5.56 Timeline

The M1914/17 Mounted Cartridge Belt

Yesterday we looked at the belts used for the gun team that supported the BAR gunner in its early years. Let’s go back even further to the days when the US Army still rode around on horses.

Everyone has seen the normal cartridge belt seen mostly in WW2 on every rifleman issued either an M1 Garand or M1903. There was an earlier issued version of that belt for the Cavalry. The horse cavalry.

Mounted rifleman’s cartridge belt

The belt was specially made for the rifleman who would be riding a horse for his main transport. With the standard pockets to hold 2 stripper clips of 5 rounds of .30 caliber rifle ammo, it also had mounting hardware for the rifle.

Of course on horse back slinging the rifle is not very easy. Not easy to get into action or to sling when not using. One way the Army cooked up to solve that is seen above.

The belt came with a leather lanyard strap with hook to attach to a point on the rifle. The belt had a metal and leather donut to drop the rifle down into muzzle down when not in use. To its right is a leather extended attachment point for the leather M1911 cavalry holster. Since the belt is set up for a pistol, the front of the left side of the belt also has a space t mount the double magazine pouch for the M1911.

Above the bracket in its up position for use.

A view of the back side of the belt shows how the hardware was attached.

The “doughnut” was apparently not very popular or well liked so most of them were removed. The leather strap lanyard being more practical for not dropping your rifle while being shot at while under full gallop.

It didn’t take too many more years before all this was deemed irrelevant as you can imagine.

Crew Served BAR Gear

After the Browning BAR was adopted, the military did what the military does and came up with a doctrine for it, support gear for it and all kinds of related jobs. A lot of people think of it as a one man show. Not like the tripod mounted belt fed machine guns with a crew to serve it. But it was. And there was some interesting support gear for the BAR crew.

BAR gunner belt
BAR gunner belt with 5 mag pouches and pistol pouch with no cup. Final BAR belt was 6 pouches fro BAR magazines

Above is a belt to be used by the BAR gunner. The black portion is a “cup” for sticking the butt stock in to hold during walking fire. To it’s right is a double mag pouch for the M1911 as the gunner was issued a pistol as well. Later BAR belts only had 6 large pockets.

BAR assistant gunner in full load out.

Other than the BAR gunner himself, there was the 1st assistant. The assistant, wore a special belt that was a combination of the BAR belt and the cartridge belt for the m1903 rifle. You can see the four pouches that held 2 stripper clips of 5 rounds each. Around the belt behind those you can see the larger pockets that held two BAR magazines each.

In addition to his belt, he wore two bandoleers across the chest, with three pockets each for six mags.

Below is the belt the 2nd assistant would be wearing. Four pouches for a total 8 magazines for the BAR and his forty rounds of .30 caliber ammunition for his M1903. The 2nd assistant may or may not have had the bandoleers.

Mag Storage Solutions AK47 / AR-10 Mag Holder

This is probably about 10 years too late but I am going to show you anyway. Mag storage solutions sent these to Duncan who knows how long ago. After a year of telling me he would send them to me, he finally did. You may recall a few years ago Mag Storage Solutions came out with this nifty little mag holder for AR15 mags in the standard 556/NATO pattern. Now they have them in this larger size. It will hold the SR25 pattern 762 mags in 20 or 25 round sizes and AK47/74 pattern mags.

As you can see, you can mount the holder to a wall, the inside of your safe door, the inside of a vehicle, inside of a cabinet or fake wall or whatever. You are only limited by your imagination.

Holder above has six SR25 pattern Pmags. It will also hold the longer 25 round Pmag and 30 round AK mags. These things are really nifty. No joke. If you have a use for something like this or a reason to have 6 mags ready to go some where handy( and we all will very shortly) then this is a real “solution.” Very handy and very tough. I like them a lot.

