The catapult is an age old hunting weapon that should be part of any hunters kit. They are one of the most reliable and simplest weapons available, compact in size and inexpensive to repair and buy, there is no good reason not to have one in your collection. They are also a lot of fun to use. The question remains, what are the best hunting catapults available to buy in the UK?
A hunting catapult can be anything from a very simply Y shaped piece of wood with some elastic all the way up to an aluminium alloy catapult with additional balancers and laser sighting aids. Modern hunting catapults are far more effective than the wooden toys I used as boy growing up, they can be lethal in the right hands and incredibly accurate at far greater distances than you might expect. These catapults are made from space age materials and have been scientifically engineered in order to be as effective as possible.
Before we dive into the slingshots available, let’s first explore the advantages and disadvantages of adding a hunting catapult to your kit. As with many survival aids such as survival knives, the hunting catapult is often a low tech piece of kit, which at its heart is just a piece of wood and some elastic. The fact that it’s low tech works in its favour, the chances of critical component failure are low and any parts that do fail are readily replaceable for very little money or skill.
When choosing a hunting catapult it’s worth considering the pros and cons associated with them:
- With practise they can be very accurate and deadly
- Silent operation
- Exceptionally easy to reload
- Reloading takes seconds
- Simple design and operation
- Lightweight and small
- Easily repaired
- Cheap to buy
- Nature can provide ammunition
- To be effective requires practise
- Store bought ammunition can be heavy and bulky
- Spare parts are required
Overall the pros of owning a hunting catapult far outweigh the cons, which means they are must have weapons for any serious hunter, survivalist or prepper.
It’s worth investing in a decent supply of ammo when buying a hunting catapult, a pack of 200 8mm ball bearings will cost between £5 and £6, and replacement bands will cost up to £10 for a replacement set.
A good quality hunting catapult will start at around £20 and can go all the way up to £150. If you’re not sure what you want then I would suggest starting at the lower end of the scale and then investing in something more significant if you feel it’s something you’d utilise.
Often what makes a good hunting catapult is the elastic tubing used, with that in mind, that’s probably one of the first things you’ll want to upgrade with this catapult, replacing it with something with a stronger pull weight and greater elasticity. As an out of the box catapult, it’s good for a beginner or a child showing an interest, just don’t expect it to pack much punch, but that is reflected in the price. The wristguard and arms are made from resilient aluminium alloy. The catapult handle is made from moulded plastic and it’s capable of holding a reasonable amount of ball bearing ammo. I would have liked to have seen more thought gone into the ergonomics of the handle, while not uncomfortable, it could be better. The wristguard folds up, which means the whole thing is very compact and easily fits into a bag or large pocket. Anyone that has experience using a catapult will find the Trumark FS-1 a bit on the weak side of things, but for controlling pests and target shooting it’s the perfect starting catapult.
The pocket predator hatchcock target sniper is a side shooting catapult that is well loved in the hunting catapult world, and for good reason. Named after the legendary Marine Corps sniper Carlos Hathcock, this catapult takes ergonomics to the next level, keeping your wrist in a neutral position which avoids placing excessive pressure on your joints or fingers. A steel base is used as the foundation of the catapult which is surrounded by ballistic resin, this makes the catapult strong, supple and comfortable to hold. Additionally the fork is designed in such a way as to accommodate multiple types of tubing, including flat bands, squares or tapered.
The dankung is simply put a beautiful hunting catapult, both in form and function. Made of functional aluminium alloy, the grip is very comfortable to hold and additionally feels substantial and robust. At just over 200 grams it’s very easy to carry and takes up barely any room in a bag or pocket. As Dankung is seen as something of a luxury brand, the price is slightly larger than you might expect from a similarly sized and specced hunting catapult. The manufacturer claims the piece is manufactured to fractions of a millimetre which in turn means you can be more accurate with your shots. In practise this is largely true, once used to the characteristics of the hunting catapult it’s possible to hit the same target consistently. The Dankung catapult is equally good for target shooting as it is for hunting.
As a widely available commercially made catapult, the survival slingshot archer complete has it all. It’s an all-rounder that’s perfect for hunting and perfect for target shooting, it does everything you’d want a hunting catapult to do and it does it better than most. Aerospace quality aluminium and steel has been used to create the body of this beast and it comes with a 25 lbs draw weight as standard. For anyone that enjoys hunting at night the catapult comes with a standard one inch led torch, additionally there’s room for a fishing reel and stabilisers. If you buy this, it’s doubtful you’d ever want for another catapult. The main drawback is that it’s difficult to source in the UK, you may have to import it from abroad.
The Eagle Aluminium Steel Alloy Hunting Catapult might not be ultimate hunting catapult, but it’s as close as us mortals are ever likely to get. The Eagle Aluminium Steel Alloy Hunting Catapult starts at 16lbs of draw weight with options of increasing this as required, the design means it’s great for both left and right handed users, requiring some minor adjustments to ensure a perfect fit. Without any practise or tuning you’ll be able to send steel ball bearings flying at an impressively terrifying 150 feet per second. The hand guard provides a stable platform making aiming and long sessions of use a doddle. Additionally, the catapult breaks down quickly and take up a relatively small amount of space in a backpack or pocket.