Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Praxis: Beating the 7.62 NATO bandoleer drought.
Anyone who has tried to find bandoleers to put their 7.62 NATO 5-round stripper clips in will confess that they are hard to find and getting scarcer plus are expensive and getting dearer by the day. These thin little pieces of stitched cloth have six pockets, holding two stripper clips each, or 60 rounds per bandoleer. They are a little bit of nothing and used to be ten cents a piece in most surplus stores. (When they weren't given away as just-this-side-of-trash.) Oh, for the good old days.
While one may find M1 Garand bandoleers which will also work, they too are expensive. (The only ones I saw at the Indy 1500 show were $3.00 each without cardboards.)
On the other hand, 5.56 bandoleers are still relatively available and cheap. For example, British 5 pocket bandos (three 5.56 clips per pocket) were available at the same show for $1.00 each or as little as 75 cents in quantity. These are better than the US product, being water-proofed and drain-holed with retention snaps on every pocket.
Now from Dr. Enigma comes this suggestion: If you can't find 7.62 NATO bandoleers, use the British 5.56ers. See photos below.
Note that each pocket accomodates 4 5-round strippers, or 100 rounds per bandoleer.
Two other possibilities from the fertile mind of the CEO of the Alabama subsidiary of Phantom Farm Supply:
1. Procure an original USGI 7.62 NATO 6-pocket bandoleer to deconstruct for a pattern and obtain the assistance of a local patriotic seamstress to turn out your own bandoleers.
2. Use USGI 4-pocket cloth 5.56 bandoleers with each pocket holding four strippers of 7.62 NATO, two on top of two, in a cardboard sleeve with a pull strip of cloth about the same character and dimension of the shoulder strap within the sleeve. A pull on the strip brings all four clips up so they can be grasped and inserted into the guide. Sleeves can be crafted out of thin cardboard (like those used in shirt merchandizing) or improvised out of discarded cardboard ammunition boxes dug out of the local range's trash barrels.