- By Pete Moore
- 2 Comments
- Last updated: 25/01/2017
I’m not a serious game shooter, however pigeons, rooks, foxes etc. and a bit of Practical Shotgun are my pleasures. For this I have always used pump or semi-auto guns as I hate doubles! However, one aspect of shotgunning regardless of gun type is loading them efficiently. I don’t get on well with cartridge belts as there’s too much frantic fumbling once you have used up the shells at the front! I find loading from a pocket a tad easier, but here it’s about presentation as most of the time you grab two and they are the wrong way round!
Quite by chance I got an email from Hugh Oliver-Bellasis asking if I would like to look at his Monkey Loader? Sounds interesting and checking out his website showed what I feel is the most practical filling system ever. The idea is not his; Hugh has given it a modern spin. The concept dates back to the 1930s when shells were dispensed from canvas tubes directly into the hand and the right way up too, so perfect for loading a side by side.
The original concept fell into disfavour due mainly to the materials used, as despite its apparent simplicity manufacture has to be precise and secure. The new Monkey consists of a sailcloth FR woven, hi-tenacity polyester fabric tube sewn off in the middle that holds the shells and loops round your shoulder like a bandolier. The trick is in the dispenser, which consists of a pair of hinged/interlocked, Teflon-coated steel tubes that delivers the ammo the right way up every time and is actuated by a push-down plunger located in the middle.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Monkeys’ are offered for 28, 20, 16, and 12-bore and in five sizes to suit individual body proportions and can hold from 24 to 32 shells depending. It works by pressing down on the plunger which forces the tubes apart so withdrawing shell stops allowing the rounds to fall free two at a time. To load press the plunger, hold the steel tubes upright and drop the rounds in nose-first so both cloth tubes hold the same amount.
You now sling it over your shoulder and begin. The loading hand comes down and you place the fingers over the mouths of the tubes and press the plunger with your thumb. As you do you will feel the shells drop onto your fingers where you hold them for loading, as you pull away the next two slide down and are held ready. It is also possible to dispense single cartridges, you just block off a tube to stop it feeding. This could be advantageous if you want to carry different loads
Practice is the key, as at first it feels a tad awkward but you soon get the cadence of operation. Plus once confident there’s no looking down, or fumbling as shells drop into your hand to be presented while you check out the incoming birds. It’s the best shotgun loading system I have ever used bar none. Gun type does not matter and I consider it as useful to a double gunner as a semi-auto shooter!
Fast and efficient cartridge dispensing system
Not a lot, but you need to practice
A practical design; well worth a look!
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