Slingshot back firing backfire return to sender shots / RTS. Why and how to avoid?

Discussion in 'General Slingshot Discussions' started by jossnaz, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. jossnaz

    jossnaz New Member

    I have been reading here

    but the thread is like 5 years old

    now in the latest video of joerg he is shooting darts... the way joerg shoots his steel balls is already very dangerous. At least seems. But when he shoots a dart and actually puts his head behind the scope, that dart can kill him. Stick in his front head.

    so: RTS or backfiring of slingshots seems to be a common thing.

    the one with the melon you have already seen I am sure

    why does it happen?

    how can you avoid back firing / RTS?
  2. Belargo

    Belargo Mad Scientist

    Most of the time this happens when the ammo gets tangled in the pouch. In the case of that video, this is due to a suboptimal pouch design. The rubber bands are attached to all four corners of the pouch, which creates a deep pocket that doesn't open as readily when swinging forward. This encourages tangling of the ammo in case of a bad release, and swings it right back at the shooter.
    You'll notice that Jörg always attaches the bands in the middle of two opposing sides of the pouch to prevent this. Like he said in the darts-video, he is kind of a professional stuntman, and knows what he gets himself into.

    To avoid the dreaded RTS, use properly designed pouches and ammo that is as smooth, clean and round as possible. Uneven, jagged or sticky projectiles make for a bad release, and can get hooked into the pouch.
    Practice your release with safer ammo first (paintballs, balls of aluminium foil etc.) until you build up skill.
    And always, always wear safety glasses. They might not withstand a full power RTS, but they are better than nothing, and they will protect you from much more probable things as well, like snapping bands.
    Knallfrosch likes this.

  3. Flipgun

    Flipgun Well-Known Member

    In most vids I have seen about bands and loads, the ammo has left the pouch before the bands begin stacking. Proper band to ammo ratio. it seems to me that most rts happen when the power of the rubber exceeds this ratio. (an exception when Joergs candy shot stuck to the pouch after he licked it). I'm thinking that when you exceed this ratio, the pouch stays with the ammo or exceeds it and at the end of the power arc, flips over and gets ahead of the load and the mass of the load powers the pouch forward. As it recoils, it falls back into the proper load/band ratio and the bands stack again, firing the load back at you. ... or something like that.
    Knallfrosch likes this.
  4. bigdh2000

    bigdh2000 Administrator

    Here is the main thing - slingshots are dangerous. Even the best of us take an injury every so often. Gear up, be as careful as you can and always expect surprises.

    Both points above are valid. There is another very dangerous one - not enough power for the size of pouch. Certain types of bands do not react immediately upon release. There is almost this delayed reaction that becomes worse as the temperature drops. The ammo starts to drop fast due to gravity and does one of two things - falls out of the pouch or drags the pouch down with it. Both options result in a very bad hand injuries on the back side of the slingshot, not the front. If you are lucky, you will only get a pouch graze when the pouch is big enough or shapely enough to only sag a little.

    Mainly, a slightly bigger pouch with a good centering hole eliminates most of this problem.
    Knallfrosch likes this.
  5. Knallfrosch

    Knallfrosch Senior Member

    I can only confirm the above. With the proper setup, RTS is not the biggest worry for you.
    From all RTS i have seen on video, it was usually big ammo... melons or big steel balls.
    (we had one incident, where it happens with 8mm steel as well, but that is far less likely)
    With heavy/big ammo the risk of an RTS seems to increase because the ammo has a higher tendency to move away from the center of the pouch. So if you want so shoot big ammo you need an excellent centering, to make sure the ammo stays in the pouch as good as possible.
  6. JoergS

    JoergS Administrator

    I have experimented with twisted bands, funny shaped pouches and all that - no reproduceable RTS.

    My conclusion: RTS shots are ALWAYS simply happening because the ball slips out of the pouch quite early, mostly because the shooter was at his limit regarding the draw weight.

    Then the bands snap out far and come back. At that point both the pouch and the ball will have fallen a bit (gravity at work), but due to the laws of physics, they will be at the same height. The pouch catches the ball and shoots it back to the shooter.

    If you want to avoid RTS shots, simply don't use bands you can't fully control, use a large enough pouch and release in a clean fashion.

    My dart shooter is fairly safe, as the bands are very short and don't swing out very far. Plus the dart can't slip out of the pouch.

    The biggest danger is for the impatient "power hunter" who pushes his limits.
    bigdh2000 likes this.