Southern Mountain Shot Pouches & Powder Horns

Southern Heart Shaped Shot Pouch

Heart shaped southern mountain shot pouch and powder horn
Bag #11, Horn #7 – Full Front
Heart shaped southern mountain shot pouch and powder horn
Bag #11, Horn #7 – Full Back

The southern mountain shot pouches shown on this page were copied from Jim Webb’s book Sketches of Hunting Pouches, Powder Horns, and Accoutrements of Southern Appalachia. I made the first, heart shaped, shot pouches pictured here exactly as shown on pages 18-19; approximately 7.5″wide x 7.5″ high, using 3-4oz  vegetable tanned cowhide and linen thread.This shot pouch design consists of a one piece back and flap with a front panel attached via a 1″ gusset that goes around the entire pouch and attaches to the strap.

Back of heart shaped southern mountain shot pouch
Bag #11, Horn #7 – Back

The shot pouch is assembled such that the flesh sides are stitched together without a welt, and the bag is not turned. This results in the gusset folding inward. It is an unusual arrangement, but that is how the original was constructed. I used an iron buckle on the strap to allow for seasonal adjustment. The leather was stained with vinegar and iron. The strap is about 60″ and can be shortened as much as necessary just by punching new holes for the buckle.

Southern mountain shot pouch and powder horn
Bag #11, Horn #7 – Front

The attached powder horn is based on several original powder horns from Southwest Virginia. It is about 13″ around the outside curve with a 2 1/2″ base plug. It is hand scraped and filed with a turned walnut base plug attached using hand forged nails. A turned walnut stopper finishes the horn. The horn is dyed yellow with aquafortis and appropriately aged.

Below is a heart shaped pouch with a slightly different horn.  This horn has an applied turned collar instead of integral rings and is based on the horn on pages 228-229 in Jay Hopkins book Bone Tipped and Banded Horns.    It is about 12 1/2″ around the outside curve with a 2 1/4″ base plug.   

Bag #24, Horn #24 – applied turned collar

Below is another heart shaped bag with a very plain horn that is much more typical of what you would find in the southern mountains. Linen cord and chain is used to attach all the accouterments much as it would have in the period.

Horn #3 - Bag #8 -  A plain southern powder horn attached by linen cord to a Southern heart shaped shot pouch.
Horn #3 – Plain southern powder horn, Bag #8 – Southern Heart Shaped Shot Pouch

Small Two Piece Shot Pouch (For Sale)

Bag #25, Horn #27 - An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle
Bag #25, Horn #27 – An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle
Bag #25, Horn #27 - An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle
Bag #25, Horn #27 – An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle

This shot pouch is shown on pages 16-17 of Jim Webb’s book.  It is a very simple two piece (back with flap, and front)  pouch flat sewn along the bottom and up the sides  with a brass button holding the flap closed.  It is little under  7″ wide  x 6″ high.  That is pretty small.   It is basically just large enough for a few balls and some patches.    I imagine it being carried with a squirrel rifle and paired it with a very small banded screw-tip horn.    The horn is about 10.5 ” around the outside curve (staple to stopper) with a base plug a little under 2.25″ diameter.  I figure it might hold 10 shots worth of powder for a small caliber rifle.    The outfit is perfect for a day of  hunting.  

The pouch body and strap are made from 3-4 oz vegetable tanned cowhide.   An iron buckle is used for strap adjustment.   The leather is stained with vinegar and iron for a blue-black color and finished with mink oil and black shoe polish.  

Bag #25, Horn #27 - An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle
Bag #25, Horn #27 – An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle

The outfit above is for sale for $375 plus $20 shipping and any applicable VA sales tax. 

I try to make all my recreated shot pouches and horns look used. That means adding wrinkles, puckers, perhaps some cracks, and a bit of dirt and oil.  I leave normal blemishes in the leather that add some character. 

Pricing for items like the ones shown above is as follows:

  • Southern Heart Shaped Shot Pouch (like #11) – $180 plus shipping
  • Small Two Piece Shot Pouch (like #25- $135 plus shipping
  • Leather Powder Horn Hangers – $15 (Option with a pouch order)
  • Leather knife sheath attached to back of pouch – $35 (Option with a pouch order – client must provide knife)
  • Plain Southern Powder Horn (like #3) – $125 plus shipping
  • Southern Powder Horn with a Turned Base Plug and either integral rings (#7) or applied collar (#24) – $150 plus shipping
  • Multiple Banded Screw-tip Powder Horn (like #27) – $225 plus shipping
  • Tin Powder Measure, Whipped Brush and Pick set (as shown with Bag #11) – $50

Priority shipping and insurance on a single item is $15. Shipping on an outfit is $20. I will collect VA Sales Tax for items shipping to VA residents.

