The Ideal No.2 Bullet Lubricator and Sizer
I mentioned I use a No.1 Bullet Lubricator all the time, to lubricate bullets for my Buffalo Rifles. The Number 1 is great for that. However, it does not have any "Horsepower". The No.1 can not size a bullet down very much. If you want to change the size of a bullet more than 1/2 of a thousandth of and inch, (.0005), you are at risk of breaking the handle. That did not seem to be a problem for our Grandpas. They could order the right bullet for their rifles easily. The molds were new, round and made to size.
Ideal did offer a heavy duty alternative, but they are rare. Fellow Collector Jim Martin sent all this information. At this time there are only a few of these known to collectors. In "Reloading Tools of the Black Powder Era", Volume 1, page 175, you will see a picture of One of these Ideal No.2 Lubricators. There is also and ad from Shooting and Fishing" which refers to this as a No. 2 Bullet Lubricating Press. Thanks to Jim we can see the whole tool with a few more images. He also threw in a historic image of the No.1 and No.2 Bullet Lubricators being Used on the Shooting Range!
Collecting is the preservation and study of Our History. This Website hopes to preserve our Shooting History and get new information out for the Collector to see. This information is very welcome here!
This image was taken at Sea Girt, New Jersey in 1905. The fellow front left, in the dark suit, is the famous John H. Barlow himself. Designer of all those cool Ideal Reloading tools we collect today. On the right end of the loading bench you can see a No.1 Lubricator and Sizer at the front and the Big distinctive T shaped handle of the No.2 Ideal Bullet Lubricator just behind it. It seems Mr. Barlow was custom loading cartridges "At The Range" for these 30-40 Krag Rifles. This was not unusual during the "Schuetzen Era Shooting" which was popular at the time. Apparently Military Marksmen liked to load at the range too! It is very possible that Mr.Barlow was in the process of introducing his new Gas Check bullets along with his heavy duty Bullet Lubricator here in this picture.
There were a lot of things happening here at the same time.
(1) This new Bullet lubricator certainly had a powerful construction. The No.1 Lubricator was a light duty device for pure lead bullets.
(2) The 30-40 Krag rifles were being used by the U.S. Military. They were a fast twist 30 caliber. Smokeless powders were also being used.
(3) The 100% lead bullet would not stand up to high pressure and fast rifling twists. John Barlow and famous Marksman W. G. Hudson experimented with a copper base lead bullet which they referred to as a "Gas Check" bullet.
(4) The Ideal Handbook No. 17 listed the first Gas Check bullet. ( Mold number 308284, later called the 311284). A grooved lead bullet with a copper cup on the base.
(5) This Gas Check was later patented March 12, 1907. It is probable that this No.2 Bullet Lubricator was designed specifically to produce the first Gas Check Bullets for the 30-40 Rifles. It had enough power to size down that copper cup on the base of the bullet!
(6) Winchester was producing "Nickel Steel" barrels for their 1885 Hi-Wall Rifle. A harder steel for copper jacketed bullets. The new steel would stand up to these new copper cupped Gas Check bullets. The first Nickel steel Barrels were 30-40 caliber, introduced in 1898. Many other calibers followed and All Winchester and Marlin Rifles had these harder steel barrels.
Over time, Mr. Barlow may have decided this heavy duty machine was not necessary unless you were loading lots of cartridges in an Armory.
I have never tried to size modern Gas Check Bullets in my No.1 Bullet lubricator. It may have worked OK with the early gas checks. It probably would not work well with modern copper cups. They are different from these early designs.
This seems to be the first "Gas Check" patent for lead bullets. The little ribs inside were intended to make the cup stay on the Lead Bullet. The copper cup was supposed to protect the lead while the bullet was pushed through the barrel by hot smokeless powder. We all know this works.
Some sources say these could fall off when fired and it did not matter. That does not make sense to me.
This description is pretty clear. The same dies and punches for the No. 1 Lubricator and Sizer will work in this tool. The ad also refers to other "Armory Implements" available for the Military Shooters. It is interesting that this Reloading Outfit was given out as a Prize to the winning Team. This is a great way to advertise a new product!
This is a neat group Of Armory Tools by Ideal. It may be from about 1905 as well. The No.2 Bullet Lubricator is clearly labeled, along with the No.5 Powder Measure and The Armory Bullet mold. Upper right is the Reloading Press. One of these is also pictured in "Reloading Tools" by Rowe and Curtis on page 176 of Volume 1. This particular image is interesting because it shows a re-capping device installed on the bottom of the Reloading Press. In "Reloading Tools" a Sizing and bullet seating die seems to be installed in this location. It seems this press would do much more than just size and lubricate bullets. Reloading a cartridge and priming were also possible. All you had to do was un-bolt and switch out parts. It is odd that the ads we have here do not mention that.
These two images illustrate the entire Bullet Lubricator. Everything seems to be 100% original and in fine condition.
The construction of this tool is interesting. If the pictures in these different ads are correct, this was actually a convertible tool. The metal slides screwed to the front could function as guides for a Reloading Press as well. Upper right you can see the cast barrel that holds the Sizing and Lubricating die. It is held in place by a hexagon head bolt on the front and rear. Could you unbolt the parts that Lubricate a bullet and install that priming tool seen in the Armory Tool ad above? Could the Sizing and Bullet Seating Die be installed in place of the Lubricating Die? The pictures can not lie. At some point in time, this was more than just a bullet lubricator.
The image upper right shows the back of the Lubricator with the barrel to hold the Bullet Lubricant. It all bolts together and could easily be removed. I still have lots of questions about this tool, but now I know a lot more about this rare tool.
The No. 2 Lubricator was introduced in Handbook 17. It was probably designed earlier. The last time it was listed in the Lyman/ Ideal Handbooks of 1931 through 1933. It was not in Handbook 31, from 1934.
A lot happened between 1905 and 1934. World War 1 came along. Then, The Spanish Flu killed Millions. The Japanese bought massive amounts of scrap iron, steel and brass to build their War Machine for World War 2. Then there were huge Metal Drives across America. We had to accumulate material to fight World War 2, after selling all our scrap to the Japs. The need for material was so extreme, We Lost a lot of our historic objects.
The survival rate of Antique Rifles and Reloading Tools is very low. All the events listed above probably wiped out huge numbers of Antiques, of all types, all across America.
There many have been many more of these No. 2 Bullet Lubricators around, but their 25 pound weight made them excellent War Material!