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Old 03-06-2017, 08:06 PM
sonora sonora is offline
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Default Rooster Cogburn's cartridge belt

Watched the great movie True Grit today. John Wayne, in his only Oscar winning performance, as U.S Marshall Rooster Cogburn, I noticed that on Rooster's cartridge belt between evenly spaced Colt 45 cartridges was one rifle round. The rifle round was positioned in the center of Wayne's lower back. There must be a reason for this. Would members please enlighten me, Thank you.
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:17 PM
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many reasons are given online... but supposedly according to JW it was to let people know they were half out of ammo... and out of respect for the "real" cowboys that did this, he did the same...
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Old 03-07-2017, 12:19 AM
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I read another explanation many years ago which was that the rifle round was a .45/70 (which was a "45" caliber bullet / case diameter) that was worn in the 7th position loop from the gun holster side indicating that the wearer of the gun belt had 6 revolver rounds remaining on his supply of the belt. Made sense to me because that was the amount of rounds that the revolver held when fully loaded. Also, I don't remember that Wayne wore the belt configuration as described but as I have noted it. I could be wrong but in all the movies that I remember seeing where Wayne wore that particular belt (his relatively famous rolled suede leather with belt billets and ammo loops in top grain leather) it was in the 7th loop from the holster side and in this case the right side since Wayne was right handed. Very interested to know if anyone remembers or knows the same as I do or differently.
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Old 03-07-2017, 01:16 AM
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The belt Wayne wore in the movie was cloth with leather billets and cartrige loops. Thank you for your response.
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonora View Post
The belt Wayne wore in the movie was cloth with leather billets and cartrige loops.
A lot of fun facts in the archives regarding the props used in this movie.

True Grit (1969 - Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games)
This is Wayne's personally owned leather belt and gun used in the movie.


Last edited by bigwheelzip; 03-07-2017 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 03-07-2017, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigwheelzip View Post
A lot of fun facts in the archives regarding the props used in this movie.

True Grit (1969 - Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games)

This is Wayne's personally owned leather belt and gun used in the movie.

If you will look more closely at the belt, not the billets, you will see there is a pattern to the material and a seam on the bottom. This is a canvas web belt just as Sonora said, not leather.
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Old 03-07-2017, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
If you will look more closely at the belt, not the billets, you will see there is a pattern to the material and a seam on the bottom. This is a canvas web belt just as Sonora said, not leather.
I can't see the pattern in that low-res photo, but I believe you. I'm just going by several websites that called it rough-out leather.

Additionally, I found another explanation for the rifle bullet, that make sense, since he carried 2 caliber's of firearms.

From True West:

Most folks usually carry different caliber ammunition in separate belts. For his movies, John Wayne wore a gunbelt that centered the .45-70 long rifle bullet in order to separate the other two similarly-looking bullets. Historian Jim Dunham says that one side (probably the right from the buckle, around to the long case) was filled with .45 long Colt ammo that fit the Duke’s revolver. On the other side were .44-40 caliber bullets that fit his Model 1892 Winchester carbine. The two bullets look identical; if one got mixed up with the other, it would easily jam the firearm.

Last edited by bigwheelzip; 03-07-2017 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 03-07-2017, 02:11 PM
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I heard the 6 round remaining story and that he learned it from his mentor, Yakut Canutt.
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Old 03-07-2017, 03:13 PM
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I knew a couple of old timers that used the 7th round method. When they got to the 45-70 round, they knew they only had 6 hand gun rounds left.
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Old 03-07-2017, 04:02 PM
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This is very interesting. I really enjoy learning about the old traditions. It's up to us that they not be forgoten.
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Old 03-07-2017, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigwheelzip View Post
A lot of fun facts in the archives regarding the props used in this movie.

True Grit (1969 - Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games)
This is Wayne's personally owned leather belt and gun used in the movie.

The belt is indeed LEATHER, not cloth or webbing. It was Andy Anderson who made Wayne's original set, and we at Bianchi who made his subsequent ones including the commemoratives. The two John's (John Wayne and John Bianchi) met often, and subsequently his son Michael was an absolute p-i-t-a (in a good way) about the sets being accurate down to the tiniest detail -- including using roughout leather for the belt.

