How to season and break in a new leather sling - M14 Forum

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How to season and break in a new leather sling

This is a discussion on How to season and break in a new leather sling within the Gunsmithing forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; I just got a military style leather sling from Springfield for my M1A. Whats the recommended way to season it and any break in tips?...


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Old January 19th, 2017, 09:15 AM   #1
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How to season and break in a new leather sling

I just got a military style leather sling from Springfield for my M1A.

Whats the recommended way to season it and any break in tips?

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Old January 19th, 2017, 09:23 AM   #2
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I've used Neatsfoot oil to protect and season the leather. I believe lots of others use it too. I've heard of hanging weights to stretch the sling but have never tried.

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Old January 19th, 2017, 09:24 AM   #3
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In the military a 20 mile march at 90 degrees F, with weapon slung. Then a week at the range with a little rain and a lot of sweat. ---

Seriously, I think it varies by tanning methods. I see Turner sells their own brand and Pecard's Antique Leather Dressing.

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Old January 19th, 2017, 09:25 AM   #4
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I would ask Springfield, it's not a high quality sling.

High quality leather slings from Ron Brown or Les Tam would say to use Fieblings Aussie leather conditioner , which is beeswax.

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Old January 19th, 2017, 09:45 AM   #5
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I would ask Springfield, it's not a high quality sling.

High quality leather slings from Ron Brown or Les Tam would say to use Fieblings Aussie leather conditioner , which is beeswax.
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High quality or not, would Fieblings work well?

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Old January 19th, 2017, 10:03 AM   #6
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High quality or not, would Fieblings work well?
I don't know why it wouldn't work but it's expensive and by the time you pay for shipping I'm not sure it makes economical sense.
I had 3 slings from Les and Ron so it made sense for me.

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Old January 19th, 2017, 10:13 AM   #7
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soak in some needs foot oil and twist, stretch, bend it. it will loosen up. I have also used glycerin with great results. the key thing is abusing it with twisting and bending...

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Old January 19th, 2017, 10:25 AM   #8
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Just use it. It will break in. That's all I have ever done and never had a sling fail. It's not good to apply oils as they do stretch the leather.

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Old January 19th, 2017, 10:57 AM   #9
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Well, the old way - used on gunbelts, holsters, slings, harnesses, saddles, cinches, and reins that have remained pliable and useable for - in some cases - a 100 years, was to 1) use saddle soap - it will clean and make the leather more pliable; then 2) treat with pure Neatsfoot Oil... which is not the same as "Neatsfoot Oil Compound". Pure Neatsfoot oil is an organic animal byproduct and is leather-friendly. Neatsfoot Oil Compound has additives in it (some companies use a petroleum-based product - not good) that are not always the best treatment for leather and stitching. My grandfather lived in the true horse and buggy / mule and wagon days and he taught me well about preserving leather. I pass this on for whatever good it may do. I've used this method for 60 years with success.

First, get the best leather product that you can afford. The cut (what part of the animal the leather came from), the animal type (not all leather comes from cattle or horses), and how it was processed makes a big difference. There is a lot of junk out there.


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Old January 19th, 2017, 11:08 AM   #10
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Ted's 100% right.

Use it. If you treat it, it will stretch...not an optimal characteristic.

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Old January 19th, 2017, 11:17 AM   #11
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I run it through the dishwasher for one cycle if its one of the repro slings. It gives it a steam bath to add some age to it. Then apply Fiebings leather dye to give it some color (the slings when new are generally too light for my taste). Lastly, some leather conditioner will give it a softer feel and protect it. I have done several. I had one on a Garand on my gunshow table once and a guy was looking as hard as he could to find the date markings. I knew what he was looking for and just said "you aren't going to find it, its a repro". It looked original (that one got a bonus two weeks in the salt marsh to help age it more).

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Old January 19th, 2017, 11:24 AM   #12
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Just use it. It will break in. That's all I have ever done and never had a sling fail. It's not good to apply oils as they do stretch the leather.
True that Ted, and it has the added bonus of improved accuracy through more shooting.

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Old January 19th, 2017, 11:36 AM   #13
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I have two Leslie Tam slings, one for the M14 and one for the AR 15 and bought both of them in the mid 90's and through steady use they are broken in just where I want them.
Occasionally will use saddle soap to refresh the finish on them, but no other treatment used for neither have been exposed to rain storms enough to worry about their condition.
When working the pits and obviously away from my rifles, put them in large plastic trash bag to keep the weather off both the rifle and the sling. Also use one over the shooting stool/bag. As mentioned, the original quality of the leather sling is important to long life and no stretching issues.

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Old January 19th, 2017, 01:54 PM   #14
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I don't know why it wouldn't work but it's expensive and by the time you pay for shipping I'm not sure it makes economical sense.
I had 3 slings from Les and Ron so it made sense for me.
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I found out they sell it at walmart

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Old January 19th, 2017, 01:59 PM   #15
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Nose oil, and plenty of use.....

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