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Ball Review

Hammer: First Blood Hook 52 • Length15 • Breakpoint Shape 16.5

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Manufacturer’s Intent:

“First Blood combines our new Hammer First Blood core shape with the NBT (Next Big Thing) coverstock,” says Jeff Ussery of Hammer. “By aggressively surfacing our NBT cover and adding Powerhouse factory fi nish, Hammer has created its longest

and sharpest back-end reaction ever. First Blood is built to push down the lane

with ease, while unleashing a powerful back-end move.”

Core Design: The Hammer First

Blood asymmetric core has a low RG of 2.48, a .056 diff erential and a .009 PSA strength. We saw more than 6 inches of track fl are. The asymmetry of the core allowed us to modify the motion shape. The tall core design with fl ip block can produce added back-end motion for those with lower rev rates. Coverstock: Providing the long and strong motion is the NBT solid veneer, which is sanded with a four-part

process. The fi rst, second and third are 500-grit Abralon, and the fourth is a 1500 sanding with Abranet. Lastly, the surface is high polished for maximum

length. Colors are a mix of orange, silver and blue. Response time is quick and strong. Oil traction is limited. The Ra is 1.90 and the surface grit 5300.

Test Results: The First Blood was extremely easy through the fronts and midlane on all fresh patterns and even through moderate oil breakdown. The back-end motion was aggressive and strong on

moderate to heavy breakdown for all testers. We felt the First Blood may have had a little too

much length for us on some of our fresh medium to heavier volumes, but a light surface scuff alleviated this distraction quite nicely. Pin carry was above average from a multitude of angles and actually improved as the pattern deteriorated. Our lower rev guy had by far his best looks with this ball.

When to Use: The First Blood excelled on light to medium volumes and patterns that went through breakdown transition. Heavier volumes were not in the intended range of this ball, so use accordingly or hit the surface with your favorite grit of sanding pad. Our lane play and pin carry from angles as deep as 25-board were very good, as expected, for our medium and high rev testers.


Hammer: Arson Low Flare Hook 47 • Length 14.5

• Breakpoint Shape 14

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Manufacturer’s Intent:

Jeff Ussery’s press release states, “Arson Low Flare creates an entirely new reaction shape within the Hammer family. We started by removing nearly all the diff erential from the Arson core shape, creating a low RG/low diff erential combi- nation. Then we’ve added the Max-Control Reactive from the Arson Hybrid [July 2011] and fi nished it off with a 500-grit surface. For

the fi rst time ever, we’re using Power- house Clean ’N Sheen on the surface, giving it a very light polished eff ect that leaves teeth in the surface of the ball.” Core Design: Hammer lowered both the diff erential and RG of the core by eliminating the fl ip block used on the other Arson varieties. The RG is 2.48, while the diff erential reads .020. Expect to see no more than 2.5 inches of fl are with most layout choices.

Coverstock: The conservative

nature of the Max Control reactive coverstock helps the Arson Low Flare play great on light to light-medium oil volumes. The factory surface is sanded with 500 grit, then polished with Clean ’N Sheen, a low-grit mid-shine polish.

Colors are a subtle blend of teal, red and blue hues. Oil traction is slightly limited, and response time is moderately slow. The Ra is a low 1.90 and the surface grit is 5300.

Test Results: Hammer has joined the ranks of manufacturers intro- ducing lower diff erential cores into their mid-to-premium performance lines. The mid- priced Arson Low Flare provided us with outstanding control and usability on many light to medium volume patterns. The main attribute of lower diff erential balls is that they require fewer moves during transition. They also play well in the hands of higher rev rate players or those in the over-50 group who just don’t generate enough ball speed. When used with an arcing, somewhat slower response cover formula, the ball is easier to stay with, especially on your typical house pattern.

When to Use: Since the Arson LD plays great on lower oil volumes, it stands to rea- son it can also play well on broken-down and late-shift lane conditions. Hammer has many premium and mid-priced su- per-hookers to handle the heavier stuff , so we were glad to see the company off er a more controlled motion to complement the Vibe and Nail series.

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February 2013

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