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Jan H.





Joined: 12 Oct 2007

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PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2008 11:55 am    Post subject: how I use my sling         Reply with quote

I found these pictures of me using my sling and thought I should share them with you.
The sling is of a very simple design and leather only. It is not the strongest, but it has been with me for a couple of years already and I like to have it wrapped around my wrist when I am out.
The way I use it allows me to break the 200 m quite easily, so it is a lot of fun on wide open ranges or at the sea.

Most people just grab the two ends in their hand, I personnally prefer to keep one end wrapped around my wrist, it is more secure and I can use more power for the shot.

I used to throw javelin for quite a long time and was pretty good at that, so when I tried shooting harder with my sling I adopted the cross-step from that discipline. I am doing very well with that.

I would love to learn more about personal styles people developed with their slings, so feel free to add your comments.
Any historical things about the slings would be highly appreciated. For example: when was it that high numbers of slings were last used in open battles?

greetings from Munich,

Jan



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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2008 3:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

HI Jan,

I think being a javelin thrower may have something to do with it, but 200m (220 yd) is a hell of a distance and as far as I can tell the technique looks pretty much like mine but I doubt I could do much more than 100-120m with a golf ball sized stone. How long are the lines on the sling?

The loop around the wrist I haven't come across before but as I loop around my finger I don't see why this should make a difference.

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Eric Myers




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2008 3:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jan,

I like the loop around the wrist idea.

I've tried a number of throws, but the one I use the most is a lot like yours I think. I keep trying some overhand styles, but still don't feel as comfortable with them. I think I am slightly more accurate at closer ranges with overhand, but underhand is much better for distance. I regularly threw about 150m, not sure I ever hit 200m though.

Eric Myers
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Jan H.





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PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2008 3:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tod,

200 m is a big distance, your concern is right. However I shot over the longitudinal distance of a track field quite a fiew times. As this is nearly 190 meters, and the projectiles went over the fences I think I did it.
The lines are 110 cm and the projectiles were flat, smooth stones with a nice ellipsoid shape. For big distances and for the quite weak leatherstrings, the stones should not be longer then 3 cm, which is quite small I think.
Of course I have false attemts quite often, eather because I do not hit the angle ( important) or the stone does not leave properly ( it should fly like a disk), or both.
Until now I only ever saw one single friend of mine doing such a far shot, too. I think this is due to me practicing every other day. It is just too much fun.
And, Tod, I would really love to try one of your slings! They look much stronger. How do they feel?

When I am going for distance, then most of the times there is no way I can control the direction as I want it to do.

Eric, I am using the overhand throw for accuracy, too, but I am not very good at sling-accuracy - just a distance freak until now.

I am going to bed now, it is really late here in Bavaria. Good Night!
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Eric Meulemans
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2008 9:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm sure you're familiar with www.Slinging.org, but thought I'd mention it just in case. There is much discussion there concerning slinging style along with videos and diagrams frequently posted by members.

Though I'm by no means a great slinger, it's something I enjoy doing now and then, though the best I've managed is around 150 metres. I have, however, witnessed casts of 300 metres (which I personally measured). When properly and skillfully employed it is certainly a wonder to behold.

Of possible interest here, I've also done some velocity measurements using a radar unit and tennis balls, which were clocked at 130-150 km/h. If we assume an 80 gram (around 1,200 grain) stone/glandes and an initial velocity of 150 km/h (137 fps), the projectile would be generating 68 joules (50 ft. lbs.). This is well in excess of some estimates made regarding the sling (as, for example, in Sumer to Rome by Gabriel & Metz) and is very close to the U.S. Army research findings for the amount of energy required to inflict a casualty.[/i]
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2008 10:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Those are some mean distances! I can imagine why the weapon was used for so long had something to do with this.

Eric,

300 meters! Yikes. Thats incredible. I suppose its much like archery. You have the people who can really get distance and are expert at the marks and then people like me who are about average.

I am sure 68 houles of energy could kill a man depending on where it hits you no question, at the very least that'd hurt like no ones business.

I read that slingers were used in Iberia quite late but would have to reread somethings. I think some Chronicles mention Slingers at Najera in 1367 but they and the crossbows get forced off the field by the warbows though it does record some of the damage the weapons were able to make.

RPM
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jul, 2008 12:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Latest massed use of the sling? Hmm...I recall accounts of the Conquistadors facing large numbers of Native American slingers in the 16th century, but I don't remember exactly where--Caribbean, Aztec, inca, or perhaps all of them? Let me go back to my bookshelf and check if Bernal Diaz del Castillo has anything to say about it.
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jul, 2008 6:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I personally have never got on with overhand, but either underhand for distance or flat for accuracy.

This is apocryphal, but I was chatting to a guy in the UK who was involved with a TV program (I have also been involved with TV and I know you don't take everything at face value) but he was saying with a very experienced slinger they were getting better penetration into a pig carcas with a sling than a Brown Bess at 50 Yds. Food for thought.

