If you’ve ever read this blog before, you may have an idea that I’ve tried a few slings. That would be correct. I’ve tried the simple nylon sling, the Brownell’s Latigo sling, the 1907 sling, the USGI web sling (both cotton and nylon), the regular TAB gear sling, the TAB sling with no buckles, and the TIS Slip Cuff Quick Release sling. It seems like there should be more on the list, but I no others come to mind at the moment. Not only have I used them, but I have a bit of experience shooting looped up with most of them.
I have been getting a lot of recommendations for, and requests for me to review the Ching Sling. I first heard of the Ching sling from reading Jeff Cooper’s book, Art of the Rifle. When I read that book, I had never used a sling, so the information was nothing more than trivia. As I learned how to use a sling, the idea of having to mount a third stud sounded a little “overly fancified” to me.
Early in February, I got an email from Andy Langlois at Andy’s Leather
advising me that someone (unknown if one or more people) purchased a sling to donate to me. “WOW,” was my first thought. This kind of thing has never happened to me before. I worked out some personal preferences for color and the like, and about a week later I got a package in the mail.
This is as good a place as any to describe a Ching Sling. The Ching is made of 2 separate pieces of leather. The first is mounted just like a regular sling, at the front and rear swivels. There is another, shorter section of sling which is used to form the shooting loop. This section connects to the center stud, and then to the main section of the sling. On the main section, there is a stopper, which halts the travel of the short section to the rear thus determining the tightness of the loop when in shooting position. The stopper is adjustable to set the loop length. There is a simple, classy, solid brass buckle to the rear of the main sling section which is used to set the overall (carry) length of the sling.
The Ching was invented by Eric S. H. Ching (who else?) in about 1986. Mr. Ching was attending a rifle course at Gunsite. After Mr. Ching got fed up with having to constantly loop up with whatever they were using back then (maybe a C.W. Sling?) he spent some time devising something that was more user friendly. He showed his invention to Col. Cooper, who endorsed the sling. It became standard issue equipment on the Scout rifle. Mr. Ching had contacted Mr. Langlois at some point to request that he make the Ching Sling.
The leather on the sling is nice, thick, and sturdy. My wife was immediately impressed at the quality of the leather and hardware, which is a bonus. What’s nice is that it’s made in America by one set of hands.
Olde Worlde Craftsmanshipe! (The extra e’s are for linquistic authenticity)
I wanted to give the sling a fair review, but wasn’t sure about drilling into the walnut stock on #1, so I figured that I would install a third stud on the Remington 700 I shoot, which has a Freeland rail. Instead, I got a call from my friend Mark, who said that he was going to be in the area working an Appleseed shoot where some other friends were likely to be. I told him I would try to make it.
I got to thinking, “What would be a better format to shake a sling down than the second day of an Appleseed?” I got out my trusty Savage Mkii bolt action .22lr, pulled the action out of the stock, and saw that the flimsy stock offered only one place to insert a third stud forward of the bottom metal. A few minutes with a drill and I had a third stud and the Ching Sling all mounted up. A few more minutes worth of trial and adjustment, and I had it ready to shoot. A few minutes of dry practice, and I was sold on the sling.
Without trying a Ching, I think it is only natural to have doubts about its effectiveness as a shooting aid. “How could it be as steady as a 1907 or USGI?” Mounting up a Ching is similar to setting up with a hasty sling
, and about as fast, so there is a temptation to think of the Ching as a compromise between the loop sling and the hasty sling (and I personally don’t get much out of a hasty).
Let’s get something straight, the Ching is every bit as stable as a loop
. I would not have believed it if I would not have tried it. This is what is known as a “game changer”. I have been trying to figure out how to make a loop practical to use in the field. With the TAB, the TIS, and the 1907, I had gotten to the point where getting the arm in the loop would take about 5-6 seconds. It’s really not that long, but in a hurry it can seem like a long time- long enough to let an opportunity slip. The Ching is for all intents and purposes instantaneous. In the time it takes to get halfway into rice paddy prone
, the arm is in the loop. Miraculous.
How does the Ching stack up against the others I have used…?
I liked the Ching well enough to put it on my Sako 75, aka #1.
