I disagree with Jeff Cooper


Dave R
July 23, 2003, 08:14 PM
I guess I shouldn't be surprised by that. But I respect his columns so much, and agree with him so univerally, that it gave me pause. (I got a G&A while I was stuck at the airport and read his current column.)

He says "Please remember that there is no use whatever for a shooting sling in an unsupported position, either offhand or standing...[useful only if] your left elbow is resting against something solid."

Absolutely untrue.

Try holding a rifle offhand, with a scope on the target, and "measure" your wander. Now try the same drill with your sling used properly. Should cut your "wander" in half.

Try sitting position, no sling. Measure your wander. Try with sling. Wander again should be cut in half.

If you are used to a shooting sling, you can wrap that arm as you raise the rifle and the time penalty for using it is nearly zero. Accuracy is improved. Its the best way to shoot offhand.

Tried it a coupla times this spring when I was doing the "walking for priarie dogs" routine. When they got skittish, and I didn't think they'd stay up while I sat down, I shot offhand with sling. Didn't hit 'em all, but got more than I would have if I had not used a sling.

When they were not so skittish, and I could sit, elbows on knees, and use the sling, I didn't miss much at all. Sitting with sling is a lot more stable than sitting with no sling.

I still love the Colonel, but he was wrong on that one.

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Phil in Seattle
July 23, 2003, 08:26 PM
I saw that too Dave, and honestly I had to think that some copy editor got a hold of it and mangled it badly.

(Read it in the grocery store)

July 23, 2003, 09:31 PM
For what it's worth, he says essentially the same thing on p.42 in "The Art of the Rifle."

To quote: "The sling is not used from either the standing or offhand position. In my youth several coaches encouraged what was called the "hasty sling." It never did anything for me, and it is geometrically unsound. If you are hunting thick country, in fog or at night, it is best to take the sling off your rifle and thread it through your waist belt. It may be useful for packing out your meat if you are successful, but it will do nothing for your shooting."

Not taking sides here. I'm skeptical as well.


July 23, 2003, 09:36 PM
When they were not so skittish, and I could sit, elbows on knees, and use the sling, I didn't miss much at all. Sitting with sling is a lot more stable than sitting with no sling.

Here, the Colonel would agree with you. He's referring to "unsupported" positions. Seated, elbows on knees, is a supported position, and is illustrated with appropriate use of the sling in two photos on page 37 in "The Art of the Rifle."


July 23, 2003, 10:54 PM
Careful, now... ;)

I was accused of 'character assassination' on another board for calling into question some of the things gunwriters say that I found either confusing, irritating, or just disagreed with.

I even admitted to being the novice that I am, which that special someone took as a green light to get 'testy'... :D

Oh, well!
Everyone who reads about guns or frequents firearms boards can't agree on everything.
It's a time proven fact.

Will Fennell
July 23, 2003, 11:15 PM
If your elbows are supported, the shooting sling works. If your elbow is not supported[resting on the ground, or your knee,ect] then better shooting can be done without the use of the sling, by using proper technique[postion and form].

Now, as to pistol scopes mounted on the barrel of bolt action major caliber rifles being the prefereed way to site a general purpose rifle, I have to disagree:scrutiny: with the Good Guru.

We musta argueed for an hour at the Shot Show years ago about that one!

Art Eatman
July 23, 2003, 11:42 PM
Yeah, I read that and was rather surprised. From the offhand position, I've found that even just the hasty sling is helpful. With a Garand, the military-style lashup is pretty solid.

Oh, well. I once noted he advocated not taking a shot at game beyond 200 yards or so. A lot of the places around here that I've hunted, that would turn you into a vegetarian, for sure. :D


July 23, 2003, 11:55 PM
Once you go thru a Gunsite rifle course you will see the light. Remember he said not counting classic target shooting with a special jacket and hand grip where a Target sling does work!;)

July 24, 2003, 12:04 AM
Wait a minute.
Since when are we allowed to disagree with Jeff Cooper ?

Mike Irwin
July 24, 2003, 12:41 AM

Just another thing that the good Col. and I disagree on...

I'm not saying another word. Last time I did, I was accused of some VERY horrible things by the Cooperites...

July 24, 2003, 12:46 AM
Ah come on Mike, I was just waiting to accuse you of some horrible things.

Mike Irwin
July 24, 2003, 12:49 AM
Why wait?

Start now and beat the Christmas rush...

July 24, 2003, 01:01 AM
I disagree with him on MANY points. I defer to him in others.

Like the whole 'scout rifle' thing. Who is it for? Crusty old curmudgeons that can't handle humping a full sized dedicated bolt gun through the bush to make miraculous one shot stops on bad guys in this day an age the good guys are backed up with armor, helicopters and all manner of whup-????

Stripper clips? How retro. Foward mounting the scope? Why not just use a lever gun?

I could go on.

Oh wait I forgot, the everyman scout rifle cost 1500 bucks. So much for everyman.

Still I like his curmudgeonly style, referring to himself in the plural etc. He's a great writer and a knowledgeable guy.

We are pleased. But we reserve the right to disagree.

July 24, 2003, 01:01 AM
I was reading a book about photography the other day, and it mentioned that photographers in the 19th century sometimes used an alternative to a tripod that they called a "chain pod." They would take a length of narrow chain about six feet long, attach one end to the camera, and let the other end drop to the ground. Then, by stepping on the loose end of the chain on the ground and pulling the camera up until the chain was taut, they would add stability to their hold on the camera and take better shots. I wonder if this would work for a rifle.

July 24, 2003, 01:11 AM
I was having a conversation about this whole scout rifle thing the other day. On the surface, I think it is a heck of an idea. It seems to me that it was the product of one a conversation (or many conversations) about the one perfect rifle for all purposes. Now there is no one rifle that does everything great. So, you design a rifle that does everything decent. It is light enough to carry all day without wearing you out. It is accurate. It is in a caliber that is suitable for big game animals other than dangerous game and will work with dangerous game if you have the guts. It can be used fairly well for personal defense or military combat. The optic allows you to hit at reasonable ranges.............. Lessor rifles have been used for all of these purposes and still are. The problem is that very few of us want only one rifle to do everything. As gun lovers, we want a variety of guns, each specialized for one purpose. I know I have a few varmint rifles, a few big game rifles for deer and antelope sized game, and a .338 for elk and bigger. In reality, I could do all that with a scout rifle. I have big scopes on most of them, but people hunted game for years with iron sights and did OK. Besides, if people can shoot at ranges in excess of 600 yards with iron sights, surely a good shot could do the same with a 2X scope.
It is an interesting concept. We have all had conversations about the best rifle, or the "if I could only own one rifle....". Cooper actually had one built and marketed it. That is the big thing I like about it.
For any use of the rifle you name, there is something else that can do the job better, but this rifle is about versitility.

July 24, 2003, 01:20 AM
Personally I don't see much use in using a sling as an accuracy aid in the standing position. But I am comming from a leo position where my training deals mostly with cqb uses of carbines and rifles. All of our shooting takes place inside 100 yards. If I had to shoot in an excess of 200 yards I would definately go to a braced kneeling, sitting or prone position.

