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Ammo Shooting a Hank slingshot: Part Six

Shooting a Hank slingshot: Part Six

slingshot Hank
Slingshot reader Vana2 made for me of buckthorn wood
.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

This report covers:

  • No problemo
  • Today’s test
  • Shooting
  • Target
  • Summary

Today we return to the slingshot reader Vana2, whose real name is Hank, made for me. This one will be amazing for a reason I will tell you in a bit.

No problemo

Shooting a slingshot is easy — says the little boy or girl in our head. How hard can it be? To find that out I happened to watch a video by the new American Annie Oakley, Kirsten Joy Weiss. Yes, she actually did a video on shooting a slingshot. This one is slightly longer because — well, it’s a slingshot! No, really because she promotes a security device at the end. Stop at 6:54 and you will have seen it all.

At the end of the video Kirsten asks if we know of anybody who knows how to shoot a slingshot better than her. Do we? Of course we do! We know our sensei, Hank. Hank is wise. Hank is good. And today BB Pelletier stops trying to get out ahead of Hank and just does what he says. How about that; listening to the teacher and then doing what he says! Think it’ll work? Let’s see.

Today’s test

First — I stood 10 FEET from the target. That’s correct, no backing up to see how good I was becoming.

Second — I used the 8mm steel balls Hank recommended. I still have lots of the clay balls I also bought and, yes, they are cheaper and yes again, BB tends to be RidgeRunnerly when it comes to spending money. But Hank said to shoot steel balls, so today it was steel balls.

Third — I COUNTED the ammo before starting to shoot. Imagine that! And I set all the balls I intended shooting in a separate place so when they were finished I was done.

slingshot ammo
I counted 30 steel balls into the lid of the ammo can. When they were gone I was finished.

Fourth — except for the first three shots, all 27 of the others were shot following Hank’s instructions.

When I did all of that I hit the target where I wanted.

Shooting

I watched the Weiss video and noted that she shot holding the slingshot with both its legs sticking straight up. Well, of course. That’s the way it’s supposed to be done — right? Why wasn’t I shooting mine the same way? Well, I did for the first three shots today.

Shot one nicked the top of the box. I heard it hit but until I finished shooting I didn’t know where. Only by examining the box carefully did I see a nick at the very top of the box and a corresponding deep dent in the blanket backstop behind it.

Shots two and three hit to the left of the target but just outside. They are around the 9 o’clock area.

Okay, sez I; this ain’t workin’! I did everything else Hank told me to. Should I go back to holding the slingshot sideways?

I did and the next 27 balls hit the target. One hit in the 7-ring at 4 o’clock. Three more were 8’s. The remaining 23 shots were 9s and 10s, with two in the red X-ring. shootski — that was for you.

There is a group of at least 7 shots that landed in a group at 10:30 on the 10 ring. After at least 4 shots hit in the same place I started counting them.

Target

I shot at the 8-inch Shoot-N-C target. After all, I was only ten feet away! And that was far enough. Think it’s easy? Try it sometime.

slingshot target
The first three shots fired with the slingshot legs held straight up hit the box where the three arrows indicate. The next 27, shot with the legs held sideways, hit the target.

Okay, so we have learned a few things. First, Hank knows what he is talking about. Do it Hank’s way.

Second, Kirsten Joy Weiss, a world champion rifle competitor and trick shot with many different weapons, could not shoot the slingshot very well the first time she tried. Her mistakes were:

First — holding the slingshot legs straight up — the Dennis the Menace method.

Second — she didn’t go online to learn how to shoot a slingshot. She did it her way, which would have been my way, if not for Hank.

Third — it looked like she stood farther back than 10 feet. Don’t start out that way!

Fourth — the slingshot she used had round surgical rubber tubes. That makes it more powerful, but as we have learned, also more inconsistent. Flat Theraband Gold bands are the best for accurate slingshots.

Kirsten could no doubt beat me in every shooting competition except possibly air pistol at 10 meters if I ever get back to where I used to be. But I am learning how to shoot a slingshot from Hank and at this point I think I have her beat. However, give her the training I have had and I think in ten more shots she could easily pass me, because she is a woman of consistency. And that is today’s lesson to all of you who would like to try this. Learn from my mistakes. Do it Hank’s way and I think you will be surprised.

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Summary

This is the sixth installment of this report and I am not done yet. Today was an important breakthrough in which I learned to follow instructions. Next time my goal is to begin moving back.

I also want to shoot clay balls at the target. But first I need to become a better slingshot shooter.

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

28 thoughts on “Shooting a Hank slingshot: Part Six”

  1. B.B.,
    Yes, you are learning from the master!
    The first things I learned from Hank were:
    – Start close.
    – Hold the slingshot sideways.
    – Develop a consistent anchor point.
    He does make a beautiful slingshot.
    (I’d NEVER sell mine!)
    Like you, I chose Buckthorn…great stuff. 🙂
    Blessings to you,
    dave

  2. As a wee bairn, I taught myself to use a slingshot vertically as Kirsten did. Since then the internet came along and I learned to hold it sideways as Hank teaches. It is much easier to aim better his way.

