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General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
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Message started by Jim Craft on Jun 20th, 2004 at 7:55pm

Title: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by Jim Craft on Jun 20th, 2004 at 7:55pm
I want to thank those who have contributed material on slinging on slinging.org and for the sling sent after my contribution to the website.

I wanted to pass on the results of a successful experiment.

Next month, I will be teaching at the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for IT (top high school students from around the state).  I will be surprising the students by teaching the class in a first century AD Legionnaire impression.  The students will learn a little about the information networks of the Roman Republic and Empire and the other technology that they used (along with discussion of the impact on technological change on society and the importance personal discipline and civic responsibility).

One item that I will use as an example in the class will be the Roman sling.  I hope to make a sling of proper materials ready for the class.   The Romans often had the Legionnaires learn the sling and carry it as an auxillary weapon (they also used professional slingers as auxillary troops).

I don't like to teach what I don't have direct experience with.  So, in preparation for this class, I took the sling that I received from slinging.org (parachute cord and leather) and contacted a local golf driving range.  They agreed to let me practice with the sling (it was a slow day).  I bought a large bucket ($6) of balls and took the farthest left hand lane.  There was no parking or people directly to the rear or to the side of me.  

I then tried the sling for about three fourths of the bucket (about 60 balls) until I ran out of time (and my arm began to tire).  This was great fun, though I am a wretched shot.  The balls went about 70 - 80 yards underhand and about fifty overhand (with great driving force into the ground).  I intend to try this again and believe that I will get better with practice.  Like instinctive bow shooting, the secret is likely to be many, many shots and going with the natural flow.

If you all are interested in learning the art of the sling, a golf driving might be the best, safest place to do so.  You don't even have to collect the ammunition.  

In the future, I may even try this in the Roman lorica segmentata and helment.  Though I am more interested in bagging squirrels in hunting season a few years from now.

E-mail me directly with any comments, I don't have the opportunity to monitor this list.

Regards,

Jim Craft

;)

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by JeffH on Jun 21st, 2004 at 6:22pm
This is a great idea.  Sometimes your local Putt Putt will have a driving range and you can take the kiddos for a quite game of Putt Putt after you tire out from slinging.

Just remember, golf balls are on the light side.  Consequently, you can throw your shoulder out and hurt your elbow more easily.

jeff <><

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by A. M. Taylor on Jun 21st, 2004 at 9:23pm
I'm surprised... with the slings I've used, and the technique I've learned... I can now reliably put golfball size/weight objects well in excess of 200 yards down range.   Golfballs, when supplied with the proper back-spin, create their own lift, and have slightly increased range, despite their lighter weight.  I've got three different slings.. all of them completely constructed of leather and artificial sinew.   All of them function well enough to send golf-balls out of sight down range.  I've won several bets as to whether or not I could throw a rock across the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, and the Green River near Moab Utah.  Each place where I won those bets looked to be about 150+ yards wide.      I'm curious, is 50-80 yards the considered maximum effective range of slung projectiles?

Regards,

A. M. Taylor

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by JeffH on Jun 21st, 2004 at 9:52pm
Good evening, A. M.,

The effective range of a sling is considered to be between 6 feet and 1,200 feet for general purposes.  For the average slinger with a fair amount of practice using an appropriate technique, a sling of adequate length and proper weight stones, a reasonable effective range would be something under 200 yards, I think.

Your prowess with the sling may be a bit above average, but not out of reach for anyone who can get in enough practice.

As for golf balls:  you are certainly getting good distance with them.  To achieve the necessary back spin also means that you are probably using an overhand style (or at least release).  Most folks have trouble getting the kinds of range you describe with the over hand.

I have thrown stones in excess of 150 yards, but only with the under hand style.  To try for distance over hand almost tears my shoulder apart.

Please tell us more about your technique.  

jeff <><

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by A. M. Taylor on Jun 21st, 2004 at 11:02pm
My technique appears to be the very same one that Nwmanitou uses in his video.   I was ALSO taught in person by someone who had been taught by his father, etcetera.  

It seems to be most commonly called the 'figure-8' style... where the pocket starts in the front, held by your weak-hand, with the loop and release strings held in your strong hand... the pocket is released, allowed to fall slightly downwards while being drawn backwards, and then upwards after it passes your calves, traveling in an inverted arch until it reaches about waist level, from which the pocket is drawn out and away from your torso (bending the axis of the arc outwards) until the pocket is traveling nearly parallel to the ground in front of you at about the heighth of your head.  This is where the "whip" is applied.   Nwmanitou's video does justice to this technique when my words fall short.  

