Thursday, November 1, 2012

On The Antiquity and use of Chained Rubberband bands for slingshot use

How old is the use of chain linked rubberband bands for slingshot use?


It is said historically that the first patented rubberbands were credited to an Englishman by the name of Thomas Perry in 1845, from here begins the trail of our humble rubberband. However, as much as we must understand the history of rubber itself which goes further back to Mesoamerica whence Colombus first encountered it's use by the ancestors. We must now return to their history within the use of slingshots.
Some say that art imitates life and because of this so much of what we know about history has been traced through an artistic hand. I learned of this from my years as a student of Anthropology and the branch of Archaeology so too can time lines be traced within the paintings left behind by an artist's paint brush, an expression of time. 
 Enter Karl Witkowski, An American artist: this artist gentleman existed between 1860 to 1910 and was influenced by an older artist of the time J.G. Brown (1831 - 1913) like his mentor Karl's art focused on life at that time he made many paintings of the shoe shine boys and paper boys. As many should know it's the paper boys who had the most access to our humble rubberband ( I will elaborate on this aspect soon enough).
Karl Witkowski made a painting titled  The little hunter (circa 1860-1910) which depicts a boy crouched on the side of the tree with a slingshot in hand shooting upwards no doubt the boy is hunting birds.  If you pay close attention to the detail of the boy's slingshot you will see he is using chained rubberband bands on the slingshot in the painting.
A close inspection of the bands on this boy's slingshot reveals the indicative knots of a chain linked rubberband slingshot band.
As can be seen here in this single chained rubberband band. A careful examination reveals the same knots in the boy's slingshot bands that can be seen in this complete chain for slingshot use. When I was a kid in the 1980s my main source for these rubberbands for chaining in slingshot use came from the asforementioned paperboy. 
 It appears that history does repeat itself, as the boys in the artist Karl Witkowski's timeline were paper boys then they too used these rubberbands to make their chain linked rubberband banded slingshots.
The next time someone asks you how old fashioned the use of chained bands are in the use of slingshots, you can deffinately tell them that the chains have been in use for more than 150 years. Of which the chained rubberbands are still used to this day in many a successful hunt with a slingshot.
I dedicate this post to the artist Karl Witkowski who made it possible for us to have an idea as to the antiquity of chained rubberbands in slingshot use and history. 
Happy hunting


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Being prepared: Hunting ammo

Being prepared with hunting ammo for your slingshot

Types of ammo for the hunt; a means to an end.

As most hunters have a prefered ammo, which sometimes is largely based on their equipment i.e. the chosen elastic for their slingshot. Sometimes a type of elastic will only work with heavy ammo, others only light ammo.
 For example, when I was about 18 years old we once found a black rubber tie down which was more elastic than the usual rubber tie downs maybe that batch of rubber was more stretchy, who knows? Haven't seen another like it but haven't searched too much either.
I asked my father if that rubber strip could make a good resorte (elastic band) he gave it a good stretch and suggested that if it were cut down the middle it might work? With that I helped him cut this rubber tie down, first we cut off the thicker molded ends. Then he started a cut on one end with his sharp buck knife, then I held these two pieces as he carefully cut the entire length till we ended up with two black square like bands. I took a strong fork and a thick leather pouch and built myself a resortera with these black cube like resortes.
On to the point of the example It was not as stretchy as either tubes or chains but the slingshot did work.  If you shot these heavy bands with a marble you saw no power and it was terribly slow, these heavy bands did however have a lot of muscle to shoot 1 once lead fishing weights with ease and heavy impact out to 50 yards no problem. 
This elastic was only effective with heavy ammo, some elastics can not handle heavy ammo and only do well with light ammo.
Other elastics like my favorite chained office rubberbands are more balanced in their tollerance of light and heavy ammo. Because of this it has given me options which through experience has shown to be the difference between coming home with a meal or coming home empty handed.

My two favorite hunting elasics are the high quality chained red #32 rubberbands in a 4x4x4 configuration per individual band, and my other are the economical ubiquitous chained #64 office rubberbands in a 3x3x3 chain per band.  Both kinds of chained elastic bands have proven efffective with ammo from baked clay balls to 1/2 inch steel balls up onto heavier steel balls and lead balls to 308 grain(20 gram) oval pebbles.

 Hunting terrain/area: Where you hunt has an effect on the kind of ammo you will use. I personally hunt within abandoned railroads, industrial areas with wild areas so this gives me a varying degree of terrain.  I am primarily a pebble user that is I personally prefer to use heavy pebbles for my slingshot hunting ammo but I have encountered terrain situations where the size of the pebbles were rendered ineffective for the situation at hand.

Hunting ammo for slingshots can be utilitary based on the situations a hunter will encounter.

What follows are a list of the kinds of hunting ammo I will carry within the possibility of what I might encounter in a given hunting situation. I will list their strengths and weaknesses.

Pebbles:    I normally carry oval or similar smooth pebbles (stones) that are within the 20 to 21 gram weight area. They have the most stopping power of my general ammo and are what I use for hunting rabbits, jackrabbits or squirrels and larger fowl and even pigeons and doves given the situations I encounter. Strengths, out in the open on the ground these pebbles are next to unstoppable the only thing that saves game is if the pebble misses it's mark these heavy pebbles can be used within light cover like small leaves on a small plant. Weakness these heavy pebbles can and do get deflected due to their larger size through heavy branch cover such as a branch pile, or heavy cover like blackberry vines or in trees with thick cover; these heavy pebbles can have a pin pall machine like effect in such instances. Despite their draw back in heavy cover, I can have taken all variety of smallgame with strictly using these pebbles.

Hexnuts: Are also a great general ammo that I will use when I am low on my supply of good hunting quality pebbles. They have similar impact but have their weaknesses in that because of their flat shape and the fact that they do occasionally spin they sometimes have a less solid impact. This is ok if you hit the main vitals solidly or have a solid hit. Another quirk is that because of this irregular shape they can deflect depending on your angle of impact. In this way pebbles are superior as you encounter less deflection with a heavy pebble.

