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preWWI/WWI era belt listings are a mess - see my survey results


Fiziwater

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I hope I don't offend anyone with this post, but this is a subject worthy of discussion and debate.

The subject is the haphazard way preWWI/WWI era cartridge belts are listed for sale (see my survey results below).

 

When I started diving deeper into collecting examples of rifle cartridge belts, I found it confusing trying to identify them. I have a pretty good handle on it now, but am constantly learning something new.

 

In an ideal world, belts would be listed by their accepted nomenclature and searching for a particular model would be a breeze. Dorsey provides the most quoted baseline, although some very knowledgeable forum members have rightly expressed some differences of opinion with him.

 

Below is a very recent survey I compiled of how cartridge belts are listed on eBay, and what each belt actually is. Those not in the business, and experienced collectors, account for some that are wrong, which is to be expected.

 

But some who are in the business occasionally list them by the wrong model number, or with vague terminology.

This is illustrated further down, where a survey of popular militaria sellers' rifle cartridge belts shows mostly hits, but still some misses. I've omitted their names.

 

My wish is that those in the business, and collectors who list items for sale, use the more specific terminology so searches are more fruitful and efficient.

 

On the flip side, the way things are, and are likely to stay, does force the buyer to develop a keen, well-informed eye. So, an argument could be made that it doesn't matter how rifle cartridge belts are listed, and forces buyers to become more educated.

 

I would recommend that sellers with their own branded websites, who don't dominate search results pages, strive for the correct model number, especially for rarer belts, which would likely attract new buyers previously unaware of them.

 

Below are the results of my survey:
("correct" means the belt was listed correctly).

 

eBay
- Listed as M1910 Eagle snap dis correct
- Listed as M1910 but is an M1917 dis
- Listed as M1917 correct
- Listed as M1910 but is an M1917 dis
- Listed as M1918 correct - shows snap
- Listed as M1910 correct - but not showing inside pocket
- Listed as M1917 correct
- Listed as M1918 correct - shows snap
- Listed as WWI mounted belt is an M1918 - no view under pouch
- Listed as M1917 correct
- Listed as "Russell ammo belt", is an M1914 LTD
- Listed as M1903 but is an M1917 dis
- Listed as M1909 correct
- Listed as M1910 but is an M1917
- Listed as "Russell March 1918" is an M1917
- Listed as M1918 correct - and shows pouch snap
- Listed as "WWI 1918 M1903" but is an M1917
- Listed as M1910 but is an M1918 - no view under pouch
- Listed as M1910 correct
- Listed as M1917 correct
- Listed as M1918 but is an M1914 LTD
- Listed as M1918 correct - shows snap
- Listed as M1917 correct
- Listed as WWI cartridge belt, is M1910 - no view inside pocket
- Listed as WWI cartridge belt, is M1917
- Listed as M1918 mounted correct - but no view under pouch
- Listed as M1917 correct
- Listed as "1918 ammo belt", is an M1917
- Listed as M1907 but is an M1914 LTD
- Listed as M1918 modified correct
- Listed as M1910 but is an M1917
- Listed as M1918 dismounted! But is M1917 dis
- Listed as M1910 correct
- Listed as 1917 correct
- Listed as M1917 cavalry but is M1918 mounted - shows snap
- Listed as M1910 correct
Also many M1903's are not included here if shown as M1903, but usually there's no reference to the pattern.

 

Miltaria seller 1
- Listed as M1914 but is an M1917 10 pocket
- Listed as M1936  but is an M1923
- Listed as M1910 but is an M1917

 

Militaria seller 2
- Listed as M1918 correct
- Listed as M1910 dis but is an M1917 dis
- Listed as M1910 dis but is an M1918 mounted modified (added pocket)
- Listed as M1910 dis but is an M1917 dis
- Listed as repro M1923 correct

 

Militaria seller 3
- Listed as M1910 dis but is an M1917 dis
- Listed as M1903 but not which pattern
- Listed as M1910 dis with Eagle snaps correct
- Listed as M1910 dis but is M1917 dis
- Listed as M1910 dis but is M1917 dis
- Listed as M1910 dis but is M1917 dis
- Listed as Garand (M1923) repro correct
- Listed as M1923 correct
- Listed as M1923 correct
- Listed as M1923 correct

 

Militaria seller 4
- Listed as M1918 but is M1917 dis.  M1918 (unmodified) is a mounted belt.
- Listed as "WWI Cartridge Ammunition Belt" but is an M1917 dis
- Listed as "WWI Cartridge Ammunition Belt" but looks just like one listed on another seller's site as a British made WWII M1923 belt.