My father is Italian and as a kid he was employed to keep birds away from a farmers field with a sling, so they were certainly used up to recent times, and as for last massed use, I would say Palastine circa 1988, but prior to this I beleive that UK SOE (early special forces/spies) used slingers in the second world war in the Balearics for throwing hand grenades.

Blood Red Roses the archeological book about the Battle of Towton (1469?) asserts that traditionally in sieges something like 30% of deaths were caused by blunt trauma projectile weapons - basically slings.

Martin Francis, if you are out there I am sure you can elaborate on the hand grenades one.

Regards

Tod

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Kelly Powell




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PostPosted: Sat 12 Jul, 2008 8:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Am very glad someone brought this up....Anyone interested in history of weapons should learn the sling and the atalatl.....These were the weapons that gave us enough surplus food to give us more freetime to make more inventions....... And personally, I like a finger loop or a small T or a ring on the line that stays in the hand...
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Jan H.





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PostPosted: Sat 12 Jul, 2008 9:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kelly, I absolutely agree with your opinion that the sling is something anybody should try - it is so much fun as well as educating history. Still, one should keep an eye on safety!
The T is an interesting variety, through which fingers does the line emerge?

As the Battle of Towton has already been mentioned:
does anybody know which ranks, or kinds of warriors did the slinging? It should have been lightly armoured people, but did just everybody of them bring a sling and some shots along or was it more specified?
Was the sling even regarded as a weapon every boy should learn how to use, or was it regarded as something not "knightly" enough for higher classes? A knight of course would seldomly use it in war, as it is only of use in massed formation.

Excuse my many questions, but it might be interesting not only for me.

Regards,
Jan
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Kelly Powell




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PostPosted: Sat 12 Jul, 2008 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

usually between ring and index....seen ring and pinky before, but you have to watch out for throwing it out of your hand.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 12 Jul, 2008 10:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One of the problems learning to use a sling for " city folk " is that finding 300 yards that is safe to practice in would not be easy and at the beginning I would think it would be even more problematic since the direction the projectile will go might end up being at lauched at 90 degrees to the direction one is aiming at in the wrong 300 yards. Wink Laughing Out Loud

For short range accuracy much shorter ranges/safe distances may apply.

I just had a " weird " idea for training purposes: How about using Ping-Pong balls to learn timing of release and close range accuracy. This could work even indoors in a large training hall with high walls.

For even more fun one could actually aim at moving targets or have teams shooting at each other: A bit like paint-ball but with Ping-Pong balls.

For distance training one could note if the direction and angle of release was good but the light weight of the Ping-Pong balls means that they would lose velocity quickly.

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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Sat 12 Jul, 2008 11:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote
Quote:

I just had a " weird " idea for training purposes: How about using Ping-Pong balls to learn timing of release and close range accuracy. This could work even indoors in a large training hall with high walls.


Ideas are always useful, but in my experience the weight of the projectile effects the 'feel' of the sling i.e the feedback you get. So if the stone is too light you cannot feel the position of the sling in its rotational travel and so you can have no accuracy, if the stone is too heavy the release is too unpredicatable and so you have the same effect. Saying this, the operational weight of the stone can be quite wide so you do not have to weigh them etc but I can say that for me at least using a very light weight projectile would not help at all.

A true weight projectile with a load of streamers attached to create loads of drag on the other hand would work a treat to get the feel and limit the range. There you are Jean not a weird idea at all in the end.

Regards


Tod

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B. Fulton





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PostPosted: Tue 15 Jul, 2008 8:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've heard of Afghans using slings to take a Russian RGD antitank grenade (four second fuse) and effectively turn them into a mortar round. Pull pin, whip whip loose and 80-100m downrange BOOM! Airburst.

This was in the Soviet war not the current one, so mid '80s. Not sure if it was actually done but I've heard more than one reference to it.


While not a crossbow or longbow, a massed group of slingers could definitely make life uncomfortable for people on the receiving end. Either kill, disable or just plain annoy them.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Jul, 2008 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

B. Fulton wrote:
I've heard of Afghans using slings to take a Russian RGD antitank grenade (four second fuse) and effectively turn them into a mortar round. Pull pin, whip whip loose and 80-100m downrange BOOM! Airburst.

This was in the Soviet war not the current one, so mid '80s. Not sure if it was actually done but I've heard more than one reference to it.


While not a crossbow or longbow, a massed group of slingers could definitely make life uncomfortable for people on the receiving end. Either kill, disable or just plain annoy them.


Range with lead shot was supposed to be potentially greater than with a Turkish style horse bow from what I read.
( Above 400 meters, by highly skilled slingers. A stone projectile maybe only half that range ? ).

Massed slingers being effective at very long ranges although an individual slinger would only hit by chance at these extreme ranges the same could be said for an individual archer.

A massed target might be hittable by a single very skilled slinger ?