If you're a target shooter reading this you might say "how can your shot not hit solid?".  Simple answer wild animals for one are hardly static targets nothing like the shape of a paper target or a soda pop can. Animals are living breathing targets that move a bit when you are stalking them and inviting them to be your honored guest at the dinner table; the angles you encounter in the field are hardly those you face while you're at the target shooting session making a video to show off your marksmanship. I will elaborate more on this topic in another post.

Ball bearings aka Steel balls:

I like to use steel balls in sizes from 1/2 inch to 13 mm to 14mm on to 16 mm, they are a good choice as a general hunting ammo. The half inch steel ball weighs approximately 129.6 grains just a fraction more than a .44 cal lead ball cast with "wheel weight alloy" which is lighter than pure lead.

With half inch steel balls and proper shot placement to vitals you can take game up to cottontail rabbit size. The half inch steel ball retains enough energy out to 20 yards to effectively dispacth a pigeon with a proper neck shot.

For longer shots with more knock down, I prefer 14 mm which is 11.25 grams or 173.6 grains this is about the weight of a .490 lead ball cast from a wheel weight alloy. The 14 mm steel is what I prefer for longer shots as it has more knock down power, my in between size is 13 mm which is 139 grains more like the weight of a .457 lead ball cast again from a wheel weight alloy.

I like the 1/2 inch steel for long shots on birds like pigeons in high places, this is good because, larger ammo if it passes over the bird will spook it. But a 1/2 inch steel ballbearing is not as alarming at least in my experience I have missed two shots and had a third try which resulted in bringing home some meat. In contrast I have taken these high shots with a pebble and when the much larger pebble passed over the bird's head it immediately flew away to safety.

These steel balls are also good for situations with heavy branches or heavily wooded zones. Such as shooting at a rabbit hidden in a black berry bramble or through fenced like material, or a dove in a conifer tree etc. It's smaller size will fit in such areas and deliver enough force to bring home your meal.

The caveat is the ricochete steel balls will bounce back with great force when they impact with large rocks or concrete and steel structures such as old over passes where pigeons may be hiding etc. In open ground and with non ricochete zones steel balls are perfect. Just make sure to adjust size for the situation/terrain you will hunt. In sum total  the steel ball is a great slingshot ammo especially if you dont want to cast lead balls. Steel balls and pebbles are my first choice for game around water as lead we all know is toxic and we have all contributed to the lead pollution in water from years of fishing at least I know I did.

Lead balls:

I am new to the use of  lead balls but in my short experience I have found lead balls to be as effective for smallgame hunting with a slingshot as some of my other favorite ammunition for slingshot use.  I realize my statement will seem redundant to those who primarily use lead balls as slingshot ammo.

 But I am a hunter who has used stones/pebbles as my main hunting ammunition with a slingshot for the better part of 30 years. For me then I must compare the effectiveness of lead balls to the knock down power I have known in the use of pebbles.  Lead balls deffinately get the job done but for my style of hunting I still find the heavier pebbles to be superior when it comes to knock down power.

However of all the things mentioned regarding steel ballbearings, you can have the same size lead balls with a lot more weight therefore more impact. Lead balls can deliver more punch than a steel ball of the same diameter. Consider that a 1/2 inch steel ball weighs only 8.4 grams or 129 grains a 1/2 inch lead ball due to lead's higher density weighs roughly 181 to 188 grains so you have a lot more punch.  In my limited lead ball use as my first lead balls were purchased later a friend (jmp) donated some lead balls.

 I find the .500 or 50 caliber lead ball to be an all around good round for hunting with my personal slingshots and my BT(blunt trauma) slingshot set-ups. It has the ability to carry it's weight out to past 30 yards and still deliver lethal impact and it's size will lend itself to tight spaces.  If you're not adverse to casting lead balls this can be a nice weekend project for you. Again you dont need lead balls to fill the pot with a slingshot this is well known but as my father once said to me "just because you don't have any good rocks available does'nt mean you are without ammo, look around you will find something" that's coming from a man who has at times used and reused a 7/16 socket as a slingshot projectile to take various feral jungle fowl and various cottontail rabbits!I say it is a good idea to have a lead ball mould as a backup. I will give further review to lead balls and different calibers on another post. I have yet to further explore this area. 

Moving along

Clay balls:
As in this picture a batch of clay balls I made and two completed in the center from a previous batch and fresh clay as you can see some of the moisture on the cardboard from the fresher clay balls I have air drying.

What I find most comical is that there are various "hunting experts" on the use of slingshots who say clay balls are not effective for smallgame hunting.
A word to the hunters out there who have made statements like "clay balls won't kill anything, you need big lead or steel etc":  

For the better part of many centuries baked clay balls have taken wild fowl and small mammals from prehistoric Mesoamerica to Medieval Europe, in ancient Mexico there are artifacts from Cholula which show fire hardend clay balls that were used in Blowguns to hunt birds for the purpose of eating. In fact in medieval Europe there are wood cuts and paintings that depict bow hunters on boats with a stone bow shooting water fowl with fire hardend clay balls to kill waterfowl such as ducks and other such waterfowl. The medieval bullet crossbow was used at first with oven hardend clay balls to shoot rooks out of the tree with a lamp. All proven history the fire hardend clay ball is effective on smallgame largely birds but some mammals.

Back to their use as a slingshot ammo for hunting: In my own history my very first rabbit came from the use of a large sunbaked clay rock in rural Mexico it was a close range shot but an instant kill. I have used oven baked clay balls to take various pigeons if you know anything about hunting pigeons you will know what tough birds they are. Some of my hunting colleagues have failed to take pigeons with heavy lead balls, so listen up hunters I have something to share here.

At ranges from 15 to 45 feet a well placed shot from a clay ball will bring down a full grown pigeon.  I have a friend from Coastal Mexico who informed me of his past resortera hunts who after hearing of my clay ball harvested pigeons shared with me how he used to make clay balls from the natural clay which he would add "rabbit pellets" to help make a denser ball something similar to making an adobe brick. The man said he took his share of doves and quail with these "bolas de barro" earthen clay balls. 