I don't doubt the proper use of a sling can cut your group size. My point is if the target is that far away would you not be better served by going to a good kneeling, sitting or prone position and reduce your target profile. If he is close then the aid the sling gives is neglidgable. I just believe the time spent on getting the sling nice and tight would be better spent moving to a better position for a long shot.

July 24, 2003, 01:38 AM
444, you're right on - the key to the Scout rifle is versatility. After I got my Steyr Scout, I retired half-a-dozen other bolt rifles for which I no longer had any realistic use. I traded one for a Savage Scout (as backup for the Steyr - can't afford two of them! :D ), and sold or traded the rest to get other guns. My only bolt-action rifles now are the two Scouts. They really are that versatile! I took my Scouts to the General Purpose Rifle course at Thunder Ranch, and was one of only two shooters (out of 24) to "clean" the Jungle Walk with first-round hits on every target. The Scout made it much easier.

I also agree with the good Colonel about the limits of effective range. In Africa, we used to see overseas hunters blazing away at long range (anything over 250-300 yards), and the results were miserable... many wounded animals, bullets that had lost so much energy "way out there" that they could no longer kill cleanly, or expand as intended, etc. I learned early on that for the sake of a clean kill, my shooting was best limited to 300 yards or less - and preferably within 200 yards. Fieldcraft gets you there.

All the same, I still enjoy hunting with lever-action rifles, in .30-30, .44 Magnum and .45-70. There's a bit of a nostalgia trip in it for me, I admit, but these rifles are as capable as any bolt gun at short to medium ranges (out to 150 yards or so - a bit more with the .30-30). I've mounted a Leupold Scout Scope on a Marlin 336, using the Express Sights forward scope mount, and it's as versatile (within its range limitations) as the Steyr Scout.

July 24, 2003, 01:47 AM
Ahh...but I agree completely with Cooper in this case. Why? Generally, if you have time to sling up, you have time to enter a supported position. Hence using the sling in unsupported standing is just extraneous. The only, and I mean only, case where one would use a sling unsupported would be shooting over high grass while alone and without a tree or stick anywhere to be found.

cracked butt
July 24, 2003, 02:10 AM
Generally, if you have time to sling up, you have time to enter a supported position. Hence using the sling in unsupported standing is just extraneous.

What if there is a situation where you could use a sling- such as when someone bets you $10 that you couldn't hit a soda can at 100 yards with your '06 on the first shot? Here's a good place to use the hasty sling to ensure that you collect yoru $10:D

"Please remember that there is no use whatever for a shooting sling in an unsupported position, either offhand or standing...[useful only if] your left elbow is resting against something solid."

If you rest your left elbow against the bottom of your ribcage, your rifle is supported by your bone structure, using a hasty sling in such a position holds the butt into your shoulder so you don't have to support the rifle at all with your right hand. The only thing unsolid about this position is the wobblies in the legs. Even in a hunting situation, if you carry the rifle in a ready position with your arm through the sling, you can forgo the 'target shooting stance' and still have the advantage of the sling keeping the butt of the rifle tight against your shoulder, enhancing accuracy- the only problem comes when the sling is too tight in which case it will pull the butt away from your shoulder, causing more problems than without the sling.

Mike Irwin
July 24, 2003, 03:05 AM
I actually find it to be MUCH faster to sling up.

The sling is right there. You're not having to search for something, somewhere, that will offer a proper support.

If you adjust the length of the sling before hand, a simple "looping" movement of the left arm through the sling and back around will give a very nice tension fit.

Elapsed time is literally about 2 seconds.

July 24, 2003, 03:24 AM
My grandfather was a war hero as well, knew a lot about weapons and fighting, and taught me a lot about the shooting sports.

At the end of his life, though, he was a gibbering, drooling senile old man. It was truly tragic.

I guess the point of the post is, you have to be willing to separate a lifetime of wisdom from random geriatric ramblings. It's unrealistic to expect every word that comes out the man's mouth to be gospel until the day he dies.

July 24, 2003, 07:50 AM
NMcCall may have something there. :D

July 24, 2003, 07:53 AM
Cooper is still pretty sharp. I actually had a chance to meet Cooper within the last couple weeks. I took a Gunsite course that was supposed to be taught by him, but he has now offically retired. However, he came over to the range one afternoon and sat and talked with the class for about an hour. We asked him about the scout rifle, about current affiars, what he thinks about the current military weaponry, I asked him to tell the story of the German tank killing pilot during WWII, someone else had him tell the story of the last lion he took. He seemed pretty with it to me.

I think the Colonel has always made statements that not everybody agreed with. Some have been quite outrageious (sp). In the past, those who didn't agree with him just passed this off as the fact that he is a jerk or whatever. Now, when they don't agree with him they can say he is senile.

I have read a lot of Cooper's writings, and haven't agreed with all of it. But it is refreashing to find people today who arn't afraid to speak their mind, and who are not worried in the least about offending anyone. He has an opinion and isn't afraid to give it. And, unlike most people, he has put in the time to try most of this stuff out.

This scout rifle thing is a good example of Cooper to me. I first started reading about this possibly 10-15 years go, maybe longer. The idea goes totally against the ideas of most gun owners and hunters. It can't be a hunting rifle because it doesn't have a big scope on it to make the 800 yard shots we hear so much about, it can't be for self defense because it isn't semi-auto and doesn't have a big magazine, there is no way one rifle could replace a whole safe full of rifles.............
But, if you put aside your pre-concieved notions about rifles, and start to really think about it, it makes sense, or is at least a novel idea. Cooper could never have been accused of being mainstream. He still isn't. To me, that is the appeal. Like him or not; agree with him or not; he isn't just a parrot repeating the same "wisdom" as everyone else. And over the years some of it has been proven out.

July 24, 2003, 08:05 AM
Good point. I have to give Cooper credit for THINKING for himself. That exceeds the performance of at least 80% of everybody else in the general population.

July 24, 2003, 08:07 AM
He has an opinion and isn't afraid to give it. And, unlike most people, he has put in the time to try most of this stuff out.

Agreed completely, and I'm not copping out by saying he's senile or whatnot. I have an enormous amount of respect for Col. Cooper, I think he's been a cornerstone of a lot of what we have today in regards to the shooting sports.

Frankly, I disagree simply based on my personal experience with offhand sling shooting, I think it's a great benefit. My opinion, nothing more. Everyone should take this and all other advice, collate it, sift through, and see what works for them.

G. Glock
July 24, 2003, 08:17 AM
I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other; I tend not to use slings except for carrying a firearm.

HOWEVER, I think we must never be afraid to disagree with ANY "expert." I'm an admirer of Jeff Cooper, too, but I wouldn't hesitate to disagree with him if my experience and sense take me in that direction.

I like G. Gordon Liddy, but on occasion I hear him pontificating in an area where he has no expertise and just makes no sense. We have enough "mental robots" in today's society; we shooters tend to be some of the last great individualists on the planet.

Nobody's opinion is sacred to me, but I sure do try to disagree agreeably when I disagree with someone. I think we have a few too many "keyboard commandos" around the country who feel obligated to attack anyone who offers a differing view.

