Gary saw a need for a better rifle sling design, not just for those who carry heavy rifles, but for most any type of rifle or shotgun that uses a sling design for transport. Unlike me (the whiner), Gary (the innovator) decided to do something about it. He created a sling with double shoulder straps much like a backpack. His sling makes carrying a heavy rifle (or any slung shotgun or rifle) almost a non-issue. It distributes the weight over both shoulders instead of one, resulting in less fatigue on your upper body. Since it goes over both shoulders the rifle slipping off your shoulder is no longer a concern, as it is virtually “slip proof”. (This improved my language.)
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The rifle, for the most part, stays centered between your shoulder blades and is out of the way as you bust your way through thick foliage. With the rifle and scope tight up against the center of your back it is well protected from bushes, branches, and all kind of other things that enjoy scratching up rifles and scopes. Sure, your body still takes a beating in those rough places, but your rifle is safe. Chicks dig scars anyway, right?
All the features listed above are great and it is truly an improvement over a single shoulder sling. However, I think the greatest benefit it offers is that it leaves both hands free. This is a HUGE plus for stumblebums like me. I now have two hands to hang on with for dear life. Actually, I usually have a hiking staff in one hand to help with balance in steep terrain, and now, the other hand free to “hang on” if needed. I figure, with the use of both hands, I have doubled my odds of saving myself from an unplanned whaaa-whooo trip down the mountain.
Overall the sling is fantastic. There were only a couple things that I thought would make a very good sling a little better. The sling does not come with any sling swivels and, as of right now, they have to be purchased separately. It would be very handy if they came with the swivels. I asked Gary about this and he said he was working on trying to find a good source in order to make sling swivels an option down the road.
Another problem with not having the sling swivels included is that the sling did not come with any instructions, and attaching the swivels quickly became a much bigger and more complex procedure than I anticipated. (I know us “he-man” types wouldn’t read the instructions anyway. However, this is one time I probably would have gotten in touch with my sensitive side and peeked at the instructions.)
At the end of the strap, the ends were folded over and sewn, making it extremely difficult to pass the strap back through the sling’s connecting brackets once the swivel is added. I pushed, pulled, tugged, sweated, and cursed a time or two, but I still couldn’t get the strap back through the bracket opening. I even tried holding my mouth just right, but it didn’t work. So I did what any mature, independent “he-man” would do. I asked my wife if she could figure it out. She did figure out the correct configuration for passing the strap back through the holes in the bracket, but we still couldn’t get them to fit.
Finally, in frustration, I broke out a screw driver and a pair of needle-nosed pliers. I used the screw driver to push a corner of the strap through the opening, and the needle-nosed pliers to pull (read: “force”) it the rest of the way through. I was worried that at any moment I would break the mounting brackets, but they held up despite my Neanderthal engineering skills. In the end, what should have taken ten minutes took over an hour. I called Gary and voiced my concerns regarding the difficultly in attaching the swivels. He said that they have since stopped folding over and sewing the end of the strap. Therefore it now passes through the opening much easier than the one I fought with. He also said that he had an illustrator currently working on a set of instructions that will be included with future orders. Apparently I was not the first to address the difficultly in attaching the swivels or the lack of instructions.
I give credit to Timber Butte Outdoors that they are working to solve both swivel issues. If you order a sling today, attaching the swivels should be considerably easier and more like the ten minute process I originally envisioned.
Publisher's Note: I just installed a swivel on a later-builtsling and it took me only 5 minutes.