NOTE:  There is no extra charge for large (long) gunbelts!

All gunbelts come standard, lined with suede so that they will cinch down and stay put!

You can have as many cartridge loops as you want, situated wherever you want them (subject to how many will fit). You can also mix calibers, and put shotshell loops on the belt if you like.  One popular variation is to put three (3) revolver shell loops on the belt in front, between the weakside holster (usually the left) and buckle billet, for a quick reload situation. This idea works best on tapered style belts, and larger sizes on ranger belts.

You design the belt exactly the way you want it. These belts are shown only to illustrate the distinctive "types": Money Belt, Tapered, Ranger, & 3" wide vs. 2 1/2" wide, etc.. The greatest advantage of not buying "off the shelf" is that you can have something special. Give it some thought, and own something that fits your needs. All cartridge and shotshell loops are made of 5 to 6 oz. vegetable-tanned leather, threaded through the belt, and wet molded to perfectly fit the shells / cartridges, and provide a loop that cannot ever become unsewn. This is a period correct method of construction, by the way.



I will build in as many loops in whatever variety and location you desire. This shotshell belt is 2 1/2" wide and has room for (28) 20 gauge shotshells and (12) .45 loops. The number of loops possible depends on the length of the belt and caliber or gauge.  

To design your shotgun belt start with the basic tapered belt. (Gunbelts can be either style.) Select the number, type, and location of shotshell / rifle / pistol loops desired. Our belts are priced without loops to keep this simple. To the basic price of the belt, add the appropriate price for each loop, and border stamping. (Prices for border stamping and basket weave are shown on the Prices and Contact Info page.)

A belt similar to the shotgun belt can be made into a pistol belt, which when worn, is turned (buckle to the back) so that the shotshell or cartridge loops are in front, and a space can be left void of shell loops where a holster(s) can be hung. Then we can place more loops behind where the holsters go.

Above is a "shotgun belt" with cartridges and shells. The wet molded loops are perfectly round and carefully formed around the cartridges so that they fit just right. The shotshell loops on this belt are so perfectly formed, the shells will fall out if the belt is turned upside down. This makes for fast and easy extraction, when time is important. However, the loops can be easily tightened by dampening and bending them very slightly out of round. The shells are held up for fast extraction by the strip of leather sewn at the bottom of the loops.  Woven in, wet molded loops, are perfectly formed, and hold their shape much better than sewn loops.  Examples of woven through loops on gunbelts can be found in Packing Iron - Gunleather of the Old West, by Richard Rattenbuty.
 




A 2 1/2" ranger style gunbelt, with a 2 1/2" tapered style shotshell belt.   A gunbelt can be built either ranger style or tapered, but the shotshell belt is almost always a tapered belt.  The tapered style is an earlier design, but either style "straight" belt is correct for the 19th Century.  The backs are always suede lined so you can cinch down the belt to hold the weight of a lot of gear, and it not shift around.


Another option on shotgun belts shown above for those who want  to pull two shells at once.


3" wide ranger style belt with a 2 1/2" wide tapered shotshell belt



2 1/2" wide ranger style belt




3"wide money belt, below...

Money belts are made by folding over one piece of chrome / oil tanned leather, (smooth side out) sewing the long top seam and the tongue end, leaving the buckle end open so a cowboy can put money and papers inside.  Another historical method of construction, and one I sometimes find preferable, if the leather happens to be thicker or a little stiffer, is to sew it top edge, bottom edge, and one end.    Either way, this was without a doubt the most popular gunbelt style of the last twenty years of so of the 19th Century.  In addition to holding a year's wages in gold coin, this flexible belt is the most comfortable of all styles.  The most popular width was 3", 3 1/2", and 4".  A 4" wide money belt can accommodate two stacked rows of cartridge loops.  That much ammo might make a difference if the “hostiles” attack!

The moneybelt below has domed rivets between the loops.  A $35 option on any style belt - this does dress the rig up a bit.



The belt below might look like a regular ranger style gunbelt, at first glance.  However, it is a 3" wide money belt.   Money belts were by far the most popular style gunbelts of the "Cattle Drive Era."  Like the one's I make, they were usually made of chrome/oil tanned cowhide, which is very strong, soft, water resistant, supple, and so very comfortable to wear all day, there is no mystery why they were so popular.  These belts, when built in dark browns go well with any holster in any of the browns [they need not be the same color as the holster(s).] Therefore, even though moneybelts are a little more expensive to build, one good comfortable money belt can serve as the basis for several rigs - plain & fancy. This type leather does not  tool, so the belts themselves are always plain.  However they were used in the 19th Century to support fancy tooled holsters as well as plain ones, as the many examples in Packing Iron, by Richard Rattenbury, attest.  






A 3 1/2" wide moneybelt that shows a rich brown color. 





3" wide tapered belt, no loops.

A gunbelt with no loops (above and below) can be combined with some cartridge and shotshell slides. Then when you don't want the extra weight of cartridges, slip the slides off.  





We can "age" any rig by selecting leather with some "character" and using a hand rubbed oil finish that makes the leather look as if it has been up the "cattle trail" a time or two.  Click here:



















The money belt on the left is a “rough-out”  (suede side turned to the outside) in a tan color, with contrasting shell loops.  The money belt on the right, made of the same leather as the “rough-out,”  but with the grain side to the outside, has eighty (80) shell loops on a 4” wide belt.  This belt 4” money belt is sewn top and bottom, as were some in the late 1800s.  A famous photo of some Arizona Rangers (in Packing Iron,)shows a similar large capacity cartridge belt.


Belt Sizing: 
Always measure the circumference of exactly where you plan to wear the gunbelt... over the kind of clothes you will be wearing with the rig.  You will probably measure about two inches below where you would wear your pants belt, or where a belt would be if you wore one.  Please use a tailor's tape measure or piece of stout string, and snug it up tight,  like you will your gunbelt.  We will make the belt to this exact measurement, giving you at least two inches in both direction for adjustment.   On a man, the measurement will usually be about 4 inches greater than the jean size.   

Special note on belt sizing:  I build a "last" that is exactly the size you tell me you need to fit around your circumference at the point you will wear your belt.  I then build the belt to fit that "last," and center everything up based on how it fits on the "last."  This is because the total thickness of the belt will alter the length substantially when it is bent into a circle around your  waist.   Anytime you bend anything into a circle, that article must either stretch or compress in order to make the bend without breaking.  Dry vegetable tanned leather does not stretch much.  Mostly it compresses, thus shortening the overall length on the inside of the belt where it contacts your body.  On a 36" long belt, for example, the "size" (overall length) will shorten 2 or 3 inches in length when it is put on around your circumference.  The amount of "shortening" varies with the thickness and length of the belt.   Therefore, please do not measure an old belt to determine your size. That measurement will be accurate only if the new belt is exactly the same average thickness as the old one, and that seldom happens.  

As explained in the first paragraph on belt sizing, I will give you two additional inches of adjustment in both directions.  However, tightening or loosening the belt to the other holes provided in the belt tongue will move the center of the belt relative to the center of your back.  Therefore if you order a belt with conchos in the center of the back, the conchos will be slightly off center if you buckle your belt in any hole other than the middle hole provided.

See Prices and ordering info: click here

e-mail: Don Barnett

Phone: 281-659-3998  

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Gunbelts & Cartridge Loops