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




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