I always take these clay balls with me in areas where I fear damage to surrounding property or where I have danger to myself from ricochete or too much sound which can draw unwanted attention. They are eco friendly if you hunt waterfowl or frogs with clay balls. The standard 7/8 clay ball dry weighs 9 grams, that's more than a half inch steel ball!

The beauty is that they will shatter on impact to a very hard surface to a steel girder or concrete wall. Therefore safe for you with no ricochete and if they impact a pigeon's crop, neck or head you have a meal to take home. The only requirement is that you are keeping up with your accuracy.

Marbles "Canicas": We used to call marbles canicas as kids which is Mexican slang for glass toy marbles. Marbles have a similar history and use to clay balls, the average marble is pretty light about the weight of a 3/8 steel ball.

Can marbles kill? Yes of course they can, I have killed countless pigeons and invasive birds like Starlings with simple marbles in my childhood.  What I will say is that I learned in my childhood resortera days that with canicas if you hit a pigeon or dove in the body most times they flew away unharmed unless it was a very close shot and your canica "marble" happend to impact flush with the heart zone of a pigeon or dove then it would outright kill the bird.

But for me as a kid my shots I say were either lucky or an unconscious instinct directed my shots to the neck/head area because I did fell my share of squab with the underestimated marble. 

 But can marbles kill larger animals like "rabbits"? Yes they can and there are too many unique situations from both lucky individuals and some extraordinary slingshot marksmen who have killed more than a few rabbits with canicas.
My father killed some cottontails with marbles and so did my maternal Grandfather in the red innertube resortera period. I recently spoke to my father about hunting with "canicas" marbles. He said he had killed many rabbits with marbles but he also cautioned that you had to have a perfect head shot to kill a rabbit with a marble as anything less was a loss.

My recommendation as a responsible hunter is to use something more impactful like a 1/2 inch steel ball or preferably larger like 13 mm or 14mm. Or heavy oval pebbles or even hexnuts or lead. The majority of rabbits I have taken over the years have been with pebbles.

My personal responsible opinion is that marbles are good for bird hunting and I would not use a marble unless it was all I had left to shoot and it was my only chance to take a rabbit with a clean head shot. The same applies to my use of oven hardened clay balls.

But I digress and return to the canica, the marble has all the same uses for bird hunting that the clay ball does but it does have it's dangers as well, if a marble impacts concrete it may shatter and the glass shards can go in your eyes or it may not shatter and ricochete you just never know with a marble.

Putting it all together

Please note these are just my musings as this blog is almost like a living journal of the resortera style hunter they are the benefit of my experience only.

I always ask myself, what game am I looking for? Will there be shots of opportunity? Do I want to take the shots of opportunity? In such cases where there is more a need to bring meat, I am always keen to the shots of opportunity than the mere sporting aspect of simply persuing one quary in particular.  I consider the terrain first then I will consider my slingshot.

In general with my alambre resortera powered by chained #64s I know what projectiles I am able to use.  If it's a general hunting trip and I know where I am hunting I will arm myself accordingly.

If squab in concreted areas, I will use fire hardened clay balls but I will also carry my pebbles always as a standard ammo for sometimes squab can be found grazing in the field on seeds and or picking at gravel here the open range is perfect for either pebbles, ballbearings, or even hexnuts as an example. Always reserve the fire hardened clay balls for work in cave cliff terrean whether man made or natural where there is danger of ricochete. Again by having the clay balls and some pebbles I am already able to take most species.

What if you are hunting rabbits? Or jackrabbits during spring where the grass is tall. Here it's a good idea to have some options, steel balls or lead that can get in such places.

As an all around kit I will generally take 6 to 9 pebbles or hexnuts and 6 to 9 steel balls and 6 clay balls for my excursions. If I am out longer with more anticipated opportunity I will carry 10 to a dozen 1/2 inch steel ballbearings.

Hopefully some of this can be of some use to someone reading this and needs a loosely made blueprint of how to prepare for their hunt with a slingshot.

Good luck on your hunt


Friday, September 7, 2012

Why do I hunt with a Resortera/Slingshot?

Why do I hunt with a slingshot?

Personally I hunt with a slingshot simply because I was raised hunting with a slingshot. It is the first projectile weapon that was placed in my hands when I was only six and a half years old. I come from a family of slingshot hunters, my father and uncles hunted with a resortera as kids and so did their uncles and there the line continues. 
When I was six years old my maternal grandfather took us fishing in Seal Beach under a bridge, I saw my father take a walk off to some grassy area with his homemade resortera powered by surgical tubing and some pebbles/rocks and come back 30 minutes later with a nice sized cottontail rabbit he hit in the eye. I was forever moved by this event and saw the slingshot as an awesome weapon( we ate good that evening). Later I learned he had acquired the surgical tubing from our Family Dr. that donated to him from the stethoscope for always mowing the lawn at the DR's office.
As a kid at six and a half my father took us to rural Mexico to visit my grandparents and while in the pueblo "small village" while gathering provisions to go to the ranch we encountered a "resortera puesto" simply put a slingshot stand. Well I looked with curiosity and saw a curious looking plastic framed slingshot with round solid rubber tied down on the forks and tied to the leather pouch. Well my father bought this "first resortera" for me and he retied it so it would work well for me.
All father showed me was a quick demo of how to shoot it and after that I went on to explore with my first hunting weapon in the 3 month visit in rural Mexico.
At first I did not shoot well but as I kept at it I soon killed my first few birds and small frogs and lizards. Soon I was scolded by grandmother to never kill unless I intended to eat something so they cooked the small birds for me to eat.
But they did not want to cook the lizard (they said that kind was poisonus to eat) yet I was wiling to eat it as I had learned a new rule. You killed it, you eat it.
It was for me a very exciting experience but then you learn that this comes with responsobility.
By eight years old I started to build my own slingshots from forks collected from the various trees my father cut in his tree service. The journey has never stopped and will continue.
I am not trying to delve into history too much I just wanted to give a bit of a background to my reason for why I hunt with a slingshot.
I am 37 at this writting and I have had 30 years experience with a slingshot and 28 years making my own for hunting purposes.
 Slingshot style hunting is not for everyone and it demands discipline, patience, practice and responsobility.
Hunting with a slingshot: Can be very exciting especially for those who are new to it, however it should not viewed as a fad hunting sport.
Hunting with a slingshot will bring your awareness of your natural surroundings to a higher level and will hone your tracking, stalking, sensing abilities to an almost psychic level.

