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David Sparks Ph.d Scabbards
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Sportsman's Spotlight
Date: August 30, 2017

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If you're thinking about riding with your rifle, either on horseback or on a motorcycle or ATV, you might want to think’s scabbard. I called Sportsmen’s Warehouse Sales Associate Bill Nelson to learn more. Some fur trappers and early explorers carried their longarms encased in a soft cloth or skin-type covering. These scabbards were often made of deer, elk, moose or some other Western animal’s hide. The skin was tanned soft so that it was flimsy and cloth-like, with the hair usually removed. Then beadwork, colored cloth strips or panels and fringe would be added for decorative purposes. Trade blankets were sometimes sewn into colorful rifle cases, as was almost anything else that would serve the purpose of protecting the gun from the harsh elements of the frontier.

Slings, which are so common today, surprisingly saw little use in the Old West. Some frontiersmen made homemade versions out of buckskin, strap leather or heavy cloth, which were simply tied around the stock and barrel to form a crude sling. For horseback use, rifles with slings were generally carried in a diagonal position, with the sling passing over one shoulder and under the opposite arm. This allowed the horseman to ride comfortably with the slung rifle or shotgun held securely, but clear of the saddle.

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