Index to Liberty Gun Leather

The Rivers of Texas Series


Choosing an appropriate name for each model of holster was a challenge at first. Someone suggested that I name them for well known places in Texas and other Western states. But just about everybody else was already doing that. Then it occurred to me that some of the most interesting and romantic names for places in Texas, are the rivers and creeks of Texas. Thus, the "Rivers of Texas" series was born.


A "Yankee" friend of mine from the Mid-West once exclaimed that, "Many of the rivers I've seen in Texas would be called creeks where I grew up."   That might be true, but many of the "creek-like" rivers, and "river-like" creeks in Texas have mighty big sounding names that remind us of days when the West really was wild. Most of these streams were named while the wild Comanches & Apaches still camped on their banks. Some were named by the Conquistadors, and have had Spanish names since the 1500's.


However, a few of these Spanish names lost their Spanish pronunciation while keeping the correct spelling, when English speaking pioneers settled in the area. That is why "Native Anglo Texans" even today, still pronounce many (not all) of these Spanish "place names" the way the settlers in the 1800's mis-pronounced them. For example, the South Texas town and county of "Refugio"  (properly pronounced in Spanish as "Ray-foo-he-o") has been mis-pronounced "Ruh-fewer-ree-o" since Anglo settlers came to Texas in the early 1800's. Go to South Texas today, and you will be hard pressed to find anyone who pronounces "Refugio" in "proper" Spanish.  A dead give away that we have a "recent immigrant" in our midst is for someone (like a news person) to refer to Refugio, and pronounce it "Ray-foo-he-o," or else as "Re-fug-ee-o."  I will point out some of these things as we travel along the rivers and creeks of Texas...



Please scroll down through the various holster designs and click on each for a complete description, multiple photos of each, and explanations of  construction techniques.


Please read the section: "How we make our gunleather," at the bottom of this page.






The Brazos                                           The Bosque River





The Colorado                                       The Devil’s River





The Frio                                                    Custom & Misc. Designs


The Lampasas



The Llano                                                     Coleto Creek


                                   Council Creek



The Morgan




The Nueces





The Palo Duro














The Pease River





The Pecos





The Red River




The Rio Concho



The Rio Grande





The Sabinal






The Salado



The San Antonio






The San Gabriel





The San Saba




"Aged" Gunleather (Up the Trail)





Cap & Ball Gear

(The Dark Side)





Tooling Designs





Grips, Buckles, Conchos, & "Cowboy Gunstocks"




Cartridge Pouches, and Shell Slides




Gunbelts & Cartridge Loops






Shotgun Belt Special





Ready to Deliver Items




Kits to build your own holsters and belts.










Gunstock Engraving







Prices & Contact Information






Maintaining Your Gunleather





Celebrity Endorsements






Maintaining Your GunLeather (A Must Read!)



How we make our gunleather:


Our holsters are made of one thickness of premium 10-14 ounce vegetable tanned leather which is free of agents and chemicals that might be corrosive to your revolver. This leather is thick enough and stiff enough to hold it's shape well through years of hard use.  And from my experience, one layer of leather molds to a better fit of your six-gun than lined holsters of equal thickness.  I believe 10 ounce or heavier leather is necessary for holsters to keep their shape.  Holsters made of leather any lighter than this tend to become limber with use, and are not suitable for large heavy revolvers such as Colt's SAA, and Ruger Vaqueros.  Nor can one easily draw and re-holster a six-shooter if the holster is soft, oily, limp, or if it has a soft "grabby" lining of some kind.


Our holsters are all "slicked up" on the inside, and dyed the same as on the outside. The "flesh" side (backside of the leather) is burnished with gum tragacanth, (an all natural, non-corrosive, vegetable product used for years by leather workers) so that the inside is "slicked up" and no longer "suede-like."   Leather treated this way will not catch and hold dust and dirt to grind your finish off, the way suede or unlined and not slicked up leathers might do.  This "slicking up" of the inside of the holster makes for an easy draw and re-holster. These wet molded holsters will hold your revolver securely, so that it doesn't rattle around, yet draws easily. Our holsters are all hand dyed, hand stitched, then wet molded to fit the revolver.  


All of our holsters are made from custom patterns designed to fit a specific revolver.

A Colt SAA , a Ruger Vaquero, and a number of other models can fit the same holster when that holster has been wet molded to fit that specific revolver.  They are not usually interchangeable because of differences in front sights, ejector housings, etc. After completion, the holsters are wet molded with an actual revolver of the style you will be using.   When inserted into a properly fitted wet molded holster, your revolver sort of "clicks" into place, yet is easy to draw.   If you have a special need, I can leave the holster only partially molded, and furnish instructions so that you can finish molding it yourself.    These same patterns throughout the web site have also been proportioned to fit the Ruger Single Six in .22 & .32 H&R mag., as well as the Colt Lightning.  I can also proportion a pattern to fit a Colt Walker or other very large frame revolvers.  



When molding these holsters, I always roll the edge over slightly to form a "funnel" which makes it easier to quickly slip the revolver into place. The belt loop (which also forms the skirt on skirted holsters) is shaped in such a way that the grip of the revolver is held away slightly from your body, making it easier and faster to draw.



Our gunbelts are also made from premium vegetable-tanned leather, and suede lined so they can be cinched tight and stay put!


The Cartridge loops on our gunbelts,  unlike sewn loops, which are not round to begin with, and which may in time begin to come unsewn, are woven through the belt, & wet molded of vegetable-tanned non-corrosive leather, to fit the cartridges perfectly. This is a period correct method of making cartridge loops, which is superior to traditional sewn on loops.  (See the cowboy on page 171 of Packing Iron, by Richard Rattenbury.) Different calibers can be mixed, and shotshell loops can be added wherever you choose. We can dye the leather loops in a contrasting color if you choose.