My .02 worth.

July 24, 2003, 09:58 AM

Agreed that taking a sling is quite fast, but going to rice paddy prone is even faster most of the time. Or instead of going for speed, one can try to take the time to assume a good field shooting position. If the animal breaks into a run or is only visible for a second, then one would probably do an offhand shot instead of a formal standing position.

July 24, 2003, 10:25 AM
Yep, sift through it and see what works for you.

I wondered the same thing and tried it both ways and found that (for me) using a sling offhand only marginally helped if any but getting into rice paddy prone made a big difference and was quick to get into.

Art Eatman
July 24, 2003, 10:58 AM
I grew up with the editorial "we", so Cooper's style is at worst amusing to me. I really don't notice it. Besides, the content is far more important.

Most of my hunting has been for deer. The country I've been in has mostly been brushy, with a lot of it being gently rolling. If you're not standing erect, you won't see anything. A lot of the time, the only available shot has been on a running buck. On a running buck, I've never used the sling at all. For a nice, volunteer critter that just stands and looks at me, I'll go to the hasty sling as I throw down on him.

As usual, it's circumstance. There just ain't no "one size fits all."

:), Art

Mike Irwin
July 24, 2003, 11:42 AM
"but going to rice paddy prone is even faster most of the time."

Disagree on the relative speed. Unless you're a competitive shooter used to bellying out and coming to shoulder for the rapid fire rounds, keeping your feet is going to be faster for most people.

Dropping to a kneeling position, or sitting position, would I think be faster and as solid, and you can be twining the sling on the way down.

It's also not hard at all to have the sling already twined around your arm wtih the gun at port arms position.

As for Cooper's mental faculties, I believe he's not senile, and is in fact about as sane and rational as he's ever been.....

July 24, 2003, 12:46 PM
Give him a 10 lb. bolt action military surplus rifle and see if he changes his mind after a string of 100 rounds! I bet he would.

July 24, 2003, 12:56 PM
Mike, Rice Paddy Prone TM is simply a squat; sitting on yer haunches.

Byron Quick
July 24, 2003, 01:33 PM
wondered the same thing and tried it both ways and found that (for me) using a sling offhand only marginally helped if any but getting into rice paddy prone made a big difference and was quick to get into.

I hunt in eastern central Georgia. Swamps and abandoned farms. Broomsage, volunteer pines and oak scrub in the abandoned fields. When you see animals from a standing position, going to a squat generally gets you a nice view of broomsage, and palmettos instead of the animal.

I've found the hasty sling helps.

July 24, 2003, 03:11 PM
Jeff is just plain wrong on this!

Maybe he's just too old to hold a rifle steady enough to make a hasty sling worthwhile for him. It sure works for me.


July 24, 2003, 03:18 PM
Adjust your sling so that it is a little shorter than it would normally be. You want it adjusted so that if you shoot from a standing offhand position, you can effortlessly put your left elbow (right handed shooter) inside the sling and by pulling to the left a tad, put pressure on the rifle.

This is a pretty steady hold, instantaneous to assume, and it "feels right." This isn't as good as any of the classic rifle positions, but for field use (for hunting) it's very quick and "good enough." And of course, the sling can still be used for simply carrying the rifle without any further adjustments.

I've always called this the "hasty sling", though perhaps that term refers to something else.


Byron Quick
July 24, 2003, 03:25 PM
While I'm in the disagree column with Col. Cooper in this matter...I am confident that the Colonel had enough experience with his rifle as a much younger man to form his present opinion. I seriously doubt that his opinion is due to old age or any infirmities he may be experiencing as as result.

However, there is a possible explanation. The man might have practiced so much for so long that his offhand hold experiences no improvement with the use of the hasty sling.:what:

HOWEVER, I think we must never be afraid to disagree with ANY "expert."

Depends. You might want to hesitate about disagreeing with your scuba, skydiving, or flight instructors...the penalties for being incorrect with your disagreement are quite stiff. Likewise, your neurosurgeon or even your electrician.

July 24, 2003, 03:52 PM
The hasty sling has helped me kill a number of antelope, even unsupported. I have a way of walking in the filed with my left arm through the sling, its also possible to go into a hasty sling from "African Carry" but it takes practice.

July 24, 2003, 06:55 PM
I have to ask, I dont read Coopers articles, but I always wondered, why he chose a bolt gun for his "scout style "rifle. Is there a cut and dried answer? Thanx-

George Hill
July 24, 2003, 07:07 PM
While I do sometimes disagree with him, I am a fan. I admire the man a great deal. I've read and reread all his books save one "Another Country". I have The Sprit and the Soul autographed.

If anything... Cooper is a man out of his time. They don't make them like that anymore. Just appreciate him for who he is and what he has done for us.

July 24, 2003, 07:19 PM
Cooper didn't choose a bolt action. He only says it has to be under six pounds. Semi's are too heavy to make that weight.


Art Eatman
July 24, 2003, 07:23 PM
The thing about Cooper is that his writings span all manner of guns, his hunting adventures and his opinions on a gazillion other things. I'd have to say that his batting average is real high. If I disagree with a dozen of his opinions, I'm still in accord with a thousand others. :)

Fatelvis, you're missing a lot of chuckles by not reading Cooper's stuff. A lot of his comments are absolutely hilarious. He has a dry wit in his pin-jabbing at hoplophobes and other idjits.

As for the Scout Rifle, the design parameters include a medium cartridge in a one-meter-long repeating rifle weighing no more than seven pounds when fully loaded and dressed out. The forward mount, low power scope is his solution for the most rapid target acquisition. Simplicity, reliability and ease of maintenance enter in to the equation. Thus the bolt action instead of a semi-auto.

This package is not at all intended as a combat rifle. A scout is a hunter; a hunter is a scout. The probable targets differ, is all. Regardless, neither wants to be seen during the mission.


Dave R
July 24, 2003, 07:30 PM
George, I'm also a fan. That's why I was truly surprised to say to myself "Hmmm, he's wrong on that point". Never thought I'd hear myself think that.

I'm still a fan. I doubt there's anyone I agree with on every point. Vive la difference...diversity...all that stuff. (Hmmm, if I found someone I agreed with on every point, I'd be tempted to think that person a clone.)

Daniel Flory: ''The only, and I mean only, case where one would use a sling unsupported would be shooting over high grass while alone and without a tree or stick anywhere to be found."

That's precisely the case in some hunting situations, such as I described in my opener, and Art and others described.

My point is, try it sometime. Offhand, unsupported, with a "hasty sling" is noticeably steadier than plain offhand.

And who said geometrically unsound? Not so. The sling gives you a 2nd vector of force resisting random motion in a 2nd plane. Your hand on the forearm resists vertical movement (and causes some). The force of the tight sling to the side dampens horizontal movement, and seems to me to dampen some vertical, as well.

July 24, 2003, 10:49 PM
Very interesting thread! When I saw the good Colonel's opinion on unsupported sling positions, I thought it was a misprint too. It goes against my own (comparatively limited, mind you) experience, where I've found that the "hasty sling" offers a measure of steadiness as opposed to shooting offhand without a sling. Maybe this is all in my mind however...

