Installing and Configuring US Leather Military Slings
In this installment, we'll be discussing the M1907 leather military rifle sling. Topics include assembling, attaching and adjusting 1907 style slings.
Most US service rifles used during World War I where equipped with 1907 slings. When the US entered World War II, many main battle rifles were still fielding the M1907. As World War II progressed, the M1907 sling was replaced by the USGI Web Sling. The web sling was less expensive, easier to produce, more durable, used more abundant materials and was far more GI friendly than the M1907.
Today the M1907 sling can be seen on rifles used by competitive and tactical precision shooters. M1907 slings are included in some modern military sniper systems. These slings also have a place among hunters, re-enactors and traditionalists.
Let's take a look at the components of the M1907 sling:
There is the Short Strap, which has a hook (or frog) at one end and a ring at the other.
The Long Strap, that includes a hook
And two Keepers
The straps of a M1907 sling are 1-1/4 inches wide. There are M1907 style slings that are available with 1 inch wide straps.
The hardware, the hooks and ring are usually either brass or steel. Steel hardware often has a parkerized finish. The hooks are riveted to the strap. You'll find most 1907 style slings use stitching to attach the ring.
The two straps are constructed of leather or synthetic material. Different manufacturers can use leather that varies in overall quality and thickness. Leather quality can affect the performance and durability of a sling. Synthetic slings are usually constructed around a woven nylon core and are coated with a grippy rubber like man-made material. Synthetic slings are stable and durable. Both the Long Strap and Short Strap include a series of evenly spaced holes in pair. Some 1907 style slings have extended lengths or can contain additional set of holes. Some high-end slings also number each set of holes on the Long Strap.
The Keeps are the working components of the 1907 sling. The quality and construction of the keepers can greatly impact the effectiveness of a sling. The purpose of the keeper is to lock the other components of the sling in place. How tight the keepers fit around the Long Strap determine how well the configuration can be maintained. Loose keepers will allow the sling to skip. I've seen keepers constructed with stitching, staples or rivets. Heavy leather keepers tend to keep a tight fit longer extending the life of the sling. Synthetic keepers work very well and don't degrade very much over time and hold up to hard use.
I'll walk you through assembling a 1907 style sling.
We're going to start with the Long Strap.
- Let's slide a keeper down the length of the Long Strap from the open end towards the hook.
- We then attach the Short Strap. We place the Short Strap Ring over the open end of the Long Strap and slide it down towards the installed lower keeper. The hooks of both straps should be oriented in the same direction and the claws should be pointed inward.
- The end of the Long Strap is then inserted into the lower keeper to form the lower loop that captures the Short Strap Ring.
- We will now slip the other keeper onto the open end of the Long Strap. Stopping about a foot or so in is fine.
- We're now ready to attach the sling to a rifle.
- The open end of the Long Strap passes through the front sling swivel.
- We then pass the open end through the upper keeper, forming the upper loop.
- The hook from the Long Strap can now be connected to a set of hole on the Long Strap, between the open end of the Long Strap and the upper keeper.
- The hook of the Short Strap should now pass through the rear sling swivel. Pull the short strap through and attach the Short Strap hook in a set of hole below the Long Strap hook.
The sling is now assembled and attached to the rifle.
Let's adjust the sling.
First we're going to move the keepers to enlarge the size of the loops around the forward swivel and the Short Strap Ring. This is going to make it easier to slide the Long Strap through the keepers.
- Next we'll grip the Long Strap at the forward swivel on the outward side away from the rifle. We'll then grip the Long Strap at the Short Strap Ring on the inward side closest to the rifle.
- We will then pull down at the forward swivel and upward at the Short Strap Ring. This will add more slack to the sling.
- We can push the upper keeper towards the forward swivel and the lower keeper towards the Short Strap Ring to lock the components in place.
- To take the slack out of the sling we're going to start by unlocking the components by again sliding the keepers and enlarging the loops.
- Next the Long Strap hook is detached and move to different set of holes to shorten the configuration.
You've seen the military standard procedures for assembling and attaching a M1907 style sling. There are other ways to configure and use these slings and some will be covered in future installments.
Until next time...