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ca. 1880 12 GAUGE SHOTGUN CARTRIDGE BELT VERY SCARCE EARLY BELT IN EXCELLENT CONDITION GREAT FOR DISPLAY WITH EARLY US MARTIAL AND LAW ENFORCEMENT SHOTGUNS:  One of the special purpose Mills Belt, this dark blue Mills Woven Looped Cartridge Belt incorporates features which suggest it was manufactured during the 1880s for U.S. military guards, express company agents, and law enforcement officers who were carrying shotguns in the last two decades of the 19TH Century.  A relatively scarce belt, this pattern of the early dark blue Mills shotgun cartridge belts without the captive brass ends far less common than the later tan versions with the brass captive belt ends used by the army up through World War One.   

In addition to the dark blue color consistent with the pistol and rifle/carbine cartridge belts Mills produced for the army in the late 1880s through the 1890s - this belt has several other features which bear comment.  Although it is intended for carrying the large 12 gauge cartridge, it is made in the narrow 2 width found with the looped pistol cartridge belts of the same era.  The belt measures 48 long, a good 8 longer than the standard length of the pistol cartridge belts.  There is 11 of belt without loops on each end of the belt, allowing for considerably more adjustment than provided on the looped pistol cartridge belts.  This additional length suggests that either this belt was made longer so it could be worn over a pistol cartridge belt and holster rig, or it was produced as a narrow belt with the lengths of belt without the loops so that a holstered pistol could be worn on the shotgun cartridge belt.  Either arrangement would certainly suit the purposes of a soldier, an express guard or law enforcement officer. 

This is a very special belt which would display appropriately with any of the double barrel shotguns in use at the time, as well as the slide action shotguns such as the Marlin Model 1898; the Spencer Arms Model 1884, 1886, 1887, and the Spencer shotguns made by Bannerman Models 1890, 1894, 1896 and 1900; and the Winchester Arms Models 1887, 1893, 1897, and 1901.    

This belt is in full form and it is complete with all 30 cartridge loops.  The weave retains a strong even dark blue color with no fading.  The belt body shows no wear and likewise, the edges of the cartridge loops are all intact with no fraying or wear.  Having survived the years in excellent condition, the weave is complete throughout with only minor localized wear points to the edges at the ends of the body where the belt was passed through the sheet brass keepers.   Both sheet brass keepers and the original Mills Company C closure are present and intact and are in full form with no damage.   

This is an excellent specimen of a very rare belt, and it would display very well with your frontier used shotguns.  (0305) $525  



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