Monday, May 16, 2011


Until I can locate me a custom leathersmith who can make/modify a buttcuff to hold both some 20 gauge shotgun shells/slugs AND .22 LR ammo. Although I've found several leather cuffs that fit the stock of the gun and hold some cartridges, I have not found anything close to what I'd like.

I didn't know much about such products before launching into a web search this weekend on the subject. I've long had one of the elastic shell holders that I throw on my Marlin .30-30 when I head out in the woods, but otherwise it stays in the Marlin gun case and not on the gun.

I've never seen the need to keep cartridges on my guns, save back in my police days when I thought it wise to use an adapted M1 Carbine buttstock magazine pouch to keep an extra Mini14 mag on the gun itself. I think that's also a good way of keeping a defensive rifle more at the ready in a gun safe, so if the need arises and time allows for a gun safe opening in a time of a home invasion or the like, you can just grab the gun knowing there is a charged magazine attached, with no fumbling through the gun safe for the RIGHT magazine for that gun.

But I digress. I agree with the logic that keeping a homestead/country rifle like the Savage 24 loaded up with a few extra shotgun shells and .22 ammo is a good idea. For instance, the last time Mr. Cottonmouth,  a rather large and wide fellow on this occasion, decided to visit my backyard area, it took 3 shots from a .22 BB Caps to kill it. In fact, in between headshots 2 and 3, Mr. C bit into a large fallen branch with his fangs. He was *not happy*.

El Fisho Jr. was going "Why isn't he dead, dad?" I told him I thought the snake was just "tough", and that lots of times animals and creatures can be "tough". I also I told him I was using smallish ammo to keep the noise down not to bother the neighbors, since it was already dark when Mr. C came by to visit and got the dogs all upset.

A Savage 24 in .22 LR and 20 gauge with some 8 shot in the shotgun and some snakeshot in the .22 for close range dispatching. That would have been just the ticket for a snake situation. That's why having a few extra rounds isn't such a bad idea on a gun like this. Instead of running back in the house to fetch some more ammo because you grabbed the gun and ran in a hurry to dispatch the snake and save the day and make the wife, who could accurately be called *not a big fan of snakes*, very happy indeed. 

So I did come up with a temporary quick fix. I got an elastic butt mounted shotshell holder for a couple of bucks in the used bargain bin at the gun shop the other day. It holds five shotshells. I decided I would remove the label from a vitamin bottle that is roughly the same size as a 20 gauge shotshell, although the loops could accomodate a 12 gauge sized bottle if need be. I've got it soaking the remnants of the label off right now in cup of soapy water, and the plan is to pack it full of .22 LR cartridges, along with one of the small soft (in a bag not a solid) dessicant packs that come in various vitamin and pill packages.

The idea is, fill the bottom of the bottle with some .22 LR or whatever kind of .22 you want, then put the dessicant pack in the middle of the shells, then put another layer of .22 shells until the bottle is filled. If need be, to make rattle free, just add a piece of paper towel or what have you. 

I'm guessing this pill bottle full of .22 ammo is going to be heavier than a standard 20 gauge shell, so two things to mention. First, the overhang of the cap of the bottle should serve to keep the bottle from falling out, and failing that, I think I am going to put one wrap of this non-adhesive camo elastic wrap that El Fisho Jr. wraps around his airsoft guns. We got it from Amazon, and it's rough texture would serve to anchor it in the shell holder if it were to be a bit too heavy. Thicken it up a bit sortof, and provide a gripping surface.

So that's my great interim shell holder idea. I'm fixing to go do some river fishing with some of my friends on a big Texas river. Trotlining for sure, but also some regular rod and reel fishing. The two brothers I'll be going with, who have a very nice WIDE industrial sized HUGE jonboat with high gunwales and a nice open but carpeted interior and a BIG outboard. They actually have gunracks installed in a rodrack on one side of the boat, since they often see snakes and such on the river they grew up on. So when I go, I'll take a combo rifle and try out the shellholder. The brothers have a great rule of river fishing: Find out where the fish are biting or where you want to fish, put in downstream from there, go in upstream and work your way back down to the vehicles, which are generally parked at someone's property they know who front the river. Solves many problems.  This is a throwback to their days as kids on the river with an iffy outboard on their boat. No matter what, by going upstream for adventure, even if the engine conked out, they would be home for dinner.

In surfing around the web, I've found that a lot of cowboy shooting leather companies make various shoulder stock or buttstock pads made of leather. None that I saw incorporated shell holders, but since they build shell holders for the cowboy shooting competition into virtually every other product they make, seems like you might be able to throw some money at them and sweet talk them into modifying one of their designs to incorporate ammo loops on the non-cheek side of the gun as a one-off custom deal.

There must be a rule in the SASS shooting game about having shell holders on your gun, because after visiting several sites that sell such leather shoulder stock pads, none had any shell holders on them. However, one product did have available for upgrade to their standard all leather model a neophrene insert for the cheek side/shooter side of the stock, to provide some cushioning for the shooter's face. I think this would be a great option to have when shooting any combo gun with a larger rifle caliber.

These leather shoulder stock pads lace up at the bottom, and the nice ones I've seen look really classy. I've also seen some that look like what my first attempt would probably look like, except theirs is not supposed to be their first attempt or look like one. Having been enamored with custom holsters for many years now, I know that not only talents but tastes of the buyer vary greatly, and what I think might be crude and not well finished might be the perfect treasure another has been seeking all along.

However, slings that can carry ammo that are available seem to contain, at most, one pocket that would hold 3 or 4 centerfire rifle shells. I have not seen any leather sling of any apparent quality that has either some number of .22 LR loops or a few shotshell loops. So the thought is to buy a nice suede lined sling like an old Bianchi or another current brand and find some .22 loops on some sort of leather strip and sew the strip to the outside of the sling.

I would dread trying to make even 10 loops in .22 LR caliber for such a project. I have rudimentary leather working skills, with the key word being rudimentary. I've made several leather holsters, and modified dozens more to work with guns for which no well fitting holsters could be found. But I've never made ammo loops, and .22 caliber might not be the place to start my loop making. Maybe something bigger, like in the forty caliber range.

Another cool product I noticed at the cowboy leather websites was that many leather makers sell something called a "loading strip", which is simply a strip of leather that holds some 10 to 20 cartridges. There are several designs, some that hang and some that wrap over belts. The purpose is some SASS rule about how you can carry spare ammo.

But the point is, a one sided loading strip would almost fit perfect, or could easily be made to do so, as something to add to a sling for a ready made cartridge loop. You just have to have someone sew the loading strip to the sling and BOOM, you've got ammo.

Tat's a couple of ideas about carrying ammo on a combination rifle/shotgun. If you have any ideas or know of leathersmiths who might entertain custom work at a reasonable price for what I mention in this post, please comment their name and contact info. Thanks!


  1. I was look for something like that also, found this idea at
    "There's a thread way back that had a reply by someone that ran a stitch up the middle of each loop on a rifle or shotgun butt cuff cartridge carrier that made the loops perfect for rimfire ammo, one on each side of the stitch, how good are ya at sewing?... or can ya talk your wife into doing it for ya?"

    1. Hey Papa Beason, I answered the article about the 22/20 butt cuff ammo holders. I make them. Contact me at katwicki@hotmail .com for info and pictures. thanks

  2. katwicki i make leather ammo holders. just started. i made one for my savage24 in 22/410. my holder holds 5 410's and 8 22's. if you are intrested contact me at