Stone Slings


December 29, 2002, 02:38 PM
Has anyone ever used a stone sling? You know like the David vs Goliath type weapon.

In ancient warfare slingers typically stood behind the archers as they could throw further. As a member of an attacking army you were probally just as likely to get hit by a rock as you were an arrow.

Some Advantages of the sling:

#1. Cheap or easy to make yourself
#2. Ammo is free and abundant
#3. Stick it in your pocket and take it anywhere
#4. No security check issues
#5. Leathal potential

The major drawbacks are:

#1. Steep learning curve
#2. Not a CQ weapon, ample room is needed.

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December 29, 2002, 03:09 PM
And still lethal, still in use in the Middle East.

Makes one feel a little more forgiving toward Israelis who fire upon some Palestinians, when you realize they're getting large chunks of brick lobbed at them at several times the speed one could throw...

December 29, 2002, 03:19 PM
StoneSlings List at Yahoo Groups (


December 29, 2002, 03:46 PM
#2. Not a CQ weapon, ample room is needed.
In CQ combat, all rules of propriety go out the window. My guess is that a sling makes for a serviceable garotte.

However, a nice dagger would probably make a preferable CQ backup.

My wife has tried to learn the sling, but we lack the space to practice and, as you say, the learning curve is steep.

December 29, 2002, 07:53 PM
I've read that President Lincom used to hunt squirrles behind the WhiteHouse wiht a sling.

I had a guy show me once how to use a sling. It was long, about a 6 footer. He would use 1/2 lead balls.

He'd whip it around his head and it sounded like a helicopter. He'd get that thing going so fast that the ball would "crack" when it left.

I figured a .50 caliber ball doing at least 1150 feet per second aint nothing to sneeze at.

I rekon if Goliath got whacked with a small rock, it wasnt much different than getting shot with a pistol. A rock in the forehead and its all she wrote.

December 30, 2002, 06:12 AM
I use my slings regularly, and find that if a tough enough pouch material is used, you can use it as a flexible mace-type hand-to-hand weapon easily similar to a chinese chain whip or Japanese weighted chain. I doubt if the bullet/or rock ever cracks, so it could be a whip-like action of the sling itself, or the sound of the rock or bullet impact that was heard. Compare charts of rotations per second for a sling, and the world record of distance achieved using a sling (just over 500m according to Guiness) with the maximum range of even a subsonic .45, .38, etc. and you'll see that such speed is a physical impossibility.

However, it IS true that the sling CAN match the stopping/shocking and killing power of a pistol, and can do so cheaply and silently as with David vs. Goliath.

December 30, 2002, 10:40 AM
I'd like to learn how to use a sling just for fun.

When gramps was stationed in Guam in the Air Force, he would walk about in the jungle and find sling stones that the natives used. He collected a nice handful that grandma still has. They're really neat - they look like 2" miniature footballs. I wouldn't want one of those things spinning towards my head! :eek:

edited to add:

Found a picture of one on another website. The ones that grandpa have look much nicer than this - some have reddish swirled patterns in them.

photo courtesy Guam Museum

Byron Quick
January 1, 2003, 11:42 PM
I messed about with slings as a kid. Any of y'all ever made a war sling? Three foot wood haft with a large sling on the end? Make a shallow metal hook and fit it in the end. One of the sling loops is fitted under a flange on the hook so it can swivel freely but doesn't come loose. The other loop fits onto the shallow hook.

You've got to get your whole body into the whirling...not just your arms. The thing will throw a half a brick over mature sweet gum trees a hundred yards away and the projectile sounds like a quail taking flight.

January 8, 2003, 09:00 PM
Ancient Romans prized slingers from the Baeleric Isles as mercenaries. They learned their craft since childhood as goatherders lobbing stones at wolves and other threats.

For war, they'd use cast lead shot in the same football shape as shown above. Very lethal.

Some excavated sling shot had words on them such as: "Here is one for your nose".

January 9, 2003, 10:39 PM
My grandad used to play with then on up until his mid seventies. He was pretty accurate as well.

He made his pretty simply. 2 strands of twine about 2 to 2 1/2 feet long, with a leather pouch similiar to those found on slingshots.

I think I'll make me one soon!

Navy joe
January 9, 2003, 11:34 PM
So what's the basic premise? You get it spun up and then release one of the two strings? Might have to try that.

January 11, 2003, 03:08 PM
Here's a great single webpage that answers most of what anyone will want to know about slings & usage. Includes how-tos.

