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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Trying to help a buddy out who is rebuilding a Colt m1895 "Potato Digger" and could use some info. I know it is a long shot, but does anyone know if belts for this gun can still be found? Even if I could find out the measurements for him he might be able to have one made. The gun is chambered in 30-40 Krag.

Thanks :)
 

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It's been a while since I messed with Diggers but I recall the belts have 7 pockets per ? instead of 6 like the Brownings. Also the black thread sewn in the belt is done different so the troops would know which is which. I always heard you can stretch the belts but that can be hit or miss on reliability.
 

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As Glass notes, the belts are slightly different length, a bit less than a pocket width in a foot between the two. The single black thread identifier is no good any more, since there are lots of BMG belts that were made with one black thread made by different countries who used the BMGs. However, always look closely at any belts with single row of black thread because it might be one!
The ground digger belts that I have and and others that I have seen have a tab that is just an extension of the fabric of the belts. The aircraft belts are marked Marlin aircraft and have a short piece of brass folded over the end of the belt with two rivets and a hole and are longer than the ground belts.
However, the main issue is the feed wheel in regard to the pitch of the belts and if you load well used BMG belts they will stretch in the wheel sufficiently to not jam it. This has worked for me with .30, 7mm and 7.65 rounds in diggers using BMg belts. You won't get away without having jams, which are really annoying in the differs since there is no easy access to the internals from the outside to free up jams.
Vintage digger belts are quite scarce, now, and will be very expensive when they do show up. there are ground belts and aircraft belts for the later piston diggers. Vintage diggers belts are a good accessory to have for show, but it is not wise to use them for shooting when the BMG belts will do the job. They are somewhat fragile and will tear.
Ammo boxes also show up now and then but are getting up there in value. The Canadians used metal ammo boxes as well as wood. FWIW
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for that info guys. They are a long ways away from getting it to fire, since it is missing some parts that have to be made from scratch, so they have time to experiment with making belt samples.
 

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Carl I can ask around for you Dolf may have knowledge of a source but as Bob mentioned these are scarce these days. I will be headed out to the SAR show the day after Thanksgiving and am driving from NY to Phoenix with Dolf so we should have time to discuss it lol and lord only knows what trouble we will get into :cool:. Once he gets it going I would try Bob's suggestion as the early stuff is just too rare to risk damaging it but it is still a must have if you own a digger and besides if you don't own one that just means you Need it. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Russ. Say Hi to Dolf for me. I can just imagine the trouble you two will get into.... LOL
 
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