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Old March 27, 2010, 06:33 PM   #1
bbqbob51
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Missing cartridge loops on Bonanza TV show

While watching the old T.V. series Bonanza I have noticed that none the the Cartwright's gun belts have cartridge loops. An episode that was on yesterday I also noticed that three other characters in that episode also had no loops on their rigs.
This seems unusual to me as the vast majority of the leather I have seen on other T.V. shows and movies as well as vintage photos the belts have cartridge loops. Is this unique to the Bonanza props department or is this more widespread than I think? Does anyone have any insight on this subject? Maybe I have too much time on my hands!
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Old March 27, 2010, 06:45 PM   #2
Doc Hoy
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My thought is....

....Is cartridge loops the best place to keep extra ammunition?

I am no historian. The only thing I know about how people behaved in the 1880s or there abouts is what I see on TV. (And that is no place to go for accuracy)

I have also wondered how many people kept their six gun in a low slung holster.

I know there are bunch of folks on here who are well informed on those things.
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Old March 27, 2010, 06:53 PM   #3
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Doc, In the movie Shane the little boy was instructed by Shane not to wear your gun slung low but up on the hip. If you look at the pics of the greatest of them all, Wild Bill Hickock, he wore his guns up high.
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Old March 27, 2010, 08:15 PM   #4
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The show evolved over the years. In the early days Hoss carried a 58 Remington and Little Joe carried a 51 Navy.
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Old March 27, 2010, 08:19 PM   #5
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I guess Pa Cartright would only keep one extra round - in their shirt pocket.
I like that show though.
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Old March 27, 2010, 08:23 PM   #6
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I'm making a broad generalization here so take this with a grain of salt.

Way back when, ammo was VERY expensive and carrying it around with you meant that you had a chance of loosing some of it. So most often the only folks who would have a bunch of cartridges in their rig were cowboys who would be out on the range and away from resupply for a while (or professional guns). If you saw a cowboy with a full set of ammo in his gunbelt, he was pretty well off.

Folks working "close in" at a ranch or near town tended to have what was in their guns and not much more since there was no real reason to pay the extra expense of all those rounds.
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Old March 27, 2010, 08:28 PM   #7
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My CAS belt is copied from an original design. Belt is 3 inches wide and has no loops.

Last edited by Hawg; March 27, 2010 at 08:35 PM.
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Old March 27, 2010, 08:48 PM   #8
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The time frame of the show was pre civil war, well, what to do, back in those days there weren't quality reproductions available. So they compromised, Hollywood style , they would use post civil war guns but pre civil war belts and holsters ( no belt loops because in pre civil war they didn't use cartridges ). It sounds as if I'm making this up but honest to goodness that's what it read in the official Bonanza History. As twisted as that seems it makes perfectly good Hollywood logic. These days the show would be laughed off the air. I'm still upset because I found out Matt Dillon didn't even carry a real Colt, He carried a Great Western, isn't any thing sacred anymore. Trivia Question, On what old TV western did the good guy carry and use a Le Mat revolver.
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Old March 27, 2010, 09:06 PM   #9
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Thinking that was Johnny Ringo in The Rebel.
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Old March 27, 2010, 09:10 PM   #10
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I really never paid that close of attention to the leather on Bonanza. For those of you that do pay close attention though . . . . in the early episodes where Hoss carries a 58 Remmie and Little Joe caries a 51 Colt Navy . . . well . . er . . . ahhhhhh . . . I don't know how to ask this so I'll just go ahead. Were there pistols steel framed or brass framed?

As a side note - I was watching a Gene Autry show the other day - don't remember the name of the movie, but, Gene was in hot pursuit of some outlaws and everybody was shooting at each other. Maybe Hoss and Little Joe carried pistols like they did . . . . you know . . . those fancy six shooters that seem to fire about twenty rounds at a time and never need to be reloaded . . . possibly Gene loaned them his . . . . with six shooters that shoot that many times I wouldn't suppose that a fella would have to carry spare cartridges?

It's interesting to watch some of the things that Hollywood produced - scenes from the Civil War where they are using 45/70s, scenes from the 1860s and 70s where they are using 94 Winchesters . . . makes a person want to hire themselves out as a "authenticity consultant" . . . . but hey, you have to admit, there is still a lot of entertainment value in 'em!

