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How To Use A M1907 Shooting Sling

The M1907 loop sling can be a very useful shooting aid, but only if you know how to properly use it. Here we show you step-by-step.

How To Use A M1907 Shooting Sling
The leather M1907 sling can be employed not only to carry your rifle, but also to act as support as either a hasty sling, or a loop sling as seen here.

Perhaps the oldest and most respected sling design still in widespread use is the leather military two piece M1907 gun sling. While almost 100 years old this relatively simple design is still the benchmark by which all others are measured. It was originally intended to allow an infantryman to utilize the then new U.S. Rifle Caliber .30 M1903 Springfield to its fullest potential. It did this by bridging the gap between the simple loop competition slings used by target shooters and the common carrying strap. The result was a sling that could comfortably carry an infantryman's rifle over hill and dale. Then, once he got to where he was going, it could substantially increase his practical accuracy.

To get into the loop sling (loop up), begin by placing the rifle's butt on your right hip (if you are a right handed shooter) and cradle it in the crook of your arm. Next, loosen the sling by disengaging the Short End Hook from the Long End and hooking it back into one of the holes in the Short End. Then unhook the Top Hook and lengthen the Long End down to about the rifle's triggerguard. Then refasten the Top Hook a few holes in from the end of the Long End's strap (which holes give the proper length you must learn through trial and error). Push the bottom leather keeper up towards the Top Hook. This will make a loop large enough to put your arm through.

The M1907 worked so well that it soon became highly popular with hunters and target shooters as well. The question then becomes, how on earth can a couple strips of leather make me shoot better? While it at first seems improbable, the M1907 can significantly aid your shooting. It accomplishes this by tying the long bones of the arm together into a rigid brace. This provides a steadier hold, and thus increased accuracy.

Next, give the sling loop a quarter turn to the left, and insert your arm. The quarter turn is important to ensure the sling lies flat against your hand when you are in position.

Why use a loop sling for support? Simply put, a properly employed loop sling will dramatically increase your stability, and thus accuracy. Competition shooters regularly use nothing but a leather sling for support when shooting at 600 and 1,000 yards. How much does it help? Re-zeroing my AR-15 match rifle for this year's NRA High Power season I fired two 5-shot groups prone at 200 yards using a sling, shooting jacket and iron sights. The first measured 1 inch, the second 1.25 inches. So properly utilized, a sling can help a lot!

Push the loop high on the arm above the bicep muscle and secure it there by pulling the lower leather keeper down so that it's firmly against the arm. Rotate the sling so that the Top Hook abuts firmly against the lower leather keeper and the upper leather keeper locks the Top Hook in place.

While it seems hard to believe that a strap of leather or cotton web can add support, it does indeed. It accomplishes this by forming your non-dominant arm and the rifle into a inverted triangle. The sling attaches above your bicep and runs to the upper sling swivel. This allows your arm to form a 'V', with your elbow resting on the ground or other support, but limits your forearm's forward travel. The sling effectively limits how wide the 'V' can open, depending upon its length. The rifle becomes the top portion of the triangle.

Next slip the left hand between the sling and the rifle, grasping the rifle just below the upper sling swivel. If you did everything right the sling should lie flat against the back of the hand and wrist. The Short End of the sling should be loose with no tension on it.

The key is to have the sling too short for the rifle to fit easily. In the case of our triangle illustration, the 'V' must be forced open and the top piece wedged in, making the fit extremely tight and removing any movement. The end result is a rifle tightly wedged into your shoulder with no movement. How tight? One unaccustomed to using a shooting sling will find it uncomfortable at first. This is normal. With regular practice you'll soon come to appreciate the feel of a tightly slung rifle.

The sling MUST be tight enough that you have to literally force the rifle's butt into your shoulder. When the M14 rifle was in common use by the military shooting teams it was not unheard of to have so much sling tension that the leather slings broke, or the front sling swivel ripped out. Yes, you want it tight! While a light sporter doesn't require this amount of sling tension, it still needs to be tight enough that the butt must be forced into the shoulder. If this amount of tension is not on the rifle the sling is not being utilized correctly.

The M1907 sling design looks simple but a great deal of thought by an experienced rifleman obviously went into it. The sling itself consists of two unequal length pieces of thick 1.25-inch wide leather, and two leather 'keepers'. The long piece (Long End) has a two pronged metal hook (Top Hook) attached at one end and two rows of adjustment holes run its length. The short piece (Short End) has a hook (Short Hook) on one end, adjustment holes, and a metal loop on the other. The metal loop joins the long and short pieces together and the sling's length is adjusted by snapping the hooks into the various holes in the sling.

Once you are in position you will find the rifle to be very steady. If the sling is too loose, or too tight, adjust the length by moving the Top Hook to a different set of adjustment holes and then get back into position. Without the proper amount of tension the sling has little or no stabilizing effect. Remember, if it's not tight, it's not right! Stability in the sitting, kneeling and prone positions is greatly enhanced through the correct use of a loop sling. Knowing how to use a sling is extremely handy when there's nothing to rest on, and the grass is too tall to shoot off a bipod.

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