Swivel Question

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Well-Known Member
Jan 9, 2004
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So I have been using swivels for a while - Rosco No 3 - 100 lb test. What sizes do you all recommend for different sized chutes? I have a great little tackle shop that has the big 12/0 swivels that are 1500 lb test.

Also, the shop has some really cool Rosco Ball Bearing swivels that they say don't bind at all - unlike the barrel swivels. Are these better for parachute applications or are the barrel swivels more than enough? I have also seen torpedo ball bearing swivels that are really nice but the price is a lot more?

What in your (humble) opinion is the best swivel? Barrel or Ball Bearing?


What size (pounds test) are appropriate for different sized chutes/weights?

#5 Brass for my 24 and 3 inch. #7 for 18" and either 37 or #10 for 12" and under.

I like barrel, but bearings are better and more $$$.

I finally found a supply of these...I usually buy them 20-30 dozen at a wack.
John's advice on swivel sizes is spot on.

Walmart has all of these swivels in 12 packs, or for 6 bucks you can get a small carrying case full of different sizes. Well worth the investment. 8)

On a side note, I've considered trying some of the triple swivel sets, just to see if it would work with some projects. 1 swivel for the cord, 1 for the nose cone line, and 1 for the chute. Once it stops raining here - been doing it for 3 days and it dries out, i'll launch one and give my results.

I like #14 barrel swivels for 6" to 18" and #12 for stuff up to 24" Larger #5's for 30" and 36" nylon chutes. Ball Bearing swivels are much more expensive, better for chutes, maybe for the larger ones???
Most swivels have two different ends. 1 has a smaller solid ring, and the other has a snap-swivel on it which can be opened and then reclosed.

1) Attach the shockcord through the solid ring end and double knot it.

2) Attach the parachute by opening the snap-swivel, slide the loops of the shroud line on and then resnap it shut.

As an alternative, you can simply loop the chute back through its own shroud line once the shroud lines have been passed through the swivel - i.e. as Estes commonly shows in their building instructions - which avoids opening the snap-swivel at all.

Some of the larger snap swivels have a high tension on the metal bar, which can play havok on fingers when trying to reclose them - thus its always wise to have a pair of needle nose pliars handy.

Makes changing parachutes a breeze, and is especially useful if you have a rocket thats on the boundry between streamer parachute recovery because of its weight. On windy days if the rocket is light enough, use the streamer, on calm days, use the chute. The same thought applies for higher impulse versus lower impulse engines.

As well, the swivel keeps the chute from spinning wildy as the shockcord unwinds/detangles, which leads to the rocket being less prone to spinning. I'm not sure, but I'd guess that such a chute/swivel combo would aid when doing video after the chute has opened.

Hope that helps,