    • RidgeRunner, yes, as a youngun, I tried to shoot slingshots vertically, then gave up on them as “inaccurate.”
      My “Hank Special,” along with advice from Hank, taught me the error of my ways. 🙂

  3. BB,

    Sensei? Not!! …I achieved blue belt level in Shotokan karate, think that’s about where my slingshot level is as well 😉

    Great that you are starting to group your shots. I’d suggest that you stay at 10 feet until you can consistently shoot ten into 2 inches (e.g. hit a pop can every time).

    Don’t be in a hurry to move back as you are still developing your form. Think of this as “dry firing” practice – except that you need a ball in the pouch to draw/release properly. For your (off camera) practice, a 1/2″ dot as an aim-point would be better than a target.

    You are doing very well considering how little you have been shooting your slingshot. I’d consider 30 shots as a warmup but then I’ve been shooting slingshots (and bows) for a long time. The length of a session is determined by your focus and your fatigue, there’s no point in practicing when you are tired, it’s counterproductive.

    Glad you are having fun!

    Hank

          • Decksniper,

            Taking nothing away from that shooter’s demonstrated skill the shape of the projectile at the typical 150 to 200 FPS velocity there isn’t all that much aerodynamic difference between a rock and a perfect sphere. Apparently the Slingshot squirrel hunters use Lead (Pb) filled Hex Nuts as a favored hunting projectile. Ouch!

            shootski

            • shootski,

              We used to prefer “fence staples” for hunting small game. They were cheap and quite accurate.

              Instead of a pouch there was a section of heavy cord and we used a leather tab to hold the staple.

              Hank

              • Vana2,

                That image triggers nightmare memories for me! In high school we used “hand frames” and rubber bands with twisted in half paperclips for short-range skirmishes. I got a bunch of those wire fence staples and had just taken a back shot at a guy by his locker when he suddenly turned toward me; he dropped to his knees and put his hands up to his face/eyes and screamed. Then he yelled, “Right Between the eyes!”
                I never took another shot at a person with our improvised hand catapults ever again. Hank i learned that day that Dumb Luck protects idiots only so many times…i didn’t want to know that number.

                shootski

                • *** Dumb Luck protects idiots only so many times ***

                  So true shootski!

                  We can only hope that people realize that an instance of dumb luck is a blessing and should be taken as a notification to be smarter in the future!

                  My moment of stupidity involved standing to close to the edge of the ice on a fast moving river. Was lucky that it was only a boot full of water, still don’t know how I avoided getting sucked into the river by the current. That was over 50 years ago, since then I never venture out on the ice without a pair of special ice-picks.

                  Hank

                  • Hank,
                    I carry a pair of those ice flow climbout ice picks on a lanyard in my PFD when kayaking in the Winter as well as a spare pair in my dayhatch. When I XC Ski or snowshoe i have a pair in my backpack or fanny pack for frozen ponds or stream banks. Never had to use them so far…. I also carry a RESCUE CAN or a RESCUE TUBE in my vehicles as well.

                    shootski

  4. B.B.,

    Said: “I did and the next 27 balls hit the target. One hit in the 7-ring at 4 o’clock. Three more were 8’s. The remaining 23 shots were 9s and 10s, with two in the red X-ring. shootski — that was for you.”

    According to the World Slingshot Association’s 2022 Official Competition Rules there are no “Xs” and they don’t seem to use paper targets!
    “6 Competition Target System
    6.1 The background behind the target shall be black.
    6.2 In the preliminaries of indoor precision competition, classic competition,
    frameless competition and team competition, five inverted solid targets are adopted.
    The bottom of the target is 1.4m away from the vertical ground and the transverse
    interval of the target is 10cm. The five targets are round and white, with the respective
    diameter from left to right being:
    8cm—— 2 points for knockdown;
    7cm——4 points for knockdown;
    6cm——6 points for knockdown;
    5cm——8 points for knockdown;
    4cm——10 points for knockdown;
    0 point for missing the target”
    That sounds a little like Silhouette. The outdoor rules have a 10 or 20 meter course length as an option as best i can understand.

    The format and targets sounds like fun!

    shootski

  5. Hank (Vana2) is a pretty humble guy, which is always admirable.
    Those who read this blog have already seen his woodworking skills with regard to custom air rifle stocks.
    Now, from experience, I’ll comment on his slingshots.
    Getting a slingshot from Hank is like buying a Weihrauch air rifle;
    you get something first-rate that will have as much class 50 years from now as it does today. 🙂

  6. Hank,
    I would love to get some info on your FX Panthera. I don’t know if there is a way to private message here. My email is davidcenoch at g mail dot com.

    David

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