Black Widow…er… Jet Black Taboo from Hammer is still a dream.
The Hammer Jet Black Taboo is a high end ball with a commensurate price. It would normally be hard for high end balls to prove themselves to have great value but this is a pretty versatile piece. It may be hard for some to justify spending this much money on a ball that’s been around for a little bit. There are lots of pieces out there but this is a classic.
The High Mass Bias Gas Mask Core with Flip Block has an RG of 2.50, differential of .060 and mass bias of .016 for a 15 pound ball.
The Jet Black Taboo uses the GTR III cover. The out of box finishing process is 500/1000/2000 abralon with Powerhouse Factory Finish Polish. You can pretty much do what you want to this cover to get the ball to react the way you want. I love the way the high gloss finish looks, but needed to take the surface down to 4000 abralon to have a less aggressive move off the spot.
THS = 8.5
Sport = 8.5
DARK BLUE: THS track (Modified Stone Street)
MEDIUM BLUE: Sport track (WTBA Athens)
House Shot – Modified 42ft Stone Street
On this longer 42 ft house shot, I preferred to take the factory polish off and take the ball to 4000 grit abralon. It just smooths the shot out to avoid the unnecessary over/under. The ball has reasonable length, strong and smooth transition with a strong and continuous finish on the backends. This is the kind of ball reaction I like to call “booming” on the backends. That’s a rounded, strong continuous motion which begins when the ball reads the midlane but still has tons of backend energy. Balls like that include the Hy-Road.
I’m playing relatively direct 12 to 7 on this house pattern. In this house, the pattern plays tougher than typical house patterns with a very clear out of bounds. I’m also reducing my hand to be able to play this direct. The ball still has a strong 6 degree finish. You can see in the video how well the ball finishes through the pins and off the deck. This layout is ideal for my PAP and this core. The Hammer Jet Black Taboo worked very well on the fresh pattern. It works well as the lane breaks down, but can become too much after a game or two, depending on how many people are playing the lanes.
Note: This house has pretty crisp backends so keep that in mind when reading the review.
Sport Shot: 40 ft WTBA Athens
On the sport pattern, I’m much “nicer” to the ball allowing the ball and pattern to do the work. If you watch closely on the video, you can see the “less hand” I’m putting on this pattern. Trying to do too much makes a ball this strong too much. The crisp backends with a ball this strong, even with this layout, means I will have to get deep. Rather than do that, I tried a hand adjustment to allow me to play direct and you can see how great the ball motion is. I’m playing 10 to 6 and had 6.2 degrees of entry angle. I could get a lot more if I slowed down and wheeled it, but this was just right. The ball worked great on the fresh sport shot. It might be a little much as this pattern breaks down as it is a strong ball. If you had a polished smaller VAL angle drill, it might be a good step down to this particular drilling and finish.
I really like the Jet Black Taboo from Hammer. They still have 4 balls in the Taboo line. While there’s been talk about ending the line, it feels to me almost like the Hy-Road. Can they really get rid of the Gas Mask Core? My guess is it may take a break and be back in something else. I’m not sure how many times I may have mistakenly called it the Black Widow, but I don’t mind. It’s a very flexible piece that can match many bowlers’ games. It can be drilled to suit and you can get many different reactions from it. The cover is also easily tweakable. I’m happy I picked this one up. It’s currently my go-to ball on all the fresh patterns I’m facing these days. Don’t want to sound nostalgic having the Taboo and Storm Hy-Road in my personal arsenal so I’m glad their still on the market. You can’t go wrong with this great piece.