Ultimately you must ask yourself why you would want to hunt with a slingshot?
When I was a kid the main reason taught to me by my grandparents is this simple statement; to bring home some meat so we can have with our maize, beans and squash.
The slingshot is simply a low powered projectile weapon for filling the pot nothing more, nothing less. To make a slingshot out to be a canon or a gun is quite silly, but there's nothing wrong with exploring the full potential that can be harnessed from a rubber powered projectile.
 It's even more silly to use this humble weapon to boost your ego by creating a silly ranking system of how much game you kill with it or what kind of animal you kill with it. I would say this is down right childish and irresponsible.
This then is the main reason I hunt with a slingshot right here: A fine meal of a young desert hare "jackrabbit & dumplings" enough for four to six people to eat more than they need, or one man to have various meals for a few days.
One young jackrabbit some, veggies and some bisquick and a good cook's touch. All provided by a simple slingshot braided from wire hangers and powered by chained office rubberbands and smooth oval river rocks for ammo.
 I believe in only killing enough game to eat and not more but maybe an extra few to have in the freezer that's more than a man and his small family needs.
Nico's personal Guidelines for hunting with a Resortera

    These are my own self guidelines to the way I treat hunting with a slingshot nor are they meant to be any official rules, but if you like what you read then maybe it can be of some help. Everyone is different in their views, but that's life.
1. Work on your accuracy, no matter your choice in slingshot whether it is self made or a wrist braced slingshot. Make sure you are proficiently accurate in order to hunt effectively with your slingshot. Make sure you use the same ammo for hunting in your practice sessions that you intend to use for your hunt.
2. Always target the vitals of your chosen game, usually with any slingshot this means whether you hunt, rabbits, or squirrel go for the head always; quail, or pigeons target the head and neck for a quick kill. In line with #1 accuracy plays a major role in this.
3. Respect your chosen prey, all creatures deserve the same respect we all do and that means you make sure you eat what you kill and not kill it just to "brag about what you killed" or show off your marksmanship. In rural Mexico and Central America this was so important that mothers would tell young boys to not kill birds to show off but only kill for food because El Duende (a nature spirit, goblin) would beat them for hurting these creatures.
4. Finish what you started, not all kills are clean this is a reality even with firearms so if this happens make sure you finish the game so it does not suffer further.
5. Pest control: it is ok to control pests with a slingshot, just make sure they really are pests and that you are not just using the "pest excuse" to kill something to show off to your buddies on a forum. A true friend would tell you this is the wrong thing to do.
6. Know your prey understand it's habits and habitat before you go out in search of this wild creature.
7. Practice your stalking skills and your tracking to ensure you can get close to the wild creature you decided to bring home for supper.
In the end you need to ask yourself if hunting with a slingshot is something you should or should not do. As I have said there are many reasons not to hunt with a slingshot as much as exist to want to hunt with a slingshot this more of a personal choice.
Finally you should know the limitations of your weapon, it is my personal view that largest animal a person should realistically hunt with a slingshot should be a Hare or Jackrabbit as they are called here in the states. In fact the largest animal I have ever taken with a slingshot is an 8 to 10 lb jackrabbit. There are others who have done more than this but these are rare occurences and I don't feel it's responsible to encourage budding new slingshot users to injure something larger than a rabbit before they know what they are doing.
Good Luck

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Resourcing steel balls for hunting ammunition

In this short blog post I wanted to share something I had shared in the past on a gigantic forum.

Resourcing free steel ballbearing ammo.

As anyone who primarily uses steel ballls for slingshot ammo will quickly tell you that ammo can be costly. As a resortera hunter I learned from father and others early on that we must always be aware of a potential ammo source.

I have already shared some reliable ammo resources for hunting in a recent blog post. But for those that like perfect spheres and do not wish to cast lead balls there are free alternatives to buying steel balls which I know from experience buying steel balls can become very costly.

If you work within a plant or near an industrial place that uses heavy machinery you are already close to having a free resource for steel ball ammo.

Personally I work in a plant that has a lot of heavy machinery and they always have regular maintenance with sometimes whole parts being replaced.

Many times the ballbearing systems in some of this machinery are replaced and present a wonderful opportunity for the slingshot/hunter/shooter.

You will find ball bearings in all sizes, try to look for something within the 1/2 to 16 mm variety for hunting steel.

As an example recently the plant I work in has been undergoing some minor construction and maintenance.
I came accross an opportunity, while doing some work within the plant.

I came accross these ballbearings that were part of an elevator belt system. Since they were going to be binned I helped myself to this wonderful opportunity.

They were easy to remove and  in the end they are approximately 13 mm steel balls and heavier than standard as they are used in industrial machinery.

As you can see from the following picture of the harvested product, I put a standard half inch steel ball next to these to show they are slightly larger half inch steel are approximately 12.7 mm these are a bit larger and these industrial 13mm steel balls feel nearer the weight of a .457 lead ball and in a bean can test had very good blunt force.  I make note of this only because the standard half inch steel ball has proven effective (with proper shot placement) to take small game from pigeons to a rabbit. I feel that these heavier 13 mm steel balls will make a great hunting ammunition for me and they were free! As time allows with my busy schedule I will take these salvaged industrial steel balls with me on my next hunt for rabbits or jackrabbits  wish me luck :)

Lastly I will say that you don't have to work in an industrial place to scrounge some quality industrial steel ballbearings. You can make friends with a mechanic who works in such a place and if he likes slingshots make him one to help encourage his help. You can always go to junkyards and find these steel ballbearings but as it costs money to go to a junkyard this is about getting free ammo. Again you can get acquainted with such a person and source some free quality steel ball bearings.

I hope this is useful in some way.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Some of my family's Traditional Resorteras

Here I am posting some pictures of some resorteras I have made over the years.

