Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Clay Projectile for hunting (Clay ammo)

Clay bullets or hardened clay balls as a small game hunting projectile for slingshots

Warning: Some hunting images will be displayed in the context of this post as they are essential to the point of this subject matter. Game was taken on private land where said game is considered a nuisance and permission was granted to harvest said game. If you do not like hunting images please move on or enjoy the blog post :)  
Hardened clay balls as hunting projectiles have been mostly overlooked in today's modern world of iPods' tablets, of course computers and internet forums where it has become convenient to just type in the rhetorical question "what ammo should I use for hunting with a slingshot"" to which the legion of internet parrots will advise "use lead" use steel balls", yes these all do the job as does my favorite natural ammo stones. 
But have people always overlooked clay as a source for making projectiles??
Let's go back in time to a place where people did not have the conveniences of this so called advanced world of ours..

History and background

Archaeological accounts show that, in ancient Europe and the Middle East and  also in Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica ancient people made large clay bullets that they baked in an oven for their use with the ancient sling weapon. We know the sling differs from our rubber powered slingshot yes. They made large bullets of natural clay which were then baked in an earthen oven and this ammo was used in combat,
yes combat against other human beings.  Clay sling bullets have been found in Hamoukar Syria as early as 35,000 B.C. that were used in warfare.

But I digress as we move along to the hunting oriented uses of the hardened clay projectile.

In Hunter and Gatherer societies there are known accounts of blowgun users that shot clay balls at birds to harvest as a food source, the Maya were notorious for their use of blowguns projecting clay balls.

The Eastern Pomo tribe of California hunted waterfowl with slings and clay balls that had straw within to help density and were baked in the sun.

 Here is an authentic hunting set made by Pomo hunters. From the Phoebe A. Hurst Museum of Anthropology. Ducks and mud hens were taken in the Clear Lake Area with this hunting set.

Around the 16th Century we have accounts of a projectile weapon more related to and possibly the ancestor of our rubber powered slingshot. The stone bow or stone crossbow, of this stone shooting crossbow we have records of it's use for small game. The original projectile was a rounded baked clay ball. 

