The range of the sling has always been a point of contention among enthusiasts and scholars. Present literature generally underestimates the sling's range. Consider this snippet of text from Thom Richardson's "The Ballistics of The Sling", which provides an overview of some of these statistics:
"The more conservative estimates are around the 200 m mark (Ferrill 1985: 25), Connolly suggests 350 m (1981: 49), Korfmann estimates 400 m (1973: 37) while Demmin and Hogg go to 500 m (1893: 876; 1968: 30). The few accurately recorded observations are rather different. Reid records 55 m with a 227 g stone, and 91 m with 85 and 113 g balls (1976: 21). Burgess threw stones with his reconstructed Lahun sling between 50 and 100 yds, but admits to being unskilled at the art (1958: 230). Korfmann observed Turkish shepherds sling ordinary pebbles, ‘in 5 out of 11 trials the pebbles reached 200 m, and the three best casts were between 230 and 240 m (1973), while Dohrenwend has himself thrown beach pebbles over 200 yds (1994: 86)."
Since many of these statistics are formulated from authors' experiences, the ranges that are creeping into literature, and becoming the standard, might not be representative of the true potential of the sling. The sling is a demanding weapon; range varies considerably from amateur to expert. Below is a table documenting the varied ranges of some members on slinging.org's forum. It's also important to consider the projectiles used in the test. A stone or softball will not perform as well as a biconical lead projectile, like those often used in antiquity.
For comparison, the current World Flight record for a "historically accurate" English longbow and horn/sinew composite bow is 306m and 566m respectively. It should be noted, however, that these ranges were achieved using light-weight flight arrows designed for range, and not for combat.
If you would like to add your data to this chart, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Slinger||Date||Sling Type||Projectile Type||Projectile Mass||Throw Style||Sling Length||Range|
|Jerzy Gasperowicz||2006||Bipointed, lead||Sidearm||505m|
|David Engvall *||1992||Pouch-less, special release||Dart||62g||127cm||477.0m|
|Larry Bray *||1982||Stone||52g||130cm||437.1m|
|Melvin Gaylor *||1970||212.6g||349.6m|
|Vernon Morton *||283.5g||258.2m|
|LoboHunter||2/6/05||Weighted golf balls||162.5g||Underhand||109cm||196m|
|LoboHunter||2/6/05||Lead egg sinkers||170g||Underhand||109cm||198.2m|
|Sammy Atif||3/6/05||Ice-filled plastic egg||~90m|
|Jerzy Gasperowicz||2/15/05||Light stones||~25g||~250m|
|Jerzy Gasperowicz||Ice balls||~120m|
|Jerzy Gasperowicz||Snow balls||~90m|
|Tint||3/11/05||Golf ball||Overhead "tennis serve"||48cm||~170m|
|David T||Golf ball||~230m|
|David T||Cement ball||164g||~150m|
|Mike Greenfield||4/5/05||Stone||82g||Nwmanitou's Overhand||85cm||~100m|
|Colonel Walker||Orange||~454g||Modified Underhand||122cm||~130m|
|Naiyor||7/05||Salt flour glande||~56g||Underhand||66cm||~80m|
|Africa_Slinger||6/05||Golf ball||~45g||Figure 8||107cm||~200m|
|Peter van der Sluys||Woven hemp||Bipointed, clay||11g||~50cm||119m|
|Peter van der Sluys||10/16/07||Fabric||Bipointed, clay||6g||Helicopter||76cm||180m|
|Peter van der Sluys||10/16/07||Fabric||lead, fishing weight||10g||Helicopter||76cm||200m|
|Peter van der Sluys||10/16/07||Fabric||lead, fishing weight||15g||Helicopter||76cm||210m|
|Stephen Fitzgerald||3/13/06||Smooth stone||~70g||Oblique Greek||105cm||~180m|
|Stephen Fitzgerald||3/13/06||Golf ball||45g||Figure 8||105cm||~190m|
|Stephen Fitzgerald||3/13/06||Lead egg||57g||Oblique Greek||105cm||200m|
|Stephen Fitzgerald||5/15/07||1" steel ball||66g||105cm||212m|
|Ben Croxon||7/11/06||Golfball-sized rock||Underhand||90cm||70m|
|Saulius Pusinskas||8/08||Braided, leather pouch||Bipointed, cement||100g||Pseudo Figure 8||90cm||220m|
|Saulius Pusinskas||8/08||Braided, leather pouch||Stone||70g||Pseudo Figure 8||90cm||220m|
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