In my family from the Paternal side we use a trademark carving of the cloven hoof this is symbolic of the days when my father and uncles were out on the countryside "el campo" tending to the sheep and goats often over night or several. In these times they used the resortera as a means of self protection and for harvesting smallgame as a meal from rabbits, quail, doves to jackrabbits all were sustenance when the family was out in the field.

In honor of tradition I too continue carving the trademark family resortera symbol of the sheppard/herder.

There is a unique style of carving that my uncle taught me and the resorteras that follow, some are carved in this unique style I call the vertebrate as it resembles the spinal colum but there is more to this than simple form. To mock or emulate a person's family craft is in itself a lowly practice and something I have a low view of. Respect for one's traditions is a high mark and tribute to their craft.

This first resortera I made from Orane tree fork back in 2010 as a gift/trade to my friend Baumstamm the noted German slingshot shooter. The first image is it's face and the second is the back the bands are chained rubberbands blue #125 rubberband 2 links 4x4 they are great and the attachment is a classic Mexican style tied down with rubberbands and an insultor before tying to protect the bands. You actually draw pull against the ties and it's a secure method if done properly. With these blue 125 chains you need a longer draw to get the full power/speed from these bands. I nicknamed this resortera "El tiburon" the shark because the vertebrate reminded me of a shark's gills and I was cut a lot when carving this fork. I rarely get cut when carving and it was blood thirsty like a shark. I gave it a stain and polymer finish 6 coats. I made it ergonomic for a shooter who holds the fork in his left hand.

This resortera was made for my youngest brother in 2010, I am not certain about the tree but it is a native from this area. I made it nartural color with a poly finish on this fork I did the work with a rat tail file. The bands are .050 latex from a sheet I bought back then and cut myself with a rotary cutter they are 1 inch by 3/4 inch taper by 9.5 inches length. They are great bands fast and durable, they just did not become a favorite for myself due to costs and need of preparation and my brother did not like these as he seems to prefer surgical tubing. Of all the flat latex bands in my personal opinion the .050 latex is the best for hunting set-ups as it can handle the heavy ammunition. Aside from this the other flat bands that I like are linatex bands. But these are not as easily available so I prefer the chained office rubberbands as I have used these the most over 25+ years.

This resortera is carved from a cherry tree fork, I made it for my brother in law and it too is carved vertebrate. I used it's natural color and gave it a polymer coat and it's bands are the red #32 rubberbands in a 4x4x4 pattern. A nice slingshot

This next resortera is carved from a hackberry tree in 2011 from a fork given to me as a gift from Jmplsnt he acquired the natural fork from a downed hackberry tree in a special location where soldiers had died.

Because of this I made it a special vertebrate fork for Dia de los Muertos I call it La Resortera de calaveras or Resortera Tzompantli nahuatl for skull rack. It is in it's natural color and I woodburned the skull motifs from the Aztec skull temple on each disc/vertebrate. It has chained red # 32s 4x4x4 chain. I love this slingshot  and some day I will take a rabbit with it if the Gods see fit.  Note I also include front and back images to illustrate a carving style and at the end of this post I will elaborate on this knotching style.

Another vertebrate resortera I made is this El duende named it after the goblin of Iberian and Mexican folklore. It is a fork from the orange tree and I stained it with dark mahogany and gave it a polymer coating. It has chained red #32 rubberbands 4x4x4 chain I like this but have only had close shaves on game with it.

These are just some of the traditional vertebrate styled resorteras I hope I haven't bored you too much with this blog post.

Notes regarding the Knotching: Although the tied down style is a classic Mexican style, not all use the knotches for me the half crescent knotching is something my uncle taught me. He feels as I do that this type of knotch gives the ties a better constriction and more secure hold.

This for me then is a knotching style handed down and not so common to all resortera makers, in fact my father does not use the knotches he opts for carving his tree forks with a more square shape before tying down the bands.

Thats it for now

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hunting Ammunition for Slingshots

Types of Hunting Ammunition for slingshots


 If you ask most people about the best ammo for hunting with a slingshot the most popular answer is lead balls no doubt lead balls are effective projectiles for hunting with a slingshot but there are other alternatives. As a person who was raised not knowing lead balls as slingshot ammo I would like to share some of what I learned.

For the following you will need a proper pouch so many people now have taken to calling it a rock shooter's pouch but really this is the original styled pouch.

  In this post I wanted to quickly cover some of types of ammunition that are readily available and are more old fashioned in their style and effective. All of what is shared in this small post is very easy to acquire and unless you dont apply yourself to searching or as some guys out there love to make excuses say "we dont have those here or they are hard to find" really this means you have better apply yourself to their search look past the obvious because these everyday items are always within reach.

I grew up using rocks as ammo aka stones, pebbles etc, in addition as a stone user you pick other "stone like items" to improvise as ammo when the need is great. What follows are the most common with some simple explanation to get you started.

From top row to bottom.
Row 1: These are crushed limestone gravel rocks aka gravel rocks very common and in fact I picked these from my neighbor's driveway with permission. What you want when selecting crush limestone and related gravel are the cubic/square shapes and not so long rectangular shapes. Look for density more than anything as this will stablize their flight and are good up to an easy 20 yards. You can go up to 25+ yards but they must be heavy and a controled shot. They are roughly 1x1.5 inches and weigh close to 3/4 ounce. Please look first at density and weight before going for specific size dimensions as weight equals proper impact. Remember these gravel rocks take some learning and practice but are as effective as the best hunting ammo.

Row 2: These are igneous rocks aka Pebbles aka River Stones, they are oval shaped and within similar size dimensions to the gravel rocks but their width is different as they are ovoid shapes which some look like an egg others resemble a football. These are by and far the best of the natural world's hunting ammunition and can reach accurate ranges of 30 yards. They are a lot more dense than crushed lime stone gravel. These igneous pebbles are so dense and hard that they rarely shatter when hitting hard surfaces and can ricochet. On the other hand if a gravel rock impacts with a hard surface like a tree stump it can shatter. These igneous rocks do not shatter but can break if the surface/velocity of impact is great.  Look for density, as a lot of these igneous pebbles have strong veins of natural iron especially the darker stones. The ones pictured weigh from 3/4 oz to 1 oz. 