  • Store and organize AK-47, AR-10, FAL, SCAR 17s, CZ Scorpion magazines
  • Magazines securely snap in/out
  • Compatible with most 7.62 x 39, 7.62 x 51, and .308 magazines
  • Account for magazine quantity and location with a glance
  • Protect your magazines from accidental fall
  • Reinforced mounting holes
  • Accepts magazines with ranger poor plates/dust protectors
  • Impact Grade ABS Plastic
  • Dimensions: 11 3/8″ W x 9 ½” H x 4″ Deep
  • Weight 1.5 lbs.
  • Mounting hardware not included

Specs above show its not limited to the Ar patter or AK pattern mags. Which I am sure will make some happy. Some degenerates use …shudder. M14s.. ugh.. Creek

They make a few more holders that are pretty nifty you can see below if you want to check them out. magstoragesolutions.com

That Shooting Accessory You Didn’t Know You Needed Until Now

You ever been doing something that you’ve done a million times and think “man I wish there was something to make this easier? I was fighting a tube or quad rail forearm one day while trying to shoot the smallest possible groups I could off a bench and thought about how annoying it was. “if only there was some attachment..” “The gov should pass a law!”

well there was, I just didn’t know it. Later on I mentioned this to Howard who had been thinking the same thing at some point or another. Unlike me though, Howard decided to do something about it.

Now, this isn’t some original idea to either one of us. Things like this have been around for a while. But it is something hand made by Howard. He can do that with all the tools available to him at work. I haven’t looked at the other options carefully so I am not sure how they mate the piece to a picatinny rail. Howard’s solution is pretty simple and clever, using something like the base of the standard factory ACOG mount. It works. Works perfectly.

It works perfectly on sand bags or my more sophisticated benchrest front rests. I’m sure most of you have fought with the same problem at some point at different levels. Bipods are great, but they are not close to idea for shooting off bags or BR for squeezing out all possible performance from the gun and yourself. Shooting the smallest groups you can for testing can be hard work. Sometimes it takes me hours to shoot groups sometimes when accuracy testing some gun or ammo and fighting with the forearms over bags just makes it even more of a PITA. This has removed all that frustration.

The smooth base allows the gun to move straight back and consistent during recoil. That is important. Believe me it makes a big difference. Accuracy results are results of everything acting the same, being the same and moving the same. Even things you may not have thought of. This is why bipods are for field use, not for serious BR use unless you have nothing else and even then don’t expect your best results.

As you can see, I been using in on the Colt Accurized Rifle ( CR6724). The round tube fore arm makes shooting off of bags or my rest a real pain with out this thing. Now that I have Howard’s sled, it is a joy to shoot from a rest.

Rechargeable batteries, those bastards

Two Rechargeable 18650 batteries. Note the different lengths.

Long ago I had this idea. I was going to use a Surefire weapon light and an Eotech 553 and then all I would need is CR123 pattern batteries to run them. I would then be able to use rechargeable CR123s and save money.

This was before I learned first hand how bad Eotech sights are. I also contacted Eotech and Surefire and asked about rechargeable batteries. I got a hard NO, with terms thrown in like, “melting”.

A CR123 puts out 3 volts. Some of the RCR123 can be charged to the point where they are putting 4.5+ volts each. Put a pair of those in an electrical device that is not designed for it and you might cause catastrophic failure. So that killed my plans back then. Fortunately that got me into Aimpoints.

Now, a good bit more battery powered devices are designed to use rechargeable batteries, and there are new sizes of batteries. A little while back I sold several older lights and I picked up a Surefire M600 Dual Fuel light that uses a 18650 rechargeable battery. It can take 2 CR123s for a slightly lower output, but one rechargeable 18650 out performs them. Now, there is also the Zenitco Perst-2 which has an Green Laser, Slaved IR Laser, IR Illumination, and a 740 lux light that uses the 18650 battery. One battery could run a high performance Surefire weapon light or a Perst-2 combination device.

This just seemed awesome to me. I sold a bunch of older stuff to update to this new versatile configuration.

But then those bastards screw me. Turns out, that the 18650 battery is a very loose standard and almost each company making them makes them different lengths.

Over on the Candle Power Forums there is even a chart made by HKJ about it:


Manufactures can never make this simple. What a mess.