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

Most of 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.  The strap can  be cut up to at least 60″ top of bag to top of bag.

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 turned applied 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 - A powder horn with a turned base plug and a applied turned collar - Front
Bag #24, Horn #24 – A powder horn with a turned base plug and a applied turned collar – Front
Bag #24, Horn #24 - A powder horn with a turned base plug and a applied turned collar - Back
Bag #24, Horn #24 – A powder horn with a turned base plug and a applied turned collar – Back

 

 

Below are two heart shaped shot pouches with plain powder horns  that are much more typical of what you would find in the southern mountains.  The bottom outfit uses linen cord and chain to attach all the accouterments, much as it would have in the period.

Pouch #27 and Horn #28 - A typical southern shot pouch and powder horn outfit.
Bag #27,  Horn #28 – A heart shaped shot pouch with a plain carved throat powder horn
Horn #3 - Bag #8 -  A plain southern powder horn attached by linen cord to a Southern heart shaped shot pouch.
Bag #8, Horn #3 – Another heart shaped shot pouch with a very plain powder horn

Typical One Piece Shot Pouch

Bag #25, Horn #29 - Typical Mountain Shot Pouch & Powder Horn
Bag #26, Horn #29 – Typical Mountain Shot Pouch

This is a very typical one piece rectangular shot pouch based on the one shown on pages 14-15 of Jim Webb’s book. It is just one piece of leather stitched up the sides with a welt and then turned inside out. I added the welt since the pouch was to be turned. The original did not have one. The pouch measures about 7″ wide by about 8″ high.  The strap can  be cut up to at least 60″ top of bag to top of bag.

The attached horn (#29) is very similar to Horn #24 shown above.    It has a turned base plug and an turned, applied collar.  It is about 13 1/2″ around the outside curve (button to stopper) with an approximately  2 1/8″ base plug.   

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 #29 - Typical Mountain Shot Pouch
Bag #26, Horn #29 – Typical Mountain Shot Pouch
Bag #25, Horn #29 - Typical Mountain Shot Pouch & Powder Horn
Bag #26, Horn #29 – Typical Mountain Shot Pouch

Small Two Piece Shot Pouch

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.  It is basically just large enough for your hand, and I would only expect to  carry a few balls, some patch material, and maybe a measure and a couple flints.      I imagine it being carried with a squirrel rifle and paired it with a very small banded screw-tip horn for just a few shots.   

The horn is about 10 1/2″ around the outside curve (staple to stopper) with a base plug about 2 1/8″ in diameter.  It is straight so it can be correct as either a left or right hand carry, and has been setup as a right hand carry.  I figure it might hold 10 shots worth of powder for a small caliber rifle.   

The pouch body and strap are made from 3-4 oz vegetable tanned cowhide.   An iron buckle is used for strap adjustment.   The strap is about 51″ top of bag to top of bag, but can be shortened as much as you like.   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
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 $295 plus $20 shipping and 5.3% VA Sales tax, if applicable.   Use the Contact Form to let me know if you would like to purchase Bag #25 and Horn #27  or ones like them.

Pillow Ticking and Leather Pouch

Shown here is a very practical pouch made from pillow ticking and a bit of leather for the flap.   The bag is approximately 8″x 10″ and fully lined in that there are no raw edges showing on the inside.   A leather reinforcement has been placed on the inside of the bag and stitched to the flap.   The leather strap is stitched to the flap and internal reinforcement and is adjusted by an iron buckle.   The strap is about 60″ top of bag to top of bag.    It has been left long in order to be cut to length for the eventual owner.  

Pouch #31 - Pillow ticking and leather pouch - Front
Pouch #31 – Pillow ticking and leather pouch – Front
Pouch #31 - Pillow ticking and leather pouch - Back
Pouch #31 – Pillow ticking and leather pouch – Back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pouch #31 - Pillow ticking and leather pouch - Front
Pouch #31 – Pillow ticking and leather pouch – Front
Pouch #31 - Pillow ticking and leather pouch - Inside
Pouch #31 – Pillow ticking and leather pouch – Inside

The pouch above is for sale for $95 plus $15 shipping and 5.3% VA Sales tax, if applicable.   Use the Contact Form to let me know if you would like to purchase Pouch #31  or one like it.

Bespoke Pricing for Shot Pouches & Powder Horns

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

  • Southern Heart Shaped Shot Pouch (like #11) – $125 plus shipping
  • Southern One Piece Shot Pouch (like #26) – $120 plus shipping
  • Small Two Piece Shot Pouch (like #25)- $115 plus shipping
  • Pillow Ticking and Leather Pouch (like #31) – $115 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 with a flat base plug (with staple)  and  a simple carved throat and spout (like #3 or #28) – $105 plus shipping
  • Southern Powder Horn with a Turned Base Plug, and a carved throat and spout with integral rings (like #7)  – $150 plus shipping
  • Southern Powder Horn with a Turned Base Plug and a  applied collar (#24 or #29) – $120 plus shipping.
  • Multiple Banded Screw-tip Powder Horn (like #27) – $215 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.

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.

Right or Left Hand Carry?

What is right or left hand carry?  Simply, it is the side of the body on which a horn is intended to be worn.  Historically,  a curve of the tip to the left as viewed from the top is a right hand carry horn and also from the right side of the cow.   A curve of the tip to the right would historically  be a left hand carry horn and from the left side of the cow.   If there is no significant curve of the horn as viewed from the top, then the horn can be easily worn on either side with no conflict.   Most horns have so little curve it really doesn’t matter much and the modern pattern of carry is frequently opposite of the historical pattern.

Carrying a horn on the same side of the body as it came from the cow results in the tip pointing toward the body and the base pointing away from the body.   I also like the base of the horn to point toward the body, as do many modern wearers, so I usually use the opposite side horn and rotate it about 90 degrees so that both the tip and the base of the horn point into the body.    This makes a horn from the left side of the cow into a powder horn you can carry on the right side of the body.     This is my personal preference, but not generally historically correct.  Historically,  powder horns were usually carried on the same side of the body as they came from on the cow.   If you want to be completely historically correct,  you need to understand that.

Sometimes a horn that is technically a left hand horn might wrap around the body better on the right hand side and vice versa.    So,  in describing a horn,  I will tell you whether a horn is historically a left hand or a right hand.  Then I will tell you on which side the horn was built to be carried,  if it is different.    I will also try to include a photo from the top of the horn so you can see the curve for yourself.     On which side you actually carry a horn, that is up to you.

 

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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 carved rings 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right or Left Hand Carry Powder Horns?

There are both right hand and left hand powder horns shown above.   The question is what does that mean.   It refers to the side on which you carry the horn.   The tip always points forward and should wrap around your body.    In other words, the tip should not jut out so that it can catch on a passing object.

Technically,  a curve of the tip to the left as viewed from the top is a right hand carry horn and also from the right side of the cow.   A curve of the tip to the right would technically be a left hand carry horn and from the left side of the cow.   If there is no significant curve of the horn as viewed from the top, then the horn can be easily worn on either side.   Most horns have so little curve it really doesn’t matter.

Sometimes a horn that is technically a left hand horn might wrap around the body better on the right hand side and vice versa.    So,  in describing a horn for sale,  I will tell you whether a horn is technically a left hand or a right hand.  Then I will tell you on which side the horn was built to be carried,  if it is different.    I will also try to include a photo from the top of the horn so you can see the curve for yourself.     On which side you actually carry a horn, that is up to you.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
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