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MILLS .45 CALIBER WOVEN PISTOL CARTRIDGE BELT w/ A MILLS “DOG HEAD” PLATE – EXCELLENT SCARCE BELT 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. 

The cartridge loops were originally woven to accept the .45 caliber cartridge, and the .45 Colt cartridge case fits these cartridge loops, however 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 no signs of heavy wear, this belt has survived in excellent condition, with no wear or fraying to the edges 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.  The belt is fitted with an original Mills Company “Dog’s Head” two piece plate, including the original, proper catch.  The plate has an excellent naturally aged patina and retains the legible Mills patent information stamp on the plate tongue.  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.  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. 

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 very nice example of a fairly scarce belt which would display well with any number of the pistols and rifles present on the frontier.  (0306) $550






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