I was not paid to do this review, and at the time of publication, Ridge Runner Belts was not an advertiser.
Paracord and duct tape are survival necessities, IMO, and any way to include them in your emergency kit is a plus.
by Leon Pantenburg
I bought my first .22 rifle with earnings from raising pigs. It was a Springfield, single shot bolt-action and cost $18 in 1965. After I got it, my dad bought sling swivels, and a leather military sling for it. Initially I didn’t figure it out. A sling might be kinda weird-looking, I commented, and none of my buddies had slings on their guns.
“None of them know how to shoot very well, either,” Dad replied. Dad, a World War II infantryman, had spent a year in Camp Shelby, Miss., teaching rifle and pistol shooting. In addition to gun safety, Dad taught me how to shoot with a sling from the prone, sitting, kneeling and offhand positions. I never had a chance to learn bad habits.
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Today, after decades of big game and waterfowl hunting, I prefer a sling on any long gun. My duck gun, a 12 gauge Remington 870, has sling mounts, and the only long guns in my gunsafe without sling mounting potential are a couple of classic shotguns and the traditional blackpowder longrifles, where a sling wouldn’t be historically correct.
I really like the concept of a rifle sling made of paracord. For the uninformed, paracord or parachute line is a nylon cord witha tensile strength of about 550 pounds (hence the term 550 cord). I carry a minimum of 50 feet in any of my survival kits, and use it for everything.
In an emergency, it would be really easy to cut the sling end, unravel the cord, and use it as needed. So I ordered the two-point rifle sling from Ridge Runner Belts. I also got a paracord bracelet in Royal Blue for my daughter, a junior at Bend High – that’s one of the school’s colors. Go Lava Bears!
Bill Watson, owner of Ridge Runner Belts, makes all the products himself in his shop in Reedsville, West Virginia. His guarantee is impressive.
Bill writes on his website: “If you ever have a problem with your belt or rifle sling caused by normal usage, I will repair or replace it free of charge. Also, if you ever have to use the paracord in your belt or rifle sling in an emergency situation, send me the buckle, or sling hardware, tell me your story and I will make a new belt or sling for you.“
I got the sling and bracelet the same week I ordered them.
My first impression of the products, right out of the box, was very good. The workmanship shows a pride in quality craftsmanship. The weaving is tight and uniform, and the connections to the sling’s buckles and swivels are well-done.
A plastic pad is located right at the carry point where you would locate the sling on your shoulder, so wear should be minimized. The two-point has about 150 feet of paracord in it and the longer section of the sling is 48 inches and, the shorter section is 24 inches. The sling is adjustable from approximately 36 inches to 66 inches. The sling is easy for me to assemble once I looked at the catalog photo.
All the Ridge Runner firearm slings comes with Uncle Mike’s quick detachable swivels, which are a standard here in the United States. This means I can transfer the sling between rifles and shotguns as needed.
My typical reaction would be to attach the sling to whatever gun I was using at the time, and take it hunting. But we’re kinda between seasons right now here in Central Oregon, and I’m going to have to wait until spring.
The only change I will make after the sling has stretched out some is to wrap the sling end, and a point in the middle with some duct tape. I hunt heavy cover, and if something has the potential to snag on brush, it will.
IMO, you can’t have too much duct tape or paracord in the backcountry, and the uses are limited only by your imagination. Chances are, if you carry emergency gear and have a well-thought-out survival kit when hunting, you will never need to unravel your Ridge Runner sling to get cordage.
But if you ever do – won’t it be nice to have it? That extra paracord could be the critical tool you need to survive. And later, when you get home, Bill will appreciate hearing your story as he makes you a free replacement.
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