As far as the Scout concept goes, I've heard the good & bad about it (what did Gale McMillan call it--a pistol shooter's idea of what a rifle should be? Something like that, anyhow; guess he didn't buy the concept.) and was intrigued enough by the idea to purchase a Savage Scout. Very versatile rifle, no doubt about it, and is the closest thing I've ever seen to a true "one-size-fits-all" rifle. I respect Col. Cooper and enjoy his writing very much, but you're gonna be hard pressed to put me in the "Jeff Cooper is God" camp. He's a man who has opinions & is not afraid to express them, I'm interested in (and agree with most of) his opinions but am not about to treat them as Holy Scripture.

shoot straight

July 25, 2003, 01:35 AM
I learned a few years ago to carry my rifle muzzle down on my left shoulder.
When I shoulder the rifle (a Scout) the sling is wrapped around my arm and everything is tight.
It does make a difference, but only if the sling is so tight that you almost have to wedge yourself into the gun.
It also helps me with controlling my AK during rapid firing.
I brace the sling around my arm and hang on and the sling does help keep the gun from jumping as far away during recoil.

The Colonel does have alot of useful knowledge, much of it from his experience.
I value that knowledge, but I also value my own experience.
Mine tells me that the sling can help.
Offhand is about as unstable of a shooting position as you can get. I was taught at an early age that even a dead tree, a sapling, a tall enough stump, anything is better than plain offhand. Perhaps the idea was to dissuade shooters from shooting offhand at all unless they absolutely had to. That would be good advice.
Bottom line: Shoot your rifle, figure out what works for you and do it that way.

cracked butt
July 25, 2003, 11:57 PM
Perhaps the idea was to dissuade shooters from shooting offhand at all unless they absolutely had to.

I think you are very close to the truth about offhand rifle shooting.:D

On every gun board I visit, everyone brags about how their new hunting rifle shoots from a benchrest and how it shoots sub-moa groups. I always ask, how does it shoot from a standing or sitting position that might actually be used in a hunting situation:neener:

I would say that the majority of hunters go to the range, shoot a dozen or so shots off the bench and then call it good for hunting season. A paper plate target may be childs play to hit from a bench rest with just about any rifle, but becomes a much greater challenge when it has to be shot from a standing position. People do not like to practice offhand because it takes a long time and thousands of shots to get good at it and strengthen the proper muscles and give them the memory to be able to hold steady from the position. It also looks bad when they can only hit a pie plate 3 or 4 times out of ten at 100 yards from the position- its kind of a personal checkup on their shooting skills- kind of facing themselves in a mirror in a way. Its much easier to shoot pretty and tight groups and feel good about yourself when you leave the range.

I also notice this shooting highpower rifle where you cannot use a sling for standing. Alot of the marksmen could be shooting sharpshooter or expert classification if they worked on the standing position, but its just not fun to practice. I have a similar but opposite problem- I love to shoot from a standing position and am very good at it because I practice it 10x as much as any other position, but I generally suck at the sitting position, because its uncomfortable for me to get into and have done poorly on it in the past therefore I don't practice it anywhere near enough.:uhoh:

July 26, 2003, 10:08 AM
I have shot offhand with both a hasty sling and without. I don't find there to be much difference. Since I started shooting highpower last year my offhand shooting has improved tremendously! (both with and without the coat, mitt, etc.) We are all capable of much better offhand shooting than most think possible with practice. (as long as you are practicing proper technique!)

I think Cooper's comment comes from a highly accomplished rifleman. Until I reach his level of expertise I don't feel comfortable passing judgment on this comment.

I am a big fan of the scout rifle. I built a pseudo scout on a #5 Enfield and it works well for me. It is my favorite hunting rifle and I feel is near perfect for hunting here in PA. (see it at www.303british.com "Saving A Burnt Out Jungle Carbine") I had considered the purchase of a Styer Scout earlier this year but I just couldn't justify the price. I'd love to run a GPR course with it at Gunsite!

Atlas Shrug
July 26, 2003, 11:39 AM
OK folks, since I've just registered and this is my second post, let me throw out a few details that I base my comments on:

-I've shot smallbore rifle (3 position - Olympic style) for thirty years
-I currently coach at the college level
-I've shot highpower off and on
-I recognize that the above are all "games"
-I recognize that many fundamentals are best learned/taught through these games
-I've taken Practical Rifle (and pistol) under Jeff Cooper at Whittington
-I've also trained with others (eg. Louis Awerbuck)
-I've read most of Jeff Cooper's writings
-I know how to use a sling (Olympic, 1907, Ching, hasty)
-I have an open mind and look at things objectively
-I have corresponded and dined with Cooper, but I don't "worship" him
-I have and love a Steyr Scout, but also play with pseudo scouts, M1s, etc.
-I tote a rifle in the woods whenever I can, which ain't often enough....

All of that said, I think the essence is that IF (big "if" here) you are doing things correctly, then a sling will not help in offhand/standing.

My reasons for saying this:

1. If you can get lower, get lower
2. If you can get closer, get closer (OK, both from Cooper)
3. Bone supported sling positions should be used whenever possible
4. If you MUST stand, then it's for one of these reasons:
a. It is a snap shot - no sling will help this
b. It is a moving shot - no sling will help this
c. It is an unrushed shot and you cannot find or get to a support

In c. above, a proper (again, a big leap) standing position will yield a better shot than trying to use a sling. Use of a sling as many have described will result in an increase in muscle tension - BAD for shooting stability. You must be as relaxed as possible for maximum accuracy.

Having said all of this, some have stated specific cases where a sling may actually stabilize. One such case being during rapid fire, which from standing by definition will not be accurate and has no real world use that I can think of (even in the military - covering fire of that type does not have precision as it's main goal). While it _may_ help if you are shooting rapid fire at drink cans at the bottom of a berm (and maybe not), while fun, this accomplishes nothing. I will submit that it won't help you train for either a real snap shot or a deliberate standing shot, both of which have real world applications. I'm sure that it's great fun, though. Nothing wrong with fun, it's just not important to Cooper, to whom rifle work is very, very serious.

As a personal comment, I have noticed a "dampening" effect when standing with a sling used around my back and left arm (bastardized combo of team sling and hasty sling). I do intend to test this some time to see if it really helps. I expect that for deliberate standing fire, it will not help, but for a standing "pray and spray" approach, it will help get back on target faster and perhaps tighten things up. I just can't see where that latter buys you anything from a practical perspective. I will, however, evaluate it objectively and report if I learn anything new from it.

Keep the perspective of the statement in mind here. As many of you know, often when Cooper speaks/writes, he does not fill in all of the details. If it doesn't matter to what he's commenting on, then he leaves it out, expecting the objective, thinking reader to be able to discern what is germane and what isn't. He tends not to comment much on what is not germane. Thus you may see no comments whatsoever on areas that he can't see as productive. I think that some of this is going on with the current subject.

