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“FAIR WEATHER CHRISTIAN” CARTRIDGE BELT – FRONTIER MADE FOR 40 .45 CALIBER CARBINE AND RIFLE CARTRIDGES – VERY GOOD CONDITION – OUTSTANDING EARLY SOLDIER, BUFFALO HUNTER OR PLAINSMAN CARTRIDGE BELT:  These hand-crafted large caliber “Fair Weather Christian” Cartridge Belts for the .50 and .45 caliber cartridges are a genuine pleasure to own.  While not a regulation belt which can be compared to a specific reference sample, each surviving specimen is a unique product of the individual maker’s talent and ability, and the general character of these belts and the manner in which they were fashioned allows them to be easily identified to the early metallic cartridge period following the Civil War. 

This belt has no specific characteristics which identify it as a soldier made or used belt, however as the soldiers and civilians alike availed themselves of the materials present on the frontier - in this case, scrap canvas and leather - this belt was no doubt worn by a trooper, a buffalo hunter, or plainsman to carry their .45 caliber rifle or carbine.  As cloth was less prone to survive than leather, these cloth-bodied belts are doubly more rare than the all-leather specimens.   

This belt not only speaks of having been “there”, it is also the very same belt pictured on pages 225-226 of American Military and Naval Belts, 1812-1902 by R. Stephen Dorsey, and was acquired from the author’s research collection. 

Measuring 29 ¾” long, the belt body is fashioned from a single piece of canvas, folded so as create two layers and to place the stitched seam along the center of the front face of the belt where it is covered with the cartridge loops. 

The cartridge loops are formed from a single piece of leather which is hand stitched between each cartridge loop and along the bottom of the leather strip creating closed loops.  All of the loops are intact, are full form, and are still held securely in place by the stitching.  There are two loops towards the left end of the belt which are partially split at the bottom of the loop, but the top two-thirds of both loops is still intact. 

Each end of the canvas body is nicely covered with a strip of leather folded over the raw end of the canvas and stitched in place which served to protect the ends of the belt and prevent fraying of the canvas. 

The leather tongue and buckle chape are stitched to the canvas and both are full form.  The iron roller buckle is of the period of the belt and from all appearances, is original to the belt. 

At the bottom right end of the belt, there is a heavy leather chape stitched under the third and fourth cartridge loops and the remaining leather has been cut off flush with the bottom edge of the belt.  The purpose of this chape is unknown. 

All the features of this belt indicate that it most certainly saw service on the frontier during the early Indian Wars.  The scarcity of these Fair Weather Christian belts cannot be overstated as most did not survive the hard use to which they were exposed, and the few that do remain in private collections normally move from one owner to the next on the infrequent occasions when they are offered for sale, almost never appearing on the open market.  Whether displayed with an early Indian War soldier’s weapons and accoutrements, or a Sharps or Remington single shot rifle and other items from a buffalo hunter’s outfit, this belt will make an important addition to your collection. (0121)  $1650



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