Australian .303 Bandolier

During the Second World War the Australian Army issued disposable cloth bandoliers that were very similar to those used by the British and other nations in the Empire. After the end of the war, however, the bandoliers were updated a bit and made slightly more sophisticated and it is an example of one of these improved bandoliers we are looking at today:

The bandolier is divided up into the usual five pockets, with room for two charger clips of five rounds in each giving the bandolier a capacity of fifty rounds. Each pocket is secured by a press stud, making them far more secure than the little wire hooks used previously and allowing much easier reuse of the bandolier:

These press studs undo and allow the whole of the top flap of the bandolier to be pulled back for access:

The other update to the bandolier was to replace the simple tape shoulder strap with a sewn cloth example cut at an an angle to better fit around the wearer’s body and allow the bandolier to hang better:

A pair of rings are fitted as a buckle allowing the length of the strap to be adjusted for different heights of men and for it to be taken on and off much more easily:

The bandolier is an altogether sturdier thing than previous versions and like them would have been expected to be reused multiple times. This example, however, was only filled the once as witnessed by the stamps on the bandolier:

The letters CGCF indicate it was made by the Commonwealth Government Clothing Factory in 1955 and it was filled with 50 rounds of .303 ball Mark 7 in July of 1956. Whilst most bandoliers were produced in this shade of unbleached cotton, some examples for .303 can be found in a pale green colour and the design was still being used for stripper clips of 7.62 ammunition in Vietnam, although a darker green colour had been adopted by then.

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