Turner Leather Slings

7 November 1999
By Scott Powers

Turner Saddlery is considered by many to be the leading manufacturer of high quality leather rifle slings. They make a very complete line of products for the competitive and police shooter. If you are going to become a High Power competitor there is but one leather option worth considering. Turner. Why? Ask any shooter on the line. Many will have, in an effort to save money, tried lower grade slings like Uncle Mikes or some of the other department store leather slings. Most will not hold up to the abuse dolled out on the line. All leather products are susceptible to weather and will stretch over time, but some will do so much faster than others will. Exposure to weather will eventually make leather rot away. Cheap leather products simply do not hold up for more than a season of real use. Turner's slings tend to outlive the competition year after year. Their level of finish is outstanding and their reputation is well deserved.

I have used a military sling for several years now in NRA High Power. It was nearly done when I purchased it for $8.00 used, at a gun show. It is of the M-1907 variety commonly marked MRT, which stands for Mildew Resistant Treated. It has served me fairly well, but has a lot of stretch. The keepers almost always lose position and over time, the thread in the keepers has failed. More than once. However, I have used that old MRT time and again and simply been to lazy or cheap to replace it. This was a foolish attitude. If you are serious about competing, you should always arm yourself with the best you can afford. Fighting your gear is crazy. You have enough on your hands fighting the wind, stress, time, and the fellow next to you who has, through experimentation, modified his rifle so that his hot brass hits you in the cheek every time he fires!

In steps Turner and their National Match Service Rifle Sling. This item is essentially a M-1907 military sling, but cut from 11 oz. Strap leather. It has numbered adjustment holes, 12 in all, which help facilitate relocating the proper hole when you switch from sitting to prone firing. This is a nice touch. During the three-minute prep period before a string of fire, it is comforting to be able to snap the sling in and visually verify that you have the proper setting for your shooting position. With 12 holes, you have plenty of adjustment to experiment and find the right setting for your body size. The sling is fitted with Mil-spec parkerized steel hardware and copper rivets. The rivet heads are just under 3/8th of an inch. This is VERY important. I have seen smaller rivets pull through their strap. The short strap - the one that goes on the butt end of the rifle - is stitched with bonded nylon thread to resist mildew and rot. It will likely outlast your interest in competitive shooting. The sling keepers are a full 7/8th inch wide. They are hand-stitched and they are one of the selling points of the Turner sling. Keepers by design are supposed to keep the sling locked into the position you place it. Cheap slings with inferior keepers will drive you to distraction with the keepers constantly sliding out of position. This will not happen with the Turner sling. In fact, the keepers on this sling are tight enough that you will have to use some effort to move them. They will not be slipping out on your during your prone rapid fire string.

Turner cuts their NM slings 50". This is two inches longer than the normal M-1907 sling and gives you a little bit to play with. The NM slings come in Tan.

Turner also offers what they call a Police Tactical Rifle Sling. This is simply an USMC black version of their National Match sling. It is ideal for those using the AR-15 Service rifle in competition. It has all the same features as the NM sling described above, but better matches the AR's all black color. It is also said to be an excellent choice for police and tactical shooters. If you just have to use leather, I would agree. But for hard tactical use in weather I'd personally prefer the excellent web sling offered by Mike Miller, the Quick-Cuff (reviewed here.) Still, traditionalists love leather and Turner is simply the best there is in that medium. As a tactical sling I am less comfortable with it because it takes a certain amount of time to get into, unlike the Quick-Cuff. For a police sniper this is less an issue than it might seem but I am not sure I would want to be locked into any leather sling for a prolonged period of time. For me, leather is an excellent choice for High Power competition and web slings for tactical use. This is an arguable point but the experiences of WWII and Vietnam have proven that no matter how good leather is, long term exposure to harsh conditions will deteriorate it quickly. Of course, the normal competitor or police marksmen seldom lives for months on end in the jungle so again, the point may be moot.

Turner Saddlery also offers a WWII style M-1907 military sling in the original Brown colors. It has linen thread. They will even provide WWI style brass hardware for an additional $4.00. Those of you looking to equip an M1903, P-17 or other period relic will have to look no further.

Finally, Turner also offers some interesting slings for those of you who collect the more rare firearms. The list includes an M-1887 sling for the old .45-70 Trap Door. M-1903 and M-1905 pattern slings are available for the .30-40 Krag, .30 Enfield and the early '03 Springfield. Also available are the 1918A2 B.A.R. Three Hook sling and finally, the M-14/M1A Leather Cheek Piece. Turner also has replacement parts for their line of products and offers a "Beeswax and Bear Grease dressing" for waterproofing leather.

All Turner Slings are manufactured by hand. They are made to meet or exceed the original U.S. Government specs and are correct for use on rifles with 1 1/4" sling swivels. The slings are made from US raised steer. Lastly, Turner also offers reproduction leather products like the K-Bar knife scabbard and other military knife holders.

Sniper Country can proudly recommend Turner Saddlery for your leather product needs. They are the leader in quality leather products and are simply two steps above the competition.

Turner Saddlery slings may be ordered directly from Turner by contacting them at:

Turner Saddlery
P.O. Box 120
Clay, Al 35048-0120
or by calling them at: 205-680-9377
Turner Slings are also sold by various outlets like Sinclair International, Brownells, Champions Choice and other competition oriented retailers.

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