The Ching Sling

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.

53 thoughts on “The Ching Sling

  1. Your link to Andy’s Slings is broken, at least on some browsers. There seem to be some extra spaces in there – it’s fairly subtle.

  2. Hahahahahah!

    One of the pleasures I get from instructing is seeing the light bulb go on over the student’s head when they “get it”. Been looking forward to this article, very pleasurable to read your Ching review!

    You are right, it is a “game changer”. And the reason everybody doesn’t have one is that maybe 10% or less of rifle owners even realize that a sling can be a steadiness aid, let alone really grasp how the LOOP (vs. just hasty) actually works. (Once you grasp that, a whole universe of potential configurations with various field expedients, like your shoelaces, pack straps, or pants belt, comes to mind.) As Col. Cooper might say, “Hence the proliferation of bipods”.

    The word has to get out about the loop sling and its proper usage first, before the Ching can really be appreciated. Most shooters who should be wearing a Ching don’t even know what a loop sling is, let alone how it works or how to use it.

    By the way, the Ching is not “as steady as a loop” as you say, it IS a loop, just configured somewhat differently than the GI versions. For a somewhat mind-bending loop variation, check out David Tubb’s over-the-shoulder-belt-anchor loop that goes down his back and hooks to his pants belt at the small of his back. Still a loop, holds up the rifle in the same physical fashion, just loops around something (his belt) other than the support upper arm.

    Another Ching benefit is to use Appleseed hasty-hasty (only the forward elbow through the sling) while in ready carry mode. It holds up much of the rifle’s weight whilst carrying it at port-arms ready as you stalk through the woods. If you ever end up still-hunting with your heavy Remington, that is the way to carry it.

    Your Sako is starting to look like my .270….only I prefer a smaller scope mounted further forward. Sew some cartridge loops onto the off side of the cheekpiece and put some redneck camo duct tape on it, and you too can have a rifle that looks just like Colorado Pete’s!

    As an old fuddy-duddy traditionalist, I too prefer the look, feel, smell, and taste of oiled leather (I acquired the taste by chewing through my leather restraining straps, but that’s a story for a different type of blog…).

  3. “pink leopard print fuzzy job covered with faux chrome spiky pyramids”….

    EEWWWWW…..I need some Pepto-Bismol….must take out the .270 Mauser with its leather Ching to erase this image….yeccchhh..

  4. So would it be safe to say that if a fellow does not already have a sling, but is going to get one, just get a Ching sling? BTW, the chicken picture was fine, but you focused too much on the rifle/sling… 😀

  5. Your ‘#1″ is really coming together, Great platform, excellent caliber, now a fast and effective sling system. Finn Aagaard, hunter, rifleman extraordinaire, after purchasing and setting up a rig that he would be using the majority of the time, would make a scrap book for that rifle. In the case of a pre-64 Winchester 70 he purchased, in 375 H&H, he annotated every shot he ever took with that rifle in his book, including taking snap shots of his work, and posting the prints also in that book. Aagaard knew exactly where that bullet would impact from cold bore single shots in different weather conditions to expected shot groups. He knew his rig inside and out.

    • Mr. Aagard sounds like a man who has it together… worthy endeavor, worthy rifle, serious cartridge, enviable results. Thank you for the inspirational anecdote.

  6. Rifleslinger, you just made me get a 1907 sling, and now you make me switch to a Ching sling.

    I have come to the conclusion that you are in bed with the sling industry.

  7. Thanks for the review Rifleslinger – that leather sling of Andy’s looks damn fine on your Sako! And I’m impressed you had the cahones to drill that 3rd hole in the stock of your ever-faithful companion, #1 🙂 Goodonya!

    I can no longer say any reasons remain for not getting one of Andy’s ching slings for myself (could you tell me what colour variation Andy calls that one of yours – brown, chestnut etc?). I guess the 1903 sling I’ve been learning/practicing with is headed for storage.

    Finally, I sure hope you won’t mind some respectful criticism but this has to be said as I bet I’m not the only one who was disappointed to see only one photo with a chicken in it.

    • Pete, I don’t think you need to worry – Rifleslinger strikes me as a man of discerning taste and one who is aware that although rubber chickens are by all accounts more durable (and stable under a variety of weather conditions), they lack the superior warmth and feel of a real chicken.

    • Jonno,

      Howdy! Thanks for commenting, as always. I read back in my correspondence with Andy, he called it walnut brown. I would double check with him just in case if that’s the color (or colour) you like.

      I’ll try to work out more chickens for you, and chickens on the grill for Pete. Yes, it was real.

    • Thanks RS, of course these things are largely a matter of personal taste but I think Andy’s black slings suit rubber chickens best while his walnut brown slings are more fitting for the real deal (as your photo clearly shows). OK, I’ll stop with the chicken talk now.