All of this is of course MHO, but with the notation of some experience as stated above. I hope that no one takes anything as criticism, merely my view of the issue. Pardon the length of my contribution. This is a subject that I care about a great deal, and will continue to study.

Also, I really love shooting standing!

Art Eatman
July 26, 2003, 12:19 PM
Hey, welcome to THR, Atlas! Glad to have you here. You brought out some good points.

I commonly bring up the "no one size fits all" thing, because I truly believe that. For instance, I've always had bad/weak/arthritic shoulders. I find that the hasty sling helps me hold a rifle more steady in the offhand position--but that's just me, and might well not matter to others...

:), Art

July 26, 2003, 12:26 PM
I think it may depend on the rifle as well.
With my Scout, the sling tends to help.
With my Mosin-Nagants it almost seems detrimental. They already have great balance, so they pretty much stay where you point them until fatigue starts to set in.
That is another point: You should shoot as soon as you can without hurrying. Get the sights or crosshairs where they need to be and shoot.
The more you screw around, the more you wobble.

Atlas Shrug
July 26, 2003, 12:32 PM

Thanks for the welcome.

Hey - if it works for you (not just you _think_ that it works for you), that's great - use it and go for it!

While we all know that believing in a solution is a necessary condition for something to work, it's not a sufficient condition for success. It also must be based on some objective measure (ie actually work/improve). It sounds like in your case it's the offset of an arthritic condition that is the actual part. That, along with confidence and a positive outlook, hopefully will get you where you are trying to go, so to speak.

Atlas Shrug
July 26, 2003, 12:42 PM

You comment on one thing and bring up another - both good.

1. Fatigue. If using a proper standing position that one has practiced adequately and often, fatigue will not be an issue. (This is based on the extreme example that I'm most familiar with - using a 12-14 pound rifle to shoot 40-80 shots in 1-2 hours. It applies even more when taking only a few shots, or even one shot. Fatigue means you're not doing it correctly, or you've not practice much, or both.)

2. Holding too long (aka "over hold"). You should take the shot when your movement is even and centered on the target - so long as you still have a proper trigger squeeze and follow through. Trying to be too aggressive on the moving sight picture often yields a poor (or nonexistant) trigger squeeze, a bad follow through, or both.

Thus the answer, as always, is to practice the correct fundamentals, and to practice them over and over and over.......just remember, it's fun!

Many of the band aid approaches are merely a short term effort to fix a long term problem. While they may help in the short run, the true answer lies in the fundamentals mastered.

Lovely thread!

July 26, 2003, 01:45 PM
OK, now I will demonstrate more of my ignorance.

How DOES one "properly use" a sling?

Does one begin with a sling which is slack enough so that one can carry the rifle over the shoulder (typical military carry)? Or tight?

ETc., Etc.

July 26, 2003, 08:39 PM

Great points!

July 27, 2003, 11:17 AM
Atlas said it--

All of that said, I think the essence is that IF (big "if" here) you are doing things correctly, then a sling will not help in offhand/standing.

This probably explains the entire situation. The fact that using the hasty sling helps me may very well mean my technique is wrong. I definitely need to take a practical rifle course from somebody who knows what they're doing...

ninenot, I do believe you'll find the answers you seek (with accompanying illustrations) in Jeff Cooper's "The Art of the Rifle." In this case, I do believe a picture is worth a thousand words.

This is the most informative/practical thread I've seen in a while!

shoot straight

July 27, 2003, 12:52 PM
OK, now I will demonstrate more of my ignorance.
How DOES one "properly use" a sling?
Does one begin with a sling which is slack enough so that one can carry the rifle over the shoulder (typical military carry)? Or tight?

First off, you use the sling by:
1. Hold the rifle with your firing hand where it belongs,
2. Stick your other arm through the loop that is made by the sling hanging down from the rifle and reach through until the sling is behind your elbow.
3. Run your hand around the sling again, then grab the forearm.

The sling will now be wrapped around your are behind the elbow, and again near your hand.
Then you shoulder the rifle. You should be able to hold the rifle comfortably, but you should sort of have to wedge it in against your shoulder.
That is how I have always done it and it does work for me in most cases.
It is like anything else. It is just a tool to help you make the shot.
After you try it, you will figure out how to adjust your sling.

Atlas Shrug
July 27, 2003, 03:22 PM
Goon does a good job of describing how to implement a hasty sling approach utilizing a general carry type sling/strap. This is what most rifles have, particularly hunting set ups.

However, the real problem is that such a sling is never better than mediocre when trying for true sling support. For a properly supported rifle, you need these things:

1. The knowledge of the position that you are in (not as common as it ought to be - not by a long shot)
2. A sling set up for such support
3. An understanding of how to make 1 and 2 work together.

Let's assume that you've learned #1 (again, sadly many have not - we need more position rifle shooters, especially juniors - that's THE BEST place to learn). Then you need a good sling. International/Olympic style slings do the best job, but they do no other job well and are useful only on a target range. The more common 1907 type sling used often in high power can do good use for targets and carry, but is a bit slow to get into in the field. The web (or nylon) military slings can be OK, but should be unhooked for shooting positions and then hooked back to the rifle for carry (plus they have a noisy metal hook - bad for the bush). For field carry and quick slinging up, the Ching Sling is impossible to beat, IMHO. Cooper has written extensively on these, and inventor Eric Ching posts on this board from time to time).

Anything else is just a carry strap.

Thus, my recommendations:

- for the shooter with a M1A or Garand or the like, use a 1907 sling (try the new synthetic one from Turner Saddlery for all weather aspects) an alternative being the web sling if not going in the bush much

- for a shooter with a bolt gun, use the Ching Sling (again, unless the only use is range work, then 1907 can suffice)

- if you're shooting an AR, well, just a carry strap (or team sling*). Unless you have a match oriented forend that floats the bbl. a good tight sling will likely flex the bbl. and string shots around (not my experience, based on others as I do not own an AR)

- if you don't know how to get in a correct position.....hmm...get involved with a local junior program (if one does not exist, call the NRA for help and then START ONE), volunteer your time, learn what the good coaches do to get folks in position, read up on it, then try it yourself. NEVER assume that you have it right unless you've tried some path such as this. I've seen people try to get into kneeling using THE WRONG KNEE.......horrible image.

Again, all in my humble (but somewhat informed) opinion,

* This makes no mention of the carbine influenced Team Sling setup, as it is very difficult for these to offer any true sling support. I keep trying to get this to work, but I've not found a satisfactory method - yet.

July 27, 2003, 03:59 PM
Apples and oranges - target shooting and hunting.

It would be very nice if while in the field we always had level ground (without intervening underbrush), or a convenient tree to use as a rest.
It would be even nicer if we could cover mountainous, wet, rocky, slippery, uneven terrain without the use of our hands - that way we could keep ourselves wrapped up in the sling "properly" and ready to shoot at all times. Or, maybe we could just educate game to delay their departure so we could assume the proper positions...

Sorry for the sarcasm, but anyone who has hunted outside of a flatland game farm or tree stand knows that the only proper place for your rifle is on your shoulder. That being the case, you will at times find the need to assume a fast position for a standing shot when the game and the terrain conspire against you.