The first group I shot with the Ching on my .22 was as tight as any I’ve ever shot with that rifle. I quickly encountered a problem. The Savage Mkii uses a detachable box magazine. It comes with a 5 round mag, and also uses 10 round mags, which I generally use. Both the 5 and 10 rounders have a curve (like an AK mag), but the 10 round mag is more pronounced. The bottom front corner of the mag was getting caught under the second portion of the sling. This made reloads difficult, because I had to break position completely. Be aware of this if your rifle has a mag that protrudes.
By the time I got home, there really wasn’t any decision to be made. Of course it was going on #1. I just wanted to make sure that I would be able to change mags freely with the Sako, which uses flush fitting detachable mags.
I decided to consult an expert in the field of Ching Sling usage, our very own Colorado Pete. Pete has a wealth of shooting knowledge, but you have to beg him to share it. I finally got the advice I needed from Pete, which was that mounting the center stud a bit farther forward than normal would probably not be at all disadvantageous, provided the stud placement did not interfere with my support hand. I had taken some photos of the sling mounted on the Savage, checked the angles, and the distances from the crucial points, then estimated the necessary clearances on #1 for the mags. I estimated that the stud would need to be 1.5” to 2” forward of the forward edge of the bottom metal. Pete said 1.5” should be good. Well, if Pete says 1.5”, you go 1.5”. It worked out perfectly.
The only downside to the Ching is having to put in the 3rd stud. Putting anything extra on the rifle is definitely something to give me pause. I don’t like extra weight. I don’t like extra stuff unless it’s really going to give me a significant advantage. This sling is a significant advantage.
Rating the Ching
I give the Ching a 9.8 out of 10.0. I’m a very tough evaluator, and a perfect 10 probably isn’t going to happen with anything. I was tempted to give it a 9.9, but had to consider the issue I had with the Savage’s extended mag, which I blame more on the Savage, but still is an issue. There is also the necessity to add a 3rd stud, which is something of a sacrifice, albeit a small one. Here are ratings for the other slings I’ve used.
USGI Sling*: 7.0 (because it’s soooo sloooowwwww)
TAB Standard Sling: 8.0
TIS Slip Cuff Quick Release: 8.5
TAB with no buckles*: 9.2
1907 Sling: 9.3
*Not previously reviewed or rated. Note
: Mrs. Rifleslinger asked what a “1” would be. Leave it to her to actually make my brain have to function logically and rationally. A “1” would be a sling that did not effectively function as a carry strap, was not pleasing to the touch or eye, would potentially damage the rifle, or was a total rip off (I have an image of a pink leopard print fuzzy job covered with faux chrome spiky pyramids that cost $75 and came with zip tie attachments). I would say a “5” would be a nice, functional carry strap that did not offer a provision for looping up. Did I do a decent job of making sense of my arbitrary rating system after the fact?
I don’t understand why the Ching is not on tactical rifles everywhere. It’s the most practical thing going for “practical shooting”. The Ching offers such an advantage that I’m flabbergasted that it’s not the sling for all serious rifle shooters (except Kaiser- he marches to the beat of his own drummer. Just kidding Kaiser- I’m picking on you unnecessarily and I’m sorry. OK, not really).
If you are someone who has to have your sling in nylon, then get a Ching in nylon for crying out loud. Last year, I was a nylon guy all the way. I very much appreciate that it’s pretty much indestructible and maintenance free for the hard user. After I put the 1907 sling on my rifle, I started to appreciate the qualities of leather. It’s stiffer, which makes the sling easier to work with, keeps it in a more consistent shape, and offers the ability to use the rear portion as a field expedient “bean bag”. Also, it is just “nice”, which is to say it offers a bit of class and comfort (and I like the way it smells
and tastes). Just maintain it and it should take care of you.
For more information on the use of the Ching Sling, click here.
I think I can finally put the long and convoluted sling evaluating phase of my career to an end.
Note the chicken (Barred Rock). Like many meats, it tastes like chicken.
2/2/13 note: The Ching really is a good design and light years ahead of most of what is out there in terms of ease of use. In August I got a new rifle and really didn’t want to drill the 3rd stud. Instead I invented a 2 point sling for traditional rifles with only 2 studs that would work like a Ching. More details can be found here.