Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Review: Pocket Slingshot

 I took  a chance with Ali Express and bought myself a cool little gizmo that I'd seen online.  I got a pocket slingshot. These are really jut production version of a childhood toy that I remember fondly. In Victoria where I live, the humble Y shaped slingshot is a restricted / quasi-legal item, for whatever reason.

The concept is very simple, a plastic tube forms the frame to which an elastic pocket is attached. The pocket becomes the motive force to propel its projectiles. The package also included an archery brush attachment which is threaded and fits onto the plastic ring outer face, when the cover is off.

The elastic pocket is shaped to included folds and pleats to add to both its elastic potential but also add stress relief. In the old homemade pipe and taped on rubber washing-up glove fingers
 versions, the interface between pipe and glove always seemed to be the place where it would tear.

The plastic ring has a 5cm inside and 6cm outside diameter, and with either the threaded cap or the brush-bristled archery lid is only 3.5 cm deep. Its a very compact little unit. When the cap is on, the air can be expelled and the elastic pocket compacts down into the ring. Thusly sealed, there is even space for the ammunition of choice in the contained pocket.  I also bought a 100 unit lot of 6mm steel BB's and raided my daughters toy box for glass marbles. The third ammunition type are arrows.

When coupled with the archery lid, the soft round rubber notchings of the included arrrows protect the elastic pocket from tears that might come from traditionally nocked  arrows. The included arrows are only half-length more likely  to be crossbow bolts than traditional bow-archery shafts.

Now, it's hard for me to measure the functional power of the slingshot, as I don't have a chronometer handy, of an means to measure impact force. So all I can tell you about the force of the slingshot is anecdotal at this stage.  I did accidentally put a BB through the steel mesh of my front security door, hard enough to have it ping off the concrete wall on the other side of the street. (Always know what  you're shooting stand what's behind it!). I've managed to punch through a number of single and double thickness cardboard boxes.  I think I ill try soda cans and plastic bottles next. Glass marbles weigh more than individual BB's but also pack more mass. As with any caliber discussion: big and heavy hits harder but small and fast hits deeper. Further testing required.

It shoots pretty straight, and I've contentedly lobbed marbles the length of my house's long hallway into my target box. With no sights, aim is a matter of lining up the  pocket and the hang-held ring and eye-balling it. Using a couple of archery tricks like being aware of the archers paradox and practicing!

So, last night I set up a little range in the backyard. with a tactical crate as my target cage and partial BB trap. I put in a can of out-of-date Pepsi-Max and took a shot from a few feet away.  I wasn't wanting to do a test for realism, I just wanted to get a feel for its penetrative performance. At 2-3 feet away, and at a 2/3 draw, my BB hit in the bottom1/5 of the can, and in a riot of sugar-free foam, the can ruptured. After it finished draining I inspected the can and noticed that there was an exit hole too. I'd  call that a good trial run, though more testing may be required, I have a bunch of that old nasty Pepsi-Max siting around ...

So, the pocket slingshot is a fun little toy, and I suspect if you had a rodent or pigeon pest issue it might be a useful tool, and certainly fun for plinking cans with.  I don't think it would be much use hunting with, for anything bigger than maybe a squiril or rat ,and even then  I suspect you'd have to get a head shot. better to trap I suspect.


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