Every skilled hunter knows that you need to be able to trust your equipment and have intimate knowledge of how to optimize its use. When it comes to choosing the best slingshot ammo, it’s no different. Ammunition comes in various sizes for various types of game, and it is important you are aware of the differences.
The best size ammo for slingshot hunting is 7/16-inch (11mm) steel shot. This shot gives the best accuracy over the widest range of distances without losing its ability to bring down game. This size shot will be good for anything from pigeon-sized birds to squirrels, rabbits, ducks, and turkeys.
Most beginner slingshot users simply use a smooth pebble as ammo for their slingshot, but this is only the very beginning of what is available. Understanding which ammo is the best to use in any given scenario will increase your chances of bagging an animal.
Choosing The Best Size Slingshot Ammo For Hunting
Slingshot comes in a range of sizes, varying from 5/16-inch to ½-inch and even the equivalent of a 38 caliber.
The size of the shot you use will be determined by what prey you are going after and your slingshot’s power.
While the traditional rounded pebble would work if nothing else is available, it would be better to have ammunition that is a little more sophisticated to ensure your success. The ammo that is available commercially is spherical like a ball bearing.
Spherical ammo will be aerodynamic as it moves through the air and will have a predictable trajectory. This means you as the shooter will be more accurate and can achieve more repeatable shots with reliable ammo. Of course, choosing the right “tool’ for the job is essential. Here is the size I recommend based on the type of game.
Slingshot Ammo Size Chart by Type of Game
|Ammo Size||Steel Ammo Characteristics||Lead Ammo Characteristics||Range||Game|
|5/16-inch (8mm)||This sot size is too small and lightweight to be effective for most hunting||Heavier than the steel of the same size but is also more appropriate for target shooting||10 – 20-yds||Practice mostly, but some small birds, rodents, or reptiles.|
|3/8-inch (9-9.5mm)||Fast but not heavy enough. Only suitable for close shooting in head and neck.||Does not do enough damage passing through, requiring high accuracy.||15 – 25-yds||Squirrels, rabbits|
|25/64-inch (10mm)||Most often used for target practice but okay for mid-range hunting||Heavier than the steel, this shot is ideal across a wider range of distances and game types||10ft to 50-yds||Squirrels, pheasant, turkey, pigeons, rabbits|
|7/16-inch (11mm)||This steel shot has the same qualities as 25/64 lead and is a good alternative||Too heavy and not recommended for long-range. Devastating at close range.||Steel: 10ft to 50-yds Lead: 10 – 20-yds||Squirrels, pheasant, turkey, pigeons, rabbits|
|15/32 (12mm)||Heavy and low range||Burdensome for hunting and not recommended||Only very close range up to 10-yds||Not recommended|
Smaller ammo requires greater accuracy because it does less damage as it passes through the animal, and it hits with less impact force. The heavier ammo has the power, but it loses trajectory very quickly and is thus not suitable for longer range shooting.
Using the appropriate size and weight ammo for each type of game is paramount to your success.
The best ammo to choose is one that will give you accuracy and stopping power over the widest range that you expect to shoot. For hunting purposes, you would need to be able to target the game accurately and effectively at varying ranges. This makes the 25/64 lead shot or the 7/16 steel shot the best choice as multipurpose ammunition for your slingshot for hunting purposes.
By the way, I usually buy my ammo on Amazon for convenience sake. This is the exact type I recommend, just click the link if you want to check it out.
Avoid Lead: If you don’t like the idea of using lead for health and environmental reasons, then the best option and the one that we would recommend as your go-to ammo for slingshot hunting is the 7/16 steel shot.
Slingshot Ammo Materials
Ammo can be made from plastic, rubber, clay, ceramic, and even glass marbles.
- Glass- Glass or marbles are too light to be effective for hunting and could shatter when used for target practice. This type of ammunition is not recommended for use with a slingshot.
- Plastic- Plastic is not good for the environment, and it is too light to be worthwhile ammunition for any sort of hunting with a slingshot.
- Ceramic- This has similar characteristics to glass, even though it is a bit more durable, but you would it does not have the weight needed for successful hunting with a slingshot.
- Rubber- Some Hard rubber materials are sometimes sold as ammunition for slingshots, but they do not have the weight for accuracy of the impact for stopping power to be considered a serious ammunition for hunting. They are suitable for closer target shooting, but that is about the extent of this ammo’s usefulness.
This brings us to the option of clay as an alternative for slingshot ammo and how well it fares against steel ammunition.
Clay Vs. Steel Slingshot Ammo For Hunting
There are many other materials that ammunition for slingshots is made from, but not many are suitable for hunting.
Hard clay ammunition has an advantage over steel ammunition in that it is biodegradable and lighter to carry. Unfortunately, that is where the benefits of this ammunition come to an end. Hard clay shot has some flaws that make it not very suitable as hunting ammo for your slingshot.
- Clay will disintegrate when it gets wet, so if you get caught out in the rain while hunting, the ammo will turn to mud in your pocket, and unless you store it in a waterproof container, all your ammo will be ruined.
- Clay is not as heavy as steel which means that it will only be effective at close ranges. The further out the game is, the less accurate your shot will be and the less stopping power the clay shot will have.
- Clay can be used to hunt with a slingshot, but only at a close range of about 10-yards and only for smaller game, such as pigeon-sized birds or smaller.
In short, steel far out-classes clay as an effective hunting ammunition for slingshots and should be the ammunition material of choice for your slingshot.
Check out this video, it has a lot of good info about ammo size:
What Game Can You Hunt With A Slingshot?
A slingshot is considered a close-range hunting tool with a maximum range of about 20 to 25 feet (6 to 7.5 meters). Delivering a kill shot at a greater distance will be difficult from an accuracy point of view as well as limited effective power.
The game that are most commonly considered easily hunted with a slingshot will include the following.
- Birds: Birds come in various sizes, and all are fair game for a competent slingshot hunter. Ranging from small finches to medium-sized doves to large foul such as ducks and turkeys. You would need appropriately sized ammo for each size of bird that you hunt.
- Rodents: This is not the first choice on the menu for most, but don’t discount how valuable this protein source could be when food is scarce. Rodents are prolific, and you will find them on most continents over a wide range of biomes. They can vary in size from small mice to medium-sized rats up to larger squirrels.
- Rabbits: Rabbits are also prime candidates for hunting with a slingshot, but their larger size will require a different shot-size selection to be able to take them down efficiently and with a high rate of success.
- Snakes and other reptiles: A slingshot is one of the better choices for hunting reptiles from a safe distance.
- Fish: Most people don’t think of this, but fish can be hunted in the shallows with a slingshot. However, this requires appropriately sized and weighted ammo. You will also need to be willing to go into the water and fetch your quarry since the fish will not necessarily float immediately once they are shot, and the current can take them away.
There are many ammunition choices available for a slingshot, and the one that is best for you would depend on what you want to use it for. For plinking at targets around the yard, the best ammunition is probably clay or a smaller steel shot. Clay is cheaper and biodegradable, so it is a good choice for this purpose.
For hunting, however, you need ammo that is accurate over longer distances as well as short distances and one that gives you a better chance of bringing the animal down. For this purpose, the recommended ammo is a 7/16-inch or 11mm steel shot.
This should be your ammo of choice and the one that you stock up the most, in my opinion. While this size steel ammo is not a hard and fast rule, as personal preference and game type might lead you to another size. Even so, it’s a solid place to start with while you figure out which ammo size best suits your style of shooting and the setup of your slingshot.
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