Row 3: These are 1/2  inch inner diameter hexnuts, they weigh roughly 17-18 grams very effective for hunting small game and can shoot accurate to 30 yards easily. In the middle is an igneous rock with a different shape this is like a 3/4 sphere a friend calls these a lozenge shape but can also be said to be a candy shape. Also good range accuracy, you hold these and hexnuts with their flat side resting between pouch finger grip.

There are other alternative types of ammo but I listed these as the kind to go to because they do not require preparation and just some selection and you have decent hunting ammunition.

You can use other types of stones as well, sometimes you can find very decent quartz pebbles with a good weight these are ok for hunting.

Whatever you use make sure you practice with the ammunitiion you intend to use for hunting as any variations will create "unexpected situations".

Good luck shooting and hunting..


Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Slingshot as a Projectile weapon.

The Slingshot/Resortera as a Projectile Weapon, Past and Present, how it kills and it's function as a low powered projectile weapon for hunting smallgame. By, Nico "el cazador"


Why was grandfather in his youth so successful at hunting with his simple resortera?

It was constructed from strips of red innertubes from the old car, fashioned on a mesquite fork and a shoe tongue for his pouch and armed only with round stones. Yet grandfather was able to daily bring home three to four rabbits for great grandfather and siblings to eat. His weapon was no where near the pseudo sophisticated slingshots of present day, so what was his secret?

Please read on as this blog is intended to teach you something about the true nature of the slingshot as a projectile weapon. This will dispell some of the current nonsense being peddled by the johnny come lately experts and show offs about the subject of slingshots and slingshot hunting.

The modern interpretations of a slingshot's killing potential as preached by the new found self proclaimed experts.

In many places where the (intellectual) people gather to discuss the function of the slingshot as a weapon. Very often there exists the large debate as to what it takes for a slingshot to be effective for smallgame hunting.

 Unfortunately the first avenue taken by the (would be experts) is the route of "power", usually the belief in power being how fast the slingshot can propel the projectiles, this is followed by taking velocity measurements also accounting for the weight of the projectile thereby measuring foot pounds etc. etc.

In some cases some people will perform "penetration tests" either shooting blocks of ballistic gelatine, some shoot at phone directory books to see how deep the steel or lead ball penetrates, others still will shoot at plastic jugs full of water.

A lot of these observations are based on the more modern uses of elastics like the exercise bands, medical grade latex bands and the thin latex tubes used in Chinese Slingshots all of these elastics have been proven to propel projectiles and some seriously rapid velocities which can make such modern versions of the original slingshot seem to function with similar results to an airgun meaning that they kill by penetration. So this is the modern interpretation..

Is this mechanism of killing, true of all Slingshots past and present?

The simple answer is no.

In fact this is something of a modern creation nor has this made the basic design of the humble slingshot any more effective than it was in the past.

Fortunately for you dear reader you will get to see that this is not the case and if you allow yourself the opportunity to learn from the examples presented here then you will see the true mechanisms of the slingshot in it's originally intended design.

Slingshot History, it's earliest ancestors:

Prior to the first made rubberbands in the 1840s there existed an ancient weapon from which the rubber powered slingshot was inspired.

This is the stone bow and later the stone/pellet shooting crossbow, which were used with stones, and baked clay balls (later lead balls for the pellet crossbow) to hunt smallgame. They were used to hunt fowl, even water fowl i.e. ducks, etc and to this day there exists  a tribe in Srilanka that still makes stone bows for the purpose of hunting smallgame to put food on the table. These people need this food to live so they are dependant on these tools for survival.

The Srilankan stonebow is the living ancestor of the rubberpowered slingshot, how does the stone bow kill? Very simple the weapon kills smallgame by the mere blunt force/trauma created from the impact of the round stone in the case of the Srilankan tribe they still use smooth pebbles. In other places baked clay balls are used in this manner.

When rubberbands came into use in the 1840s some time after the idea was spawned that the elastic nature or rubberbands could be harnessed as an energy source similar to the energy used in the limbs of a bow to propel a projectile. Hence the birth of the rubber powered slingshot was born.

Invariably as with the stone bow, the new born rubberpowered slingshot/catapult at first glanced used stones, like it's ancestor also later like it's other ancestor it has used lead balls as well.

 Setting aside history for a moment:

What is Blunt trauma? Simple answer, in medical terminology it is a physical injury of a non penetrating nature caused by blunt impact of some form.
Blunt trauma is also capable of breaking bones, and causing internal shock/trauma to the internal organs which could be within the vicinity of the blunt force injury.

Let's look at blunt force as a killer: Blunt force has long been utilized in the ancient world long before the creation of firearms and existed along side the primitive bow and arrow. Some of the most primitive being simply hurling stones at a chosen prey, to the slinged stone and the "rabbit stick" of Native America are all time honored methods of killing smallgame.

All powered by blunt force/trauma; even primitive tribes in New Guinea use arrows with large blunt tips with their bows to bring down large lizards to feed their family again powered by blunt force/trauma.  The blunt trauma formula is the age old strategy of the rubber powered slingshot from the days of red innertube rubber and the ubiquitous chained rubberband bands still used today.

The blunt trauma formula is as follows: surface hardness + mass + momentum = blunt trauma of some kind. The blunt trauma formula applied to a slingshot and projectiles of some kind translates to the following, the weight/mass/size and hardness of the projectile, projected by velocity/speed of projectile to create the momentum required, produces the blunt force/trauma required for killing smallgame.

Slingshot elastic bands and their role in the blunt trauma formula:

I will say this once, it does not matter what kind of elastic becomes your choice of slingshot bands. You can use latex tubing, you can use squared solid elastic, round solid elastic, you can use chained rubberband bands or flat latex bands. Whether you use, tubes, flatbands, chains or other all elastics can be used with the blunt force trauma formula of hunting.

 What matters is that you understand the capabilities and limits of your chosen elastic as this will determine the size/weight of your projectile when you create your blunt trauma formula for hunting smallgame.

