Saturday, July 07, 2007

.303 Brit Ammo Carry

Having a No 4 MK I rifle and needing to have some "authentic" method of carrying a "few" rounds of spare ammo, I started to cast about for some sort of ammo belt. So the first thing I tried was the US issue ammo belt. 2 stripper clips of .303 fit quite well in each of the 10 pockets giving the bearer 100 rounds of .303 Brit and quite a load around the waist! However, access is quick and easy and the ammo is fairly well protected and not subject to corrosion while in the woven canvas belt.

But frankly, I was thinking that the belt system was uncomfortable and one of those nifty "Light Horse" deals would be just the ticket. The first that I found was this 1917 made leather gear. The 1903 5-pocket bandolier, it cost me $35 at a gun show and I still think it was worth every penny. After a good working over with saddle soap, it seems to be in as good condition as when it was turned in to the supply sergeant after WWI! Worn over the left shoulder (to keep the right shoulder clear for the rifle butt), it is comfortable and bears the weight of 50 rounds of .303 British very well. However, I was concerned with verdigris and so don't store ammo in the bandolier. That is the same problem I have with my other neat piece of leather .303 gear. International Military Antiques sells a reproduction. Mine being original, I don't have any idea as to the quality of the repro, you're on your own. But I will repeat that the system works.

This bandolier, in which the .303 round are individually placed in the loops, is also leather and even more like to raise the ugly head of verdigris if one chooses to store brass cased ammunition in it. But, it works well for carrying ammo as well as providing rapid and easy access to that ammo. International Military Antiques sells this nifty reproduction. Not inexpensive but, unless you can produce one with your own leather working gear, worth the price.

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