I have enought 94840s that I have not had reason to buy any of the new R-50s. However, like you, I would really like to know if the new R-50s differ significantly from the old 94840s.
I cannot comment on shank length difference yae or nae. What I can say is the R50 has a neatly formed eye, a small and shallow cut barbe and a less fragile hook point
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Hans Weilenmann, The Netherlands http://www.flytierspage.com