      Regards

  8. Glad to see you like the Ching sling! Andy makes a great sling, no doubt, but I got away from it a number of years ago because It didn’t carry well for me when used over the shoulder. For the last two seasons, I’ve been using a custom nylon one that a buddy made for me, and not only does it shoot as well, but it carries really well to. I don’t know where he got the nylon from, but it’s not run of the mill stuff. Let us know how your thoughts develop as you use it more.

  9. Another option for your shingling, would be to swap out those quick detach swivels and go with the flush mount variety that Cooper liked. Brownells sells them. Pachmayr and Millett both make them. They look better on a class rifle like yours. Check ’em out.

    • Is this always the same “Anonymous” or do I need to address you as different people. I’m starting to become used to the idea of thinking of you as a single person. Maybe we could do like George Foreman and number y’all if you’re not the same person.

      I will consider the flush cups.

    • RS, I run the Millet flush mounts as described above on my bolt guns. You do have to drill a bigger hole though (horrors!).

      One thing to consider is that I have not found 1.25″ swivels to match (if I wanted to shift to a GI sling for whatever reason), at least so far. This is not a problem as the bolt guns wear 1″ Chings, which are not likely to be substituted. The flush mount swivels are not compatible with the standard QD types, so, if you ever want to move a sling from one rifle to the next, you’ll want to run all your rifles with the same setup.

    • I really like the idea of these flush mounts for a number of reasons though have not yet tried them. I notice the Millet product has been discontinued – do you know whether or not the Pachmayr version is equally suitable?

      cheers,

    • Hi Jonno,

      The Pachmayr mounts and swivels look like they work the same way as the Millett but are shaped in a more ergonomic way. I was actually picturing flush cups, which use a push button quick release mechanism, but I’m pretty sure the Col. didn’t use those.

  10. I knew Eric and I know Andy. Both great Americans and the quality of Andy’s slings is outstanding.

    I agree with the author that it’s inconceivable that all rifles with a one piece stock aren’t factory equipped with a third swivel. Once you’ve used a Ching Slong in the field, you’ll never go back. Recommended.

    Semper Paratus,

    Steve

    • One caveat I’ve found with the Ching is that the middle strap can bind up on extended-magazine rifles (20-30 round magazines). A side-mounted center swivel is probably the way to go there.

      Just thought I’d throw that into the mix for anyone considering putting one on their AR or AK. The Ching works most smoothly on rifles with nothing sticking way out the bottom center.

    • Oh…there’s a rifle guy website out there somewhere (can’t remember what it was) who came up with a way to use a Ching as one of those “tactical” type slings that carry the rifle hanging down in front of you.

      IIRC he detached the front swivel and looped the rear of the sling around his back/shoulder, or something like that. Not sure why you’d want to do that with a bolt gun, but…

      And you thought you were done fooling around with slings…..

    • Thanks for emphasizing the magazine thing, Pete. I should have made that clearer, especially to Anonymous, who was asking for advice.

      I hope I’m done with slings for now. I’m going to need to get some shooting done sooner or later. Pick a pseudonym like “Rifleslinger” and see what happens, huh?

  11. This anonymous is not going to be using a Ching on a rifle with a protruding magazine, so no worries. Still, it is good to keep these tidbits of information tucked away in the brain for future rifle purchases.

    • Uh-oh, RS, ANOTHER SLING!!!!!

      Never tried it, but by watching the video it functions as a supporting loop around the back of the upper arm. I notice she does not wrap her forward hand around the front of the sling straps. You could perform the same function with the forward strap of the 1907 if you kept the loop loose by having both keepers run all the way forward.

      The loop around the back of the support arm, pulling forward against the front swivel, is what holds up the rifle without muscle effort. Having the sling wrap around your forward hand helps support the hand against the weight of the rifle. I would have to experiment with this type to see if it made a difference to not wrap your forward hand around the sling.

      In any event it looks like a useful speed loop if you want to avoid putting in a third stud.

    • For some reason the Safari sling isn’t “grabbing” me. I haven’t tried one, so I’m not going to dismiss it altogether, but I feel content with the sling that I have on that rifle for now. In my mind, the third stud was worth it. It looks like you’re going to sacrifice simplicity with either the 3rd stud, or the complexity of the sling sections in the Safari. It looks like the Safari has a different technique as well. I really like how the standard Ching sling works. It’s very fast and very easy. One thing I was remiss in was doing a video to demo it. I’m not in a position to get one done right now, but I’ll keep it in mind.

      I’m actually contemplating making a nylon Ching for the Remington, so it can be “tacticool”, as well as “practicool” (someone else coined that word).

