AMF: Black Mamba

by Bob Johnson 0

55.5 Hook 13 Length 15 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “The Black Mamba utilizes the same core shape as the OMG Pearl [August 2011] with a slightly lower RG and higher differential,” says Eric Thomas of AMF. “When this version of the core is paired with our F74 shell, bowlers will see increased traction in oil and an earlier breakpoint with quite a bit of continuation. The Black Mamba will fit nicely in between the OMG Solid [June 2011] and OMG Pearl by not hooking too early or going too far downlane before sinking its fangs in. With the current AMF line, we had the extremes covered. We just needed something to hedge those reactions a little.”

Coverstock: The F74 solid reactive is yellow and purple. The factory surface is sanded with a 1500 neaT sanding pad. This finish provides above-average traction in oil with a moderate response off drier boards. The Ra level measures in at an aggressive 14.5.

Core Design: This version of the symmetric core has lowered the RG to 2.55 and raised the differential significantly to .055. We saw nearly 6 inches of track flare with strong layouts using lower quadrant weight holes.

Test Results: The Black Mamba ball is all about a strong mid-lane motion with an arcing breakpoint shape. When tested, this ball was stronger and earlier than the OMG Pearl and only a couple boards weaker than a like-drilled OMG purple with the F84 cover. The ball also was more angular than the OMG off the spot, and will allow for extended use thanks to the cover and surface prep. Hitting power and pin carry were very good on fresh oil patterns with volume. On broken-down patterns, only higher speed players will find uses — unless the surface is smoothed or polished.

When to Use: The Black Mamba will match up great on many medium-heavy to heavier oil volume patterns of either the Sport or THS variety with its out-of-box surface. Smoothing and polishing will create added length and back-end pop for those wishing to use the ball on lesser volumes. We noticed the core created a tumbling motion when leaving the oil pattern, which produced a heavy roll through the pin deck. Our favorite layouts incorporated 60-degree and higher drill angles with VAL angles of 40 degrees and lower. This created an angular breakpoint for all three of our rev rate testers.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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