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The Belly Fob -- a third hand for loading Muzzleloaders in the field

posted May 20, 2010, 8:08 AM by Peter Lucas   [ updated Jul 21, 2010, 10:19 AM ]
    Much of this site is devoted to clay target shooting.  However,  I started using my muzzle loading shotgun for hunting pheasants several years before I started shooting clay targets. Bird hunting is still my favorite muzzle loading pastime. 

    Pheasant hunting requires a lot of walking and you generally have to carry all of your loading supplies with you. In addition, you will be loading the gun without the aid of a loading rack or bench.  As a result, you end up holding the gun with one hand while trying to manipulate the powder, shot and wads with the other hand.

    A simple device which makes loading the gun in the field easier is the "Belly Fob." The purpose of the Belly Fob is hold the gun upright while freeing up both hands for loading.   I have not seen anyone else use a similar device, so I gave it my own name.  A "Fob" is simply a fancy name for an object used to make access to another object easier.  For example, the short leather strap or cord connected to a pocket watch is called a fob. Since this fob hangs below my belly, I decided to call it a Belly Fob.

    The Belly Fob is nothing more that a short (approximately 2 inch) dowel which has the same diameter as your gun's ram rod with a piece string attached to the top.  In order to attach the string, drill a small hole through the top of the dowel and thread the string through the dowel. Drilling a hole through the dowel has two purposes. First, it is a good way to make sure the string stays attached.  Second, the string prevents the dowel from sliding through the gun's thimble when the Fob is in use.  That is all there is to the Belly Fob. 

    When it is time to go hunting, tie the loose end of the string to a belt loop so that there is about 14 to 18 inches of string between your waist and the Fob.  When not in use, the Fob can be tucked into a pocket.

    When its is time to load the gun, place the butt of the gun on the ground near your feet so that the muzzle will angle away from your head when the Fob is attached.  Withdraw the ramrod and place the Belly Fob in the top thimble of the gun.  You can then let go of the gun and allow the Fob to hold the gun upright while you load.  You have to make sure that the gun is properly balanced when you let go of the gun, however, with a little practice I have found that the Belly Fob makes loading a muzzle loader in the field a whole lot quicker and easier.  

    I have included a picture of the Belly Fob in use on a trip to South Dakota.  If you look closely you can see the string holding the gun.