 

Militaria seller 5
- Listed as "US WWI Mills Cartridge Belt". Is a wartime M1910 dis.
- Listed as M1910 correct
- Listed as M1910 but is an M1917 dis
- Listed as M1910 but is an M1917 dis

 

Militaria seller 6
- Listed as M1923 correct
- Listed as M1923 correct
- Listed as M1923 correct

 

Militaria seller 7
- Listed as M1910 but is an M1917 dis
- Listed as M1903 2nd pattern but is 3rd pattern (per Dorsey the 2nd pattern has wide tips and unreinforced pockets)
- Listed as M1926 but is an M1923 or an M1917 dis, back and inside pockets not visible
- Listed as M1903 but not the pattern (is a 3rd)

 

Militaria seller 8
- Listed as "9 pocket mounted" is an M1918 mounted but can't tell which - under pouch not visible
- Listed as "rimless 9 pocket Mills" is an M1903 3rd
- Listed as "rimless Eagle snap 9 pocket" is M1903 3rd
- Listed as " rimless Eagle snap 9 pocket" is an M1914 Eagle snap
- Listed as "rimless Eagle snap Mills" but looks like an unwoven Russell
- Listed "9 pocket dot snap mounted" is an M1918 mounted with snap
- Listed as "9 pocket dot snap mounted" is an M1918 mounted but can't see if has snap
- Listed as "9 pocket rimless Eagle snap" is an M1903 2nd pattern (I think)
- Listed as "10 pocket rimless Eagle snap" is an M1910 Eagle snap dis
- Listed as "9 pocket dot snap mounted" is an M1918 mounted with pouch snap
- Listed as "10 pocket rimless Eagle snap" is an M1910 Eagle snap dis
- Listed as "10 pocket WWI ammo belt" is an M1917 dis
- Listed as M1907 without pattern ref is an M1903 3rd
- Listed as "10 pocket ammo belt" is an M1917 dis
- Listed as "1918 10 pocket ammo belt" is an M1917 dis
- Listed as "10 pocket ammo belt" is an M1917 dis
- Listed as "9 pocket dot snap ammo" is an M1918 mounted - can't see if has snap
- Listed as "10 pocket ammo belt" is an M1917 dis
- Listed as M1914 modified" correct
- Listed as "woven" "10 puckered pockets dated 1920" is a postwar M1910 dis
- Listed as "woven" "10 puckered pockets dated 1918" is a wartime M1910 dis
- Listed as 10 pockets dated 1918, is an M1917 dis
- Listed as 10 pocket dated 1918, is an M1917 dis
- Listed as M1903 but not the pattern - is a 3rd pattern

 

Militaria seller 9
- Listed as M1910 dis correct

 

Militaria seller 10
- Listed as WWI Mills, is an M1917 dis

 

Militaria seller 11
- Listed as "WWI cartridge belt (1918)", is an M1917 dis

 

Militaria seller 12
- Listed as Mills dated 1918, is an M1917 dis
- Listed as Long dated 1918, is an M1917 dis
- Listed as Long dated 1917, is an M 1917 dis
- Listed as 9 pocket Long dated 1918, is an M1917 dis

 

Militaria seller 13
- Listed as M1903 but not pattern - is a 1st pattern
- Listed as M1903 but not pattern - is a 3rd pattern

 

Even the CMP isn't immune.

In an article about cartridge belts (old.thecmp.org), an M1917 dismounted is presented as an M1910 dismounted.

 

In ads, the view inside the pockets, and the view under an attached .45 magazine pouch, are important for distinguishing one belt from another, but these aren't always shown, even on militaria sales sites.

 

How to reference certain belts can be a matter of personal preference. For me, I like the M1903 1st, 2nd and 3rd patterns, as laid out by Dorsey. That's in spite of my Mills catalog reprint which doesn't mention the M1903, and starts with the M1907.

 

I am not claiming to be an expert, and find new information that contradicts  some of what I understand now.

 

But the basic idea here is that there are widely accepted nomenclatures that I wouldn't mind seeing used a lot more.

 

 

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suwanneetrader

With all the smart phones and web info about the only time a collector can come out with a really good buy is when the seller - poster mis-identifies an item.  Richard 

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You are correct sir. Some real bargains are the result of a seller not knowing the value of what they have. That part is good. The flip side is when you're hunting for something that's rarely for sale. Just one example is the M1914 Eagle snap belt I'm looking for, which almost never shows up during a search. It can be tedious when you have to constantly do manual searches of all the sites for a particular item that's not common. In this case, I did find one, and at a decent price, but a day or two after it had been sold. The trade-off is finding a bargain versus spending quite a bit of time manually searching. There are benefits to be derived from either method.

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