Sling vs. No Sling, Part 3: Kneeling

When I did my position testing last fall, kneeling was a big failure because I had a clean miss of my full sized sheet of paper at 100 yards that invalidated my results on my slow fire group (but strangely, not on my time stress or exerted groups).  Because of that, and also because my kneeling group has a likely effective range of between 30 and 60 yards on my 4” target depending on the acceptable hit rate, I decided to place the target at 50 yards.  It was foggy that day, so 50 yards was about maximum anyway.

Because of the role that kneeling fulfills in the shooter’s toolbox, it probably makes more sense to train on it without the sling.  It’s a fast, relatively imprecise position.  Looping up in kneeling is much like using the standing position as a target shooting stance.  It’s a little bit like trying to use an ambulance as a racecar.  Therefore dressing kneeling up to be accurate through use of a sling seems counterproductive.  Unlike standing, however, the support elbow does have something to set on in the kneeling position, which allows kneeling to benefit fully from the loop sling.  With a sufficiently fast and easy to use sling, such as the Ching sling or my RifleCraft slings, the loop can be donned as the body drops into the position, so it really doesn’t take too much time unless you are really in a hurry.

I fired two groups on the same day with the same ammunition.  As before, I used my FN for this comparison, shooting out of a single lot of Black Hills loaded 155 grain Amax bullets with a muzzle velocity of approximately 2684 fps.  The rifle weighs in at 15.0 pounds unloaded and balances at the front of the magazine.

Without Sling:

Kneeling No Sling

With Sling:

Kneeling Loop Sling

The wide right shot on the group without the sling was the first shot from that position, and was more of a timing issue that I blame on being caused from transitioning from the Noveske to the FN.  I’ve been thinking a lot about timing the shot after my recent intensive standing work, and I want to write about that soon.  Regardless, the bad shot happened and I’m obligated to count it.

The extreme spread of the group without the sling was 178% as large as the group with the sling.  The extreme spread of the no sling group was 8.622 MOA and the group with the sling was 4.826 MOA.

The mean radius of the group without the sling was 123% as large as the sling group.  The mean radius of the no sling group was 2.174 MOA and the mean radius of the group with the sling was 1.766 MOA.

I did not evaluate the time it took to get these shots off, which probably is a meaningful thing to look at.  My guess is that the first shot with the sling is going to be comparatively slow due to the time to sling up and find that perfect natural point of aim.  Follow up shots with the sling are likely to be quicker, as the rifle is steadier.

So far I think I can say that there is compelling evidence to support the contention that the loop sling improves precision in positions other than standing.  I cannot give a number for how much improvement there is, because it seems to be heavily dependent on variables.  I my own work I saw anywhere from the non-sling group being 203% as large as the sling group to the opposite end of the spectrum of the non-sling group being 83% as large as the sling group.  Which variables?  Probably rifle weight, baseline precision of the rifle in question, the shooting position, and the skill of the shooter.

As always, I suggest that you check this out for yourself.


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