Monday, September 14, 2015

Less is more (working with less rubber bands and still filling the pot?) Warning hunting images are displayed on this blog post: Animals taken with slingshot were hunted on private property or otherwise where said animal was a nuisance.

Experimenting with a lighter set of

 chained #64 rubber bands.

As anyone who knows me and my love for hunting with the venerable resortera (slingshot) knows that my favorite elastic to use for my hunting slingshots are the chained ubiquitous office rubber bands. This post is about working with the chained 64s.
A bit of a personal History:
In times past in the 1980s I largely used the red rubber bands that I acquired from the paper boy and the mail man. I call them chained as the English translation of what my uncle used to call these types of slingshot bands when he taught me their construction, in Spanish he called them cadena de ligas translation is chained rubber bands. A term I made popular for this type of slingshot band when I introduced the term in 2009 on Jacksshed UK forum, it was in 2010 that I wrote the original in print Chained band tutorial with pictures and explanations of the use of he red #32 rubber bands. However I had also learned from another older kid to use the #64 rubber bands for chains. After this I had a great back up resource for rubber bands as when the red rubber bands became more rare I would often use the #64 office rubber bands.

Because the red clay #32 rubber bands were once ubiquitous and now only sold through specialty stores that cater to rubber band guns and their ammo (rubber bands) I still use the red #32s but I just order a 1lb bag and use sparingly.
 I've decided to not become dependent on the internet for my slingshot elastic resources and went with locally available #64 rubber bands.

Add Note:
Because here in the USA you can find #64 rubber bands virtually in most places that have office supplies that makes these rubber bands a local renewable resource. If you work in a place that has office supplies you can even get these for free, the local post office now uses #64s as they took the place of the old red rubber bands of the past.

The intention behind this project:

1. To get more use of a single  1/4 lb. bag of #64 rubber bands by using less rubber bands and ensuring an affordable resource of ammunition. While ensuring that the band set is viable for the harvest of small game.

