A couple of years ago, Junior started toying with the idea of a better way to carry a rifle in the woods. He and I emailed back and forth about the idea, and we bounced it off of the guys at the Leverguns forum. After a couple of false starts, Junior came up with a way to carry a rifle using the saddle ring that comes with many lever action carbines.
Ironically, this isn't a new idea. The cavalry troopers of the Civil War used a sling much like this 140 years ago. The materials have been updated a for the modern age, but the sling is almost exactly what was carried out west by Custer and crew. You can make one from a standard sling with just a little extra webbing, a snap link, and some ingenuity.
A picture of a model carrying a Winchester 94, with a Saddle Ring Sling (SrS).
You will notice that the sling goes over the offside shoulder and holds the firearm action just below the belt line. Your hand falls naturally to that location. The firearm is suspended off the saddle ring, and the muzzle of the weapon is pointed at the ground. This is a non-threatening way to carry a firearm. If you look at pictures of GI's carrying firearms in Southwest Asia, you will see that they have adopted a muzzle-down carry. There is something psychologically non-threatening about seeing a weapon pointed at the ground.
However, with the Saddle Ring Sling (SrS), the rifle is ready to the hand and is capable of being employed instantly. Below is a picture of the rifle at the ready. Before anyone asks, blame my camera for the photo quality; the model's finger is off the trigger.
"Aaah," you say, "that is fine for lever action carbines. What about bolt rifles?"
Glad you asked.
Here is a picture with another model, using the SrS with a bolt action rifle. This one is a custom Mauser that will be featured soon on Castbullet. The advantages of the SrS are easily adapted to a bolt action. In this photo, the SrS is attached to the rear sling swivel.
Bringing the rifle to firing position is just as easy as with a lever action carbine. And yes, before you ask, that particular rifle has a common carry strap on it as well.
After using one of these slings for the past two days, I am convinced that the SrS is the best way to carry a rifle through the woods. It is secure, fast, convenient and practical. If you want one, you can build it yourself, or you can buy one here.