This 16th Century wood cut depicts  English Hunters shooting rooks in a tree at night with a pellet crossbow which used baked clay balls as ammo. This picture is from an article "Ballistics of the Bullet shooting crossbow"
Whether or not the various naysayers believe that something as simple as hardened mud can be an effective projectile for small game, history has argued in it's favor.
 Present time: My interest in using clay balls as a slingshot hunting projectile was first sparked by some experiments using clay balls as a projectile with blowguns in mid 1990s as those experiments bared some favorable results.
I decided that a larger hardened clay ball suited to the similar sizes as the pebbles I use for hunting with my slingshots would bare fruit.
How I made the clay balls
Last year 2012.  I decided to follow with history and stick with natural clay, but because I live in an area where digging in the places where natural clay occurs would just get me into trouble? I decided to go with the arts and crafts store, there I found a natural clay under the brand AMACO  and having taken various ceramic courses in college? I knew this to be natural simple air dry clay the same stuff like you find in nature (well almost the same, as this stuff is treated to ensure freshness), very dense clay. It comes in a 10 pound block and costs about $8.00 with taxes. A very economic source for ammo I'd say considering I am just now needing a new block of clay and have so far had 300 rounds from this block of clay.
I used a 7/8 inch marble (22.225 millimeters) as my size template, simply for a visual template not an actual mold of any sort. With this visual template I started to roll my clay balls to a visually similar size to the 7/8 marble.
I let these clay balls air dry then baked these in the home oven at a basic 350 degrees for about 2.5 to 3 hours. This does not change their composition, for this to happen you would have to bake the clay in a kiln at high temperatures.
The home oven baking does help harden the clay as if heated in a smoldering fire and that was enough for my uses. The resulting clay balls were weighing between 9 to 9.5 grams after being baked, this for the record is heavier than a 1/2 inch steel ball.
With the clay balls ready to use it's time to take to the field.
Hunting with hardened clay balls
Having slingshot hunted with these fire hardened clay balls off and on during the last two years has proven that these clay projectiles can be absolutely effective with wild fowl within the pigeon sized range.
Many agriculturally fattened pigeons have fallen to these clay balls, of course anyone who has hunted these large feral barn pigeons in the States will tell you that such birds are very tough. This is due to their plumage and over all strength from being the master flyers that they are.
An example of these large pigeons is posted on my blog post regarding the old round solid elastic which was also killed with a clay ball. Like in all small game hunting it's accuracy with shot placement to vitals that has made these hunts so successful.
As successful as I had been employing these hardened clay balls for hunting pigeons, I had remembered something I read regarding the bullet shooting crossbow. It said that small game such as fowl and other animals were taken with the bullet crossbow and baked clay ammo.
The idea started to form in my mind "what other small game"? could these be the furs?  This triggered a memory of my first rabbit I killed with a slingshot in my childhood I had shot it with what I thought was a rock and on impact with it's head discovered it was a natural clay rock.
I wondered can I kill a rabbit with these fire hardened clay balls? Logically if others have killed rabbits with smaller marbles then why could I not kill a rabbit using these hardened clay balls? They after all hit harder than marbles and have proven lethal with neck and crop shots to pigeons.
Preparing clay ammo for a rabbit hunt:
By far my most used projectile for hunting rabbits remains simple natural river stones aka smooth oval pebbles which have different dimensions due to shape and are considerably heavier denser than clay.
What I decided to simply make a clay ball slightly larger, I rolled out a clay ball that was an estimated 22.9 to 23 millimeters, the resulting clay balls after being baked weighed a between 11.6 to 12 grams. This then made a better clay bullet that showed more promise if I were to attempt a rabbit harvest with said clay projectile. My first harvest with these larger clay balls is the large pigeon displayed in the link provided earlier in this post. The damage the larger clay did to that large pigeon's neck was more extensive than made with standard 7/8 clay ammo.
A display of blunt force
Before I share with you my hunter's tale I want to share with you some post hunt pictures I took for my own reference as to type of blunt force being displayed by these 23mm baked clay balls. For this we once again return to our poor man's blunt trauma measurer the steel veggie can in this case an empty can of stewed tomatoes. As this is a post hunt blunt trauma measurement, this means I used the same elastic same bands and ammo used in the hunt I will tell you of shortly. I took my Alambre Resortera wire coat hanger slingshot powered by chained office #64 rubber bands in a 3x3x3 chain and these 23mm baked clay balls and set up my simple blunt trauma test.

I set up the can in a safe place and from about 25 feet took one shot using the same chained rubber bands used in the soon to be described hunt. I took  one shot and the clay ball impacted with the upper part of the steel can near the unopened side. These pictures will show the pebble like impact of the 23 mm clay ball to the steel can. 
Pictured is the same clay ball shot into the can as you can see the clay ball had no damage and the impact to the can was pebble like some serious blunt force. Consider that the clay ball impacted with the supported sealed side of the can and you have an idea of the impact it exerted. 
A rabbit hunters tale and experience
A few weeks back I went on a hunt in the twilight hours. My chosen hunting tools for this day is my trusty Alambre Resortera powered chained #64 office rubber bands in a 3x3x3 chain per band. My projectiles were varied, I took some larger 3/4 inch cat eye marbles, also these special 23 mm clay balls and some 1/2 inch hex nuts, I was prepared for varying circumstances. 
First I decided to try for pigeons and when I saw no pigeons in the palm trees they usually roost, I moved on to a special place I know that has a population of Desert Cottontail Rabbits.  I had a bad foot injury so I could not walk to these places normally I will walk a couple of miles on a hunt but when you're injured things are different.
 I arrived at this special location and I immediately saw several desert cottontail rabbits. They were a bit jumpy due to the local feral cat population, I saw one cottontail near a fence area in which these rabbits normally retreat to when pursued; I drove past this rabbit.
I slowly came out of my car and slowly stalked to a range of 20 yards where the cottontail was excellently camouflaged with the dry grass, as it was twilight this made it hard to see the rabbit.
I used an old trick that helps you see a hidden image better I squinted (lowered my vision) then I saw the complete out line of the cottontail and when I fully opened my eyes I could then see the rabbit's full outline in the dry grass.
 I decided that this was my ultimate chance to try my 23mm hardened clay balls on this rabbit as this was as close as I could get.
I loaded the clay ball in my slingshot shot pouch and without thinking and in one continuous motion drew back and released my shot. The attempt was for the rabbit's head but the way the rabbit was sitting up watching me the shot dropped a fraction and gave a solid impact with the rabbit's neck.
The impact completely stopped the rabbit which fell twitching and doing what some rabbit hunters call the death dance. To ensure there would be no further suffering I moved in immediately and gave it a quick chop with the hand behind head and neck.
Needless to say the clay ball immediately stopped this cottontail rabbit upon impact. I have seen rabbits run with a 22 LR also when shot with pellet guns, yet this humble fire hardened 23mm clay ball immediately stopped this rabbit.
I hope to make some good conejo en salsa as my tia and abuelita used to make for me when I hunted rabbits in Mexico as a kid.

