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What's the deal on Cavalry Hats?

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OK, so I'm bored and was looking at hats. (Apparently another hobby of mine.) I've also been watching a fair amount of westerns lately.

So I started looking for Indian War era Cavalry hats. I didn't think it would be as huge a deal as it is to find one at a reasonable price point.

Apparently, I was wrong. I've seen some really nice ones with prices to match the high quality and I've seen some pretty cheesy ones, too.

So what's the deal? I mean there had to be thousands made for all them old westerns alone. Why is it such a hen's tooth now?

 

Sorry if this should be saloon talk, the walls are closing in and the dog doesn't want to go on a walk.

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I can relate to this topic.

 

I've tried searching for a nice sombrero, used or otherwise.

 

Not a cheaply made straw tourist sombrero but a good one.

 

$$$$$$$$$$

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My understanding was that the Cavalry soldiers during the Indian Wars period really did not care for the issued wide brimmed hat.  The issued hat had several problems.  Therefore soldiers were allowed to outfit themselves with a hat of there choice.  I think you'd be able to pick about any period correct hat and be good to go.

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Posted (edited)

The cheap ones are wool felt.

 

The expensive ones are beaver and/or rabbit fur felt.   

 

Same as with other cowboy hats.  A Cavalry hat is made from the same raw hat bodies that Cowboy hats are.   Just a different shaping is used.  So, there's cheap ones of wool, and expensive ones of wild animal fur.

 

If you want one to last several years, go with the ones that have some beaver in them.  

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708

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I'm a Stetson guy for sure and have had several of their buffalo hats for years. I wear one for SASS and and am good with it, but wouldn't mind going with something more "authentic" in the future. I'm still not settled on my style for this endeavor. I'm just having fun shooting and getting together with folks.

River Junction has a nice looking version in either wool or fur. The Last Best West has some really nice (and spendy) ones, too. I'm also liking the selection over at Miller Hats. 

There's some options, I just was thinking it should've been a more common selection. I would surely hate to spend $400 bucks on a hat I may end up shooting if it takes off down range in a good breeze. :D

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Hendo said:

I would surely hate to spend $400 bucks on a hat I may end up shooting if it takes off down range in a good breeze. 

 

Stampede string.   But best way is to make the hat really fit and stay is:  Pick a good fur.  Then when you are breaking it in, wet the sweatband real well and stick it on your head until it dries.   The fit will be custom and the hat will stay put. 

 

Got a LBW hat myself.  One of my favorites.  But so is a Bailey shaped by Tonto Rim (Denny).

 

Good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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Get a cheap felt hat.

 

Get it thoroughly soaking wet.

 

Shape it yourself.

 

This is a hat body that I bought in a reject bin for $1.00.  The officers's cord was $5.00

 

Not bad for a six dollar hat.

 

IMG-0281.thumb.jpg.9e04f76d97f4f8d075b112b6c6999fb1.jpg

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I did some searching online also for this...more for my injun costume really-wanted a cavalry hat to go with it.   In doing the searching I looked at more period photographs than anything else-then look at what was being sold....and it didnt match up.  The romanticized hats being sold look not much at all like what were in actual photos from the time. They are too shaped, brims too wide ...the actual, from what I see in the photos, look more like fedoras with an upturned lip around the brim..not slouching fore and aft-and a 3' brim-not these huge 4-5 inch brims. 
B-western...now thats a different animal all together..

 

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Do a search on John Wayne movie hats and you'll find several series of pictures showing his movie hats. He liked the 4 cornered crown style hat alot. I like those and the big ones like in McClintock and the Shootist. The hats I've seen in period pictures looked pretty awful for the most part. Give me a John Wayne hat or a Quigley...... boy those are nice.

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12 hours ago, Fence Cutter said:

I can relate to this topic.

 

I've tried searching for a nice sombrero, used or otherwise.

 

Not a cheaply made straw tourist sombrero but a good one.

 

$$$$$$$$$$

 

 

If I'm understanding correctly you're looking for a high quality straw sombrero, is that correct?

 

If so I'd suggest checking out Sunbody .  Very high quality hats. 

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4 hours ago, Lunger Dan said:

I did some searching online also for this...more for my injun costume really-wanted a cavalry hat to go with it.   In doing the searching I looked at more period photographs than anything else-then look at what was being sold....and it didnt match up.  The romanticized hats being sold look not much at all like what were in actual photos from the time. They are too shaped, brims too wide ...the actual, from what I see in the photos, look more like fedoras with an upturned lip around the brim..not slouching fore and aft-and a 3' brim-not these huge 4-5 inch brims. 
B-western...now thats a different animal all together..

 

I did probably the same searches as you and, yeah, I agree, the reality is a bit different than the fantasy. 

There is a part of me that has to wonder how far off Ford actually was in his films considering his eye for detail.

