EXCELLENT WATERVLIET ARSENAL MARKED RIFLE SLING

$395.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 2021-712

This russet leather U.S. rifle sling shows just a few stains and minor wear spots and has a crisp “WATERVLIET ARSENAL” stamp in two lines. The brass hook and standing loop are firmly in place, and the sliding tightener is present. The sling was mounted on a rifle at some point, and has an extra hole or two added for adjustment, but does not have any tears or weak points from creasing.

This sling measure 63-inches, significantly longer than the usual Civil War 46-inch 1850 pattern gun sling. Many collectors and dealers identify these as U.S. made slings for the large number of imported P53 Enfield Rifle Muskets, which have swivels on the triggerguard bow and the upper rather than middle band. Black bridle leather slings issued to British rifle regiments at the time seem to have been 60-inches long, which puts these in the ball-park, though a commercial sling by S.W. Silver & Co. is only 50-inches. (See the English Connection, 356-357.) A rival theory is that these are 1880s production of the 1870 pattern U.S. rifle sling, specified as 63-inches long, though some longer ones are known, made in one piece when Civil War slings to splice together were running short. These were intended to accommodate not only the wider spacing of the swivels on the two-band trapdoor rifles, but new firing stances utilizing the sling to steady the rifle for greater accuracy. (See McChristian, US Army in the West, 91 and 280; and, U.S. Army on the Western Frontier 1880-1892, Vol. 2, 54-57 and, especially, p.64, mentioning Watervliet marked 63-inch slings.)

The sling is in excellent condition regardless and is a nicely marked example produced at a U.S. arsenal.  [sr] [ph:m]

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