Well there you are, clay balls can take even rabbits. If you practice and hone your accuracy you can with a simple home made slingshot powered by office rubber bands and simple hardened mud feed yourself and your family.

There is no need to look for fancy made slingshots or buy lead balls from some fancy vendor. As long as you have stones and or clay mud you will never be with out suitable hunting projectiles for your slingshot.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Old Time Slingshot Elastic of Mexican tradition: a tribute to the round solid elastic

A tribute to  a  Classic Mexican Slingshot elastic: The round solids of Resortera fame.

Warning Some hunting images are depicted of small game harvested with a slingshot, if you do not agree with hunting then stop reading.  This is a hunting oriented blog, you have been warned.
Most American slingshot enthusiasts are all by now well familiar with the old time slingshot elastics; such as the old red inner tube rubber strips, the old time chained rubber band bands and the use of large rubber bands.
That there are other old time and underestimated or even overlooked slingshot elastics is an undeniable fact. However it may be that these elastics are overlooked by younger generations of slingshot enthusiasts who seem to believe that if their elastic does not come from exercise bands cut with a pizza cutter or purchased from an internet slingshot vendor that they do not have credibility as such? By all means read on as this blog is for those who love all the old time slingshot traditions. 

The round solid elastic for lack of better term is just that a solid round as in round like surgical tubing but without a cavity they are a solid piece of rubber. They have been in use for a long time in Mexico possibly existed in the 1960s or earlier which I learned  after some conversations with some men in their mid 60s who used this elastic in their childhood. and at one time I believed that this round solid elastic had come into use at the beginning of the 1970s in Mexico but I was wrong they are much older in their use and distribution throughout Mexico. 

Take a look at these images you can see they are simply a solid rubber cord.

These solids were sent to me via trade with a friend in Mexico and they are what the current solid rubber is like, yet they are not by any means all the types of solid elastic available as there is a beige elastic I could not get that  was the first slingshot elastic I ever used as a kid to hunt with.  I have not tested the blue solid elastic yet, but I have chronograph tested both the red solids and the cream colored solids. The red elastic in the picture I am familiar with and was a favorite when I was in my pre teens in the 1980s. The red solid elastic gave me a reading of 150 feet per second with a 16 mm lead ball! Yes you read it right a heavy 16 mm lead ball traveling 150 feet per second. These round solid elastic bands in the picture are approximately 7mm in diameter slightly thicker than 1/4 inch.
The cream colored resortes (elastic) in the picture have about the most common power expected of the round solids, they can fire an 18 to 20 gram river stone aka pebble at 148 to 150 feet per second plenty of stopping power for hunting small game. It also fires 12 gram 23 mm clay balls at 168 fps, the cream colored solids have the same strength of the old beige round solids I used as a kid.
In my childhood I killed my fair share of small game with the round solid elastic powered slingshots my uncle mentored me to use while we stayed summers in rural Mexico. I also saw some very skilled slingshot hunters in action with these old elastics, my uncle the same man who taught me to build chained rubber band bands was himself an adept user of the round solid elastics he always came home with a rabbit or a few quails and doves that he took with his round solids resortera and stones for ammo.
When I was cut off from Mexico and back in my native concrete jungle of Los Angeles county when summer was over and school began I would use whatever I had left of my round solid elastic supply which when exhausted I'd return to my use of the chained bands like usual.
My last time enjoying the round solid rubber for slingshots was at the age of 19 years old. That was 19 years in the past and now through some help from a friend in Mexico I have been able to relive some of my past adventures with these old time elastics.
Present time: The self challenge

This past July of this year I made myself a traditional resortera of a seasoned magnolia fork. I gave it some classic spirals as are seen in both wood and plastic classic Mexican resorteras and I tied it lashed down with an insulator and rubber bands in this way you draw the bands pulling against the ties. I used the cream colored round solids in the previous pictures.