Grandfather did not rely on modern gadgets for measuring velocity, it was enough for him to know that his slingshot bands which he cut from red tire innertubes from a car had enough "snap" and could send his stones with enough force to hit hard. That's all he needed to know and he regularly took 3 to 4 rabbits a day and harvested his share of jackrabbits, quail, doves to bring home and feed the family.

I know a man in the UK who uses square solid elastic with 45 caliber lead balls and his formula for taking smallgame depends on blunt force trauma and he is very good at his craft. One of his countrymen also uses square elastic but with the very heavy 16 mm lead balls something like (60 caliber lead).

My uncle always uses heavy oval pebbles from the arroyos back home in rural Mexico with round solid elastic on his natural resorteras to regularly bring home smallgame from dove, quails, to rabbits and squirrels.

What these examples have in common are hunters who understand the capabilities of their chosen elastics and thereby have through experience/trial and error created their blunt trauma formula for hunting with their slingshot.

My personal formula is based on using stones and in current times I have experimented with lead and steel balls and also created the "blunt effect"..

Generally it can be said that the heavier your projectile is, that more knock down power it will have. Thus when I use stones for hunting I stick within the 18 to 28 gram weight range and I use these with either chained red #32 rubberbands in a 4x4x4 chain or I use these stones with chained #64 rubberbands in a 3x3x3 chain. With my own formula I have been very successful in harvesting smallgame. Just make sure your elastic can handle the weight of your projectile this is always important.

 How does one measure potential blunt trauma in making their BT hunting formula?

 A simple exercise that will give you a "general idea" of the potential blunt force in a slingshot set-up is the " bean can test" basically a used steel bean or veggie or soup can is used as a target. These cans are much harder than your standard soda pop can so are more resillient. Consider that you cant so easily crush such a can with your bare hands but would have to give it a good blow with a stick, mallet or hammer to crush it.

The bean can test demonstrates on a physical level the kind of kinetic energy delivered by a given slingshot projectile and it's potential for blunt trauma.

I will show some pictures in this example to illustrate the effects of some projectiles.

The first are from my Alambre resortera mentioned in another blog it is powered by chained #64 rubberbands in a 3x3x3 chain.
This slingshot

Here's impact on a diced tomato can with an 20 gram stone at 10 yards
As you can see one stone had a serious flattening effect on the can and you can see some of the kinetic force did not remain in it's center but created shock around the impact point. This is serious blunt trauma, later I will show examples of game taken with this "stone ammo".

This same slingshot tested with .50 caliber lead balls about 180 grain a bit lighter than the stones but still enough weight to hunt with.
The impact was high in a hard area of a smaller tomato soup can and the lead ball tore open a hole in the can. This is because the lead is dense and the force more concentrated in one zone still this is also BluntTrauma projectile.

Now here is a picture with a faster elastic the red #32 rubberbands in a 4x4x4 chain on this slingshot.
I tested some baked clay balls to see what their potential impact would be with these much faster chains.
This is the result of several blows from various baked clay balls at 25 feet, mind you the one shot on the previous steel can was with a stone and a slower slingshot yet it flattend the can.

This is gives a person an idea of the potential for blunt trauma a given slingshot can produce and it's consequential posibility for hunting small game.

How well do either of these set-ups work for hunting.

This feral King Pigeon was taken at 15 yards with a stone, stone impacted shoulder and back in one blow and a quick finish to head for no further suffering. For those who dont know it, feral king pigeons are larger than your average pigeon yet there was enough blunt force to bring down this pigeon at 45 feet (15 yards)

This jackrabbit was taken with a .50 cal lead ball at 30+ yards with  a perfect head shot on it's crown no penetration just cracked the skull and was hit on the second shot, again a blunt force trauma kill. No further shots required a "clean kill"

This feral pigeon was taken with a baked clay ball at 15 feet with a perfect shot to it's neck a clean kill the animal died instantly.  Obviously no penetration of the projectile.


These are just some examples of what the original formula "blunt force" is capable of accomplishing with with a slingshot. There is no need for ridiculous speed nor penetration of small ammo nor do you need a slingshot that is so "high tech" to fill the pot. You can hunt with a general slingshot as long as you understand the blunt trauma formula, this is the original concept of the slingshot it is a Blunt force Projectile Weapon.


I hope this is helpful to those of you who have been mislead by the would be experts on slingshots that crowd the internet these days. Your slingshot need not go through milk jugs, or ballistic gelatine or "cut several playing cards" this all non sense and misleading to the aspiring slingshot hunter.


Best of luck in your hunting pursuits and yes all game shot was eaten and enjoyed by myself and my family. I do not believe in killing for the sake of killing.



Good Luck



Friday, July 13, 2012

Original Chained band tutorial

I originally posted this how to make chain linked rubberband bands for slingshot use at the now defunct Jacksshed back in August of 2010. I had recieved several requests from some of the various members after seeing field proof of the hunting effectiveness of the chained rubberband bands. Another note, I originally did the velocity tests with a heavier chain of 5x5x5 rubberbands per side. However  I have recorded some impressive speeds from  the 4x4x4 chain giving 193 fps with .50 cal lead balls and a whopping 163 fps with 20 gram round/oval smooth stones.

Note: Although the use of chained rubberband bands is a very old practice in slingshots, it can be said without a doubt that this particular configuration of using the redclay #32 rubberbands as illustrated in this old tutorial was first introduced by me in 2010 to the slingshot public. 

I introduced the use of red chained rubberbands in 2010 as a hunting quality elastic from my days on Jacksshed. The use of heavy pebbles with these red chained bands has been my hunting trademark for many years since before my teens. Only one man at the time I "publically introduced " these red chained rubberband bands came to use these bands along side me that would be my personal friend Jmplsnt. Any upstarts after this time who claim expertise in  the use of these chained bands are just new guys quoting an old source.

These red chains have proven effective in hunting and can work for you.

How to make the powerful chain linked rubberband bands

How strong are these bands? Properly constructed with the right rubberbands, I have recorded speeds with my chrony with a .50 cal lead ball 12 grams from 183+ fps to 203.3 fps with an average high 180+ fps and 174 fps with a half ounce 220grain lead bullet 14grams, consider also I used my large stone shooting pouch in these tests.