Our "Money Belt" is made of 4-6 ounce chrome / oil tanned cowhide, and built to look just as they were in the 1800's.  To make a 3 inch wide moneybelt, a six inch wide piece of leather is folded over and sewn along the top edge and on one end.  (Another 19th Century option is to cut two 3” wide strips and sew it top and bottom.) The buckle end is left open (just like in the Cattle Drive Era) so you can insert gold pieces or important papers into that end of the belt.  Cartridge loops (of vegetable tanned leather) are also woven into this belt, as they were in some of the original 19 Century gunbelts.  Traditional moneybelts do not have a "keeper loop" through which to thread the right end of the body of the belt through, as it passes under the buckle side.  However, a money belt does not need a "keeper," because the tongue of the belt is threaded through a slit in the open end of the belt, just in front of the buckle, then up into the buckle.  This closes the opening so you don't lose your gold coins, and helps to secure the tongue end of the belt body as it passes under the buckle end.


Belt Sizing: 
                      (please read all of this)


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.  If you plan to wear chaps, take that into consideration as well.



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 of the belt when it is bent into a circle around your  waist.   Anytime you bend anything into a circle, that article must stretch and compress in order to make the bend without breaking.  Dry vegetable tanned leather does not stretch much.  Mostly it compresses.  As it compresses it thickens.  As it is bent,  the compression is greatest on the inside curve, shortening the length of the belt on the inside.  And, the overall thickness of the belt increases.  When it does this, the outside of the belt must now go around a larger circumference (sort of like adding bark to a tree).   If with a tape measure, you measure 36 inches for example, the length of the belt will usually have to be 2 or 3 inches longer than 36 inches, to reach around your circumference.  The amount of "shortening" increases with the thickness of the belt.   This is why you can 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 is very unlikely.  


As explained in the first paragraph on belt sizing, I will give you at least two additional inches of adjustment in both directions.  Sometimes, when you buckle on a gunbelt, you might want to buckle it up very tight using the next hole in the tongue.  However, tightening or loosening the belt  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 sometimes be slightly off center, depending on which hole you use to buckle it through.



Color Selection:

The color names can be confusing.  We all know what black is.  Other than black, many leather color names are subjective.  Therefore, like the colors used to describe the paint on our automobiles,  leather colors are usually given names that can be interpreted many ways.  In as much as photos on the Internet sometimes do not show the true color of anything,  I will try to describe the various colors available.


Mahogany:  A very popular color, this is a medium dark brown which has more red highlights than "chocolate" described below.  Dark mahogany is almost black.


Russet:   The leather color usually described as "russet" is a medium to dark shade of reddish brown.  "Russet" is the loose description given to a large variety of colors of the antique gunleather in museums today.  Many examples of what I am calling russet is found throughout my web site. 


Walnut:  A good example of walnut is on the Nueces page. A very  popular brown, it looks beautiful in a high gloss, but also does well with an oil finish that makes  a really nice “over the trail”  or “aged” look. 


Chocolate:  A rich dark brown, "Chocolate" is approximately the color of a "milk chocolate" Hershey's candy bar.  


Antique, or Saddle Tan:  (example) Old saddles were often not dyed because  the dye often transfed to the seat of your pants.  The tan color was achieved by oiling the leather after the saddle was built.  This oil treatment made the leather somewhat resistant to water and stains while allowing it to breath.  Over time, exposure to light darkened the leather, and the older the saddle - the longer it was exposed to light - the darker it became.  After many years it might become a very dark tan, depending on exactly how the leather was tanned.   But in the first quarter century or so of it's life, this un-dyed leather is various shades of light tan.  The "saddle tan" dye will  immediately give belts, holsters,  and other leather articles the approximate color of an older saddle.  Any lighter color dye such as this helps bring out the grain in a piece of leather, making it actually look older than most of the darker dyed leather.  Leather, when dyed a light color will also look darker at edges and in areas that have been tooled or burnished.  The natural "grain" of the leather (as well as the small natural "imperfections") is enhanced much as when you varnish a piece of wood.   Therefore if you select "antique tan" do not expect it to be evenly colored throughout, as if it were painted, as are some leather items dyed a very dark color.


Tobacco

This color (2nd down on Lampasas page) looks best when heavily oiled with “old style” tooling, to make it look very old.  It is a medium brown color that is very popular especially with the percussion revolvers.


Black:  With the exception of military gunleather, most (certainly not all) of the gunleather in the Old West seems to have been shades of tan, brown, chestnut,  or russet.  Maybe that was because saddles were seldom dyed black, as black dye would have been transferred to the seat of the pants if they had been.  And, since most gunleather was made by saddle makers, the gunleather was the same color as the saddles.  (Just my guess.)  However, there are antique examples of black gunleather, and a black rig is certainly elegant, especially when dressed up with silver conchos.



Everything is custom built, and all of the holsters and belts shown on this web site are "period correct."

The prices quoted throughout are based on the prices for each individual element of the rig (go to "Prices and Contact Info" at the bottom of this page). You can therefore, "assemble" your own rig from individual elements.



We use Hermann Oak vegetable tanned leather - made with the very best domestic hides, tanned in America, for all our holsters.



email grouchyoldbear


Phone: 281-659-3998




Visa & Master Card accepted


Go to: Prices and Contact Information




                                           Fall Sale

Until the end of the year, when you order a double rig (2 holsters and any gun belt)... 


We will either build a 3rd holster at no cost...


Or two cartridge slides (shot shell or revolver) at no cost.