If you can't shoot well unsupported (or better, with a "hasty sling"), then you should practice until you can or be prepared to pass up many of the hunting shots you'll get.

And by "shooting well" I mean quickly and consistently hit a pie plate at 100 yards from a standing position. You don't have to put a cloverleaf on the "X" to put a round through a deer or elks ribs at normal hunting ranges.


Atlas Shrug
July 27, 2003, 04:41 PM

You may be a bit quick to nitpick here. The question originally posed did not make mention of hunting or target use. My response consequently covered both. I pointed out what works best in the field and what works best on the range (IMO). Or at least I attempted to. I reread my post and didn't notice and Orapples or Apanges.

I will stand by everything that I said. I also may have to disagree with one statement that you made, depending upon exactly what you meant by it: "anyone who has hunted outside of a flatland game farm or tree stand knows that the only proper place for your rifle is on your shoulder." Unless I'm really missing your point, this is wrong. I don't know anyone who walks around with the rifle in their shoulder. If you're stalking, the butt of the rifle should be on your hip, the muzzle at eye level, and your eyes scan with the muzzle. The rifle IN your shoulder either blocks the view of the game, the ground, or both, thus it's dangerous and counterproductive.

If, however, you meant that the rifle should be slung ON your shoulder while moving across larger areas, then I generally agree. I'll have mine in a Ching Sling African carry style. I'm really not sure what you meant here, thus my dual responses.

I do, however, wholeheartedly agree with another statement of yours (well, except with perhaps the hasty sling part depending upon what you meant by it):

"If you can't shoot well unsupported (or better, with a "hasty sling"), then you should practice until you can or be prepared to pass up many of the hunting shots you'll get.

And by "shooting well" I mean quickly and consistently hit a pie plate at 100 yards from a standing position. You don't have to put a cloverleaf on the "X" to put a round through a deer or elks ribs at normal hunting ranges."

I would only add that this is in addition to knowing how to shoot out of positions, not instead of such knowledge. IMHO, the main reason that folks miss in the field is that they try to shoot unsupported in a manner above their abilities. Sadder yet, few ever even try to get into a supported position, which would often alleviate the need of such skill in an unsupported mode.

I of course recommend that all be skilled in both supported and unsupported positions. My contention is that many who should know better are woefully lacking in knowledge and practice of supported positions. They DO have their place in the field, but they are not the ONLY skill needed in the field. Like the martial artists say, you should sharpen the full length of your blade. That's what I've tried to do, and what I encourage others to do.

July 27, 2003, 05:21 PM
It was manditory to use a hasty sling on the KD course in the Corps.

It works, using isometric tention. It steadys the rifle by locking your support arm in place.

It works! I have shot with and without the sling and can vouch for its advantage.

July 27, 2003, 05:45 PM
I meant "hanging from" your shoulder by a sling, so that your hands are free to help you climb, maintain your balance, etc. If you try and make your way across most good hunting terrain clutching your rifle in your hands, you are likely to be found at the bottom of a ravine with a broken neck. If you're hunting the edge of corn fields in the midwest (or whatever), that may not apply.

In the real world, a slings primary purpose is to allow you to carry your rifle without breaking your neck in the awful terrain that most North American big game seems to favor.

After reading all this, I'm not really sure I know what a "hasty sling" is. What I call (perhaps wrongly) a hasty sling is just a standard sporting sling adjusted so that you can push your left elbow out against it to help steady the rifle. In most cases that just means adjusting it a bit tighter than your normally would, and then practicing from that position. If that isn't a "hasty sling" then I don't want one.

I hunted with some guy a few years ago who had some bizarre modern sling that held his rifle across his chest. And from that position he could pull it up to his shoulder and get a lot of support. It worked I guess, but every time I turned around his rifle seemed to be covering my mid-section. Don't know what that one is called, but I don't want one and won't hunt with anyone using one.

And my reply was more general in nature, rather than to your post alone. There's a number of statements in this thread about how one must always assume the proper position, or that any impromptu method of using a standard sling is unhelpful in steadying the rifle, etc. And that's just not true. The standard sporting rifle sling, if adjusted properly to the shooter, can be used for both hanging the rifle on your shoulder and as a pretty decent support for offhand shooting.

I have an awful lot of respect for Mr. Cooper, but in this case methinks he has spent a lot more time being led around by a guide on the plains of Africa, than creeping through the thick stuff or climbing up the mountains where the rest of us hunt. And I think some of the people on this board are trying to apply target shooting rules to hunting...
I point out again that the rib cage of a big game animal is a pretty large target. You don't have to shoot the animals eye out, you only have to punch a bullet through its ribs. And in most cases, the encounter will be a surprise, on unfavorable terrain, and he'll be moving... So, your best bet will be to practice shooting rapidly from improvised positions until you can hit a pie plate sized target consistently.
Being able to shoot a clover leaf from a prone, slung up position isn't going to help you out much because it will be odd circumstances indeed, when you'll be able to do that in the field.


July 27, 2003, 06:28 PM
Not excatly what I was taught but close.


Art Eatman
July 27, 2003, 08:03 PM
Keith, what I've always called a hasty sling is where the sling is long enough for comfortable carry; you just run your arm through between the sling and stock and take a quick wrap as you bring your hand up to the forearm. Faster to do than to explain. :)

Now, if I jump a running buck, I don't bother. I just try to get the crosshairs far enough out front, and shoot.


July 27, 2003, 08:15 PM
Have you ever tried to climb a tree without a sling. Try it sometime, All long guns need a sling, sometimes the best shots are from a tree.

Atlas Shrug
July 27, 2003, 10:17 PM

Thanks for the clarifications. I see that we generally agree. I don't go out with a rifle that doesn't have a decent sling on it. For me, this is more often that not a Ching Sling as used on most scout rifles. I use it on ANY rifle that I can that will see field use. It's just that versatile, IMO.

If the rifle is not in my hands, it's slung African Carry with the Ching sling. That way I can go from carry to (sling supported) sitting/prone/rice paddy prone/kneeling within two seconds. The main reason that I can use this type of sling fairly well is because I was raised on target shooting positions. For me, it's a breeze to adapt these to the field via the Ching Sling. I wish that more would try it.

My main peeve is that folks seem to neglect ever using a sling supported position in the field when it OFTEN helps tremendously. I contend that this is mainly because so few folks know how to get into proper field positions (which are generally just modifications of target shooting positions learned on the range). Sitting is a great example. It is a VERY useful field position, but how many hunters can shoot from it? How many can even GET INTO it?

As to Cooper and his past, IIRC he was past age 50 before first going to Africa. If you read his books, you'll see that he spent plenty of time in his younger days humping rifles in the rockies, both in the US and Canada. Lots of other places too. This is where he realized the utility of shooting slings. The man simply does not spout off about things that he has not tried out extensively. Especially rifle things. He is a rifleman at heart, and he does not take rifle craft lightly. Nor do I. He is not perfect. Neither am I. I have thought him wrong in the past on several occasions. More study on my part showed him to be right MUCH more often that wrong.