Oh, and I've always been a big Remington fan, too.

trooper_plains_panel_hi.jpg.1d1e41ef8a3c4c01f408b40b1975be1b.jpg

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I personally think Lil' Grizz cavalry hats are closer to reality than most:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/464094316/76-campaign-hat-us-cavalry-hat-historic?ref=shop_home_active_4

 

Quote

This style was for enlisted men and officers in the cavalry and is often found in old photographs from that time period . This style was originally designed in theory to be folded and placed in the saddle bags (...although no one wanted to smash their good hat!) Our standard crown height is about 6" with approximately 3" brim.

 

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2 hours ago, Hendo said:

That looks a lot like the slouch hats that seemed to be issued from the Civil War on, from what I've read.

I don't disagree. It favors the hat in the link you posted above in my opinion.

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Posted (edited)

1889 campaign hats, cavalry issue, reproductions, between $100 and $225:

 

https://onlinemilitaria.net/products/6777-US-M1889-Fur-Felt-Campaign-Hat/

 

https://www.quartermasterdepot.com/1889-campaign-hat-p-49.html

 

http://www.eureka-arsenal.com/1889_campaign_hat.htm

 

Very close to 1889 campaign, the "1883 Indian Campaign" from River Junction

https://www.riverjunction.com/Model_1883_Campaign_Hat.html

 

As you see, essentially slouch hats.  Correct for the last part of the Indian campaigns.

 

And, apparently, an original, commercially made 1889 campaign hat in prime condition:

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/225271-m1903-style-campaign-hat/

 

(Although the fellow had mis-identified it as a 1903, the discussion straightens him out)

 

Good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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Just for kicks, my current "interpretation".

20200326_151140.thumb.jpg.2c06ce2960353fb6684251a362f3488b.jpg

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Even though it would benefit from a bunch of black powder casing marks, I like it!

 

:)

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4 minutes ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

Even though it would benefit from a bunch of black powder casing marks, I like it!

 

:)

My '73 is valiantly hucking all the empties on it that it can. :lol:

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The hat in my avatar is one of many styles from Sunbody, it lasted 15 years, was replaced last year for right at $100, very comfortable and manageable in the wind. It is soft and fits very well. If you go for this size you get maximum style points and everybody thinks you are an idiot. In these times that may not be so bad.

 

Imis

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On 3/25/2020 at 7:35 PM, Fence Cutter said:

I can relate to this topic.

 

I've tried searching for a nice sombrero, used or otherwise.

 

Not a cheaply made straw tourist sombrero but a good one.

 

$$$$$$$$$$

Nice sombreros worthy of the name are easy.  As are military hats.

 

sombreros?  RJ Preston https://www.facebook.com/groups/RJPrestonSombreros/

I have 2, wife has one.   Best I have seen outside of Mexico.  RJs' a peach to work with :)

 

Something that best represents a military hat of old?  Try David Morgan and Akubra

I make my own hats from 100% beaver blanks and Akubra IMO is the best  felt you can buy for the money.  The things last darn near for  ever.

 

https://www.davidmorgan.com/shop/category/2_22/hats/akubra-hats/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=MS_Akubra&msclkid=a48f872d6f7713d7152ad95348d8cb40 

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Posted (edited)

As mentioned prior, hard to beat a Sunbody Straw sombrero.   They have others more like the old plantation hats (Sam Houston?)  Which is something more like what Custer and his officer crew wore to the Greasy Grass.   Wife and I wear a Sunbody hats almost every day from April through September.  They last me 3 or 4 years easy enough.   Her's a couple of years longer, easy.   And they are super comfortable on your head in hot weather.    Stick them a bucket of water  and wear them wet is even better.

brax4.jpg

custer1.jpg

custer.jpg

Edited by levi littleton
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Posted (edited)
On 3/25/2020 at 8:43 PM, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

 

 

Best way I've found to get a hat to stay on  is buy a proper hat  with a real leather sweat band, fit properly....call the fit "tight".   Might want to shave your cue ball prior  :)    A stampede string is needed on sombreros because they don't really fit your head properly and by those long hair ruffians with beat to chit hats that are too big or no sweat band.    Depending on when and  how often I get a hair cut ...I can go up or down a 1/4 or 1/2 size on my hats. 

Edited by levi littleton
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Quote the recommendation I made if you quote the "joke" way.

 

Quote

Pick a good fur.  Then when you are breaking it in, wet the sweatband real well and stick it on your head until it dries.   The fit will be custom and the hat will stay put. 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, levi littleton said:

 

 

hahahahah...best way to get a hat to stay on  is buy a proper felt with a leather sweat band, fit properly....call the fit "tight".   And then shave your cue ball :)    A stampede string is needed on sombreros because they don't really fit your head properly and by those long hair ruffians with beat to chit hats that are too big or no sweat band.    Depending on when and  how often I get a hair cut ...I can go up or down a 1/4 or 1/2 size on my hats. 

