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The Ideal Loading Flask

    The first time I saw one of these flasks, I was puzzled. It looks a lot like a regular old powder flask at first glance. A pretty one that is nickel plated. You have to play around with it and read the instructions to get the idea. They have a lot of the same qualities of a Schuetzen flask. The big difference is that they only throw one charge.

    The patent date of 1889 is pretty late. You have to remember that not all people were target shooters. Sometimes a single granulation of powder was just fine. Often very accurate.

    Notice I always focus on rifle shooting. These were also for shotguns as well. Far more time and money was actually spent on shotguns. Bird hunting is fun! I just do more rifle shooting.

    Ed Curtis had this patent paper stashed away. Look it over. You will see what looks like a regular old spout. In reality it is the measuring device marked in grains and drachms.

Ideal Powder Flask.JPG

    To the left you can see the spout. The center image shows the sliding tube inserted to measure large charges. Flip it around and the flat end allows you to measure small charges. These two tubes were purposefully made out of round. It is a "twist" lock. there is no other mechanism to hold the knurled tube in place.

    On the lower right, look at Figure 5. This illustrates the three positions of the spout or measuring tube.

    G is neutral position. Everything is closed.

    V is the filling position. Take out the small measuring tube, move spout to V and fill the flask with up to 3/4 of a pound of powder.

    K is the drop tube. Long drop tubes were considered great for making the charge settle in the cartridge case. This one is cleverly hidden inside the flask.

    The process for dropping a charge is as follows.

    1. Move small knurled tube to the charge you want and twist to lock it in place.

    2. Point spout toward the floor. Move the small lever to position V, to fill the spout with powder. Release the lever and the measure will return to neutral position.

    3. Point the spout toward the sky. Place the hole in the end of the flask over the cartridge case. Move the spout to position H with the small lever. The powder will drop into the cartridge case.

    This all sounds complicated, but it is probably OK after you try it a few times.

    There is one thing missing from the patent drawing. A clicker to settle the powder in the cartridge case.

    To the left you can see the "clicker" or "shaking " device that will help settle the powder in the cartridge case. This was added some time after the patent was issued. If you have a flask without this feature, you may have an early flask or patent model. 

    This measure has no clamp to mount it to a table or bench like the later measures. It is made to hold in your hands. You have to flip it one way and then the other to operate it. Dropping the powder charge is also a little inconvenient. These three points probably spelled doom for this flask. It was dropped sometime around 1899.


    This is an image of the top of the box this flask was sold in. You can zoom in and see a lot. Sadly, there is scuffing here and there. Imagine going into a gun shop back in 1899 and checking these out.


    Here is a classic image of the flask lying in it's box. The nickel plated flask is really pretty. It was probably wrapped in paper when new. There were probably also some paper ads in there. Maybe more instructions.

    I don't have an image of the end of the box. The knurled knob on the left end came in two sizes, which was usually marked on the end of the box. The No.1 was for cartridges from 38 to 50 caliber. The No.2 was for cartridges from 38 to 22 caliber.

    Notice that this measure is smooth on the outside. Check out "Reloading Tools of the Black Powder Era", Volume 1, page 154. Some of these were knurled on the body of the flask for a better grip. They illustrate one of these scarcer flasks.


    This is a nice photo of the spout end of the flask. You can just see the 70 Grain marking peeking out. With the small tube inserted in this way, you get the large charges, of 70 to 135 grains of powder.

    Twist it to unlock, switch ends, and you will get markings and charges of 3 to 70 grains of powder.

    In the rear you can see part of a hole. This is the top of the drop tube that goes all the way to the bottom of the flask. It does not need to be covered all the time.

    The spout is in neutral position here. No powder can leak out and no powder can get into the spout. The spout should be spring loaded to stay in this position, unless you move it with the small lever. This way you can adjust the powder charge without spilling.

    The hole to fill the flask and spout is hidden underneath the small tab at the bottom.


    This is a well designed and attractive flask. If you want to use a traditional flask to load non-duplex charges, try one out. Personally, I will stick with my Ideal No.2 measure. It will clamp to a bench and offers more options.

    Like all these Ideal tools, these only cost a few dollars. They will last for generations. They are American made! What a great deal!

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