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Jul, 2008 12:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

See the slinger at bottom right in this image from Froissart (ca. 1480):

http://www.myArmoury.com/view.html?features/p...iers06.jpg

The ammunition, scattered around the slinger's feet, is shattered flint nodules. Flint can be knapped to any shape, of course, but this just looks like the slinger randomly broke up the nodules. Not aerodynamically ideal, but what a weapon! At distance, having a line of slingers using that would be like dumping a box of knife blades onto a crowd from the top of a building. At close range, I can easily imagine better penetration of a projectile like that vs. an .80 lead ball. A fresh flint edge will cut you so easily you won't even know you're cut until you notice the blood (those of you who have tried knapping know the experience).

We can't judge the accuracy of the depiction here, but these illustrations tend be technically accurate with regard to arms and armour. Assuming accuracy of depiction, I find it interesting that the slinger appears to have prepared his ammunition in the field and left it loose. Maybe he also has some choice ammunition in a pouch, but he seems to be selecting his stone in the heat of combat and also expects to be stationary. Or, maybe he carries his main supply of ammunition but prepares a reserve in the field as soon as he's in place, just in case he runs out. Maybe he carries preselected smooth stones for distance and breaks up flint at his feet in case the enemy closes and he needs the shock effect of a jagged projectile more than he needs accuracy or distance. Lots of interesting possibilities, but I don't see any pouch or bag straps on the slinger shown here. Could be a purse-type pouch suspended from his belt, I suppose. He seems to carry only his sling and shield. By the way, somebody needs to do some experimental archaeology and report back to us the problems of using a shield with a sling. Loading would take some practice.

I wonder what kind of specialized gear a medieval slinger would carry. Surely he'd have a small iron hammer or hammerstone. Extra thongs and material for pouches. Fat or oil to dress the leather. What else?

Has anybody used a staff sling? Seems like those would be very powerful, but I never read much about them or see them in use in modern conflict.

-Sean

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Jul, 2008 1:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Flint edges can be monomolecular as in one molecule wide ! So, I guess this is as sharp as sharp gets. Eek!

( Remember this from somewhere but should be fact checked: If I'm wrong about the monomolecular part it's still scary sharp )

EDITED after a quick search: That might apply more to Obsedian and might not be as extreme as being monomolecular:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsidian

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Jan H.





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PostPosted: Tue 15 Jul, 2008 2:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I must say this is becomming very interesting!

Nice picture indeed. In my humble opinion as a student of geology I would say it is definetely flintsone with cortex. I am not familiar with the geology of poitiers, but the flint-kongregation-stones on the ground are not common to be found on the ground just like that. To me they look as if they have been taken from somewhere, either glacial from the Massif Central or the battleground might be on acres, where ploughs dig the bedrock up.

http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bil...0213164112

Jean, it is obsidian that gets these superfine edges. Flint still has a grainsize, although a very small one. However, the effect of these projectiles would be devastating. And not only to the enemy, but to the slings themselves, as the stoneedges would easily wear through the slings themselves. I have made this observation myself, - poor sling.
So, the slingers should absolutely have extra slings! Imagine a cut through sling in mid swing! That would be friendly fire!

Maybe the slinger had some kind of hammer with them? A steel mace as a geologists hammer? Interesting!
Maybe what we have here is another flint-trade-age after the stoneage?
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Jul, 2008 2:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jan Huch wrote:
Maybe what we have here is another flint-trade-age after the stoneage?


I've found three gunflints just walking around European cities. Two of them--small amber-colored flints, presumably for pistol locks--were almost identical even though I found one in a Madrid park and another in a gutter in Rome. I have often wondered if they were from the same source. I have read somewhere that certain flint sources were valued more than others for gunflints, so the flint trade must have continued until the widespread distribution of the percussion lock. I assume it continues today, since there's also intercontinental trade in flintlock firearms.

-Sean

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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Jul, 2008 10:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The thing about a sling is that it imparts spin to the projectile as it leaves; a round shot will spin and move like a sliced golf ball so you have to account for this, a rougher stone really 'hooks' (makes a great and rather unsettling noise though). Against massed forces this doesn't matter too much, or if a tree is in the middle of your throwing direction I guess it could be useful............otherwise its not.

My gut feeling is that any slinger would avoid rough stones for this reason and for two others. Yes a flint would cut up your sling pretty quickly as the forces are quite large and secondly rough stones are much harder to place in the sling so that they stay there as you twirl it as an uneven centre of gravity is much more apparent at 200rpm than at 0. The upshot is that slinging would be more innaccurate and with higher drag (shorter range), the sling would last less time and it would be slower to load and more likely to lose the shot during the swing.

To sum up; perhaps the artist got the detail here wrong or perhaps they were the only stones readily available at this site, but I would never choose to use such uneven stones - just witness my pathetic level of thrill when I come accross a stone about the size and shape of a walnut

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