Safari (always ready) Rifle Sling

Discussion in 'Hunting Equipment, Gear & Optics' started by dwrowell, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. dwrowell

    dwrowell New Member

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    Has anyone ever used the Safari Rifle Sling?

    A couple of years ago I was hunting elk in my native Montana when I heard a rifle shot just over a ridge from me. I hadn’t been seeing any elk or even any sign of elk in that area, which normally held significant numbers.

    My son and I had seen three mountain lions (A.K.A.: puma, cougar, catamount) leaving their mule deer kill site a few days prior to that morning and lion tracks were in the snow all around the area. I was already blaming the cats for routing the elk population from that favorite elk hunting spot of mine.

    After hearing that shot I was discouraged, thinking that a deer hunter had probably just driven any remaining elk out of the area. So, I immediately headed for my rig, determined to hunt somewhere else for the rest of the season.

    A couple of hours later, while I was packing up my truck, an acquaintance stopped by and asked how hunting was going. I told him that I was discouraged by all the lion sign and sightings. “Was that you that shot?”, I asked. He said, “Yeah. I just shot a lion in self-defense!” He was waiting for the game warden to come so he could show him the unauthorized kill.

    He explained that he was walking through some brush and walked right up on a mountain lion on a fresh deer kill. The lion immediately crouched and was clearly ready to pounce on him to defend its kill. The animal was so close all he could do was point his rifle and fire. (The game warden saw no reason to question his story, so it was a ruled an unavoidable, self-defense kill.)

    I asked him what would have happened if his rifle had been slung on his back. He turned out to be one of those hunters who do not use rifle slings, because they don’t want to be tempted to put their rifles on their backs. For most, it is probably more a desire to not miss a quick shot opportunity on game, so they carry their rifles at the ready without a sling. For this particular hunter, avoidance of a traditionally shouldered rifle now carries a deeper significance.

    I stopped putting my rifle on my back many years ago when I discovered the Safari Rifle Sling in a sporting goods store. I have them on all of my big game rifles and haven’t used a traditional sling since.

    I am not in the business of selling Safari Rifle Slings. In fact, I have a little trouble finding them myself, without an Internet search. After checking the Internet just now I only see one place to buy them: Cabela’s. There are several other rifle slings that are called “safari” slings, but they are all traditional slings.

    I understand how important tradition is, but I just can’t see why the vast majority of hunters prefer to have a gun slung over one shoulder on their backs. I never mastered a fast technique of swinging a shoulder-slung rifle into a ready position. I guess I’m in good company, because the military uses designs similar to the Safari Rifle Sling.

    You can see a photo of my youngest son using a Safari Rifle Sling on my website home page: Elk Hunting: Practical Elk Hunting Tips for the Realistic Hunter. This sling is always at the ready and does not require constant hands-on attention to keep it in place. It might swing back and forth a little while walking, so a light hand keeps it steady. The sling is designed so that the length can be quickly and easily adjusted without removing the sling from the shoulders.

    I would think that more hunters would want this type of “at the ready” sling when hunting dangerous African game. Not to mention the advantage of the increased comfort of having the weight of the rifle spread across a larger area of the shoulders. This type of sling has the option of also slinging the rifle over your back, but I never find a reason for doing that. I like the at-ready convenience and comfort it provides, as well as the safety factor, in case of a bear or mountain lion attack.

    So, what do you guys think? Why is this type of sling not used more? Or, is it and I just don't know it?
     
  2. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    I never seen that kind of sling before or a gun ever carried like that before! It looks interesting and I can see your point of view especially hunting dangerous game. I know Ive been one of the traditionalists who carry their gun on their back and probably will do so around home here in Wisconsin chasing deer, But I'm very apt to buy one on my next trip to Cabela's & try it, It definitely makes sense for Africa especially when you don't know what's lurking around the next corner!!
     
  3. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    Well I have used a sling like the Safari Sling and they are very handy when still hunting. They are not really all that new either, as I remember seeing a similar product close to 30 years ago.

    As for dangerous game...........for follow up after a shot I will never have a sling of any type on my rifle.....not even a safari sling. I do not want anything that can get caught up on brush or me for that matter. While I have not waded in after wounded lions or leopards yet, I have gone in after wounded grizzlies and black bears dozens of times. If you have ever gone after a wounded bear in tag alders or thick hazelnut brush, dwarf birch or the like you would know why no sling and no scope are the norm.

