African Hunting Ammo Holders
Page Updated: Dec 2021
The ammo holder to use on an African hunting safari is very much a personal choice but should be of a style that you can use efficiently in the field for the game you are hunting. As with all the rest of your hunting gear, if you are buying new, 'break in' ammo holders well in advance of arriving in Africa. If you have bought new leather loop ammo holders for possibly a new belt, fill the loops with the cartridges you intend to use and wear them a few times so they conform to your body. An ammo pouch with specific calibre size leather loops may still be a bit tight when new so will need easing when first used.
Also practise loading your rifle from the new holder so it becomes second nature in any situation - ie. you can locate your spare ammo in the holder without looking or taking your eye off the target. Test various ammo carrier designs to see which work best for you.
Particularly if you are hunting dangerous game, you don't want to be fumbling around with pouch flaps, over-tight loops or trying to remember which belt pouch contains solids or softs, in what could turn into a high pressure situation. Iron out the possible glitches with practise beforehand so you shoot and reload smoothly, efficiently and confidently.
Choosing African Hunting Ammo Holders
Most African hunters use a cartridge or 'culling' belt or ammo pouches, wallets or open slide carriers that go on a regular belt.
- A flap on your ammo pouch, or not? The only reasons given by hunters to have a flap closure on an ammo pouch or wallet while hunting Africa is to keep out dirt, possibly rain or to preventing the cartridges falling out if there are no built-in loops. Possibly also, if you have to travel on a public road while being kitted up for hunting, it may be preferable to have your ammo covered, as with your rifle. The flap should not be there as the sole method of retaining the cartridges in place - there should be elastic loops inside or snug individual compartments sized for a particular calibre.
- The question of noisy flap closures... You will find ammo pouch flaps which close with snaps, velcro, press studs, magnets, leather strips that tuck in a loop, studs going through a leather slit, metal twist mechanism (like some women's handbags) and metal buckles.
Some hunters get concerned about the noise made opening their ammo carrier spooking the animal, especially those with snaps or velcro. Assuming you are not hunting or on stalking finals with an empty rifle (not a good idea!), there should be no need to open an ammo pouch - you should have shot already with the cartridges in your magazine / double rifle so the animal will be well aware of your presence, if not dead already.
Some hunters may argue that at the shot an animal can't pinpoint where the shot came from, so any subsequent noise you make (such as opening your velcro ammo pouch) will reveal your position. This totally depends on the species, distance, habitat and where it was hit in the first place, so don't be too worried about popping open your 'noisy' ammo pouch if you need to reload.
- Hunters using double rifles should use particularly easy to access ammo holders - an open belt slide with the cartridges sitting up and ideally arranged in pairs which makes it simple to quickly pull 2 out at once. Experienced dangerous game hunters using doubles will commonly have their next 2 cartridges held between their fingers ready for a fast reload if necessary.
- Ammo holders are made of various materials - leather, canvas, neoprene and nylon. The choice of material is really a matter of taste and budget. It is more important that they hold your cartridges for easy access without dropping too low and getting jammed in the loop or compartment and securely held so can't fall out no matter what you are doing...leopard crawling, climbing, falling over, etc. If using old leather pouches it's worth checking they have not got too stiff or cracked while not being used. It is recommended not to store cartridges in leather holders for a long time.
- Belt size...If you are threading an ammo pouch or slide on your belt you will need to know the width of your belt will fit the provided loop and sit snug against your body without drooping. You also don't want the fit to be too loose so the carrier slips along the belt and ends up behind your back or in another unexpected place.
- Loop size...If you are choosing an leather or canvas ammo carrier with loops or pockets made of the same material, the loop size must exactly match your cartridge case size and shape. If the loops are fully or partially elasticated then most manufacturers carry a range belts for various calibre ranges. The top of the cartridge or rim should stand above the edge of the loop for easy removal. Do not put a mix of cartridge calibres in the same pouch. If using different calibre rifles on your hunt, keep the ammo in separate and easily distinguished holders, ideally on another belt - so you don't accidentally grab the wrong ammo for the rifle. Some ammo holders are designed with 2 sections of 5 loops each that open like a wallet. It is not recommended that you put different calibres in each section or even solids in one section and softs in the other.
- How many rounds to carry in your ammo holder(s) depends on your hunting plan for the day and your PH's advice. Generally if you are starting out with a full magazine, you should only need a further 5 rounds of softs in one pouch and/or 5 solids in another pouch, of course remembering where each pouch is located on your belt. You may want to keep a further box of ammo in the truck to stock up from if necessary. It's really a case of being flexible and not weighing yourself down with too much ammo so hunting becomes tiring and uncomfortable.
- Buttstock cartridge holders are another popular way of carrying extra ammo in the field. They come in a myriad of styles, loop numbers and materials - leather, elastic, neoprene, padded, recoil proof, with cheek rests and extra storage pockets. If you are using one for the first time on an African hunt, the most important features are getting the right size, shape for your stock and with the loops on the correct side as a left or right-handed shooter.
- Again you should need to 'break in' a new buttstock holder and practise with it well before your hunt. Some elastic buttstock ammo holders are tricky to actually get on a rifle from the stock end, requiring the removal of the scope to feed on from the other end! You may also have to put a hole in an elastic sleeve holder to accommodate the swivel stud. Some hunters find the extra weight on their stocks not to their liking, particularly with the heavier large calibres that may be required in Africa.
African Hunting Ammo Holders
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This heavy-duty nylon large cartridge carrier has a plastic clip to secure the flap. It fits .410, 308, 45-70, 30.06, .416 and 30-30 Winchester. It holds 14 rifle cartridges securely in a tri-fold pouch. It attaches to any belt either by threading it on or with a hanging loop. Buy Now
This Allen ammo pouch has 14 rifle cartridge loops. It is made of nylon with a plastic clip-strap. It attaches to any belt up to 2-1/2" with two web straps and snap closures so the pouch will stay steady on your waist. Fits most calibres in elasticated loops. Buy Now
More Allen Ammo Holders
This ammo holder is made from camouflage nylon belt and is designed to hold 10 rifle cartridges. The elasticated loops will fit most type of rifle cartridges. It fastens with brass snap and fits belts up to 2" wide. Buy Now
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This Allen buttstock holder is made of durable, heavyweight elastic that fits snugly to the stock of your rifle without interfering with holding or aiming. The elasticated cartridge loops are uniformly sewn for easy-access, so your ammo is reliably in place when you need it. Installs easily on most rifles without slipping and takes small to medium calibres. Buy Now
This adjustable buttstock holder attaches to a rifle with an adjustable hook and loop velcro strap system. There are elasticated loops for 5 cartridges and a zippered pocket for small items. Soft plush fabric covers the cheek piece for comfort during shooting. This ammo holder is specifically for right-hand shooting. Buy Now
This Tourbon leather buttstock holder has neoprene lining and a leather cheek rest. It holds up to 8 rifle cartridges. Adjustable webbing straps with velco closure hold it on the stock. Comes with an option for left or right-handed shoooters. Buy Now
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African Hunting Ammo Holders