I decided to hunt with this slingshot to remember the challenges I faced in the years gone bye and to remember how challenging it is to hunt with these old time slingshot elastics. In July I struggled with my accuracy which after I examined the slingshot I realized that there was a noticeable difference in the pull force between the two slingshot bands. These irregularities are not uncommon in all types of rubber. Well I re-banded the resortera with a fresh set of round solids who's pull force was evenly matched. Still my busy work schedule eluded me from being able to hunt regularly and give the old time resortera elastic a fair chance.
This all would change in early August:
A slingshot hunter's tale
I had equipped this slingshot with various projectiles, namely pebbles for rabbits and I made some slightly heavier clay balls for pigeon hunting. These were 23 mm clay balls that weighed about 12 grams so had more weight to them.
 I had been far too busy with work to have a proper go at hunting. Well my work place has game too, so I took my resortera to work one weekend and some of the larger clay balls for pigeons.
It was a Saturday around 1 pm I went on the forklift scouting for pigeons or a jackrabbit laying in the shade.
 Towards the harvest bin area I saw one pigeon sitting across from the harvest bins. I tried to walk towards it to take a shot at it. It flew right to the harvest bins, well I drove there with the forklift and realized the pigeons were not flying when I was on the fork lift. So I decided to try and shoot while on the forklift, 10 yards away and 10 yards above stood this large male pigeon strutting or showing is superior pose and it lifted it's head high so I got a good sight of it's neck.  I calmly drew back and focused on the neck of this large pigeon and let my projectile fly, the clay ball impacted directly on it's neck.

The pigeon fell stone dead without a twitch, I had to use the forklift to get to this pigeon as it fell inside the wooden harvest bin and after a while I retrieved my trophy and man what an impressive bird and the shot was as perfect as I have ever made.

The clay ball snapped it's neck causing massive trauma and a very clean kill.

Do these old time slingshot elastics have the power to fill the pot? See for yourself!

For the record this large agriculturally fed male pigeon after being DE feathered and gutted and cleaned for the freezer weighed 8.5 ounces of meat that's breast, wings and legs! Now that will make a fine stew! That's more 1/2 of a pound of meat harvested with a primitive old time slingshot rubber and one well placed 23 mm baked clay ball.

I'm certain that sometime down the road there will be more small game harvests at the end of this old time slingshot elastic. In the meantime I will revisit my hunts with my favorite chained elastics and carry this round solids resortera as it's back up and maybe sometimes use it as a primary hunting slingshot.

It's been great reliving the past hunting adventures with this old time slingshot elastic. Special thanks go out to my resortera brother Xidoo for helping make this resortera adventure possible.

Happy hunting and remember not all slingshots are powered by the exercise bands of modern day.


