Introducing The RifleCraft RS1 Sling

I’ve covered what a shooting sling is, why you should consider one, how it works, and how to use one.  Let me show you the sling I designed to fit my needs as a practical rifleman.

 

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I developed this sling because I wanted something that did not yet exist.  I decided to bring it to you because I needed a new hobby (not exactly).  Actually I saw the opportunity for innovation and entrepreneurship.

I have tried a very wide variety of slings, and have seen and experienced their strengths and weaknesses.  I have done a lot of shooting using a loop sling.  Some slings are too slow to loop up with.  Some slings use inferior materials.  Some slings seem to work well but are uncomfortable with actual use.  Some slings are overly complex to the end user.

I had a few criteria in mind when I came up with the sling.  It had to be as simple as possible to use.  I wanted as few buckles, adjusters, and sections necessary to make a functional sling.

I wanted something that could be set up once, left as is, and used in a moment’s notice.  Easy adjustability of the loop is nice if you are shooting competition and want everything fine-tuned perfectly, but it’s impractical for a rifle that will be carried and when the time and conditions of the shot are not predictable.

I wanted materials that combined the thickness, stiffness, weight, and texture of cotton webbing with the durability, strength, and resistance to rot of nylon.  I wanted to use materials that were strong enough to last a lifetime.  I wanted materials that were made in America.

Most of all, I wanted a sling that I could loop up with quickly enough that I could get it set during the time it takes to get into position.  What good is a loop if you can’t use it before your target disappears?  That has always been the big problem with loop slings, most have been too slow for most practical use.

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I didn’t think something up, order some webbing and thread, and sew them up for sale.  My thought was that if I’m going to make something that doesn’t exist, something that I think is better than what’s out there, the quality should be first rate.  It didn’t take long before I learned I would need to drop a huge amount of money on a sewing machine to do what I needed it to do.

I tried 5 kinds of webbing before finding something that finally satisfied me.  Some webbing frays too easily.  Some is too thin.  1.5” webbing is popular, and I initially began with the intention of using it.  The fact that swivels don’t come in that size has always bothered me a little, but the 1 ¼” webbing and the adjustment hardware is pretty darn hard to find.

It took a lot of trial, error, searching, and dissatisfaction, but I’m very satisfied with what I finally found.  I also found that 1 ¼” webbing also seemed to work better for a rifle sling in this application.  It’s a bit lighter, and I found that it didn’t cut off my circulation quite so readily as 1.5” webbing, which surprised me.  What I finally settled on is 1 ¼” mil-spec nylon webbing that really feels like the real-deal good ol’ USGI cotton webbing.

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Old school cotton USGI webbing on the left, the webbing I’m using on the right.

 

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Some of the colors that will be available.  For now, only coyote tan, OD Green, and A-Tacs AU (right) will be offered.  A-Tacs FG, Multicam, and black will be available later.

I built 5 different prototype slings.  I used the first one for almost 2 months and found that I was onto something.  By the time I built my 5thversion, I knew I pretty much had it down.  After using prototype #5 for a month, I took it to an Appleseed.  I was able to score 246 on the full distance AQT without starting any stage looped up (video from that shoot here: “Fastest Hands in the Northwest?” [looping up at 1:10])That showed me that it worked and I found a few improvements I could make to really have a refined product.

During the time I was testing prototypes, I was also taking the time to source materials and components that were made in the US.   Chinese parts typically run a fifth to a tenth the cost of “equivalent” US made parts.  I could have saved money and cut a few corners by ordering stuff from China, but it wouldn’t be the best, and I don’t trust that they’re our friends.  Every piece of webbing, elastic, every adjuster, swivel, the thread, and even the tag were made in the United States.  I’ll say it again, THIS IS 100% MADE IN THE USA! More importantly, this stuff is strong and the quality is self-evident.

As for the sling and what sets it apart.  Many slings have buckles or hardware inside the shooting loop.  I’ve found that this will give you a welt if you’re wearing “normal” clothes and experience recoil.  My sling has no hardware in the loop that touches the shooter.

 

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Don’t be afraid.  I don’t bite.

