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Whats the best way to store leather slings - I have so far had mine on the rifle but can see some of the leather breaking up - especially at the sharp bend at the front band. Trying to keep an even temp and humidity in my safes. Any advice??
 

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If you want to preserve them the best way is to loosely roll them and put them in a gallon Ziploc bag. But that ruins the aesthetics and fun of displaying them. I have mine on my rifles and I’m just very careful with them.


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To start, let me say all my milsurp slings are just slings purchased mostly used from Liberty, Sarco and/or Numrich (so no purist blasphemy committed) and I am not a leather worker at all. That said, if your into preserving the leather, but maintaining a functional sling then it needs to be cleaned, oil and preserved. If you where ever in the military and had to shine your boots, its more so the same process. For me, I accomplish the following to leather slings, frogs and ammo pouches:

  • Clean the leather with a gentle leather cleaner (mineral spirts if its really dirty though some would frown).
  • Clean any brass or metal.
  • Depending on the leather and how it came rub/wipe it down with neatsfoot oil (again 20+ years I've had the same bottle).
  • Spray/Wipe down the leather with Ballistol, let it soak then normally it does not require a wipe down but if needed remove any residual oil.
  • Wipe in a leather weather/water proof paste (Kiwi makes some, I've had the same can for 20 + years and its still good).
  • Buff with a soft shoe brush.

This process above works with leather that is not to dried out. For leather that is dried out, it requires reapplication of leather oil (Ballistol, neatsfoot or your choice) and repeat until the leather seems to be not as stiff. After the leather has soaked up the oil, then you can put the weather/waterproof paste wax on it and buff. Don't forget the underside of the sling as well.

Again the process above works for me with what I have on-hand. I agree with DannyBMW to roll them up in a Ziploc bag, but I would treat them in some for or fashion as I described above before placing them in storage. Also, depending on the item you might not want it so soft that it collapses from its form or shape (e.g. ammo pouches).

Last it's satisfying to take a $7 frog or a $9 ammo pouch and restore it to a "new" or "reconditioned" look. That's just me I'm into taking sloppy seconds and making them first choice items LOL.

One note, be careful with the oils etc. you use as they may change the color of the item your treating.

Regards.

Scot
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If you want to preserve them the best way is to loosely roll them and put them in a gallon Ziploc bag. But that ruins the aesthetics and fun of displaying them. I have mine on my rifles and I’m just very careful with them.


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Agreed - I like having them on the rifles - I usually remove them from time to time and go over them with a leather paste
 

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Agreed - I like having them on the rifles - I usually remove them from time to time and go over them with a leather paste
Leather items placed in zip lock bags are a good way to protect them from moisture, mice, and insects. Leave the bag partially open to equilibrate the air humidity with the outside air. This will reduce condensation.
Do not apply creams (water-based), oils (greases, waxes, shoe polish, "neatsfoot", Ballis.) or other petro-based products, These are intended for new leather items that are in regular use. They have two purposes--cosmetic (to "pretty up" the item) and to moisture-proof the item. Unfortunately, these fluids darken and soften the leather (lubricating the fibers, breaking fiber bonds, so those fibers slide along each other more freely). This will reduce the resilience and durability of the leather item. If the leather item has a stress point, such as the tight turn at a sling loop, it will further loosen the already-broken fibers and possibly contribute to further breaking, cracking, and ultimately failure. Leather slings are inherently under high stress at the point of attachment to the sling loop. Slings are the most commonly cracked and broken antique items due to this. You can do one of two things to protect the sling's longevity. First, you can remove and store the sling as has been described. Keep it from sunlight (UV), heat, unstable humidity, and vermin. These are antiques and no longer suitable for both preservation and use. Slings undergo tough demands in use and therefore old slings won't be suitable for this task due to age. You can replace with a repro sling for display. Second, alternatively, you can reduce the stresses at the high stress points such as the tight turns--this requires inserting a large piece of tubing or some padding or something that reduces the sharpness of the turn at the point of the sling loop. This is a partial solution.
 
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