2. Using projectiles that are easily acquired, renewable and effective for the harvest of small game with a slingshot.

3. Field proof of the small game harvests and understanding the limitations of this particular slingshot set up.

 4. The construction of the bands tips on how I did it and what you should look for when trying this chain set up.


The project itself
My usual chained rubber band set up uses 18 #64 rubber bands to make a complete slingshot set (#64s 3x3x3), that's 3 rubber bands per link and its 3 links for one slingshot band a total of 9 rubber bands for one power band make this a pair and that's 18 rubber bands you have used from one 1/4 bag of #64 rubber bands. These chained 64s have been proven effective to game the size of a large jackrabbit and fowl the size of a pheasant or a grouse with proper shot placement.
The rubber band set up for this project
This experimental set up I have actually been casually experimenting with over the last two years is #64 2x2x2  that is 2 #64s per link in a three link chain and this is a total of 12 #64 rubber bands to make a slingshot band set.  The secret is using the stiffest stretching rubber bands as these create more tension for the lighter set up and can develop more speed if shot properly.
Chaining these rubber bands is the same as in this old Video where I demonstrate using the 3x3x3
The only difference is that you are using 2 #64s per chain link that's 12 rubber bands for a complete slingshot band set.
The attachments I used for this work were the traditional resortera tied/lashed down with either rubber bands or strips of bicycle inner tubes and covered with an insulator. See the resortera picture in the beginning of this blog post for a great example of the style.
Largely due to location and availability I have used two brands of #64 rubber bands (you can use any brand, as they all work) I have employed the Alliance advantage #64s that sell for $1.28 a 1/4 bag at Walmart also closer within walking distance from my home is a Staples office supply store and I have used their Staples brand #64 rubber bands they do cost a little more at $3.25 but for the amount of bands you will make it's still economical and affordable.
Collecting plastic bottles to sell at the recycler 4 pounds worth would easily cover your costs and you recycled (eco friendly).
Initially I used the Alliance brand 64s 2x2x2 on a natural fork and then on a nice cut out a got from a friend on the forums.
The projectiles for this project
For  this project I selected three projectiles which I felt would be both affordable, accessible and effective with this lighter set of chained 64s 2x2x2.
1. Cat eye marbles: These are the 5/8 cat eye marbles these are economical spherical and you can get good deals on these at a dollar store for $1.00 USD you can have 50 marbles the highest I have paid is $1.49 at a grocery store for 50 of these marbles still economical.
2. Clay balls: Whether you buy natural clay in an arts and crafts supply store for $10.00 (10 lbs yields 300 plus clay balls) or you harvest natural clay this is both an eco friendly and economically effective projectile for small game which you will see in a few moments.
3. 0000 Buck shot aka .380 (38 caliber) lead balls:
If you cast lead this would save you a lot of lead and if not you can buy these in bulk from buck shot supply gun shops.
Note: Stones are always an alternative but I did not include these for this official project due to complaints from those inexperienced in using pebbles* as a hunting projectile.
I will refrain from talking about foot pounds or how many feet per second this set up is shooting as I feel this is really unnecessary at the end of the day. Suffice to say it is demonstrating some serious power for so little rubber bands. Also noted the Staples brand #64s are a little heavier in pull than the Alliance advantage #64s, the Staples brand are shooting a little faster but both have the muscle to get the job done. 
The field results and the brand of #64s by projectile and species of game is noted in each account.
Hunting with 0000 buck shot aka .38 caliber lead balls.
My first try was at a large pigeon at my work place (an agricultural area) using the Alliance 64s on this cut out a friend (Joey) on the forums gave me that is cut out from a skateboard. I had strapped this with the aforementioned Alliance 64s 2x2x2.
Here pictured with clay balls is the slingshot 
 The pigeon was 25 feet up on a bin and it took me several shots to get dialed in but in the end I connected the .38 lead ball grazed the top of this male pigeon's head so I had to finish it.  
The entire details of the hunt and picture of the pigeon can be found on the Rebel Slingshot forum on this link
I found that this .38 lead ball can also penetrate on rodents such as Rats.
Using the staples 64s with the .38 lead rounds
As it did with this young rat that was raiding one of our fruit trees and did not realize it was being watched. You can see the entry wound on its side.
I did kill two more pigeons with these .38 lead balls one was a clean kill the other had the lead ball lodged inside and needed to be finished the details of this hunt and pictures are here on this link. See pigeons here
As a personal note I do believe that since these 0000 buck shot can penetrate a pigeon that if you don't care to harm the breast meat of other edible parts of your pigeons then you can try breast shots and side body shots.
Myself personally I do not like to harm the breast meat on my pigeons because I do eat them.
For me I have very specific vital areas I target on a pigeon to ensure no damage to the breast meat.
I try for crop, neck and head this, with other projectiles hitting the crop has immediate stopping power. But with these smaller 0000 buck shot you must be more precise in your shooting or target other areas that I think are inhumane personally.
I did have a few barn pigeons fly off from the smaller lead ball missing the vitals while completely passing through one pigeon and a bad hit on another big pigeon.
Rabbits? I can give no report as my shots missed, maybe an update later as I am able to hunt.
Squirrels? I missed my shots with this lighter set up and the .38 lead rounds.
So far what I have posted are the species I have taken with the 0000 buck shot but I do believe that the round is capable of the take of either rabbits or squirrels with this chained 64 lighter 2x2x2 chain.
Note: The .38 lead rounds weigh 83 grains this is 6 grains more than the next projectile not much in weight difference. Keep this in mind.
Hunting with 5/8 cat eye marbles
Back in 2014 during Autumn season in the predawn hours I shot this large male pigeon with this small resortera I made from an orange tree fork and it was powered with the Alliance advantage #64s 2x2x2 and a 5/8 cat eye marble it was roosting on the eves of a building where the owners had been having trouble with pigeons. I hit the crop on this pigeon and it came down immediately. It was twitching so I followed it up with a head shot to end any potential suffering.