When practiced, this technique will indeed allow you to achieve thrown-ranges in excess of 150+ yards with not much effort.  Imagine keeping a sling mixed in among your collection of golf clubs for your next trip down to the club house.   Par 5 courses are humbled to par 2, and never again will your caddy smirk at your technique... especially when you ask him to retrieve your golfball which was 'accidentally' embedded (by your deft use of a sling) in a tree 50 yards away.    

Regards,

A. M. Taylor

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by Adam_Bomb on Jun 22nd, 2004 at 5:02pm
Adam Bomb = A. M. Taylor

Previously I had written that I would go to the driving range sometime and verify the ranges that are possible to throw golfballs.  

When I arrived there this afternoon... I asked if it would be alright if I could sling a few balls down range... and he replied that if I only wanted to sling 20 or 30... I could have a free bucket of balls.  

That was about all I had time for... and with the three instructors standing behind me, staring in disbelief, I dispatched about 10 golf balls out to about 250 yards.  The furthest reach of the golf course was about 300 yards... and the instructors agreed that I was regularly placing them about 50 yards from the fence.  

When I placed a good back-spin on the ball... It was relatively easy to reach that distance.    With a more aero-dynamic and heavier object to throw, I don't doubt that 320 yards is well within the range of a practiced slinger.  

Regards,

A. M. Taylor


Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by Hobb on Jun 23rd, 2004 at 11:15am
I've got a golf course within walking distance of my house.  Maybe I'll give that a try.

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by Mithras on Jun 23rd, 2004 at 5:17pm
Hi Jim,

I am also a Roman re-enactor ... ave!

I was using sling making and slinging as a method of teaching basic skills to a 10  year old child at my school (where I work). We slung bean-bags :) One day we found a golf ball, much to my regret I decided to show off and sling it. Jeez - it flew! At least 100m! Rather than the 30m the beanbags were achieving.

Not as cool as stones, though.

BTW - why do you want to kill squirrels? I've NEVER seen a squirrel recipe? Do you use the skin or hide or something? I can't think of any other reason. Please explain ...  ???

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by mgreenfield on Jun 23rd, 2004 at 6:09pm
Squirrels are yummy!!   When I was a kid, we'd get a couple with a .22.   Recipe is this.  

Skin & clean 'em.  Toss the skin, but save the tail to tie on your car radio antenna.   Cut the tail off with little tab of back skin (maybe 1"x 1") to make a loop that slips over the antenna.    Impresses chicks. ;D

Take the critters apart much like you would a whole frying chicken.   Keep "drumsticks" & thighs together because they're pretty small, etc.

Get a paper sack & put in it about 1/2cup of white flour & 1/2cup cornmeal, plus a half-teaspoon salt.   I like a lot of black pepper, too.   These amounts aren't critical.

Toss the squirrel pieces in the bag & shake til covered with the flour/cornmeal/etc mix.

Skillet fry in oil until done, then serve to your very appreciative friends.   Same recipe works for rabbit, and lots of other small game, including fish.   You can add other seasonings to the mix in the paper bag.

mgreenfield


Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by Douglas on Jun 24th, 2004 at 5:52pm
I don't live in a town, I live in the city. Great slinging spots have been paved over and people have become so PC that I can't even sling into the swamp anymore.

The golf range is a great idea!

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by nwmanitou on Jun 24th, 2004 at 11:43pm
Indeed, squirrels are yummy. Squirrels and Rabbits make up some of the most popular small game to hunt, at least in the more rural areas of the US.

On that note, I got tired of just running on the treadmill for my daily workout today(my wife and I decided it was time to get back in shape, particularily for hiking later this summer). So I borrowed a raquet ball and volley ball from the office in our little apartment gym and proceed to "Kill da wabbit" (Elmer Fudd). The Volleyball was the rabbit  ;D. I bounced it around the raquetball court and slung the raquet ball at it. I was surprised at how many times I hit it even when it was on the move.  This always seems to happen when I'm "hunting." Even with my archery practice. I just imagine I'm stalking the target and the arrows seem to find the bulls eye. I think what's happening is that you quit thinking about your shot and concentrate more on your prey. At that point muscle memory and the part of your brain that instinctively aims takes over making the shot while the worrysome "I think my forms off, and what if I miss?" part of the brain is distracted.

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by David_T on Jun 25th, 2004 at 7:46pm
There is truth in that I'm sure. I have noticed that while target practicing. Sometimes when I don't think about aiming I do better. ts kind of like my golf game. The less I play the better I do. Too much thinking can be a hinderance.

