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Ideal No.3 Reloading Tool

    There are so many variations of the No.3 Ideal reloading tool, they are hard to sort out. Check out "Reloading Tools", Volume 1, page 59. They say this particular box and tool was made between 1926 and 1947. I'm not familiar with all the details of Ideal tools. I do know what I like.

    This tool has all the qualities I like. It seems everything is there and it is in fine condition. This is a great reason to buy a tool you know little about. My Dad always thought you should buy a gun, and get a book about it too. Shooting it was also very important. How else do you learn?

    When I saw this tool for sale, I could not resist. When I was young, I bought a Winchester Hi-Wall, in 30-40 Krag. It had a near perfect No.3 Nickel Steel barrel. It would shoot fantastic with everything I fired through it. I was so young and dumb, I thought all rifles shot like that. I traded it off and have regretted it ever since.

    This tool matches the pictures on the instructions in every way I can see. Often little pieces are missing or replaced. I think this one is complete except for the paper wrap on the parts.


    I don't think this tool has been used at all. The hinge is stiff from sitting all these years. All the dies still have grease. The Bullet sizing die has grease filling the area where the nose of the bullet fits.

    I will leave it this way. If I want to reload a 30-40, I will buy a tool in used condition.


    The top of the instruction sheet has a nice description of the different dies. The charging cup and de-capping pin is shown on the top of the box. I wish the printer had dated the instructions. Sadly, no luck. It was printed in America! You don't see that much any more!


    From left to right. The de-capping pin pictured on the top of the box. The Shell expander. The Muzzle resizer. The bullet sizer. The bullet seating chamber. All in very nice condition.


The Number 3 Tool in 22 Maynard Centerfire

    When I saw this little tool I could not resist taking it home. I never felt an overwhelming urge to reload 22 centerfire cartridges. The bullets, primers and cases are really small. There must have been some Maynard customers who did not mind.


    An Interesting Note: Back in the 1970's and 80's, we used to see 22 rim-fire primed brass at the gun shows. You could buy a box of 50, just like the loaded cartridges. I had forgotten completely until I bought this tool. I asked Ed Curtis and he remembers the same thing. I did not ever buy any, but I should have, just for display. Now I never see any. I never saw a mold for a 22 heel type bullet, for reloading these primed cases. Ed Curtis says he has a Pope Mold that casts a 22 rimfire heel bullet. I hope to get pictures of it.

    I have noticed a kit on E-bay for reloading your 22 rim-fire empties. They sell some priming liquid and a tool that looks a lot like an Italian Spaghetti mold, for replica percussion revolvers. The tool would cast heel bullets. I think it would also seat the bullets and crimp. I did not buy a kit.

    Ideal would make special tools. I wonder if there are Ideal tools out there to reload those rim-fire cases.


    The 22-10-45 was a real center-fire cartridge with a grooved lubricated bullet that fit down into the case. I show an example along with the tool. The primer seems to measure .175 diameter. 


    I could not resist throwing in a Sharps 50 caliber cartridge with the 2 1/2 inch case. This 50 will give you some perspective. I think it is funny! I wish I had a No.3 tool in this 50 Sharps cartridge. That would make an interesting picture. I'll buy one if I find one. Just for fun.

    If you have a small cartridge collection handy, the pictures are more interesting.


    I checked my trusty copy of "Reloading Tools of the Black Powder Era" , Volume 1, page 121. It seems I have the correct No.4 bullet seating chamber. As an added bonus, this is a double adjustable bullet seater. That will come in handy, if I ever get the urge to shoot one of these small bore rifles.

    Ideal has no listing for number 1 and 2 seating chambers. There is an * by those numbers. That means, " never issued" or "as yet identified". Could one of those be the seating chamber for those 22 rim-fire re-loadable cartridge cases I used to see?


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