Just having a chat with the wife about this the other day. I was thinking on hats out loud (apparently talking to yourself ain't considered a private conversation), and she said I should get a haircut before trying out or getting sized for a hat.

I told her that was ridiculous. I wear my hat everyday and only get my hair cut once or twice a year. :D

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5 minutes ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Quote the recommendation I made if you quote.

 

 

 

 

Sorry, no offense intended.   I didn't quote in full because I didn't think much of the recommendation.   From my limited perspective "proper fit" is sizing the hat correctly in the first place.  If you are adding water to the hat or sweat band to break a hat in it likely isn't a proper fit to start with.   A "custom fit" has different meanings depending on one's experience I suppose.

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15 minutes ago, Hendo said:

Just having a chat with the wife about this the other day. I was thinking on hats out loud (apparently talking to yourself ain't considered a private conversation), and she said I should get a haircut before trying out or getting sized for a hat.

I told her that was ridiculous. I wear my hat everyday and only get my hair cut once or twice a year. :D

 

Typical winter here we might see -20F easy enough.  Summer?  115F is not uncommon.   I'd rather have flowing locks year around :)  But they are just too damn hot mid summer.   So I generally get a buzz cut at least once, late Spring or early Summer.   Irritating as my favorite hat by Spring  won't stay on my head loping a horse after a buzz cut so I have to change hats.   Annoying that.   And one reason I started making my own hats years ago.  I have dedicated Summer felt hats and dedicated Winter felts.   Get it wrong and you'll like have a  screaming head ache in short order or risk loosing a hat and spooking a horse.

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For the record, I keep coming back to this hat from Miller. It's called the Fort Campbell, which holds a special place in my heart because I spent about 2 years there. I'm thinking of going with the 4" brim in black. I just can't seem to pull the trigger.

Yet....

Style: 110 Fort Campbell Cavalry Hat

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C'mon Hendo, do it; stimulate the economy a little bit :P

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8 minutes ago, levi littleton said:

 

Typical winter here we might see -20F easy enough.  Summer?  115F is not uncommon.   I'd rather have flowing locks year around :)  But they are just too damn hot mid summer.   So I generally get a buzz cut at least once, late Spring or early Summer.   Irritating as my favorite hat by Spring  won't stay on my head loping a horse after a buzz cut so I have to change hats.   Annoying that.   And one reason I started making my own hats years ago.  I have dedicated Summer felt hats and dedicated Winter felts.   Get it wrong and you'll like have a  screaming head ache in short order or risk loosing a hat and spooking a horse.

My usual hat size is a 7 1/2, but I'm thinking of going up to a 7 5/8. I'm not sure if it's ego or hair, but my Stetsons are getting a bit tight. I'm sort of measuring between the two as of late and am thinking if I go up a size, I can use an insert in the sweatband and dial it in.

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Just now, Tyrel Cody said:

C'mon Hendo, do it; stimulate the economy a little bit :P

Thanks Pard. I should know the evils of suggesting a purchase around a posse of enablers. :lol:

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Just now, Hendo said:

Thanks Pard. I should know the evils of suggesting a purchase around a posse of enablers. :lol:

 

LOL, what can I say. I'm doing my part ;)

 

 

Ordered bullets -  Check

Sent guns for action work - Check

Ordered a hat - Check

 

Plotting my next move as we speak :D

 

 

P.S. Here's what I have coming from Maverick's hats:

 

 

 

 

 

 

90195756_650060402459202_697701490021629952_n.jpg

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3 minutes ago, Tyrel Cody said:

 

LOL, what can I say. I'm doing my part ;)

 

 

Ordered bullets -  Check

Sent guns for action work - Check

Ordered a hat - Check

 

Plotting my next move as we speak :D

 

 

P.S. Here's what I have coming from Maverick's hats:

 

 

 

 

 

 

90195756_650060402459202_697701490021629952_n.jpg

Nice!

I have more bullets than I do cases to reload, although I have a friend giving me a bunch of .357 cases (eventually), so I may have to revisit that.

Somewhere else on the wire I posted about redoing the grips on my Model Ps and that's coming along. Now I'm eyeballing that candy apple red finish on my '73's furniture.... :unsure:

And I still have my Jeep to work on. I named it after my cat, because it always demands my attention and whenever I show it some love, I come away bloody. :lol:

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I picked up an inexpensive felt slouch hat by cody james at boot barn. $35. Added a hat cord for a few more bucks on amazon and if it gets beat up I didn’t wreck one of my Stetsons. 

86CDDB4B-9343-415F-80F6-BFBFC87E4370.jpeg

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