Quartermaster Inspector Mortar Sling
Cover, Muzzle M308
Review Date: 3/6/2016
Author: Charlie Noble
Mortar squad during infantry training. 60 mm mortar assistant gunner Pvt Joseph Pivovarnik and Gunner Pvt J. W. Lester ready for fire order. Sights are then set, bubbles leveled, and mortar is then fired.
National Archives & Records Administration
About the cover:
The Cover, Muzzle M308 was a standard acessory issued with the 60mm Mortar during WWII. It was a combination muzzle cover to keep debris out of the bore and a carry strap for the complete mortar assembly.
Purchase date: February 9, 2016
Arrival date: February 18, 2016
Current Retail: $32.62
The canvas sling portion is very similar to the originals I have handled and viewed. I would say the color is in the lighter half spectrum, but not fluorescent khaki either, so it is very acceptable. Originals are also observed in OD #7. The canvas is very sturdy with no noticeable stretch at all. It is well woven, smells of treated canvas, and is heavily stitched together.
The leather is heavy, of good quality, and quite thick. It is sewn very tight and with very few flaws. It is double thickness where it is supposed to be, and doesn’t stretch or feel weak at any point. It is professionally finished and isn't strange or off the wall in color or texture.
The buckles are very sturdy and of the same style as originals, and seem very well made. The cup attachment is bent very precisely, not thin but not too heavy as to not fit, and also very sturdily constructed.
Source Critical Past
They very top of the leather cap is slightly different when compared to originals in photographs. There is a slightly smaller circle of stitching around the top of the leather cap, and the side stitching seems to be further down on originals versus the reproduction being sewn very close to the cap leading me to assume that the top is much thicker on originals.
The leather handle on top appears to be thinner than originals but does not seem like it would fail when used correctly.
One piece that seems to be missing in many originals pictures but was included with this one is the leather keeper. It is riveted rather than sewn but is also of period construction. A nice detail is the brass rivet on the leather that secures the cup attachment. It is visible in original pictures, but also appears to be sewn in and static, unlike this one which is free to move somewhat.
Source Critical Past
A small detail that I can honestly look past (because it isn’t horrendous) is the leather seems to have a finish or treatment applied to it. Originals (pictured) were flesh color out of the pack, and darkened with use, age, oil, cleaning solvent, rain, mud, etc. The color is very acceptable and what you would expect with a coat of oil.
The replica is just about an exact match to the original with respect to the pattern. The only minor difference may be the thickness of the leather (as mentioned before with the handle). If I had to approve these off the (original) assembly line, I would LIKELY send them back for thicker, sturdier handles. There are no stamps on these to be seen, which coincides with originals.
It is sewn very well and very tight. The leather is mated very well and the edges are clean and seem to be sealed. The canvas is folded where it should be and again, is sewn very well. The stitching looks to be done by hand, as it has some flaws, but it does not take away from the functionality at all.
The sling is constructed very well over all. There are no missing stitches, bent metal fittings, defectively set rivets, or pattern discrepancies that I can find. I am certain use will tell how well it will hold up, but for its intended purpose of transporting the mortar, I imagine it will hold up just fine if taken care of.
A simple internet search turned up a couple of European and British companies selling what appears to be the identical item for around the same price. QMI also sells these in their eBay store. Other than the ones I turned up, I am not aware of any domestic manufacturers of the mortar sling. While I don’t imagine it would be an overly difficult product to make, especially for an established company, it is a very niche item and I wouldn’t expect everyone to offer them.
This is a well-made item and should hold up fine with ordinary use. I have no issue displaying it along with the mortar and associated items. I would without a doubt recommend this to someone looking for one, as I feel it does accurately capture the original version in most areas of construction and finish and will do what it is supposed to. They show up in a high percentage of original photos, and I feel this is an item every mortar crew should have at their disposal.
90th IDPG Reviews