    • Well I fooled around with the 1907 a bit, regarding that video on how the Safari sling works. You can use the forward loop of the 1907 in the same fashion (grab it and pull it up under your elbow to the back of your upper arm while not letting go with your forward hand), BUT: due to the “straightness” of the configuration of the loop when it’s around your arm this way, you have to shorten the loop significantly from the setting used in the normal use of the sling (which takes a more indirect and thus longer path around your arm).

      In other words you can’t get equal support with the same loop length used both ways, you have to reset it it, which complicates matters…

    • RS,
      Not enough material for me to do a guest post, IMHO. I will say this:

      Going by the Gunsite lady instructor in the Safari sling video, she keeps her support hand gripping the fore-end well behind the front swivel. This is common in folks with arms shorter than a full-grown man. This requires a grip, not just a placement of a relaxed hand (as Appleseed teaches),in order for the hand to not slide forward on the fore-end, thus lowering the muzzle. Ditto with the 1907 if you go that exact route. In other words, in her example the forward hand does not jam up and relax against the front swivel as a solid stop, so the hand has to grip. This makes for a muscle input into the fore-end (potential tremble), and also is a weak link in the support – if your hand slips forward, you drop the muzzle. Without wrapping your forward hand around the front end of the strap in the usual fashion, the hand is not captured by the sling and held against the fore-end in a nice trapped relaxed wedge.

      When I pulled out my trusty old ’43 Winchester M1 and played with it before writing my prior post, that was as far as I got.

      Now that you mention it though, I pulled her out again and fiddled some more. I find that if I run the frog and keepers forward up against the front swivel, with the front loop shortened all the way, leaving the loop as open as possible, I can pull the loop with my trigger hand under my support elbow and up my upper support arm to a workable position. THEN I re-grip the pistol grip with my trigger hand, let go with the front hand, and push my front hand/forearm through the loop and wrap it around the sling in the normal fashion and jam it up against the front swivel. No cinching-down of the loop around my arm. I can do this while going from standing to aiming in kneeling in about four seconds flat, sitting about 6-7 seconds. Much faster than the classic method of looping up and cinching down. If you can adjust the sling short enough to be tight for your build, it offers good loop support.

      What this means is debatable. I have to have the front loop set to minimum length, unworkable for conventional use. However it gives me a quick acquisition and a workable though un-cinched loop, and if I have time for a deliberate shot, I can always re-set the length and use it in the normal fashion. The forward hand is wrapped around the sling and wedged against the front swivel in the usual securely trapped fashion, so this is more stable than simply gripping the stock, though about two seconds slower.

      Practical speed points to ponder: for a relatively easy target and a quick shot (say a deer inside 150 yds from squatting/kneeling), one can simply keep gripping the fore-end and pull on the open loop a la Safari Ching style, without pushing the forward hand through and wrapping around. This is very fast though the least steady.

      For a somewhat more demanding shot that still requires speed, one can add the forward hand pushing through the loop and wrapping around, costing about 2 more seconds but adding more stability.

      For a shot where time is not of the essence and maximum support is required, you can re-adjust the sling for conventional cinched-down use.

      None of this comes close to the one-second loop-up of the Ching, but it does add some interesting speed flexibility to the old classic.

      Well, maybe this was enough for a post…

    • I took the huge bright adjustable buckle off the sling and replaced it with a Chicago screw.It was too heavy in my opinion,and way too shiny.

      I also replaced all the brass chicago screws with black ones. I have to decide what to do about the brass keeper on there now.

      The sling is well made though.

  12. A video would be much appreciated by me. I have found only one on youtube, which might show everything there is to know, or it might not. 😀

  13. Oh,by the way,I put the Ching sling on my Ruger GSR. The sling does not interfere with the ten round magazine in any way that I can see.

    • Mr. Bill,

      Thanks for the info. I like your ideas about simplifying the sling in the comment way above.

      Also good to know about the mag issue on the Ruger. It seems like folks who buy that rifle would be particularly curious about the compatability with the sling it was meant for. I’m sure that many have put the Ching on the scout. Was there any trick in placing the center sling stud, or did you just plug it right in and play?

  14. Thank you for this great write up on the ching sling. I am in the process of building a scout rifle and was weary of whether i should spend the money on a ching sling which i have never used before in order to be in Col. Coopers guidelines. After reading your article and seeing your rating i will definitely be installing the ching sling on my rifle. Once again thank you for this informative write up and i will be frequenting your blog as well!

    Steven Stewart

  15. Your link to the two point version at the bottom of the story is not working. Is there any way to see that? I’m very interested, and thanks for the great review.

      • Ok, just tried it again, thanks! I make paracord belts, and the original leather sling for my M99 300 Savage disintegrated, thankfully not causing any harm to the gun. I have been thinking of making my own, and Ching it shall be. Thanks again!

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