Many slings have adjustment hardware near the front swivel.  This tends to get in the way of the support hand and will give you a booboo when you experience recoil.  My sling has no hardware that touches the support hand.
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Nothin’ here to hurt you.

The sling’s open loop is very rapid to get into and out of.  This design favors practical field shooting.  Generally if you’re in the field actually using your rifle for something you won’t be firing a string of 10 rounds at a stationary target with a mandatory reload.  Because of this design philosophy, you could say it favors mobility at the very slight expense of stability.  It may not stay high on the arm through multiple reloads, such as formal Highpower competition, or if the tension on the loop is released if the gun is taken out of position.  If this happens, it can be easily pulled back up the arm, like I did at the Appleseed.  Another solution is to install a keeper near the front swivel that can be pulled down if needed.

I’ve never used the blog as a means to make anything for myself.  I have just enjoyed writing it and I don’t like the way banner ads clutter blogs.  I think I have a good reason to change that now.  If I didn’t think that this sling is the best thing going, I wouldn’t put my reputation on the line selling it.

I look forward to slinging all your rifles.  If you’d like to get one, please visit the RifleCraft store.

 

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The loop beckons…

 

25 thoughts on “Introducing The RifleCraft RS1 Sling

  1. Could you perhaps go into more detail on why you feel your sling is superior to the rest? I’m mainly interested in your sling vs. a Ching sling, Andy Langloil’s Rhodesian sling, Galco Safari sling… Other slings designed for quick loop-up and field use.

    • I think of it as there being a lot of choices for people to find something that suits them. When I tried the Ching it really hit a home run with me; it was the first time I experienced a loop sling that I thought was definitely viable for field use. When I got a new rifle, I just didn’t want to drill the 3rd stud.

      I know there are people who prefer leather. I just don’t. There are things I do like about leather, but in the end the attributes of nylon, e.g. lighter weight, greater portability if you need to take it off the rifle, availability of different colors, resistance to rot, make it a more attractive choice to me.

      If you like leather, my advice would be to get a sling from Andy. He’s a good guy and his slings are nice.

      The Rhodesian looks like it would work similarly to mine, except the loop on the Rhodesian is not reinforced to keep it open. I would guess that mine is in between the Rhodesian and the Ching in terms of speed, but I think that the speed difference in all three is actually probably very minor, especially with practice.

      I just don’t like the Safari Ching. I copied the following from a previous comment of mine:
      “To don the loop on the Safari you release the firing hand to work the loop around the support elbow. This skips the possibility of wrapping the support hand in the sling, which in my opinion is the only way to fly (so important to me that I wrote an article about it).

      To don the loop on my sling you release the support hand and thrust it through the loop. I don’t think that would work on the Safari using a one-handed entry. My sling is more like a regular Ching sling in use than the Safari is.”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-oHZQ2smpA

      One thing I noticed last week that I did not expect was that the leather on the Ching seemed like it slipped more than the nylon webbing I used for my sling. I thought that leather would have naturally adhered more.

      The bottom line for me is that I think that all of the slings you mentioned except for the Safari are good. I want people to have a choice and be happy. I wanted a 2-point nylon sling that worked to loop up with quickly, so I made one. I thought it worked out so well that other people would like them too. Time will tell.

  2. I had actually never seen the Safari ching sling. Looks…less than ideal to me.

    Do you have more video of you at that Appleseed? Very smooth work.

    • That video was taken and posted by someone else. I wish I had more video of myself. I could watch it all day long… I would put “Smooth” by Santana to play behind it. Mmmm…

  3. To say I’ve been hanging for this post is an understatement – an email to secure a place in the que is on the way right after this. Excellent work old boy!

  4. An afterthought – could you show how length adjustments are accomodated in the loop (as well as in the section between the loop and rear swivel)?

    many thanks,
    jonno

    • Good question. If you refer to the last photo in the article, cleverly captioned “the loop beckons…” it goes like this:

      The length of the loop adjusts via that metal triglide that hold the loop and the rear section together. The extra length that would give adjustment slack is hidden under the elastic keeper. You can see it in the photo, the left side of the loop comes down, passes through the left elastic keeper, which acts as a channel to keep everything bound and stiff, comes out and goes through the metal triglide, then continues into the right elastic keeper that is more stretched out. I folded the free end under and shoved it back into the keeper.