Please note that I have no association with the website and am not proselytizing.

Byron Quick
January 11, 2003, 03:26 PM
A source for woven slings with links to other sources:

January 11, 2003, 06:52 PM
My Dad made me one when I was a little kid, probably about 9-10.

It was made from leather with the loop for the finger and a leather pouch.

I could "fire" plums and little potatoes over several houses.

With a lot of practise I could envetually hit things other than the sky.
Tin cans etc.

I progressed to a Webley Senior air pistol, and from there I have progressed to an H&K USP.

Times change. :)


Lone Star
January 11, 2003, 07:06 PM
I think I recall Bernal Diaz del Castillo mentioning that the Aztecs used slings against the Spaniards.

Lone Star
P.S. You might want to run this topic on the Survival Forum at The guys there may have some good input.

January 15, 2003, 02:24 AM
I'd like to learn how to use a sling just for fun.

My advise is to start with something light like a ping-pong ball or something...I gave it up as a kid after knocking off my big toenail, breaking the rearview mirror off my dads Harley, then finally hitting myself in the left nut with it. :what: Did not think I would ever experience that much pain again, till my dad got home...

January 21, 2003, 03:53 PM
Here's what I posted on TFL.

I have been messing around with slings on a regular basis for about twenty years now. I haven't tried lead bullets, but I'd like to. But I can pitch a well-shaped rock 3-400 yds with a sling that's got 42" lines. The sling imparts a great deal of rotation to the projectile, so with the football profile ammo, this becomes a low-velocity 1 1/4 inch caliber rifle. When I malf the throw, the rocks hum like a richocheting bullet, and corkscrew like mad, with severely curtailed range. When they leave correctly, it's with a quite hiss, and they vanish amazingly fast.

Some points:

Accuracy at max range is about a 25' group. Good for barrage fire, certainly, without a whole lot of training, and a cheap, simple weapon.

Close range accuracy is more like 2' at 25 yds. Direct fire is a little trickier than barrage fire. It's easier to be accurate with less power in the throw, but that defeats the purpose.

Close range impacts are vicious. I've knocked chunks off of granite boulders. A sling stone wouldn't make a small hole, it would crush a skull.

My 42" sling I call "the varmint gun". The big one is called "the war sling". It's lines are about 36" long. The war sling was built to handle tennis ball-size rocks, and has worked successfully with stones the size of a cantaloupe. Tennis ball rocks are worth about 100 yds. Cantaloupers are worth about 40 feet, and take two hands. Keeping rocks that size in the sling until release is an issue, though. Another problem is that the war sling is very hard on the muscles of my shoulder and upper arm. If I'm not careful, it'll leave me stiff for days. The little slings are capable of this also, so warming up and stretching are definitely neccessary, just ask any baseball pitcher!

Long range slinging is WORK. A ten minute warm up, and an hour of pitching rocks will work up a good sweat and have you panting. Something about heaving these things as hard as you can when striving for range, I'm sure.

Need some excersize? Can't go shooting? Go throw some rocks, it's lots of fun. You need a lot of space, though, and a good supply of ammo. Old quarries make good spots.

Technique note: Don't whirl the sling around your head a bunch of times before releasing. Timing the release is almost impossible, and it winds the lines up so they drag on each other and change the release to much later. This has a high velocity rock going behind you, or worse, it FAILS to release, winds around your body and smacks you one! OUCH! (Thus speaks the voice of experience. Had that bruise for days.)

More silly stuff from the H_R_G Useless Information File. Enjoy!

Don Gwinn
January 25, 2003, 10:36 AM

On another forum I frequent, the Primal Living board at Tim Lively's Unplugged Forums, slings recently came up. Interestingly, whereas this thread has concentrated on ancient Greek/Hellenistic traditions and southern Asia, over there they spent most of their time discussing ancient British and European traditions of slings.

One interesting idea that came up was "brain balls." No one seems to be able to say that these were actually used, but there are legends of sling "bullets" being made from the brains of enemies cooked together with lime, which foul concoction was then molded into balls. :what:
Then again, those Irish will do anything. . . .

December 4, 2006, 03:07 PM
This might be a long shot:
"Betty- When gramps was stationed in Guam in the Air Force, he would walk about in the jungle and find sling stones that the natives used. He collected a nice handful that grandma still has."

Looking for sling stones from Guam. Betty, do you have any yourself? I'd love to get a few of these.

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