This is just the opposite of most of the gun rag content of recent years. Thus I usually check things very carefully before declaring him "wrong" on something that can be objectively analyzed. Please do think, but think a lot before just trying to tear the man down (this is not a specific comment to Keith - just to all).

One thing that I will take issue with is the comment: "Being able to shoot a clover leaf from a prone, slung up position isn't going to help you out much because it will be odd circumstances indeed, when you'll be able to do that in the field."

Perhaps, but I'll contend that someone who can do this is more likely to be able to make good of any decent rest than someone who only shoots from a bench or completely unsupported. The reason is that he will understand how to use a sling well and take advantage of his position AND other supporting objects of opportunity. Someone without a working knowledge of supported sling positions simply won't be able to make much use of a sling in the field (for supporting shots that is).

Being able to hit from improvised positions is great and I'm glad that you practice it. The problem is the majority of folks who don't do that - I submit that the best way to make them capable is to teach them the basic range positions, show how they adapt to the field, and get them shooting that way. The result should be a more well rounded, capable rifleman (the above of course assumes equal woodsmanship and other outdoor skills - otherwise too many variables).

If you hunt only in thick brush snapshots will be of more value. If you hunt sheep in open mountain country supported positions will be of more value. Both are hard if not practiced. If we are going to be capable field riflemen, we need to master every type of shot that we will be offered. The supported sling positions are an essential part of this package. Be one with them, make them reflexive, practice them.

Also, the Plaster link from usmcmonty is a good starting point - it's just a bit brief. Also remember his perspective - sniping. Very, very different from someone roaming the bush, brush, or hardwoods after game.

Thanks for the good thoughts and stimulating discussion!

July 27, 2003, 10:56 PM
I like Jeff Cooper, he has made some great contributions to the firearms world.

Just the same, Jeff Cooper is not God.

I have found a few things to disagree with him on. One item for which Cooper has much affinity is the Steyr Scout. I belive this is quite possibly one of the worst designs to be marketed within my lifetime. Just my $.02!

Another item which turned me off was one of his paperback books which looked as though it may be a good medium length read. I don't recall the title anymore, but it was pure garbage and really came across as a scam. I tossed that "publication" in the trash shortly after removing the plastic magazine seal. I'm sure he duped alot of people into buying that piece of crap.

July 27, 2003, 11:42 PM
You notice that Cooper did exactly what you guys are doing. You read what he writes, analyze it, and decide for yourself what is good and what is bad.
To quote usmcmonty: "It was manditory to use a hasty sling on the KD course in the Corps."

Cooper was a Marine Corps. Officer. I am sure he was very familiar with the shooting positions and the use of the sling. I also know from reading his work that he has the greatest respect for the Marine Corps. But, he took from it what he could, analized it, and found what he thought was good and what was bad.

Like most of you, I have read most of Coopers books and even have taken classes at Gunsite. I even met Cooper personally. But I never considered him a god. But, one thing that I have figured out as I get older, experience counts for a lot. I don't know, but I am willing to bet that Cooper has spent a lot more time shooting than most of us. And I bet he figured out a thing or two along the way.

July 27, 2003, 11:50 PM
But, he took from it what he could, analized it, and found what he thought was good and what was bad.

:D Rifle loonies are kinda 'anal' anyway! (...oh, that would be 'analyzed'...]

Had to laugh at that one, 444!

July 27, 2003, 11:53 PM
Just a hillbilly typing away from his trailier. You can't expect perfection. Maybe that was one of them there Freudian slips.

July 28, 2003, 12:00 AM
Don't agree with his statement regarding ineffectiveness using slings when shooting from an unsupported position. I do it all the time because that's the way I was taught to shoot! Slings help in any shooting position - so does using "field expedient" rests whenever possible.;)

I'll bet the Col. has good things to say about the Ching Sling in contradiction to his above quoted statement - I seem to recall something in his writings. Oh well...;)
As for Col. Coopers' writings, he is an educated man and expresses his knowledge and myriad shooting experiences and researches with a style that is delightfully to the point. I enjoy his writings whether I agree with them or not. I can go out and shoot my Service Rifle standing with the full sling/jacket rig, I can shoot in the field with my boltaction (a featherweight, not a scout) using a hasty sling, and I can shoot the same rifle at a Running Deer competition and hit a moving target offhand at 100yds with no sling at all:p
I thing the Col. would agree that if you learn to shoot accurately, that accuracy transcends shooting aids.:neener:

July 28, 2003, 03:12 AM

Perhaps I didn't articulate my position very well. I'm saying that if you ONLY practice using a classic target shooting positions (or from a benchrest), you aren't likely to shoot well from improvised positions in the field.
If asked to bet on who would get their deer, I'd put my money on the man who can whack a pie plate offhand every time at 100 yards with a beat up old model 70 before I'd bet on the man who can print sub-moa groups with his 11 pound wunderschutzen (but who only practices from a bench or wrapped up in a classic rifle position).
I may be prejudiced since the grass is head high around here and trees are in short supply. If you can't stand up on your hind legs and shoot, you probably won't get your deer. Sometimes you can get into a good position and only a fool would pass that up, but the rest of the time...


July 28, 2003, 09:27 AM
Goon and Atlas: Thanks for the info. Kinda what I had expected.

Atlas Shrug
July 28, 2003, 09:36 AM

Your position is more clear now. Given the specific situations that you describe, I'd have to agree with you. However, I would like to clarify a thing or two.

You state: "Sometimes you can get into a good position and only a fool would pass that up, but the rest of the time..."

This is pretty much where I get on the soap box. It may be true that you, hunting in the high grass with few trees, never have the chance to get into any position other than offhand. Go for it and smack that pie plate. The BIG problem, IMHO, is that many others who do hunt in various terrain are just the fool that you describe above - someone who passes up getting into a good position. I contend that so few ever learn the positions that most don't know how to get into one in the first place. This is a major (but not the only by far) problem with poor field performance, wounded game, etc. The person who has learned good positions on the range can often translate those well in the woods (given proper gear, I'm not talking about him taking a target gun into the field). I do agree that the guy who only shoots from the bench should stay the hell out of the woods and make the world a safer place. Those guys scare me.

As an anecdotal case, I know this fellow extremely well. His background was that of a target rifle shooter, yet he hunted, plinked, and had good wood sense. He set himself up with a Steyr Scout and went to Practical Rifle School with Jeff Cooper out at the Whittington Center in NM (during the prior bad owner stage at Gunsite). He had never used the Ching Sling in the field before, only trees, hasty sling, etc.

During the course, the participants were taken through many scenarios. They had snapshots (25 yd. head shots, 50 yd. body shots in 1.5 seconds), long shots (400 plus yds. on reactive steel), a game walk simulating hunting, timed drills (The Rifle Ten, The Rifle Bounce, other such drills), shot airborne clays, and practiced prone, sitting, kneeling, rice paddy prone, standing, offhand, leaning against a pole, etc. These were done both on ranges and in open territory as applicable.

