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General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> Folk slings in the West?
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Message started by Bazookabot on Jul 8th, 2012 at 10:01pm

Title: Folk slings in the West?
Post by Bazookabot on Jul 8th, 2012 at 10:01pm
Do we know when the sling fell out of use as a folk weapon in Europe? I recall a number of medieval depictions of farmers using slings to scare off birds and such, but I haven't seen any information on when the European slinging tradition died out. (As opposed to many other places in the world, where it continues to this day.)

Title: Re: Folk slings in the West?
Post by Caldou on Jul 9th, 2012 at 2:38am
When I was slinging in the city, people were thinking I'm a crazy guy.

Now that I've moved to the country side, older men are saying "Hey, I know this, I used it a lot as a kid"

So, as a war weapon, I would say WWII (last we had here...) and as a boy weapon, I would say... late 50's, early 60's maybe.

Is France west enough ?

Title: Re: Folk slings in the West?
Post by Mauro Fiorentini on Jul 9th, 2012 at 7:11am
Using slings as weapons is still a common practice, they've used it during riots in Northern Italy last year.
Greetings,
Mauro.

Title: Re: Folk slings in the West?
Post by xxkid123 on Jul 20th, 2012 at 6:59pm
Slings are pretty good riot weapons. Small, fast to make, might not be recognizable by lesser trained police and riot control troops. You can sling anything hard on the ground (rocks, chunks of asphalt, anything really) grenades (Spanish Civil war had luck with this), gas cannisters (I would go with throwing by hand though), and with a lot of luck, maybe even Molotov cocktails.

Past that I recall a lot of iron age forts had massive sling stone stockpiles. Since they still exist when we found them again, then I guess slingers would have been fielded in them all the way until their decommission.

Title: Re: Folk slings in the West?
Post by Stringman on Jul 25th, 2012 at 6:38pm
There are some woodcuts of people gathering food for a feast hosted by Henry the 8th of England.  In them slings are being used for fowling.  For multiple small shot they were the standard before shotguns.  Just economic guesswork but I suspect the rural poor were using free amunition in an easily made cheap weapon to fill the pot long after the military had switched to gunpowder.

Title: Re: Folk slings in the West?
Post by Dan on Jul 26th, 2012 at 1:42pm
I met a guy down south named J.D. who was a real country boy. He chewed tobaco the whole time my dad and I were there, he and his wife were very hospitable, and he works very hard. And since he worked hard and for a long time he had a very successful glass company and now has a very nice house and probably in the top 3 most extensive and nicest gun collections I've ever seen, probably number 1 in diversity. This includes beating actual guns stores I've been to.

Anyway, we were watching old westerns and talking about guns and reloading and such when he asked me what my hobbies were. I told him about my bow making and then went on to slinging and showed him the one I had in my pocket. A look of recognition dawned on his face when he told me his expierence with slings.
 Slightly paraphrased, he said: "When I was a young'un my brother and I would take a real worn out pair of shoes and take off the shoe laces and one of the shoe toungs. Then we'd head down to the quarry and find some round rocks that would fit in the pouch, and we'd sort of [motions a simple helicopter style] and throw em'. We could never hit anything with em' but I remember being able to throw them a real long way, much farther than I could by hand."

Point being, if people had access to a Bible with the legendary story of David and Goliath (like in this case) or a people group near them that used slings (apaches, afghani shepeards, peruvian sheperds, etc) they probably would have known what they were.

The problem you woul have had is the same problem we have today. Slinging is very difficult, and it takes a lot of deterimnation that not everyone has or somple doesn't feels the need to keep progressing.

Title: Re: Folk slings in the West?
Post by timann on Jul 26th, 2012 at 3:02pm

Dan wrote on Jul 26th, 2012 at 1:42pm:
I met a guy down south named J.D. who was a real country boy. He chewed tobaco the whole time my dad and I were there, he and his wife were very hospitable, and he works very hard. And since he worked hard and for a long time he had a very successful glass company and now has a very nice house and probably in the top 3 most extensive and nicest gun collections I've ever seen, probably number 1 in diversity. This includes beating actual guns stores I've been to.