If you would like something similar to what is shown on this page, or even something completely different, use the Contact form to send me an e-mail. See FAQ for more information on purchasing custom work. The availability of any particular horn design depends on the availability of an appropriate unfinished horn in my inventory.

 

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Plain Southern Powder Horns

The vast majority of original powder horns were as plain as they could be and still be functional. That means a flat pine (or other softwood) base plug and little or no carving of the throat; just enough work to contain powder and attach a strap. Many times a screw was used to attach a strap to the base plug. A grooved or simply reduced throat is enough to tie a strap around it. The two powder horns shown just below are based on an original southwest Virginia horn and are a little fancier than most with a turned base plug and carved rings at the throat. Even so, it is still much plainer than the carved and engraved horns from the French and Indian War. This horn could also be made with a turned and applied collar instead of the integral rings. The horn would dictate how it is approached.

Horn #7 - Side
Horn #7 – A SW. VA style powder horn

Horn #19 - A SW. VA horn in the basic style of Horn #7.
Horn #19 – A SW. VA horn in the basic style of Horn #7.

Please note the raw linen cord used to attach the horn in the photo below.   Cord was often found on southern outfits.    The outfit show below is much more historically correct for a southern mountain rifle than many of the sophisticated shot pouches and powder horns being recreated today.    Most of the original powder horns and shot pouches were very simple affairs, well worn and patched together.   You will see horns completely covered in leather to patch a hole or holes rather than just throw it away.   Even something as simple as a plain powder horn could not be easily replaced in the southern mountains and was highly valued.

I will make any plain powder horn with a flat base plug and simply carved throat and spout for $125 plus shipping. A horn like #7 with a turned base plug and either carved rings or an applied collar would cost $150 plus shipping

To order a powder horn or discuss any other project, use the Contact form to send me an e-mail. See FAQ for more information on ordering custom work. The availability of any particular horn design depends on the availability of an appropriate unfinished horn in my inventory.

Horn #3 - Bag #8 - A plain southern powder horn attached by linen cord to a Southern heart shaped shot pouch laying on a flat surface.
Horn #3 – Plain southern powder horn, Bag #8 – Southern Heart Shaped Shot Pouch

Horn #4 - Plain southern powder horn, 10 3/4" outside curve, 2 1/2" dia. base plug
Horn #4 – Plain southern powder horn, 10 3/4″ outside curve, 2 1/2″ dia. base plug

Horn #4 - Top of plain southern powder horn with a wedding ring carved at the end of a bell shaped tip.
Horn #4 – Top – Plain southern powder horn

Horn #8 - Top of a plain southern powder horn wiht a large wedding band carved a the beginning of a bell shaped tip just above the throat.
Horn #8 – Top – Plain southern powder horn

Horn #8 - Plain southern powder horn, 10 1/4" outside curve, 2 3/8" dia. base plug
Horn #8 – Plain southern powder horn, 10 1/4″ outside curve, 2 3/8″ dia. base plug

Plain southern powder horn with octagonal shaped tip.
Horn #9 – Plain Southern Powder Horn, 11″ outside curve, 2 1/2″ dia. base plug

Top view of plain southern powder horn with an octacgonal tip.
Horn #9 – Top – Plain southern powder horn

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18th Century Style Mens’ Pocketbook

Mens 18th C fraktur tooled pocketbook

Not too long ago, my osteopath told me I needed to take my overstuffed wallet out of my back pocket and ditch it. It was pretty ratty anyway; almost worn through in places. I shopped around for a replacement but just couldn’t find anything just right. I needed to carry my drivers license, registration, proof of insurance, disabled parking card, and medical insurance card as well as some cash, at least one debit card, and a couple grocery discount cards. That was about as much as I could slim down. I had about three times that much stuff in the old wallet, not including the receipts, notes, and other paperwork. It was basically a traveling file cabinet. What I finally decided to do was design a little 18th century style mens’ pocketbook based on the construction of my early VA shot pouch and several original cloth pocketbooks that I had seen.

Fraktur tooling on 18thC men's pocketbookShown here is the result of my efforts. It is still a little overstuffed, but better than what I had. It is made out of goat skin, consisting of two sets of pockets flat sewn with a center divider serving as the welt for each set. The pockets fold like the pages of a book with a flap closure.


Fraktur tooling on 18thC men's pocketbook

Fraktur tooling on 18thC men's pocketbook

Fraktur tooling on 18thC men's pocketbookAs I was work for myself for free, I tooled every exposed surface. The outside is decorated with typically English stamped geometric designs consisting mainly of diagonal lines and stamped stars. The inside panels are tooled with fraktur designs. The stain is vinegar and iron.

If anybody would like one, I will make one with stamped decoration on the exterior panels for $249. If you want original fraktur tooling on the interior panels, that will cost you $479. I will have to add 5.3% sales tax for VA residents. Shipping is $15.

Download the pattern here if you would like to make the pocketbook yourself.




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