For those who haven't seen a copy of "Packing Iron" - you owe it to yourself to get hold of a copy and take a gander . . . some great information in it on gun leather as well as great photographs of original leather.
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Old March 27, 2010, 09:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
. in the early episodes where Hoss carries a 58 Remmie and Little Joe caries a 51 Colt Navy . . . well . . er . . . ahhhhhh . . . I don't know how to ask this so I'll just go ahead. Were there pistols steel framed or brass framed?
Steel and were originals.
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Old March 27, 2010, 09:25 PM   #12
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Hawg Haggen, Yes and no. It was Ringo who played a sheriff in Yuma ( well, yes, you are right, Johnny Ringo in Yuma, but the name of the show was Ringo) , Hollywood again, a drunken killer and outlaw being cast as a good guy sheriff. In Johnny Yuma, in the Rebel, the ex rebel carried a saw off shotgun. Gets confusing don't it. At one time there were over 36 westerns in the air.
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Old March 27, 2010, 09:33 PM   #13
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Hawg - I forgot to mention what a nice set of leather you have! Nice to see someone wears 'em up where they belong . . . . I hate it when I see someone wearing their hogleg hung low like his pant's were falling off . . . it's hell on the end of a gunbarrel when it's a draggin' on the ground all the time. I don't shoot them new fangled cartridges like you folks do but I'm working on my belt now . . . . similar to yours, it will be wider like some of the original ones shown in Packing Iron. The holster I just finished up for my '61 Colt Navy is looped so it can be worn right handed (it's a right hand holster) or it can be slid around into crossdraw position and tilted and the pressure of the belt will hold it in place. As far as drawing and shooting, a good read is in "The Cowboy At Work" written by Fay E. Ward. Chapter 32 is entitled "Guns and Equipment" in in that chapter, there is an excellent read by "Coteau" Gene Stebbings on drawing a revolver from a number of posiions. It shows sketches of his "All Ways" gun harness and he talks about the positioning of the pistol so that your hand goes to it naturally. I suppose there could be a whole big controversy on how holsters were actually worn but the truth is, none of us were around back then so we have to depend on first person accounts, actual photographs, existing specimens, etc. as to what the leatherwork looked like and how it was worn. For the average cowboy, I can't help but think that it was worn high on his belt so that it was available but out of the way while performing the tasks he needed to do while on the trail. Having ridden horses, I would rather have it up high, close to my body and oout of the way than slung low on my leg. Professional gun fighters . . . that might be a different story. At any rate, if some of you havent read the comments by Stebbings, check it out some time as it is interesting. I lvoe the trivia by the way . . . . I'd forgotten all about the LeMat! As they say . . . "Happy Trails To You" . . . . . .
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Old March 27, 2010, 09:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Johnny Yuma, in the Rebel, the ex rebel carried a saw off shotgun.
Yeah, Johnny Yuma and he did carry a sawed off. Jeez it's been a lotta years ago.
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Old March 27, 2010, 09:47 PM   #15
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The Bonanza gun rigs I've seen, and recall from way back, were post-1900 Hollywood fast draw type rigs. There are very few period photos of anyone wearing belt rigs with the holster hanging off of a slot in the belt. The few that exist were on very wide belts made for large rifle cartridges, and one was a rig made for rifle and pistol cartridges. Otherwise, the belts were just that, belts, with the holster carried over the belp, not in a slot cut in the bottom of the belt, and no contoured belts with a drop loop. So, to call them civil war period rigs isn't accurate. The part about being an earlier period may be the reasoning, but it sure got lost in all the other details, like cartrdige pistols, and lever action rifles of later period, tho Hoss had a mocked up Henry (92 with the forend removed, and what looks like brass built up on the front of the receiver).

Holsters that hang down low arent very comfortable to walk in, they tend to flop around on your leg. A holster worn on your waist is very comfortable to walk or ride with.

Cartridge loops were common from the mid 1960's on. Plain belts were often modifed for loops, both civilian and military. I don't think I can get behind the idea that some people simply didn't take extra rounds, tho some may not have had many extras. A cartridge belt is a very handy way to carry accesible ammunition with you.
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Old March 27, 2010, 09:49 PM   #16
Hawg
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Thanks bedbug. That rig was made by Brazos Jack at Etowah River Leather.
He also made this one that I got for my daughter when she was 14. Cartridges are 44-40.
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Old March 28, 2010, 12:21 AM   #17
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Hawg, fine looking rigs you have there!
Thanks for all the input. This kind of stuff is interesting, expecially RJay's info that the show was set in a pre civil war time frame. Their use of the Winchester lever actions don't fit the era at all. I realize that most westerns used Model 1892 Winchesters because that was the most plentiful rifle in their props department. At least they resembled previous Winchesters but to have wide use of any lever action before hardly anyone used any repeater is really a stretch!
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Old March 28, 2010, 02:08 AM   #18
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Don't blame the prop guys, they answer to directors and producers who really have little concern about being period-correct. They just wanted to make good shows.
Nice rigs, HH. Thinking about a belt for my hunting/backup revolver. No loops needed there either, six rounds better git-r-done or I've ****** off the wrong hog!
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Old March 28, 2010, 04:58 AM   #19
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Thanks guys. Actually in the early days they used original Henry rifles.
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Old March 28, 2010, 07:31 AM   #20
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Found this pic of adam with an iron frame engraved Henry.

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Old March 28, 2010, 02:21 PM   #21
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robhof

Who had the short/sawed off lever gun, it was about the same time as the Rebel?
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Old March 28, 2010, 02:39 PM   #22
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That was Chuck Conners in The Rifleman.
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Old March 28, 2010, 02:42 PM   #23
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Steve McQueen, cant remember the name he used. Show was Wanted Dead or Alive.
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Old March 28, 2010, 02:45 PM   #24
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Chuck's rifle was full length. Had a screw thru trigger guard to fire it as soon as lever closed.
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Old March 28, 2010, 02:55 PM   #25
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Hawg - thanks for posting the photo of your daughter's belt and holster - it's beautiful. I'll bet she was tickled pink when you gave it to her!
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