Saturday, April 27, 2013


The Alambre Resortera Fun Facts Q & A

Hello again fellow blog reader, since the humble wire coathanger slingshot's rise to popularity, there have been many ideas thrown around and also misconceptions with regard to my own use of this style of slingshot and what is and isn't what I have said.
I hope those of you who have enjoyed making this alternative weapon will bare with me this simple Q & A as I feel it is necesarry to keep the facts straight about this humble poor man's weapon.
So without further red tape let's get on to the meat of this quick post that will clarify some facts about this style of slingshot and my use of it.
Q: Is the Alambre Resortera the only slingshot you have ever made and used?
A: No, for the last three decades I mainly used slingshots made from natural tree forks as that is the base of my slingshot traditions. Because I worked in the family Tree service business in Southern California I had the opportunity to try all types of trees for slingshot use.  
However, the Alambre slingshot is also part of those traditions and was introduced to me when I was in my pre teens, circa 11 or 12 years of age. During this time having been the naughty boy that I was my parents tried to curb my making slingshots by preventing me from harvesting forks from trees while working with father. During this time I knew some kids from Baja Mexico and when I told the kid about my dilema he told me the story of the slingshot forks made from braided wires. Added to this my grandfather told me his version and from there my personal exposure to such a slingshot in a slingshot stand in Yahualica Jalisco planted the seed of creativity. I am 38 years old right now and I started to explore the wire coathanger slingshots within 11 or 12 years of age but this style is not the only one I use.
 Q: Is the Alambre Resortera the only slingshot you use to hunt smallgame?
A: No, like in the first question and answer for the majority I used natural tree forks and one board cut that my great uncle a guitar maker helped me make in Juarez Mexico. As a pree teen and a teenager when I did use the alambre resortera I killed the odd pigeon with marbles and took plenty of invasive sparrows and starlings.
It was in the last two years that I decided as a personal challenge to myself to test the limits and full potential that is possible with a properly made wirecoathanger slingshot. When I accepted the personal challenge my first major accomplishment was the harvesting of a cottontail rabbit. From here the use of the simplistic wire coathanger slingshot as a hunting tool became a growing fascination, since this time other rabbits and jackrabbits and wild fowl have been harvested with the use of the alambre resortera. In between I have still hunted with natural forked slingshots.
As a side note; the first slingshot I ever used to hunt was a classic plastic fork resortera from the Mexican mercado armed with round solid elastic I was 6 and a half to seven years old at that time.
Q: Do you claim that the wire clothes hangers were the only alternative, that kids have in the poorest barrios of Mexico?
A: No, I was  told by a kid from Baja that this style was one used as an alternative never have I claimed that this was the only material available to poor slingshot makers. I believe this story was taken out of context when I gave one of my alambre resorteras to my amigo Gary Flatband Miller, he had said that where he grew up in the Metro area you could get in trouble for cutting trees and was why they also made wire wire hanger slingshots and he felt this was also the case with Mexican Alambre Slingshots.
I told Flatband on a note with my gift that is style was one used in the poorest barrios of Mexico and I hold true to this story, if you're that poor where will you get cutting tools or a hand saw to cut boards with?  So yes the Alambre resortera is one of the many alternatives that existed and exists for any poor slingshot maker. I know many men decades older than me who made these slingshots as well.
The tradition is not limited to only using wire hangers there are wires all around you and I have used similar scrap wire to the wire hangers to make resorteras as well. I even have a friend who made an alambre style slingshot from scrap barbed wire.
Q: In recent times there has been some bad mouthing of this style of slingshot from people who imagine themselves to be "slingshot designers". What is your take on these negative commentaries?
A: Different strokes for different folks, no one says you have do what I do or even try to imitate the style/tradition. There are as many positive endoresments of one's way as there are the opposite. Then again some of these people do this not out of hatred for the style but as a personal stab at the one who popularizes such a thing.
Here's a link to some positive commentaries on the Alambre Resortera back in 2011 when I presented one of my creations at the Rebel Slingshot Forum; note nothing bad was ever said during this period.
That's all I can think of for now and if you have any questions feel free to email me.
Happy Hunting

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Slingshot Projectile Velocity Demystified..

 Slingshot Projectile speed for hunting? Misconceptions and facts from work in the field.


In many places on the internet forums for slingshots hosted by slingshot enthusiasts and also in various searches one finds this common question asked by aspiring slingshot style hunters. How fast does my slingshot projectile have to travel for hunting smallgame? Although it is a very good question it is also a very misleading question, simply because it is a vague question one that all too often generates many answers.
 Sadly this question generates the opinions and advice of armchair hunters and theorists or the hobbyist non hunting slingshot enthusiasts who have seen one too many videos of a fellow shooting his slingshot projectiles through a chronograph and then calculating "foot pounds or joules" which is a system used in fire arm ballistics  and unrealated to the use slingshot projectiles.
Nothing wrong with a hobby right? Of course not, but hobbies and real world field results on the same subject are always different. Studying the potential kinetic force made possible by a rubber powered projectile is great.
 Knowing the projectile speeds a rubber powered slingshot  is generating for the harvesting of smallgame is even better than theory.
Before I go on to debunk some of the claims of slingshot projectile speeds advised by some of the armchair hunters and related people, I want you to ask yourself something.
Do you really need to know how fast your slingshot projectile travels? Does owning a chronograph guarantee that you will harvest smallgame by knowing how fast your projectile travels? After all when great grandfather and grandfather or father made their slingshots in the days of the red innertubes and chained rubberband bands and big rubberband days they did not own a digital chronograph. Yet they did take their share of smallgame with a slingshot, in reality the true question then is how and why does a slingshot kill?
I suggest a review of my blog post The Slingshot as a Projectile Weapon to help you understand the killing mechanism by which the slingshot functions, by knowing this you will understand that knowing projectile speed is more of an idle curiosity than a medium of information to guarantee a slingshot's capability of harvesting smallgame.