The folded construction of the leather belt was to create a tunnel inside (a slot or slit was included on the underside near the buckle) for money and documents; most especially the receipt for the horse because horse thieving was a summary execution offense in the West, because to leave a man without his horse was to leave him to die in those day.

By the way, the long rifle round indeed was to indicate that there were only 6 rounds left for the revolver (or companion carbine).
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Old 03-07-2017, 06:31 PM
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The belt is "rough out leather". El Paso Saddlery has been making a copy of this design for years.
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Old 03-07-2017, 06:42 PM
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I don't know about this thinking.If your life depended on more 45 Colt cartridge in the belt and you reached back only to find a 45-70 that's an Oh **** moment.

Maybe he never saw an S&W "Last Cartridge" poster.
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:35 PM
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I agree. You would think, you might need that extra round if the Apaches were closing in. Sonora
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D Brown View Post
The belt is "rough out leather". El Paso Saddlery has been making a copy of this design for years.
Here is the El Paso Saddlery "The Duke" in Left Hand version that I've had since the mid-eighties.
[IMG]
[/IMG]
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:51 PM
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In the real world; rather than a 45-70 why not just put a "usable cartridge" in........... bullet up??
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Old 03-07-2017, 08:33 PM
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In the real world; rather than a 45-70 why not just put a "usable cartridge" in........... bullet up??
It would fall out.
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:59 PM
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Well, for whoever is still insisting the belt is leather look at this close up. Now can you see the obvious weave of the webbing, and the multiple layers on the edge below the holster? Two are web and the belt lining is leather, notice the difference in texture and color?
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Old 03-07-2017, 11:05 PM
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Sorry, I only see well worn rough out leather, not canvas.
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Old 03-08-2017, 12:11 AM
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Sorry, I only see well worn rough out leather, not canvas.
Same here, plus I would never question Red on facts when it comes to leather history, reel or real.

Dan
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Old 03-08-2017, 01:36 AM
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Just finished watching clips from True Grit on You Tube. Belt was clearly canvas webbing. Watch it. Sonora
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigwheelzip;139498081
This is Wayne's personally owned leather belt and gun used in the movie.

[URL=http://s683.photobucket.com/user/bigwheelzip/media/John_Waynes_Colt_Bisley_mocked_up_to_resemble_a_SAA_-_.44-40_Winchester_zpsjhmjbbaf.jpg.html
[/URL]
There are over 6 on each side of the rifle shell. That leads me to believe there is no truth to the theory that the 7th loop had the rifle shell. Two different calibers with the rifle shell separating them might be correct but I would want more information. Larry
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonora View Post
It would fall out.
I don't/haven't used belt loops much but ...... IIRC the rounds were held fairly tightly by friction...... on the 2 I had (in the 70/80s) the rounds wouldn't just fall out.

Watching John W's movies I always thought the belt was canvas..... but I would have to defer to Red's personal knowledge........
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:07 PM
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Apparently El Paso Saddlery doesn't make "The Duke" anymore. Black Hills Leather does though.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:41 PM
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Apparently El Paso Saddlery doesn't make "The Duke" anymore. Black Hills Leather does though.
Well, they do make this one, which is basically the same design.

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Old 03-09-2017, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
Well, for whoever is still insisting the belt is leather look at this close up.
Sorry, but that photo quality is so terrible and pixelated, if it weren't for the cartridges, I'd be hard pressed to tell it's any kind of a gunbelt at all.
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:08 AM
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Default TWO CENTS WORTH OF KNOWLEDGE AND OPINION

Duke's rig is DEFINITELY leather!!! I've been caught doing a little leather work once in a while, and I've run across that particular type of hide on occasion. The leather itself is, indeed, "rough side out", a kind of ragged suede process (for lack of a better term), with the opposite side your standard scraped finish. It is more flexible and more comfortable when worn for long periods, which may have been (???) the origin of the design. Considering that Wayne's primary career on film consisted of packing a Colt Single Action Army on his hip for hours on the day, days upon weeks, during shoots (no pun intended), I would almost bet that he personally specified such a rig.
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