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MILLS .45 CALIBER WOVEN PISTOL CARTRIDGE BELT w/ THE VERY RARE ORIGINAL MILLS “STAR” PLATE – EXCELLENT RARE BELT COMBINATION TO DISPLAY WITH MANY OF THE  RIFLES AND REVOLVERS PRESENT ON THE FRONTIER:  In addition to the lucrative government contracts enjoyed by the Mills Woven Belt Company, they also produced a wide range of cartridge belts for the civilian market.  While Mills must have made these .45 caliber Looped Pistol Cartridge Belts in some quantity, both for sale to the military and to civilian customers, today they are one of the rarest of the Mills Woven Looped Cartridge Belts.  Certainly far less common than the Mills .38 caliber pistol cartridge belts, these .45 caliber belts come to light at an estimated  rate of one .45 caliber belt for probably every 100 .38 caliber belts, perhaps less frequently than that.   

Of special note, this belt is fitted with the very rare original Mills Company “Star” two piece plate, including the original, proper catch.  Apparently made in very limited numbers based on the very few surviving examples, this plate has an excellent naturally aged patina and retains the legible Mills patent information stamp on the plate tongue.  No doubt, this plate was popular in the Texas market, especially along the border region, and among law enforcement officers throughout the West.  The plate has no wear or dents and all four of the folded tabs which secure the plate and catch on the belt are full form and intact.   

While the cartridge loops were originally woven to accept the .45 caliber cartridge, and the .45 Colt cartridge case fits these cartridge loops, other cartridges present on the frontier were similar in diameter and the loops in this belt will accommodate them very well.  I have tried a number of different cartridges, such as the .44-40 & .38-40 cartridges, as well as the variety of .44 caliber pistol cartridges such as .44 Colt, .44 S&W American and Russian, .44 Merwin & Hulbert, and the .45 S&W, and all of these will fit in the cartridge loops.  Of special note, these loops will also accept the .44 Henry cartridges used in the Henry and Winchester Model 1866 rifles and carbines, so this belt would have been appropriate for those men in the West who continued to hang on to those early lever guns.        

Showing minimal evidence of wear, this belt has survived in excellent condition, with only some isolated minor wear to the edges of a few of the cartridge loops and no wear to the edges of the belt body.  This “stone” or tan Mills Woven Pistol Cartridge Belt has three thin blue lateral lines running the length of the belt.  All forty five of the cartridge loops are fully intact with no wear as noted above and none of the loops are torn or loose. Both of the belt ends still retain the linen binding. 

Available in the early 1880’s and offered well into the early years of the 20TH Century, this .45 caliber Mills Belt would have been popular on the frontier and along the southern border for the same reasons the woven belts saw extensive use with the army – a lightweight, durable cartridge belt which did not suffer from the problems experienced with leather belts such as the chemical reaction between the leather and the copper or brass cartridge cases.  

This is an excellent example of a very rare Mills belt which would mate well with one of the early style single action revolver holsters for display with any number of the pistols and rifles present on the frontier.  (0909) $950

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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