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.


Weaver said...

Ya know, you made me feel stupid for not thinking of that myself. Oh well, better to kick myself know instead of later when I really would have not been as prepared as I should have been. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Just picked up 6 genuine M14 repack kits (bandoleer, 12 stripper clips, 6 cardboards and spoon) at the Timonium MD gun show for $6 ea. They are out there, Mike, just takes some patience....and going to all the shows you can! :)

bubba said...

I had some small trouble obtaining 7.62 bandoleers from surplus stores, both local and on-line, they all seemed to be out of stock or the cost of the bandoleers, and the repack kits, were prohibitively expensive. Since I needed 600 I was interested in finding them for the least expense. After I purchased an M1 Garand and 30 cans of Garand food from the CMP I noticed that the Garand bandoleer was made from the same pattern as the 7.62 bandoleer. I then thought that perhaps the M1 Carbine bandoleer might too be from the same pattern and purchased some in order to find out.

It turns out that our military quartermasters have thought about ammunition packaging for some time, and because of necessary thrift have made a single item serve multiple uses. The Garand bandoleer is the same pattern as the M14 bandoleer and also as the Garand Carbine bandoleer. There are some minor differences between bandoleer manufacturers – color, stitching, material, but these differences are minor – the main difference I’ve found is the markings for the caliber contained on the outside of the bandoleer.

The 7.62 bandoleers are expensive, when available, and the Garand bandoleers are becoming rarer but I’ve found that the M1 carbine bandoleers are still available in quantity and the price – so far - is right.