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by english on Jun 26th, 2004 at 11:59am
I have seen plenty of recipes for squirrel.  I don't mean to be rude to anyone who does in fact eat squirrel, but they were in something called the "White Trash Cookbook".  Honestly.  I got it for my uncle as a birthday present.  It had everything you might imagine Elvis eating in it; basically, fried sweet things and roadkill.  It was intended as a joke, and so the recipes, although authentic and possible, were a bit... odd.  I have always thought squirrel might be nice in a soup or pie, just like rabbit.
Anyway, back to the thread....
There are no golf driving ranges anywhere near me.  The only one I have seen on this island was in Scotland.  A bit far to go just to sling stones.  Nice idea though.

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by Gun on Jun 27th, 2004 at 10:35pm
If you guys are interested in outdoor cook books, Try Buckshot's Modern Trapping Guide. The book tells you how to make every trap set imaginable, and tell how to cook what you trap. Everything from deer and squirrels to snapping turtles and beavers. Good book.

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by Douglas on Jun 29th, 2004 at 11:25am
If I can pipe up, check out Wildwood Wisdom by Ellsworth Jaeger, THE classic outdoor guide. ;)

Title: Lol!
Post by Matthias on Jun 29th, 2004 at 12:54pm

wrote on Jun 24th, 2004 at 11:43pm:
So I borrowed a raquet ball and volley ball from the office in our little apartment gym and proceed to "Kill da wabbit" .


Does your raquetball court have windows?  ;D

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by nwmanitou on Jun 29th, 2004 at 1:02pm
hehe, luckily no. Solid concrete all around, except for the door.

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by David_T on Aug 1st, 2004 at 2:27pm
Well we did it,

The other day my 11 year old son and I stopped by the driving range. I went up to the counter and said: " I'll bet nobody ever asked you to let them sling a bucket of golf balls?"  I showed him my slings and told him about some of you slinging golf balls 200-250 yards and that I wanted to try it. He said he was doubtful about slinging one that far, but said if we went to the far end and collected balls that were in the tall grass, we could sling for free since it would help him out.

We collected about 100 balls in 10 minutes and were ready to sling. As we walked by some people I held out my sling and anounced that I was going to try out my "new driver."

I had a 25 inch sling--braided cord of nylon with a 2 1/2' x 6" leather pouch and a 33" hemp braided cord with same size leather pouch.

I actually had the best distance using the shorter sling--probably due to the light weifgt golf ball and the extra drag of the longer sling cords.

They didn't have any markers beyond 200 yards. I am guessing that my longest shot may have been 250 and most of them at least 200yrds. My son was reaching 100yards.

I was using the overhand, no rotations style.

I think my arm needs a rest after throwing that many light weight  projectiles. I think I will make a very small pouch and try it again. I could almost feel the air drag on the pouch as I swung it around.

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by WalkingBird on Aug 2nd, 2004 at 9:55pm
David_T
   Loved your story. Did the guy come out to watch all this? Now if you can only get him to let you set up George the Roman at about 200 yds, things could get real interesting.


WalkingBird

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by Matthias on Aug 3rd, 2004 at 1:45am
Wow David, we've got to get you slinging some engineered ammo to validate some of the physics we've been tossing around. If you can get a golf ball out to 250 yds, a simple 7/8" lead sphere shoud net you at least 375, which is nothing to sneer at! Do you think that the driving range guys would let you sling some of your own glandes? (although I don't suppose that it is long enough...)

What sort of range to you get with your concrete tennis balls?

In fact, if anyone else wants to chip in with data (anecdotal or otherwise) for ranges with different projectiles given their personal slinging style, I'd be very interested to tablulate the results. Lookin more for differences rather than absolute distances.

Matthias

Title: Re: Practice ranges for slinging are in your town!
Post by David_T on Aug 3rd, 2004 at 10:05pm
The golf pro did watch a while, and like most people, he thought I could get more range by swinging the sling around real fast. I tried to explain but I don't think he caught on.

I did find that coming straight over my head and down as vertically as possible gave me the best range due to the back-spin it put on th e ball. They climbed as they went and were straight as an arrow. Using my long --33"--sling it was hard to come straight down with the follow through due to slapping the pouch on the ground. Any side arm motion put a lot of slice on the ball. --they curved to the right and greatly reduced the distance.

I have not slung any concrete tennis balls since last year. At that time, I was slinging them about 450 feet. I only paced them out so it is not a very accurate measurement. Hopefully, my arm is stronger now.

The concrete balls weighed out at 5.8 ounces. I really want to try making some lead glands.

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