I have always known over the years even from times when I did not know what a "digital chronograph" was that I did not need to know how fast a slingshot had to be for the sake of hunting. Some of the means by which we tested our slingshots the soup can test are outlined in the link to my other post in this blog post here The Slingshot as a Projectile Weapon.

The old timers who used the old style slingshot elastics did not have these problems, this I think is the problem we face in our modern age with the information super highway the internet, too many ideas to stay focused on what one truly needs to know about any given subject. Life has become too lazy and non dependant on personal experience, nor is it common for people to visit the local library and do their own research a sad affair. Most of my early education was gained in the Los Angeles County Library system, we should all support our local libraries they are a fading treasure.

Exaggerated Projectile Velocity claims

Often when an aspiring slingshot style hunter visits one of the big forums about Slingshots they will visit their "hunting section" and ask the question what kind of elastic and what kind of weight/grains steel or lead ball projectile is effective for hunting.  The answers fall along these similar lines and believe me these are no exaggerations as I have seen these over estimated recommendations parroted many times. 

(FPS = feet per second)
44 cal lead ball at 250 minimum
36 cal lead ball at 300 fps
 7/16 steel ball bearing at 300 fps
1/2 inch steel at over 200 fps
.50 cal lead ball at 200 fps minimum

Aside from this these would be hunters or arm chair hunters as I like to call these people will also lecture you on things they know little about such as elastic pull weight. By the end of the arm chair hunter's lecture the poor aspiring slingshot style hunter leaves the session scratching his head and regretting even asking the advice of these moderators in these big forums.

Am I attacking these pseudo experts? Of course not, this blog is intended to share the truth and nothing more. Now let's see the mythbusting facts vs the above exaggerated claims.

Real world field proven slingshot projectile velocities with projectile weight, speed and game harvested.

Most of what follows are experiences my own and one is quoted from a friend of mine who is an avid grey squirrel hunter who uses flatbands with a short draw.

What is the basic lethal projectile speed required for hunting smallgame with a slingshot?

Note: When I say basic projectile speed this is not meant as an absolute requirement but a real world observation of what projectile speeds have been field proven to take smallgame.

100 MPH One hundred miles per hour in feet per second translates to  146.6 feet per second.

A .457 lead ball at 140 grains traveling 146 fps will kill a grey squirrel if it is struck in the vital area. I have a friend who hunts with flat bands and his style is different in that he has a very short draw and release and with this velocity he has been able to harvest a grey squirrel one of the toughest of smallgame to harvest with a slingshot. Ironically a 300 grain projectile traveling at 130 fps will do more damage than this smaller projectile. Heavier projectiles can deliver greater impact at a slower speed.

A 300 grain or 20 gram pebble/river stone or rock for that matter traveling at this same 100 MPH is lethal to game larger than even a grey squirrel as it's weight is greater we can expect a greater blunt force on impact. Most of my chronograph field documented results have been using the chained office rubberband elastics and to this I will share what I know to be fact.

Ok then let's break this down into a simple real world chart with some short examples. 

The following is broken down into categories based on types of projectiles I have personally used in the field to bring home some smallgame.

River rocks aka pebbles: A pebble weighing 18 to 22 grams traveling from 146 to 150 fps has been proven effective at taking rabbits and jackrabbits out to 20 + yards. In some instances with the either the errant shot or the animal's natural evasive movement where my shot hit the body either ribs or spine this speed and weight of projectile had enough blunt force to stop the creature and obvious a needed quick finish. In other instances the solid impact produced an instant kill. Even a pebble of this weight will still effectively kill smallgame with a mere speed of 138 fps. As noted a pebble of this weight traveling 100 MPH has a crippling impact.

Lead Balls .50 caliber or (.500): A .50 cal lead ball when cast from scrounged wheel weights weighs approximately 180 grains and when cast from pure lead weighs 188 grains. A .50 cal lead ball of either alloy traveling from 150 to 170 fps will kill smallgame up to large jackrabbits.

