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