5.56 NATO Fabric belt


#1

Another collector I know who isn’t on the forum bought this belt.

It holds 250 rounds and came loaded with British RG 5.56 Blanks. This may not tbe the original loading, but these were in it when he got it. They are a very tight fit, it doesn’t appear that the older cartridges such as 7.92 Mauser and similar sized rounds would fit.

The belt is numbered every 25 rounds. At slot number 25 it is ink stamped “25”, “50” at number 50 etc. The only markings on it are “C3951”. This is stamped into the steel starter tab in very small letters.

Does anyone know where this was made, what gun it was for, and whether it should be loaded with 5.56 Blanks?

Thanks for any info.


#2

It looks like a regular belt for 7.62 or the like and the cases here are just held in place by the section of the belt which usually grabs the neck portion of the 7.62 (or similar caliber).
Just what I think…


#3

I doubt if the cartridges are original to the belt. Cloth belts were obsolete well before the 5.56 was introduced.

Old cloth belts were very prone to shrinking if they sat for a long time with no cartridges in them. After some time, it was impossible to get an original cartridge in them. That may be what you have here, although I can’t say what cartridges would have originally used a belt like that. Surely one of our resident clip/charger/magazine/ belt experts could tell you a lot more.

Ray


#4

[quote=“Falcon”]Another collector I know who isn’t on the forum bought this belt.

It holds 250 rounds and came loaded with British RG 5.56 Blanks. This may not tbe the original loading, but these were in it when he got it. They are a very tight fit, it doesn’t appear that the older cartridges such as 7.92 Mauser and similar sized rounds would fit.

The belt is numbered every 25 rounds. At slot number 25 it is ink stamped “25”, “50” at number 50 etc. The only markings on it are “C3951”. This is stamped into the steel starter tab in very small letters.

Does anyone know where this was made, what gun it was for, and whether it should be loaded with 5.56 Blanks?

Thanks for any info.[/quote]

falcon,

That is a British made .30" Browning belt, C3951 is the drawing number. The 5.56mm cases are tight because they are pushed deep into the pockets, fabric belts need an exposed length of case behind the belt for the gun mechanism to grab the case and pull it out. The .30 Browning rounds would have the case mouth about level with the front of the belt.

On the photo you can see the change in the stitching pattern which forms the “neck” in the pocket of the belt.

gravelbelly


#5

The 5.56 has a diameter of .375 at the base. The .30 in. Browning body tapers from .440 to .470. I’d bet you’d play hell trying to get .30 in. Browning cartridges in that belt, assuming the loops are now tight on the 5.56.

Ray


#6

I agree completely that this is a belt for the Browning M1917, 1919A4 and 1919A6 MG. When new, the belts are very tight, and they need to be that way, since when cartridges are inserted
in the belt, only most of the neck and the bullet stick out the front side, as I recall. Most of the cartridge is sticking out the back side. This British belt appears essentially identical to the ones we used in training. In the only TOE infantry unit I was in, and that briefly, we had metal-link belts. Belts we used in training were mostly white, but some were olive drive. I have a mint olive-drab one somewhere around my place, although I haven’t seen it in awhile. I cannot honestly say I got it in the Army when I was in a Light Weapons Squad and assigned as asst. gunner to one of the two Brownings the squad had. It has been a long time, about 53 years, and I may have picked it up at a later date. I have only kept it for nostalgia.


#7

Here’s one of the O.D. (Khaki) belts. The necks should stick out just a wee bit more, maybe .1" (2.5mm). The belt is old and was beginning to split at the seams so I backed cartridges out a little.


#8

Thanks for the replies. I thought that it was unlikely to be a 5.56 Belt for the same reason that Ray posted.