Kingsland Patent Re and Decapping Tools
April 23, 1878
These were very early Re and De-capping tools. Before this, only the 1875 Remington Tool could both re and de-cap a cartridge case. The Remington tool was intended for Berdan Primers.
The new Kingsland Tool was designed for a cartridge case with a Central Flash Hole. Good idea!
I have never seen a tool exactly like this patent Drawing. There are probably some out there. I have not found one yet.
Notice the TWO springs with rounded ends on the Patent Drawing. These two springs might help identify an earlier tool or patent model.
I keep hearing that these capping tools were made in Two sizes. So far, no one has produced a big one photographed with a little one. It would be nice to see the size difference in one picture.
I have heard of these large tools made in 44 or 45 caliber. If you have one, please send a few nice pictures! Hopefully, alongside a small tool.
Most of these Kingsland Patent Capping tools show up in 40 caliber and smaller. It is not unusual to see the de-capping rod turned down to smaller calibers. I have seen several marked 40 on the decapping rod, but turned down to fit a 38 or 32 caliber cartridge. The popular trend, after 1878, was to shoot smaller calibers at 200 yards off-hand.
In 1878, when this tool was patented, Sharps brought out the Borchardt Rifle. The Borchardt was primarily chambered in the 45-70, the 40-50 and the 40-70 straight cases. These were the popular cartridges of the moment.
The First Type Kingsland "Production" Tool
Most Collectors think of this as the First Type Kingsland Tool. Looking at the pictures, available on the internet and in books, is interesting. I can see small differences even in this type tool. Then there may be bigger ones floating around out there too. Also, there were earlier patent models.
I'll call this the "First Type Production Tool" for now. More information Always shows up!
In the beginning, these were probably made in small production runs. Improvements should be expected as more tools were made.
This tool came from the Lance Petersen Collection. He noted that it is a One Piece Casting, unlike the later tools that were a sandwich design, Riveted together. Even this one piece tool is riveted during assembly. This makes repair difficult.
Note the Single spring. There is no sign of a spring on the front. This spring is Riveted on and can only have been installed before all the other parts. All the later tools once had this single spring, but they are often missing. The tool seems to work better with this spring. They may have broken, or they may have annoyed the owner. Most are gone.
The only markings on this tool are the Cast In Patent Date and the Caliber. (40)
The caliber is normally marked in this location on the decapping rod. Most are, but some are not marked with a caliber at all.
This is a nicely finished tool. The brass casting was of high quality. The coarse surface of the casting made for a better grip. Look close and you will see file marks on the brass. The nickel plated lever is well polished.
It is fun to do a little detective work. Since this decapping rod is marked 40, I got out a 40-70 Sharps Cartridge and placed it by the tool. You can see where the nickel is worn off the decapping rod. Ed points out that this may have been used with the 40-63 or 40-70 Ballard. Both of these were about 2 3/8 inches long, rather than 2 1/2 inches like the Sharps Cartridge.
The wear on the Nickel is 2 1/4 inch long. That is about right for a 2 1/2 inch long 40 caliber straight cartridge case.
This is a nice little tool. Usually the early tools were used hard. Be happy if you can find tools in nice shape. Ed Curtis often tells me, " These were Just Tools". They were not handled carefully. Not like a fine, expensive Rifle.
Then the next generations did not know what they were. They were often Thrown Away!
The Second Type Kingsland Capping Tool
I think of this as the "Second Type" tool. This is the first Kingsland Tool I found. I picked it up at Tulsa quite a few years ago. It did not work when I first got it. A collector talked me out of the tool. I was focused on Sharps stuff, so I let it go. He fixed the problems, but I never asked how he did it. Sadly, he had to get a Dee-vorce. ( The scourge of Collectors). I bought it back! Note the green paint and the little Kentucky Rifle cast into this side. I don't know if the second type brass tools are all painted green, but most are.
I knew of these from "Early Loading Tools and Bullet Molds" by Chamberlain, page 58, but it was a long time until I found one. Back then we did not have the internet! I live in the west. There are not a lot of nice tools out here.
The Cast in patent date is quite clear.
The body of the tool is a sandwich of two brass halves riveted together with five rivets. You can see the seam all around in later photos. You cannot easily disassemble this tool for repair!
It is marked 38. The steel or iron handle and brass de-capping rod are nickel plated.
This is the most common tool by far.
The Third Type Kingsland Capping Tool
I think of this as the "Third Type" of this tool. I have no real reason, except that the tool is cast steel or iron. In my mind, a tool of steel is stronger and more durable. Brass is easy to cast and machine. This all steel tool was probably a little more expensive to produce.
To me, this as an "Improved Tool".
A steel or iron body and red paint. Other than that, there is no difference between this tool and the previous tool.
I suspect these tools are a little less common than the brass tool.
As always, I could be wrong.
A Fourth Type Kingsland Capping Tool?
Collecting is Fun because there is always "Something New". The tool below the brass tool in this picture is interesting. Of course it is not new. You Collectors may have one stashed away. The point is, I have not seen one of these before. No picture has ever been published that I know of. I sent Ed Curtis pictures and it was "New" to him. If you have one of these in a your sock drawer, Send Pictures! New in the box is even better.
I think this tool was sold through an auction site recently. I bought it from a "Big Time" dealer who thought it was a "Bullet Seater". This is one of the reasons I am building this site. No one seems to have cared much about this tool when it was auctioned off.
Since I am the proud owner of this tool, I am going to call it the "Fourth Type" Kingsland Re and Decapping tool. ( Until Something Else Shows Up!) If you go through the pictures below, you will see it is an improvement on the earlier types.
The iron or steel body is not a riveted "Sandwich." It is cast in one piece and machined out. All the internal parts are held in with screws. If something goes wrong, you can take it apart and fix it. The little cast rifle and patent dates are gone. No marking can be seen. Not even a caliber marking. The nickel plating was dropped. Checkering is "Cast in". The decapping rod is heavier at the base. There is a split brass sleeve over the decapping rod that seems to have been there a long time. A 38 caliber cartridge will just fit over the brass sleeve.
The iron tool is much heavier all over. When new, both of these tools had a single spring holding the handle up. I suspect they were removed on purpose.
The brass tool is above right. You can see the line between the two halves just below the lever. The one piece design of the iron tool on the left is much better.
There are no markings on the iron tool. No patent date. Not even a caliber stamp. There might be a caliber stamp under that brass sleeve. The sleeve has been there a long time, so I am reluctant to remove it.
The hinge on the iron tool is much heavier. There is a screw to hold the de-capping pin in place. ( The older ones could fall out.)
The nickel plating is gone on the iron tool and the finish is not as nice. Still, this seems to be a much better, stronger tool. I suspect this iron Kingsland Capping Tool was made after the Patent ran out. A much later, improved tool.
This is the fun of collecting. You never know what is going to show up!