Leather, Real Leather
0kay, I admit it. I am more than reluctant to accept the plastic age, especially reluctant when it comes to my guns. Sometimes plastic can be better, but sometimes it cannot. When things should be made of leather, plastic cannot compare.

Murray Leather, just as the name implies, makes things of leather; belts, holsters, scabbards and gun cases are among them. This is not just leather, any leather, or random design. These things are fine saddle leather, made by a saddle maker who is also a shooter and hunter. It is easy to understand the thinking of a shooter and hunter, but some might need insight into a saddle maker.

A saddle, a western saddle, is an extremely complex and sophisticated tool. It is designed to give a real cowboy a seat on his horse and to make both the rider and horse comfortable. At times a saddle will need to hold together under the violence of a bucking horse or to keep a horse and rider fastened to a ton of bull. They last for most of a real cowboy's lifetime and for generations in the hands of someone who rides a few times a week. They are also beautiful. Thus, one who makes working saddles is the ultimate expression of a leather-working artist. When one of these fellows begins to make gun-related leather, we are in for a real treat.

The Murray line is very broad. A
simple, yet extremely effective part of it is the Quick-Set rifle sling. This one is so simple you almost cannot believe it. A special friction sliding buckle works with the one-piece leather sling. You can instantly make the sling any length you wish. The sling, with its simple perfection sets the stage for more complicated tools.

Most of us are familiar with the cartridge holders that go on buttstocks. I use them most of the time because they are much more practical than a box of shells in a pack or a pocket full ammunition that always seems impossible to find in a hurry. The normal holders are all elastic. Those of us who use them know they often act like a pair of underwear that has been washed too many times. They sag and slide here and there, especially under recoil. The Murray holder is as you might expect - made of leather - almost. The part that wraps around the stock is quality leather, but the shell loops are made of special, high-quality elastic material. The holder is laced onto the stock, either with latigo, to be removed regularly, or with rawhide to form a semi-permanent system. Either way, the holder stays in place on the stock and the shell loops hold ammunition securely - wet, dry, hot or cold.
Murray makes conventional "Ranger Style" gun belts and holsters, but it is the non-conventional "Hunter's Holsters" I really like. These are (laptop holsters. Every time I say I like a flap holster, I have to pinch myself. Generally there is nothing to like about a flap holster, but these are different. In addition
to the protection offered by the fully covered design, the flap is a beautifully designed thumb break. Now we have great protection and high security combined with lightning speed.

The gun cases stand alone. Yes, there are saddle scabbards that are somewhat conventional, but there are also the "Ultimate" scabbards as designed by Elmer Keith. These cover the entire rifle, muzzle to buttplate, scope and all. The leather is heavy saddle skirting, lined with a special, heavy synthetic fleece that is silicone treated and sealed with a big brass zipper. They keep out the snow, rain and dust, while the heavy leather and fleece protect the gun from anything but a horse-wreck.

For those of us who wisely keep our feet on the ground, there is the Deluxe rifle case. This is again made of the spectacular leather and fleece. But now instead of hanging from a horse, you carry it to your truck or other means of transport. The heavy handles wrap all the way around the case, cradling the gun. A full-length zipper makes getting the piece in and out easy, while the double-extra reinforced end protects the muzzle even if the case is dropped.

By now you get the idea. Great leather, with every stitch in place, designed by someone who not only understands leather, but the needs of a hunter and shooter. None of it is cheap, but then none of it is plastic either! For more information write to Murray Leather, Box 373, Aledo TX 76008.

Reprinted by permission
from Handloader Magazine
Issue Number 211, page 78

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