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I was trying to make a sling the other day to entertain my kids (yes this is a terrible idea) and although the finished product worked (sort of) it occurred to me that this, like all ancient handi-craft, is probably deceptively complicated and has some crisply defined right and wrong materials and methods associated with it. Case in point, our sling is made of para-chord and a leather pouch. It works okay but the release is unpredictable and sometimes fails altogether.

My questions are:

  • what are the traditional/proper ways to stitch the elements together, what are the right materials?
  • where if any are some resources on how to implement said sling safely and accurately?

sling

sling

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    I'd like to know how you made that one?! Looks impressive
    – user2766
    Oct 21, 2014 at 8:24
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    I've never tried anything like this but a quick google brought up this slinging.org lot's a lot's of how to's!
    – user2766
    Oct 21, 2014 at 8:25
  • Thanks! I just punched some holes in a scrap of leather I had left over from a writing desk I built over the summer and used some parachord for the straps. Man, that is one comprehensive website on slinging. After skimming through it I've come to the conclusion it might not be the design of the sling that's the problem, but the skill of the slinger:) Oct 22, 2014 at 3:02
  • that's the national sport of Mallorca, maybe you can find some decent informations by searching in spanish or catalan
    – Jeredepp
    Nov 17, 2014 at 7:43

1 Answer 1

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I think you did just fine.

Key factors: You want the leather to be non flat, so the stone sits in in one place. This will get you far more consistent throws. You have in essence created the pocket by making the rim with the line. I think the common way is just to tie the line to the pocket material.

You can make a better pocket by getting the leather soaking wet and stretching over a stone a bit larger than your usual throwing stone.

Also: Put a pair of knots in the throwing string at the distance you hold it. This will allow you to get the strings the same length each time, which will also improve your consistency.

One ancient people noted for slinging would put a piece of bread in a shrub or tree. Their kids had to knock it out of the tree to eat it.

Also, few cultures have both slings and bows. Seem to be one or the other. I suspect that it's hard to get good with either.

Sling ammo can be as simple as stones picked up on the route. Lead 'eggs' are denser, and can be cast more uniformly. In single combat I'd want to use lead ammo. In mass combat accuracy isn't as important as rate of fire, so using local stones may improve the logistics situation.

I suspect that lead eggs are heavier than an arrow, but are easier on the logistics situation. An archer fires 10 arrows a minute for minutes at a time. It doesn't seem unreasonable for an archer to use 500-1000 arrows in a long battle. This adds up to wagon loads of baskets of arrows. Arrows have to be protected from the weather lest they warp. Significant labour to create.

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  • Indeed. Slings are loads of fun. Ancient warfare employed them alongside archers: easier to learn, effective against armor, allows a shield, weighs nothing, costs nothing.
    – Vorac
    Aug 3, 2020 at 5:46

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