As more and more hunters venture into the mountains in pursuit of large game animals, there is an ever-evolving list of equipment and tools that make that journey with them. Some pieces of equipment get overlooked or are just simply part of the hunting process already, but when taking to the mountains, every aspect should be investigated to ensure the right equipment is making the trip. This includes the sling attached to your hunting rifle.
This might seem like something inconsequential, but the wrong sling or lack thereof can really put a damper on what might already be a tough excursion. The right sling, however, can make things much more enjoyable. From experience, there is nothing worse than having a rifle sling that continuously slips off your shoulder or just does not operate well. Try carrying a six to ten-pound rifle with a bad sling around for a week straight, eight to ten miles of hiking a day. It is not fun!
In order to find the best rifle sling for you, keep a few things in mind. Know the qualities, types, and materials of the slings you are considering taking with you. Test them if you can. Also, remember that adjustability, functionality, durability, and comfort go a long way in the field.
Let’s investigate what things to look for in a good rifle sling and give you a few of our choice slings to take a look at for your next hunting trip in the mountains.
Qualities of a Good Mountain Hunting Sling
If you have ever been to an outdoors or hunting store and ventured into the aisle with gun slings, there are a gazillion different options to look at. It might feel overwhelming or it might seem like the choice is not a big deal. You might be saying, “it is just a rifle sling, for goodness sake.” While that is true, we want to point you in the right direction to have the best experience possible.
There are qualities that every hunter should look for when considering any piece of equipment that they might use in the field. A rifle sling is no different, especially one you will be taking into the mountains with you. Let’s take a look at a few of the qualities you should look for in a good mountain hunting sling.
A good mountain hunting sling should be adjustable but also have sturdy adjustments that stay in place. Most hunters take a slew of different equipment into the field with them and different pack sizes will range from compact or huge. If you want to comfortably carry your hunting rifle along with your pack, make sure that it has a decent amount of adjustment that will allow you to conform your sling around the other gear you carry on your back and shoulders.
Where the adjustment takes place is also important to look at. You do not want a sling that is adjustable but will not stay in place after the adjustment is made. Nothing worse than having to readjust your sling every 10-15 minutes of hiking.
Does it do the job that you need it to do? Plain and simple on this one. Having it function the way you need it to is important and without that functionality, it is just something that will get in the way and frustrate you in the field. Make sure that it operates the way you need it to and that it has quick, easy adjustments that can be made during the trip.
Is it durable? Will it hold up to the punishment that you will put it through on the mountain side? Check the materials and the quality of construction. Check out reviews of other people who have already used them to check their longevity and how they hold up during use.
Do not overlook comfort. Being able to keep your rifle at the ready on your shoulder will free up your hands to navigate, spot animals using binoculars, and work through and over rough terrain. The sling should be comfortable and not cumbersome to the hunter wearing it. It will be an irritant and a nuisance if it is uncomfortable. You want it to feel as if it almost is not there.
Types of Slings & Materials
When considering your rifle sling for the mountains, you need to keep in mind the type of slings that there are and the materials in which they are made of. You can get numerous different types, but only you know what is best for you and your hunting style.
There are three different types of slings that are available but the type you use or can use is dependent on what your firearm is set up to handle. Not all of these types will work on every rifle.
Single-point Sling: This is a simple sling that has a single anchor point on your rifle. These slings are more popular for AR-style rifles and other tactical rifles, but are worth mentioning as more and more of these are finding their way into the mountains due to their versatility in bigger calibers.
Two-point Sling: This is your more traditional style of sling for conventional hunting rifles. These are basic in design and usually attach to an anchor point on the butt of the rifle and to the forearm of the rifle. Most of the slings we will venture into here in a bit will be of the two-point variety as they are simple, versatile, and function quickly when a shot needs to be made.
Three-point Sling: This type of sling is not as popular as the other two, but might be worth checking out. It attaches similarly to a two-point sling but has an additional loop that is secured around your torso. It gives off a hybrid feel of both the single-point and two-point slings. Most people either love them or absolutely hate them.
There are a variety of different materials used in the making of rifle slings. Each one has its different qualities, but you want a well built sling that will last. Some of the most popular materials used in slings are nylon, leather, and other synthetic materials that are used, like rubber.
These materials usually help the sling stay lightweight but durable to the adverse conditions that hunters are susceptible to in the field. You might find combinations and variations of all these materials as rubber or other synthetic are added for grip and comfort over the shoulder.
Another new popular material is paracord woven slings. These are durable and flexible, but also provide a useful survival tool in an emergency. Just remember though, if you have to use that paracord for something, you lose your sling in the field.
A Few of Our Favorite Slings for Mountain Hunting
Let’s get into actually looking at a few of our favorite slings and their features to help point you in the right direction. You can give these a try or at least see some of the different features that are available to rifle hunters.
Flatline Fiber Co Padded Rifle Sling
This is a personal favorite, used for four seasons of hunting in Wyoming and Colorado. It is a basic design of a nylon strap with a large rubber shoulder pad for extreme comfort. This sling swivels easily, is light in weight, comfortable and durable. For a $65 price-point, most hunters would be extremely happy with this sling.
It is easily adjustable, holds up to snow, water, and all kinds of rough terrain. The rubber shoulder pad makes it very comfortable with both small packs and larger frame packs. It also helps keep your gun from slipping and sliding off your shoulder when hiking over rough terrain. This is a great feature when your hiking becomes human four wheel drive territory.
Beside the awesome quality, the best thing about Flatline Fiber Co slings is that they are made by hand in the USA. They also come with a lifetime warranty. So if you want to invest in a high quality sling, you can do so comfortably knowing that if it breaks, you are covered.
Flatline Fiber Co Standard Rifle Sling
This is your basic two-point leather sling. It is built with strength and longevity in mind, but does not offer much padding and is only an inch wide. This is definitely for more traditional hunters or those who want their sling to match the look of their gun. It is highly capable, just without all the frills.
This sling also comes with ITW Ladder loc with a pull tab for quick adjustments and has Open ends to add the desired attaching hardware. The slings are made to come with an excess amount of webbing. Once the sling is fit to your needs you can stow the excess webbing into the provided tri-glides.
As mentioned before, this is a Flatline Fiber Co sling so it is American made and comes with a lifetime warranty. This is the sort of sling you can put on a rifle you use regularly and be confident in its abilities. Plus, it is so easy to work with that you will not spend any more time fighting with a stubborn, forgin made, sling.
There you have it. A full rundown on what to look for in the best rifle slings for mountain hunting. Find that durable but comfortable sling that will make your mountain hunting adventures pleasurable without having to fight with a sling that is cumbersome. It might take a couple of tries to find the right one, but you will be happy when you do. Good luck out there!