I did also take a pigeon with the  resortera using the staples #64s 2x2x2  the same used in the experiments mentioned earlier.
This shot was taken on a silhouette and I connected a solid head shot with the cat eye marble.
Was a tasty meal!
Noteworthy is the fact that I had weighed these 5/8 cat eye marbles on an old scale I have and they were weighing in the 5 gram range which is 77 grains occasionally they would be slightly over but were usually 77 to 80 grains.  That puts these marbles within the weight of the previously mentioned 0000 buckshot or .38 lead round balls that are 83 grains.
Yet the impact to the pigeon's crop from the 5/8 cat eye marble had immediate stoppage where I shot completely through a large pigeon's crop with the .38 lead ball and the bird flew away.
How is it possible you ask that the marble had more stopping power vs the small, slightly heavier and faster .38 lead round ball??
Blunt impact trauma! You see the 5/8 cat eye marble has a much larger surface than the tiny 3/8 lead ball and although both are virtually the same weight.  For more in the blunt trauma formula see my blog post on this.
Allow me to explain:
The energy of the projectile is being distributed differently. The density of the smaller lead ball is delivering a more concentrated blow and in doing so has penetrated flesh and the shock wave is diffused and the smaller lead ball is now only effective if it impacts something vital on the way through the Pigeon's crop. 
The marble with the larger striking surface delivers it's entire energy on impact. If you look at a pigeon anatomy chart you will see that the heart is below the crop and behind this is its vertebrate. The impact of the marble is delivering a shockwave to these vital organs. Its a shockwave of energy to the right place and it causes a shut down.
This phenomenon is not limited to this experimental set up. As I have had this experience with even larger lead balls and my standard 64 3x3x3 chains.
Here's a pigeon I had a pass through with a .44 lead ball on a crop shot and the account regarding its harvest. Again this pigeon did not die from the pass through of the larger lead ball. Note a .44 lead ball is 128 grains give or take.
The full story is here.
Here's a kill with a 5/8 cat eye and a crop shot with the same set up and slingshot. This pigeon died almost instantly from the impact of the 5/8 cat eye marble at only 77 grains.
Again these other examples are only added to illustrate the difference in how the energy of a larger sized (but not always heavier) projectile is distributed vs the smaller lead ball.
But I digress and bring us back to the project with the chained 64 2x2x2 and what I have taken with marbles.
Now onto other species: Rabbits? I haven't tried for rabbits with marbles and the 64 2x2x2 but I do believe it is possible. 
 Squirrels? Maybe but I haven't done this to confirm. I have killed rats with the 5/8 cat eye marbles and the chained 64s 2x2x2. In the future as I am able to hunt with my busy life style I will update on these matters.
Now we must go the last projectile being used in the Less is more project.
Hunting with clay balls and 64 2x2x2 chain
 I have had the pleasure of hunting successfully using baked clay balls and the chained 64s 2x2x2
Here is a pigeon I shot in an underpass of a live railroad the shot was a good connection at over 30 feet above the pigeon was hiding in the steel girders hit the crop. A nice male pigeon this was with the Alliance Advantage #64s 2x2x2 chain and a clay ball.

 Another recent was a rat that I shot with this same slingshot and a clay ball some 20 feet in one of our fruit trees. The rat tried to avoid me in the heavy cover but I waited with the head lamp beam on the other side of the tree and sure as darkness it came out to where I had a clear shot. I connected on the first shot with it's ribs and it fell dead and my tabby  ate the rat.