    I have followed up on buffalo in the thick thornbrush in Zimbabwe where you could not see more than 15 or 20 yards. You do not want anything that could hangup.......heck even your clothes can potentially be a problem at times.
     
  4. Gerhard

    Gerhard AH Veteran

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    I have no sling on my rifles.

    Just my personal preference.
     
  5. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I guess I would have to try it out. I know my PH didn't like me slinging my rifle on my back, but I told him I hunted that way for 20 plus years and I have never had a problem. I still do it my way and believe I because it is familiar to me and I'm no rookie...let the issue die. I agree with Skyline..if I'm getting up on something wounded the gun if in both arms and I never let my guard down. I started carrying my gun on my shoulder when I was driving deer at 12 years old and we go through the thickest of swamps...if the gun starts catching to much I carry it in both hands.
     
  6. dwrowell

    dwrowell New Member

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    Bowtech Pro Staff, Slick Trick Pro Staff

    Gerhard,

    I have killed bulls two years in a row using Slick Tricks from a Bow Tech. Good stuff! Are you still part of their staff?
     
  7. 35bore

    35bore AH Elite

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    I was taught still hunting also, but, my grandfather (who taught me) never used a sling and thus , nore do I. After seeing a few pics of safari hunts 20+ yrs ago and grand paws technique I guess I just have never had the need for one. Then again, enysee, once I hit the remote mountain areas of Alaska for my first brown, I am taking one of my old military leather slings, just in case.
     
  8. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Enthusiast

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    I learned to use an old school military shooting sling at Thunder Ranch. We were not just taught position shooting, but also how to sling the weapon and how to get safely and efficiently from a slung to shooting position. I must have been a slow learner because I spent hours of my free time working on it. It takes about a second, and certainly well under two seconds from the slowest position. It does take a bit of instruction and a lot of practice, but it is not slow.

    Now, were I actively in pursuit of something dangerous, I would have the rifle in my hands, and the sling off if given the opportunity. It is faster to have the rifle at the ready and slings can hang up on stuff.

    While it is uncommon to use a shooting sling, I do use one, and do use one in the field if I can. The last was on oryx in Namibia. He was slowly working his way across and any shot was obscured by brush. I hid beside some brush and took a good slung kneeling position with a natural point of aim down an open area that he would eventually cross. When he did, it was a good clean, steady shot. So I like to have the option of a real shooting sling.

    I do think proper instruction is critical to efficiently using one's weapons, and highly advocate spending money on high quality training. I've been to Thunder Ranch and Gunsite, as well as several classes with Louis Awerbuck. I've never failed to learn something new.
     
  9. AllAboutMoose

    AllAboutMoose New Member

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    Hunt Moose with a Safari Sling

    I have seen the Safari Sling in use over many years. Although I have never used one myself (I am a shoulder, or no sling carrier) I can see the advantage as well as the disadvantages of them.

    One day I would like to try them out on a moose hunt. I hunt moose in British Columbia Canada and have taken many over the past 25 or so years with both a rifle and a bow.

    The typical moose hunting rifle would be well suited to one of these slings. Moose are hunted in more open areas than that of the thick brush you may find in Africa, I don't believe the sling would create much of a snagging problem.
    I guess I'll have to get one to see just how good (or not) they would work.

    Has anyone ever used one of the Safari Slings on a moose hunt?
     
  10. BigSteve57

    BigSteve57 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    We put a Safari Sling like you mentioned on my wife's .243 and she likes it.
    However I found it a bit unwieldy walking through woods with the rifle facing outward.

    Also for me, the sling got in the way of the scope or would not slip off the stock sometimes when shouldering the rifle. Maybe it was due to the brand of Safari Sling we have.

    For our Africa trip I took the Safari Ching Sling for our 30-06 and the Vero Vellini Double Sling for my Blaser .375 H&H.

    I did not regret either decision. We could have used a Safari sling but didn't due to the fact my wife and I were sharing the 30-06 and for reasons I mentioned above.
     
  11. BigSteve57

    BigSteve57 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    Bert - I agree. I use the Military sling in service rifle competition. I can't say I ever used the classic military sling hunting - for me there's never been enough time to sling-in and sling-out. But I have used my slings as a "hasty" sling many many times to good effect. I once used the Safari Ching sling we have that way and it worked out.
     

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