Friday, August 2, 2013

DIY Backpack Rifle Sling Attachment

You guys may remember a turkey hunt I went on a few months back. There I complained about the shotgun sling I was using. The problem was that I was using a regular over the shoulder swing. While that was adequate when walking on level ground, one I started going up and down hills, and through the brush, it started to become a serious problem. Every time I would try to use my arms or lean forward, the shotgun would swing around.

When I returned, I started looking at different sling options. Unfortunately, none of them struck me as particularly impressive; certainly not enough for me to pay money for them. The best designs I saw attached the gun to the backpack itself, but even those looked like they would allow the gun to swing around when traveling over rough terrain. Kifaru has a sling that attaches one end to the backpack and then passes the rifle under your arm for stability. That was the best option I saw, but I didn’t want to have the rifle impede my arm movement.

Anyway, I was heading into the woods the following week, and I decided to put something together. I pretty much looked for a way to attach the shotgun to my backpack, much like I would a pair of snowshoes. It wouldn’t be a quick release attachment, but it is something I was willing to put up with. The result worked well enough for me, and I have been using it for some time now.

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The main problem with attaching a rifle or shotgun to a backpack is the length of the gun. Most full size shotguns and rifles will be fairly long. This prevents them from being strapped to the backpack the same way you would with snowshoes, trekking poles, etc. Typically, the way you would strap any heavy item to the side of a backpack is to place the end of the item in the side pocket at the bottom of the pack, and then use the straps on the side of the pack to tighten down the item. If I did that with the shotgun you see above, it would be sticking several feet above my head, making traveling through the forest very difficult.

The solution was to attach the lower end of the gun to a point below the backpack. That way it would be better centered on the side of the pack. I accomplished that just by using a piece from the over the shoulder sling I was using earlier.


The sling attaches to the rifle or shotgun using two swivels that connect to the bolts at the front and back of the gun. What I did was to use the swivel and portion of the sling that attaches to the stock of the gun, and then instead of using the rest of the sling, I just attached it to the frame of the pack. On my backpack, near the area between the hip belt and the back of the pack, there is some exposed frame. I just looped the nylon webbing through there and threaded it back through the buckle, which attached it very securely. The webbing can be adjusted using the buckle to lower or raise the swivel mount.

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To attach the gun, just clip on the swivel.

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Then secure the gun to the pack using the straps on the side of the backpack. To remove the gun, undo the pack straps and unclip the swivel. It is not something you can do while the pack is on your back, but takes only a few seconds after the pack has been removed.

This attachment holds the gun securely in place and keeps it out of your way while walking through various terrain. I’m sure I will find a better method in the future, but it has been working well for me so far.

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