Turner Saddlery "Seconds" M1907 Sling
Review Date: 5/9/2010
Author: Chris Guska
Up until 1944, "the" sling in use for the M1 Garand and M1903 Springfield was the M1907. Even with the new canvas webbing M1 sling entering into combat use in 1944, the M1907 soldiered on through the end of WWII and into future conflicts. The M1907 remains in service to this day in the US Military in a variety of special applications.
M1907 Slings were made with brass or steel hardware. The brass hardware was blackened as delivered from the factory. The steel hardware would have a phosphate finish. There was a period when both brass and steel was utilized simultaneously on new slings.
Slings were issued and fitted to rifles with no distinction made between brass or steel hardware. As far as the army was concerned - it was simply a M1907 sling. As of the date of publication of this article, there is no known "magic" changeover date from brass to steel. Additionally, the Army, Marines and Navy simply did not "throw out" all existing stocks of brass hardware type M1907's upon introduction of the steel hardware.
As far as "in theater" impressions for ETO, or even MTO - there is no rhyme or reason between steel or brass hardware on Garands or 03's. Do not let anyone tell you that brass is the only correct option for 03's and steel for Garands.
I ordered two M1907 Sling Seconds from Turner Saddlery via telephone, as indicated on the website to "call for availability". The only option in stock at the time was "brown". The telephone ordering process was pleasant, straightforward and otherwise uneventful.
I ordered the slings on March 10. The slings arrived just over a week later.
M1907 Sling Seconds
Quantity : 2
My first impressions were very positive when opening the box. I've purchased M1907 slings in the past from Turner Saddlery, but this was my first experience with their "Seconds" quality slings.
I purchased 2 slings, one for myself and another for a colleague whom I had just assembled a Garand for.
The first sling I was very impressed with. I honestly had a hard time figuring out why it was a "Seconds" quality sling - with exception of the upper and lower strap being very very slightly different shades. I handed this sling off to my colleague who was most pleased with it.
The second sling, which this review focuses on, is by far the "worse" of the pair.
Lets look at the hardware first
I'm addressing hardware first as it is the #1 failing point of so many other reproduction M1907 slings. Here's where Turner got things right where others have failed:
1.) The hardware is the correct shape. Typically, most other reproductions hooks are cut in such a way that the are not offset to hook in and hold the sling properly. The overall shape and bend of the Turner hooks is "right on" to the originals.
2.) The hardware is the correct thickness. This is the most common flaw with other reproductions. Turner's hardware is quite thick, exactly like the originals. The hooks are not easily bent - and are NOT thin sheet metal.
3.) The hardware is securely and appropriately attached. The rivets are not loose or improperly set. Everything is tight and feels solid. The rivet heads are also flush with the claw.
4.) The ring is the correct size and well made.
5.) The "finish" on the hardware is appropriate. The hardware is phosphate finished, while many other reproductions are painted. There is a blemish / scratch on one of the hooks. Big whoop... more of this will happen with use from me.
Next thing - the leather
Overall the leather is pretty nice - although there are some "blems". I've highlighted some of the positives as well as the negatives that were apparent.
1.) The leather is quite thick and feels to be of good quality. There is no lateral stretch to the leather. It is real leather and not some other mystery product.
2.) The holes for the hooks are the correct OVAL shape and not circular. The holes are evenly spaced and appear to be gang die cut, rather than halfassed individually cut.
3.) The leather is appropriately tooled along the edges as well as on the keepers. Not all original keepers were tooled as these examples are, but its a nice touch that was exhibited on some originals.
4.) The keepers are the correct size and function as intended. Additionally, they are hand stitched with tapered overlaps as evidenced on GI production slings . Many poor quality reproductions are stapled rather than sewn.
5.) The "finish" on the leather is a fairly uniform dye rather than a "plasticized" opaque coating that sits on top of the leather. There is a color blemish on the sling I've used for the review. It appears to be an oil stain. This should not be an issue as I intend to dye the sling and darken it with oil.
The sling is devoid of any markings except for a small C near the hook end of the long and short strap. Typically, Turner Slings are marked at the loop end of the short strap with TS Co and a datestamp. These "Seconds" are not marked in that way.
I really like the fact that they aren't marked with modern dates or hardly anything at all. In this case, less is more.
Hardware is awesome
Leather is good quality
Finish is OK
Construction is solid
Markings = less is more
Service can be inconsistent. Sometimes it takes a while for Turner to ship. (Prior experiences... plural)
"Seconds" are not always available.
Summary Pros and Cons
These slings were advertised as "Seconds". One of the two slings had no blemishes or defects that I could see - besides the color of the long strap not matching that of the short strap "perfectly". The sling which I reviewed had a couple of blemishes that will be resolved through dye, oil and normal wear.
I hate superlatives. That being said, I do feel that Turner Saddlery makes one of "The Best" M1907 slings on the market. I have purchased other M1907 slings in the past, some acceptable, some garbage - but Turner consistently makes a high quality sling that is accurate and serviceable to our needs as reenactors. The other serious contender / option is the M1907 Sling from At the Front.
For our needs as reenactors - I'd recommend purchasing the Turner Saddlery "Seconds" M1907 sling over their "first" quality sling. Even with the potential blemishes or defects - the excellent quality, small details as well as reduced price certainly outweigh any negatives.
I must note that my service experiences with Turner Saddlery have been hit or miss. I've ordered products that were "in stock" and have had to wait months to receive them, while other times I've received the products within 1 week. This order took just over 1 week from the time I ordered to have it on my doorstep. A unit member has had a single BAR sling, supposedly in stock - on order for over 3 months. A close friend of mine has had a M1907 first quality sling on order for over 1 year. Buyer beware.
If you need a sling in a hurry, or just actually want to recieve what you order in any semblance of a timely manner- I reccomend purchasing from At the Front instead of Turner Saddlrey.
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