 Could the chained 64s 2x2x2 take something larger than a rat?
How about a squirrel? The answer is Yes!
Here is a recent squirrel taken under pest control situation on our property where they have caused damage to our property. This also is an update which I will link back to this blog post. Here is proof and you can see for yourself that it was perfectly placed shot. This was a clean kill. This is with the staples brand #64s 2x2x2 chain
The details of this hunt are on this link
Do I feel that the clay balls propelled by the chained 64s 2x2x2 could take a rabbit?
Of course as I do not believe something can be done without having first performed said action successfully I will simply state that I believe the set-up is potentially capable of harvesting a cottontail with a clay ball. I know right now that there are some readers saying (squirrels are tougher than rabbits) so yeah this can take a rabbit. Maybe so? But not all situations are identical in the field.
For now this in the field treatise is what I have learned in working with a lighter set of chained #64 rubber bands.
So far as I can tell from a personal note, that if it were for bird hunting pigeons I would stick with the 5/8 marbles but would still do well with the .38 lead balls for pigeons and also dove sized birds as these are not as tough as barn pigeons.
The .38 lead balls would be excellent for dove sized birds in conjunction with these lighter #64 2x2x2 chain.
I think that the clay balls would be the best all around with this 2x2x2 chain for all of the mentioned game in this blog post.
Either way I have created a system with less rubber bands and three very viable and accessible projectile options for the interested user of chained office # 64 rubber bands. In a light 2x2x2 chain.
Again for the reader not reading the entire post and just skimming?  This blog post has been about the limitations and potential of the chained 64s in a 2x2x2 chain with the previously mentioned three differing projectiles. It is not about the projectile itself but the combination of this particular elastic chain and the projectiles that is the point of this experiment.
 Here you have a basic system with less rubber bands and they are ubiquitous rubber bands you can get almost in any office supply store near home and with three different projectiles you can use from 5/8 marbles that are economical to using 0000 buck shot to making clay ball ammo in the privacy of your home. You now have a hunting set up that is lethal in 5 to 15 yards with proper shot placement and a possible effectiveness at 20 yards.
 Side notes: and alternatives to the less is more project.
If you prefer trenza style as my uncle called the loosely braided chain you can use the same amount of rubber bands or if you are a little guy with shorter arms you can use less. The difference is that you are folding over (plaiting) the rubber bands and when you fold one over they count as two strength wise.
This is the trenza equivalent of the knotted 64 2x2x2 chain, but as a trenza is 1x1x1x1x1x1
For proper trenza technique I refer you to Geko's video Mr. Geko is a noted German shooter who deserves 100% credit for reviving interest in the use of the trenza (braided chain) among western shooters.
Here's his old video from 2009 which he Posted in Melchior's  forum on Slingshots the first and original forum of slingshots. Which was the first forum I visited on slingshots.
Whether you use the knotted chains as I use or you prefer the loosely braided chains you are still using chained office rubber bands and part of an old tradition of slingshot use.
Good luck hunting.
Special thanks to Kevin on the forums who donated the large bag of .38 lead balls I used in this project which he cast himself, thanks Kevin.
Special thanks to Joey Lujan for the cool Skateboard cut out slingshot frame it has been used well, and will be used again. Thanks
A big thank you to all my readers for your support.
Foot note: *pebbles as ammo with the chained 64s 2x2x2: There is a very young hunter on the Rebel slingshot forum who used the chained 64s 2x2x2 for hunting because the usual 3x3x3 chain was too heavy pull for him and he was successful with the 2x2x2 chain and pebbles at harvesting a pigeon and he did this with not so rounded rocks/pebbles the young hunter's name is David. Here is the story


  1. Great to see the blog back up and running Nico. Still one of the best resources around for slingshots/resorteras. The 2x2x2 chains are really interesting to me - I've struggled with the 3x3x3 to get good results, but do like a 3x3x2. I will be trying 2x2x2 shortly.

    1. Thanks for commenting mate,

      I have had a little time to follow up on blogging and I will try to put up more blog posts as I'm able to. I hope this post is of some help to anyone out there using rubber bands as their chosen slingshot elastic.