 Here's my explanation: 

Although I have limited experience in hunting with lead balls I will share some of my experiences in the field. At one time a personal friend donated for me a mixed bag of hand cast lead balls, among these were various .50 cal lead balls he cast from wheel weights. Having gave these the soup can test I felt they were adequate. At one time I decided to take these .50 cal lead balls on my hunts and designated these for shots past 25 yards since pebbles at that range have more drop and so if you miss the first shot will spook game. I had my opportunity in early 2012 when hunting an abandoned defunct railroad with my dog, I came accross a jackrabbit which from 50 yards away looked smaller than it really was. Having hunted all week with smaller targets in mind I was intending for a head shot and I moved off the gravel railroad and unto the grass and stalked to within 33 to 35 yards. 

The Desert Hare was catching the last rays of the afternoon sun at 40 degrees F so I took my first shot with my alambre resortera armed with chained #64 office rubberbands. The first lead ball sailed over it's head and I took a deep breath drew back as far as I could and let fly the second .50 cal lead ball. A half second later I could hear the impact of the .50 cal projectile as it hit the top of the jackrabbit's head with a loud "pop" similar to a baseball hit by a bat. That was the end the jackrabbit fell to never get up with just it's nerves twitching. The creature was massive and weighed within 8 to 10 lbs and far to big to fit in my usual game bags. The image of this large jackrabbit can be seen at my post
The Slingshot as a Projectile Weapon

How fast was the .50 cal lead ball traveling that took this large jackrabbit? 

I later tested the exact same #64 chained bands that I used on this hunt with my F-1 chronograph and the same batch of .50 cal lead balls. 

The lethal speed of this projectile was a mere 163 fps and no where near the speeds preached by the arm chair hunters out there. This is all fact and not theory this is the point of this blog post. So you see a mere 160 fps can carry enough energy past 100 feet to make such a significant smallgame kill.

I have also taken large pigeon with these .50 cal lead balls and same elastic and speeds with a crop shot which stopped the large pigeon in it's tracks.

But does using a faster slingshot projecting a .50 cal lead ball at 190 to 200 fps give you an advantage you ask? Simple answer.. No: My use of the red chained bands the High Quality #32 rubberbands in a 4x4x4 chain taught me this fact.

The High quality Red #32 rubberband chains in a 4x4x4 chain project the .50 cal lead ball from 193 to 200 fps and I have tried to use these faster rubberbands in similar field situations and found that the shots drop sooner or even curve in flight. Yes a perfect sphere can curve in flight and there is a YT vid of a prominent German shooter showing a "steel ball" curve in flight.

Although another topic all together, I will only say that the faster elastic with same projectile will work better or more accurate within the 20 yard max range but better in 10 to 15 yards. This has been my personal experience and to make these faster elastics perform better you would have to shoot a heavier projectile. This of course is another topic all together and I digress. 

Let's  move to the next most popularly advised slingshot projectile for smallgame hunting. 

Half inch steel ballbearings: To my metric inclined friends across the pond these are 12.7 mm steel balls or .50 cal steel  these 1/2 inch steel balls weigh 129.63 grains around the weight of a .44 cal lead ball cast in wheel weight alloy or slightly more. I believe the .445 lead ball cast in wheel weight alloy is 128 grains.  A half inch steel ball bearing traveling from 167 to 172 fps has enough force to take pigeons and their cousins in the squab family out to 30 yards on several occasions I have taken pigeons with head and neck shots out past 20 yards and the 12.7 mm steelie had enough force to take down the pigeons with a clean kill and crippling if not a perfect shot. One smaller member of the squab family I stopped at 30 yards with one of these half inch steel balls. Yes you can also kill rabbits with these steel balls, please only shoot for the head on rabbits and with pigeons the same head, neck shots for best results.

As you can see these projectile speeds are no where near the exaggerated velocities suggested by the arm chair hunters and their cousins the card & milk jug shooters.

These are just of the in the field results and the resulting chronograph tests I have taken after these smallgame kills. Why did I chronograph after the kills?
Simple I suspected that the projectile velocity was no where near as fast as some of the exaggerated claims seen on the forums out there and I was correct.

I hope this helps the new comer to hunting with a slingshot, to avoid further confusion and no you dont need to chrony your shots beforehand.

Just some food for thought and if you have an questions please feel free to ask.