How to Properly Install a Rifle Sling

by Stanley Goff ; Updated April 12, 2017

That limp sling could be ading his accuracy.

duck hunter image by cherie from

Rifle slings are more than carrying devices. Properly used, they are invaluable aids to marksmanship. Shooters use rifle slings to steady their aim for competitive shooting by wrapping the sling around their non-firing arm in such a way that when they assume their shooting position, the sling tightens and actually works like a rifle rest to steady the weapon. There are various styles of sling, but the basic sling consists of a long strap with two keepers, a short strap with a D-ring at one end, and two sling swivels.

Mount the sling swivels. Drill two shallow holes (no more than 1/4 inch deep) using a bit one size smaller than the swivel screws, at the points where you want to attach the sling. Screw the sling swivels all the way into the buttstock and forearm grip of the rifle until the swivel screws are seated. The swivel on the buttstock is mounted bottom dead-center, two or three inches from the end. The swivel on the forearm grip can be mounted on the front third of the grip, wither bottom dead-center or along the side. Side mounts make the rifle lay flatter on your back when you carry it.

Look at your sling, and read the instructions. There are many different kinds. The standard marksman’s sling has hooks on the ends of the short and long straps that fit into holes along the length of the sling straps.

Pass the free end of the long strap through the buttstock swivel from the center toward the barrel end. Loop the sling end back over the swivel bar and connect the end to the sling itself, then pass the end through the nearest keeper (a little belt around the sling).

Pass the free end of the short strap through the forearm swivel, inside to outside, and loop the sling end over the swivel bar. Connect the end using the hooks and holes (or whatever attachment) to the short strap body. You will now have a trailing end on the short strap with a D-ring.

Pass the free end of the long strap through the D-ring at the free end of the short strap, from rifle-side to outside. Fold the long strap end back on itself and through the nearest keeper. Connect the ends of the long strap together where they meet, using the hooks and holes. There is now a keeper on each end of the long strap, one on either side of this connection. Adjust the length by disconnecting the last connection and moving it up or down along the strap, while holding tension on the sling from the inside fold of the sling assembly.

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About the Author

Stanley Goff began writing in 1995. He has published four books: "Hideous Dream," "Full Spectrum Disorder," "Sex & War" and "Energy War," as well as articles, commentary and monographs online. Goff has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of the State of New York.