  5. I’ve had my RS 1 sling about a week, been out shooting with it twice. I mounted it on a Winchester 52 B from about 1932, the 52 has about the same distance between the swivels as the M1A SCOUT which will be this slings permanent home.
    It’s about a 1/2 mile walk up to my range, the RS 1 works great to carry the rifle, even with the 1/2 twist Rifleslinger recommends.
    Once the sling was adjusted to be good and tight in the prone position, it works fine for sitting , kneeling and offhand. It stays up on my arm much better than a hasty sling setup ever does. I think it’s even quicker to get into than the hasty sling.
    I don’t think the looped GI sling and shooting jacket setup that I use in the John C Garand matches is any more stable. The looped GI sling without the shooting jacket would be a lot less comfortable.
    The RS 1 is well executed, Rifleslinger not only used the best components he did a great job putting it together.
    Thanks Rifleslinger for the great product. I’m gonna need a couple more.

    • An old 52B!!!

      I have a heavy-barrel E from 1974. Shot it on the high school smallbore rifle team and the local NRA junior smallbore club back in the dinosaur age. Won the 1975 individual high school championship with it. What wonderful rifles.

    • Pete,
      They are wonderful rifles.
      I shot a 52 D a little bit at the U of I, practiced with the ROTC rifle team. Always wanted one of my own.
      I rescued the 52 B from a pawn shop many years ago. It has a lighter contour barrel, Redfield aperture sights and somebody grafted on a pistol grip.
      It shoots like a dream.

      RS
      I put your sling on my M1A “Scout” today, it works good!
      At 100 yards I shot 3 groups from prone while adjusting the sling and scope. I shot a 1 3/4″ 3 shot group, a 1 5/8″ 3 shot group and a 1″ 4 shot group. Then without adjusting the sling I shot a 2 1/4″ 3 shot group from sitting and a 3″ 3 shot group from kneeling. This at least as good as I can shoot with a loop sling and shooting coat.
      Thanks RS

  6. See what happens when I a get busy for a little bit? you sold out of your first batch. Oh well. Count me in for two out of the second batch. I’ll shoot you an e-mail with the details.

  7. My RS1 finally! arrived today. Very well made, and easy to set up. I haven’t shot with it yet, but in dry fire it seems to be every bit as steady as any good loop sling I have used. This will probably have a permanent place on my primary bolt gun, which is a featherweight M70. So far, I have it set up without the 1/2 twist, which is how I run my slings most of the time. Very comfortable for me, and very fast to sling up with. I suspect that if Col. Cooper had seen this sling, the Ching would not have been born. Can’t wait to take it out and shoot with it.

  8. I should also add that one of the real benefits to me, given that where I live is very cold much of the year, is how big the loop is compared to most other slings I have used. It is much easier to shove your arm through, especially when wearing bulky clothing. A ching sling is about as easy, but that, of course, requires a third swivel. This has to be the easiest to use two point I have ever tried. It’s hard to put down.

  9. My sling arrived at the house today! Unfortunately, I am out of town till Sunday night! Sometimes my luck is not so great. I need to practice shooting more to improve my luck.
    Looking forward to trying it out Christmas week.

  10. Got my sling quickly. RifleSlinger must be turning these out at high speed. What can I say? It’s great. Stripped the GI web sling off my 10/22. Adjusted a bit and ended with a Perfect fit. Same story on my new to me M1 Garand. Awesome. Installed with the half twist, I get a nice tight sling wrap in standing, sitting, and prone with no fiddling with the loops on either the GI web or m1907 sling. Can’t wait to test it out with live fire. The absence of metal hardware to bite at the wrists is also nice. I usually shoot sans jacket with only a pair of elbow pads.

    • Yes, I am making them in OD green, coyote tan, black, A-Tacs AU, A-Tacs FG, and Multicam. I believe I have one black left (although I’m not positive on that). Send me an email if you want to get started on buying one.

  11. This strap looks very impressive. I’ve never really thought about using a non-cinched open loop like that before, but I can see its advantages.

    I actually came across your site while looking for strap material. Would you care to share your supplier? I’m finding it very hard to find a source for good strapping that is USA made!

    thanks

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