Hunters afraid of evaluating their field marksmanship skills in a group environment will sometimes criticize HunterShooter events or other scored shooting formats for hunters that use timers for scoring or enforce some sort of time limit. “When I hunt, I’m not timed. I shoot when I want,” or something.

My counter to this foolishness is to demonstrate the use of a 1907-type two-piece loop shooting sling. It’s lighter and more convenient than a bipod or shooting sticks and doubles as a carry strap, making it ideal for hunting. Of course, they’re ignorant of proper sling use and immediately criticize it for being too slow for use during a hunt. Because we wouldn’t want to use something that slows us down due to the time-critical nature of the task… and then complain about any attempt to measure or test elapsed time when performing said task.

Of course, there are faster options than such loop slings. The Whelen, such as the Hunter Company Whelen sling #210 was developed as a simpler, potentially quicker option.

“For those used to the military sling and prefering the two-piece jobs, sporting slings like the military sling but made of lighter and narrower leather straps (7/8 to 1 inch) are available. Still better is the one-piece sling worked out by Colonel Townsend Whelen, dean of the American gun writers, back before World War I. This one-piece Whelen sling is a strip of leather from 3/4 to 1 inch wide and generally about 52 inches long. It has a claw hook at one end and the length for carrying is adjusted by the placement of the claw hook in a series of holes punched in the leather. It likewise has two leather “keepers.” The sling is held together and the size of the “loop” is regulated by leather lacings which tie through the holes.

I have used the one-piece Whelen sling for many years and on the whole have found it very satisfactory. I adjust it so that it is of the proper length to carry the rifle with the sling over my right shoulder with the trigger guard forward. I hold the strap with my right hand to steady it. If it is necessary for me to sling the rifle over my backso that I can use both hands for climbing, carrrying out a couple of quarters of venison, a sheep head, or some other burden, I simply move the claw hook back to lengthen the sling.”

– Jack O’Connor, “The Complete Book of Rifles and Shotguns,”
O’Connor had a background in High Power and was versed in loop sling use.

The RifleCraft RS1, RS2, and RS3 modernize this. The Pronghorn, Safari, and Rhodesian slings have a pre-set loop built in. Richard Mann’s RifleMann sling is arguably the most versatile of all the two point designs. The CW and Ching slings with three point of attachment are potentially fastest of all.

These options can offer a speed advantage, which is good when speed is an advantage. Like it might be while hunting. Which means that a concern about that advantage is worth considering.