Anyway, we were watching old westerns and talking about guns and reloading and such when he asked me what my hobbies were. I told him about my bow making and then went on to slinging and showed him the one I had in my pocket. A look of recognition dawned on his face when he told me his expierence with slings.
 Slightly paraphrased, he said: "When I was a young'un my brother and I would take a real worn out pair of shoes and take off the shoe laces and one of the shoe toungs. Then we'd head down to the quarry and find some round rocks that would fit in the pouch, and we'd sort of [motions a simple helicopter style] and throw em'. We could never hit anything with em' but I remember being able to throw them a real long way, much farther than I could by hand."

Point being, if people had access to a Bible with the legendary story of David and Goliath (like in this case) or a people group near them that used slings (apaches, afghani shepeards, peruvian sheperds, etc) they probably would have known what they were.

The problem you woul have had is the same problem we have today. Slinging is very difficult, and it takes a lot of deterimnation that not everyone has or somple doesn't feels the need to keep progressing.

Since I was alive and interested in slinging before the internet I had more or less the same problem as J.D.  Lack of info.  We read enscyklpedias which told us of the pouch and strings, and to twirl it over our heads until we had enough speed and could let go.
So we ended up with slings with thin nylon cords as long as ourself with no knots or loops, and twirled as fast as we could, and sendt our ammo everywhere.  Fun for some time but really useless.
I remember us spraying the nearby bushes with pouchfulls of gravel, which was the nearest any of us came to hitting anything ;)

Title: Re: Folk slings in the West?
Post by Brett on Oct 14th, 2012 at 5:09pm
Once again, I am just amazed how many people started slinging with Shoelace/tongue slings. That's how I started and this is the third or fourth other person I've heard this from on this site....

Must be something about seeing all the necessary parts in close proximity, and the relatively correct size of the tongue and length of the laces.

Brett D in STL

Title: Re: Folk slings in the West?
Post by GIMike on Oct 16th, 2012 at 12:07pm
My first sling was shoestrings and a rectangle of denim from an old pair of jeans.  But yeah, I haven't spoken to or heard of anybody using them.  Just me

Title: Re: Folk slings in the West?
Post by Pikaru on Oct 16th, 2012 at 4:54pm
I got my @$$ beat for cutting up new school shoes for sling material. That was more than 40 years ago and it still hasn't stopped me from making slings from cut up shoes. I just didn't make them from my new shoes anymore.

Title: Re: Folk slings in the West?
Post by farmerdave on Oct 18th, 2012 at 10:17am
I'd guess the custom of using slings is unbroken throughout most of history, but the tradition of using them, i.e with instruction from elders, is not. However, a new tradition of slinging can arise spontaneously with any persistent kid. I had no more to go on than anecdotes and pictures from a bible when I started, and everywhere I go now I teach a few more people to make and use slings with accuracy. As far as using slings in combat, It seems that anywhere where riots happen for political reasons (rather than over sporting events), slings arrive soon. It seems any time people have cause to arm themselves but lack the resources to buy weapons, they make them. That's why I believe that the second amendment of the U.S Constitution is merely the acknowledgement of an indisputable fact, not a legal doctrine.

Title: Re: Folk slings in the West?
Post by squirrelslinger on Dec 28th, 2012 at 7:29pm

farmerdave wrote on Oct 18th, 2012 at 10:17am:
It seems any time people have cause to arm themselves but lack the resources to buy weapons, they make them. That's why I believe that the second amendment of the U.S Constitution is merely the acknowledgement of an indisputable fact, not a legal doctrine.

Farmerdave, I think you have a great point.  People can and WILL arm themselves with whatever they can get. and I am trying to start a tradition of slinging in my neighborhood.... very few of my friends actually have the patience to hit stuff with them. and is t possible to small-game hunt with a sling and pebbles?

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