1. You will need a good bag of the red #32 rubberbands
These can be found from people in produce business and at one time postal and paper companies. Also rubberband gun stores sold as medium ammo, I now order mine from a rubberband gun store.

2. The secret to making these powerful bands: Experience has shown me that although all of the rubberbands look alike in the bag some have a softer stretch, others have a very firm stretch with good recoil why are some soft stretch and others firm? I dont know maybe its a factory bagging error?. You want to test each rubberband you pull from the bag.

Image A good firm stretch is what want to use. Firm stretch equals strong chain. If you are making a 5 rubberband per chain you must do this with each rubberband. Assuming your bands will 3 links long 3 links = 9" band. You will have 30 rubberbands to test and use the firmest stretch you can find.

Starting the chain assembly:

In this illustration I used a 4 per link as an example:
Assuming you have selected your firm stretch rubberbands we must now start the assembly.
Image Here you have stacked your soon to be links in this case four in each stack ( Use 5 per for heavy hitting power)

You want to organized your stacks so they dont twist so much as they are linked: Like so Image

Now do the same with your other hand and we can start to link these into a chain.

Take one stack and loop into the loop of the other stack like thisImageA few more angles to explainImage

Now you knot these loops by folding over the loop and pulling through the smaller loop created like this:
Pull through this smaller loop within the loop.
ImageHere you straighten the knot gently so that all bands are equal.
Now add your final link looping the same as you did the first two links and knotting in exactly the same wayImage
Your completed chain

Now there is one completed band do the same for the next band and do not worry as the bands will look short because they slip when new rubber. As you strecth these chains the knots will set in place giving a 9" band.

Attachments? I attach the bands to pouch tied with rubberbands, others will loop and pull into the pouch holes. Attachments to fork two best methods for maximum velocity are the Mexican tie down attachment I favor and the gypsy and Spain variant attachment.

Keep your chains away from sunlight, cold temps, dampness, extreme heat AC all of these items dry or rot the rubber. They do not perform as well when cold. I normally keep my chained catapult in my back pocket covered by shirt to protect it when on a mooch. I only take out when ready to shoot. Ammo in one pocket and slingshot in the other.

Last Notes:

During this time on the shed I had also introduced the chained #64 rubberbands as a viable hunting elastic. Here's a portion of that old post.

Resortera with # 64 bands

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Resortera with # 64 bands

Postby Nick » Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:12 am
Hi JD and everyone,

In the spirit of this thread I am posting a quick picture of a slingshot I made with a Mexican fork my uncle made for me years ago.

I installed chained rubberband bands these are #64 3 per link three chain.

I test fired it at about 15 meters ( I need to go down to basement to get the distance so I am in essence shooting uphill)

I shot at my hanging target can with 10.5 gram lead ( egg sinkers)

It hit precise at that range, I remember this band rig was common with a friend of mine in the old neighborhood. I did well with it, powerful enough to get the job done.

Here's the pic. btw there are various ways to attach these kinds of bands maybe I will show some other ways.
You'll have to click on the image for a larger view..

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Postby jmplsnt » Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:02 am
I like the looks of those bands. When I get off the boat I'll take some of my double linked setup and post the results as well. Thanks for sharing and inspiring me to try this kind of bands as well.
Unlike money, slingshots DO grow on trees.
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Postby tyke » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:40 am
I might have a go with these bands on the Milbro? if i can find some suitable ones that is,should be easy to connect and ive got a spare frame that needs rigging up.

Sounds like you come from a family of catty users/makers Nick,most people here just think theyre a kids toy,lol little do they know.
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Postby baumstamm » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:50 am
i like your resortas! do threy shoot over the top style?
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Postby gtavares » Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:53 pm
Great slingshot mate !!! :smt117
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Postby Nick » Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:19 pm
baumstamm wrote:i like your resortas! do threy shoot over the top style?

Hi Baumstamm,

Yes they shoot over the top, the difference with these resorteras is that you pull against the tie as opposed to pulling the bands over the top of the horns like the catties you or fish make. The shot always travels over the top with this style. You still shoot it at an angle like the shoot overs, and I have never hit a fork this way that I can recall.

I will post a pic of yours as well in a while.
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Postby Nick » Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:34 pm
tyke wrote:I might have a go with these bands on the Milbro? if i can find some suitable ones that is,should be easy to connect and ive got a spare frame that needs rigging up.

Sounds like you come from a family of catty users/makers Nick,most people here just think theyre a kids toy,lol little do they know.

Hi Tyke,

I can think of a few ways to install these bands on a milbro.

Yeah I do come from a family catty users and makers, my uncle was at the top in the family craft of catty making. My father had the basic knowledge and made very workable ones, but when my uncle saw me making them with such enthusiasm. He took me under his wing and gave me tips on carving and making pouches, attachment styles etc.

But of course I grew up in a big city Los Angeles so I took what my uncle from rural Mexico taught me and applied it to the city life.

What I picked up in the city really rounded off my catty making ideas.

I will post some of other types I make. Gary talks about one similar in his video (a wire frame made with coat hanger) that I was taught as well its just made differnt but the concept is identical.

Thanks everyone else for looking and commenting.
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Postby Nick » Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:36 pm
Oh yeah sorry guys the fork is from a common small acacia that grows in Mexico they call the bush

( Huizache) it is a very strong workable hard wood very durable..
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Postby Nick » Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:43 pm
jmplsnt wrote:I like the looks of those bands. When I get off the boat I'll take some of my double linked setup and post the results as well. Thanks for sharing and inspiring me to try this kind of bands as well.

Hi jmp

Yeah they are pretty strong bands, I have seen them flatten a pigeon with a marble. When I couldnt get my favorite red #32s I would use these #64 bands in this set up.

My old friend in the Barrio attached these differently and with a very wide fork. Of course the way he attached them the shot would go through the crotch which is why he used such wide forks.

UPDATE: 11/7/2013

I have noticed that there are some people who need help in keeping their chain linked rubber band bands from snapping too soon.

I made this video on You tube well over a year ago and it shows me making the chained bands from the #64 office rubber bands and it shows how I treat the chains with talcum and which prevents early breakage.

Good luck in your chained rubber band projects and happy hunting.