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  1. #1
    Member TexasCheesehead's Avatar
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    Question about Mills Pattern 1881 Cartridge belt

    I have this Mills pattern 1881 cartridge belt. It has the wide brass buckle and 45 cartridge loops which would indicate that it was meant to hold 45/70 rounds. If I'm not mistaken, the Mills belts used during the Spanish-American War had 50 cartridge loops for the 30-40 Kragicon. This belt doesn't seem to fit two consecutive rounds of 45/70, even though it has 45 cartridge loops. The loops are single canvas where the cartridge is inserted, and have a double layer of canvas around the projectile. The question is this: Was this an older-style pattern 1881 belt that was modified to hold 30-40 Krag rounds for use in the Spanish-American War?

    Here are some pictures:

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    Member TexasCheesehead's Avatar
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    After doing some research on these types of belts, it appears that it's most likely a reproduction. On an authentic buckle, the state abbreviation "MASS" stamped on the back should almost be touching the edge of the buckle. I looked at more then several pictures of authentic buckles and all of them were as such. The belt itself might possibly be authentic because of the leather pieces sewn on the ends. At least I'm only out $20.

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    Really Senior Member RCS's Avatar
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    another cartridge belt

    I have had this belt for a long time, most certain it is original but you never know for sure.

    Glad to post some photos, would appreciate any opinions as to original or fake ?

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    Member TexasCheesehead's Avatar
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    Looks authentic, nice patina on the brass. But no maker's markings?

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    Really Senior Member RCS's Avatar
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    Your correct, looks good - but without any makers markings. What do you think ? old reproduction or original ?

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    Really Senior Member butlersrangers's Avatar
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    TexasCheesehead - You appear to have a real Spaulding made belt for the .30-40 cartridge. Spaulding was one of the alternative contractors, supplying belts during the SAW, when Mills-Orndorf could not meet the wartime demand.

    Spaulding belts were lighter, leather tipped, and had sewn-on loops, rather than the (patented/proprietary) woven loops of the Mills Company product. IIRC - Spaulding belts used 45, instead of 50, loops.

    I think you are correct that your Stamped Brass "U.S." Buckle is a reproduction. The font style and letter lay-out of the manufacturer's name is not original.

    FWIW - Lots of photos of troops "in the field", during the SAW, show them using the simple wire "C" closure as a buckle. (Less of a target than the shiny brass plate).

    'RCS' - Your .45-70 belt and cast "U.S." buckle look correct to me, especially with the white paint "35" stencil. Your cartridge-loops appear to be woven into the belt and not sewn-on. I don't know why the belt ends are 'raw' (unfinished), but, I have seen it on original belts, before.

  9. Thank You to butlersrangers For This Useful Post:

    RCS

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