Basically, this fellow was able to quickly fall into every position and scenario given due to his familiarity with target range positions. Many (most) of the other folks in the class struggled mightily with the new concepts. The fact that this guy had good position fundamentals and good techniques that he learned target shooting (trigger squeeze, follow through, breath control, relaxed positions, etc.) gave him an edge up.

Thus this person, who had the vast majority of his work in classic target shooting positions, was the pupil who adapted faster than most of his peers. This allowed him to refine technique and excel while others struggled with the basics. As they say, excellence is the basics mastered.

Due to this and other such observations, I still say the the best, the fastest, and them most complete way to make a competent field rifleman is to first make the person a competent position rifle shooter. This is the crucible where the necessary skills will be honed. Then add in snap shots, rests of opportunity, and offhand (he already knows standing). Now you've got the complete package, with the best fundamentals, the fewest problems, and the least expenditure of time.

I'm always open to other ideas, but so far this method is the most effective and efficient one that I've seen to equip one with the necessary skills to adapt ANYWHERE one might carry a rifle.

Keith, you seem to be doing very well in your environment. More power to you, I'm sure that you are quite capable there. My comments are addressed at the masses, which is where our problem lies. The original thread, while a small example of the problem, illustrates that we think in too narrow a view, primarily based on what we were taught FIRST. Often, unfortunately, what we are taught first is not correct (especially in these days when skill with a rifle is no longer looked at as a basic tenet of manhood). We must remain open minded, and we must seek what works best. That is the reason that I've spent so much energy on this thread. So many people make life unnecessarily hard for themselves because they won't recognize that a way better than theirs exists. It's such an incredible waste. We don't have enough numbers to absorb such waste. The few good shooters that we have need to spread the word. I can't think of anyone who has done more of this than Jeff Cooper. I'm just trying to do my part to continue and expand that legacy and that effort.

We all owe such effort to our love - shooting. If we don't treat it right, it will surely wither on the vine.

What's the answer? IMHO, get more junior shooting programs going, starting with air rifle (shoot darn near anywhere, indoor, winter, etc.). Teach them three and four position rifle shooting. Teach them shooting fundamentals. Then expose them to more shooting outlets and foster their interests.

How can we do that if the teachers themselves don't value the fundamentals? This conundrum is the driving force behind my consternation. Please pardon me if I sound preachy on any of this. I do so because I consider it to be THE critical key to the survival of our shooting oriented lifestyle.

Gee, it all started with an arcane discussion of sling use in offhand and standing shooting.......

Thanks to you Keith, and others, for continuing to kick this thread back and forth. It is only through such discussion that we will come to the proper conclusions. I'm sure that even Jeff Cooper would agree with that!

July 28, 2003, 05:25 PM
Atlas, Keith, all...

Atlas' advice is good--get the young' uns involved in shooting now. They can only get better.

This is merely to remind you that the Boy Scouts HAVE a target-shooting badge and the Scouts are/should be instructed the sitting, kneeling, prone, and standing positions with their rifle (pretty close to Army BCT styles, I think...)

So the Boy Scouts is another vehicle for getting kids involved--at least those of the male persuasion.

Atlas Shrug
July 28, 2003, 05:49 PM
Unfortunately, the Boy Scouts aren't doing much with marksmanship now. From those I discussed it with locally, the merit badge only needs a small bit of shooting, I _think_ all of it over sandbags (or can be). I know two Eagle Scouts and they both said it was next to nothing (however, both are position rifle shooters on their own).

That said, anything that gets the youth going is good. Just don't expect the Boy Scout merit badge to teach them positions or carry them very far.

The best game in town by far are the NRA programs. Their are also air rifle activities through the National Guard, the CMP, the Jaycees, etc.

Find one, help out, talk to local gun clubs, help out, do whatever you can.

July 28, 2003, 08:00 PM
Without having had any formal training, I'm struggling to keep up with some of this thread. I can shoot small groups from the bench just fine but realize I need to expand my skills to really become a rifleman and enjoy all that it has to offer. I recently picked up a 1907 sling and went here (http://www.fulton-armory.com/slinguse.htm) to find out how to adjust it and shoot using a sling. Looks good so far!

Thanks for the great posts.

July 29, 2003, 07:12 AM
This thread has so much valuable material in it it'll take me some time to let it sink in! It also seems to be spawning a new one, let me think it over a bit.

Atlas, welcome and thank you for the insight. :)

July 29, 2003, 11:37 AM
I'm sure Cooper is just shaking in his boots knowing you disagree with him......

Dave R
July 29, 2003, 11:46 AM
I'm sure Cooper cares not a whit that I disagree with him.

We posted this because we were very surprised to find _any_ point of disagreement with the good Col. Cooper. We found through personal experience that the use of a sling in an unsupported position aids accuracy. We thought others may want to discuss the issue. Some excellent points have been raised, and our understanding has been increased. That is why we enjoy THR as well as the good Colonel.

Art Eatman
July 29, 2003, 02:24 PM
:D :D And the little French piggie went, "Oui, oui, oui," all the way home.


July 30, 2003, 10:00 PM
doesn't everybody?

July 31, 2003, 09:27 AM
Guess I should contribute a few comments, but first, thanks to Atlas Shrug for his kind endorsement of the Ching Sling. Always good to hear from a satisfied user.

A lot of good stuff has been said already, so I just have a couple of comments.

First, if you have time to get into a hasty sling, you have time to use a Ching Sling and get true shooting support, plus the Ching Sling will work much better in kneeling, sitting, and prone than a hasty sling. I find the Ching Sling to offer additional steadiness in offhand shooting, but generally I've found that if the situation calls for an offhand shot, I don't have time to use any kind of support.

Second, if you don't want to (or can't) install a third sling stud in your rifle, I've developed a new design--the Safari Ching Sling--that is a two-point system. It provides support in a different way and requires a different mode of operation from the Ching Sling, but it's just as fast, requires less obtrusive movement of the arms, and is just as steady. It's also twice as wide and therefore more comfortable on the shoulder, especially with heavier rifles. Check it out at Galco International.


July 31, 2003, 10:40 AM
I bought one of the Safari Ching Slings, and while I've not spent a whole lot of time using it yet it is showing itself to be everything its cracked up to be as far as I'm concerned. It s easy to get in/out of, is fully adjustable, and is seriously well constructed. Its actually nicer than I thought it'd be.

I'm no schill for Eric, I just think its the nicest rifle sling I've ever seen, and give it two thumbs up. Anyone needing a sling would do well to try one of them.

Steve Smith
July 31, 2003, 10:49 AM
Would the two point sling work well in a shotgun application?

July 31, 2003, 12:31 PM

I assume you're thinking of shooting slugs on game, right? The answer, unfortunately, is "it depends." A shooting sling of any kind is awkward to use with slide action shotguns, so mostly we're talking about break-action and semi-auto shotguns, and probably mostly the latter for hunting with slugs.

Hypothetically a shooting sling, including the Safari Ching Sling, could work on a shotgun just as it would on a rifle. But, just as with rifles, some designs are more resistant to changes in point of impact due to tension on the sling when the sling is used for shooting support. So, I"m afraid you'll just have to try it with your particular shotgun to find out.

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