5 minute project: Cable seal sling mount

I recently built a new AR upper, and combined with my favorite lower I’ve dubbed it my “Bush Patrol Rifle”. I built this upper focusing on “pursuing excellence” over “best bang for the buck” as I went. In this article I’d like to detail a new method for mounting my sling that I think is an improvement over previous methods I’ve used. I think this is a stronger, more reliable, and more economical way to mount a sling than many of the commercial options available.

I’ve tried many methods of mounting my slings, and through my own observations as well as those of others I’ve concluded that the simplest methods are the best. The more hardware involved the more points there are to fail. The simpler we can keep things the better. Often what seems simple at home when we are well fed and rested becomes a nightmare after a few days of little sleep and food.

After having some high quality QD attachments fail, as well as bolt on sling mounting points loosen, I concluded long ago that some sort of loop mount through or around the handguard was best. I used 550 cord for a long time, and it worked good. The blood knot I would use typically held the cord good, but the 550 cord had a tendency to stretch after awhile (not really surprising considering it’s kernmantle construction), and while this wasn’t the end of the world I decided to try something else.

2 screws, 2 nuts, 4 ball bearings and 4 springs to fail. You can double those numbers if you’re using QD attachments on both ends of your sling. All for the low price of $25-$50.

For the last two years I’ve been using 3 wraps of #36 bank line secured with a blood knot. This worked good also, but I noticed over time (2 years) the overhand knots were slipping a little. I was also worried about barrel heat affecting the nylon cordage if I ever got the barrel that hot.

For a few dollars in hardware a reliable sling mount can be made. This is cheap enough to equip many rifles quickly.
Similar cable seals are available online without having to buy bulk, these ones were $17/10 with shipping.

So while these field expedient methods worked good, I decided to try something different this time. I “acquired” some 1/8” cable seals recently and I thought they seemed strong enough for the task. These basically are a very heavy duty zip ties, but built using 1/8” aircraft cable. They are used to seal all sorts of industrial storage areas to ensure the items within haven’t been tampered with. Things like rail cars, conex boxes, etc.

To test the cable seals strength I ran the cable through some weights totaling 50 pounds and then subjected this to all sorts of abuse to try and get the cable to break. It didn’t budge, so I figured holding a 9 pound rifle wouldn’t be too hard of a task.

Next I took some heavy duty 3M heat shrink and coated the cable. This was to give some protection to both the cable and the handguard of my rifle, as well to obscure the shiny cable.

After I had “coated” the cable, I took some test measurements using a piece of bank line. I then inserted the cable into the lock and pulled the loop closed to a point a little bit larger than what I measured with my bank line. These locks cannot be reversed, so it’s easier to start out big and work my way smaller.

Once I had the loop as small as I dared, I trimmed off the excess cable and used a larger piece of heat shrink to cover the locking mechanism itself.

Now all that was left was to loop the cable through my handguard and pull it through itself, creating a Lark’s head knot. By doing it this way, instead of just wrapping around the outside of the handguard, I can remove the mount later and reuse it. When it’s tight, this places the locking mechanism about 1” off the handguard.

I took my sling apart and ran it through the loop created by the locking mechanism, then secured it with the buckle and taped down the end of my sling with some camo Gorilla tape.

3 comments

  1. […] A good article from my buddy over at Wyoming Survival. He’s dead on with his assessment that a lot of slings are overpriced for what they are. I also like the DIY aspect of this. Imagine how many slings you could produce with $100 worth of webbing and hardware and some cable seals like I used in my last article… […]

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